Wabaunsee County Biographies

Wabaunsee County Biographies

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This file was contributed for use in the Kansas AHGP Wabaunsee County by Chyrl Lawrence-Bulger

    MARTIN S. COMBS. Although not a longtime resident of Belvue Township, Mr. Combs has fully established himself as one of its worthy citizens, and one of the most intelligent members of the farming community. He owns and occupies 190 acres of good land on section 5, where he makes a specialty of thoroughbred cattle and swine. He usually keeps from seventy-five to 100 head of each. His operations are conducted in that systematic and business-like manner which seldom fails of success. Mr. Combs has never sought notoriety, being content to pursue the even tenor of his way, and without seeking office gives his unqualified support to the Republican party. He has been for some years a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

    The native place of Mr. Combs was in Butler County, Ohio, and the date of his birth June 12, 1840. His father, Andrew B. Combs, was born in New Jersey about 1817, and is of Scotch extraction. When a young man he emigrated to Ohio, where he engaged in farming, and died at the age of sixty-five years. He was a man of decided views and opinions, and a stanch supporter of the Democratic party. He was married in early life to Miss Martha Pryor, who was born in Richmond, Ind. Her father, William Pryor, was a prominent lawyer of that State and one of the leading lights in the Republican party. To Andrew and Martha Combs there was born a family of five children, all of whom are living, and who bear the names respectively, of Elizabeth, Joseph, Jonathan, Martin and Wilson.

    The subject of this sketch was the fourth child of his parents, and was reared and educated in his native township, living on the farm with his parents and attending the district school. He sojourned in the Buckeye State until the spring of 1870, then coming to Wabaunsee County, Kan., purchased a farm and lived there until 1881; then selling out he established himself as a grocer at Wamego, where he operated until 1887. That year he sold out his store and purchased his present farm. Before leaving his native State he was married, April 11, 1861, to Miss Johanna Skelman. This lady was born in Ohio, and departed this life at her home in Wabaunsee County, May 5, 1878. There have been born to them eight children, viz; Albert, Annie, Andrew, George, Thomas, Nettie, James and Alvina, all of whom are living. Mr. Combs on the 57th of October, 1886, contracted a second marriage with Mrs. Mary Regnier. This lady was born in Cooper County, Mo., May 10, 1853, and is the daughter of Northeast and Mary (Johnson) Davis, who were likewise natives of that State. Of this union there are four children, viz; Charles, Lewis, Laura and Richard.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Pg 180., Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890.

    JAMES C. DINNEN. The young farmers of Jefferson County have an excellent representative in this gentleman, who is both prosperous and enterprising, and who owns and operates 160 acres in Kaw Township, and is also the owner of 320 acres in Wilmington Township, Wabaunsee County. He is among the oldest settlers in the township where he resides, and his dwelling is one of the finest therein, having been erected in 1889 at a cost of $3,000. The entire home farm is under cultivation, is fenced with hedge and wire, and is supplied with a windmill and tank, and all necessary outbuildings, the whole making up an estate profitable, convenient and attractive. Mr. Dinnen has been quite extensively engaged in stock feeding, and has adequate fee and stock yards, but he now farms in a general way, believing this to be more profitable in these times,

    The subject of this sketch is of Irish descent and parentage, and inherits a sturdy perseverance and acute observation, together 'with a discriminating judgment, from his progenitors. His grandfather Morris Dinnen, followed agricultural pursuits in the Emerald Isle until his death. He was the father of a large family, one of whom, Michael Dinnen, born in County Limerick, was reared and educated by an uncle on whose farm he was employed until 1848. He then came to America and located in Pittsburg, Pa., found employment in the rolling mills of that place, running a furnace there until about the year 1856, when he went to Kansas City, Mo., performing a part of his journey by boat. In that city he worked at brick making until the spring of 1859, when with his family he moved to Kaw Township, this county, first settling on survey 13, where he began making improvements. He farmed there until 1865, when he sold his improvements and his claim on the land, and bought a tract on section 22, of the same township, which forms a part of the estate which he now owns and occupies. He has been successful in his agricultural work, and is now living at ease enjoying the results of his earlier labors and prudent management. He owns 335 acres of land in the county, with valuable improvements, and is also the owner of real estate in South Topeka. He served in the Kansas State Militia and was out during the Price raid. He is a prominent and respected citizen.

    The wife of Michael Dinnen bore the maiden name of Bridget Murphy and was born in County Longford, Ireland. Her father, Hugh Murphy, was a native of the same county as herself, and coming to America he spent his last days at his daughter's home, where he died at the age of eighty-four years. Mrs. Bridget Dinnen bore her husband nine children, four of whom are now living. Our subject is the second member of the family; his sister Catherine, now Mrs. Sweeney of Leadville, Col., precedes him on the family roll; John is a train master in Montana; and Michael lives on the home farm in Kaw Township.

    James Dinnen first opened his eyes to the light in Pittsburg, Pa., May 24, 1856, and was but a year old when his parents emigrated to Kansas City, Mo., and a child of three when they came to this county which is the scene of his earliest recollections. He was reared on the farm and educated in the district schools, the first one which he attended being held in a log house furnished with slab benches. During his leisure from school he made himself useful at home and was able to help his father a great deal in improving the place upon which he remained until he was twenty-three years old, for some time prior to his departure superintending the estate.

