William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]


MAJOR SOLON B. ABBOTT, oldest son of Elam and Roxey Ellison Abbott, and grandson of Daniel Abbott, a soldier of the War of the Revolution and of 1812, was born December 4, 1833, in the town of Stockbridge, Vt. After receiving an academic education in Newbury, Vt., he learned the trade of carpenter, which he supplemented with that of architect, studying the latter with Downing & Vaux, at Newburgh, on the Hudson. In May, 1853, he sailed from New York for California, where he had decided to try his fortune. After remaining about five months in Central America, during the fillibustering [sic] career of Gen. Walker, he sailed from San Juan October, 1853, and arrived at San Francisco November 23d. He remained two years in Southern and Middle California, employed in contracting and mining and was for a time a member of the Vigilance Committee in San Francisco. After building a large steam mill and sash and door factory at Sacramento, he went to Knight's Ferry, on the Stanislaus River, where he built the stone banking house of Shell & Co. and was subsequently appointed Deputy Sheriff, and then Sheriff of the county, in which capacity he had several very desperate encounters with the robbers and bandits that infested the country at that time. For capturing three robbers that had been plundering Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express, he received a reward of $3,000 in gold. His term as Sheriff expired in 1858, and he then engaged successively in the Frazier River gold expedition and Col. Stepoe's expedition against the Indians, being promoted after the battle of Ball's Bluff to Major of the Third California Volunteer Infantry. He then located in Victoria, Vancouver's Island, where he carried on the business of architect and builder, and received marked honors at the hands of the English government. In 1862 he went into Seattle, Washington Territory, where he designed and built the University and many of the principal buildings; being also employed on coast and harbor improvements. In 1868 he built the first large sawmill on the Columbus River, and was one-third owner at St. Helens, Oregon, and thence returned to San Francisco and established the extensive wholesale lumber yard of Flatt & Abbott. In 1870 he sold his interest in the lumber business and went to Cementville, on the Columbia River, in Washington Territory, and the following year erected the Cementville mills, of which he was architect and superintendent. In 1872 in consequence of impaired health, he sold his property on the Pacific coast, and after an absence of twenty years, returned to the East. He came to Kansas, and after visiting his old home was appointed Land and Emigrant Agent of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, for the New England States. In 1874 he resigned that position and located in Parsons, Kas., where he now resides. Since his residence in Parsons he has been active in building up the business of the town. He assisted in establishing the Parsons' Savings Bank, of which he was a director and vice president. He made the plans for the first iron corniced brick building which was erected in the village; built the Savings Bank building, introduced the first omnibus, and has cultivated and improved one of the best farms in Labette County. He is the owner of the Abbott House, which he conducted until June 13, 1881, and now rents, and is one of the Directors of the Chieftain Lead & Zinc Mining Co. He was appointed Deputy United States Marshall in 1874, elected Sheriff in 1875, and has recently been appointed Superintendent of bridges and buildings for the Kansas & Topeka Railroad. After being appointed Superintendent of Depots and Bridges of the Kansas & Topeka Railroad, he resigned to accept the designing and superintending of the fine wholesale building for Messrs. Hobart & May, of Springfield, Mo. Mr. Abbott was married February 6, 1861, to Lenora Harmon, who died in 1871, leaving two sons and one daughter. His present wife was Mrs. Laura E. Dillingham, daughter of E. E. Eastman, of Madrid, N. Y. Mr. Abbott is a member of the orders of A., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F. and K. of P.

