Pages 327-328, 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.




JOHN CORNELL.—With the history of the development and upbuilding of Allen county the name of John Cornell is inseparably interwoven, for he has long been a potent factor in the progress and advancement of this portion of the state. He was born in Fountain county, Indiana, October 1, 1827, and is of Welsh descent, his paternal grandfather having come to America from the little rock-ribbed country of Wales about 1750. Daniel Cornell, the father of our subject, was born in Canada, and during his boyhood removed to New York, where, after attaining to adult age, he was married to Marry E. Tracy, a native of Kentucky. About 1810 he removed to Indiana, becoming one of the first settlers of the Hoosier state. His death occurred when he had attained the age of seventy-four years, and his wife died at the age of seventy-seven. They were the parents of ten children, of whom six are now living, namely: Dessie B., George, John O., Samuel, Martha and Sarah Jane.

John Cornell was reared on the old homestead farm in Indiana, and like most boys who spend their youth in frontier settlements, his educational privileges were quite limited. In his native state he wedded Miss Phoebe Booe, and in 1858 removed to Kansas, securing a claim which adjoins the present town site of Iola. and is now known as the Delap farm. He made many improvements upon that claim and there lived for several years, it being his home when the Iola Town Company was organized. He became a member of the company and drove the first stake used in laying out the town. After some time he sold his first claim and purchased a tract west of the river, about nine miles northwest of Iola. This was


prairie land and he soon learned to know that it was not as preferable for farming purposes as river bottom land lying near him, which was covered with a heavy growth of timber and which no one seemed to want, so he sold his upland and purchased a farm in the river bottom amid the green woods. With characteristic energy he began to clear this, and to-day he has a valuable tract of land worth one hundred dollars per acre. Its improvement, however, represents much hard labor, but it is now a very productive tract and yields to him an excellent financial return for the care he bestows upon it.

In 1899 Mr. Cornell was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died June 30, at the age of sixty-seven years. They ware the parents of ten children, eight of whom are now living, namely: Mary E., wife of H. Goff, of Minnesota; Daniel, a resident of Chanute, Kansas; Ashpet W. C., of Bourbon county, Kansas; George, of Iola, Olive, wife of Wellington Osborn, of Allen county; John C. and Albert O., who are on the home farm; and Minnie, wife of Thomas Heffern, of Woodson county, Kansas.

At the time of the Civil war Mr. Cornell was called out with the State Militia and went to Fort Scott, for Price was then making his raid into the state. He served on guard duty on the border for about six weeks and then returned to his home. Ha has served as deputy under Sheriff Brown and later was elected constable of Iola township. He discharged his duties without fear or favor, and it is said that he always secured the prisoner he was in search of. He is widely known throughout Allen county as "Uncle" John Cornell and enjoys the high regard of many. He belongs to the class of honored pioneers who laid broad and deep the foundation for the present prosperity of this part of the state.

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