From A Biographical History of Central
Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1405
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Hiram N. Morehouse
The subject of this sketch is a man whose career exemplifies the trite but significant saying that good character is the best weapon which one can use in the warfare of life. Hiram N Morehouse, who has filled the office of postmaster at Little River, Kansas, and is a prominent and representative farmer of Rice County, was born in Orleans county, New York, October 22, 1836, a son of Dill L and Mary A (Smith) Morehouse. His father, who was a native of Canada, was a son of Lyman Morehouse, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, who for many years was master of boats plying on the St Lawrence River. During the war of 1812 Lyman Morehouse was not friendly to the English cause and was compelled to leave the Dominion in haste. With his family he escaped on horseback and fled to Onondaga county, New York, from whence he went to Orleans county, in the same state, where he reared his children to years of maturity. Later he removed to Michigan, where he lived out his days. His wife was also a native of Canada. They had children named as follows: Mercy, who married Samuel Williams; Dill L, the father of the subject of this sketch; Mathew, deceased; Fannie, who married Luther Herrick; Charlotte who married George Owen; Elmira, who married Orin Price; Lucy, who married Truman Phelps; Marion, who married Mr. Yerkes; and Myron, who became a retired farmer in the state of New York, and his wife passed away February 22, 1902.
Dill L Morehouse was born in Montreal, Canada, February 19, 1809, and was three years old when his mother carried him on horseback to Onondaga county, New York. He was eight years of age when, in 1817, the family located in Orleans county, where he was reared to manhood and meagerly educated in the public schools. He was employed in various ways and to the extent of his ability helped support the family. For three years he worked on the Erie canal and was employed from time to time at other heavy work. In 1830 he attained his majority, and with all his earthly possessions wrapped in a pocket handkerchief set out to seek his fortune. His first independent occupation was at chopping cord wood at sixteen and two-thirds cents a cord, for which labor he was paid in corn at the rate of forty cents a bushel, and he hauled this product seven miles to exchange for store goods, while later he was employed by the month at eight dollars. The second year his pay reached ten dollars a month and the third year it was twelve dollars a month. He married an orphan girl, who was also without means, and they built a log cabin, with a stick and mud chimney, and bought a few articles of furniture at a point seven miles distant, for which Mr. Morehouse went in debt to the extent of nineteen dollars, but this he paid during the following winter by hauling staves. An old chest, which served the double purpose of chest and cupboard in their forest home, he kept through life as a relic of the beginning of his career as a married man. He succeeded in placing his land under cultivation in the spring of 1834, and farmed with some success until 1843, when he went to Wyoming county, New York, farming successfully until 1853, then bought a grist, saw and shingle mill, which he conducted in connection with his farm until 1857, meanwhile remodeling it somewhat, and he then rented it in order to remove to Illinois. He located at Leroy, McLean county, where he became a member of the firm of Humphrey, Wakefield & Company, grocers and mill proprietors. Later he traded his milling interest in the firm for a large tract of land, and in 1860, in company with his son, Cyrus, he bought the Humphrey & Wakefield interest at Leroy, and until 1864, when his son succeeded him, was a general merchant at that place. He lived a life of retirement until 1873, when he opened another store, but that he eventually sold to his son, who removed the stock of goods to Champaign City, Illinois. During all his active life he was aided very materially by his wife, a woman of more than ordinary natural ability. They planned carefully, worked hard and denied themselves many comforts in order to save money and get a start in the world. In time they got together a good property and Mr. Morehouse occupied a place high in the esteem of his fellow citizens. They were earnestly devoted to the cause of Methodism, and Mr. Morehouse gave one thousand dollars to erect the house of worship at Leroy and a like amount to promote the celebration of the centennial of Methodism in 1866. His good wife, whom he married in October, 1833, was in her maidenhood Mary A Smith, and was born in the state of New Jersey, April 19, 1810. They had children as follows: Olive A, born August 15, 1834, married Dr S H Birney, of Illinois; Hiram N, born October 22, 1836, is the immediate subject of this sketch; Cyrus S, born December 13, 1839, formerly lived in Champaign City and Chicago, Illinois, but recently removed to Minneapolis, Minnesota; Amos R, who was born February 9, 1842, served in the Federal army for ninety days during the Civil war and is now living in Big Rapids, Michigan; Orilla M, born July 5, 1844, married Dr E C Bartholow, of Mahomet, and he died January 3, 1892; Philo F, born September 4, 1847, died at the age of two years. The mother of these children died at Leroy, Illinois, March 21, 1887, and the father afterward married Miss L E Hemingway, a spinster of much culture and intelligence, who was for some years a missionary to the Fiji Islands. She made his last days happy and is now living at Leroy. D L Morehouse died January 7, 1896, and was buried in his family vault at Champaign City, Illinois, beside his first wife. His daughter, Orrilla M, died January 16, 1886; Olive A died March 10, 1888; and Amos R and Cyrus are living.