WM. D. ALLEN, dairyman, corner of Morton and 22d streets, was born in Livingstone County, N. Y., 1826; is descended from Scotch ancestors. His grandfather, William, was a relative of the celebrated Ethan Allen, of Revolutionary fame. His father, Cyrus Allen, was born in 1794 and died in 1850. His mother was born December 15, 1795, in Cayuga County, N. Y. Her name was Amanda Durkie. She is still living in Livingstone County, N. Y. Mr. Allen was educated in the common schools and the Academy at Genessee, N. Y. In 1851 he emigrated to Dodge County, Wis., where he engaged in farming. 1855 he returned to New York, where he lived until 1864, when he came to Kansas, Lyon County. Here he was engaged in tilling the soil until 1868, when he moved to Parsons. Having been one of the first settlers, he is closely connected with its history from its beginning to the present. He was married in 1850, to Miss Eleanor Thompson, of Livingstone County, N. Y. She was born in 1830. Her parents were of Puritan origin. They have eight children - Eleanor C., born in Dodge County, Wis., March 8, 1852, and married to George Leggett, December 23, 1879. They live in Lebanon, Mo.; Frank D., born September 26, 1854, and married October 10, 1881, to Martha Laugh; live in Oswego, Kansas; Fred. A., born September 26, 1854, a twin to Frank already mentioned, married to Anna Jarrett, of Cherokee County; lives in Joplin, Mo.; Charles W., born September 18, 1858, married November 24, 1882, to Jennie Thompson, of Springfield, Ill.; now lives in Joplin, Mo.; Celia S., born June 19, 1859; Nelson E., born February 1, 1862; Lincoln J., June 14, 1866; Eleanor A., December 17, 1871. Mr. Allen is an elder in the Presbyterian Church, of which he and his family have been members for many years.

G. S. ANDERSON, grocer, is a native of Rushville, Schuyler. Co., Ill.; born October 15, 1839. Lived there until the age of six years, afterwards in Sangamon County, Ill., until August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company E. Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving until April 5, 1865, participating in all battles of his command during his term of service. After leaving the army he returned to Illinois, and was engaged in mercantile business at Springfield until the fall of 1869, when he removed to Menard County, Ill., where he resided until he came to Kansas, February 10, 1869, locating on northwest quarter Section 9, Osage Township, Labette County, remaining there until January, 1881, when he came to Parsons and engaged in mercantile business. He was the first white settler in his school district (No. 79) in Labette County. He was the first Postmaster of Sylvandale postoffice. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, A. O. U. W. and G. A. R. His first was Lizzie Purynes, a native of Menard, Ill., married in March, 1868. She died in 1870. Mr. Anderson's present wife, Julia Baley, is a native of Sangamon County, Ill. They were married in the spring 1872, and have four children - Willie T., Cora D., Gertrude L. and Jessie J.

ANDREW D. ARNETT, blacksmith for the Missouri Railway Co., is a native of Irving, Scotland, born on November 22, 1841. Came to America with his parents, Andrew and Sarah Arnett, when he was quite young; located at Cleveland, Ohio, living there until the fall of 1861, when he enlisted in Company C, Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Re-enlisted in the same company and regiment as a veteran, and served until December, 1864, when he was discharged on account of disability caused by a wound which he received in front of Atlanta, Ga. He was in all the battles and skirmishes of his command during his term of service. After his discharge he spent three months at Cleveland, and then went to Warren, Ohio, where he remained until he located at Virgil City, Mo., in 1869 remaining there until he came to Parsons, in September, 1871. He has been in the employ of the railroad company, in the blacksmithing department since coming here, having worked at the blacksmith trade since he was sixteen years of age. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and A. O. U. W., and is now serving a second term as one of the members of the Board of Education. During the present term he been vice-president of the Board. Mr. Arnett was married at Virgil City Mo., July 24, 1872, to Nannie J. Watson, a native of Illinois. They have two children - Lucretia and Ada Gertrude.

