Washington County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Album of
Washington, Clay and Riley
Below are a few biographies from the above book, published in 1890. I will add more as I have time.
GEORGE FUNNELL. This gentleman is the
owner of 750 acres of land in Washington
County, and has been a resident here for
twenty-eight years. His land is all well improved.
The home farm comprises 320 acres on section 33, Sheridan Township. It is furnished with a
comfortable frame house and all necessary barns
and out-buildings, and is represented by a view on
another page of this volume. Mr. Funnell can relate many interesting experiences of the early life
in this section, having begun his residence here
prior to the admission' of Kansas as a State, and
while the country was in a wild and thinly settled
Mr. Funnell was born in Norfolk, England, in
June, 1831, and came to the United States in the
fall of 1851. The voyage was made on the "Ocean
Queen" (Capt. Creswell) and occupied six weeks
and one day. After landing at New York, Mr.
Funnell went directly to Cook County, Ill., where
an elder sister, Mary A., wife of John Baldry.
had previously located. There our subject lived
until the spring of 1856, whence he went to
Louisa County, Iowa. In that county he operated
a rented farm for five years. He then, in 1860,
came to this State, and took a squatter's claim
where he now lives. In 1862 the land was offered
for sale, and he then preempted 160 acres. The
original patent, signed by Abraham Lincoln, is now
in his possession. The first house on the claim
was a log cabin with cotton-wood bark roof. In
that house he lived until 1869, at which time he
built his present dwelling.
During the first years of Mr. Funnell's residence here, buffalo and elk were to be found, and
antelope, deer and wild turkey were plentiful. The
nearest postoffice was fifty miles distant at Ft.
Riley, where he walked to get his mail, for better
time could be made on foot than with the ox team
he owned. Marketing was chiefly done at Manhattan, and milling 125 miles away at Grasshopper
Falls, where there was an old water power gristmill.
On coming to the county Mr. Funnell had traveled
on the Missouri River, as far as Kansas City, where
he bought oxen and wagon, and completed his journey overland.
In 1862, the Indians began to be troublesome,
and in 1863, they had become so bold that on
many occasions the settlers were badly frightened,
and left their homes to seek safety in towns. During one of the Indian raids,
with other rural settlers sought safety at Clay Center, whence they repaired to Clifton and staid a
week. They then went to the residence of G. D.
Brooks, two miles west of Clifton, where they
built a stockade on the bank of the Republican
River. There they remained about a week until
furnished protection by Government forces. At
the time of this raid, the eldest son of our subject
was a babe of nine months. He was the second
child born in this township, the first having been
Mary, daughter of Peter Esslingler and wife of
Peter Schiltz, of Clay Center.
The parents of our subject were William and
Eleanor (Byham) Funnell, who came to the United States in 1852, and made their home with our
subject until their deaths, which occurred in this
county. The mother was house keeper for her son
until his marriage. Both parents were natives of
England and of pure English .ancestors. They
were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The mother died June 27, 1869, aged eighty-five
years, the father Nov. 4, 1877, aged ninety-five
years and six months.
The marriage of our subject took place in the
southwest quarter of Washington County, and was
celebrated Jan. 7, 1863, in the little log house
which was to be the future home of the newly married couple; the ceremony was performed by Rufus
Darby, Esq. The bride was Bridget, daughter of
Thomas and Catherine (Kaho) Kinsley. She is
possessed of those qualities of character which
are especially needful to a prosperous and happy
life on the frontier, and is highly esteemed by
those who best know her useful life. Ten children
have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Funnell. One
daughter, Mary E., died in childhood. The survivors are : William H., Mathew T. and Elizabeth
A., who were born in the cabin on the claim;
James C, George A., Katie B.. Arthur W., Jessie
E., and Ada F.
After securing his preemption claim, Mr. Funnell homesteaded 160 acres on the same section
and the two claims comprise the home farm. In
addition he now owns 160 acres on section 27, 200
acres on section 26, and seventy acres on section
27 (in a separate piece from the quarter of that
Mr. Funnell is a member of the A. O. U. W. as
is his eldest son, William H. He was the first Trustee of Clifton Township, which then comprised
one-fourth of the county, and included what is now
Sheridan Township. He served in that capacity for
two years. He has also been Treasurer of this
township. He and his wife are members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church at Clifton. He is not
only an enterprising farmer, but a most excellent
citizen, and a man whose probity of character is
WILLIAM P. FUNNELL. Among those
who have been instrumental in building up the business interests of Clifton. Washington County, Mr. Funnell is worthy of special
mention. The firm of William Funnell & Sons
has become widely and favorably known throughout Clifton Township and vicinity, and in their capacity as general merchants they have attained to
a high standing in their community. They have a
well-regulated store with an entrance upon each
street leading into the dry-goods department which
is 60x24 feet in dimensions. They keep a finely
selected stock of dry-goods; while adjoining is
the grocery department, occupying an area of
56x28 feet. The whole is conducted systematically
and in good order and the firm does a business
amounting to about $50,000 annually.
William Funnell Sr., established the business
above mentioned in 1871, in a manner corresponding
to his means and surroundings. Clifton was then
in its infancy and side by side with the growing
town, the business of Mr. Funnell broadened and
extended and by degrees he was obliged to enlarge
his facilities accordingly. The firm removed to its
present quarters in 1879, and in 1883 the building
was enlarged by the addition of the west store
room. Two years later the father retired from active business which has since been conducted by
William P. and his brother Henry.
The subject of this sketch was born while his
parents, who were English people (see biography
of C. C. Funnell, elsewhere in this work), were residing on the English Channel, in Waterford, Ireland, Dec. 3, 1853. Six weeks later they went back
to England where they lived until William P. was
a lad of eight years. They then emigrated to the
United States and located near Letts, Louisa Co.,
Iowa. They lived there only a few years, however,
then returned to England where William P. completed his education. His progressive ideas and
his ambition decided him upon making a permanent home in the United States and he accordingly
came back in 1869. again taking up his residence in
Letts, Iowa. Thence a year later, in 1870, he came
to Kansas and for two years was in the employ of
his uncle, George Funnell, whose biography appears
on another page.
At the expiration of this time, wishing to increase his store of knowledge Mr. Funnell entered
the Manhattan Agricultural College and after a
thorough course of study returned to Clifton and
occupied himself as a clerk in his father's store until 1879, during which year he became a member
of the present firm. He has since given his entire
attention to the dry-goods trade, keeping himself
well-informed as to its fluctuations and all the
other details of the business which are necessary to
successful results. He has done a large amount of
hard work, buying his own goods in New York
City, which he visits about twice a year.
Mr. Funnell was married to Miss Elmina Green,
who was born in the State of Maine, July 20, 1858,
and came to Kansas in her childhood days, with her
parents. The latter were early settlers of Washington County, Kan., but later removed farther
west in the State and are now living upon a farm.
Of this union there have been born three children.
Walter M., Gertrude E. and Charles E. Mr. and
Mrs. Funnell are members in good standing of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Funnell
officiates as Steward and leader of the choir. Socially
he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Blue Lodge, No. 122 at Clifton. He is also
a charter member of the A. O. U. W., in which he
has been Recorder three years. He is a straight
Republican, politically, and for ten years held the
position of Postmaster in Clifton. He occupies a
position in the front ranks among its public-spirited
and liberal-minded men.
