Clay Co., KS AHGP-Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties-Thomas Chestnut

Portrait and Biographical Album
of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties
Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1890

THOMAS CHESTNUT, Sr. Among the successful men of Blaine Township, the subject of this sketch occupies a position in the front ranks. By a course of industry and prudence he has accumulated property to the amount of 200 acres of choice land, lying on sections 32 and 29, upon which he has effected all the improvements which attract the attention of the passing traveler and which constitutes one of the best homesteads in this region. Mr. Chestnut is one of the representative pioneers of Clay County, who came within its borders at an early date and who while witnessing its growth and development have been no unimportant factors in transforming it from a wilderness to the abode of an intelligent and prosperous people.

The subject of this notice was born on the other side of the Atlantic in County Derry, in the north of Ireland, Sept. 6, 1810, and is thus approaching the eightieth year of his age. His parents, Nathaniel and Jane (Chestnut) Chestnut, were natives of the same county as their son and spent their last years in Canada and Scotland respectively. During the boyhood of Thomas they removed to Scotland, settling in the city of Glasgow where he was reared to manhood and was variously occupied, working several years in a boiler manufactory. His parents being in limited circumstances he only received a meagre education, but he was more than ordinarily intelligent and his habits of industry and sterling integrity of character. resulted in making friends for him wherever he went.

In the city of Glasgow, when a man of twenty-six years, Mr. Chestnut was first married in 1836, to Miss Barbara Adam, who bore him ten children and departed this life at their home in Clay County in 1876. Eight of these children are living. The eldest son, James, is a resident of Blaine Township; Nathaniel lives in Nebraska; Thomas is farming in Blaine Township; William is a resident of Exeter Township; John is also a resident of that township, and Robert is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Illinois; Margaret is the wife of John Black, in Blaine Township; Barbara married Frank Croops, of California.

Mr. Chestnut in 1878 contracted a second marriage with Mrs. Mary Acheson. In the meantime, in 1840, he emigrated to America, taking passage at Glasgow on a sailing vessel and after a tedious ocean voyage of seven weeks and three days landed in New York City. Thence he proceeded directly to Buffalo, where he remained, however, only a short time, going thence into Canada, of which he was a resident ten years and followed farming most of the time. In 1851 returning to the States he settled in Bureau County, Ill. Five years later, in 1856, he crossed the Mississippi into Des Moines County, Iowa, where he resided until coming to Kansas, in the fall of 1868. Soon afterward he homesteaded 160 acres of land on section 29, Blaine Township, where he opened up a good farm which he occupied about seventeen years. At the expiration of this time he removed to his present farm. He has done a large amount of pioneer labor, enduring the hardships and privations which were the common lot of those who settled upon the frontier. His career has been one eminently worthy, during which he has enjoyed the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens.

He joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church when a youth of sixteen years and has since remained a consistent member of it, assisting in its support, serving as a Deacon and Elder and constituting himself in various other positions one of its chief pillars. The sunset of life is passing quietly and peacefully with Mr. Chestnut and while, perhaps, he has not been the hero of any very thrill thrilling events he has distinguished himself as an honest man and a good citizen—one whose name will be held in kindly remembrance long after he has been gathered to his fathers.

(c) 2009 Sheryl McClure

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