S. M. BALEY, real estate loan and insurance agent, was born near Winchester, Fairfield Co., Ohio, October 6, 1834. One year there, then lived in the central part of Wood County in the same State until he was fourteen years of age, afterward residing in his native county two years, and then removed to Sangamon County, Ill., living twelve miles northwest of Springfield, until August 7, 1862, when he enlisted in Company K., One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was commissioned First Lieutenant, September 13, 1862, and Captain August 13, 1863. September 20, 1863, he was severely wounded, being permanently disabled thereby. He resigned in February, 1864, returning to Sangamon County, Ill., where he remained until he came to Kansas in February, 1874. He purchased a farm in Osage Township, Labette Co. It being situated on the southwest quarter of Section 4; February 22, 1875, he removed to the farm and resided there until January 1, 1882, when he came to Parsons and engaged in his present business, still owning his farm, however. He was one of the School Directors of his district in Osage Township during the entire period of his residence there, and for two years was President of the Osage Township Sunday School Association. Living near the "Bender" place, which had been the scene of many atrocious murders, mysterious disappearances and suspicious circumstances attending the movements of any one in the neighborhood were likely to be attended with summary if not merited punishment of anyone connected therewith. Allusion to one particular can illustrate the feeling which existed in that section. One Hank Forrest had a difficulty with Charley Buckles, at the house of the father-in-law of Forrest. Immediately after the trouble between the young men Buckles disappeared, and Forrest was arrested for his murder, and narrowly escaped conviction, only three members of the jury being opposed thereto. Although the body of Buckles had not been discovered, Mr. Bayley became satisfied from the statements of the various parties who were present when the quarrel between the parties occurred, that Buckles was alive, and he was fearless enough to stand alone and declare his opinions when public sentiment was universally against him. And not until Buckles appeared alive and well did people conclude that Mr. B. was entirely sane and sincere in his declarations that injustice would be done if Forrest and his father-in-law were severely dealt with as indicated by the prevailing sentiment. Mr. B. is a member of the A. F. and A. M., K. of H., K. and L. of Honor, and Antietam Post No. 64, G. A. R. and of the Labette County Historical Society. He was married at Salisbury, Sangamon Co., Ill., November 19, 1856, to Elizabeth J. Harvey, a native of Sangamon County, Ill., and reared in Illinois. They have seven children living, Walter H., Theresa, Almeda, William A., Luella F., Maud E., Franklin E. and Paulus E. Lost two children. Erastus M. died at the age of seventeen months, Eva May, aged nine years at the time of her death.

W. L. BARTLETT, of the firm of Dean & Bartlett, dealers in general merchandise, was born in Swanton, Franklin Co., Vt., May 12, 1850, resided there most of the time until 1872, when he went to Boston, where he was engaged in the grocery and provision trade until he came to Parsons, Kan., in September, 1874. He was manager of the Parsons dry goods house of G. Y. Smith, of Kansas City until January 1, 1880, when the present firm of Dean & Bartlett was formed. He is a member of the A. F. and A. M. Blue Lodge and Commandery, and of the K. of P. Mr. B was married at Hannibal Mo., in the spring of 1880, to Lucy Shellabarger. They have two children, John L. and a daughter aged six months.

SAUNDERS ARMSTRONG BIGGS was born in the city of New York, December 14, 1841, and was reared and educated there. In April, 1861, he enlisted in the Seventy-first New York Regiment; served three months, the term of enlistment, in that regiment, then about fifteen months. Receiving a sunstroke, he was disabled so as to be unfitted for duty, and he therefore resigned. Returning to New York, he became associated with his father, under the firm name of Isaac A. Biggs & Son, real estate dealers and negotiators of all kinds of reliable securities doing a general brokerage business, at the corner of Broadway and Fulton street. He remained with his father until 1876, when, on account of ill health, he came West, hoping to find a climate which would prove beneficial to his health. In July, 1876, he located at Parsons, and his failing health soon became very much improved, and he has led an active business life ever since. For over a year he was a member of the firm of Angell Matthewson & Co., in the real estate business, being associated with Angell Matthewson and Merritt Noyes, from July, 1876, to August, 1877. Since then he has been engaged in real estate operations, principally on his own account, although he has always acted for Angell Matthewson & Co., in examining their loans, looking after the details of the loan department of their business, etc. For three years he was in partnership with A. J. Cary, in mercantile business. He is a member of A., F. & A. M., and Episcopal Church, being still connected with the church of his childhood, St. John Chapel, N. Y. He was married, at Fort Plain, Montgomery Co., N. Y., December 11, 1867, to Estella L. Nellis, a native of that place, her parents being among the pioneers of Fort Plain. Mr. Biggs' father, Isaac A. Biggs, was born at Patchogue, L. I. He is now engaged in real estate and loan business. Mother, Harriet A. (Nellis) Biggs, was born at Johnstown, Fulton, Co., N. Y. Both parents still reside in New York.

