John Mark Proffitt

From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 266
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902

A farm well developed and equipped, located on section 14, Raymond township, Rice county, is the property of J M Proffitt, who has been a resident of this portion of the state for almost thirty years.  He arrived in the fall of 1873 and was one of the first to secure a homestead claim.  He made his way to Kansas from Iowa, but is a native of east Tennessee, his birth having occurred in Sullivan county, that state, on the 21st of May, 1830.  He represents one of the old families of Tennessee and his ancestry can be traced back to the old world.  William Proffitt, the father of our subject, was born in Sullivan county, Tennessee, and was a farmer by occupation.  He married Miss Malinda Willard, also a native of that locality and a daughter of George Willard, who removed to Tennessee from North Carolina.  Unto William and Malinda Proffitt were born six children, namely: Eulanda W, who is living in Iowa; John M; Matilda, who makes her home in Missouri; George W and Christina, who are likewise residents of the Hawkeye state; and Malinda, who makes her home in Iowa.  The mother of this family died at the age of thirty-seven years, and the father passed the age of three score years and ten, being seventy-five years of age at the time of his death.  His religious views were in harmony with the teachings of the Baptist church, and with that denomination he held membership, while his political support was given to the Democracy.

John M Proffitt, whose name introduces this record, was a Tennessee farmer, and during the Civil war he served as captain and superintendent of the Nitre Works in Tennessee.  In that state, in 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Barbara Ellen Smith, who was born in Sullivan county, Tennessee, a daughter of Jasper and Rachel (Hampton) Smith.  Her death occurred in Rice county, in 1874.  She left eight children to mourn her loss, namely: G C, who is a valued resident farmer of Raymond township; Mrs. Alice Davis, who is living in Oklahoma; John and Will, twins, both farmers of Rice county; Mrs. Mary E Eaton, of Missouri; Mrs. Sarah Riggs, of Oklahoma; and Mrs. Nancy Mitchell and Mrs. Christina Reed, who are also living in Oklahoma.  For his second wife Mr. Proffitt chose Miss Abigail Browning, the wedding taking place in 1876.  The lady was born in Scotland county, Missouri, near Memphis, and is a daughter of Caleb and Elvira (Fuller) Browning, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Illinois.  Both have now passed away, the mother’s death having occurred in Iowa, in 1865 when she was thirty-three years of age, while the father died in 1880, at the age of eighty years.  The mother left five children: America, who is a resident of Rice county; Ann, who died in this county; Jesse, who is living in the same county; and Zelpha, who became Mrs. Safford and died in Garden City, Kansas.  The parents were members of the Baptist church, thus indicating their religious faith and preference.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Proffitt have been born five children, namely: Albert, Harvey, Jessie, Ray and Roy.  The last two named are twins.

In the year 1865 Mr. Proffitt became a resident of Marion county, Iowa, where he opened up a new farm, continuing the work of cultivation and improvement until 1873, when he took a homestead of eighty acres and a tree claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Raymond township, Rice county.  He proved up on both places and afterward received his title from the government for two hundred and forty acres of rich land.  The work of further cultivation and improvement has since been carried on and has resulted in making Mr. Proffitt’s property one of the valuable and desirable farms in this locality.  He carries on general farming and stock-raising in a progressive manner and his has been a busy and industrious career, showing that earnest labor is competent to cope with all the difficulties and hardships of life and eventually win success.  His study of political questions has led him to espouse the cause of Democracy and he keeps well informed on the issues and questions of the day.  He has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, yet has served as township treasurer, as assessor and as a member of the school board, and has ever discharged his duties in a manner reflecting credit upon himself, while at the same time his work has been satisfactory to his constituents.  He is a member of the Baptist church, serving on its official board and is now one of the church trustees.  He has passed the allotted Psalmist’s span of three score years and ten, for he has now reached the age of seventy-two, but he still maintains an active interest in everything around him that tends to benefit his fellow men or to promote the material welfare of the community.  For twenty-eight years he has been a resident of Rice county, and wherever he is known, he is held in warm esteem, for he possesses all those qualities which in every land and clime command respect and confidence.


Deed Book 24, Page 313
Sullivan Co. Tenn Deeds
5 January 1871
We, John M. Proffitt and his wife Barbary Ellen Proffitt and George W. Proffitt and his wife Charlotte
Proffitt all four of us residing in Marion County, and state of Iowa to this day for the consideration of
Twenty five dollars to us paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged sell all our right title claim and
interest which we have or hold to an undivided tract of land whereon our mother, Rachel Smith now lives
lying in Sullivan Co., Tennessee to Gasper Smith of Sullivan Co., Tenn.

This has proven a lot of things for you.  That Barbara Ellen and Charlotte were sisters.  Their mother was
Rachel as well as their grandmother on the mothers' side and how the name Casper or Gasper came about.

Courtesy of Mr. F. L. Davis Proffitt Researcher of 40 yr.