Chiles C. Coleman was one of the able and distinguished lawyers of Kansas. His home was at Clay Center, where he lived for thirty-eight years. He was born in Boone county, Kentucky, Dec. 29, 1854, and resided in that state until eighteen years of age. His father was principal of Morgan Academy at Burlington, Ky., and it was at that school and under his father's tuition that Mr. Coleman was educated. After the death of his parents, accompanied by his two sisters, he came to Kansas and established his home at Clay Center. For a time he studied law in the office of Col. M. M. Miller, now of Topeka, and in May, 1878, was admitted to the bar. He entered immediately upon the work of his profession and continued to be an active practicing lawyer up to the time of his fatal illness. He was elected to many positions of trust and responsibility and filled all of them with more than common capacity and ability. He was many times elected to the office of member of the board of education and served the public well in that position. He was twice elected to the office of county attorney of Clay county, and was city attorney of Clay Center a number of years. In 1902 and again in 1904 he was elected to the office of attorney-general of Kansas and served the state four years in that capacity. For more than thirteen years he was senior member of the firm of Coleman & Williams. While Mr. Coleman was attorney-general there was much important litigation and he served the state with fine ability in the conduct of the same, and after his term of office expired he was retained by his successor to finish litigation which had been commenced during his term of office. Among the cases wherein he represented the state was one involving the validity of the eight-hour law of Kansas, and that case was carried through the supreme court of the state and to the supreme court of the United States, and the contention of the state was sustained. Suits were prosecuted successfully for the state against the International Harvester Company, both for penalty for violation of the anti-trust law, and for ouster for doing business in the state; and against the Standard Oil Company, which resulted in judgment of modified ouster at a later date. One of the most important things accomplished by him was a thoroughly effective prosecution of delinquent officers for evading the enforcement of the prohibitory law. The decisions which he procured against such officers gave new vitality to law enforcement in the state of Kansas, and it is probable that the effect in the state will never be forgotten. Mr. Coleman was active in all things pertaining to the Kansas State Bar Association, and rendered important services for that organization as a member of the executive committee, and he became president of the association for the year 1899. Masonry always exerted a great deal of charm for Mr. Coleman. Early in life he joined the Masonic Lodge, Chapter, and Commandery of Knights Templars, and served as master of the lodge, high priest of the Chapter, and eminent commander of the Knights Templars. For a number of years he was prelate of the Clay Center Commandery and held the distinction of being the best prelate in Kansas among the Templars. His deep, sympathetic voice and impressive manner of speaking swayed all candidates deeply, and all who have ever heard Mr. Coleman serve as prelate in Coronado Commandery will remember until death the impression made at that time. In the early '90s Mr. Coleman was placed in line among the officers of the State Grand Masonic Lodge, and in 1897 reached the highest position among the Masons of Kansas, that of grand master of the Grand Lodge. On Oct. 10, 1878, Mr. Coleman was united in marriage to Miss Willie Miller, who, with three children, survive him. Two daughtersVirginia, who is a teacher in the Clay County High School, and Katherine,are at home, and the only son, James Preston, is an assistant in Attorney-General Dawson's office in Topeka. Mr. Coleman's most notable characteristics were his absolute integrity, his upright life and his cheerful disposition. He was held in unequivocal confidence and esteem in both professional and social circles, and well merited the high regard in which he was held in the community in which he lived and labored to so goodly ends. He was summoned to the life eternal March 4, 1911.Pages 953-955 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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