Pages 45-53, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.



Byrne was another of those striking characters whom to have known briefly was to remember for ever. Light complected flaxen haired, pale blue eyes, lithe as a cat, of most nimble wit, one of the kind that could keep the table in a roar, and with temper nimbler still. He came to Humboldt in 1868. I recall one incident which characterizes the man. Driving up to Iola in a hack Goodin and Gilbert were regaling later arrivals such as Byrne, Barber and myself with stories of more primitive times. Finally Byrne broke in "Pshaw, that's nothing. Do you see that hill over there?" pointing to the Dave Parsons Hill south of Elm Creek whose demolition for cement purposes now furnishes employment for hundreds of men, "When I first came to Allen County that hill was nothing but a hole in ground."

Byrne was always prominent and quite active in all public affairs. His family consisted of a wife, a most estimable lady of culture and refinement, and several children to all of whom he was devotedly attached. In the spring of '71 without warning he dropped from sight and for no conceivable reason, and from that day to this "What became of Byrne?" has been a mystery which remains to be solved in generations to come by some literary genius of Allen County who chooses to interweave in thrilling romance the stirring scenes and picturesque characters of Allen County's early days.

H. M.
Here too was romance.The son of Matthew Hale Smith, a writer of national distinction, he disliked the name for some reason and changed Smith for Burleigh. Though rather young for the position he served during the war on the staff of some corps commander, Burnside, I think, in the army of the Potomac with the rank of Major. His appearance was striking, of medium height, spare and straight, dark visaged, wicked twinkling black eyes, brisk, alert, with air and bearing suggestive of dash, rattle of sword and scabbard and jingle of spur, always neatly attired, in cold weather with a military cloak with the cape jauntily thrown back to exhibit a trifle of its red flannel lining, such was the appearance of the man.

One picture of Burleigh I shall never forget. An editor by an injudicious application of an epithet to a newly arrived lawyer converted the writer hereof into a prosecuting witness, and himself into a defendant, in a criminal libel suit. Upon the trial Burleigh, who in addition to being County Attorney, was an excellent reader, for one solid hour read in evidence from Dickens to a jury of Allen county farmers, and from that day to this no Allen county editor has ever called an Allen county lawyer "Uriah Heap".

Burleigh was an accomplished gentleman, somewhat literary, much above the average as a talker and very fair as a lawyer. Soon after the


incident referred to he went to Athol, Massachusetts, where he practiced law for some years. Then came an interregnum of mysterious disappearance coupled with piratical and sentimental romance. Afterwards he reappeared and practiced law in Athol until a few years since when he was found dead in his office.

G. P.
Strongly touched with genius, versatile and visionary, active and energetic, fearless and tireless, audaciously aspiring and thirsty for prominence and notoriety, of very exceptional ability as speaker and writer, such was Colonel G. P. Smith. Probably no man was ever more on the alert for an opportunity to rise and address his fellow citizens, and few could do so on short notice with more credit. Lack of continuity, both as to occupation and locality, was his most notable characteristic. Ohio, Virginia, Eastern Illinois, Middle Illinois, Humboldt, Fredonia and back to Ohio. Doctor, soldier, editor, lawyer and farmer, doctor and farmer, editor, lawyer and always a politician, such was his history. His career was strenuous, stormy and eventful. In '56 he was a leading spirit in organizing a Fremont Club in Wheeling and during the fall of that year he made an aggressive campaign in West Virginia. On one occasion an attempt was made to lynch him but he was rescued by friends though not until he had disabled several of his assailants with his knife.

In '61 Lincoln appointed him collector of customs at Puget Sound, but the outbreak of the war offered employment more to his liking and he declined the appointment. Aide-de-camp on the staff of General Rosecrans with rank of Captain, Major of the 69th and Colonel of the 129th Illinois, such was his army career and in each of these positions his energy, force of character and courage won for him distinction.