CHRISTOPHER C. FUNNELL. The men
who first settled in Clifton, Washington
County, and assisted in the building up of
its various interests, are worthy of more than a
passing notice. Mr. Funnell, one of its most
successful and enterprising men, was the pioneer
lumberman of this place, establishing himself in
business here in January, 1878, just after the completion of the Missouri Pacific Railroad through
this section. He commenced in a modest manner
in proportion to his means and the probable extent
of his patronage, and has gradually broadened his
facilities until he has one of the largest and best-equipped lumber-yards in either Washington or
Clay counties. He carries a full stock of all kinds
of building material, and has had control of a large
territory, receiving orders throughout this and adjoining counties.
In former years Mr. Funnell was engaged as a
farmer in Sherman Township, Clay County, this
State, where he took up a homestead in 1871. He
increased his landed possessions until he was the
owner of 533 acres, and besides this he owns 400
acres in Sheridan Township, Washington County,
also 108 acres in Mulberry Township, Clay County.
The whole is improved, and lying at a convenient
distance to the town of Clifton, is quite valuable.
Mr. Funnell proved a success as an agriculturist,
and operated in live-stock with fine results.
Coming to Clay County, Kan., in the spring of
1870, Mr. Funnell had in view a visit to California,
but was so pleased with this section of country
that he concluded to locate here. He is a native
of Norfolk, England, and was born Dec. 25, 1844.
Upon coming to America he was a resident of
Iowa for some years. His father and his paternal
grandfather, each bearing the name of William,
were likewise natives of Norfolk, and both emigrated to America and to Kansas. The latter died
and was buried in Clifton.
The father of our subject was a railroad contractor in England, and was married in his native
town to Miss Elizabeth Germany. This lady was
born and reared not far from the early home of
her husband, and they lived in England until all
but one of their children were born. They came
to America in 1851, embarking from Liverpool on
the sailing-vessel "The Crown," a three-master.
They were overtaken by a storm near Newfoundland, in which the masts were swept away and the
vessel was driven back across the ocean to the coast
of Ireland within three days, opposite a little village
known as Passage. Later they put into port at Tramore, where William Funnell and his family found
a home for nine months. He in the meantime engaged as a contractor, rescuing land from the sea,
and there the youngest child of the family was
The Funnell family in leaving Ireland went to
Bristol, and then to Holland, where they lived some
years, the father operating as a railroad contractor,
and there Christopher C. attended school. Finally
the family returned to England, and in 1860 all
came to the United States, being successful in landing in New York City from the steamer "Edinburg."
In due time they proceeded Westward to Iowa,
settling near the present site of Letts, Louisa
County. William Funnell purchased a farm and
began life anew, remaining there until September,
1865. The family then all went back to England,
where the eldest son, Henry, had gone two years
before, in 1863.
In March, 1868, the subject of this sketch and
his brother George returned to the United States
and sought the town of Letts, Iowa, where later
they were joined by an older brother, Henry. A year
later their brother William came, and after a time
they separated, and Christopher C. decided to visit
his kinspeople in Kansas. This was in 1870. After
coming here, however, he was induced to remain
and succeeded in getting his brother William here.
Then began the career of our subject, which has
been so successful.
Mr. Funnell came to this region a bachelor, but
later decided that it was not good for man to be
alone, and was married, in Clay County, June 30th
1874, to Miss Charlotte Kreeck. This lady was
born in Ross County. Ohio, and is the daughter of
John and Eva H. (Uhrig) Kreeck, who came to
Kansas in 1872. They settled on a large tract of
land in Clay County, and here Mr. Kreeck died at
the age of forty-three years. The mother survives
and is a very active and intelligent old lady. Two
of the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Funnell
are deceased, viz.: an infant unnamed, and Charlotte, who died when twenty-two months of age.
The survivors are Ellsworth C., Floyd, Karl and
Roy. They form a very bright and intelligent
quartet, all remaining under the parental roof.
Politically, Mr. Funnell is identified with the
Republican party. He and his wife are members
in good standing of the Presbyterian Church.
William Funnell and his wife still cling to the doctrines of the Church of England. They are now
retired from active labor, and enjoy the comforts
of a pleasant home in the village of Clifton. Their
son, Christopher C., owns and occupies one of the
finest residences in the city, and which, from its
location, commands a fine view. It is handsomely
furnished, and indicative at all points of ample
means and cultivated tastes. The family holds a
leading position in the social circles of their community, and number their friends among the best
CHRISTIAN ALBRIGHT, a prominent and
successful business man of Washington,
where he is engaged in dealing in stock, is
one of the pioneers of Washington County, and was
one of the first settlers on these prairies when deer,
antelopes, wild turkeys and other game were roaming at will where are now fine farms, pleasant
homes, and busy, thriving towns. He was born in
Bedford County, Pa., June 16, 1836, and his father,
Solomon Albright, was born in the same county,
May 8, 1812. The grandfather of our subject,
Christian Albright, was born either in Maryland or
Pennsylvania, and was a blacksmith by trade carrying on his calling in Bedford County, Pa., until
death put an end to his earthly career. The father
of our subject became an adept at his father's trade,
and besides was engaged with his sire in the transportation business
in the days before the introduction of railways and canals, they having teams
which they hired other men to drive, occasionally
making trips themselves and carrying produce from
Bedford County, Pa., to Baltimore, Md., and returning with their wagons laden with merchandise. In
those days blacksmiths had to make their own nails
and horse-shoes, and they did a thriving trade. In
1850 the father of our subject removed with his
family to Washington County, Wis., becoming a
pioneer of that section of the country, the removal
thither being made with team to Cleveland, Ohio,
and thence by the lakes to Port Washington. Mr.
Albright bought eighty -six acres of heavily timbered
land, sixteen miles west of Point Washington, paying $6 an acre for it. He built a hewed-log house
for a dwelling, and then devoted his time to clearing his land and improving a farm, which he now
has in a fine condition, well fenced, under admirable tillage, and provided with an excellent set
of buildings, including a substantial brick house
and a good frame barn, and there he and his estimable wife are living in comfort and ease, respected
and beloved by all about them for their many
kindly traits of head and heart. Mrs. Albright's
maiden name was Anna Woolford, and she was
born in the same county as her husband, a daughter of Christian and Phebe
Woolford, natives, respectively of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The
parents of our subject have had eight children, as
follows: Christian, Phebe, Levi, John, Mary,
Charlie, Edward A. and Willet. Levi, John and
our subject served in the army during the late war.
Our subject was a bright lad of fourteen years
when his parents removed to Wisconsin, where he
attended school in the primitive log house, and
at other times assisted his father in clearing his
land. In 1804 he enlisted in the United States
construction department, serving in Tennessee until after the close of the war, proving a valuable
assistant. After his return from the South, Mr.
Albright resumed farming in Wisconsin, where he
continued to live until 1868. In that year became
to Kansas to cast in his lot with the pioneers that
had preceded him, and he soon made a claim to a
tract of land on section 17, township 2, range 3,
now included in Farmington Township. He at
once commenced to break the prairie sod, and in
March settled on his land with his family, and was
one of the first settlers on the prairies of Washington County, where deer and antelope roamed at
will and buffaloes were plentiful not far distant.
