Edward Thomson Fairchild, of Ellsworth, Kan., state superintendent of public instruction, has been a citizen of Kansas twenty-five years and during all of that time has been prominently identified with its educational interests, first as a city superintendent, then as a county superintendent, and lastly as state superintendent. He was born in Doylestown, Wayne county, Ohio, in October, 1854, and is the son of Rev. Samuel and Elizabeth Jane (Huestis) Fairchild, the former of whom was a Methodist minister and a native of Morristown, N. J., born there in 1807, and the latter a native of New York, who died at the birth of her son, the subject of this sketch. Rev. Samuel Fairchild was engaged in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church in the State of Ohio for thirty-five years. After the death of his first wife he married Ann Matilda Ward, who, though a stepmother, proved to be a mother in every respect to Edward T. Fairchild, who was yet a mere infant when she became mistress of the Fairchild home. Three children were born to the first marriage, two of whom are living: Miss Emma C. Fairchild of Lakeside, Ohio, and Edward T. Isaac Fairchild, the father of Rev. Samuel Fairchild, removed from Morristown, N. J., to Morgantown, W. Va., and thence to Ohio, where he became an early settler of Holmes county, of which he served as the first treasurer. The Fairchild family had come from Connecticut to New Jersey and was an old New England family of English descent. Elizabeth Jane Huestis was a member of a prominent American family, also of English descent. She was related to the famous Comstock family of the United States, among whose members is the renowned Anthony Comstock of present day fame.
Edward T. Fairchild was reared and educated in his native state of Ohio. His father being a Methodist minister, his boyhood was not spent entirely in any one place, though much of it was spent at Belleville, Richland county, Ohio. His primary education was obtained in the public schools of Ohio and his collegiate education was obtained at Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and in Wooster University. He became a teacher in the Ohio public schools at the age of sixteen, teaching his first term in Madison county at a time when it was yet customary to "board around" among the patrons. He had pupils during that term who were older than himself. At the age of twenty he was one of the faculty of the Hayesville, Ohio, Academy and while thus engaged he established the "Hayesville Journal," a weekly newspaper which is still published there. In 1878 he became superintendent of the public schools at Columbus Grove, Ohio, and held that position until 1883, when he started West, and after a stop of two years at Cameron, Mo., came on to Kansas, where he became superintendent of the schools of the city of Ellsworth in 1885. He has maintained his home at Ellsworth since that time and during his twenty-five years of residence there has served eighteen years as superintendent of the Ellsworth public schools, four years as county superintendent of Ellsworth county, and in 1906 was elected state superintendent of public instruction, to which office he was reëlected in 1908 and again in 1910. He is now serving his third term in that office and bears the distinction of being the only man to hold that office for more than two terms. While county superintendent of Ellsworth county he established the first consolidated public school west of the State of Ohio. For eight years he was a member of the board of regents of the Kansas State Agricultural College and part of that time served as president of the board. He is a life member and one of the vice-presidents of the National Teachers' Association and is a member of the Fortnightly Club of Topeka. He has received the honorary degrees of Master of Arts, Doctor of Pedagogy and Doctor of Laws. In Masonry he has attained the Knight Templar degree.
Mr. Fairchild, a man of cultured intellect and of fine attainments, has had the educational needs of Kansas at heart and has rendered splendid service as state superintendent in developing high educational ideals within the state. In his efforts to increase the service and to enhance the efficiency of the public school in Kansas he is striving through its agency to make the future citizenship of the state one of inflexible integrity and strong moral character with the highest ideals of patriotism, duty and service.
Mr. Fairchild was married just prior to leaving Ohio, Oct. 10, 1883, to Miss Frances L. Postlewaite, a native of Ohio, and they have four children: Frederick P., Louise M., Edward T., Jr., and Frances F.Pages 50-51 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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