Page 574-575, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


James Atkins, a Civil war veteran, and one of the very early pioneers of Butler county, who has spent nearly a half century of his life in this county, is a native of Michigan. He was born in St. Clair county, in 1844, and is a son of Alexander and Eliza (Lewis) Atkins, the former a native of Scotland, and the latter of Connecticut. They were the parents of eleven children.

James Atkins was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools of Michigan, and when the Civil war broke out, he was just reaching man's estate, and when he was twenty years of age, he enlisted in company A, First regiment, Michigan cavalry. He served in the Civil war, and when that great struggle was ended, he was sent west in a campaign against hostile Indians in Colorado and Utah, and received his honorable discharge and was mustered out of service at Salt Lake City, Utah, March 10, 1866. He then went to Helena, Mont., remaining there from April to August of 1866, when he came down the Missouri river from Ft. Benton to Omaha, on a flat boat. He was then employed by the Union Pacific Railroad Company about a year, and in 1867, came to El Dorado.

After coming to Butler county, Mr. Atkins bought a quarter section of land in El Dorado township, and he still owns that place. He has added more land to his original holdings, from time to time, and now owns a large acreage in Butler county. He lived in a dugout on his place the first year, and engaged in the cattle business and general farming in which he has been very successful. When Mr. Atkins came to this county, there were few settlers here, no railroads in this section of the State, and trading points were a long distance away. When Mr. Atkins first came here, he went to Lawrence for his supplies, and later to Emporia, and the first cattle that he marketed, he drove across the country to Kansas City. He drove the first bunch of cattle from Baxter Springs, Kans.

Mr. Atkins was here at the time that the cyclone devastated El Dorado, when Dr. McKenzie's child was killed, and he was also here during the big June flood of 1869, when Johnson, his wife and adopted daughter were drowned in the West Branch of the Walnut river. A man named Hobbs spent the night on the roof of their cabin, and was rescued in the morning.

Mr. Atkins was married in 1900, to Miss Eva Pool, of El Dorado. Mrs. Atkins was a daughter of Anthony Pool, and Matilda (Bennet) Pool, natives of Washington county, Pennsylvania, who with their daughter came from Kentucky in 1886 to Butler county. Mrs. Atkins is


one of a family of five children. Anthony Pool Atkins, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Atkins, was born near El Dorado in 1902.

Mr. Atkins recalls some of the old settlers who were here in 1867, at the beginning of Butler county, among whom were Henry Martin, Archibald Ellis, Mrs. Cowley, Jerry Connor, Nathaniel Thompson, Croft, Hobbs and Donaldson. Mr. Atkins has seen Butler county develop almost from the beginning. Mr. Atkins has fought with the bravest in the "winning of the wilderness" and to such men as he, men with courage and stick-to-it-iveness, Butler county owes its development. His several farms are equipped with good dwellings, barns, etc., and he owns and occupies with his family one of El Dorado's beautiful modern homes.

Mr. Atkins has a keen sense of humor and recalls with pleasure many incidents of his pioneer life, but he never regrets the hardships of the early days. He still lives a busy, quiet, happy life, enjoying the fruits of his labors and esteem of his fellow citizens.

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