J. R. (James Russell) Miller.

Portrait and biographical album of Jackson, Jefferson and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens .. online

. (page 21 of 110)
Online LibraryJ. R. (James Russell) MillerPortrait and biographical album of Jackson, Jefferson and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens .. → online text (page 21 of 110)
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Born of a sturdy New Engl-and ancestry, the
progenitors of Mr. Fenn were men of influence in
the East, and were ardent patriots during the Revo-
lutionary War. His grandfather, the Hon. Austin
Fenn, was a carpenter by trade, and entered the
ranks of the American arm}^ when a lad of sixteen,
serving during the last two years of the Revolu-
tion, and until the siege of Yorktown had brought
peace to the Colonies. Later, he removed to Lud-
low, Yt., and there eugaged in tilling the soil. He
was an old-line Whig, and served several terms in
the State Legislature, but finally removed to the
vicinity of Newark, Wayne Co., N. Y., where his
last days were quietl}' passed.

The father of our subject Joel Fenn, a na-
tive of Connecticut, who in early manhood went
to Dutchess County, N.Y., where he was employed
in a cotton factory. He afterward engaged in
farming in Waj'ne County, N. Y., and there passed
to his last rest. His wife was Anna M. Holmes,
who was born in Coxsackie, N. Y., and was the
daughter of Joshua Holmes, a native of New York.
He served in the War of 1812, and was by occupa-
tion a farmer and stock-raiser, having a fine farm
in Dutchess County, where his death occurred.
The mother of our subject died in Newark in 188S,

having attained to the sixty-ninth year of her age.
She was a devoted member of the Presbyterian
Church, and was a woman possessed of many
womanly virtues; her memory is lovingly cher-
ished by her children, of whom only three survive,
namely: Austin D., our subject; Jane, a resident
of Clinton, Wis.; and Joel, who lives in Beloit,
Wis. Those deceased arc: Mary Chelette, who
died in Boston; Harrison and Alice, both of whom
died in infanc}'.

The first three years of the life of Squire Fenn
were passed in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where he was
born Oct. 27, 1837, removing thence with his par-
ents to Wayne County, the same State, in 1840.
He lived on a farm there until he was eleven years
old, when his father died. Thus early deprived of
the loving counsel of one whose guiding hand
seemed especially necessary, the orphan boy was
taken into the family of an uncle in Vermont, and
was given common-school advantages. He was
also emplo^^ed on the farm and in various other
avocations, assisting in a sawmill when only eleven
j^ears of age. At the age of twenty -one he started
out for himself, purchasing 100 acres of land in
the township of Weston. This he improved and
cultivated until June, 1862, when he left the quiet
pursuits of the husbandman for the strife of the

Previous to the enlistment of Squire Fenn, he
had served in an independent organization known
as the "Green Mountains' Guards." He was mus-
tered into the Union army at Ludlow, having en-
listed in Companj- H, 10th Vermont Infantry. He
served with the Army of the Potomac, and partici-
pated in the battles of Greenwich and Bristol Sta-
tion. He was in the famous Gettysburg campaign,
but was held in reserve with 7.000 men to cut off
Lee's retreat. He was also at Locust Grove, Battle
of the Wilderness, Spoltsylvania, Cold Harbor, and
the siege of Petersburg. Afterward he joined
Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah Valley, and
was in the battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill,
Cedar Creek, and other less important skirmishes.
Later, he was returned to the Army of the Poto-
mac, and witnessed the capture of Richmond and
Petersburg, was engaged in the battle of Sailor
Creek, and was an eye-witness of Lee's surrender



at the Appomatox Court House. During the most
of his time he had served as a corporal, hut at the
time he was mustered out he was doing sergeant's
duty. After Lee's surrender he was sent to Dan-
ville, N. C, and was within thirtj^ miles of -John-
ston's surrender, after which he was sent by rail to
Richmond, whence he marched to Washington,
and took part in the grand review. He was finally
mustered out and honM'ably discharged at Ball's
Cross Roads, July 29, 1865, and thus was termin-
ated the career of one of the Union's most valiant
soldiers. He belonged to one of the fighting regi-
ments af the war, and took part in every engage-
ment of his compan}'. He experienced many hair-
breadth escapes, but was never seriously wounded.

