KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


SHAWNEE COUNTY, Part 37

[TOC] [part 38] [part 36] [Cutler's History]

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES (WALKER - WHITING).

J. E. WALKER, North Topeka, was born in Franklin County, N. Y., July 24, 1847, living there until the spring of 1849, when his parents removed with their family to Watertown, Wis. That was their home until 1860, when they came to Kansas, locating at Baldwin City, where J. E. worked at the trade of carpenter and joiner. December 14, 1863, he enlisted in Company G, Sixteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He participated in the pursuit of Price through Kansas and Missouri. Was in the battle of Powder River, and participated in a large number of other engagements. He is a member of I. O. O. F., A. O. U. W., and G. A. R. Mr. Walker is a son of Samuel N. Walker, one of the well-known Free-State pioneers of Kansas, being now engaged in grocery business, his son being employed in his store. J. E. was married October 10, 1869, to Miss S. A. Wolfe, of Ottawa, Kan. They have two daughters.

SAMUEL N. WALKER, merchant, North Topeka, was born in Burlington, Vt., August 18, 1816; removed to Watertown, Jefferson Co., Wis. in 1848; resided there and in that vicinity until he came to Kansas in March, 1859. While a resident of Jefferson Co., Wis. he held various offices, such as Sheriff, Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, etc. His first location in Kansas was at Baldwin City, Douglas County, (held office of Justice of the Peace there) where he resided until April, 1881, when he removed to Osage City, remaining there until his removal to Topeka in October, 1882. He purchased his present store in January, 1883. Since coming to Kansas he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits considerable of the time, at present carrying on a retail grocery business. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church and has been prominently identified with church affairs all the time he has been in the State. He is a member of the Masonic Order. Mr. Walker was married at Bangor, N. Y., August 13, 1843, to Catharine M. Horrigan, a native of Hawksbury, Canada. They have two children - Jerry E., with his father in the store, Velira, A., who will soon become a resident of Topeka.

W. H. WARD was born in Adrian, Mich., December 9, 1840. He acquired his education in the schools of his native town; graduated from Adrian High School, and read law with his father. When the war of 1861-65 broke out, he organized a company, and finding there would be considerable delay having it attached to a Michigan regiment, took it to Ohio, and joined the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving in that regiment until August 9, 1864; he was slightly wounded at Charleston, West Va., and was taken prisoner May 3, 1863, and confined in rebel prisons of Vicksburg, Atlanta and Libby about six weeks, when he was exchanged, and rejoined his regiment before Vicksburg, July 3, 1863; he served as captain of his company during the time he was in the army, but was on detached service during the summer of 1864, as Acting Quartermaster at Todd Barracks, Columbus, Ohio, and during the summer and fall of 1862 was Provost Marshal of District of Great Kanawa, being relieved about January 1, 1863, in order that he might accompany his regiment to Vicksburg. Mr. Ward participated in the battles of Lewisburg and Charleston, Va., Arkansas Post, Haines Bluff, Vicksburg, Mission Bridge, Relief of Knoxville, Resaca, Ga. Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, besides other minor engagements or skirmishes. He was married at Adrian, Mich., April 20, 1864, to Miss Mettie J. Kost, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Prof. John Kost, of Adrian College; their four children are Lorena E., Edith J., William K. and Morgia. Capt. Ward is a member of G. A. R., A. F. & A. M., K. of H., and A. O. U. W., and is president of ex-Prisoners of War Association, of Kansas.

