Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

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

JAMES A. RAMSEY. The rapid advancement made of late in matters pertaining to popular education is due in no small part to the brilliant leaders who have risen here and there, and who have dedicated their labors and energies to the upbuilding of the school interests of their respective states. Among those who have won wide recognition in Kansas is James A. Ramsey, who early began the career of a teacher and is now filling creditably the position of County Superintendent of Schools. He comes of Scotch descent, and inherits all the thrift and energy of his ancestors. His grandfather, Robert Ramsey, was born in Scotland, but came to America at an early date and settled in western Pennsylvania. There he reared five sons and one daughter: Robert (father of our subject), William, Andrew, James N., Oliver and Sarah Ann, the latter of whom married Samuel Dobbins.

The father of our subject, Robert Ramsey, Jr., was born in Mercer County, Pa., and after growing up, followed farming in that state for some time. When a young man, he was tempted by the fertile prairies of Illinois to make a settlement within that state, locating in Washington County, in 1838. There he was married to Miss Mary M. McAfee, and there he passed the remainder of his days engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was the owner of about three hundred acres of land, and being a member of the Covenanter Church took no interest in politics. His death occurred in February, 1885, when sixty-four years of age. The mother, who was a native of Philadelphia, Pa., is still living, and resides with a daughter in New York State. their five children were named as follows: Maggie, wife of Hugh Dugan, of Sterling Center, N. Y.; Nannie, wife of Rev. T. J. Allen, a minister of the Covenanter Church of Sterling, Kan.; James A.; Lizzie, wife of William Carson, of Oakdale, Ill.; and Robert George, a minister of the United Presbyterian Church of Xenia, Ohio.

The early scholastic training of our subject was received in the common schools and in Coulterville Academy, from which he was graduated. Later he taught school in Washington County, Ill., for seven years, and then came to Kansas, where he continued the same occupation for five years. In the fall of 1890 he was elected Country Superintendent of Schools, and re-elected in 1892. Public education in Kansas has no more earnest advocate and co-operator than he - no one who more thoroughly understands and appreciates its needs and interests, and perhaps no one better qualified through experience to bring it to that high state of perfection which its present rapid advancement assures. He is a Republican in his political preferment,and only two candidates were elected on the ticket in 1890. In 1892 he received an increased majority.

Mr. Ramsey selected his wife in the person of Miss Hattie L. McClurkin, only child of Archibald McClurkin, of Oakdale, Ill., and their union was celebrated May 10, 1881. She was born in that town November 27, 1861. Mr. McClurkin was a farmer and an early settler of Washington County, Ill. His death occurred in 1863. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey: Norman F. and Lester A. Mr. Ramsey is a member of the United Presbyterian Church, and is one of the representative men of this section. He founded the "Anderson County Teacher," a monthly published in the interests of the Anderson County schools, and is still its editor. It is now on its second volume. He taught the public schools of Oakdale, Ill., and Welda, Kan., and met with the best of success. His mother was a teacher, and each of her five children followed that profession for over ten years. In connection with teaching, Mr. Ramsey was also engaged in farming, and for some time owned a farm near Welda.

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