Abraham Lincoln Herr, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Excerpts from Biographical History of Kansas (Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1894), p. 859.

A. L. HERR

It is now our privilege to touch briefly upon the career of one of the representative young members of the bar of the state of Kansas and one who has gained marked prestige since engaging in the active practice of his profession in the thriving town of Kiowa, Barber county, where he took up his abode in the year 1895, his practice also extending into Wood county, Oklahoma.

Mr. Herr is of stanch old German lineage, and is himself a native of the old Keystone state of the Union, having been born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, on the 18th of October,1871, being the son of Abraham and Ella (Shenk) Herr, both of whom wee likewise born in Pennsylvania, where they were reared and educated, and whence they removed with their family to Barber county, Kansas, when the subject of this sketch was a lad of fourteen years, their family including four sons and one daughter. The father is one of the representative agriculturists and stock growers of this county and is held in the highest esteem by all who know him, as a man of sterling worth of character. A. L. Herr received the advantages of the graded schools and the high school and was thereafter matriculated in the Kansas State University, at Lawrence, graduating in the law department of this institution as a member of the class of 1893. Mr. Herr is thoroughly ready in the science of jurisprudence and his information in regard to the statutory laws of Kansas is particularly broad and comprehensive. He is a close student and never takes a case into the courts without thorough preparation, this fact gaining to him popular recognition and concomitant support. He is an able advocate before court or jury and as a counsellor is duly conservative, as is every lawyer who observes the due ethics of his profession. He realized that the law is a jealous mistress and will permit no perfunctory devotion, and thus he is known as a hard worker and realizes that only through this means can precedence be attained. He controls a representative practice and is one of the popular young men of the county. While he was reared a Republican, Mr. Herr has shown the courage of his convictions, and while independent in attitude, has been a loyal supporter of the Populist party, in whose cause he has done active service. He has, however, n ever been an active aspirant for political preferment, and the only offices for which he has been a candidate have been those essentially in line with his profession. He served two terms as city attorney of Kiowa, and in 1897 was the candidate of his party for the office of county attorney, but was defeated by the Republican candidate, through normal political exigencies. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of the World and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In the year 1900 Mr. Herr was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Downtain, daughter of the late Dr. C.H. Downtain, who was for many years one of the leading physicians of Kiowa and a distinguished representative of his profession in this section of the state. Our subject and his wife have one son, Chester Arlington. _________________________________________________________

p. 1527

PAINTER & HERR

Notwithstanding the great advances made in the matter of issuing the great metropolitan daily papers and facilitating their distribution into all sections, there yet remains a distinct province and field of power and usefulness for the purely local papers,__the country press, as it is most frequently designated. While the province is, in a sense, more circumscribed than in the earlier days when the city papers did not cover so wide a realm in their newsgathering and were delivered to distant subscribers or readers only after the lapse of greater or less intervals of time, still the potency of the country paper has not been lessened, for here, too, have been brought to bear modern methods in all departments of the enterprise and the influence of these local vehicles of news and information is far-reaching to an extent not superficially evident. A good newspaper is the index of the character of any town, denoting most clearly the status of its business men and showing clearly whether the locality is one of progressive tendencies or of torpid apathy. Within the Sunflower state are found many vital and ably conducted newspapers, and the commonwealth may well point with pride to the character and achievements of its press.

In Barber county is published a paper which has contributed in a marked degree to the progress of this favored section, by a proper and timely exploitation of its resources and interests, and which stands as an able exponent of local affairs, as every such publication must do it successful. We refer to the Barber County Index, which is published weekly at Medicine Lodge by the firm whose name initiates this sketch, the interested principals being Messrs. Charles C. Painter and Uriah C. Herr. The Index dates its inception back to the year 1880, when it was here established by M.L. and J.M. Sherpy, the initial edition being issued on the 10th of June of that year. On the 17th of the following October the last mentioned gentleman retired from the firm, and Mr. M. L. Sherpy continued as sole proprietor until July 7, 1882, when he sold the plant and business to the Index Publishing Company, of which E.W. Payne became president and manager, while on the 9th of the following February he became the sole proprietor. Mr. Payne was also the president of the Medicine Valley Bank, and in the memorable and historic bank robbery of April 30, 1884, he was shot while at his desk in the bank office, his death occurring twenty hours later. He was but thirty-seven years of age when his useful career was thus summarily cut short. His widow, Susan A. Payne, remained in control of the Index until July 1, 1884, when E. P. Caruthers became publisher and editor. He h held a salaried position as editor of the paper from the time when Mr. Payne assumed the chief executive office in the bank and had thus been associated with the enterprise for two years prior to taking individual control of the same. On the 16th of April, 1886, he disposed of a half interest to W.G. Musgrove, of Lexington, Missouri, and the two continued to carry on the business until August, 1890, when it was sold to a stock company, comprised of members of the Farmers' Alliance, Mr. Musgrove being retained as editor and business manager. Up to this time the Index had been Democratic in its political proclivities and policy, but it now passed into a new regime as a representative of the principles and interests of the Populist party, to whose cause it has ever since continued to ably champion. Mr. Musgrove retired in the summer of 1892, whereupon Leon E. Beals became editor, retaining this incumbency until the fall of the following year, when he resigned the office to enter upon his duties as county attorney, being succeeded by Clark C. Hudson, formerly with the Kiowa Review. Mr. Hudson conducted the paper until April 11, 1894, and the company then secured the services of the present owners, Messrs. Herr and Painter, to edit and publish the Index. In the fall of 1898 Mr. Herr purchased the plant from the several members of the stock company and forthwith entered into a partnership with Mr. Painter, to whom he sold a half interest, and they have since continued as owners and publishers of the paper, which they have brought up to a high standard, both in the matter of editorial prestige and in that of letter-press, the paper's standing being creditable not only to the publishers but also to the city and county. The Index was started as a seven-column folio, was enlarged to an eight-column folio, then to a six-column quarto, while again it was changed in form, being reduced to a seven-column folio, while in January, 1901, it was enlarged to its present convenient and attractive form as a five-column quarto. The plant is well equipped and the job department is one capable of handling all classes of work demanded, while the firm takes marked pride in turning out the best and most artistic productions, selecting choice modern fonts of display type from time to time and thus keeping their facilites[sic] up to date. The Index is issued weekly, and is a welcome visitor in the majority of the homes in this section, while the success which has attended the enterprise under the present regime bespeaks the technical and executive ability which has been brought to bear by the interested principles,[sic] both of whom are progressive and popular young business men commandng [sic] uniform confidence and esteem in the community.


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