After the war he edited the Journal at Jacksonville, Illinois, for several years. In 1869 he settled in Humboldt, Kansas, as lawyer and farmer. Through the seventies he alternated in rapid succession between law, medicine, farming, editorial work and politics and in fact at times combined all five. Though fond of mingling with people he was at the same time an indefatigable student of general literature, political economy and kindred subjects as well as philosophy. No hard day's work on the farm or in the office was ever tiresome enough to send him to bed before midnight when he had a good book to read, and he never read an inferior book. He held it to be the most inexcusable waste of time to read a good book when one better could be had. One of his poems entitled "The Gods and I are at Strife", written in moments of depression after the death of an idolized and only daughter and his phenomenally gifted son Byron, and after the utter failure of all his plans, may still be seen occasionally in the newspapers.

His special excellence was as a campaign orator and as such he was always in demand. In '64 together with Ingersoll then unknown to fame, he campaigned over Northern Indiana. In '71 he represented his district in the State Legislature. As candidate for State Auditor he canvassed the State some years later but was on the wrong ticket. In about '85 he returned to his starting point in Eastern Ohio where he soon after died.


L. W.
Born in Morgan county, Illinois, in August, 1841, raised on a farm, entered the army in August 1861, present with Company A of 32nd Illinois (of which John Berry of Erie Kansas, was afterward Captain) at the capture of Fort Donelson and wherever else the army of the Tennessee won glory, including the march to the sea and the grand review at Washington; mustered out in September 1865. He was a private until three days after the battle of Hatchie River, then first Sergeant until January 1865, then Second Lieutenant until mustered out. From the time of receiving his commission until mustered out he was on staff duty as acting adjutant, or as aide-de-camp on the staff of General W. W. Belknap of the Iowa Brigade. He graduated at Wesleyan University at Bloomington, Illinois in 1868; then with Major J. W. Powell's "exploring expedition" in Colorado; with Powell and W. N. Byers, then editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and some others made the first ascent of Long's Peak in August 1868, read law at Bloomington, Illinois, admitted to bar in December 1869, had trunk packed for Kansas in time to have been there before the close of '69 but was detained until a few weeks later by sickness of a relative, was therefore constructively present and one of the sixties, opened office in Humboldt early in 70, first in partnership with G. P. Smith; then with Orlin Thurston; then with J. B. F. Cates; from '83 in partnership with J. R. Goodin at Wyandotte, now Kansas City, Kansas, until Goodin's death in '85, since that time and now in practice with Hon. C. F. Hutchings at Kansas City, Kansas. He was in the Legislature in 1877. Such is the history of the subject of this sketch.

Keplinger was as different from each one of those heretofore mentioned as they were from each other. He was not convivial. He liked to be with books rather than with people. He shunned rather than sought after prominence. He had a horror of being called on to make a speech. He regarded sentiment as of paramount consideration and he sought to make up in earnestness and industry what was lacking in grace or eloquence. He brought with him to Kansas an uncertain quantity of political aspiration which however was hampered with the notion (which he still entertains) that the office should seek the man. After years of waiting, a little measly office that no one else in the party wanted, sought him. He was permitted to write his own platform. He put in this plank "When bad men secure nominations the mistakes of conventions should be corrected at the polls." The rest of the ticket was elected and Keplinger was defeated. But he had his revenge a few months later when the candidate on the State ticket at whom that plank in the platform was especially hurled, became a sudden inhabitant of South America. But all the same the State never recovered the bonds he ran off with.

For all that, however, and though now a resident of Wyandotte county, he accords Allen the foremost place in his affections and to her he will assuredly return when he dies.


E. A.
Mr. Barber was born August, 1848, in Morgan County, Illinois. He remained on the farm upon which he was born until 1863 when his parents removed to Jacksonville where he graduated at Illinois College in 1868, standing second in his class; he was admitted to the bar in 1870 and in October of that year came to Humboldt where he at once entered upon the practice of law with exceptional prospects of success, but in 1875 he added banking to law, by going in business with B. H. Dayton under the firm name of Dayton, Barber & Company, and soon thereafter he organized a National Bank which wholly engrossed his attention. The general financial disaster of 1893 numbered this bank among its victims, although he continued the struggle until some years later. In 1896 he removed to Springfield, Missouri, where he now resides.