    Upon leaving the paternal roof in 1879, Mr. Dinnen rented an adjoining farm and began handling stock, feeding, and shipping to Kansas City, and being very successful in the business. In 1882, he was able to purchase the half section which he still owns in Wabaunsee County, which he fenced and arranged as a place on which to keep cattle through the summer. In the fall of the same year he bought the farm which lie occupies, paying a round sum of money for it, although it had no improvements except fences and broken sod. Its situation, however, on the Kaw bottoms, made it valuable and by strict attention to husbandry Mr. Dinnen has developed its fertility, made upon it the improvements before noted and placed it in a condition unexcelled in the vicinity.

    In Miss Mary Reed, a native of Atchison County, Kan., Mr. Dinnen found the lady whom he desired as a life companion and they were united in marriage at Newman, Nov. 8, 1882. The parents of the bride, Addison J. and Elizabeth E. Reed, were early settlers of Atchison County, whence they moved to Jefferson County, and are now living upon a farm in Rock Creek Township. The happy union of Mr. and Mrs. Dinnen has been blessed by the birth of three children—Frank, Lizzie and Victor, whose childish voices and growing intelligence are music in their parents' ears.

    Mr. Dinnen has been Clerk of Kaw Township for three years. He is an advocate of the principles of the Democratic party. He has served a term on the Grand Jury. His parents and himself are members of the Catholic Church, and he is one of the Directors of that denomination at Newman, and active in its support. The sturdy characteristics which Mr. Dinnen has derived by inheritance from worthy parents and which have been improved by careful training, coupled with intelligence and courtesy, make him an object of respect and friendly esteem in the community, and give promise of his future years being still more useful and prosperous than those which are past.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890.


Cedar Vale

    EDWIN M. HEWINS was born county, Ohio, March 22, 1839. Erastus C. Hewins, native of Massachusetts, well educated, and at Edwin's birth a prosperous Ohio farmer. He married Sabra Worcester, of the distinguished New England family of Worcesters, a relative of the Hon. Joseph E. Worcester, LL. D., author of Worcester's Dictionary, and cousin of General Harney, famous as a successful Indian fighter. She was a lady of good culture and fine social qualities.

    Their son, Edwin M., received the rudiments of a meager English education in the common schools of Fond du Lac and Appleton, Wisconsin, but his studies were pursued under difficulties,, and his present knowledge was largely acquired outside of schools, by patient self-application, through which he obtained a very creditable business education and a valuable store of general information. From his boyhood he has been a lover of a good horse, and took great interest in all kinds of live stock, which taste he has cultivated and gratified since coming into manhood, until he has become one of the large stock-raisers and dealers in the State of Kansas. When he was but six years of age, his father removed from Ohio to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and afterward to Appleton, in the same State. Early in 1857, when he was but eighteen years of age, young Hewins struck out for Kansas in a spirit of adventure and settling in Wabaunsee county, took up claim, although a minor, and commenced improving it as well as he could in the then excited state 01 the Territory. Ardently sympathizing with the free-state men, he soon joined a company under Captain Peter Wemple, at Mission Creek, and participated in all the struggles of the early free-state times. When the Pike's Peak fever broke out in 1859, Mr. Hewins was one of the first immigrants to that region, and engaged in prospecting in Colorado and New Mexico for about one year, returning, to Kansas in the fall of 1860. Remaining in the Territory during that winter, the following summer he enlisted in the re-organized 2nd Kansas Cavalry, and served until the war was at an end, taking part in the battles of Springfield, Coon Creek, Marysville, Cane Hill, Van Buren, Prairie Grove, Backbone Mountain, Prairie de Hahn, Walden, Poison Spring, Little Rock, Dardanelle, Cabin Creek, the battles of the Price raid, and indeed in all the contests in which that celebrated regiment was engaged under Colonel Cloud; was severely wounded at Coon Creek, and honorably mustered out of service as a sergeant at the close of the war.

    Returning from the army he sold his farm in Wabaunsee county, purchased another in Shawnee, was married and settled down to business as a farmer and stock-raiser. He held several local offices while in this county and was commissioned by Governor Crawford, captain of a military company for the defense of the State against the Indians, He remained in Shawnee county until the spring of 1871, when he sold out and removed to Howard county, since divided into Chautauqua and Elk, where he engaged extensively in stock business, in company with Eli Titus. Immediately after his arrival, Mr. Hewins was elected trustee of Jefferson township, and commissioned captain of Co. A., Howard county Militia, and upon the division of the county was elected county commissioner for Chautauqua county, holding the office for three years, when he resigned to accept a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives to which he was elected in 1876, and which position he now holds. He is a member of the committee on railroads, Agricultural College, the inter-state committee, and several other important special committees, and although among the youngest, is one of the most active and useful working members in the House.

    Besides his large stock-raising and drover's business he is a member of the well known live stock commission firm of Shough, Hewins & Titus, Kansas City. Mr. Hewins resides on his farm in Chautauqua county, which is one of the largest in that part of the state, exceptionally fertile, a model of good management and especially arranged for handling stock, having all the modern conveniences, scales, corrals and everything necessary for that business.

    Mr. Hewins is a member of the Masonic order, and believes in the general principles of Christianity. Politically he is independent, and was elected as such to the Legislature. May 22, 1866, he was married to Julia E., daughter of Sylvester F. Ross and sister of ex-United States Senator Ross, a cultivated and highly accomplished lady. They have four children, Minnie, Katie, Charles and Ellie.

    Mr. Hewins is a man of good address, devotes himself especially to business, has no political aspirations; only consenting to hold office when his services have been imperatively demanded by the people, enjoys himself in his comfortable and pleasant home, but is at the same time one of the most active and energetic farmers and business men in all Kansas. He is of a vigorous physical constitution, sanguine-nervous temperament, is still on the sunny side of forty, and bids fair for a long life of usefulness and prosperity.

Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary. Kansas Volume. Pgs 174-175., Chicago and Kansas City: S. Lewis, 1879.




    THE subject of the following sketch is the youngest of ten children born to Washington and Emily C. Jeffries. Four of the children died in infancy; of the remaining six, James C. was a resident of Ohio, and was a man of well-known ability and prominence. He was a member of the Ohio Legislature at the time of his death, which occurred in 1862. Washington D. moved to Oregon and became greatly interested in the growth and prosperity of his adopted State. He was elected to the State Senate and served with ability and discretion during the different sessions. Dr. C. H. Jeffries is one of the leading physicians of Illinois, and is regarded as a man of superior ability, and has succeeded in establishing a very extensive and lucrative practice. The two remaining brothers are residents of Ohio, and are engaged in fanning, being influential and honored members of society.

    Charles P. Jeffries was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, April 7, 1850. After receiving a common school education, he attended the Freeman Seminary, in his native county, and after leaving school, became a teacher and met with success while acting in that capacity. In 1870 he decided to identify himself with the interests of the new West, and leaving his native State, came to Kansas and settled in Wabaunsee county. For a time he worked on a farm, but soon took up his old profession as teacher, and also began the study of law during his leisure hours. At the expiration of three years he entered the law office of Hon. J. S. Merritt, in Wamego, and continued his studies for upward of a year, when he was admitted to the bar and immediately began the practice of his profession in partnership with his former preceptor, and together they still continue their practice.

    In 1876 Mr. Jeffries was nominated and elected on the Republican ticket for county attorney of Pottawatomie county. He filled the position with ability and to the entire satisfaction of his friends.

    Mr. Jeffries is a young man of much promise, and among the live, energetic men of Kansas, he is recognized as one who is eminently fitted for a brilliant career. He has all the possibilities within him of achieving success and taking rank among the leading men of the legal fraternity, and, if his past career is a guarantee of the future, he will eventually become one of the most distinguished men of his time. His practice is now extensive and lucrative, and with the rapid growth of many of our western towns, it will largely increase and develop in extent and importance.

Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary. Kansas Volume. Pg 782, Chicago and Kansas City: S. Lewis, 1879.


WESLEY LEWIS. This gentleman has been a resident of Kansas for many a year, and more than twenty of them his home has been in Pottawatomie County. He is deserving of credit for the manner in which his time has been spent and for the energy and perseverance he has shown in the labors of life. In 1857, he came from Des Moines, Iowa, to this State, on foot and empty handed. He now owns 170 acres of land, in Louis­ville Township, and all improved except fifty acres of timber that is more valuable than fields would be; and is in possession of a good share of this world's goods.


Mr. Lewis is a son of Sylvester and Anna (Smith) Lewis, the former a native of New York and the latter of Ohio. The father was a farmer during his earlier years, and in 1848, joined the throng who were seeking- a fortune in the newly dis­covered gold fields of the coast, and going to Cali­fornia, he was engaged in mining the precious metal for twenty-two years.  Upon his return from the Golden State, he settled in this county, and remained till his death in 1876. His wife, the mother of our subject, had died in 1840, in the Hoosier State to which the family had removed from Ohio but a short time previous. Their family comprised six children, of whom our subject, the third in order of birth, is now the sole survivor.


Wesley, of whom we write, was born in Ashtabula County, Ohio, April 22, 1838, and was two years old when his parents removed to Indi­ana, where he lived until seventeen years of age, receiving a common-school education only. At that period of his life, he started out for himself, his first occupation being work in the mines of Col­orado, which he continued for one year. When he came to this State, he was accompanied by an elder brother, Lester, and his first settlement was in Wabaunsee County, where he stayed about ten years, changing to this county in 1867. During four years of the Civil War, Mr. Lewis did arduous and hazardous service for the Union cause, first as a teamster and later as a, wagon-master, operating in this State, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and Missouri.


In 1859 Mr. Lewis was united in marriage with Miss Louisa, daughter of Jude and Catharine (Sheror) Bourssa. The parents were natives of Canada, and their daughter was born in this State, Mrs. Lewis died in February, 1861, leaving a daughter, Laura, who is now the wife of Frank Gilbert, of Louisville Township, and the mother of child. Having remained a widower until 1866 Mr. Lewis remarried, his second bride, being Miss Matilda Bergerron, whose parents, Francis and Josephine Bergerron, were born in Canada and Indiana, respectively. After twenty years of mar­ried life, Mr. Lewis again became a widower, his companion being removed from him by death in 1886. Of the twelve children borne by Mrs. Ma­tilda Lewis, seven are now living. They bear the names of Lester, Ivy, Josephine, Charles, Qmer, Flora and Edward.


Mr. Lewis is conservative in "politics and votes the Democrat ticket. He belongs to the I. O. O. F. at Louisville, and holds the exalted rank of Noble Grand. He is a member of the Congrega­tional Church. Kindly in all the domestic rela­tions of life, he is an especially tender parent and his heart is bound up in his motherless children. He is intelligent and well read, with pleasant, affable manners, and his character as a citizen and a Christian gentleman is above reproach.



Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Pgs 313-314., Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890.




    ALFRED C. PIERCE was born September 13, 1835, in Middlefield, Otsego county, New York. His father, Benjamin Pierce, was an extensive farmer and dairyman, much respected in the locality of his residence.