LOUIS GRANT BIGWOOD, hardware merchant, is a native of Quincy, Adams Co., Ill., born January 27, 1845. Being too young to get into the service when the War of the Rebellion broke out, he went to Indiana, where his age was not known, and, October 23, 1861, he enlisted, as "Louis Grant," in Company F, Twentieth Indiana Volunteers. He was wounded at Charles City Cross-roads, in Virginia, June 30, 1862, and taken prisoner at that time. Two months later, he was exchanged and removed to Bellevue Hospital, New York City, remaining there until January, 1863, then rejoined his regiment and continued with it until the close of the war. He came to Parsons in February, 1880. For one year he was associated with George Rattiff, in the hardware business; since then, with his present partner, O. W. Rowland. Mr. Bigwood was married, at Alton, Ill., July 1, 1880, to Alice V. Huddleston, a native of Virginia. They have one child, Myra. Mr. B. is a member of K. of P., and American Legion of Honor.

JOHN BLAIR, engineer at Barton's elevator, was born in December, 1832, in Parke County, Ind. His father was James Blair, born in Ohio, in 1810, and died in 1848. His mother was born in Canada, in 1810, and died in 1850. Mr. Blair received a common school education, and at the age of thirty-five he emigrated to Bourbon County, Kan., near Fort Scott. From thence he came to Neosho County, and in 1875, to Parsons. He enlisted in September, 1861, in Company A. Thirty-first Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Col. Charles Cruft commanding. He was in the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Stone River, Chickamauga and in the famous march and campaign of Sherman to Atlanta. He was also with Thomas at Nashville. Was mustered out of the service, in Texas, December 17, 1866. He learned his trade in Indiana, in 1856. He was married to Mary J. Brower, of Preble County, Ohio, in 1867. They have three children - Lillian, born near Fort Scott, in 1868; Herbert, born in Neosho County, in 1869; Maud, born in March, 1880 - died in June of the same year. He is a member of the A. O. U. W., also of the K. of H. April, 1882, he was elected a member of the School Board of the city of Parsons.

W. M. BLAU, merchant tailor, was born at Nickolsburg, Austria, August 3, 1844. Came to America in September, 1862; located in New York City, remaining there several years; lived four years in Michigan, coming from there to Parsons, Kan., locating here September 1, 1877. He has worked at his trade of tailor for twenty-four years, having learned it in Europe. He is now one of the most fashionable tailors in this country, employing none but first-class workmen, and he has the patronage of the best citizens of this city, and many other places.

GEORGE W. BRIGGS, retired farmer, was born near Saratoga Springs, N. Y., 1833. His parents died when he was quite young; he lived with Mr. Ransom O. Baker until he was twenty-two years of age, when he worked for a sister-in-law, Polly Baker, on the farm one year. He received a good practical education in the common schools. On November 12, 1856, he removed to Indianapolis and staid through winter. In the following spring he went to Sullivan County, Ind., and soon afterward settled at Prairieton, near Terre Haute, where he lived on a farm about twelve years; 1869 he removed to Homer, Champaign Co., Ill. In the following spring, in company with Mr. Carey, he came to Kansas, stopping first at Fredonia, where he and Mr. C. purchased ponies and camp out-fit and crossed the prairie to Chetopa, Baxter Springs, and Carthage, stopping over night in a cabin near where the city of Parsons is now located. After wandering around, for some time selling flour to the Indians, Mr. B. and his friend returned, and took up their claims where the city of Parsons now stands, May, 1869. In October of the same year he went to Illinois for his family, returning to Kansas after five weeks of traveling in wagons. His mother-in-law came with the family, and took up a claim near that of her son. Mr. B. was married to Ellen Baker of Prairieton, Ind., 1856, by whom he had to children - Adelia J., born 1860 and Henry S., born 1865. Mr. Briggs has been honored by his fellow citizens with important offices. He was the first Trustee of the township of Walton 1871; was also elected a member of the School Board two successive terms; afterwards was Marshal of the city for three years. Mrs. B.'s ancestry can be traced back to three brothers, who came from England early in the seventeenth century. Mr. B. was the first settler of Parsons, and has grown with the city, having been identified with its progress at every stage. He has been greatly prosperous in all his undertakings; he is a member of the Masonic Fraternity.

