Pages 443-444, 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 T. McElroy


WILLIAM T. McELROY—Indellibly inscribed upon the roll of honor of the pioneers of journalism in Kansas, of the men who have given their best days to the citizen service of their State and of those who have been a prominent factor in both the internal and external affairs of Humboldt since the Rebellion is W. T. McElroy. An era of thirty-five years has passed into history since the March day that he landed stage-tired and weary, in the then metropolis of southeast Kansas and marked himself as a permanent settler. He was young in years and poor of purse but with a wealth of experience born of five years service in print shop and army. His ambition was, no doubt, to get an even start with the boys of the newspaper fraternity, in the new field and to found a periodical which should become a factor in promoting the welfare of the commonwealth. His early connection with the publication of the Humboldt Union as printer and publisher, and, after nine months, as one of the proprietors, marked the beginning of the realization of this dream.

The Humboldt Union is one of the oldest papers in Kansas. It was established in 1866 by Colonel Orlin Thurston, who was superseded the following year by H. A. Needharn and W. T. McElroy, as copartners. In


1868 Mr. McElroy became the sole owner of the paper and has remained in connection with it since. The policy of the paper from the 1st of January, 1867, was Republican and its status toward the public has been that of a highly moral, clean and well written weekly.

Although Mr. McElroy came to Allen county from Ohio he was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, December 24, 1845. His father, William McElroy, was a shoemaker and was born in western Pennsylvania where his North-of-Ireland ancestors settled when Pittsburg was a village and when the Ohio basin was the frontier. Sarah A. White became the wife of the senior McElroy. Her people were English, coming to the United States from the city of Liverpool during the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The school privileges of W. T. McElroy were most limited and his knowledge of the common branches, when he had reached his fifteenth year, was very poor. In 1856 he went into Mahoning county, Ohio, where the first four years were spent upon the farm with relatives. At the age of fifteen he was attracted toward a print shop, being induced to that determination by an uncle, William Ritezel, who was the publisher of the Trumbull County Democrat at Warren, Ohio. Our subject first entered the office of the Democrat at Warren and remained with it till the consolidation of the Chronicle and Democrat when he was transferred, so to speak, as a part of the fixtures of the office.

While serving his trade he made three unsuccessful attempts to get into the army and, in 1864, did finally succeed in being accepted and was enrolled in Company D, 196th Volunteer Infantry. He was under General Hancock in the Shenandoah Valley and saw service in the field till some time in July following the close of the war. Upon being discharged in September, 1865, he returned to his old position in Warren, where he remained till the early spring of 1866 when, against the protest of his people, he cast his lot with Kansas.

July 2, 1868, our subject was married in Humboldt to Melissa M. McVeigh, a daughter of Daniel McVeigh who came to Humboldt in 1866 from Iowa. Two daughters were the issue of this union, viz.: Anna M., wife of John B. House, of Wichita, Kansas, and Adele C., who is with her parents in Humboldt.

Mr. McElroy had not reached his majority when he came to Allen county and has, consequently, done all his voting in his favorite town. He imbibed Republican principles and sentiment in his youth back in the Western Reserve, and he has been steadfast in the faith. His voice and pen have added strength to the cause in Allen county and his honest and earnest counsels have effected much individual reform amongst the indifferent and backsliders in the party. He has cast a vote at every general election since 1867 and has been Mayor of his town. He served as postmaster under the administration of President Hayes and was appointed to the same position by President McKinley in 1898. He has been a Master Mason since 1870 and is by inclination and training a Methodist.

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