Washington was but a small hamlet, with only one
store, a log blacksmith-shop and two frame buildings on the town site. Waterville was the nearest
railway station, and the markets were not very
accessible. Mr. Albright resided on his farm until
1874, in the meantime making many valuable improvements. In that year he
traded it for property in Washington, and has been a resident of this
city since then, and for the past thirteen years has
dealt extensively in stock and hogs, shipping to
Chicago a few years, and of late to Kansas City.
Mr. Albright and Miss Mary M. Young were
united in marriage in 1861, and of their pleasant
union one child, Ada G., has been born. Farmington Township being her birthplace. Mrs. Albright
is a native of Canada, a daughter of William and
Mary (Graham) Young, natives of Scotland. She
is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and is a consistent Christian.
Mr. Albright is a man of sound discretion, of
excellent business principles, his personal habits
are irreproachable, and his standing in business and
social circles is of the highest. In politics he is
a straight Republican. He has mingled in public
life and proved an invaluable civic official while he
was serving as Township Trustee and Clerk of the
JOHN CRAFFORD, coming to Washington
County nearly a quarter of a century ago
and casting in his fortunes with the few settlers who had preceded him, has not only
witnessed most of the growth of this part of the
State of Kansas, but he has been a factor in developing its
marvellous agricultural resources by improving a good farm, comprising the southeast
quarter of section 4, Washington Township, and he
will ever occupy an honorable place among the
pioneers of the country.
He is a Pennsylvanian by birth, coming of an
old family that settled there in Colonial days, and
he was born Oct. 14, 1822, a mile and a half east
of Bevington Mills in Washington County. His
father, Joseph Crafford was born in Northampton
County, Pa., Oct. 11, 1780, and his father, Elijah
Crafford, was a native of the same county, April
25, 1756, being the date of his birth, and he was a
gallant soldier in the Continental army during the
Revolution, serving under Gen. Washington. His
father, John Crafford, was born in England, Oct. 15,
1715, and came to America and settled in Northampton County, Pa., among its pioneers and there
carried on farming till his death. After the revolution the grandfather of our subject became a
pioneer of Washington County, and now lies buried
there in the Florence Cross-Road churchyard beside his wife. Her maiden name was Jane Stout,
and she was born in New Jersey, April 11, 1787.
The father of our subject spent the first years of
his life in his native county, and in after life used
to recount to his children and grandchildren, the
exciting incidents of the removal of his father's
family with a five horse team across the wild and
lonely mountains to the pioneer home in Washington County. He bought a tract of timbered land in
Patrick's Run, eighteen miles from Pittsburg, and
on the Steubenville Pike. He erected a woolen mill,
operated by tread power, generally using oxen for
the power. He was a man of much enterprise, and
he subsequently opened a hotel, which he managed
besides improving a farm. He was profitably engaged in the hotel business thirty years, as there
being no railways in that part of the country, the pike
was much traveled by stage coaches which made
his tavern their headquarters for that part of their
route. In 1836 he sold all his property in that
part of the country, and as his forefathers had done
in days of yore, became a pioneer once again, the
wild prairies of Illinois being his destination, he
traveling thither by way of the Ohio and Mississippi
rivers to St. Louis, and thence by team to McDonough County. He bought a tract of land eight miles
northeast of Macomb and improved a fine farm, on
which he made his home till death called him
higher, Feb. 19, 1863. The maiden name of the
mother of our subject was Deborah Jackson, and
she was born in Washington, County, Pa., Oct. 11,
1778, her death occurring in her native county
Jan. 13, 1839. Her great grandfather, Joseph
Jackson, was born in Pennsylvania of Welsh parentage. He was taken prisoner by the Indians
during the Revolutionary War, but was rescued by
his friends, and died peacefully at a ripe old age in
Washington County, Pa.
Our subject was the eighth of twelve children,
eleven of whom grew to maturity. He was fifteen
years old when his parents removed to Illinois.
which was then sparsely settled and in a wild condition, with deer
and other kinds of game very plentiful, and amid pioneer scenes he grew to a stalwart,
vigorous manhood, gleaning his education in the
primitive schools of those early days of the settlement of the Prairie State. At the age of sixteen he
commenced to learn to be a veterinary physician
and practiced that calling very successfully during
his stay in Illinois and ever since he came to Kansas.
As soon as he was large enough he had gone into
his father's mill to assist him at the carding machines, and later had worked for his father on his
farm, remaining an inmate of the parental household till his marriage. Prior to that time he became
interested in property in Bushnell, built the first
house on the present site of the city, and subsequently opened the first hotel there. He kept it
nearly a year, and then turned his attention to the
grain business, carrying it on two years, and then
engaged in different pursuits till the spring of 1866.
On the 6th of April, that year, he started for
Kansas with a team, and arrived in Washington
County May 6. He found this part of the country
still in a wild condition, sparsely settled, and the
nearest railway station was then at St. Joseph, Mo.,
and Ft. Kearney and Denver were the best markets
for produce. His wife and three children accompanied him here, and when they arrived at their
destination they were without a home, and twenty-five cents was all the money in the family exchequer.
Mr. Crafford immediately made a claim to the
southeastern quarter of section 4, Washington
Township, and procuring some slabs at a mill two
miles east, he was not long in building a cabin to
shelter his family. Like many another pioneer, he
had a hard struggle to make both ends meet for
a time, but patience and perseverance overcame
every obstacle in his pathway, and in a few years
he had a good start, having been nobly assisted by
his devoted wife, and was on the highway to success. He did not disdain any labor whereby he
might turn an honest penny, and worked out by
the day and job whenever he could obtain employment and also practiced his calling as a veterinary
physician. His wife in the meantime bravely
shouldered her share of the burden in supporting
the family, obtaining money by taking in sewing.
In a few years Mr. Crafford had money enough to
enable him to devote his time to the improvement
and cultivation of his farm, and he now has it in
good shape, having erected a substantial frame
house and other necessary buildings, and his land
is under excellent tillage, yielding him abundant
crops, and everything about the place indicates
thrift and orderliness on his part.
June 19, 1846, by his marriage with Miss Hannah M. Markham, Mr. Crafford secured a helpmate
and companion who has been to him all that those
terms imply, and has worked with him side by side
in the upbuilding of their comfortable home, and
in rearing up their children to be useful members
of society. Three children have been born of their
wedded life: Abba J., Edward J., Alonzo Haney,
Abba J. married William Lipsic, and they have
three children. Edward married Mary Allen, and
they have one child. Alonzo married Alice Miller,
and they have two children.
Mr. Crafford is and deserves to be respected for
his good qualities that make him a desirable neighbor, a kind husband and a good father. In his
busy career as a pioneer settler of this county, he
displayed fortitude, endurance, wise thrift and
good powers of management that made him not
only prosperous in his undertakings, but gained
him consideration as a valued citizen. He takes an
intelligent interest in politics, and has always stood
stanchly by the Republican party since its formation, having been a Whig prior to that time. Mrs.
Crafford is the daughter of Charles and Barbary
(Harsh) Markham, natives of Ohio, both born in
the same year, 1801.
