Page 550-551, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


A. W. Stearns, a Civil war veteran and pioneer newspaper man, has been a resident of Butler county since 1868. Mr. Stearns was born in Fulton county, Illinois, in 1845, and is a son of J. G. and Mary J. (Wilson) Stearns, both natives of New York, the former of Chautauqua county and the latter of Cayuga county. The father was born in 1818, and the mother in 1823. They were the parents of the following children: Mrs. Georgia Mitchell (deceased); Mrs. Victoria Schrader, Albany, Ore.; Mrs. A. Kirby, Massilla Park, N. M.; Z. A., Seling, Okla.; E. B. (deceased), and A. W., the subject of this sketch.

A. W. Stearns had the advantages of a good education, having attended the public schools of Fulton county, and was a student in the high school at Peoria, Ill., when the Civil war broke out. He was then only sixteen years of age, but was among the first to respond to the President's call for defenders of the Union. Although a mere boy, he enlisted in Company G, Eleventh Illinois cavalry, under Col. Robert G. Ingersoll. Mr. Stearns was with his regiment at the battle of Shiloh and served through the Vickshurg campaign. He was with Sherman on his march to the sea, and participated in the siege of Atlanta and took part in many hard fought battles and a countless number of skirmishes and minor engagements. He was lightly wounded by a sharpshooter at Columbia, S. C., the ball grazing his neck and making quite an ugly and disagreeable flesh wound. After Lee's surrender, Mr. Stearns's command marched north through the Carolinas and on to Washington, where they participated in the grand review. He was mustered out of service at Louisville, Ky., in August, 1865, and returned to Peoria, Ill., where he completed his high school course. He was then engaged as a clerk in a book store for two years, and in 1868 came to Kansas and took a homestead on the Whitewater river, where he homesteaded a quarter section, which he still owns. He followed farming here for sixteen years, when, on account of failing health, he went to El Dorado Springs, Mo., and shortly afterwards engaged in the newspaper business there, publishing the El Dorado "Tribune" for five years. After remaining in Missouri about twelve years, he returned to Towanda and for a time was connected with the Towanda "News." He was editor of that paper for one year. He has also done considerable


newspaper work for the Walnut Valley "Times" and other newspapers, but for the past few years he has been engaged in farming and stock raising on his old homestead in Towanda township. He is one of the few still living on their original homesteads in Butler county.

Mr. Stearns was married at Fulton, Ill., in 1868, to Miss Mary E. Geyer, who died at Wichita, February 18, 1888, leaving two children, as follows: Joseph A., who is connected with the Wichita "Beacon," and Grace B., the wife of Dr. Lowery, a prominent physician and surgeon of Excelsior Springs, Mo. Mr. Stearns married for his second wife, Mrs. Fannie Jett, of El Dorado Springs, Mo. Mrs. Jett is the mother of two children by her former marriage: B. P. Jett, of Towanda, Kans., and Walter P. Jett, of Nardin, Okla.

Mr. Stearns is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic. His life has been marked by experiences out of the ordinary, as a soldier and pioneer.

He came to Butler county almost at the beginning, and had an opportunity to witness the growth and development of this county almost from its dawn and has had an opportunity and an inclination to observe the trend of events during the formative period of Butler county. He is one of the best posted men on local history in his section of the county and takes a commendable pride and interest in doing his part towards the perpetuation of the history of his locality, that future generations may know something of the trials and hardships incident to reclaiming a broad expanse of waste and building such a county as Butler is today.

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