History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

Pioneers of Rush County - Page 2

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John Hargrave - A farmer and stock-raiser, Hargrave was born in Inverness, Canada East on January 23, 1847. In June, 1854, he moved with his family to Ripon, Wisconsin and was educated in the public schools before attending Brockway College in Ripon. He then taught school in Fond du Lac and Green Lake Counties in Wisconsin prior to coming to Kansas in July 1874. He first settled in Pioneer Township in Rush County, where he taught (free of charge) at the first school in the  county. On January 14, 1875, he was elected County Superintendent of Schools, a position he held for a year before resigning to extensively engage in the cattle business. He also served a a  member of the Kansas House of Representatives. He married at La Crosse, Kansas on October 16, 1881 to C. Retta Smith, a native of Ohio and the couple had one child -- David Waldro.


Alexander Harvey - One of the first settlers in Rush County, he had been a soldier in General Custer's 6th Cavalry before taking over a trading post in Alexander in 1872 which he called  "Harvey's Ranch." Born in Scotland in 1843, Harvey emigrated to Canada in 1859 where he engaged in merchandising. He then moved to Ogdensburg, New York in 1861, where he enlisted in Company A, Sixth U. S. Infantry. One year later, Harvey transferred to Company A, Sixth U. S. Cavalry as a bugler. He was mustered out of the army in 1864, but reenlisted in February, 1867 in Company G of his old cavalry regiment and was riding with General Custer during his 1868 campaign. He was stationed at Fort Hays in the spring of 1869, and was mustered out of the army with the rank of first sergeant in February, 1872 at Fort Dodge. He then relocated in Rush County where he he took over a trading post on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail and engaged in ranching for two years. In February, 1874he became the first postmaster in Alexander.

He soon sold his store to pursue other interests including working as a school teacher and farming. In December, 1877 he married Mattie King of Decatur County, Illinois and the couple moved to Rush Center. The would have one son -- William K. Alexander. He was elected as the Rush County Treasurer in the fall of 1879 and served two terms. Afterwards he engaged full-time in ranching.

W.J. Hayes - Hayes was one of the proprietors of the Hayes & Mullay general merchandise store in  Rush Center as well as owning a 480 acre ranch where he kept about 100 head of cattle and some 40 thoroughbred stallion horses. He came to Rush County, Kansas in the early part of 1874, and opened his ranch. He was born in Belfast, Ireland on December 5, 1848, and was raised working as a linen manufacturer. He came to America in 1873, and lived in Chicago, Illinois for some time. He was married in 1877, to M. F. Kennedy, of LaSalle County, Illinois and the couple had one son -- Arthur William. On January 1, 1883, he opened the Hayes & Mullay Merchandise Store in Rush Center with E.F. Mullay who had come from Larned in 1878. The fine store building measuring 20 x 80 feet was the largest in Rush County.

Dr. F.W. Longacre - A physician and surgeon, and dealer in general line drugs and medicines in Rush Center, he came to Kansas in spring of 1878, first locating in Harvey and Ness Counties before making his way to Rush Center. He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on September 4, 1849 where he was raised. He was educated in Norristown, Pennsylvania and received his medical education at Jefferson College, in Philadelphia, graduating in the class of 1877. He practiced there before relocating to Kansas. In 1880, he married Mary L. Wise, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. In addition to his practice in Rush Center, he also served as a United States Examining Surgeon for Pensions in Rush and adjoining counties.


Allen McCann - The County Clerk of Rush County, Kansas, he first arrived in the state in 1869, settling in Cherokee County. There, he engaged in making rails and cutting saw-logs. Soon afterward, he went to Neosho County, where he worked in farming and railroading before making his way to Rush County in March, 1872. Here, he engaged in stock-raising and farming. He was elected County Clerk in February, 1875, being the first officer in that capacity and was re-elected in 1876, and served one term; re-elected November, 1881. He was born in Muskingum County, Ohio on August 19, 1840 where he was raised on a farm. He married in 1878 to Jennie Ely of Washington County, Iowa and the pair had two children -- Samuel and Frank.



