Henry J. Calnan, editor and publisher of the "Kansas Chief," Troy, Kans., is one of the best known newspaper men in Northeastern Kansas. Mr. Calnan was born at Stoneham, Mass., November 17, 1857, and is a son of James and Katherine (Giblin) Calnan, both natives of Ireland. The father was a shoe manufacturer, and conducted a shoe factory at Stoneham for several years, and one of the unusual incidents in his career took place when the Civil war broke out, when he closed up his shoe factory and he, and all his employes enlisted in answer to the president's call for volunteers. He served throughout the war, and at the close of hostilities, removed with his family to Southern Iowa, later moving to Marshall county, Kansas. H. J. Calnan's opportunities for an education in early life were limited, and after attending the district schools for a time, he entered the office of the Moulten "Independent," at Moulten, Iowa, where he learned the printer's trade. This was the beginning of his newspaper career. After completing his trade, he worked as a journeyman printer at various places, and when nineteen years old, by hard work and frugality, he had saved enough of his earnings to engage in the newspaper business on his own account. He established the Pleasantville "News," at Pleasantville, Iowa, which he conducted about a year, when he sold out and entered the employ of the Des Moines "Register," and later was with the Burlington "Hawkeye." In 1880 he came to Kansas, and worked on the Leavenworth "Times" for Col. D. R. Anthony. In a few months he entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, at Burlington, Iowa, as fireman, and three years later was promoted to engineer. He followed railroading in the capacity of locomotive engineer until 1894, and during the course of his career was an engineer on the Mexican National Railroad for a time in Mexico. On account of ill health he came to Kansas to visit a brother who was a physician at Powhattan. While there he purchased the Powhattan "Post," and this venture proved a success from the time he took hold of it. It was not long until his ability as a writer was recognized, and his writings were widely quoted by newspapers throughout the State. He ran a series of articles in his paper under the title of the "Powhattan Fat Woman," in which he discussed the current topics of the day. These articles sparkled with an originality and at once gave the author a wide reputation as a humorist. In 1901 he removed his newspaper equipment to Hiawatha, and founded the Hiawatha "Republican," publishing this paper about eighteen months, when he sold it to the Hiawatha "World." He then removed to Purcell, Okla., where he founded the Purcell "Tribune," and after eighteen months sold that publication, and returned to Kansas, locating at Horton, where he was connected with the Horton "Headlight," about six months, when he disposed of his interests in that newspaper and located at Troy, and leased the Kansas "Chief." This newspaper was established in 1857 by Sol Miller and made famous throughout the West by that veteran newspaper man, well known to every Kansan during his time. The "Chief" is the oldest newspaper in the State. After having operated this paper under a lease for two years, Mr. Calnan purchased it, and has been its editor and publisher ever since. He purchased the first pony linotype machine in the State of Kansas, but the office of the Kansas "Chief" has long since outgrown this machine, and is thoroughly equipped with all modern machinery both for newspaper and job work. The editorial and news columns of the "Chief" are of a high standard, and every issue bears testimony to the ability of its editor. Politically it stands for the principles and policies of the Republican party. Mr. Calnan was united in marriage at Powhattan September 13, 1895, to Miss Martha, daughter of J. M. and Mary Swisher, of Brown county. Mrs. Calnan was born in Wisconsin, and came to Kansas with her parents when a child. Mr. and Mrs. Calnan have one child, Charles, born March 10, 1899, now a student in the Troy High School. He works in the printing office during vacation and at other times. Mr. Calnan is a Republican, and has taken a prominent part in the local affairs of his party. He is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and Mrs. Calnan holds membership in the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs.Pages 179-180 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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