After these perilous events, Mr. Fenn returned
to the quiet of his farm. He bought some land ad-
joing that previously purchased, until he was the
owner of 320 acres of well-improved land, most of
which was used for grazing purposes. He engaged
in the dairy business, and erected and engaged in
running a sawmill. In 1872 he decided to locate
in the West, and coming by rail to Beloit, Wis.,
there bought a team, and came overland to Kansas,
crossing the Mississippi at Quincy and the Mis-
souri at Kansas City. Upon arriving in Pottawat-
omie County, he homesteaded 160 acres of land in
Green Township, which he improved from a primi-
tive condition of nature to a highly-cultivated

Upon removing from his farm, in 1881, to 01s-
burg, Mr. Fenn built his present commodious resi-
dence, and also erected the fine hotel, which is lo-
cated on three lots on Commercial street, and which
he rents. Squire Fenn is a practical carpenter, but
although devoting some of his time to that trade,
he is chiefly occupied in discharging the duties im-
posed upon him by his various offices. While a
resident of Vermont, Mr. Fenn was married in
Weston, that State, to Miss Julia Woodcock, a na-
tive of the town where she was married. She is a
consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, at Olsburg, and is active in all good works,
sharing with her husband the respect of the com-
munity ,where for so many years they have resided.
They stand high both in religious and social circles.

Among other portraits of gentlemen prominent

in the 'history of Pottawatomie County, we are
pleased to present that of Mr.JFenn, who is uni-
versally recognized'as a man of ability and enter-
prise. He is identified with the interests of the
community, and is a member of the McCoy Post,
at Randolph.

J~ ESSP: 8.:CARPENTER is the able and effl-
I cient editor of;the'St. Mary's Gazette, a jour-
nal founded and conducted by him in the
interests of the Republican party. It has a
circulation extending into the thousands, being
read not only in that community but also having a
more than local reputation. A six column quarto,
with news both social and political, it is conceded
to be one of the most successful papers in Pottawa-
tomie County.

Since early youth our subject has been connected
with printing offices, commencing with their hum-
blest duties and gradually working his wa}' to prom-
inence in the editorial staff, and finally assuming
sole control of a paper with its manifold responsibil-
ities and arduous labors. At the age of seventeen
he began to learn the trade of printing at Council
Grove, Kan., while he dates his first editorial work
from his connection with the Temperance Banner,
which he launched at Council Grove during the
exciting campaign of 1882. His next enterprise in
the field of letters was the founding of the Vklette,
which after three issues was removed to Rossville,
and rechristened the Rossville Neirs, being [lub-
lished as such for a period of several years.

One of the most successful ventures in which
Mr. Carpenter was ever engaged, was the establish-
ment of Carpenter's Kansas Lyre, a humorous
sheet, filled with anecdotes, and containing flashes
of wit and words of wisdom as well. In this con-
nection he worked up quite a reputation. In Feb-
ruar}' of 1888, the office was removed to St. Mary's.
The Gazette has amply filled the needs of that
organization and has already gained a . good

James C. and Elizabeth (Fenner) Carpenter, the
parents of our suliject, were' residents of Warren
Count}', Iowa, where tlieir son, Jesse S., was born



April 9, 1863, and when tbe child had reached the
age of seven years the family left the Hawkeye
State, and homesteaded a claim in Kansas near
Council Grove, Morris County. This farm was
improved gradually by the combined efforts of the
household and our subject was by no means a
laggard in the development of the estate. After
residing there about three years, in 1873, they
located in the village of Council Grove, where the
father was interested in horses. The early educa-
tion of Mr. Carpenter was gleaned in the common
schools of his district, but he early developed those
traits of independence which still so successfully
accompany him, and since a lad of fifteen he has
carved for himself his own pathwaJ^ and has
climbed the rugged road leading to fortune with
very little aid from others, except the assistance
given him in the shape of kind words and loving

A few years since Mr. Carpenter chose for him-
self a helpmate, being united in marriage Aug.
22, 1886, with Laura Frishman, daughter of Samuel
and Rosalia Frishman, natives of Germanj-. Mrs.
Carpenter was born in Lawrence. Kan., Aug. 2.5,
1867, and has become the mother of one child, a
sou, Willie.


_^i LLEN B. SC HOLES. In speaking of the
[email protected]^| pioneers of a country, the thoughts fly first
11 14 of ail to those who have broken the soil
■^ and improved the farm lands, enduring

the perils and privations always suffered by those
who live remote from human companionship. No
doubt the foremost place is deservedly thejrs, but
following very closely come the mechanics who in
tlie various branches of handicraft have built up
the new countries. Were it not for the builders,
and the makers and repairers of tools and machin-
ery, our agriculturists would endure much greater
hardship than has been theirs. The gentleman
whose name heads this notice is entitled to great
credit for his labors in Kansas, of which State he
has been a citizen for thirty-one years, spending
liis time at the trade of a carpenter. He is now
Postmaster inWestmoreland. Pottawatomie County,
havino- taken tnut position the 1st of October, 1889.

