Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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who is working his father's farm in Murray township; Arthur W., who is
assisting his father in the lumber business at Vermillion; Leonard A., who
is a student at Wesleyan Business College at Salina. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson
are members of the Swedish Lutheran church in Lincoln township and have
ever given their earnest attention to community good works, helpful in pro-
moting all measures having to do with the advancement of the common


Among the prominent and well-known residents of Waterville, ]\far-
shall county, and one of the early settlers of the county, was born in
Cattaraugus county. New York, on July 22, 1832, being the son of Selah
and Nancy (Plank) Farwell, natives of the state of New York.

Selah Farwell was born on a farm and was the son of Solomon Far-
well, who was the son of Abel Farwell, a native of the state of Massa-
chusetts and a soldier of the Revolutionary War. Nancy Plank Farwell
was the daughter of Henry and ]\Iargaret (Van Ingen ) Plank. Henry
Plank was a son of John Plank and Nellie Margaret Gordinier. John
Plank was a soldier of. the War of the Revolution. Mrs. Farwell was of
Dutch descent, her grandfather. Joseph Van Ingen, was a captain in the
W^ar of Independence, and his father was a well-known surgeon, who came
to the United States from his home in Rotterdam. Holland, and served
as a surgeon in the same war.

When John Dennis Farwell was but a few months of age, his Grand-
father Plank induced his parents to move back to Lewis county, New York,


the old home of the family, and there j\ir. l^arvvell received his education
in the local schools. When he was sixteen years of age he entered the
academy at Denmark, where he completed his education. He then taught
school for a time at fifteen dollars per month and boarded around, as
was the practice in those days. His father was a carpenter, at which trade
he worked for man}^ years, in connection with the operation of a saw-
mill and grist-mill. On reaching an advanced age, the father retired from
the business and moved in 1848 to a farm near Denmark, New York,
which he sold and moved to Whiteside county, Illinois, in 1856. In 1872
he moved to Waterville, Kansas, where he died in 1894. He was a man
who was devoted to his family, was industrious and held in the highest
regard by all in the community in w^iich he lived. His life was a most
active one, and he accomplished much for the opportunities that he had.
John Dennis Farwell, as a lad and young man, was not strong, and
after teaching school and clerking in a store for some years, he decided
that he would locate in w^hat was then one of the Western states. In
1854 he left his home in the state of New York and settled at Morrison,
Illinois. He rented a farm and engaged in general farming, and during
the winter months taught school. He later purchased a farm for one
thousand six hundred and fifty dollars, and had to go in debt for the
place. He made many improvements and did much in the way of develop-
ment. He then sold the farm for six thousand five hundred dollars and
in 1868 came to Kansas. He stopped for a time at Lawrence, Kansas,
and then joined an excursion in search of a location. Their destination
was Ft. Sheridan, but when they got as far as Hays City, the soldiers
stationed at that place stopped them on account of a band of Indians
and vast herds of buffalo moving south in the locality. The next day the
train proceeded on its way over the prairie. Many buffalo were seen and
some of the larger ones tried to butt the engine off the track, and at three
different times the herd was so dense that the train had to run slowly,
for the sake of safety. They at last reached Ft. Sheridan, but owing to
the raids of the Indians, they started on the return trip early the next
morning. At the request of the paymaster for the Kansas & Pacific Rail-
road, Major E. D. Reddington, who was to follow, was requested to keep
watch for him as he was fearful the Indians would attack his train. Mr.
Farwell and the roadmaster, rode on the front of the engine, and during
their novel ride, saw many herd of antelope. While thus riding, they
discovered a turned rail in the track, but not in time to prevent a wreck
of the tender of the engine and a number of the cars. An investigation