GEORGE H. DARROW. Prominent among
the men Avho have developed the best interests of Washington County, and especially
of Greenleaf Township, may be mentioned the
gentleman of whose life history this is a brief record. In connection with his personal sketch we
call the attention of the reader to a fine view of his
home with its pleasant surroundings, which may be
found on another page of this volume. Mr. Darrow bears an honorable record not only as an
enterprising and energetic citizen, but also as a
veteran of the Civil War, and a successful merchant
both in the East and in the West.
A native of the metropolis of Illinois, Mr. Darrow was born Aug. 7, 1841, and was also reared in
Chicago, making his home there until 1870. In the
meantime he had enlisted, in 1862, as a private in
the Illinois Independent Battery of Light Artillery.
The battery served with the Army of the Cumberland, participating in Burnside's expedition, and in
many of the engagements fought by the regiment.
Mr. Darrow was promoted to the rank of Sergeant,
and after a faithful service was mustered out at
Chicago, July 18, 1865.
After the close of the war our subject was engaged in the mercantile business and came to
Kansas, where, after a residence of a year each in
Wsishington and Vermillion, he removed to White
Rock, Republic County. Thence he went to Beattie,
next to Doniphan, and a year later to Bethany,
Mo. After a year's sojourn .at the latter place he
visited for the same length of time in Guilford,
Conn. He afterward sold goods in Hudson, Mich.,
and at Chicago, Ill., and in 1882 returned to Washington. The following year he removed to
Greenleaf, and has resided in that place most of the time
since his arrival, having been employed as clerk
for J. R. Pruden. By dint of energy and business
qualifications he has become the owner of a fine
farm comprising eighty acres in Greenleaf Township, and gives considerable attention
to the breeding of Holstein cattle and Poland-China hogs. He
is also engaged in the successful prosecution of the
stock business on his farm in Marshall County.
Sidney L. Darrow, the father of our subject, was
born in New London, Conn., Sept. 22, 1810, and
was by occupation a ship carpenter, working at
that business in his native town until 1835. He
then removed to Chicago, where he followed the
same trade for a number of years, although afterward he was engaged in the real estate business.
In 1864 he returned to New London, Conn., and
afterward became manager of the Nantucket ship
yards, attaining considerable prominence among
ship builders. Later he removed to Guilford,
Conn., where he is yet living, making his home on
a farm, although he has since retired from active
life. He is a man of means, and the owner of considerable real estate in Chicago. In politics he was
formerly a Whig, but is now a Republican. He was
a son of Nicholas Darrow, a native of New London, Conn., and a man of prominence in his generation.
The Darrow family traces its descent from
one of three brothers who emigrated from England
to America at an early day, and settled in New
The mother of our subject bore the maiden name
of Emiline Howard, and was born in New London,
Conn., Sept. 23, 1810. She was reared to womanhood and married in the city where she first saw
the light. Her father was a sea captain and the
family are of English extraction. Her union with
Sidney Darrow resulted in the birth of nine children, five sons and four daughters, named respectively,
Wolcott H., Charles H., Leonard S., Emiline,
George H., Mary A., Alanson F., Martha H., and
The marriage of our subject was celebrated Jan.
22, 1872, the bride being Miss Addie P. Wells, a
resident of Chicago and the daughter of Edwin E.
and Agnes J. (Sutor) Wells, both natives of the
Empire State. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Darrow
has been blessed by the birth of three children —
Carrie, Gracie A., and Fred D.
Mr. Darrow is a supporter of the principles of
the Republican party, with whose platform he is in
hearty sympathy. He belongs to the A. F. & A. M.
Lodge, No. 232, at Greenleaf, and to the G. A. .R
Post No. 134, of which he has been Commander.
He is a man of fine business qualifications, of strictest morality, and a gentleman in the truest sense of
the word. He is possessed of considerable means,
and is a leading and influential citizen of Greenleaf,
while his wife shares with him in the hearty respect
of the community.
JENKIN JONES. For the last five years Mr.
Jones has been numbered among the property owners of Farmington Township. In
March, 1879, he purchased 160 acres of land
on section 36, but did not really commence its improvement and cultivation until 1883, in which
year he moved his family upon it, while he followed
his trade as an iron worker, in Chicago, Ill. In
March, 1888 he abandoned work at his trade and
has since given his attention to agricutural pursuits. His thrift and industry, already made apparent in his operations, will no doubt result in the
building up of one of the finest homesteads in the
The sixth child of his parents, Mr. Jones was
born on the other side of the Atlantic, in South
Wales, April 22, 1829. In that same country his
parents lived and died, the mother when she had
reached the advanced age of eighty-four years,
while the father was only fifty-four at the time of
his decease. The opening years of the life of our
subject were spent in his native land, which he left
when a youth of about seventeen years, going to
Monmouthshire, England, where he was employed
in a rolling mill until 1860. He then determined
upon coming to America and after a safe and uneventful voyage
landed in New York City in December of that year and in due time emigrated to
Allentown, Pa. He there found employment in a
rolling mill, remaining eight months. Thence he
went to Troy he was joined by his
family who had just emigrated from the Old Country. They lived in Troy about eighteen months,
then returning to Pennsylvania, Mr. Jones settled
in Columbia. Lancaster County, where he followed
his trade two and one-half years. We next find
him in South Chicago, Ill., where he sojourned,
working in the Union Rolling Mills four and one-half years. From there he went to Canada and in
Hamilton, Ontario, followed his trade fifteen
months. He then purchased a hotel which he conducted about nine months, after which he sold out
and returning to Northern Illinois, was employed
in the North Chicago Rolling Mills for a period of
eighteen years and until coming to Kansas.
Mr. Jones was married in South Wales, May 11,
1857, to Miss Anne Lewis. This lady was born in
Monmouthshire, England, Feb. 15, 1833 and was
the daughter of John and Mary (James) Lewis, who
were natives of South Wales and who spent their
last days in England. Their family consisted of
one son and three daughters, Mrs. Jones being the
third child. Of her union with our subject there
have been born eight children and the survivors
are recorded as follows: Mary E. is the wife of
George F. Trishman and lives in San Franscisco,
Cal.; Eleanor J. is at home with her parents; Tryphena is the wife of Charles E. Carrell of Beatrice,
Neb.; William T. and Charles J. remain at home
with their parents. Those deceased are Thomas,
Eleanor and Margaret, who died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones in their religious views endorse the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Jones was the subject of very early religious
training and when a youth of fifteen years began
preaching in the Calvinistic Church, and followed
this for several years after he began working at
his trade. Upon becoming a voting citizen of the
United States, he allied himself with the Republican
Party of whose principles he is a stanch supporter.
Thoroughly in sympathy with American institutions, Mr. Jones, in the spring of 1863, a year after
the outbreak of the Civil War, enlisted as a Union
soldier in Company E, Illinois Infantry, Col.
Norton's regiment, and served nine months. He
participated in the battle of Gettysburg and other
minor engagements, serving under Gen. Sickles.
While a resident of his native country he served
all through the Russian War, in the British army
under Gen. Cathgart, and was twice wounded, once
in the thigh and once in the foot. He has traveled
over a goodly portion of the earth's surface and
has had considerable experience, both on land and
water. He is well informed and an hour may be
passed in his society with great satisfaction. He
has a very comfortable home, which, with the surrounding farm buildings, and a goodly portion of
the estate, is represented by a view on another page
of this work. He and his intelligent family are
respected wherever known.
