Elmer H. Epperson.On the roll of Scott county's pioneers we find the name of Elmer H. Epperson, who, since an early period in the development of Southwestern Kansas, has been a resident of that county and has borne an important part in the work of its upbuilding and progress. As a public official, in journalistic circles, and in agricultural lines he has not only won an individual success, but has also advanced the general welfare of the community and at all times has commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens, by reason of his useful and upright life. Mr. Epperson was born Nov. 11, 1853, in Benton county, Iowa. His father, John S. Epperson, was a Kentuckian by birth, born on a farm near the city of Richmond, June 27, 1827. He brought his family to Kansas, in 1870, and finally located in Sumner county, where he engaged in farming a number of years, and served as county commissioner two terms. He was a member of the Masonic order, and died in Wellington, April 13, 1907. The mother was a Miss Nancy E. Forsythe prior to her marriage. She was born Feb. 5, 1832, at Greensburg, Ind., and died at Wellington, Kan., May 22, 1902. John S. and Nancy E. Epperson became the parents of two sons and four daughters: Martha, born May 21, 1851; Elmer H.; Julius E., born June 30, 1857; Alma A., born Aug. 25, 1859; Mary L., born July 3, 1863; and Florence E., born Oct. 15, 1869.
Elmer H. Epperson spent his youth in Iowa and there received his education, in the public schools of Benton county. He accompanied his parents to Kansas, in 1870, and after a residence of nearly two years at Independence, Montgomery county, took up his abode in Sumner county, where he was engaged in farming until 1886. That year he removed to Scott county and located on government land, on which he resided seventeen years. In 1903 he removed to Scott, the county seat, where he has since resided. However, three years prior to leaving the farm, which was eleven miles east of Scott, he began the publication of "The Chronicle," which is the only case on record, in Kansas, of a paper being published on a farm. Upon his removal to Scott, in 1903, he also transferred his paper to that city and, in 1909, bought the "Scott County News," which he consolidated with the "Chronicle," under the name of the "News-Chronicle," of which he is still the editor and owner. The paper is Democratic in politics, is the official paper of the county, and is a champion of all measures of public progress and of those interests which are a matter of civic pride.
In 1896 Mr. Epperson was elected to represent Scott county in the state legislature and was reëlected to that position in 1900. As a public official his service was one of credit to himself and of usefulness to his county and his constituency. He is the author of the law equalizing the railroad tax in Scott county, in each school district.
In 1880 he chose as his wife and helpmate Miss Susie, a daughter of Morgan Nottingham, a pioneer farmer of Sumner county, Kansas. Of their union eight children have been born: Anna M., Lena D., Lora B., Carrie E., Elmer L., Gertrude E., Albert R., and Florence M. Elmer L., the eldest son, is associated with his father in the publication of the paper, under the firm name of E. H. Epperson & Son.
Mr. Epperson became interested in Scott county before its organization as a county, in 1886, and since establishing his residence there has entered heartily into every movement which would promote its growth and welfare. The following article from his pen, published in the "News-Chronicle," Feb. 3, 1911, is a reminiscence of his earlier days in Kansas and is an expression, not only of his own personal devotion to his adopted state, but also of the loyalty of every true Kansan for this great commonwealth:
"This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of our beloved Kansas as one of the great states of this nation. This period marks one of the greatest epochs in history making of our nation and we might possibly say of the world. In no age of the world has the inventions in mechanical arts and development in the power and uses of electricity and other hidden forces of nature made such a growth as during this fifty years, in which Kansas has been a state. As a sixteen-year-old boy, the writer crossed the state line, at Fort Scott, in the spring of 1870, traveling overland from Benton county, Iowa, to the then infant city of Independence, Kan. Forty years seems a long time in the span of life, and the startling changes that recollections bring to the mind would seem truly impossible if attempted to be measured by an imaginative mind, gazing into the future. Forty years ago, at the very eastern border of our state, the traveler would only look upon a vast expanse of vacant, uninhabited, treeless prairie, save a squatter's cabin here and there, where today these same prairies are covered with delightful, cooling groves, palatial farm residences, and metropolitan cities. Where the Indian and buffalo roamed at will, now grow the products that feed, clothe, educate, and make happy millions of civilized beings. Yes, it seems like a long span to measure, with both pleasant and sad recollections intruding here and there along the many changing incidents that checker the career of man during such a period. Nearly all the older associates of this early period have gone to reap the reward of the true and faithful. During this time we have participated in the growth and development of three frontier Kansas counties, namely Montgomery, Sumner, and Scott. We have assisted in killing the last buffalo ever killed on Sumner county soil, Aug. 5, 1873. It is no small matter to witness the growth and development of such a magnificent county as this, from the range of the buffalo to such a municipal empire as it is today. Yet this is the half-century history of Kansas. Our Kansas, because we helped to make it. May the same loyal spirit, the same zeal, and the same ambition actuate the rising generation who must assume the burdens, that the second half-century of our state may be even more brilliant, if possible, than the first."Pages 93-95 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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