Alfred was reared on the farm and obtained his primary education in the public schools, working during the farming seasons and attending school in the winter. At the age of" seventeen, he engaged in teaching, and for two years alternated this business with his farming operations, teaching in the winter only. At the age of nineteen, he entered the State Normal School at Albany, and at twenty removed to Kansas settling in Saline county in 1856. In the same year he changed his residence to Junction City working as a hired hand on a farm. In a short time he began the business of a surveyor in connection with other work. .
Davis county was originally a Democratic county, and Mr. Pierce warmly espoused the free-state cause taking a deep interest in the political organization of the county, and was almost the only outspoken, avowed anti-slavery man in that locality.

In 1861 he was elected to the Legislature for the counties of Davis, Dickinson and Wabaunsee, of which body he became a useful and influential member.

In 1862 he enlisted as a private soldier in the 11th Regiment Kansas Volunteers, and on the organization of the regiment, was elected second lieutenant of Co. G. On the 19th of May, 1864, he was promoted to be first lieutenant, and was subsequently made captain of his company. In this regiment he served during the continuance of the war, engaging in all the battles in which the regiment took part. At the close of the war, he returned to Junction City and was soon enlisted in every enterprise calculated to promote the growth and prosperity of Davis county.

In 1868 he was again returned to the Legislature from Davis county, but at the close of his term he abandoned the political field and turned his attention more closely to his private business. Opening a real-estate office in Junction City, he has conducted his business to a successful issue, and is receiving his reward in a large and lucrative patronage. This business he has established and maintained by assiduity and perseverance, acquiring and sustaining a reputation for honesty and fair dealing.

He was married May 9, 1865, to Miss Harriette L. Bowen, at Middlefield, Otsego county, New York. She is a daughter of Levi H. Bowen, a graduate of Clinton Liberal Institute and is a lady of culture and refinement. They have five children; Alfred, Mary, Hariot, Madge and Levi Benjamin.
Both Mr. Pierce and his wife are members of the Universalist church. He is one of the present members of the school board and has ever been foremost in forwarding the cause of education.
Besides his real-estate business, he is extensively engaged in farming, owning over two thousand acres of land, fifteen hundred of which are in cultivation and one thousand of the fifteen hundred in wheat. Besides wheat he also raises a large crop of miscellaneous products and carries on general farming operations.

Mr. Pierce has hardly attained middle life and is as vigorous, active and energetic as at any former period. He owns and resides in one of the neatest and most substantial private residences in Junction City.

Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary. Kansas Volume. Pgs 212-213, Chicago and Kansas City: S. Lewis, 1879.



    GENERAL POMEROY, the great grandfather of Joseph P. Root, was a prominent officer in the war of the American Revolution, a man of influence in the patriot councils, and for several years a member of the Connecticut Legislature. Joseph's grandfather was also a soldier in the same struggle; and his father, Captain John Root, was in the war of 1812; a farmer in good circumstances, and a leading member of the Congregational church; he married Lucy, daughter of deacon Samuel Reynolds, an old Revolutionary soldier. Mrs. Root was woman eminent for her piety and all Christian activities, and of unusual intellectual culture; she was the sister-in-law of William G. Schauffler, D. D., who, with his wife, is now living in Constantinople, engaged in laborious efforts to christianize Turkey, a work to which they have been devoted for more than forty years. Dr. Schauffler is a man of profound learning and has made several translations of the bible to aid the missionary work in Eastern Europe and Asia. Joseph Pomeroy Root's ancestors were puritans on both sides of the house; her mother was descended from Captain Reynolds, of the Mayflower, and the ancestors generally, as well as her parents, were citizens of Connecticut, but he was born in Greenwich, .Hampshire county, Massachusetts, April 3, 1826, and received his education, principally, in public schools of that State. His common school education was supplemented by a short attendance at one of the academies, after which he commenced caching school, and continued his studies while engaged in that occupation. At twenty years of age commenced the-study of medicine, and in addition to the usual text-book instructions, attended the Hospitals of New York and other cities, and graduated, with honors, at the Berkshire Medical College of Massachusetts, after five years in thoroughly qualifying himself for his profession. He then located in , New Hartford, Connecticut, where he practiced for five years, with good success.

    In 1855, Dr. Root was elected a member of the Connecticut Legislature, and, although but a young man, was a prominent member of that body. He distinguished himself by his interest in the cause of public education, and by his efforts secured the passage of a bill, by the House, providing each school district with a copy of Webster's unabridged dictionary, which bill was defeated in the Senate. Dr. Root was at this time superintendent of public instruction, in New Hartford. He was elected to the Connecticut Legislature as a Whig, receiving the largest majority given to any Whig candidate in his district.

