Pages 412-413, 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.




WILLIAM J. DONNAN, of LaHarpe, one of Elm township's thorough-going and representative farmers, came into Allen county September 12, 1879, and located upon the north-west quarter of section 11, township 24, range 19. This tract was formerly the property of W. H. Arnett but when it came into the hands of Mr. Donnan it had scarcely the semblance of improvements and might with propriety be termed an unimproved farm. Those who remember it then and who look upon it now will acknowledge the wonderful change which has been wrought in little more than a generation.

Mr. Donnan came from Livingston county, New York, where he was


born November 7, 1854. His father, John A. Donnan, was born in the same county in 1819 and died there in 1896. He began life as a farmer and ended it as such and his resources through life were ample to provide for the wants of himself and family. He was descended from the Scotch of New York and was a son of John Donnan, born at Amsterdam, that state. The latter died in 1870. His early life was passed in the tanning business but he grew out of this and into a farmer. He moved into Livingston county before Rochester was founded.

John A. Donnan married Mary Milroy, a daughter of John Milroy. The father came to the United States from Scotland in 1819. He settled in Livingston county and three generations of the family reside on the old homestead. John A. Donnan's heirs are: William J.; John M., of York, New York; George A., of York, and Annie, wife of C. H. Hackney, of LaHarpe.

Our subject spent his youth on his father's farm. He separated from the old home at twenty-two and began life as a farm hand. This was his chief employment while he remained in the east and for a time after coming to Kansas, January 5, 1894, he was married to Eliza D. Brister, a daughter of Thomas Brister, of Elm township. Their only child is Zoe B. Donnan.

The political history of the Donnans is one unbroken record of Republicanism. The pioneer Republicans of the family came into the party from the Whigs and they are of the patriotic and public-spirited people of their communities.

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