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Biographical Sketch
Cyrus Shinn
Nemaha County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

Gold Bar

Cyrus Shinn

In the death of the honored subject of this memoir there passed away another member of that little group of distinctively representative business men who were the pioneers in the inauguration and building up of the chief industries of this section of the country.  His name is familiar to the residents of the city of Oneida to whose development he contributed so conspicuously.  He was identified with the town from the beginning, in fact was its founder.  He early had the sagacity and prescience to discern the eminence which the future had in store for this great and growing country, and acting in accordance with the dictates of his faith and judgement he garnered in the fullness of time the generous harvest which is the just recompense of indomitable industry, spotless integrity and marvelous enterprise.

Few lives furnish so striking an example of the wise application of sound principles and safe conservation as does his.  The story of his success is short and simple, containing no exciting chapters, but in it lies one of the most valuable secrets of the great prosperity which it records and his private and business life are pregnant with interest and incentive no matter how lacking in dramatic action, the record of a noble life, consistent with itself and its possibilities in every particular.

Colonel Shinn was born in Harrison county, West Virginia, on the 7th of March, 1825.  His father, Samson Shinn, was the first justice of the peace in Knox county, Illinois, to which county he removed in 1835.  His wife, Mrs. Edith, was also a native of West Virginia and the Colonel was the second in a family of six children.  He was ten years of age when his parents removed to Knox county, Illinois, where he spent his youth pursuing his education in Knox College.

He began farming in that locality, but for many years was engaged in the real estate business at Gilman, Illinois, being largely instrumental in the upbuilding of the town.  He also became the first real estate agent of Kansas and had charge of various land excursions throughout Kansas and Nebraska, which resulted in bringing many settlers to this section of the country.

In 1876 he came to Kansas, locating on the site of the present town of Oneida.  In 1878 he laid out the city and from that time until his death was an active factor in its upbuilding and progress.  He was elected its second mayor and did all in his power to promote the welfare of the place along social, material and moral lines.

Mr. Shinn was twice married. On the 7th of January, 1856, he wedded Miss Martha J. Reeder, and them was born one child.  The mother died in 1872, and on the 22nd of June, 1882, Mr. Shinn was again married, his second union being with Rachel Schureman, who was born October 8, 1839, in Somerset county, New Jersey.  Her father, Jonathan Schureman, was a native of the same state and was a mason by trade.  In 1850 he emigrated westward, locating in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he
made his home for three years.

Subsequently he removed to Tazewell county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming.  Ultimately he sold his first purchase there and took up his abode at another point in the same county, Green Valley, where he lived retired until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-two years of age.

He was of German descent. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Keziah Lawler, was also a native of New Jersey and lived to be about seventy-two years of age.

In their family were five children, of whom Mrs. Shinn was the eldest.  She became a resident of Illinois when about ten years of age and was educated in the common schools there.  During the Civil War Mr. Shinn acted as recruiting agent at Peoria, Illinois, and thus won the title of colonel, by which he was generally known.

After his arrival in Nemaha county he was extensively engaged in the real estate business and in this way contributed in a large measure to the substantial improvement of Oneida and the surrounding country.  For a number of years he was an inflexible advocate of the temperance cause and did much to promote its interests here. He was also a friend of the public school system and of good government, and withheld his support from no movement or measure which he believed would promote the general welfare or the public prosperity.

His business dealings were so ably managed that he won a comfortable competence and the most envious could not grudge him his success so honorably was it gained.

He died October 4, 1898, at his home in Oneida.  His death was mourned throughout the community, for his circle of friends and acquaintances was very extensive and all who knew him esteemed him for his sterling worth.

  Gold Bar

Last update: Thursday, January 15, 2004 00:51:04

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