The subject of this sketch was reared in Orleans county, New York, until 1843, moved with his parents to Wyoming county, that state, lived on a farm until he was seventeen years of age, learned the millerís trade, and after remaining in the mill for a time he became one of its owners. During the year 1855 in which he was there engaged, he cut out a stencil brand for branding his flour sacks, and this brand became known as the best flour manufactured in the county, and long after he had disposed of his interest in the mill this flour was manufactured under the same brand. In the fall of 1901, he returned on a visit to Wyoming county, New York, and on going to the mill almost the first object which met his view was the old stencil hanging on the nail which he had driven for that purpose forty-seven years ago. He remembered that that event was forty-one years since he left the mill, and although not now in use, the stencil still hung in the same place. He brought it with him to his Kansas home, where it is kept as a much prized relic.
In 1859, after his marriage, Mr. Morehouse returned to New York and took charge of his and his fatherís mill and other property, which he sold in 1860. Going again to Illinois, he was for a few years engaged in farming and in 1868 embarked in the furniture and undertaking business at Leroy, conducting it successfully until 1872, when he sold his interests there and removed to Streator, Illinois, where he was an undertaker and furniture dealer for five years. Selling out his establishment at the latter place in 1877, he returned to Leroy, where he farmed for three years. He next became a dealer in grain and general merchandise at Sabina, McLean county, Illinois, where he lived for four years, during which time he filled the office of postmaster and was local railroad agent. In 1885 he removed to Rice County, Kansas, and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the corporation line of Little River, which he yet owns.
Mr. Morehouse has made many improvements on his property at Little River, where he owns a large residence and ample barns and outbuildings, and also has a fine orchard and groves of forest and ornamental trees. He has added one hundred and sixty acres to his original purchase, and his homestead now aggregates three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is under cultivation. In 1886-7 he bought and shipped grain, and in 1889 was appointed postmaster at Little River, in which office he served for five years, a part of the time under an adverse administration, to the entire satisfaction of his fellow citizens. Since then he has devoted his attention to general farming and stock-raising, and though his health is inadequate to hard labor he manages his business interests with marked ability. He is a royal Arch Mason and has filled all the chairs in the blue lodge. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he holds the office of trustee.
In 1859 Mr. Morehouse married Miss Elsie A Chapin, who was born in DeWitt county, Illinois, February 15, 1837, a daughter of Hiram and Martha (Day) Chapin. Her father was a native of Tennessee and her mother was born in Kentucky, where they were married. He was an early settler in Illinois, and his first purchase of land embraced the original site of the city of Springfield, which, without any idea that it would ever be so valuable as it is, he sold very cheap. Locating in DeWitt county, he bought considerable land there and became a prominent and influential farmer. After rearing his children to mature years he sold his property there and retired to Leroy, where he died in 1871. His wife died in 1853, and both were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. The following data concerning their children will be of interest in this connection: Their son John died at the age of twenty-two years; Stillman A. resides at DeWitt , Illinois; George died unmarried; Abraham D. died at Canton, Kansas; Martha married C H Rutledge; Ursula married Dr Richards, who afterwards became known as Colonel Richards, and he was killed at Raymond, Mississippi, during the Civil war, while later his widow became the wife of Dr Morris; Elsie A is the wife of Hiram N Morehouse; Rebecca married J Vanderventer; and Nancy is the deceased wife of J V Smith, of Leroy, Illinois. Hiram N and Elsie A (Chapin) Morehouse have had children as follows: Frank C, born January 8, 1861, died April 17, 1863; Minnie E, born March 6, 1863, is a successful school teacher; Martha O, born October 17, 1865, died October 14, 1891; Hiram E, born March 31, 1868, is engaged in farming on his fatherís homestead in Rice County; Mary A, born October 1, 1870, is a member of her fatherís household; George W, born April 30, 1876, is prominently connected with agricultural interests, and was married on the 28th of November, 1900, to Mila Van Arsdale, whose father is a clerk at Little River; and Nellie O, born February 22, 1879, is the wife of O S Ramage, who is a successful farmer residing near Little River, Kansas.