Pages 135-137, 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 MERCHANT, of Wise, Allen county, whose residence in Allen county for the past thirty years has been mutually beneficial to the county and to himself and whose citizenship and patriotism is of a high and commendable order, was born in Fayette county, Ohio, October 9, 1825. His father was William Merchant who accompanied his widowed mother into Highland county, that state in 1813. Berkley county, Virginia, was their native heath and there our subject's father was born in 1800. He was married in Fayette county in 1822 to Elizabeth Smith, a daughter of Isaac Smith who also went to Highland county from Berkley county, Virginia. Soon after his arrival in Ohio William Merchant the first was bound to a blacksmith in Greenfield and only became a


farmer after many years spent at his trade. He became one of the substantial men of his community, was public spirited and influential and was an "old side Methodist." His father, Abraham Merchant, belonged to one of the old families of the "Dominion" State. His origin and that of his paternal ancestors is not a matter of tangible record.

Our subject's maternal ancestors were the Bulls of Virginia. Their history dates back to Colonial days and theirs were some of the Patriots who crossed blades with the British in the days of "seventy-six."

Elizabeth Merchant died in 1893 at the age of eighty-eight years. Her children were: Isaac, William, John, of Chicago, Ill.; Jonah, of Leesburg, Ohio; Abraham, who died in California in the service of his country; Naham, deceased, was a soldier in California; Sarah, deceased, who married Jacob Kaylor, Rebecca, who became the wife of Hugh Snyder, and Nancy, who resides in Jay county, Indiana, is the widow of Charles Fishback.

William Merchant, our subject, was schooled in the log cabin school houses of Ohio and grew up on the farm. July 19, 1849, he married Sarah, a daughter of John Breakfield, whose family was also from Berkley county, Virginia. Mrs. Merchant was born in Fayette county, Ohio, February 28, 1828. In 1850 Mr. Merchant left his father's place and took possession of a tract of his own purchase. This he cultivated till 1870 when he was induced to dispose of it and become a resident of Kansas. For twenty years he devoted himself to intelligent cultivation and management of his Ohio farm and his experience and his accumulations placed him in an advantage when located upon his Allen county farm. He purchased on Deer Creek the John Martin tract of 160 acres and out of his earnings both before and since 1870 he has added five other quarters making a total of 960 acres. His is at once a farm and a ranch for Deer Creek bottom excels in the production of grain while the prairies and hill land furnish fine range accessible to the waters of the creek.

The patriotism of the Merchants is noteworthy and unbounded. Wherever their country calls there they respond, even with their lives. During the Civil war William Merchant volunteered for the defense of Ohio and was one of the Morgan pursuers. Two of his brothers enlisted in the volunteer service and thus the cause of the Union was upheld and the loyalty of the Merchants demonstrated. In politics, as in war, our subject has been on the right side. His ancestors were Whigs and he cast his maiden vote for Gen. Taylor, and for Gen. Scott, the last two Whig candidates for the presidency. He was a Fremont man in 1856, a Lincoln man in 1860-4 and a supporter of Grant, Hayes, Blaine, Harrison and McKinley. As for actively engaging in local political frays Mr. Merchant never does. His moral attitude leads him to the support of municipal candidates who stand for principle instead of spoils. His whole life is one long Christian example and moral lesson. He became a Christian in early life and has done much religious work in the home and in the pulpit. He is a licensed preacher of the Methodist church and his talks are filled with earnestness and Christian zeal. Mr. and Mrs. Mecrhants[sic] children are:


Eliza E., who married Bela Latham; Josephine, widow of Arthur Latham; Mary E. Merchant, and Nancy J., wife of William Moffit, of Folsom, New Mexico.

William Merchant is one of the strong characters of Allen county. His distinguishing marks are his pronounced sincerity, his unstinted honesty and his intense Christian simplicity. He is a man among men and a gentleman without taint or suspicion.

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