Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 388
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
In the promotion and conservation of advancement in all the normal lines of human progress and civilization there is no factor which has exercised more potent influence than the press, which is both the director and the mirror of public opinion. Rice county has been signally favored in the character of its newspapers, which have been vital, enthusiastic and progressive, ever aiming to advance the interests of this favored section of the Union, to aid in laying fast and sure the foundations of an enlightened commonwealth, to further the ends of justice and to uphold the banner of Kansas. In a compilation of this nature then it is clearly incumbent that due recognition be accorded the newspaper press of the state and those men who are in control of its journalistic interests. Prominent among these has been Clark Conkling, who is proprietor of the Lyons Republican, having been at the head of this paper for twenty-two years.
A native of Ohio, Mr Conkling was born in Hamilton county, near Sharonsville, on the 9th of September, 1851, and is a son of William M Conkling, a native also of Ohio and a representative of English and German ancestry. The family was founded in America at an early period in the development of the new world by ancestors who located first on Long Island. Later representatives of the name went to Maryland, thence to Pennsylvania and subsequently to Ohio. The paternal grandmother of Mr Conkling was a Miss Nash, who died in Ohio. William M Conkling learned the blacksmith’s trade in early life and followed that pursuit for a time, but afterward turned his attention to farming whereby he provided for the support of his family. He married Miss Elizabeth Drake Glenn, who was born in Hamilton county, Ohio and they became the parents of six children, namely: Benjamin D, who is living in Lyons; Hattie P; Ed G, who resides in Topeka; Clark, of this review; Mrs R C Sheeley, of New York, who died at the age of forty-five years; and Alice D, who died at the old home when twenty years of age. The parents have also passed away, the father having departed this life at the ripe old age of eighty-one years, while his wife also attained the same age. He was a Republican in his political affiliations and was an elder in the Presbyterian church. His life was upright and honorable, consistent with his professions at all times, and wherever he was known he was respected and esteemed for his many excellent qualities of heart and mind.
Clark Conkling, whose name introduces this record, was educated in the state of his nativity and acquired his education in Lebanon and in the Western Reserve College, at Cleveland, Ohio. In 1873 he left the Buckeye state for the west, removing to Colorado, where he was employed in a store for a time. In 1879 he came to Lyons and established the Lyons Republican. He has made this paper a power for good in the county, and through its columns has wielded a wide and far-reaching influence in behalf of the Republican party. The journal is a bright, newsy sheet, devoted to local interests and to the dissemination of matters of general interest. It is the champion of all measures for public good and is ever found on the side of progress, reform and improvement.
Mr Conkling was married in Lyons, on the 2nd of April, 1884, to Miss Laura Stone, a native of Illinois and a daughter of D F Stone. Their marriage has been blessed with six living children, four daughters and two sons, namely: Yetta A, Enid, Clark, Glenn S, Catherine and Gerald M. Mrs Conkling is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is a devoted wife, a faithful mother and a loyal friend.
Mr Conkling is identified with the Knights of Pythias fraternity, with the Independent order of Odd Fellows and with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. From the time he attained his majority he has given an unswerving support to the principles of the Republican party, believing that it contains the best elements of good government. In every way possible he has labored for its advancement, sets forth in strong argument the elements which produce its strength and which give it superiority over the other great political organizations. While Benjamin Harrison was serving as chief executive of the nation Mr Conkling by appointment of the president, was postmaster of Lyons and filled the office with credit and honor to himself and to the best interests of the patrons of the office. He is a man of progressive views, who believes in education, in temperance and in continual advancement along all lines of substantial progress. In manner he is affable and genial, and unfailing courtesy renders him popular with all with whom he has business or social relations.