A. WASHBURN, farmer and county commissioner, Section 35, P. O. Topeka, has 160 acres in the home farm, a mile and a half west of the State House; 100 acres under cultivation and the balance in pasture. The farm is all under fence, and otherwise well improved; having a large one and a half story frame house, barn, etc., and an orchard of about 400 bearing apple trees besides other fruits; in addition to this Mr. Washburn has one other farm near Topeka in a good state of cultivation. He was born in Stafford, Conn., in 1818, residing there until nineteen years old, when he went to Western New York; for many years he was engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods in Allegany County; in 1869 he became cashier of the First National Bank at Brockfort, N. Y., holding that position for four years; he then removed to Kansas and located on his farm which he had preempted in 1857; he was married in 1841 at Rushford, N. Y., to Miss Caston Gordon. They have one child, Frank. Mr. Washburn is serving his second term as Commissioner of Shawnee County, and is now Chairman of the Board; he has also been Treasurer of Topeka Township, Shawnee County Agricultural Society, and of Capital Grange, of which he is a member; he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; his grandfather, Nathan Washburn, was a soldier of the Revolutionary War; was at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and for five years followed the lead of Gen. Washington through the battles of Long Island, Monmouth and Stony Point; was at Valley Forge during that terrible winter, and at many other points of interest during the struggle for independence.

O. WATERMAN, the well-known carriage painter, was born at St. Joseph, Mich., July 24, 1845; when he was seven years old his parents moved to Minnesota, remaining until 1857 when they removed to Kansas, locating in Coffee County; he learned his trade with his father, who was a mechanic; he has followed the business the past twenty-one years. During the past four years he has resided in Topeka and carried on an extensive business of $3,600 per year; he is a very skillful workman and controls the best trade in the city; his work compares favorably with any work done in Eastern cities; he enlisted in 1864 in Company C, Fifty-first Missouri Volunteers, serving until the close of the war. He was married in Topeka, January 22, 1881, to Miss Lena Long; he is a member of the Shawnee Lodge No. 40, I. O. O. F., at Topeka.

[Picture of Geo. W. Watson] GEORGE. W. WATSON, Receiver United States Land Office and real estate agent, came to Kansas September 20, 1867. Located at Alma, Wabaunsee County, and engaged in teaching, in which profession he continued four years. In 1871 he was elected County Clerk, re-elected in 1873-75, serving through four of these years as Clerk of the District Court also. While a resident of Alma he engaged in the practice of law, and real estate, and held several municipal offices, being City Clerk, City Treasurer and member of the School Board. He was appointed Receiver of the United States Land Office in 1878 and removed to Topeka, where he still resides, having held the office to the present time. Mr. Watson is a native of Huntington County, Ind., born near Belden, July 29, 1844. He enlisted in Company K, Thirty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, August, 1861, and served until June, 1865, being wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Spring Hill, Tenn., March 3, 1863 and held prisoner three months before exchange was made. He was again wounded at the battle of New Hope Church, in Georgia, during the Atlanta campaign. After leaving the army he returned to Indiana, and in September, 1865, removed to Champaign County, Ill., where he remained until he located in Kansas. He is a member of the G. A. R., A. F. & A. M. In February, 1880, Mr. Joseph F. Thrapp became associated with Mr. Watson in real estate business, the firm being Watson & Thrapp.

J. C. WATT, of the firm of Watt & Powell, manufacturers and wholesale dealers in boots and shoes, North Topeka, came to Kansas in the spring of 1870, from Aurora, Ill., and first located in Marshall County, where he remained two years engaged in farming. Removed to Leavenworth, and remained two years in boot and shoe business, and removed to Perry, Jefferson County, where he remained three years engaged in same business, and came to North Topeka May 10, 1876, and located at No. 35 Kansas avenue, and removed to his present commodious quarters June 1, 1881. This is the only wholesale boot and shoe establishment in Topeka, and they have two traveling salesmen to represent them throughout the State and adjoining territory. Mr. Watt is a member and one of the directors of the Topeka Board of Trade, and one of the directors of the contemplated Fort Scott, Topeka & Lincoln Railroad. Was born in Rome, N. Y., August 15, 1842. His parents moved to Lansing, Mich., when Mr. W. was a mere child, and remained there until he was fifteen years old, and had learned his trade - that of shoemaking. He then worked at his trade in various parts of the country, in all of the principal cities of the United States, from New York to San Francisco, and has mastered every department of the shoe trade now known from the "jour" to superintendent and wholesale dealer. Was married September 18, 1874, at Kansas City, Mo., to Mrs. M. Powell, who was born in Missouri. Is a member of Kaw Valley Lodge, No. 20, A. O. U. W., of Topeka.