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showed that someone had piihed the spikes, and turned the rail. It was
a most exciting time, for the first thought was of the Indians in that sec-
tion of the country. It was not long until a white horse, ridden by the
chief and followed by many of his tribe, appeared. The train was sur-
rounded, but the men of the party guarded the train as best they could.
Mr. Far well with some others of the party, took the engine and made
for Carlysle, where they telegraphed to General Sheridan, at Ft. Hays,
who sent a relief party to the scene of the holdup. Mr. Farwell then
proceeded to Manhattan and from there he staged it to Irving, Marshall
county, and homesteaded a farm south of Waterville. Then, after voting
for General Grant for President, he returned to Illinois and with his family
he returned to Kansas on March 4, 1869, and established himself on the
farm. The lumber with which he built his first house, he obtained at
Atchison, and while it was but cottonwood, he paid fifty-five dollars per
thousand for it. This farm he developed and improved and here he engaged
in farming, until 1879, when he sold his large farm of eight hundred and
eighty acres and moved to Marysville. In the fall of 1869 Mr. Farwell was
elected township clerk and while serving as such he made the contract with
the King Bridge Company in 1870 and supervised the building of the first
iron bridge built in Marshall county, which bridge is still in use over the
Little Blue river at Waterville, although the bridge is forty-seven years oM.
He was elected register of deeds and served in that office for four years.
He was a most painstaking official, and his records were at all times up-to-
date. It was one of the requirements of Mr. Farwell, that the office was
not to be closed for the day until the records were compared and in order
for the next day's business. He was the first official in the county to employ
a woman in the office, and it is to his credit, that his record is one of the
best that has been made by any official. After his term as register of deeds
expired, he was the first one to introduce the hectograph, with which he
furnished reports of all instruments filed in the register of deeds office, now
reported by the Coles Abstract Company, and conducted a loan and abstract
office in Marysville, until 1903, when he retired from the business and
moved to Waterville.

John Dennis Farwell was first married on October 20, 1856, to Lydia
Hollingshead, who was born in the state of Illinois on January i, 1837,
and died on July 16, 1865. O^ this union three children were born: Etta
N., Alice E. and Elmer S. Etta N. was born on March 27, 1858, and is
now the wife of Mr. Sconten, and she is a resident of the state of Cali-



fornia: Alice E., who was burn on December 2, i860, is the wife of C. G.
Thomas, a retired resident of Waterville, and l^^hner S. was born on Decem-
ber 20. 1863, and died on December 12, 1913. He was a graduate of the
Trocy polytechnic school of New York, having completed the course in civil
engineering in that institution. On July 3. 1867, Mr. Farwell was mar-
ried to Abba Hartwell. who was born in Lewis county, Xew York, on
April 4, 1842, and to this union three children were born, only one now
living, Fred Henry, who is a resident of Orange, Texas. ]\lr. and Mrs.
Farwell are active members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Water-
ville, and for nineteen years, Mr. Farwell was superintendent of the Sunday
school at Marysville and for four years at Waterville. They are most estim-
able people and have long been active in social and the rehgious life of the
county, where they are held in high regard and esteem. He w^as for many
years a trustee of the church and has always been a liberal supporter of
the local churches and the various societies of the denomination. He has been
a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons since 1856, and he
is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is the
oldest member of the former order in the county, in point of service and
membership. He was a charter member of the order at Waterville, and
of the Royal Arch ]\Iasons at Marysville, and is also a charter member of
the Ancient Order of United Workmen at Alary sville.

Mr. Farwell is a man of much ability and possessed of a splendid
education. He has always been a great lover of good literature and is
a writer of note. He is a great student of history and has contributed
a number of historical facts to this present volume. He has also completed
a genealogical history of the Farwell family, which is now on the press.
His life has been a most active one, and he is known as the "grand old
man" of Waterville. His life in the county connects the early pioneer
times with the present, and in all the remarkable growth and history of
the county, he has taken an important part. He is one of the progressive
men of the district, and today is one of the best informed on the past and
the present time. To him is due much of the progress in the educational,
moral and physical deevlopment of this section of the state. Coming to
the countv, when much of it was an unbroken prairie, he has seen the
transition to the splendid farms, fine homes and up-to-date towns and cities.

Mr. Farwell remembers with pride when living on the ia.vm, of having
raised and tamed two buffalo, that ran with his cattle, and believes that
those animals might have been domesticated to advantage.



