Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

HUGH PADEN ALEXANDER, residing on section 22, Union Township, Anderson County, is an enterprising business man, who is engaged in general farming and stock-raising. He has been a resident of Anderson County since 1882, and at once became identified with all progressive movements in this locality. Prior to this time he lived in Marshall County, Kan., for several years, and has made his fortune in the west.

Mr. Alexander was born in Huntingdon County, Pa., August, 3, 1836. John Alexander, his father, was also a native of that county, but his grandfather, who bore the same Christian name, was a native of the North of Ireland. Four generations back the Alexanders were residents of Scotland, but for some reason removed to the northern part of the Emerald Isle. Our subject's grandfather emigrated to America and settled in Huntingdon County, Pa., where his death occurred. The maiden name of our subject's mother was Mary Jane Sheller. She was a daughter of Christian Sheller, a native of Germany, who came with his parents to America at the age of six years. The great-grandfather on the maternal side, Hugh Paden, was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War, and the family was a very prominent one in those days. Mr. Sheller was reared in Lancaster County, of the Keystone State, and died in Union County at the age of eighty-eight years. Mrs. Mary Alexander was born in Dauphin County, and by her marriage became the mother of seven children, Hugh P. being the eldest, and the others as follows: Martha A., James O., Samuel C, Maggie E., Florence C. and Mary J. After the marriage of our subject's parents they settled in Huntingdon County, Pa., where they lived for several years, thence removing to Blair County, of the same state, where the mother died in 1848. the family afterward removed to Union County, Pa., where the father died in 1876.

After the death of his mother, when our subject was twelve years of age, he went to live with an uncle, staying with him for two years. With that exception he remained with his father until he became of age, passing his youth on a farm. When he left home he took charge of the farm of William Frick, the father of H. C. Flick, for one and a-half years. For the three years succeeding he attended school at the University of Louisburg, Pa., after which he engaged in teaching and attending the State Normal School for one year. For five years he taught with good success in his native state, and in 1865 removed to the west. He opened an academy in Andrew County, Mo. This institution was known as the Savannah Academy, and he was Principal of the same for two years. His success as an educator becoming known, he was elected to the responsible position of County Superintendent, which office he filled acceptably for six years. During the term of his administration of the office, forty-two new school-houses were built in the county. At the same time he was Principal of the public schools of Savannah, Andrew County, a position he occupied for five years. In March, 1873, he accepted the principalship of the public schools of Marysville, Marshall County, Kan., serving in that capacity until June, 1882.

The marriage of Mr. Alexander occurred December 24, 1863, in Philadelphia, with Miss Hannah E. Kunkel, who was born in Cumberland County, Pa., March 30, 1842. Her great-grand-father, Leonard Kunkel, was a native of Germany, who emigrated to America, locating in Lancaster County, Pa. His son, John Kunkel, was born in Lebanon County, and he in turn was the father of Rudolph, who became the father of Mrs. Alexander. Rudolph Kunkel married Elizabeth Nies, who was born in Berks County, Pa., being a daughter of James Nies. Mr. and Mrs. Kunkel passed their married lives in Lancaster County, where the mother died at the age of eighty-five years, March 4, 1893. She was the mother of two children who lived to mature years, namely: Hannah E. and Amanda.

To our worthy subject and wife have been born eight children, the two elder of whom are married, Mary J. being the wife of John S. Velthoen; and Bessie, the wife of George W. West. The other surviving members of the family are: Minnie A., Maggie P., Mattie 0. and Winona A. Florence C. and Hugh P. died in infancy Soon after going to Andrew County, Mo., Mr. Alexander became interested in religious work among the colored people, as there were large numbers in that part of the state. In spite of much opposition he organized a Sabbath-school, which he conducted successfully. As a result he was socially ostracized for a time, but nothing daunted, he persevered in the good work. Meeting with grand success in the enterprise, he inaugurated a day school for the colored people, trying the subscription plan, employing his own teachers and furnishing a considerable share of the means to carry on the school. As there was open enmity to the plan shown by man y of the white citizens, he may be said to have opened the school at the point of the revolver. Since coming to this county he has been greatly interested in the work of the Presbyterian Church, in which he has held the office of Elder. He has taken his share in Sunday-school work and has been an active member of the denomination since he was a young man. While living in Marshall County, Kan., he organized two churches, one at Deer Creek and the other at North Marysville. In other places he has given his valuable services to the cause, and in this county has re-organized the churches at Lone Elm and at Sugar Valley.

The farm of Mr. Alexander has within its boundaries three hundred and eighty acres, on which he has made many improvements. He has found time amidst his many branches of work and the care necessarily bestowed upon the farm to serve his fellow-citizens in various offices in the township, and has acceptably filled the office of Justice of the Peace for many years. There are few men more highly thought of in this township, and he is truly worthy of the confidence which is reposed in him by his friends.

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