L. J. WEBB, attorney, came to Kansas May 17, 1868, and located at Fort Scott. He was admitted to the bar in the fall of that year, and in February, 1870, went to Columbus, where he remained for one year, engaged in practice. He was the first mayor of Columbus. In May, 1871, he removed to Winfield, Kan., where he remained in practice until September, 1880, removing to Topeka at that date. While at Winfield he was for two years member of the House of Representatives, and also for two years member of the Republican State Central Committee. He was chairman of the County Central Committee at the time of its organization, and was for several years chairman of the County Committee. Mr. Webb is a native of Ridgebury, Bradford Co., Pa. He was born August 5, 1846, and when six years of age removed to Wisconsin with his father. He enlisted in Company H, Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, October 1, 1861, and served in that regiment eleven months. He was then discharged on account of disability, and almost immediately re-enlisted in Company I, Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, his service to date five days before his discharge from his old regiment, and served until July 15, 1865, returning at the close of his service to Wautoma, Wis., which was his home until he came to Kansas. He was educated in the public schools of Waushara County, Wis., learned the printer's trade, and after coming to Kansas published the Cowley County Censor, the first newspaper in Cowley County. Mr. Webb was married in Bradford Co., Pa., August 31, 1870, to Helen M. Herman, a native of that county. They have one child - Mabel P.

CHARLES M. WELCH, son of Daniel and Eliza (Camp) Welch, was born in Marion County, Ohio, September 19, 1839. His father, of Irish descent, was born in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1817, afterwards lived in Marion County. Moved in 1847 to De Kalb County, Ind., and in 1863 to De Witt County, Ill., where he still lives. His mother, of Scotch descent, was born in 1818 in Onondaga County, N. Y. Daniel and Eliza Welch have had eight children, three only of whom are living. Charles M., the eldest of the sons, had but limited educational advantages, but through the instructions imparted by his mother, and what he was able to acquire in the schools of the neighborhood, made sufficient progress to commence teaching when he was but fifteen. In 1854 he entered Vienna Academy, Newville, Ind., supporting himself by teaching in winter. In 1860 he went to Farmer City, Ill., and taught school, returning the following year to Indiana, where he studied law with Judge John Morris, of Fort Wayne. In August, 1861, he enlisted for three years in Company E, Eleventh Indiana Volunteers, afterward a part of the First Division Thirteenth Army Corps, Gen. Lew Wallace commanding. In the spring of 1864, the Eleventh was reorganized into a veteran regiment, and attached to the Army of Shenandoah, Gen. Phil Sheridan commanding. After serving four years and one month, Mr. Welch was mustered out in September, 1865, and returned to Farmer City. He taught school there and in the surrounding counties, and was for six of the following years connected with the grain house of J. O. Peckham & Co., of Farmer City, he being a part of the time at Kenney, Ill. In 1877 he recommenced his law studies with Judge Ingham, finishing them with Mr. Herrick, of Farmer City. He was admitted to the bar at Springfield, June, 1877, and commenced the practice of his profession at Farmer City, of which place he was afterwards elected Mayor, on the temperance issue. He was married, April, 1866, to Miss T. C. Ryan, of Defiance County, Ohio, youngest daughter of John Ryan, of New York. He is now engaged in the practice of law in Topeka, having located here June 20, 1882. His brother, Rudolph B. Welch, is associated with him in practice, under the firm name of Welch & Welch.

