Stephen Hicks Brandon.A publication of this nature exercises its most important function when it takes cognizance of the life and labors of those citizens who have risen to prominence and prosperity through their own well directed efforts and who have been of material value in furthering the advancement and development of the commonwealth. Mr. Brandon is best known to the citizens of Kansas through his valued services as a member of the lower house of the legislature, in which he served with honor and distinction, and to the citizens of Butler county as a successful banker.
Stephen Hicks Brandon is a native of Tennessee and was born Nov. 20, 1851, in the Seventeenth district of Greene county, son of Thomas M. and Dicie (Hicks) Brandon. The family was founded in America in early colonial days, by Thomas Brandon, a native of Ireland who became a resident of Jamestown, Va. His son, Thomas, Jr., became a farmer in Tennessee and was the father of Thomas M. Brandon and grandfather of Stephen H. He died at the age of ninety-six. Thomas M. Brandon was also a farmer, a native of Greene county, Tennessee, born in 1802, and died in 1888, his wife preceding him in death, in 1858. They were the parents of twelve children, all of whom are married.
Stephen Hicks Brandon secured his education in the public schools of his native county and at Tusculum College, at Greeneville, Tenn. Until 1875, he remained on the home farm with his father. He initiated his commercial career, in 1875, accepting employment with G. M. Lorlace, a stockman, and engaged in buying horses, mules, and cattle. He came to Kansas in 1878, and located in Douglass, Butler county, and was employed as clerk by Pierson & Snell and D. P. Blood, general merchants. In 1881 he secured an appointment, through the late Senator Plumb, to the railway mail service, and was employed on lines in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. He was made superintendent of carriers of the Leavenworth, Kan., postoffice, in 1884, a position he resigned, in 1885, and returned to Douglass, where for a second time he entered the employ of D. P. Blood. In September, 1889, he was appointed by President Harrison, postmaster at Douglass and served until 1893, when he was elected register of deeds of Butler county, to which position he was reëlected in 1895. His incumbency of these public offices was to the satisfaction of the citizens of Douglass and Butler county, and he demonstrated the possession of executive ability of a high order. On conclusion of his second term as register of deeds he returned to Douglass and devoted his energies to his valuable farm interests. In 1899, with D. P. Blood, Edward Wilkinson, and W. E. Brown, he organized the Exchange State Bank, of Douglass, and was elected cashier of the institution. In 1908, he purchased the holdings of D. P. Blood, and, with Edward Wilkinson, reorganized the bank. The capital was increased from $10,000 to $25,000, and he was elected president, with Mr. Wilkinson as cashier. In February, 1910, he disposed of his holdings and retired from the institution, since which time he has been engaged in the management of a general loan business. A lifelong Republican, he has been an active and influential worker in his party's affairs. He has been elected a representative to the state legislature three timesfirst in 1902, and reëlected in 1904 and again in 1906. He was a member of the committee on congressional apportionment in the session of 1906, and was the author of and introduced the bill covering the new Eighth district. During this session, he, with Hon. C. B. Kirkland, of Salina, secured the enactment of a rule preventing the appointment of the representative of a state institution to a place on a committee. He also gave valuable service in securing the passage of an act, by which the state receives interest earnings on all securities held by the state and which had previously gone to the state treasurer. In the term of 1906-1908 he served as chairman of the committee on banks and banking. Mr. Brandon has attained to the Scottish Rite degrees in Masonry, was a member of the dedicatory class of 529 at Wichita Consistory, in 1908, and has filled all the chairs of his local lodge. He married, July 2, 1871, Miss Mary Baskett, daughter of William Baskett, of Greene county, Tennessee. To do justice to the many phases of the career of Mr. Brandon within the limit of an article of this nature would be impossible, but even in touching the more salient points there may come objective lesson and incentive, and thus a tribute of appreciation. As a man among men, bearing his due share in connection with practical activities and responsibilities of a work-a-day world, has been successful, but over all and above all, he has gained a deep knowledge of the well springs from which emerge the streams of human motive and action. He has gained a clear apprehension of what life means, what are its dominating influences, and its possibilities, is ever ready to impart to his fellow men the fruits of his investigation, contemplation, and mature wisdom.Pages 506-508 from volume III, part 1 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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