James Sullivan, former sheriff of Marshall county and one of the
best-known farmers, stockmen and grain buyers in the county, proprietor
of a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Vermillion township, is
a native son of Marshall county and has lived here all his Hfe. He was
born on the pioneer farm on which he is now living, October 19, 1872,
son of James and Bridget (Drew) Sullivan, natives of Ireland and pio-
neers of Marshall county, whose last days were spent on their home farm
in Vermillion township, both dying in the year 1902.

The senior James Sullivan, who for years was one of the best-known
figures on the plains during the days of the freighters along the old Over-
land Trail, was born in County Limerick, Ireland, in 1838, and there spent
his youth. In 1857, he then being nineteen years of age and of an adven-
turous turn of mind, he came to the United States and proceeded up into
Wisconsin, glowing word at that time going out of the Northwest and
attracting many settlers to that part of the country. The lay of the land
there did not suit him, however, and he presently came down into the
Territory of Kansas and became a freighter on the old Overland Trail from
Atchison and St. Joseph to Denver and was thus employed when the Civil
War broke out. Ardently espousing the cause of the Union he enlisted
his services in behalf of that cause and served valiantly as a member of
the Missouri Militia until the close of the war, returning then to the old
position as a freighter on the Overland Trail and was thus engaged until
his marriage in 1867, when he bought a quarter of a section of land in
VermilHon township and there "settled down," spending the rest of his
life there, the farm on which his son, the subject of this sketch, is now
living. The last trip James SuUivan made over the Overland Trail in 1867
was with a load of shelled corn, eighty bushels, which brought fourteen
cents a pound on the market at Denver, corn being greatly in demand
there for meal for the miners. The quarter section James Sullivan bought
in Vermillion township was a parcel of school land and he paid seven
dollars an acre for the same. His first house was a log cabin and he
started breaking his land with an ox-team. From the very beginning he
prospered in his farming operations and eventually became a well-to-do
landowner, being able to give his children a good start in the world when
they branched out for themselves. His wife, Bridget Drew, also was born
in Ireland, in 1843, and, both were devout members of the Catholic church,


raising their children in that faith. They were among the organizers of
the CathoHc church at LilHs and their second son, James Sulhvan, the subject
of this sketch, was the first person baptized in that church, to the necessi-
ties of which his parents ever were hberal contributors, as well as active
workers in all departments of the parish work. To this pioneer couple
eleven children were born, those besides the subject of this sketch being as
follow : Thomas, who died when nineteen years of age ; Michael, now a
resident of Noble township; William, also of Noble township; Mary E.,
who married Warren Osborn and lives near Frankfort; John, deceased;
Hannah, who married George Moss and lives in Wells township; Katherine,
who married J. M. Brophy and lives at Frankfort; Joseph, deceased, and
Daniel and Margaret, who died in infancy. The parents of these children
both died in 1902, after many years of usefulness in the community in
which they had settled in pioneer days and which they had lived to see
develop grandly.

The junior James Sullivan was reared on the farm on which he was
born, receiving his schooling in the neighboring district school, and remained
on the farm, assisting his father and his brothers in the labors of the same.
Upon the death of his parents in 1902 he inherited the home quarter section
and continued farming there until his election in 1908 to the office of sheriff
of Marshall county, as the nominee of the Democratic party. So efficiently
did Mr. Sullivan perform the duties of that office that he was re-elected in
the following election and thus served for two terms as sheriff of this
county. Upon the completion of his term of service as sheriff he returned
to the home farm from Marysville and began buying grain and live stock,
carrying on these operations quite successfully in addition to managing his
farm, and has been thus engaged since that time, long having been recog-
nized as one of the most substantial farmers and stockmen in that part of
the county. In addition to his term of service as sheriff of Marshall county
Mr. Sullivan for twelve years prior to his election as sheriff served as clerk
of his school district. In 1906 he was the nominee of his party for com-
missioner from his district, but was defeated by twenty-three votes. He has
long taken an active part in the political affairs of the county and is recog-
nized as one of the leading Democrats in his neighborhood.