ORIN T. WELCH, insurance commissioner, came to Topeka, August, 1865, and engaged in insurance and real estate business in which he continued until he was appointed Commissioner of Insurance, by Gov. Osborn, in 1875, which office he still retains by re-appointment. Mr. Welch was mayor of the City of Topeka in 1868, 1871 and 1872. He was born in the town of Orleans, Jefferson Co., N. Y., December 3, 1835, and his early life was spent on a farm. In September, 1855, he went to Michigan, and resided in Kalamazoo, in that State, three years, prior to coming to Kansas. He was married at Galesburg, Mich., March 31, 1855, to Abbie E. Simmons, a resident of Michigan, but born in New York. They have one child - Maud. Mr. Welch was elected Justice of the Peace, soon after his removal to Michigan - while yet but twenty-one years old. After serving in that capacity four years, he was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors, and retained the position three years, acting meantime as Deputy Town Clerk, and was then elected by the County Board of Supervisors as their delegate to the State Board of Equalization. During the war he was a member of the Board of Enrollment for the Second Congressional District, and was also Draft Commissioner for Van Buren County, Mich., these years during the war, being the only time he has been out of commission business, since he first engaged in it, when about twenty years of age. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Blue Lodge Chapter and Commandery, and is director and president of the Masonic Temperance Society. He was director and president of the Citizens' Building and Savings Institution during its successful existence of eleven years, and also vice-president of the Topeka Iron & Steel Company, until it ceased to exist.

RUDOLPH B. WELCH, attorney-at-law, and member of the firm of Welch & Welch, was born near Spencerville, Allen County, Ind., July 23, 1850. His collegiate education was acquired at the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, from which institution he was graduated in 1877, and immediately after became City Superintendent of Schools at Pontiac, retaining that position until he was elected President of the State Normal School at Emporia, and came to Kansas in August, 1879, to assume the duties of the position. Prior to this time he had been Principal of the high schools of Abingdon and Washington, Ill., and had read law at Pontiac while teaching in that city. While he had charge of the Normal School at Emporia, he visited over sixty counties, lecturing before teachers' institutes and other assemblages, and by his efforts and ability so increased the popularity of the school that the number of pupils increased from ninety to 402 during the years he remained there. He resigned his position in the school January, 1882, to take effect June 16, 1882, his resignation being for the purpose of entering into a law partnership with his brother Charles M., in Topeka, at that time. The brothers are now engaged in the practice of law under the firm name of Welch & Welch.

JACOB WELCHHANS came to Topeka May 16, 1868, and was engaged in masonry work for about a year after his arrival. In April, 1869, he was made Deputy County Surveyor and served in that position three years. He was elected representative to the State Legislature in 1873 from the Fifty-eighth District, he being at that time a resident of Monmouth Township, and in 1875 was elected County Surveyor, and served two terms. Since January, 1880, he has been connected with the office of the State Auditor. Mr. W. is a native of German Township, Clarke Co., Ohio. He was born August 5, 1834, and lived in Clarke County until 1863; then removed to Champaign County, Ohio, where he lived until he emigrated to Kansas. He was married in Champaign County, October 11, 1863, to Sarah Elizabeth Palmer, a native of Ross County, Ohio. They have three living children - Olive, Frank Everett and Alice, having lost one child in infancy. Mr. W. now resides on Section 26, Township 13, Range 16. He removed to Monmouth Township in 1870, and is carrying on a farm there, besides which he has taught school twenty-six terms and served as Deputy Clerk in the County Clerk's office four years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, I. O. G. T., I. O. O. F., Patrons of Husbandry, and several literary societies; also of the Shawnee County Teachers' Association.