HENRY CLAY McNITT. The gentleman
whose name stands at the head of this sketch
is recognized as one of the most substantial farmers of Franklin Township, Washington
County. He owns and operates 400 acres of choice
land on section 24, and has been a resident there
since 1876. In emigrating to the frontier, he came
to stay, realizing that "a rolling stone gathers no
moss" and he has been rewarded with the usual
results of industry and perseverance.
Mr. McNitt may be properly termed a Western
man, with all his interests connected with the welfare and prosperity of this section of the United
States. He was born in Adams County, Ill., Aug.
27, 1850, and is the son of Martin and Elvira
(Quinby) McNitt, natives respectively of New
York State and Vermont. The McNitts trace their
ancestry to Scotland, whence the paternal great-grandfather of our subject emigrated at an early
day, settling in New York State, probably during
the Colonial times. His son, James, the grandfather
of our subject, was born in Washington County,
that State, and was reared to farming pursuits,
spending his entire life in his native State. Martin
McNitt, the father of our subject, was likewise born
in Washington County, N. Y., and like his immediate progenitors,
was reared to agricultural pursuits. In 1832, when a young man of twenty years,
he set out for Illinois, and located in Adams County,
where he was married and entered a tract of land.
He improved a farm from the wilderness and lived
there until 1876, becoming quite wealthy. His
landed possessions embraced 640 acres in the vicinity
of Quincy, which he sold in 1860, and going to
Brown County, the same State, founded the town
of Mound, engaging there in the mercantile business for ten years. Finally, selling out, he crossed
the Mississippi, and coming to this State, settled in
Washington, retiring from active business and
there spent the remainder of his life, during Jan. 15,
1857. The wife and mother is still living in Washington.
To the parents of our subject there were born
eight children, the eldest of whom, a daughter,
Mariam, is the wife of Jacob Plowman and a resident of Brown County, Ill.; Elizabeth married R.
F. Tainter and they live in Washington, Kan.
Pauline is the wife of J. Oliver of Odell, Neb.; Alia
M. married John Peters and lives in St. Joseph
Mo.; Emma resides in Washington; Henry C.
completed his education in the city schools of
Quincy and remained a resident of his native county
until 1872. He then accompanied his father to
Brown County, Ill., where he sojourned until 1876,
coming in that year to this State.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Stella
Rogers was celebrated at the home of Mr. McNitt
in Washington, Dec. 4, 1879. Mrs. McNitt is the
daughter of James and Victoria (Lewis) Rogers,
who had two children. Mrs. McNitt, and a son,
James. The latter lives in Marion County, Kan.,
and is engaged in railroading. He was united in
marriage in 1885 with Elizabeth Richards, by whom
he had one child, now deceased. James Rogers,
the father of Mrs. McNitt, joined the United States
Army after coming West and was killed in Dakota
near Ft. Pierre. Her mother was subsequently
married to Jesse W. Bolt, by whom she had three
children, Jessie, Ida and Maud. She died in Washington County, this State.
Mrs. McNitt was born in Montgomery County,
Iowa, March 25, 1861. She is now the mother of
three children — Fred C, Gwendoline and Ethel.
Mr. McNitt has his farm finely improved and the
land in a high state of cultivation. The residence
is a commodious frame structure, and with its surroundings
makes an attractive picture. A lithographic engraving of this home appears elsewhere
in the Album. The outbuildings are well suited
to the general purposes of agriculture in which his
stock raising forms a leading feature. In politics
Mr. McNitt supports the Republican party. Socially, he is a member of Star Lodge, No. 69. A. F.
& A. M.
FRANK C. MERRICK, a citizen of sterling
qualities and who is considered one of the
best men of Strawberry Township, began
life at the foot of the ladder and worked his way
upward against many difficulties, so that he is now in
comfortable circumstances. His occupation is that
of a farmer and he operates 120 acres of land on
section 19, where he has effected good improvements and makes a speciality of live stock,
including graded Short-horn cattle, thoroughbred
Poland-China swine and Norman horses. He has
an interest in a thoroughbred imported Norman
stallion, the property of a joint stock company, a
magnificent animal of great value.
The early home of our subject was in Winnebago
County, Ill., and the date of his birth June 20,
1847. His father, George B. Merrick, long since
deceased, was a native of Massachusetts and reared
to farming pursuits. Leaving New England in
1837, the latter emigrated to Illinois, passing
through the present great city of Chicago when it
was a hamlet of two or three stores and a few small
dwellings. He settled in a wild country and for
some time engaged in freighting goods with an ox
team from Chicago to Galena.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject
was Kissiah Holt. George B. Merrick was three
times married and the father of twelve children,
all of whom are living. Frank C. was the eldest born.
The others were named respectively, George F.,
Horatio A. and Louis N., (twins,) Charles, Beatta L.,
(Mrs. Totten,) Arthur, Dwight, Helen, Alfred,
Lulu and Gordon. Frank C. attended the common
school of his native county, mostly during the winter season and was bred to farming pursuits which
he chose for his life vocation. He came to Kansas
in the fall of 1872, and in the following spring
settled on eighty acres of land which he had home-steaded, and to which he subsequently added until
it attained to its present proportions.
The marriage of Frank C. Merrick and Miss
Nancy J. Totten occurred at the bride's home in Marble Rock, Iowa, Dec. 31, 1869. They have no children. Both are members in good standing of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mrs. Merrick, in
particular is an energetic worker in the Master's
vineyard. She is greatly interested in the Sunday-school and at one time held a license to exhort.
Mr. Merrick, politically, supports the principles of
the Republican party, and he and his wife are both
Prohibitionists. He has never aspired to office,
preferring to give his attention to his legitimate calling and is more fond of the quiet of his own home
than the turmoil and responsibility of public life.
George B. Merrick departed this life at his home
in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, in the spring of
1875, having survived his estimable partner Kissiah, a period of twenty-two years, her death taking
place in the spring of 1853.
FRANCIS MARION PHILBROOK. The
agricultural interests of Lincoln Township
are worthily represented by Mr. Philbrook
who, in 1869, came to Washington County and
homesteaded 160 acres of land on section 20 of
this township. Subsequently he purchased 160
acres more and is now the owner of a half section,
comprising as fine a body of land as is to be found
in the southeastern part of the county. It is well
improved, highly productive and largely devoted
to live stock. During his twenty years' residence
in this section, Mr. Philbrook has become thoroughly identified with its most important interests and has contributed his quota to the building up
of his adopted county. Financially as well as
otherwise he has been uniformly successful.
The State of Ohio has produced some of the
most substantial men who have aided in the settlement of the Great West. The subject of this
sketch was born in Licking County, that State,
Sept. 7, 1839, and is the son of Seth Philbrook.
The latter was of New England birth and parentage, his native place being in Camden, Me., and
the date of his birth 1795. He lived on the Atlantic Coast until about 1813, then emigrated to
Ohio and was a resident of Licking County until
1853. He then resolved upon a change of location
and emigrated with his family to Fayette County,
Ill., where his death took place in 1861. When
young he had spent a brief time on the ocean as a
sailor, but afterward gave his attention almost entirely to his agricultural pursuits.