Mr. Amos came to Humboldt in 1868 or 1869 and went into the lumber business. The extermination of private enterprise by consolidated capital which has since driven out pretty much all lumber yards conducted by private individuals, influenced Amos to enter the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1875 and continued in the practice there until 1889 when business connected with the settlement of his father's estate caused him to remove to Springfield, Illinois, where he remained until 1894. He then returned to Humboldt where he still remains engaged in the practice. His ability and energy as a lawyer soon gave him prominence at the bar and he was elected county attorney. That was a time when it was thought to be the proper thing for county attorneys to see to it that laws were enforced and Amos did see to it in such fashion that Mrs. Nation would have had no occasion to visit Allen county.

Amos was chiefly responsible for one memorable event in Allen county's history. Humboldt's zeal in behalf of the famous "East and West road" outran her discretion. She not only voted but she also issued the necessary bonds but she never got the road. When payment of the bonds was demanded, to borrow the slang expression then current, which I trust the severe taste of the future Allen county bar will excuse, she "kicked". A city could be sued only by getting service on certain named officers. By a judicious selection of persons who were about to leave the State or the world, the municipal machinery was disintegrated beyond the power of a Federal Court mandamus to ever put it together again. In this way the city was placed and kept under cover for nearly twenty years and until a favorable compromise was effected. Mr. Amos was chief conspirator in the scheme.

W. J.
Though hardly justified by his prominence at the bar, the romantic incident which made him an Allen County lawer[sic] throwing light as it does upon the vicissitues of life on the frontier may excuse the insertion of Larimer's biography in a history of the Allen County bar.

The Larimer and Kelly families were among the early settlers in Allen County. Shortly after the close of the war they in company with several other families started in wagons for some point on the Pacific slope. While


in Wyoming Territory the train was attacked by the Sioux Indians. Larimer was badly wounded but escaped by hiding in the brush. Kelly was killed. Mrs. Larimer together with her young children also Mrs. Kelly were captured.

Mrs. Larimer alter being a prisoner about two days escaped. Mrs. Kelly remained a captive until ransomed about five months later. After her release she regained her friends the Larimers. Some time later Mrs. Larimer published a book as her own production and on her own account, giving a full story of the occurrence which was largely made up of an account of Mr. Kelly's experiences while a captive. Thereupon Mrs. Kelly came to Allen County, attached land belonging to the Larimers and brought suit for damages, claiming that the manuscript was the joint production and property of both herself and Mrs. Larimer and was to have been published on joint account. This woman's quarrel became a matter of general public interest and was prolonged in the courts for several years with varying results until the costs equaled the value of the land attached, when it was adjusted.

Larimer having nothing else to do during its progress read law and was admitted to the bar. He soon after wandered off to the Black Hills where he afterwards served a term or two as Probate Judge in one of the leading counties, after which he resumed practice until his death which occurred several years since.

Mr. Slavens was born in Putnam county, Indiana, August, 1849, came to Kansas in 1869, began the practice of law at Neosho Falls, Woodson county, in 1870, removed to Humboldt in 1876 where he remained until elected county attorney in 1878 when he removed to Iola. After the expiration of his term, he returned to Yates Center. He removed to Kansas City, Kansas, where he died in 1897.

Mr. Slavens possessed in a high degree many of the qualities necessary for a successful lawyer. He was bright, genial and likeable, and exceptionally influential with the jury. He represented Woodson county in the Legislature in 1884 and 1886.

J. O.
Mr. Fife was born near Plymouth, Ind., September 10, 1854, was raised on the farm, was educated at the Indiana State University, came to Kansas in 1878 and began the practice of law at Humboldt in September of that year. Mr. Fife's qualifications entitle him to a place in the foremost rank of those who have been Allen county lawyers. He speedily became prominent. In 1880 he was appointed county attorney to fill a vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Slavens. In the fall of that year he was elected to the same position. In 1883 he removed to Kansas City Kansas, where he at once established an extensive practice. Though by no means wanting as a counsellor, his special excellence is as a trial lawyer. Mr. Fife takes an active interest in politics and appears as a prominent and influential factor in every congressional and State convention of his party. Since his removal to Wyandotte he has been County


Attorney for one or two terms. Of late years he has been extensively interested in mining operations in Colorado, and contrary to the general rule his adventures in that line have been quite successful.