Th e eyes of our subject were first opened to the
light in Ashland County, Ohio. Jan. 17, 1834, and
in that county he spent seven years. His parents
then removed to Mason County, 111., where he re-
mained until twenty-four years old. He obtained
a good education and learned the trade of a car-
penter, which he followed from that time until his
appointment to the office of postmaster. On April
1st, 1859. Mr. Scholes with his wife set out for
Kansas with an ox-team, and on reaching the Ter-
ritory located at Ilolton, Jackson County, there
being but nine houses in the village at that time.
During the next ten years, Mr. Scholes and his
partner, Blr. YanNuys, built the most of the town.
The former continued his labors as a contractor
until about th^year 1881, when be became foreman
for Mr. Chase, who was a heavy contractor. Two
years later he removed to this county, continuing
work at his trade, both as an active builder and as
a contractor, until called upon to serve in a more
public capacity. Mr. Scholes owned a farm in
Jackson County, and still owns a tract of land in
Sherman Township, this county, which he operates
as a general farm and which was his home until he
became a denizen of the city of Westmoreland in

Mr. Scholes was intensely loyal to the cause of
the Union, and not many months had elapsed after
the first call for troops to suppress the late Rebel-
lion, before he was enrolled in the ranks of his
country's defenders. Leaving a young wife and
two small children, he enlisted Aug. 18, 1862, in
Company B., 11th Kansas Cavalry. The regiment
was in the Army of Arkansas a greater pari of the
time, and soldiering mostly on the frontier. Mr.
Scholes took part in the engagements at Prairie
Grove, Cane Hill, Lexington and Independence,
Mo., and Westport, together with the scouting that
appertains to cavalry- service. He was mustered
out on June 5, 1865, at the close of the war, return-
ing toHiilton with an honorable record and finding
his family in good health awaiting his return.

The lady who has been Mr. Scholes' most valued
comp.anion for raan'j' years, was in her maidenhood
Miss Eliza P. Wattcrs. She was born in Washing-
ton County, lows. March 3. 1843. and at the time
of her marriage was residing at North English,



Iowa County. To Mr. and Mrs. Scholes nine eliil-
dren have been born, all still living, and of whom
we note the following: Frank married Miss Alice
Harrison, of Holton, and now lives in Colorado;
Belle is the wife of Mark Keeney, of Otisburg;
Elsworth married Mary VanGilder, of Morris
County, where they now live; Virgil married Miss
Rosa Conway, and now lives in Topeka; Albert,
Ilimie, May, Maggie, and Bruce are still single.

])uring his residence in Jackson County, our
subject served as Deputy Sheriff and as a member
of the School Board. He is one of the oldest men
now living, that settled in Northeastern Kansas as
early as the spring of 1859, and might give much
interesting information regarding the development
and growth of this section. He is a man of moral
wortli. higlily spoken of by all who know him, and
luis many warm friends in the community. He is
a mc:nber of the Christian Church, as is also his

-^-*-B -


III with the
(^ in public

/ OHN W. JOHNSON. In Kansas, as in other
Western States, one is strongl}^ impressed
fact that positions of prominence
lie life, in business circles, and among
land owners are filled bj^ men young in j-ears, but
active, enterprising and possessed of sterling busi-
ness qualities. Pottawatomie County has her full
share of these youiig and successful men, and
among them stands the gentleman whose name ini-
tiates this notice. His home is pleasantly located
on section 28, Blue Valley Township, and on the
220 acres of land which he there owns he is en-
gaged in farming and stock raising. He uses the
latest improved labor-saving farm machiner}',
keeps abreast of the times in his stock-breeding,
and has spared no pains or expense in adding to
the comforts of his home.