On January 12, 1908, James Sullivan was united in marriage to Julia
Brophy, who was born at Kingston, New York, June 26, 1873, ^ daughter
of Michael and Anna (Delaney) Brophy, natives of Ireland, who had come
to this country with their respective parents in the days of their youth, the


families settling in New York. In 1879 Michael Brophy came west with
his family and located at Atchison, where he was engaged as a building con-
tractor until 1882, when he came over into Marshall county and bought a
farm in Cleveland township, where he spent the rest of his life, his death
occurring on July 12, 1884, he then being forty-five years of age. His
widow survived him many years, her death occurring on January 21, 19 14,
she then being seventy-five years of age. They were the parents of seven
cliildren, those besides Mrs. Sullivan, the third in order of birth, being as
follow : Mary, who married George McCarthy and lives in Noble township,
this county; Bridget, who makes her home with her sister, Mrs. Sullivan;
Andrew, a farmer, of Clear Fork township; Edward, of Vliets; Margaret,
who married Edward Brown and lives in the neighboring county oi Potta-
watomie, and John, of Frankfort.

To James and Julia (Brophy) Sullivan one child has been born, a daugh-
ter, Mary E., who died in 1914, at the age of three years. Mr. and Mrs.
Sullivan are members of the Catholic church at Lillis and give their earnest
attention to the affairs of that parish, as well as to the general social activi-
ties of the community in which they live. Mr. Sullivan formerly was a
member of tl>e Knights of Columbus. He is an active, energetic farmer and
business man and has done well his part in helping in the development of
his native county, in the general industrial and civic affairs of which he has
always taken a deep interest.


Samuel Curtis, one of Marshall county's most substantial citizens and
the proprietor of the largest farm operated under individual management
in this county, his ranch just east of Vermillion being one of the best-
equipped farm plants in this part of the state, is a native of the state of
Michigan, but has been a resident of Kansas since he was twenty years of
age. He was born on a farm in vicinity of Ovid, in Shiawassee county, Michi-
gan, May 14, 1857, son of Edwin Marcus and Mary Ann (Blanchard) Curtis,
natives, respectively, of Massachusetts and of Vermont, both members of
old Colonial families, who settled in Michigan and became substantial farm-
ing people in the Ovid neighborhood. They later moved to Laingsburg and
spent their last days there.

Reared on the paternal farm in Michigan, receiving his schooling in the


neighboring- scliools and fmni Ixixliood trained in the ways of farming,
Samnel Curtis remained in Michigan until he was twenty years of age, when,
in 1877, he came to Kansas and 1)egan farming in the vicinity of Caney,
bringing to this state with him seed wheat from Michigan. He made a
success of his first crop, l)nt the second crop was taken l)y cinch bugs. Mr.
Curtis then disposed of his interest at Caney and in 1879 moved to Brown
county, where he remained, further engaged in farming, until his marriage
in the spring of 1881, when he moved over into Nemaha county and bought
a farm of eighty acres of unimproved land in section 31 of Center town-
ship, that county, near the Marshall county line, northwest of Vermillion,
going in debt for the same to the amount of eight hundred dollars. There
Mr. Curtis built a house, broke the land and at the same time broke an
"eighty" adjoining on the north. As his farming operations developed he
leased three other "eighties" and there he continued farming quite successfully
until 1890. in which year he disposed of his home tract to advantage and
moved over into Marshall county, buying the northeast cpiarter of section
12 of \'ermillion township, established his home there and has ever since
resided there, long having one of the best-improved places in that part of
the county. Upon taking possession of that place Mr. Curtis found but
sixty acres of it broken and the only building on the same a small shed
of a barn, all the present substantial and up-to-date improvements on the place
therefore having been made by him. As he prospered in his operations
Mr. Curtis added to his holdings until he now is the owner of a ranch of
nine hundred and eleven acres, the largest farm operated in Marshall county,
and to all of which he gives his personal oversight. His wife is the owner
of one hundred acres in the adjoining county of Nemaha, making ten hun-
dred and eleven acres under the Curtis ownership and management. For
years Mr. Curtis gave much attention to the raising of cattle, handling about
six hundred and fifty head annually, but of recent years has not been so
extensive a feeder. He also handles one hundred and fifty or two hundred
head of pure-bred Duroc-Jersey hogs a year and has done much to improve
the strain of swine throughout that section. Mr. Curtis employs six mar-
ried men on his place, the families being housed on the farm, and his opera-
tions are conducted in strict accordance with modern agricultural methods.
Mr. Curtis was the first man in his part of the county to recognize the neces-
sity of proper fertiHzation of the farm lands of this section and in 1902
bought the first machinery for that purpose sold in Vermillion.