    At the expiration of his legislative term, he came to Kansas as a member of the colony called Beecher's Sharpe's Rifles Bible Colony, locating at Wabaunsee. The company had been publicly organized in Connecticut, and was heralded all along the journey as being well armed, and when it embarked at St. Louis there was great excitement. The winter before, a large number of Sharpe's rifles, in care of Major Hoyt, had been captured at Lexington, Missouri, and preparations had been made by the pro-slavery men to capture and disarm this party, but its very boldness was its protection. The company consisted of seventy-five intelligent, educated, brave men; and while they .infringed on no man's rights, it was pretty generally understood, wherever they journeyed, that they would protect their own, and defend themselves. When the large body of men who met them at Lexington, as anticipated, had taken a survey of the company, its position and character, and considered the probabilities of resistance, they- concluded "discretion the better part of valor," and the party proceeded unmolested on its journey to Kansas City. Leaving the Missouri river at that point, they proceeded direct to Lawrence, where they were tendered a public reception, and Joseph Root was among the speakers on that interesting and memorable occasion. Soon after their arrival, the troubles of 1856 began, and Dr. Rootweof to Lawrence, from the colony, to see what aid he could, render the beleaguered city. Returning for the purpose of organizing a company, he and his companion were fired upon near Lecompton, arrested, robbed and otherwise maltreated. While still a prisoner, G. W. Browne and Gaius Jenkins were brought into the camp, with their wives, and as the ladies believed their husbands were to be murdered, they were only separated from them by force. He was marched down to the vicinity of Lawrence the night before the destruction of that city, May 21, 1856, was released by the U. S. Marshal and witnessed the firing of the town. On being liberated, he returned to Wabaunsee, purchased a horse, entered spiritedly into the contest, and until the spring of the following year, gave himself heart and soul to the free-state cause, devoting his whole time to that service. He traversed nearly all the settled portions of the Territory, organizing the free-state forces, and consolidating the Free State party. He was at Topeka when Colonel Sumner dispersed the Legislature, and was, by a large convention of the people, made chairman of the free-state executive committee, in which capacity he located a road from Topeka to Nebraska City. Passing over the ground several times, he selected what seemed to him the best route for the free-state exiles. Tearing up strips of red calico, he tied them to the tops of tall rosin weeds and other objects, so as to be unseen by the pro-slavery men, who were always on the alert; he was able thus to lead on the free-state emigration along his trail. The emigrants were mostly armed men, who had been arrested in attempting to make the Territory, and turned down the Missouri river at Leavenworth, Lexington and other points, and were now making the second attempt from St. Louis, by way of the Mississippi river, Iowa and Nebraska. He led' one campaign with the brave Captain Chembra, and discovered the body of Major Hoyt, who had been murdered near Washington creek. He became acquainted with Major Sedgwick, who had command of the United States troops after Colonel Sumner was ordered east, and through this intimacy, by letters from eastern friends, he managed to find out all the proposed action, of the troops, and from this circumstance was enabled to render signal service to the Free State party. By the same means he induced Sedgwick to remove the United States troops from the vicinity of Fort Saunders, which was no sooner done, than the border ruffians were routed from that strong-hold and a large amount of pro-slavery stores captured. The same night he marched toward Lecompton, was engaged in a prairie fight, at midnight with Colonel Titus, driving him back to Fort Titus, and. only resting until morning, when with in'sh troops from Lawrence all moved upon that fort and captured it. He was bv the side of Captain Chembra when he was mortally wounded and explains the object of the party in thus placing themselves in so dangerous a position, to have been the rescue of the free-state prisoners, whom the pro-slavery men had threatened to kill upon the first attack. It was as cool an act of bravery as that or any other engagement ever witnessed, and was a necessary exposure, resulting in the release of one prisoner by the heroic act. This much is due to the memory of Captain Chembra, who is supposed by many to have acted with unnecessary rashness, Captain Chembra was one of the bravest and best men in Kansas; he had left the office of Oliver P. Morton—afterward governor of Indiana—to aid the free-state men, and was as pure minded and patriotic a man as ever became a martyr to a holy cause.

    Dr. Root was chairman of the committee which made the treaty with Governor Shannon for the exchange of prisoners, whereby Titus and his men were exchanged for a lot of prisoners held in Lecompton, and the cannon captured at the destruction of Lawrence, which act of violence compelled the Free State party to be in rebellion, actually negotiating with the highest civil and military authorities of the government, and compelling the surrender, under treaty, of the prisoners and ordnance captured by them. The treaty with Governor Shannon was carried out to the letter, a captain of the United States Army actually escorting the free-state prisoners and cannon into Lawrence, and reporting to Dr. Root, as chairman of the committee, received Titus and his fellow prisoners and returned with them. After this occurrence, Dr. Root was appointed by the committee the agent of the Free State party, to represent the real condition of affairs to the anti-slavery men of the Eastern States, and obtain arms and other assistance. Before leaving Kansas, however, by authority of the committee, he invested James H. Lane with the full command of the free-state forces, of which he was now, by virtue of this act, general-in-chief. Dr. Root then visited the eastern cities and procured arms and other substantial aid for the suffering people.

    On returning from the East, Dr. Root located to Wyandotte, in the winter of 1856-7; and in consideration of his services to the free-state cause, was elected senator, under the Topeka constitution, and made president of that body, and a member of the Territorial Council. On the adoption of the Wyandotte constitution, he was elected lieutenant-governor of the State of Kansas, and held that position until the beginning of the war, in 1861, when he became active in the organization of troops for the United States service, being also a member of the state board for examining medical officers for the army, entered the army as surgeon of the 2nd Kansas. In this position, and that of medical director o the Army of the Frontier, west of the Mississippi river, which he held by seniority of rank, he remained until the dose of the war, justly considering his position one of the most important on the frontier. With the return of peace, he resumed the practice of his profession at Wyandotte, until 1869, when he went to Washington City on private business, where he was prevailed upon by the committee on public lands to give them the benefit of his services as their secretary, which position he held until was appointed American minister to Chili, in 1870. He served his country there, as one of the most humane and capable representatives the United States government ever had in that State. During his residence there, by correspondence and personal examination, he ascertained that a system of tow-boats through Smyth's channel and the straits of Magellan was possible, by which means the dangerous navigation around Cape Horn might be avoided, with great saving of expense and loss of life and property. Upon this subject Minister Root made able reports to his government, and at no distant day the practicability of his suggestion will be demonstrated. He also visited the Indians of Patagonia and Terra Del Fuego; and accounts of these notes, his various trips across the Andes, his humane ministrations to the inhabitants of Santiago, at the time of the smallpox epidemic in that city—a gratuitous and voluntary service which endeared him to those people—are among the most interesting reports of his ministerial office. On leaving Chili and returning home, he was very highly, complimented by the Secretary of State, for the able and satisfactory manner in which he had discharged his official duties.