Mr. Donoho was born in Macon County, Tennessee, in 1844, came with his parents to McDonough County, Illinois, in 1846, served three years in the 47th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War, came to Allen County in 1868, was admitted to the bar in 1876. From 1881 to 1889 he practiced law and edited the Pilot at Bronson, Kansas. In 1889 he began the practice of law in Kansas City, Kansas. Sterling integrity, sound judgment, strong common sense and an innate love of justice coupled with a familiarity with the fundamental principles of law are his striking characteristics. He is now filling his second term as Judge of one of the city courts in Kansas City, Kansas, and has just been re-nominated without opposition for a third term with certainty of election.

Other Allen County Attorneys

The publishers of this History regret that they have not been able to command the services of so able a chronicler as Mr. Keplinger on behalf of the attorneys who came here since Mr. Keplinger removed from the county or who lived at Iola during his residence at Humboldt and with whom he did not feel sufficiently acquainted to include in his article. In the absence of such an expert little more can be done than to set down here the names of those who made for themselves, a permanent place in the records of the Allen County bar.

Mr. Murray held a prominent place among Iola lawyers for several years. He went from here to Missouri and is now at Harrisonville, Arkansas.

C. M.
Mr. Simpson practiced at the bar a comparatively short time, but he holds a large place in the earlier history of Iola for the reason that he was for several years clerk of the district court and afterwards for a number of years post-master, resigning the latter position, chiefly on account of his health, to go to Pasadena, California, where he now lives and where he has taken a prominent place at the bar and in politics, having been twice elected to the Senate of the State.

J. H.
Mr. Richards came to Iola soon after the war as a young lawyer and would probably be willing to admit that he had a hard fight of it for several years. When the Fort Scott Wichita and Western railroad, (now a division of the Missouri Pacific), was built through Allen County Mr. Richards, who had been active in securing right of way and other concessions, was appointed its local attorney. His work was so well done that he was soon advanced to the general attorneyship of the road, with headquarters at Fort Scott where he has ever since made his home. While never holding or seeking political office, Mr. Richards has taken an active interest in politics and is now recognized as a strong factor in the Republican councils of the State.


W. G.
Mr. McDonald was perhaps one of the most ambitious men who ever tried to practice law in Iola. He was a man of considerable natural ability, but his professional success was hampered by lack of early training. He soon gave up the law and after holding a subordinate office at the San Carlos Indian Agency in Arizona for a time, returned and started a newspaper at Kiowa. When Oklahoma was opened to settlement he "made the run" and located a claim in "D" one of the far western counties. In Oklahoma he engaged actively in politics and soon achieved a wide reputation for his radical and fearless utterances and for the unusual and picturesque oratory which he developed. He was shot and killed one day on the road between his claim and the neighboring town, by a man with whom he had quarreled. The man gave himself up, admitted the shooting and claimed self-defense. As there was no testimony to disprove this claim he was never punished. The very general opinion was, however, that "McDonald of D," as he was known all over Oklahoma, was waylaid and shot in the back.

J. K.
Mr. Boyd will be remembered by the old citizens of Iola as a little gray cheerful talkative man who seemed to have out lived his ambitions and his energy and was simply waiting around "killing time" with infinite good humor and patience. He rarely had a case in the district court but he was for many years police judge or justice of the peace and was much missed when he died.

R. H.
Mr. Knight came here from Iowa in the early eighties and engaged at once in the practice as a partner of Oscar Foust. He was a man of great energy and force and was considered especially strong as a criminal lawyer. He removed to Los Angeles, California, some years ago, where he still resides, and where he has built up a lucrative practice.

B. O.
Mr. Davidson was first admitted to the bar here, but soon removed to Hutchinson where he rapidly advanced well toward the front rank. He afterwards located in St. Louis where he now lives and is reported to be doing well.

