WILLIAM T. MCELROY GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Humboldt Union, Saturday, Nov. 18, 1911
W. T. McElroy Died of
Heart Failure Last Night
From Thursday’s Humboldt Daily Herald.
The community was shocked last evening to learn of the death of W. T. McElroy, editor of the Union and one of the oldest citizens of Humboldt.
Mr. McElroy has been in Wichita attending the Scottish Rite of Masons in their conclave. Dr. H. M. Webb has been with him but had left Wichita yesterday morning while Mr. McElroy waited for a later train on the Missouri Pacific and returned by way of Iola.
When he stepped from the plug he seemed in his usual health and spoke cheerfully to a number of acquaintances at the depot. He then started to walk up town and met Fred Speakman of Tyrone, Oklahoma, and Harvey Stewart. They spoke to him and Mr. Stewart suggested that he take a cab. Mr. McElroy said he believed he would and as the cab passed just then he stepped off the walk to take it. As he stepped to the ground he fell. Marshal Palstring came up just then and lifted him into the cab and took him home. Dr. Cope was called but the stricken man was in a semi-conscious condition and died within ten minutes.
Mr. McElroy had been in his usual health and had not complained of feeling ill while at Wichita. Death was caused by heart failure which attacked him after he reached Humboldt.
Word was sent to Mr. and Mrs. J. B. House of Wichita and they came over this afternoon with his grand daughter Adele House. Mrs. McElroy’s mother Mrs. McVeigh, is expected here from Larned this evening.
In the passing away of Mr. McElroy Kansas loses its pioneer journalist. Born at Washington, Pennsylvania Dec. 24, 1845 of North-of-Ireland ancestors, he remained there until 1856, when he moved to Mahoning County, Ohio, where he remained on a farm four years with relatives. When fifteen years old he went into the printing office of his Uncle Wm. Ritezel, editor of the Trumbull County Democrat, at Warren, Ohio. Here he remained through the changes of the paper and the early part of the war. Too young to enter the army he tried successive times until in 1864 he was enabled to join Co. D of the 196th Volunteer Infantry. He was in service until the July after the close of the war. He then returned to his old position in Warren, where he remained until the next spring when he decided to cast his lot with Kansas.
Arriving in Humboldt stage worn and weary he obtained employment with the Humboldt Union, then just started by Col. Orlin Thurston. The following year, Mr. McElroy with H. A. Needham, bought out Mr. Thurston. In 1868 Mr. McElroy became the sole owner and ever since he has had charge of the paper, being the oldest editor in point of service on the same paper, of any man in Kansas. Editor Rosser of the Girard Press and Editor Gilmore of the Fredonia Citizen being next in point of service.
It is hard for the younger generation to realize just what forty-five years of service in newspaper work means. When the editor of the Union began to chronicle the events of his community, Kansas was young. The state was just emerging from the hard grueling years of a war which took the best of its young men and wrung the heart blood from the women of the state! It had been born in blood and raised in poverty. The first days of the Union saw prosperity to be followed by cruel want again, as the young state passed through years of drouth and grasshoppers when the people had not been here long enough to accumulate the funds to withstand them.
For forty-five years Mr. McElroy has told of the joys and sorrows of his friends and neighbors. The writer of this can go back in the files of the Union and find the notice of wedding of his parents. He can find the few lines telling of his own birth, the notice of his own marriage, the birth of his baby boy and the sad chronicle of the death of his parents. And there are scores of men and women in Humboldt who can do the same. And each and every article has been under the supervision, if not actually written by the man who only last night passed away without for one moment laying aside the cares and trials of his duty. Such a record is one to be envied and to be emulated.
In the long course of his life, W. T. McElroy had some of the honors come to him. He had served his turn on the council, the school board, and in the Mayor’s chair. He has helped Humboldt to win the victories which have come to it, and bear the disappointments which are the share of every Kansas town. Under the Hayes administration he was appointed postmaster. Again, when in 1896, Wm. McKinley was elected president, Mr. McElroy was appointed to the office which he has held continually under Roosevelt and Taft. Had he lived out the full term to which he was appointed a year ago last May, he would have been in office twenty years. As it is, he probably held a record which has been reached by few Kansas men.
Mr. McElroy was always a republican. He cast his first vote in Humboldt and there has not been a general election since, at which he has not cast a vote. He was a republican, republican. The stand-pat element, the progressive, the insurgent, nor any other phase of republicanism had no attractions for him. Through all the changes in Kansas he remembered the party which bled for the Union, which brought the government through all the different perils, and crises, and held it to its course, progressing always, setting a stern face against graft and spoils, making laws for the benefit of the people, but always building up and never tearing down.
And in the passing away of Mr. McElroy the entire community losses a friend whose place will be hard to fill. The editor of the Herald can vouch for his kindness and charity. Always willing to help he stood as a friend and not a competitor. And every newspaper man within the reach of Humboldt will agree in this. The use of the Union printing shop was open to everyone when accident or fire crippled them. Mr. McElroy was the friend of all and had not a single enemy.
Mr. McElroy was a member of Vicksburg Post G. A. R. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a Knight Templar.
The funeral will be held Friday November 17th from the Methodist Church at 3 o’clock. Rev. C. R. Rice an old family friend and Rev. McKeever will have charge. The services will be under the auspices of the Masonic order.