He accumulated considerable means and is a prominent man in
his community, a member of the Presbyterian
Church and highly respected.
The paternal grandparents of our subject were
Joel and Mary (Leadbetter) Philbrook, both like-wise natives of the Pine Tree State. They traced
their ancestry to Thomas Philbrook who emigrated
from England to America in 1630 and settled in
Watertown, Mass., whence he subsequently removed to Maine. Several of the early members of
the family participated in the Revolutionary War,
and later, they were to be found carrying a musket in the War of 1812. A number of them be-
came prominent politicians and held positions of
distinction. They were uniformly intelligent and
almost without exception well-to-do.
Seth Philbrook, in 1817 was married in Licking
County, Ohio, to Miss Margaret Ward. This lady
was born in 1797, on an island in the Ohio River,
and, was of German extraction. To Mr. and Mrs.
Philbrook there was born a family of twelve children, viz: Albert, Mary S., Sanford, Lucy, Eli,
Marvin, Louisa V., Ignatius, Flavius J., Edwin,
Francis M. and an infant who died unnamed.
Francis was the youngest of the living children,
and until a lad of fourteen years resided with his
parents in his native county. He accompanied the
family to Fayette County, Ill., sojourning there
until 1864. We next find him in McLean County,
that State, where he engaged in shipping grain and
stock. He remained there until 1869, then came
to Kansas, of which he has since been a resident.
In Illinois he dealt largely in grain and hay.
Mr. Philbrook appropriately celebrated the 1st
of January, 1863, by his marriage with Miss
Anna Morgan of Shelby County, Ill. Mrs. Philbrook was born in Lancaster County, Ohio, Oct.
30, 1839, and is the mother of ten children, viz:
Minnie M., Herbert C, Clarence H., Rufus M.,
Eva L., Alta M., Claude P., Grace E. and Elmer
M. and an infant who died unnamed. Mr. Philbrook votes the straight Republican ticket, and has
been a member in good standing of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, for the long period of thirty
years. He is connected with Unity Lodge No.
276, I. O. O. F. at Barnes, and belongs to the
Good Templars in this township. A man honest
and upright in his dealings, he commands the respect of his neighbors and occupies a good position
among the best citizens of Washington County.
He has a commodious and conveniently arranged
country residence, a view of which appears elsewhere in this work. It represents one of those
homes of which Lincoln Township is justly proud,
as showing what can be accomplished by a life of
perseverance and honest toil.
JOHN H. PRIEST. This gentleman, who
has been a resident of Washington County
but ten years, is the owner and occupant of
a fine farm on section 32, Logan Township.
Ten years ago, this quarter-section was unimproved
prairie land. It now has upon it a good set of
farm buildings, and bears the appearance of a farm
which has been settled for twenty years. Its fine
appearance is due to the energy of its owner, who
has been unusually successful in improving his
land. Upon first coming to Kansas he engaged in
sheep raising, but subsequently turned his attention
chiefly to the raising of horses, cattle and hogs.
He also carried on his trade of a blacksmith, having
a shop at Greenleaf, which is only a mile distant
from his home.
The parents of our subject, Joseph and Elizabeth
(Saddler) Priest, were natives of Staffordshire,
England. There they grew to maturity, and after
their marriage emigrated to Nova Scotia, then to the
United States, in about the year 1829. Mr. Priest
was a cable chain maker, and was associated with
two of his brothers in that trade, the firm owning a
factory in New York City. After several years
residence in the metropolis he removed to Ogdensburg, where he followed the trade of a blacksmith.
About the year 1844 he removed to Wisconsin,
where he spent the remainder of his life. He
resided at different places in that State, but principally at Oraro, Winnebago County, and later at
Delhi, in the same county. While living in the
latter place he and his wife died, she having survived her husband several years. The family included five girls and four boys. The daughters
are: Ann, Susannah, Caroline and Emily, still living, and Elizabeth, deceased. The sons are: Joram, at Detroit; William, at Moline; Samuel, at
Oskosh, and our subject, all of whom are blacksmiths by trade.
John H. Priest was born in New Halifax, Nova
Scotia, July 2, 1831, and was in his fourteenth
year when the family removed to Wisconsin. He
learned his trade with his father, and resided with
the family until twenty-two years of age. Two
years after leaving home he was married, and with
his bride resided at Delhi for a year. They then
spent a few months at Omro, whence they removed
to Fairwater, Fond du Lac County, where they
made their home until 1879. During all these
years Mr. Priest followed his trade, beginning
farm life only when, at the latter date, he removed
The marriage of Mr. Priest took place at the
home of the bride in Janesville, Wis., Feb. 19,
1855. The bride was Lovisa S., daughter of Jonathan and Susan (Bessett) Dodge. She was born in
Orleans County, N. Y., Dec. 5, 1833, and lost her
mother when five years old. Mr. and Mrs. Dodge
were natives of Vermont State, and their family
consisted of seven children, one being theirs by
adoption. They were: Allen Brownell (adopted)
Mary, Salena, Lovisa S., Henry, Emily and Perry.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Priest has been blessed
by the birth of nine children. Three died in childhood, and a son, Waldo, in 1888, at the age of
twenty-one years. The living children are: Fay,
Irvin, Ernest, Bessie and Bertha. The oldest living child. Fay, left home at the age of sixteen
years to follow a sailor's life. He is a blacksmith
by trade, and is a smith on the "Corona." Irvin
is a farmer in Cass County, Neb.
Mr. Priest is a believer in and supporter of the
principles of the Democratic party. He is an
attendant of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of
which his wife is a worthy member. Mr. Priest is
a thorough workman at his trade, a reliable citizen
and a man of excellent character.
JACOB F. PURSLEY. For solid worth and
reliability, combined with energy, industry
and integrity, Mr. Pursley represents the
better elements which have been the means
of effecting the growth and development of Mill
Creek Township, socially, morally and financially.
He is a gentleman rather above the medium size
with dark eyes, hair and complexion, a fluent conversationalist and well informed.
He has accumulated a comfortable property by his own exertions,
and is surrounded with all the comforts of life.
The subject of this notice was born July 8, 1842,
in Franklin County, Mo., near the mouth of Labadie Creek, seven miles from Pacific, on Merrimac
River, and is the son of David C. and Elizabeth K.
(Zumwalt) Pursley, the former of whom was born
in Franklin County, Mo., May 26, 1808. He married Miss Zumwalt Oct. 1, 1833. The paternal
grandfather was George Pursley, a native of Ireland and born in 1757. He married a lady who
was a native of Wales. The paternal great-grand-parents settled in Kentucky when their son, George,
was but two years old, locating near what was afterward known as Booneville.
Grandfather Pursley, his brother Benjamin and
sister Sarah, were captured by the Indians when
the former was seven years old and held in captivity seven years. Upon being released he in
1798 removed to Missouri with Daniel Boone when
the city of St. Louis was but a French trading post.
Both he and grandfather George Zumwalt were pioneers together and settled near the present city of
St. Charles, whose site at that time was marked by a
fort built as a protection against the Indians. Mr.
Zumwalt was a wheelwright and cabinetmaker by
trade and put up a mill in what is now Pike County.