Mr. Johnson is the second child in a family of
seven children born to N. P. Jolinson, whose sketch
occupies another page in this book. He was the
first Swedish child born in Kansas, his birth having
taken place ic Blue Valley Township, Dec. 30,
1856, and he can well remember when the sur-
rounding country presented little that would be-

tiiken the residence of civilized men. He was
reared on his father's farm on the banks of the
Blue, and the first schools which he attended were
held in log houses with slab benches, the instruc-
tion there received, however, being quite thorough,
and his own education being completed in the Man-
hattan High School. He remained at home until of
age, when he rented a farm from his uncle, John
A. Johnson, and a year later purchased 100 acres
of his present estate, upon which scarcely anj^ im-
provements had been made. He broke the soil
and engaged at once in farming and stock-raising,
subsequently adding to his original purchase 120
acres, the whole being now fenced in convenient
fields, and well improved. It is watered by Shannon
Creek, and borders on the Blue, 100 acres of it ly-
ing on the bottom lands, and having the deep, rich
soil of that valle}'. Mr. Johnson is a practical
farmer, and has made a success of his labors both
in the raising of crops and stock. He raises three-
fourth grade Short-horn cattle, feeding about one
car-load per year, and three cars per j'ear of full-
blooded Poland-China hogs. He also raises graded
Norman horses, having fourteen head on the farm,
and using three teams in farm work. In addition
to five stock which he raises, he is engaged to some
extent in buying and shipping. His residence is a
pleasant frame house 14x28 feet, with a wing 16 feet
square, and is situated one and a half miles from
Cleburne. A fine stone barn 28x38 feet was
erected by Mr. Johnson in 1881, and his corn-cribs
cover an area of 10x115 feet.

The pleasant and hospitable home of Mr. John-
son is under the care of an excellent housewife,
with whom he was united in marriage at her home
in Blue Valley Township, Jan. 12, 1879. Mrs.
Johnson bore the maiden name of Alma Burklund,
and is a native of Sweden, having come to Kansas
when a child with her father, Jacob Burklund, a
homesteader and prominent farmer of this town-
ship. Three bright children cluster around the
fireside of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson — Hilina, Alphia
and Alice.

Mr. Johnson is a stockholder in the Blue Vallej'
Stock Breeders' Association, and an interested
member of that bod3'. He has been Supervisor of
Roads for a year, and is now serving as Treasurer



of the school district. He has served on the petit
jury one term. Mr. Johnson is a prominent mem-
ber of the Lutheran Church at Mariadahl, and in
regard to his polities says he is a Republican first,
last and always.

.^ LONZA H. ROBERTS is one of the most
v^yjj enterprising and successful farmers of Pot-

j is tow.atomie Countj', where he has a fine
^ estate, comprising eighty acres of land, on

section 2, in Rock Creek Township. The residence
is a convenient and comfortable one, pleasantly lo-
cated and cozilj^ furnished.

Mr. Roberts passed the early part of his life in
Waterboro, Me., where his birth occurred March
17, 1843. He grew to a stalwart manhood, in the
meantime obtaining that knowledge which is in-
dispensable to business success. He remained on
the homestead several years after he attained to that
age when one is empowered by law to act for him-
self. Believing he could meet with greater success
financially by changing his location, he removed
to Biddeford, Me., and engaged in the grocery and
provision trade. He remained there some time,
then removed to Sackville, where he carried on his
business until 1869. During the years 1869-70 he
was the proprietor of the "Ocean House," at Old
Orchard Beach, which was built as it now stands in
accordance with his plans. In 1871 he sold out
his business, and removed to Boston, where he em-
barked in the fruit and vegetable trade. In this
he continued until he finally left the New England
States and located in the West.

Accompanied by his family, Mr. Roberts, in
1881, proceeded Westward and located in Pottawat-
omie County, Kan., where they now reside. It was
not thickly settled, when, having resolved to make
it tlicir home, they purchased a tract of raw prairie,
on which they commenced to labor with zeal. Our
subject pushed his improvements, so that in a
comparatively short lime he had his homestead
under excellent cultivation, with the buildings,
orchards, fences and other improvements that are
always to be found on a well-regulated country
es-tate. To the occupation of a farmer, he has

added that of stock-raising, and keeps on his place
Shire horses and Cleveland Bay stallions; he also has
five imported horses: "Hector," "Maxwell," "Da-
mon," "Addington" and "Bellefountain." He makes
a specialty of buying and shipping horses to the
State of Maine, having sent several carloads there.
Although not an active politician, Mr. Roberts
votes with the Republican party. He was united
in marriage with Fannie L. Broderick, of Boston,
Mass., July 16, 1878. Their two children are —
Chester W. and Samuel D. Mrs. Roberts was born
in Massachusetts, near Boston, and passed her child-
hood da3's in Holbrook, Mass., but in eai-ly girl-
hood removed to Boston, where she passed the
years prior to her marriage. She is a lady of many
graces of character, and is a member of the Metho-
dist Episcopal Church, Winthrop street, Bovtoii.
Mr. Roberts is a man of superior intelligence and
business capacity, and, with his famih-, receives
the hearty respect and kind esteem of nciglibors
and friends.