    Dr. Root now resides in Wyandotte, where he has resumed the successful practice of his profession, and enjoys the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens, all over the State. Dr. Root was at one time president of the Kansas State Medical Society. Although, since childhood, a member of the Congregational church, Dr. Root is very liberal in his religious sentiments, and is heartily in sympathy with all religious life and work, founded upon the Golden Rule.
Originally an anti-slavery Whig in politics, and from the organization of the Republican party a supporter of its principles, he still holds to the political ideas upon which that party was established. In his financial opinions he agrees in the main with Peter Cooper, and is most heartily in sympathy with the present movement for the protection of the laboring classes of community. For many years Dr. Root has made the Indian character a study; for this purpose he has visited a very considerable number of the Indian tribes of America—North, South and Central—and is firmly of the opinion that the solution of the whole Indian problem lies in the fullest recognition of their right to a place in the universal brotherhood of man.

    September 9, 1851, Dr. Root was married, at Greenwich, Massachusetts, to Miss Frances Eveline, daughter of Captain Abel Alden, a lineal descendant of John Alden, of the Mayflower. Captain Alden was a successful farmer, a leading member of the Congregational church, and a citizen of honorable record at home. Mrs. Root is a lady of fine education and culture, an active, useful member of the church in which she was reared, of a social disposition, and the center of a large circle of admiring friends. They have had five sons, one of whom, Clarence Melville, died in infancy. The others are Ernest Woodville, Frank Orlando, Joseph P. and John Williams.

    Dr. Root's efforts in behalf of a free government for Kansas, and the sacrifices he has made for that cause, endeared him to the lovers of free institutions wherever his work was known. His record is not preserved in the histories that are written, but in the hearts of those who loved free soil and free labor as he did, and above all in those free institutions which are largely the result of the heroic self-sacrifices of such men as himself.

Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary. Kansas Volume. Pgs 249-251., Chicago and Kansas City: S. Lewis, 1879.




    HENRY D. SHEPARD was born May 1, 1838, in Portland, Connecticut. His father, David Shepard, was a native of Connecticut, born December 10, 1809, died July 30, 1856—well known as a business man and highly respected by his acquaintances and business associates. His grandfather, Jonathan Shepard, was born in Connecticut, March 23, 1782, and died March 16, 1867. His great-grandfather was from England. Jonathan Shepard's wife, Eleanor Goodrich, was born in Connecticut, February 2, 1783, and died May 8, 1856. They had seven children, one of whom was a prominent minister in the Episcopal church at Delhi, New York, and died in 1846. The mother of H. D. Shepard was Betsy M. Taylor. Her father, Russell Taylor, and her mother, Betsy Brewer, were natives of Hartford, Connecticut, he being born November 2, i7&7, and died December 17, 1840. She was born November 27, 1786, and died February 14, 1859--had four children, two sons and two daughters, one of the former having been a representative one or two terms in the Connecticut Legislature. The maternal great-grandfather, Azariah Taylor, was born in England.

    Betsy M. Shepard, mother of this subject sketch, was born July 9, 1813, is a woman eminent virtues and high Christian character, with much more than ordinary force and practical ability. She resides at Burlingame, Kansas, having three children—H. D. Shepard; Ellen, wife of T.H. Griswold; and Abbie, wife of C. D. Waldo, living in the same place.

    The education of H. D. Shepard was limited to the course pursued in the common schools and to one term in the Chase Academy, Middletown, Connecticut. When not attending school, he was employed on his father's farm or in the store. After his father's death he assisted in the settlement of the paternal estate, after which he engaged in business for himself. At the age of twenty he moved to Wilmington, Wabaunsee county, Kansas, and engaged in a general merchandising business, which he continued at that point for about ten years. This business was begun with a borrowed capital of one hundred and forty dollars, but it grew rapidly and extended into other branches of trade. He was one of the commissioners of Wabaunsee county for four years and a member of the school board for a number of years. He held successively the offices of justice of the peace, postmaster and commissioner. He was a member of the Kansas Legislature for the years 1865-6.

    He removed to Burlingame, Kansas, in 1868, and began operating extensively in mercantile business and dealing in cattle and grain. He has continued his residence in that city, and has been three times elected mayor, an office he still holds. He has had large real-estate interests, and has done much for the development of the country and the promotion of the public interests. His retail mercantile trade has at times aggregated over $150,000 per annum, but this did not include his operations in stock and grain. He has been a stock-holder and director in the Burlingame Savings Bank since 1874.

    He was married at the age of eighteen, December 16, 1856, to Miss Clara Miller, who died at Wilmington, Kansas, August 13, 1858. His second wife, to whom he was married November 13, 1865, was Miss Daphne S. Dutton, daughter of Abiel and Dora Dutton, of Burlingame. They have had five children, only three of whom—Nellie, Alice and Emma—survive. Mrs. Shepard is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Shepard is a member of the Masonic fraternity, but belongs to no religious society. He is, however, liberal to all denominations and to all worthy objects.

He is a man of medium height and slight build, but active, energetic and enterprising, with good powers of endurance. He is systematic in business, resolute in his course and prompt in action. He is cautious and safe in financial matters, but is fond of adventure and speculation. In politics he has always taken a conspicuous part. By his own unaided effort he has arisen from penury to be among the most wealthy and prominent of the business men of Osage county.

Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary. Kansas Volume. Pgs 482-483 Chicago and Kansas City: S. Lewis, 1879.



