Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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The subject of this sketch, G.R. Colwell, a farmer of Lyon township and representative citizen, is a native of Nova Scotia, born on a farm near Kentfield, in 1848. He is a son of James and Eunice (Jordan) Colwell. James Colwell died in 1888, never having removed from Nova Scotia, where his wife still lives. G.R. Colwell is one of nine children; two sisters and a brother in Kansas, the former in Wyandotte county and the latter, William Colwell, a prominent farmer of Lyon township, Cloud county. One sister is in Oklahoma and the other members of the family are in Nova Scotia.

In his earlier life Mr. Colwell had some very interesting experiences. When he came to the United States he was a mere lad. His destination was the west. He arrived in Jefferson City, Missouri, penniless, pawned his trunk to pay his fare to Kansas City, and from there he traveled around until he found work. The experience was a new one for him, never having been more than thirty miles from home. When he arrived in Kansas City he had seven cents, and five of that was required to post a letter to his mother, the remaining two cents being all the money he had in the world, and his trunk in Jefferson City, He tramped three days ere he found work. Too honest to steal, too proud to beg, he ate raw corn for sustenance. He finally applied to an old man by the name of Breyfogle to work for his board, who hired him at fifteen dollars per month. Out of his savings he bought a team. In the winter of 1871 he emigrated to Cloud county and homesteaded the farm he still owns, four miles east of Glasco, section 9. The same year he returned to Nova Scotia and was married to Sarah McConnell, who died in 1873, leaving a son, who was also deceased at the age of ten years.

In 1877 he was married to Hester Wilson, who came to Kansas with her father, Frank Wilson, when she was a small girl. Mr. and Mrs. Colwell have two children: Ellen, wife of Cecil Martin, living on the old homestead. She was a student of the Concordia high school two years, and is talented in music. Frank, sixteen years of age, is in his third year in the Glasco high school. He is a farmer from choice but will not have the difficulties to surmount that his father had.

In the early 'seventies Mr. Colwell had hard rustling to keep the wolf from the door. He freighted and worked at various things; prospered perhaps as much as his neighbor, but accumulated very slowly until 1877. In the early part of the 'eighties he added one hundred and sixty acres of land to the homestead and a few years later another quarter section, until he now owns four hundred and eighty acres with good improvements, a fine apple orchard of two hundred trees which are sixteen or seventeen years old and fine bearers. Most of his land is wheat ground. In 1900 Mr. Colwell built a handsome cottage of six rooms in Glasco, where he now lives but still operates the farm.

Politically Mr. Colwell is a Populist. Himself and family are members of the Christian church. Mr. Colwell is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Fraternal Aid.