He came to his death by drowning while engaged
in repairing the machinery of his mill. The paternal great-grandmother of our subject was a
woman of daring courage, and during the Revolutionary War when her husband was wounded by
Indians in the British service, she hurried to his
side, lifted him up on the horse she rode and although under constant fire from the enemy, escaped
from the field. He was destined, however, to meet
his death at the hands of the hostile Indians,
who afterward effected their purpose — killing
Grandfather Pursley settled on eighty acres of
land in the Labadie bottoms, Mo. His son, David
C., the father of our subject, after his death, purchased the right and title of the other heirs and
became sole owner of the old homestead. Eventually he increased his possessions to 1,000 acres,
400 acres of which he brought to a state of cultivation, becoming a wealthy planter and stock
raiser and owning a large number of slaves. He
died Sept. 18, 1857, at the age of fifty-one years.
The mother died Dec. 20, 1879, aged sixty-four,
having been born March 4, 1815. They were the
parents of twelve children the eldest of whom, a
son, George W., was born Aug. 20, 1834; Sarah M., Feb. 27, 1836; William Levi, May 26,
1837; John Ivy, April 10, 1839; Rebecca A. F.,
March 22, 1841; Jacob F., of this sketch, was the
next child; James A. was born Aug. 8, 1844;
Thomas M., Aug. 4, 1846; Leonard E., Jan 1st,
1849; Joel D. L., in 1853; Mary E., in 1855 and
Ruth S. L., in February, 1857. George W. died in infancy; Sarah was married Oct. 9, 1852, to William
C. Dawes, a carpenter and died in September, 1853;
William married Miss Jane Groff and has three children;he
lives on a farm near Wichita.Kan.;John married Miss Maggie Davis and is a photographer of
Wetmore, Nemaha County, this State; Rebecca died
when eighteen years old; Joel married Miss Virginia, eldest child of W. E. Dawes by his second
wife and died in 1881; his son. Bacon, is engaged
in the grocery business in Pacific, Franklin Co. Mo.
Jacob F. Pursley was reared on a farm and completed his studies in Bethel Academy, Franklin
County, Mo., under the instruction of Prof. Johnson. Notwithstanding the fact that his father was
a slave-holder, Jacob F. was strongly opposed to
the peculiar institution and upon the outbreak of
the Civil War espoused the Union cause. He gave
emphasis to his principles in due time by enlisting
as a Union soldier in Company K, 32d Missouri Infantry and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
He fought in the battles of Wilson Creek and Pea
Ridge and was in various skirmishes in Arkansas
and Missouri. He was also present at the siege of
Vicksburg and the capture of Col. John S. Marmaduke who had been a Governor of Missouri and is
but recently deceased.
At the expiration of his first term of enlistment
—three years— Mr. Pursley re-entered the ranks
and went with the Red River expedition under
Gen. A. J. Smith. He fought in the battles of Mobile, Ft. Blakeley, Meridian and Jackson, Miss.,
and at the close of the war received his honorable
discharge, Nov. 15, 1865. He had done his duty
bravely and endured without complaint the many
hardships and privations incident to army life. No
man rejoiced more at the vindication of freedom
and the preservation of the Union.
Upon leaving the army Mr. Pursley resumed
farming in Franklin County, Mo., and on the 28th
of August, 1866, was united in marriage at Washington, that State, with Miss Violet A. Brown.
This lady is the daughter of James and Lucetta J.
(Dunlap) Brown,the latter a native of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Pursley's family in 1869 came to Kansas and
settled in Washington County, where he entered
160 acres of Government land included in his
present homestead, to which he added by purchase
until he is now the owner of 330 acres. In addition to general farming,
he is considerably interested in live stock and has been successful as a
breeder of Short-horn cattle and Poland China
swine. To him and his estimable wife there have
been born twelve children, as follows: one who
died in infancy; Gertrude A., Mary A., David
McC, Olive L., Harlem E., Ruth Estella, Walter
F., William L., Daisy M., Grace V. and Laura L.
Gertrude A. became the wife of Charles Busic, a
farmer of Mill Creek Township and they have two
children. Mary A. is the wife of Henry Elder, of Coleman Township, and they have one child.
David McC. died at the age of three years. Olive
L. died when eighteen months old. The children
remaining under the parental roof are receiving
all the advantages of a good education and are being
prepared for responsible positions in the future.
It is hardly necessary to state that Mr. Pursley
is a Republican of the first water. He has been
quite prominent in party politics and is frequently
chosen as a delegate to the country conventions.
He has been a Justice of the Peace twelve years,
has been almost continuously a member of the
School Board and belongs to the National Grange.
He finds his religious home in the Christian Church.
On another page of this volume the reader will
be pleased to notice a fine engraving of the commodious residence
of our subject, with all the evidences of the energy and perseverance of the
master without, while the interior arrangement reflects the care and taste of the mistress, whose
gracious hospitality is extended not alone to the
cherished household guest, but also to the passing
BENJAMIN PYM has
been a resident of
Washington County since the spring of
The greater part of his life has been
spent in the profession of teaching. Being
compelled to abandon pedagogism on account of
failing health, he has recently devoted his attention to the management of his farm. It is located
on section 16, Sheridan Township, and is carefully
and intelligently tilled. The residence is a stone
structure, and adequate stables and other outbuildings are conveniently disposed about it. An
orchard of 100 apple trees, a number of plum trees,
a plentiful supply of raspberries and a vineyard of
100 stands of grapes adorn and add to the value of
Mr. Pym was born in Somersetshire, England,
and is a sou of William and Elizabeth (Morgan)
Pym. His birth took place April 4, 1835, and five
years later his parents came to the United States.
They located in Cayuga County, N. Y., where
they still live. There they reared their family of
five children, of whom our subject is the third.
The parents are members of the Established Church
of England, as were their ancestors as far as known.
The father is engaged in farming.
The gentleman of whom we write was reared
and educated in Cayuga County, being the recipient of the advantages afforded him in the village
school. He removed to Illinois while yet a young
man. and there he remained for many years.
Twenty-five years of his residence there were spent
in the profession of teaching. Fifteen consecutive
years he taught in one school. In 1871 he bought
a quarter section of school land in this county. In
1877, as before stated, he took possession of the
place, which was at that time raw prairie. He
taught four terms after coming to this county, and
then turned his attention to agriculture.
Mr. Pym was married in Illinois to Ellen, daughter of Moses and Eliza (Pitts) Young. She is an
intelligent and amiable lady, and a fitting mate for
the man to whom she gave her heart and hand.
She was born in Maine, of which State her grandparents were residents for many years. Her
paternal grand parents were William and Mary (Keller) Young; her maternal grandparents were
Abner and Jane (Malcolm) Pitts. Her parents
removed to Jo Daviess County, Ill., in 1855.
whence, in the spring of 1871, they came to this
State. They located on section 21 of this township and county, and there improved a farm of
160 acres. Selling the estate, they removed to
Clifton, where the father died in September, 1883.