B. B. BROWN, passenger conductor, Missouri Pacific Railway, Morgan avenue, was born in Sheridan, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., 1848. His father, who was a mechanic, was born in Otsego, N. Y., 1821. His mother was Abbey Shelby, born in Chautauqua, N. Y., 1823. His father and mother live in Marengo, Ill. Mr. B. was educated at Mareugo and Woodstock, Ill. In 1867 he commenced his railroad life, first as brakeman at Omaha on the Union Pacific Railroad; 1869 he went to Iowa, and from thence to Minnesota; while there he was employed as conductor on the Northern Pacific, from Duluth to Fargo. Soon afterwards he was employed by the Missouri Pacific as a conductor, with his home at Dennison, Tex., until the spring of 1880, when he moved to Parsons, Kan. Mr. B. was married in the fall of 1872 to Miss Theressa Crawford of Woodstock, Ill. She was born in 1848, at Fruitstown, Montour Co., Pa.; her parents were from Berks County in the same State. Her father died in October, 1879; mother died April, 1881. They had one child, who was born in 1873, died 1874. Mr. Brown was among the first of those who worked on the Union Pacific road as brakeman and conductor until it was connected with the Central at Ogden. He went through to California, where he lived one year. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity. Nineteen years of his life he has lived on the rail.

H. H. BROWN, manager of the National Mill & Elevator Company, was born at Athens, Ohio, January 23, 1849. He was educated at the Ohio University, leaving that institution in 1868, he located at once in Cincinnati, Ohio, being connected with the wholesale establishment of Lewis, Stix & Co., for a period of five years. Afterwards at Akron, Ohio, until he came to Parsons in May, 1879, becoming associated with Col. R. S. Stevens of Attica, N. Y., and H. D. Mirick of Athens, Ohio, in the ownership of the National Mill & Elevator Company in January, 1880, being the resident partner and manager of the extensive business of this company. Prior to the organization of this company, Mr. Brown carried on the mill, and was also engaged in grain and coal business. They now manufacture about 150 barrels of flour per day, and ship from 300 to 500 cars of grain per annum. Mr. Brown served about eighteen months in the army during the war of the rebellion; first three months was in the One Hundred and Forty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the balance of the time in the Thirty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Mr. Brown was married at Athens, Ohio, to Lydia A. Baird, a native of the Athens County, Ohio. Mr. B. is a member of A. F. & A. M., I. O. O. F., and K. of P.

J. R. BROWN, of the firm of Brown & Knapp, real estate, loan and insurance agents, was born near Watertown, Jefferson Co., N. Y., November 14, 1839. Came to Parsons in the fall of 1872, having lived at Nevada, Mo., for a year prior to coming here. He was engaged in the hotel business here until July 1, 1878, being one of the proprietors of the Belmont House. Since disposing of his interest in the hotel, he has been engaged in his present business. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F., and K. of P. Mr. Brown was married at Watertown, N. Y., March 29, 1869, to Josephine Roberts. They have one child, Sherman R.

THOMAS A. BYRNES, late foreman of the Missouri Pacific Railway Foundry at Parsons. Was born at Philadelphia, Pa., November 15, 1834. When he was five years of age his parents removed to St. Louis, and he lived there until 1860. Afterwards he lived in various Southern States, until about six months prior to locating at Parsons, Kan., in June, 1872, coming from St. Louis to this place. He built the foundry at this point for W. J. Quealy, and managed it for him for a period of two years, then Quealy sold it to the M., K. & T. R. R. Co. (now the Missouri Pacific), and Mr. Byrne has since been foreman for the railroad company, until a recent date, when he accepted a liberal offer to become connected with railroad shops at Portland, Oregon, first going, however, to Brainard, Minn., to put up a foundry, expecting to spend about three months there prior to locating at Portland. He has worked at his present business since the spring of 1850. He is a member of the Catholic Knights of America. December 26, 1856, he married at St. Louis, Mo., to Ellen J. Hollahan, a native of Pennsylvania. They have five children - John C. Frank, Thomas, Nellie H., and Mary.

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]