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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Elijah T. Read

ELIJAH T. READ, a prominent business man of Oswego, Labette county, Kansas, is vice-president of the Oswego State Bank, and has served as such, and also as a director, since its inception, having been one of its organizers. He is, besides, the leading hardware merchant of the city, and has been engaged in that line there continuously since 1868, when he first settled in Kansas.

Mr. Read was born in Vernon, Jennings county, Indiana, in 1841, and is a son of Samuel and Nancy (Threlkeld) Read. Samuel Read was a native of Virginia, where he was born in 1801; journeying thence, he became an early settler of Owen county, Kentucky. While residing there, he was married and soon after settled at Vernon, Jennings county, Indiana. He followed contracting and building during his early career, and constructed nearly all of the first buildings in Vernon. He afterward engaged in mercantile business, which he followed with much success for many years. The last years of his life were spent in retirement. He crossed the plains in 1850, and was engaged for five years in mining and merchandising in California. He was originally a Whig, in politics, and later, a Republican, - at one time serving as judge of Jennings county. He was a member of the Baptist church, in which he was a regular attendant and active worker. He died in 1875, aged seventy-four years. His wife was born in 1801, and died in 1848. They were parents of nine children (of whom the subject hereof is the only one now living), namely: William, who died in 1868; Hiram T., who died in 1900; James S., who died in 1897; Wilson M., who died in California; Virginia (Wells), who died in 1895; Merrit, who died in 1892; John S., who died in 1880; Elijah T.; and Martha, who died young.

Elijah T. Read was reared and schooled in Vernon, Indiana, and in 1868, journeyed west to Oswego, Labette county, Kansas, where he became associated with his brothers, John S. and Merrit, in the hardware, stove and implement business. The firm name was originally Read Brothers, and continued thus after the withdrawal of Merrit Read from the partnership, in 1879. John S. continued as a member of the firm until his death in 1880, since when the subject of this sketch has conducted the business under the name of the E. T. Read Hardware Company. He has always had a thriving trade and the store, fully stocked with a general line of hardware and complete in all its appointments, commands the patronage of the leading citizens of Oswego and vicinity. He was one of the original stockholders of the Oswego State Bank, and, as before mentioned, has been a director and vice-president since its incorporation.

Mr. Read was joined in matrimony in 1864, with Sarah Vawter, a daughter of Smith Vawter, of Vernon, Indiana, and they have had the following children: Virginia; Alice; Smith H.; Daisy B.; and Bert W. Virginia (Reamer) resides at Oswego, and has two children: Roscoe R. and Virginia K.; Alice died at the age of two years. Smith H., who attended the Oswego High School and the State University of Indiana, and who is now with the Union National Bank of Kansas City, Missouri, married Mabel Adams. Daisy B. (Sprague) lives in Gashland, Missouri. Bert W., who was educated in the Oswego High School and in Ottawa University, is now in business with his father. Mr. Read is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In politics, he is a stanch Republican; religiously, he is a member of the Baptist church.