The mother subsequently married Carl Niles, and is
now living in Clifton Township. Mrs. Pym is the
oldest of seven children born to her parents. Three
of her brothers and sisters still survive. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Pym has been blessed by the
birth of three children: Eloise E., now Mrs. Louis
W. Lawrence, lives in Parkersville, Kan.; Josephine J. and William remain under the parental roof.
Mr. Pym belongs to the Clifton Lodge. A. F. Sc
HUGH ROSS. Were the early pioneers of
Northern Kansas a literary people, possessing the pen of a ready writer, they could
unfold a tale of life on the frontier, which
would prove that "truth is stranger than fiction."
Their children of to-day, living in comfortable
homes, and enjoying many of the luxuries of modern life, scarcely realize the sacrifices endured by
those who largely for their sakes braved difficulties
and dangers, and toiled from year to year in the
building up of a homestead. Among the settlers
of 1870, is the subject of this notice, who took up
a homestead claim of 160 acres when a young man
prior to his marriage, and laid the foundations of
success and comfort in the future. Upon this place
when he assumed possession, there was not a tree or
a bush, and not a shelter for his head, and for a
time he made his home with his brothers Donald,
Walter and his sister Katie, on an adjoining farm,
until ready to establish a home of his own. With
this end in view he in time put up a little frame
house 12x16 feet in dimensions. Then returning
to Canada, he was married Feb. 16, 1877, to Miss
Jessie, daughter of Alexander and Kate (McDonald) Sutherland.
After his marriage Mr. Ross proceeded with the
improvement of his property, making fences, setting out fruit and forest trees, including sixty
apple trees, together with plum and cherry trees.
Later he erected a more commodious dwelling and
a good barn with corn cribs, a granary, and the
other structures necessary for the shelter of stock,
and the storage of grain. His farm machinery includes a wind-mill and other
labor-saving contrivances. When first coming here, Mr. Ross
frequently saw large droves of antelopes and deer
bounding over the long prairie-grass. He has
watched the growth and development of Northern
Kansas with that interest only felt by the intelligent and enterprising citizen, who considers the
well-being of his fellowmen as not among the least
of his concerns.
Of late years Mr. Ross has made a specialty of
stock, raising Short-horn cattle, Norman and Clyde
horses, and Poland-China swine. To these he feeds
most of the grain raised upon his place. His family included five children, viz: Walter G.,
Alexander H., Donald C, and John C, Katie E., the fourth
child dying at the interesting age of three and one-half years. Mr. Ross, politically, gives his
support to the Republican party, and is a member in
good standing of Clifton Lodge No. 40, A. O.
The birthplace of Mr. Ross was in Oxford
County, Province of Ontario, Canada, and the date
thereof March 6, 1841. He attended the common-school during his younger years, and afterward
worked considerably as a barn carpenter. The
parents of Mrs. Ross were natives of Scotland, and
members of the Presbyterian Church. They emigrated to America with their respective parents.
and were married in Canada, where the father died
in March, 1885. The mother is still living there.
Mr. Ross and his family are members in good
standing of the Presbyterian Church in which he officiates as a Trustee.
BARTON S. WILSON, a pioneer though not
one of the earliest settlers of Washington County, is a prominent farmer
of Washington Township, where he owns a well-appointed, highly productive farm that compares
favorably with the best in the locality. He is a
native of Illinois, born March 23, 1851, in Cass
County, five miles west of Tallula. His father,
Smith Wilson, was a Southerner by birth, Kentucky his native State, while his father.
John Wilson, is thought to have been a native of New Jersey.
being a son of one Benjamin Wilson, who from
the best information at hand is supposed to have
originated in New England. He was a shoemaker
by trade, and spent his last years in New Jersey.
The grandfather of our subject early learned the
trade of a carpenter, and going to North Carolina
when a young man, he lived in that State a few
years. In 1820, accompanied by his family, he returned to the North, and selecting the young State
of Illinois as the site of his future home, he located
in Cass County, and thus became one of its earliest
pioneers. In the many years of his residence there
he bore an honorable part in its upbuilding,
being an important factor in developing its agricultural resources, and he lived to see a populous,
thriving and wealthy community where he had
found a wild and desolate country, the home of the
Indians and the haunt of prairie wolves, bears, deer
and other wild animals. He improved a good farm,
planted a fine orchard, erected substantial farm
buildings, and at the time of his death at the venerable age of eighty-nine years, was comfortably well
off in this world's goods. He was a veteran of the
War of 1812, in which he did gallant service. The
land that he bought from the Government was
partly prairie and partly timber land, and he first
erected a log house to shelter his family. The
father of our subject was young when his parents
took up their abode in Illinois, and he was reared to a
vigorous manhood amid the wild pioneer scenes of
his early home in Cass County, and was there
married to Mary C. McHaley. She was born in
Ohio and was a daughter of John McHaley, a native of Germany,
who lived for a time in the Buckeye State, and then moved to Indiana, where he died.
While yet in the prime of life, being but forty years
of age, Mr. Wilson's useful career was cut short by
his death in 1852. The following is recorded of
the six children born of his marriage: Benjamin
F. and Catherine are dead; George W. lives in
Wilson County Kan.; Mary J. is dead; Margaret
A. married John Biggs, and lives near Morrow this
county; Barton S. is the subject of this biographical review. After the death of her husband, Mrs.
Wilson, a woman of much force of character and
capability, and of sterling worth, bravely worked
to support her children and keep them together, and
now in her old age she is tenderly cared for by our
subject and is a welcome inmate of his household.
He of whom we write remained at home with his
mother till he was ten years old, and then the manly,
self-helpful little lad determined to earn his own
living, and from that time he became self-supporting. He worked by the month
on a farm, and attended school as opportunity offered in the winter
seasons, and by diligent attention to his books
gleaned a very good education. He continued to
live in his native State, with the exception of one
year that he spent in Iowa, till 1870. He then
emigrated to Kansas, his mother and one sister accompanying him, coming with a team and bringing
a part of their household goods. On arriving here
Mr. Wilson made a claim to a tract of land on section 30, of what is now Washington Township,
and after erecting a frame house 14 x 14 feet
to shelter the family, he at once commenced
the pioneer task of breaking the prairie sod and improving a farm. Like his grandfather before him
he had to build up a home in a wild, sparsely settled country, where the presence of deer, antelopes
and other game showed that civilization was not
very far advanced. Waterville, several miles away,
was the nearest railway station, market and depot
for supplies, and he used to have to haul his grain
to that distant point to dispose of it. Since coming
here he has witnessed many marvellous changes
and has aided in bringing them about, as it is owing
to the zeal of him and his fellow-farmers, that
Washington Township is so prosperous to day. He
has worked hard to bring his fine farm to its present
high state of cultivation and provide it with comfortable, neatly arranged buildings and good machinery.
Mr. Wilson was married in March, 1870 to
Francelia Baker. She was born in the State of
New York, and is a daughter of William and Ellen
Baker. Five children have resulted from this marriage, four of whom are living — Ida K.. Minnie I.,
Howard L., Arvel; Clara L. died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are genial, hospitable people, with generous, kindly hearts, and are highly
thought of by their neighbors and other friends.
He started out in life a poor boy, and by those
traits of character that mark him an intelligent, industrious, capable, honest man and a trustworthy
citizen, he has made his way upward till ho stands
among our most substantial farmers. He has decided opinions of his own on all matters with which
he is familiar, especially in politics, and he is now
independent in regard to voting, though for
many years he supported the Republican party.
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This website created June 15, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
© 2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project