Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Albert M. Merryman

ALBERT M. MERRYMAN has for forty years been a figure in the business and civic affairs of Western Kansas, particularly Edwards County, and during all that time has played a characteristically energetic and influential part in everything with which he has been connected. He is a member of that old and prominent pioneer mercantile house of Edwards, Noble & Company at Kinsley. Mr. Merryman first came to Edwards County, Kansas, on February 2, 1878.

His earlier connections and his family activities identified the Merrymans with that interesting and historic region of Western Pennsylvania and the Upper Ohio Valley. Several generations back the Merrymans crossed the Alleghenies and established their homes in the region around Pittsburg, and Mr. Merryman's great-grandfather fought Indians and helped to open the way for civilization in that region. His grandfather, John Merryman, was a farmer and married a member of the Smith family whose record also connects them with the days of Indian fighting along the Ohio. John Merryman and wife had the following children: Bryan, Leonard, James, William, John and Polly.

The father of the Kinsley merchant was Capt. John Merryman, who was born in Pennsylvania, and it is believed that his birthplace was Seven-Mile Island below Pittsburgh. He grew up along the river and his life's energies were practically absorbed in the strenuous and romantic experiences of the old time transportation systems. He was long regarded as one of the ablest boatmen on the river system from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. He himself owned a steamboat which he navigated from Pittsburgh throughout the length of the Ohio and up and down the Mississippi. It is said that he was captain of every boat ever brought out by Gray's Iron Line, including the Rover, Ironsides, Iron Age, Iron Duke and Iron Mountain. Gray's Iron Line was a towing company which moved large quantities of freight on barges from Pittsburg to St. Louis and in the winter seasons from St. Louis to New Orleans. Captain Merryman practically spent his life on the waters of these rivers and his death resulted from an injury received while in service. Captain Merryman married Christiana Fisher. Her father, George Fisher, was a shoe merchant at York, Pennsylvania. She died at the age of fifty-nine. Her children, Ella married W. H. Baker and died in Pennsylvania; the next was Albert M.; Caroline married Ebbert Robinson and lives at Conway, Pennsylvania; Robert C. died in Pennsylvania; Sharp C. also passed away in Pennsylvania; and Edward G. went to Central America in 1887 and nothing has ever been heard from him since.

Albert M. Merryman was born at Monaca, formerly Phillipsburg, in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, April 1, 1853. At the age of thirteen he left home and began learning the tinner's trade at Rochester, Pennsylvania. He served a thorough apprenticeship lasting for seven years. In the meantime his opportunities to attend school had been very much abbreviated and at the conclusion of his apprenticeship he sought a better education in order the better to fit himself for a successful career. For one year he attended Taylor's Seminary at Beaver, Pennsylvania, and another year was a student in the Beaver Seminary. For about three years he was employed by Capt. A. J. Jolly, part of the time delivering stone and also working as time keeper. Another year he spent in the employ of the Government on a "channel" boat.

When Mr. Merryman came to Kansas he was en route to the Yellowstone country. He made the journey by railroad as far as Kansas City and had arranged to fill a place as second clerk on steamboat running up the Missouri to the Yellowstone country. During this trip he made a tour through Kansas, and unexpectedly came upon an old acquaintance at Kinsley. This acquaintance was Mr. E. A. Noble, whom Mr. Merryman thought to be dead. It was Mr. Noble's presence in Kinsley that caused Mr. Merryman to become a Kansan. The two men have been associated in business for a number of years, and both of them have a good deal in common, being natives of Pennsylvania and both having come to Kansas as a last resort for the purpose of regaining their health. It was the Kansas climate that rescued both of them.

Mr. Merryman took up a timber claim and a homestead in Edwards County, but occupied them only a few months. He had a little shanty on his homestead and he "roosted" there once a week on Sundays. He finally sold the relinquishments on both claims. In the meantime he was employed in the lumber yard of Edwards & Erwin. Later Mr. Edwards made him foreman of the cattle ranch and gradually he worked into a partnership. This firm operated on the head of Medicine River south of Greensburg. On selling that ranch they established the Coldwater Lumber Company at Coldwater, Kansas, and Mr. Merryman was in charge of the yard there for three years. While at Coldwater he was elected and served as the second and the fourth mayor of the town. Coldwater was in the center of the "Comanche Pool" and at that time was a real wild western town. Cowboys did as they pleased and made all manner of trouble for the local citizens until a mayor was elected with nerve enough to put a stop to their lawlessness. The killing of a man was regarded merely as a diversion, and the drug stores sold liquor whithout[sic] let or hindrance. Liquor and other goods were for several years hauled from Kinsley and with the construction of railroads the shipment of liquor was one of the chief items in the traffic.

Mr. Merryman finally sold out his interests at Coldwater and became treasurer of the Colorado Town Company and assisted in building a couple of towns in Southern Colorado, one of them being Vilas, while the other long since passed out of existence. When there seemed to be no future for this country Mr. Merryman sold the stock he owned and loaned the purchaser a dollar to buy it with. Much of his savings accumulated by several years of thrift were swept away in this venture. From Colorado Mr. Merryman went on west to Salt Lake City with B. L. Eaton. Mr. Eaton had formerly been proprietor of the Carey Hotel at Wichita. Their purpose in going to Salt Lake was to rent the Walker House, the best hotel in the city. They were too late for that and instead they bought a tract of land just west of Salt Lake and this land was subsequently sold at a profit and after about a year there Mr. Merryman returned to Coldwater, settled up his business affairs, and then came to Kinsley. He had some stock in the First National Bank as it was then, now the Kinsley Bank, and was soon made assistant cashier. He remained with this banking house until he entered the mercantile firm of Edwards & Noble in 1902. He was then given a partnership and the company part of the present title was added for his benefit and to indicate his financial connection. Ever since, for more than a quarter of a century, Mr. Merryman has been actively identified with this pioneer mercantile house of Edwards County. He now gives his chief attention to the credit department of the firm.

For fifteen consecutive years Mr. Merryman served on the City Council of Kinsley and during that time he was chairman of the finance and waterworks committees. For three years he was city treasurer. In former years Mr. Merryman took an active part and was well known in politics outside of Edwards County, particularly in the Seventh Congressional District. He fraternized with many of the noted old Kansas politicians. After the first "boss buster" convention he dropped politics and has not been active since. Until the time of that convention he was a stanch and loyal republican, but since then has had no regular party affiliations. He was a strong Roosevelt supporter and believes him to be the greatest American of his day. Mr. Merryman is a Blue Lodge Mason, for many years served as secretary of his lodge, and was long either treasurer or secretary of Kinsley Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He also belongs to several beneficiary orders, including the Ancient Order of United Workmen, which he served officially for twenty-two years. While he has no church membership, he is interested in the Congregational denomination, to which Mrs. Merryman belongs.

In Edwards County May 24, 1892, Mr. Merryman married Emily V. Tuttle. Her father, the late Dr. John C. Tuttle, came to Western Kansas in 1879 and acquired some extensive interests. He died in Montana while looking after his stock business there. Mrs. Merryman was one of the two children of her father. Her brother, Charles F. Tuttle, is with the Grover Produce Company at Hutchinson, Kansas. Mrs. Merryman was born near Morris, Illinois, in 1865 and was reared in Aberdeen, Mississippi, being educated under a governess until she came to Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Merryman have one daughter, Dorothy, who is an accomplished musician, especially as a vocalist. She was trained in Mount Carmel Seminary at Wichita, later in Bethany College at Topeka, and graduated from Horner Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.