Ferdinand C. Blanchard, of Kinsley, Kan., a Kansas pioneer and a veteran of the Civil war, is one of Edwards county's best known and respected citizens, having been a resident of that county nearly forty years and judge of the probate court eighteen years. He is a native of New England, born on a farm in Cumberland, Me., Sept. 15, 1836. His parents, Beza Blanchard and Dorcas Prince, were natives of Cumberland, Me., the former's birth having occurred on Aug. 6, 1805, and the latter's on May 20, 1807. They were married in Maine and traveled life's journey together over sixty years, before death severed their long companionship. The father was a sailor, as were also his father and four of his brothers. He died at Cumberland, Me., in October, 1894, the wife and mother having preceded him in death three years, as her demise occurred in 1891. Of their union were born nine children, all of whom grew to maturity except the youngest, who died in infancy. They are: Anna L., born in 1832; David L., born in 1834; Ferdinand C.; Caroline T., born in 1839; Sophia, born in 1842; Margaret, born in 1845, and died in 1909; Clara, born in 1847, and died in 1909; and Florence, born in 1849.
Judge Blanchard acquired his education in the public schools of Maine and assisted with the duties of the home farm until twenty-one years of age. Then, branching out for himself, he came to Illinois, where he taught school three years. The opening of the Civil war shortly afterward stirred his patriotic instincts, and on May 7, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company E, First Missouri infantry. On May 10 the entire regiment participated in the capture of Camp Jackson, in the western suburbs of St. Louis, which camp floated the Union flag but whose commanders were known to be Southern sympathizers and were strongly suspected of intending to seize the arsenal and of trying to secure the military control of the state. On June 10, a month before the expiration of its three months' term of enlistment, the regiment was mustered into the three years' service, and on Sept. 18 was made the First Missouri artillery. As an infantry regiment it had also taken part in the battles of Boonville and Wilson's creek, and at the latter engagement Judge Blanchard was slightly wounded. Company E formed a part of the First battalion, which participated in General Fremont's campaign in southwest Missouri. In the numerous engagements with the guerrillas, under Quantrill, Jackman, Freeman, Reeves, Coffey, and others this portion of the First Missouri artillery was always ready. Sometimes working as a battalion, often by battery, still oftener by sections, and sometimes by a single gun, it was a terror to the desperadoes. At the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., the First Missouri won the commendation of General Blunt for its effective service. The first battalion, after having its equipment renewed at St. Louis, was sent to Vicksburg and remained there until after the surrender of that place. During its service the First Missouri was represented in nearly 100 battles, besides numerous skirmishes. The thunder of its guns was heard at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Champion's Hill, Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesboro, and Nashville, and on every field it acquitted itself with credit and won the praise of the commanding officers under whom it served. It fought in nine different states. Judge Blanchard was mustered out with the other members of his company, at Brownsville, Tex., June 10, 1865. He removed to Kansas in 1873 and located at Kinsley on March 12. He took up government land and there became one of the pioneers of Edwards county, serving as the first county commissioner of that county, in 1874. He was reëlected to that office in 1875, being a Republican at that time. In 1890 he joined the People's party, and as their candidate was elected to the office of probate judge of Edwards county, to which office he was reëlected in 1892. In 1898 he was again reëlected to the office, that time on the fusion ticket, and has held the office of probate judge continuously since that time, making his total service, up to 1912, eighteen years. That fact of itself is an eloquent testimony of the respect and esteem in which he is held in Edwards county.
On Oct. 29, 1874, Judge Blanchard wedded Miss Katie J. Martin, a native of Germany and daughter of John Martin, who died in 1862. Mrs. Blanchard is a talented musician and taught that accomplishment prior to her marriage. Judge and Mrs. Blanchard have four children: Winifred, born March 7, 1877, is the wife of W. R. Arthur, dean of the law department of Washburn College, Topeka; Robert L., born March 13, 1879, is engaged in contracting in Kinsley; Jessie, born March 10, 1893, married N. R. Mossman, a college professor at Fresno, Cal., and died March 18, 1909; and Katie L., born Feb. 17, 1896, is the wife of O. H. Hatfield, a contractor at Kinsley, Kan.
Judge Blanchard greets his remaining comrades in arms in the T. O. Howe Post No. 241, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas. He was post commander in 1892 and 1893 and has been quartermaster continuously since then.Pages 960-962 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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