/^EORGE J. BLANEY, County Commis-
(Ij (=- sioner of the First District of Pottawatomie
^^^!4 Count}', is one of the most prominent and
influential men in this section of country, and
makes his headquarters at one of its finest home-
steads, comprising 480 acres of laud on section 2,
Spring Creek Township. He was elected to his
present office in the fall of 1887 by the Republican
l)arty, for a term of three j'ears. He is a liberal
and public-spirited citizen, a member of the School
Board of his district for many years, and politi-
cally a strong Republican, a man foremost in the
councils of his party in this section and frequently
sent as a delegate to the county and State conven-
tions. By the exercise of industry, economy- and
prudence, he has accumulated a good property-,
being practically independent.

The Blaney family originated in Ireland, whence
the great-grandfather of our subject emigrated to
America at an early d.ay. He reared a fine family,
among whom was Josiah, the grandfather of our
subject, who was born in Hartford County. Jld..
and was given a thorough education, being gradu-



ated from a Maryland college and designed for
the priesthood. He, however, was not inclined to
holy orders, but turning his attention to worldly
business, became the owner of a large plantation,
which was operated by slaves. Among his sons
was Thomas, the father of our subject, liltewise a
native of Hartford County, Md. The latter learned
the trade of a carpenter and joiner, and remained
a resident of his native county until after reaching
his majority. He afterward removed to York
County, Pa., where he engaged in farming. He be-
came well to do and finally' retired from active labor,
and removed to the town of York, Pa., where he
spent his last days. He was a highl^v-respected
citizen and a member of the Methodist Episcopal

The maiden name of the mother of our subject
was Frances Keener. She was born in York
County, Pa., and was the daughter of John
Keener, likewise a uative of the Keystone State.
Grandfather Keener owned about 400 acres of land
upon which he prosecuted farming successfully and
also operated as a distiller. The Keener family
was of German descent. To Thomas and Frances
Blaney there was born a family of thirteen chil-
dren, eight of whom lived to mature years. Sarah
A. died in York County, Pa. ; .John T. is a resi-
dent of Quincy, 111.; Mary E., Mrs. Ilandley, re-
sides in Lancaster, Pa.; William M. is in York,
Pa., James R. is a resident of Irving, Kan. ;
Henry E. resides in Bigelow, this State; George
J. is next to the youngest born ; Melissa, Mrs.
Mohr, makes her home at Mt. Wolf, Pa. John,
during the late Civil War, served six months in an
Illinois regiment; William M. served nine
mouths in the 209tli Pennsylvania Infantry;
James R. served four months in the 103d Penns^d-
vania Infantr}-; Henry E. served three years ten
months and four days in the 87th Pennsylvania
Infantry, being the last ten months and ten days
in Andersonville prison.

The subject of this sketch was born in Lower
Chanceford, York Co., Pa., Dec. 1, 1814. He
was brought up on the farm and received a lim-
ited education in the old-fasiiioned log school-
house of those times. He remained under the
parental roof until a youth of eighteen years, then

leaving the farm, engaged on a canal-boat and
made his way up from tow-boy to captain. In the
fall of 186.5 he was employed as a teamster by the
United States Government in the Eastern Army,
which at the time operated in the State of Penn-
sylvania. On June 26, 1864, he enlisted as a
regular soldier in Company C, 195th Pennsylvania
Infantry, being mustered in at Harrislr.irg and his
regiment assigned to tiie Army of the Potomac.
The regiment was sent into the Shenandoah Valley
to guard the passes and other points, but engaged
in no skirmishes with the enemy, being in the
Third Provincial Division. Mr. Blane}' remained
in the army until the close of the war, being mas-
tered out at Summit Point, in June, 1865, and
receiving his honorable discharge at Harrisburg.

Upon returning home Mr. Blaney engaged as a
boatman on the Tidewater and Pennsylvania Canal.
Soon afterward he purchased a boat which he op-
erated during the summer seasons, while his winters
were spent chopping in the pine woods of Pennsyl-
vania, near Williamsport. He was thus occupied
until the spring of 1869, then determined to see
what l.iy beyond the Mississippi, although he had
no intention of remaining iiere. In accordance
with his usual habits of industr}- lie engaged as a
farm laborer about two years in the vicinity of
Irving, and finally becoming favorably impressed

Online LibraryJ. R. (James Russell) MillerPortrait and biographical album of Jackson, Jefferson and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens .. → online text (page 21 of 110)