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The Western Star, November 19, 1943.


M. M. Cosby who has served as Probate Judge of Comanche County for the past 26 years, died at his home in this city early Monday morning, November 15, after being confined to his bed for the past two weeks, following a stroke.

Funeral services were held at the Methodist church in Coldwater at 1 o'clock Thursday afternoon and were in charge of the pastor Rev. Major W. Parker. Mr. and Mrs. Gurney Hadley sang "Ivory Palaces," "Beyond The Sunset" and "My Father Watches Over Me," with Mrs. Wm. Brumbaugh accompanying them at the organ. Following the service here the body was taken to Protection, where a short service was held in the Methodist church and which were in charge of Rev. Roby, of the Baptist church, and burial was in the Protection cemetery beside the wife.

Many friends gathered at each place to pay tribute to the deceased. The business houses of Coldwater closed for the funeral.


Merit Morton Cosby, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Cosby, was born November 13, 1862, near Madison, Ind.

On March 16, 1881 he was united in marriage with Florence Jane Rogers, at Madison, Ind., and to this union were born five children, Mrs. Jany Baker of the home, Fred Cosby of Kansas City, Mo., and Foy Cosby of Wichita; and two children that passed away in infancy. The wife passed away June 26, 1929.

Mr. Cosby came to Kansas in September of 1884. He filed on land in the Lexington neighborhood and for several years farmed and worked for different firms in Protection and Coldwater.

In 1918 he was appointed Probate Judge of Comanche County by Governor Arthur Capper, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Owen Connaughton, and had continued to serve by re-election to that office until his death.

He was a faithful and conscientious official during his long term of office.

When a young man Mr. Cosby united with the Baptist church in Indiana and had always continued his membership in that church.

Besides his three children he leaves three grandchildren, Mrs. Virginia Nelson of Kansas City, Mo., and Florence and Roger Cosby of Wichita; also a host of friends.

The Western Star, December 28, 1923.

Life Sketches of Comanche-co. Pioneers
Some of Their Struggles and Early-Day Experiences.

Mr. & Mrs. Merit M. Cosby, Comanche County, Kansas.

Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Cosby

Among the "Hoosiers" who came to Comanche-co. 39 years ago and who shared in the hardships of pioneer life, and who have stayed through all the years of adversity as well as of prosperity, are Mr. and Mrs. Merritt M. Cosby. If you want to know more about what pioneering in a new country means, they can inform you by simply relating even a small part of their experiences on the plains of this part of the state. For a number of years they were students in the school of "hard knocks" and there they learned lessons which have helped to round out their education in the great school of life.

On March 16, 1878, while yet a resident of Indiana, Mr. Cosby was united in marriage with Miss Florence J. Rogers, who was also a native of the Hoosier state. Not long afterwards, the young couple began to look westward, and a trip to Kansas was planned by Mr. Cosby. He then had a brother-in-law who lived in Arkansas City. His first stop was at that place. Mr. Cosby, his relative and a friend from Arkansas City were soon headed "out west." They planned to go to Meade-co. and take claims, but did not get quite that far. Some friend back east advised them to "stop when they had gone as far as they could and make a living."

They made their trip from Arkansas City in a wagon, coming through Harper, Medicine Lodge, Sun City and Coldwater. While in Coldwater they ran across Jim Pitcher, a "claim locator," who told them that for $5 he would "put them next" to some good claims. The bargain was made and the newcomers were taken to a fine stretch of country ten miles northwest of where Protection now stands and three miles over the line in Clark-co. and show some quarters which had not yet been filed on. The claims were staked, and on the following day filings were made in Coldwater. The land office was then in Larned, and six months time was allowed in which to prove up. Mr. Cosby proceeded at once to start improvements on his new claim. He drove to Kinsley, the nearest railroad point, and bought some lumber, all soft pine, with which to build a house on his claim. That choice lumber cost him only $2 per hundred. The building of his home was delayed for several weeks for the reason that there was not enough rain to make it possible to secure sod and with which to help build the house. When the house was finally completed it was 10 x 14 feet was constructed about half of sod and the remainder of lumber, the roof sloping just one way. Mr. Cosby secured a kind of blue clay along the creek nearby and mixed it with sand, thus forming a kind of plaster which was used to plaster the interior of the house. It was no trouble to keep warm in that house in winter, or cool in summer.

For about five years Mr. and Mrs. Cosby toiled away on that claim. Some crops were raised, but not enough to bring in an income sufficient to pay running expenses, hence it was necessary for Mr. Cosby to do whatever could be found to be done off the farm. Luckily about that time (the summer of 1887) there was some railroad work going on, and for three months Mr. Cosby, with his team, helped to grade the Rock Island roadbed southwest from Bucklin and from Bucklin to Dodge City. He received $3.50 per day, and the money he received from that source helped wonderfully in tiding him and his family over the hard times.

In the year 1889 Mr. and Mrs. Cosby moved from the claim to Protection, and a few years later to Coldwater. They have since made their home either here or in Protection.

Upon the death of Owen Connaughton in July, 1918, Mr. Cosby was appointed to succeed him as probate judge, and that position Judge Cosby still holds, his popularity seeming to grow each year.

Thus Mr. and Mrs. Cosby have seen this part of Kansas grow from wild stretches of prairie land almost uninhabited, to a well settled county where good farms, wide awake towns and thousands of homes are now found and in it all they have had no small part.

Mr. and Mrs. Cosby are the parents of five children, three of whom survive, as follows: Fred of Kansas City, Foy of this county and Mrs. Armond Baker of Clark-co.

The Western Star, March 25, 1904.

Baker - Cosby

Married at the home of the bride's parents in Nortonville, Kansas, on Wednesday, March 16, 1904, Arnold Baker, of Protection, Kansas, and Miss Jany Cosby, of Nortonville, Kansas.The ceremony was very beautiful and was witnessed by a large number of friends of the contracting parties. Elder D. F. Cutbertson, of Liberty, Missouri, officiated. Following the ceremony, which took place at 11 a.m., a splendid dinner was served. It was a real feast of good things to eat as well as of genuine happiness to all present. Many friends of the Cosby family from near Cummings, Kansas, where they formerly lived, were present. The bride and groom received a large number of beautiful presents, but the best of all, were the sincere congratulations and good wishes from many friends.The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Cosby, who are well known in this county, having lived here for a number of years. She is a young lady of sterling worth and has always made many friends wherever she is known. The groom is numbered among the substantial and successful young farmers and stockmen of Comanche-co. His integrity and his industry are recognized by all, and hence his numerous friends.Mr. and Mrs. Baker arrived from Nortonville on last Friday. They will soon be "at home" on the Rogers farm and ranch near Ashland. The STAR adds the sincere wish that abundant success and many joys may bless their wedded life.

The Western Star, June 24, 1938.


During the last week Judge M. M. Cosby, Probate Judge, performed three wedding ceremonies as follows:

On Wednesday, June 15, he united in marriage A. L. Withrow of Protection and Minnie Leone Sumner of Denver, Colo.

On Thursday, June 16, he joined in marriage H. R. Hashard of Russell, Kans., and Miss Flora Ohlson of Hardtner.

On Sunday, June 19, he married Alfred C. Park and Miss Velma St. McPhall both of Protection.

Also see:

Comanche-co.'s Eight Probate Judges
The Western Star, February 18, 1927.

James W. Dappert: Reminiscences of Early Days in Comanche-co.
The Western Star, January 15, 1926.

Collected Marriage Notices from Comanche County, Kansas   Many of the marriages were performed by M.M. Cosby.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above obituary, image and article!

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