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Biographical Sketch
Thomas Corwin Honnell
Brown County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

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Thomas Corwin Honnell, a retired grain merchant and farmer, Everest, Kansas, has acquitted himself well as a citizen, a man of affairs, and a soldier.  He is not on the pension roll at Washington, for the reason that he considers that the United States government, having given him the best country on earth to live in and having in other ways shown its appreciation of his service, is under no further obligation to him.

His attitude in this respect is referred to at the outset for the reason that it affords more than a suggestion of his independent and patriotic character.  He has faith in the humanity of his country, the security of its flag and the invincibility of its defenders, and believes the work which America is destined to accomplish is nothing less than the liberation of the oppressed, the civilization of the world and the establishment and maintenance of universal peace.

Mr. Honnell is a native of Shelby county, Ohio, and was born July 6, 1840 and was named in honor of Hon. Thomas Corwin, the great lawyer and political orator of whom William Honnell, the father of the subject of the sketch, was a great admirer.

William Honnell was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania in 1797, an only son of William Honnell, a German immigrant, and in 1835 located in Shelby county, Ohio, where he died in 1853.  He married, about 1824, Ellen Wilson, whose father came over from England to make a home in the United States. Ellen (Wilson) Honnell was born in 1802 and died in 1869.

She was the mother of eight sons and two daughters, of whom the following survive: Morris, of Sidney, Ohio; Eli, of Port Jefferson, Ohio; Henry, of Horton, Kansas; Thomas C.; and Martha, wife of George A. McNeil, of Centralia, Kansas.

Thomas C. Honnell's early years were passed at his country home with such surroundings as the moderate farmer of that time provided for his offspring and with the common school as his source of education.  His final instruction was obtained within the walls of a town school and in his seventeenth year he terminated his career as a pupil, but not as a student.  School teaching offered some inducement to Mr. Honnell, as the means of providing him with an income fairly commensurate with his abilities, and he adopted this as his calling.

He worked in the ranks of the profession for eighteen years and was one of the successful and capable teachers of his county.  He qualified himself for better and higher work as the exigencies of the times demanded, and was anything but a plodder in the early days of teaching as a profession. 

Mr. Honnell's career as a teacher was interrupted by the outbreak of the Rebellion.  His intense loyalty and enthusiasm for the preservation of the Union led to him to enlist at the first call for troops in 1861.  He was mustered into Company C, Fifteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at Columbus, and went into Virginia, now West Virginia, under General Rosencrans, where the battles of Philippi, Rich Mountain and Cheat Mountain were fought before the expiration of his hundred-day enlistment.

He re-enlisted in the Ninety-ninth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for three years and veteranized for the remainder of the war at the expiration of that term of service.  He was discharged July 17, 1865.  The Ninety-ninth Regiment served with General Sherman in the Army of the Tennessee, and took part in the battles of Stone River and Chickamauga, the siege of Atlanta and the fighting at Franklin and Nashville, and then, at Wilmington, North Carolina, joined Sherman's command on his return north from Savannah, Georgia.

The regiment was at Goldsboro, North Carolina, when Johnston surrendered, and did garrison duty from that event until it was discharged.  Mr. Honnell enlisted in three-months service as a private. Under this and later enlistments he was promoted through the various grades to a captaincy and was mustered out with the rank of captain on the staff of General Schofield.  He received a wound in the battle of Chickamauga, September 19, 1863, the day that General Garfield made his famous ride, but was not long absent from duty.

Mr. Honnell returned to Ohio and lived in his native county until he emigrated to Kansas.  He arrived in Atchison on February 17, 1870, en route for Brown county, to which he had been recommended to come by his brother Henry.  He bought a quarter-section of land in Grasshopper township, Atchison county, and undertook its slow but substantial improvement.  His success as a farmer has been one of constant progression.

His industry has been amply rewarded.  As fast as he found himself able to do so he bought adjoining quarter sections until his farm now contains six hundred and forty acres.  For nearly a quarter of a century he cultivated a Kansas farm.  Upon the construction of the Missouri Pacific Railway and the location of a station at Everest, he decided to cast his lot with the grain trade of that section.

He built one of the first houses in the village and engaged in the grain and stock business, buying and shipping both extensively.  He has been associated in business there with Henry Fluke of Horton, W. W. Price of Huron, and with S. Peterson, of Everest.  His career has been marked by, perhaps even greater success than he anticipated, and although he has faced an occasional disaster he left the grain office in October, 1899, and retired to the privacy of domestic life, satisfied and with ample provisions for his future needs.

He has been prominently connected with every enterprise proposed for the good of Everest, has been useful in its public councils and wielded a pronounced influence for its moral and material welfare.

November 15, 1865, Mr. Honnell married Sarah E. Tuley, a daughter of Charles B. Tuley, who was a prominent farmer of Shelby county, Ohio, and from New Jersey.  Mrs. Honnell was born in 1843.  Her two children are: Frank, who is married to Belle Robins and is running the Honnell farm in Atchison county; and Maud, the wife of Hiram M. Means, who is the principal of the Everest schools.

Mr. and Mrs. Honnell's two grandchildren are Kenneth Honnell and Earl Means.  Wanting no office, Mr. Honnell is a working politician who believes that the prevalence of the principles of his party will benefit the public more than any other policy, and he exerts an influence which is recognized and appreciated.

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Last update: Friday, July 18, 2003 20:22:21

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