    ERNEST A. WELLER is editor and proprietor of the Kansas Agriculturist, a weekly journal, published at Wamego, and devoted, as its name indicates, to the interests of the farmers of Kansas.

    Mr. Weller is of English birth and descent, and was born at Hollingbourne, County Kent, Feb. 17, 1857, being a son of George Adams and Sarah (Jane) Weller; the father a miller and baker by trade. In 1858 George Weller became dissatisfied with his prospects in England, and leaving his family there came to America in search of a home, and for a time was engaged with J. B. Enos & Co., prominent millers, of Waterford, N. Y. Returning to the shores of Albion, in the same year, he prepared to bring his family to the United States with him. In company with his wife, two sons and one daughter, he came to New York, in 1866, and again entered the employ of J. B. Enos & Co., making a home for those dependent upon him, in the pleasant town of Waterford. They formed many dear friendships there, where the body of the wife and mother lies buried, she having passed to rest Dec. 24, 1869. Three children survived her two having previously died in childhood: The survivors were; Ernest A., our subject; George A., and Thirza. George A. died in 'Washington, D. C. Jan. 17, 1889, at which time he was employed in the Government Printing Office. Prior to his acceptance of that position he had been publisher of the Granville (N Y.) Sentinel. Thirza, the sister of our subject, became the wife of Orie E. Banner, of Waukesha, Wis., in 1881.

    George Weller, after the death of his wife, continued as salesman for J. B. Enos & Co., until 1880, when he came to Kansas and purchased land in Wabaunsee County. Here he labored successfully for about three years, when, on account of ill health, in the spring of 1883 he went to California, hoping with the influence of her genial climate and balmy air, to regain his former physical condition. After remaining there several months, he began to long for the familiar scenes of his Kansas home, and in the fall of 1883 returned to the Sunflower State, and assumed the editorial charge of the Kansas Agriculturist, which is now being published by his son, our subject. In 1885 he went to Granville, where he assisted his son George in conducting a paper at that place. The Prohibitionist, a weekly paper,' was established by George Weller at Granville, in 1885, and continued with good patronage until the bursting of the water-work's reservoir, in October, of that year, when the type and presses were washed out of the office, the building very badly injured, and the Prohibitionist silenced. After continuing to aid his son George in the publication of the Sentinel for a few years, Mr. Weller again sought his Western home. In 1888 he came to Kansas, and is now living at Rossville, being editor and publisher of the Rossville Times, which was established by him in September, of the same year.

    Our subject received a good primary education in the schools of his father's district at Waterford, N. Y. and afterward added to his fund of knowledge by a faithful attendance at the High School in the same city. He was later a student at the Business College of Troy, N. Y. In 1871 he entered the office of the Waterford Sentinel, and performed the arduous duties incumbent upon the printer's "devil," his salary being $2 per week for one year. During-his-second year in the business he was promoted to be foreman in the office of the Gazette, at Lansingburgh, N. Y., and for compensation received $6 a week, remaining- in that place nearly two years. Later he was employed on the force of the Saratoga Sentinel, at Saratoga Springs, N. Y. He first worked as a compositor, but as soon as his skill was displayed to the notice of his employers, the latter promoted him to be foreman in the job office. His next move was to New York, where he worked on Demorest’s Magazine about six months. At Troy, N. Y., he was engaged on the Troy Whig for nearly two years. He was afterward employed on the Troy daily Press, and continued in the service of that paper until 1880.

    From Troy our subject came to Kansas, in March, 1880, and purchased a farm in Wabaunsee County. It comprised 280 acres, and adjoined that belonging to his father. It was their intention to run a sheep farm, but our subject concluded after a short trial that farm life was. not congenial to his tastes, and accordingly went to Topeka and worked in the State printing office under George W. Martin's and T. D. Thatcher's terms as State printers, where he received invaluable instruction in the "art preservative" from that master printer, E. P. Harris. In the year 1881 he returned to Granville, N. Y., and worked as solicitor for the Sentinel. Returning to Kansas he found that his sister had been united in marriage with Mr. Sanner, and in his company had removed to Wisconsin, while his father had gone to California. Our subject, in April, 1883, became interested in the Kansas Agriculturist, and in November, became its sole proprietor. In 1887 he founded the Wamegan, which was published first as a daily, and afterward as a weekly paper, and gained a substantial circulation; while the job office enjoys a large and increasing business.

    Mr. Weller is not only prominently identified willi tlie Republican party, but is also a member of Uic Presbyterian Church at Wamego, and belongs to the Knights of Pythias, His wife, with whom he was united in marriage May 15, 1884, was Delia J. McMillan; daughter of Lucien and Josephine McMillan, and was born in Athens, Pa., Jan. 12, 1864. They have become the parents of two children, namely; Walter and Jessie. Mrs. Weller is a lady of refinement and culture, and possesses many and varied accomplishments. She is a devoted wife and affectionate mother, while among her friends she is universally admired and loved for her beauty of character and depth of intellect.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Pgs 453-454 Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890.


    SAMUEL S. WILSON. The farming com­munity of Kaw Township, in Jefferson County, numbers among its most highly respected residents the subject of this bio­graphical outline, who came within its borders during' the pioneer days. He owns and operates a well-developed farm of 130 acres, occupying a part of section 17, and while prosecuting agriculture successfully, has proved a useful factor in the com­munity, As a member of the School Board for many years, he has been instrumental in furthering the cause of education, and is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, officiating as Steward, Class Leader and Trustee. He is a man of independent views, politically; usually however, giving' his support to the Democratic party. Soci­ally, he is connected with the l. O. G. T. and the Sons of Temperance. He is also Chaplain of the Farmers' Alliance at Grantville. The first twenty years of his life were spent on a farm in the vicinity of Lebanon, Marion Co., Ky., where his birth took place May 24, 1835.