On May 24. 1881. Samuel Curtis w^as united in marriage to Lucy M.
McClanahan, who was born at Macon, Missouri, daughter of James and


Eliza (Towne) McCIanahan, natives of Ohio, who were married in Mis-
souri and later came to this state, settling in Brown county, where they
spent their last days. James McClanahan was a "forty-niner"' and later
settled at old Albany in Xemaha county, this state, in the earlv fifties, and
there his first wife died. He then returned to Missouri and during the
Civil ^^^ar period was superintendent of a coal mine at Brevier, in Macon
county, that state. There in 1862 he married, secondly, Eliza Towne and
in 1865 returned to Kansas and again settled in the neighborhood of old
Albany, north of Sabetha, but later traded his land there for. a farm north
and east of Sabetha and there spent the rest of his life. The home place
there is still in the possession of the family, now owned by a brother of
Mrs. Curtis. By descent on the maternal line Mrs. Curtis is a member of the
Betty \\'^ashington chapter. Daughters of the American Revolution, at Law-
rence, taking descent "from James Towne. a soldier of the patriot army
during the Revolutionary War. James Towne, born in 1756, died in 1837.
His wife, Lucy Bettis, to whom he was married in 1778, was born in 1758
and died in 1843. Their son, Oliver Towne, born in 1779, married Damens
Luce, and their son. Nathaniel Towne, born in 1807, in Ohio, married, in

1829, Matilda Hevil. born in 1800. Nathaniel Towne died in 1846 and his
widow survived him until 1872. Their daughter, Eliza Towne, born in

1830, was married in 1862, as noted above, to James McClanahan and Mrs.
Curtis is one of the children born to this parentage.

To Samuel and Lucy AL (McClanahan) Curtis seven children have
been born, namely: Edna ]\L, who married A. B. Beacham and is now liv-
ing at Powell, Wvoming; Rose E., who began in the automobile business
at Lincoln and is now engaged as an automobile salesman at Kansas City;
Floyd Towne, w-ho is engaged on the horrfe farm; Norman Ivan, who is now
developing a homestead farm in the neighborhood of Gillette, Wyoming;
Stella, a member of the class of 191 7, ^It. St. Scholastica Academy, at
Atchison, and Lucy and Gloria, both still in school. Mr. and Airs. Curtis
are members of the Presbyterian church and have ever taken a proper part
in local good works, as well as in the general social activities of the com-
munity in which thev live. Mr. Curtis is an independent Republican. Fra-
ternallv, he is affiliated with the local lodges of the Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of the Ancient
Order of United Workmen, of the ^Modern Woodmen of America and of
the Knights and Ladies of Security, in the affairs of all of which organiza-
tions he takes a warm interest.



Dr. John Clifton, one of the best-known physicians of Marshall county
and who has been practicing his profession at Vermillion for nearly twenty
years, during which time he has done much for the development of that
thriving village, was born on a farm in the near vicinity of Meredosia, in
Morgan county, Illinois, October 20, 1864, son of John W. and Elizabeth
(Hoover) Clifton, natives of Indiana, w^ho later returned to their native
state, where the latter spent her last days and where the former is still

John \\'. Clifton was born in 1840. He became a farmer in Illinois
and was living there when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted his serv-
ices in behalf of the Union and served as a member of the Twenty-eighth
Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Not long after the completion of
his military service he moved with his family to Fulton county, Indiana,
where he is still living a a ripe old age. His wife died there in 1880. They
were the parents of nine children.

Not until he had reached years of maturity did Doctor Clifton turn
his attention to the study of medicine. He was but a child when his parents
moved from Illinois to Indiana and he grew to manhood on a farm in
Fulton county, that state. At the age of eighteen years he began teaching

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 89 of 104)