Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Jerome B. Hotchkiss

JEROME B. HOTCHKISS, engineer of the "Katy Flyer," running opposite Engineer Tierney, is one of the most capable and successful engineers on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, and is a prominent citizen of Parsons, Labette county, Kansas.

Mr. Hotchkiss is of English origin, and traces his ancestry back to Samuel Hotchkiss, who was one of Davenport's New Haven Company, which settled the city of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1618. From Samuel the lineage is traced down successively through "Ensign" Joshua, Stephen, Gideon, and David, to Gilead, the grandfather of Jerome B. Gilead Hotchkiss lived to be one hundred and six years old, and the family is particularly noted for the longevity of its members. He was a wealthy New Yorker, and at one time was a member of the board of trustees of Auburn, New York. He speculated on land in the vicinity of Chicago, long before that city was ever thought of. Various members of the family served in the Revolutionary War, and rose to the rank of officers.

H. B. Hotchkiss, the next in line, was the father of Jerome B. He was a native of the state of New York, where his marriage took place. In 1848 he left that state for Calhoun county, Michigan. The following year he traveled overland to California, and then, after being successful in mining for a few years, returned to his family in Michigan. His death occurred in September, 1862. He was united in marriage with Laura A. Cooper, a native of Pennsylvania. She is still living at the advanced age of eighty-two years. Twelve children were born to her and her husband, of whom five reached maturity, as follows: Rush, a well known property owner of Spokane, Washington; Jerome B., the subject of this sketch; Charles, a locomotive engineer in Minnesota; H. B., also an engineer, and president of a mining company in Spokane, Washington; and Warren, for many years also a railroad man, but now in the hotel business in California.

Jerome B. Hotchkiss was born near Anburn, New York, at a place called Carver's Corner, December 17, 1844. While still small, his parents moved to Allegany county, New York, and later to Michigan. He had exceptional educational advantages. After passing through the common schools, he attended high school at Battle Creek, Michigan, and subsequently took a thorough course in Albion College. When old enough to choose a vocation for himself, he readily adopted railroading. January 27, 1863, he began work as fireman on one of the old hook-motion woodburner engines at Marshall, Michigan, on the Michigan Central Railroad. He remained on that road for three years, and then followed similar work on the Chicago & North-Western Railway, running out of Clinton, Iowa, west to Belle Plaine, Iowa. In January, 1870, promotion followed and Mr. Hotchkiss became an engineer on the same system. He has followed this line of work ever since. He pulled both freight and passenger trains on the Chicago & North-Western Railway until 1878. On account of failing health, he was then obliged to seek a milder climate and accordingly came south to Kansas. It was his intention to seek a position on the Santa Fe road, and he carried letters of introduction and recommendation to the master mechanic at Topeka, Kansas. Having acquaintances at Parsons, he went there on a visit, previous to soliciting a situation. While there he was induced to seek a position on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, which he did, and decided to remain in Parsons.

September 5, 1878, he commenced work on the "Katy," first pulling freight trains north to Junction City, and continued on that run for severa] years. Advancement followed, and he became a passenger engineer, and has run as such up to the present time; he is now pulling the "Katy Flyer," - one of the fastest trains on the system.

Mr. Hotchkiss was joined in marriage with Maria Olivia Alexander, a daughter of Charles and Juliette (Praddock) Alexander, respected residents of Marshall, Michigan. Mrs. Hotchkiss was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan; when she was nine years old her parents removed to Marshall. Her father was of English origin, and passed to his final rest in 1885, aged seventy-one years. He was a well-read, influential man, and mainly followed the occupation of farming. He was always a stanch Democrat. He assisted in the survey of Wisconsin, and camped out at Sheboygan. Five children were born to him and his wife, namely: Charles Henry, now engaged in the hardware business in Chicago; Maria Olivia, the wife of Mr. Hotchkiss; Lydia Jane (Peters), of Clyde, Kansas; Albert, an employee In the postoffice at Riverside, California; and Theodore L., a printer in Chicago, Illinois.

Two sons have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hotchkiss. Charles B., the only living child, was born September 14, 1866, in Marshall, Michigan. He married Ethel Hearst, resides in the city of Parsons, and is teller of the First National Bank of that city., Harry, deceased, was born November 3, 1871, and died when six months old. Mr. Hotchkiss purchased a fine residence from Engineer J. F. Russell, at No. 1923 Clark avenue, where he is very pleasantly situated. He has always voted a straight Republican ticket, although the family politics were Democratic up to the time of President Buchanan. Mr. Hotchkiss has served four years as alderman from the Fourth Ward. He is a member of Division No. 179, B. of L. E., of Parsons, having been transferred from Division No. 125, B. of L. E., of Clinton, Iowa. He has filled all the chairs, and for the past fifteen years has been secretary. He joined the A. 0. U. W., in 1883, and is still a member, his wife being a member of the Degree of Honor. She is also a member of the Knights and Ladies of America, while Mr. Hotchkiss affiliates with the order of B. P. 0. E., Lodge No. 527. In their religious views, they are members of the Baptist church. Mr. Hotchkiss has had a few accidents to contend with in his lengthy railroad career, none of which, however, has been of a serious nature. Altogether, he has been most fortunate and successful, and his success has been but the just reward of his carefulness and superior skill.