    Until at the age above mentioned, young Wilson assisted his father on the farm and in a sawmill. His education had been only such as was to be ob­tained in the primitive schools of his native town­ship. His mind, however, was inclined to seek for something better than he had hitherto known, and he resolved to try his fortunes in another section of country than the Blue Grass State. Accordingly, in the fall of 1855, although Kansas was only a Territory, he determined to emigrate hither, and accordingly, accompanied by his father, he set out overland with a team, crossing the Ohio River at Louisville, the. Mississippi at Hannibal and the Missouri at Kansas City, Mo., on a flatboat. Thence he came to the Kaw Valley, after being about five weeks on the road, landing in Kaw Township on the 28th of October. He made his home for a time with his father, then took up a claim upon which he effected some improvements, but sold later. Afterward he dealt considerably in land, his specu­lations proving quite profitable.   Indians still roamed over the country, and wild animals were plentiful. His was the first plow which disturbed the soil between the two muddy creeks, forty acres of which he broke, in 1856. This he planted to sod corn, and harvested thirty-three bushels to the acre—the biggest crop of corn raised in this manner which lie ever produced. For some time he had a hand in the building of most of the log houses in the township. He was a member of the State militia during the border troubles, and assisted in driving the rebel, General Price, from the Territory.

    In 1861 Mr. Wilson purchased the land which constitutes his present homestead. It then embraced the present site of Kaw City, the business part of which gradually removed to other points. Mr. Wilson began at first principles in the con­struction of a homestead, breaking prairie, making fences and putting up buildings. He has met with many reverses, but by great industry and the practice of a close economy, has his property free from incumbrance.   He has found stock-raising profitable, and has fed a number of cattle each year. He has been fond of good horses. He is at the present time farming on only a moderate scale.

    After settling in this State, Mr. Wilson was first married May 15, 1861, to Miss Nannie E. Latimer. This lady was born in Perryville, Boyle Co., Ky., and died at her home in Kaw Township in 1870, leaving two children, George P. and Anthony 8. The elder son owns and operates a farm in the vicinity of Great Bend. Anthony S. is a civil engineer by profession, but is now engaged in the grocery business at Sea Home, Wash. Mr. Wilson on the 4th of April, 1872, contracted a. second marriage with Miss Carrie Rice. This lady was born in Carter County, Ky., and died at the home­stead in Kaw Township, June 4th, 1882.  The four children born of this union were named respectively Ada, who died in 1888; Charles B., Gilby K., and Samuel E., who are at home with their father.

    The subject of this sketch is the son of Rev. Anthony S. Wilson, who was horn in Washington County, Ky., in 1797. The paternal grandfather, Josiah Wilson, was born near Georgetown, Md., and early in life learned the art of surveying. He emigrated to Kentucky in the early days, when peo­ple were living in forts or stations, on account of the Indians. He first located at Herod's Station, and afterward on Pleasant Run, where he surveyed his own farm of 1600 acres and there spent the re­mainder of his life. He followed his profession in connection with agriculture until his decease; he traced his ancestry to Ireland.

    Anthony Wilson was reared in his native State, and served as a private in the war of 1812, partici­pating- in 1815, when a youth of eighteen years, in the battle of New Orleans. Later he prosecuted' farming in Kentucky until the Spring of 1855. That year he set out for the West, coming to Kansas and prospecting for a location. The outlook in the Kaw Valley seemed more desirable than anything he bad yet discovered, and be accordingly took up a claim, to winch he brought his family in the fall of that year, and was one of the first men to settle in Kaw Township, His land lay near Calhoun Bluff, and he succeeded in transforming it into a good farm. Later, his attention was directed to religious matters, and he joined the Southern Methodist Episcopal Conference, being ordained as a minister. He organized the Methodist Epis­copal congregation here and preached the first ser­mon which was delivered in the township, the meeting being held in his own house, which was also open for church work and religious meetings.

    The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, still exists in Kaw Township as a denomination, al­though, of course, the most of its early members have passed away. Mr. Wilson was appointed to preach at different places, but on account of his age, they were as near his home as possible.  In 1862, having changed his views somewhat, he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in which his ministerial labors continued until his death, in 1§64. He was a man. of sterling worth, and was greatly respected by the people of his community.

    Mrs. Sarah A. (Burks) Wilson was born in Marion County, Ky., and was the daughter of William Burks, also a native of that State. The latter was a farmer by occupation, and died in the prime of life. Sarah A. was the only child of her parents and was reared by her mother and step­father, the latter by name, John Smock. She was first married to James Beam of Kentucky, by whom she became the mother of two children; Celia A., now Mrs. Jordan of Topeka, and William, who died in infancy. Her union with Mr. Wilson re­sulted in the birth of eight children, the eldest of whom was Samuel S., the subject of this sketch. Martha H. became the wife of a Mr. Jones, who at one time officiated as the surveyor of Jefferson County; she is now living in Wabaunsee County, as is also her sister, Emily T., (Mrs. Wilson). Molly, (Mrs. Townsend) is a resident of Topeka; Eliza D., (Mrs. McEwen) and Josiah are deceased; the latter served in the 8th Kansas Infantry three years during the late war, and died at Grantville. John remains on the old homestead in Kaw Town­ship; Jenny was killed by lightning when about four years old.

    Our subject was twice chosen Assessor of Kaw Township about the years of 1859 and 1862.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Pgs 680-681.,  Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890.