CHARLES W. WELSH, of the firm of Bennett & Welsh, was born in Clark County, Ill., December 13, 1846, living there until the spring of 1859, when his family moved to Topeka. He enlisted in 1862 in Company M., ______ ______ Regiment, Kansas Volunteers, serving until the latter part of 1865, being one year and a half on the Missouri frontier and the rest of the time in the campaign against the Indians in western Kansas and Colorado. After his discharge he returned to Topeka, and soon after began the business of carpenter and builder, which he has since followed. He was married at Topeka, March 3, 1869, to Miss Mattie C. Durham. They have two children - Clifford and Myrtle. The firm of Bennett & Welsh, contractors and builders, have been doing business together since the early part of 1882. They are among the heaviest contractors and builders in the city, having done in the year 1882 over $700,000 worth of work, building the State Library, Copeland Hotel, and other buildings. They employ an average of sixty-five men, devoting their attention chiefly to public buildings.

EDWARD H. WHITE, attorney-at-law, came to Kansas in June, 1876, and located on his farm in Mission Township, five miles west of Topeka, where he remained three years, meanwhile teaching Adam's School, Topeka, being principal. Moved to the city in 1879, and engaged in editing and publishing the Topeka Tribune until November, 1881. April, 1880, was elected a member of the School Board for a term of three years. Began the publication of the Colored Patriot, the official organ of colored Kansans, April 20, 1882, and discontinued that paper July 20, 1882. Mr. White has taken an active part in politics, has always been an ardent Republican, was a delegate to the State Convention in 1882. He was born in Clarksville, Montgomery Co., Tenn., November 27, 1847. In 1856, his father being suspected of complicity with John Brown and the underground railroad, the family was driven from the State. He removed with his parents to Debuque, Iowa. Returned to his native State in 1860, and was held by the Confederates one year, and was then captured and detained by the Federals another year, when he went to Ohio and entered Wilberforce College, near Xenia, Ohio, and remained one year, completing the preparatory course. Then entered Oberlin College in the fall of 1865 and remained, with the exception of one year which he spent in the South teaching, until graduating in the classical course in 1872. He was a revenue collector in the Fifth District of Tennessee for six months and was then appointed principal of the institute for colored youth in Philadelphia. Held that position for three years, meanwhile reading law with Judge Pratt, and graduated in Howard University in the law department. Practiced his profession one year in Nashville, Tenn., and was admitted to the Supreme Court of that State, and has since then been admitted to practice in Kansas. He was married December 31, 1873, at Oberlin, Ohio, to Miss Caledonia D. Scott, of that place, a graduate of the High School. They have three children - Edward S., Viola M. and Donald Betran. Mr. White is a member and Grand Secretary of International Good Templars, and a member of the Presbyterian Church.

A. B. WHITING, druggist, was born in Johnson, La Moille, Vt., in 1836, where he resided until he came to Kansas, April 19, 1856, locating in what is now Madison Township, Riley County, most of his farm however being located in what is now Davis County. He engaged in farming and freighting. At that early day he paid $104 of 1000 feet of common flooring lumber on the levee at Leavenworth, freighting it a distance of 140 miles to his home with ox teams and was obliged to take his first grist to the old Pomeroy Mill at Atchison, also a distance of 140 miles. These facts are alluded to for the purpose of illustrating what a wonderful change has been wrought by the construction of the railroads in Kansas. Mr. Whiting removed to Milford, Davis County, in 1864, and engaged in the flouring and saw-mill business, using in his mill the boiler and engine which were thrown into the river at Wyandotte by the border ruffians during the days of early excitement regarding the slavery question in Kansas. Mr. W. also carried on various other enterprises at Milford, being engaged in the mercantile business, building bridges, ferries, across the Republican River, etc. When he first located in Kansas he went beyond the extreme western borders of settlement. He still owns an extensive farm in Davis County. In September, 1877, he came to Topeka, and has had bad business interests here ever since. He spent most of two years with the Exodus Relief Committee, and January 1, 1883, he and his son, Harris L. Whiting, became proprietors of the North Topeka Times. Mr. Whiting was married at Waterbury, Vt., in 1858, to Kate A. Whitenet, a native of that place. They have four children - Harris L., Mary H., Katie L., and Lillie B.

[TOC] [part 38] [part 36] [Cutler's History]