Post rock fences near Rush Center, KansasThomas H. McDowell - Clerk of the District Court of Rush County, McDowell came to Rush Center, came to Kansas in 1878, where he engaged in farming. He was elected as the Clerk of the District Court in the fall of 1880 and re-elected fall of 1882. He was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in 1843 where he was raised. He enlisted in July, 1862, in Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and was taken prisoner during the General Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania. After being confined to a Confederate prison for one year and eight months, he was mustered out in 1863. He went to California in 1866, where he worked in mining until January, 1871, when he returned to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, engaging in merchandising until he came to Kansas.


Daniel E. Miller - Rush County Sheriff, Miller first arrived in Kansas on July 23, 1875 where he engaged in farming and ranching. He was elected Sheriff of the county fall of 1877 and re-elected in the fall of 1881. He was born in Hampshire County, Virginia on November 21, 1839, where he lived until he moved to Clinton County, Illinois at the age of 20. There he worked at farming and married Cecelia Edmonds, of Clinton County, Illinois in 1861. The couple would have six children --  Alexis M., Edward R., John T., Lee P., Mary B. and Daniel M., Jr.


E. F. Mullay - One of the proprietors of the Hayes & Mullay general merchandise store in  Rush Center, Mullay originally came from Kentucky, where he was born in Fleming County in 1860. He later moved to Hernando, Mississippi in 1866 where he lived for two years before returning Kentucky. There he began clerking in a merchandise store and by 1877 was living in Larned, Kansas where he clerked in the dry goods house of G. Krouch. In 1878; however, he moved to Rush Center, where he clerked for L. Wolfe & Co. He married Annie How of Athens County, Ohio in 1882 and the following year, he and W.J. Hayes established theHayes & Mullay Merchandise Store in Rush Center, the largest in Rush County at the time.


Nelson P. Olson - A banker, businessman and farmer, Olson was identified with Rush County most of his life. Of Norwegian descent, Nelson was born to Andrew and Anna Thompson Olson, in Decorah, Iowa on March 1, 1869 before moving to Bazine township of Ness County, with his family at the age of ten. When Nelson grew up, he began to rent land near Alexander, working as a farmer. Frugally saving his money, he was able to buy some 480 acres of land and built a large country home and barn.  He married Edna Robins in Ness County on October 30, 1894 and the couple would eventually have five children.


In 1910, Olson left farming and engaged in the lumber business at Alexander, associated with George A. Ryan, and they bought out the interests of the Ryan Lumber Company of McCracken. The business handled coal, as well as lumber and was also involved in buying and shipping grain. With the organization of the Alexander, State Bank, Olson became a stockholder, and later served as president and a director. He also  served as a member of the school board of Alexander for twenty-seven years and as a clerk of Belle Prairie Township.  


Frank B. Smith - An agent for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Smith also worked as a rancher near Rush Center where he owned 240 acres of land and kept both horses and cattle. He first arrived in Rush County in March, 1873. As an agent for the railroad, he managed some 60,000 acres of land dealing with trades and land claims. He was born near Bangor, Maine on February 23, 1841 and lived there until he moved with his family to Belmont, New York at the age of ten. Five years later, the family moved again to Winnebago County, Wisconsin. In November, 1861, he enlisted in Company C of the Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was shot through the head at Corinth, Mississippi and was discharged on July 3, 1863. He soon afterward went to Monona County, Iowa, where he followed agricultural pursuits until he came to Kansas. He married Sarah A. Grow of Charlestown, Vermonth on October 26, 1867, and the pair had  six children -- Bertha E., L. Guy, J. Glenn, Clyde E., Nina W. and Ross Dene.  Smith also served as Rush County Treasurer for  four years.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated October 2019.


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