A. C.
Mr. Bogle came to Iola first as stenographer for the district Court. He soon resigned that position, however, and engaged in the practice of law. He was a shrewd, well schooled lawyer, a most likeable man to his intimate friends, but with oddities of manner and dress that did not promote his success in gaining clients. Mr. Bogle was a southerner by birth and he never felt really at home in the North. After a few years, therefore, he went to Macon, Mississippi, where he was when last heard from by any of his Iola friends.

J. H.
Mr. Fisher came to Kansas from Pennsylvania and began his first practice at Iola. He was a man of tremendous energy and great determination, and speedily took rank among the first of the many bright young lawyers who were then practicing law in Allen County.


Becoming dissatisfied with the narrow field that Iola offered at that time he went to Chanute and later to Conneaut, Ohio, where he is now engaged in the successful practice of his profession.

C. E.
Mr. Benton also tried in Iola his first lawsuit, coming here from Illinois. He was thoroughly devoted to his profession and had perhaps the most distinctly legal mind of any of his associates at the bar. He applied himself diligently and rose rapidly in his profession. He formed a partnership with J. H. Richards and when the latter was appointed solicitor for the Fort Scott Wichita and Western railroad Mr. Benton was appointed as his assistant and went with him to Fort Scott where he has since made his home

A. C.
Mr. Scott grew up in Iola and after graduating from the University of Kansas and from the Columbia Law School, Washington, D. C., he returned here and engaged in the practice of law in partnership first with J. H. Richards and C. E. Benton, and afterwards with Mr. Benton alone. He went to Oklahoma City when that Territory was opened for settlement in 1889 and continued there the successful practice of law. In 1898, failing health compelled him to relinquish the law and he accepted an appointment as Professor of English Language and Literature in the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the Territory of Oklahoma. After one year in that position he was appointed President of the institution which place he has since filled.

Mr. Gordon grew up in Osage township, Allen County, and worked his way up to the practice of the law. He was a man of splendid physique and considerable natural ability and he soon acquired a good standing as a young lawyer of promise. He lacked continuity, however, and after a few years at the law drifted into the newspaper business for which he was not adapted. About 1890 he left Iola and when last heard of by Allen County friends was teaching school in Illinois.

Mr. Acers was one of a number of unusually clever young lawyers who came to Iola in the later sixties. Handsome, delightfully companionable, a speaker of much more than average ability, he easily took a place well toward the front rank which he held as long as he chose to devote himself to his profession. He succumbed to the allurements of politics, however, and after making an unsuccessful race for Congress as the candidate of the Democratic party, he was appointed internal revenue collector. For a few years after retiring from that office he devoted himself to mining enterprises. These failing to return the rewards promised he returned to Iola and engaged in the real estate business which now occupies his time.

Mr. Talcott came to Iola from the army, slight of figure but with rare dignity and courtesy and with a knowledge of law that speedily sent him to the District bench and kept him there for twelve years. Upon his retirement from the bench he followed


his old friends, C. M. Simpson and R. H. Knight to southern California and is now engaged in the practice of his profession at San Diego.

A close scrutiny of the court records of the past thirty years would doubtless bring to light some names not mentioned in this rapid review, but it is believed that the names of all who really made a place for themselves have found mention here.

To comment on those who are now actively engaged in the practice of law in Allen County would seem to be hardly the province of history, and hence the editors content themselves with placing on record the following list of present day attorneys taken from the current docket of the District court:

Amos, G. A.
Atchison & Morrill.
Bennett & Morse.
Beatty, L. C.
Baker, J. E.
Choguill, W. A.
Campbell & Goshorn.
Cullison, R. E.
Conley, A. B.
Clifford, B. E.
Ewing & Savage.
Foust, Oscar & Son.
Gard, G. R.
Gard & Gard.
Goshorn, J. B.
Hankins, W. C.
Jacoby, M. P.
McClain, Baxter D.
Ritter, Chris. S.
Stover, T. S.
Thompson, J. F.
Thompson, Harry.
Tudor, H. M. M.
Thrasher, Geo. C.
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