Hugh P. Farrelly, a prominent Kansas lawyer and a recognized leader in Democratic political affairs within the state, has been a resident of the city of Chanute nearly twenty-five years, during the whole of which period his professional and political activities have been such as to place him conspicuously in the foreground in local affairs and to gain him state-wide prominence in both relations. He was born in Greene county, Illinois, Sept. 2, 1858, a son of parents of more than ordinary culture and refinement, who, by the distinctive force of heredity, transmitted to their son those mental traits and endowments that fitted him for a professional career. His father, Hugh P. Farrelly, was born near Dublin, Ireland, and was educated for the priesthood, but, as he reached maturity, he became disinclined to enter the ministry and at the age of twenty immigrated to the United States. Here he became a contractor of canal and railroad work and maintained his residence in Kentucky for a time. About 1850, however, he settled in Illinois, where he passed the remainder of his life as a farmer, and there he died, Aug. 26, 1858. In Virginia he was united in marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. James Brewer, a Methodist minister, who was one of the old circuit riders of the early day. She was born Jan. 3, 1818, and died July 2, 1878. To Hugh P. and Elizabeth (Brewer) Farrelly were born the following children: Margaret, who married John Gough and died in 1900, at the age of sixty; Mary E., who married John W. Meneley, of Greene county, Illinois, and died in 1908; James K. P., a farmer of Greene county, who represented his district in the state senate of Illinois in 1900; George W., who at the time of his death, May 24, 1898, was posmaster[sic] of Chanute, and one of that city's most prominent and influential citizens, having practiced law there for a time as the partner of his brother, Hugh P., and had served as postmaster under both of President Cleveland's administrations; John T., an engineer residing in Denver, Colo.; Rosa, who died at the age of fifteen; Virginia, the youngest daughter, who died in the State of Virginia; and Hugh P.
Hugh P. Farrelly was reared to farm pursuits and received a liberal education in his native state. He engaged five years in the profession of teaching and while so employed began the study of law, with Hon. Henry C. Withers, of Carroliton, Ill., as his preceptor. While completing his professional studies he also edited the "Carrollton Gazette," the oldest paper of central Illinois, with which he was identified three years, or until after his admission to the bar. He then opened an office at Carrollton for the practice of law. In 1885 he passed successfully the rigid examination required before the supreme court of Illinois, and after two years of effort in a field where competition was strong and litigation scarce, he decided to seek the greater opportunities of the West. He came to Chanute, Kan., Oct. 15, 1887, and has since been a resident of that city. In 1888 he became a law partner of Benjamin F. Shinn, a professional relation which was sustained three years. Later his brother, George W. Farrelly, became his partner and so remained four years, or until the death of the latter. Thomas R. Evans is now and has been his partner several years. Mr. Farrelly is an advocate of large legal experience and of deferential influence, one known to be thoroughly familiar with legal precedents and who prepares his briefs and tries his cases with tireless energy and consummate skill. He is a stanch Democrat. With a relish for political contests and the ability to fight them, he became early an active partisan and welcomed every encounter. His political career began as that of most public men ought to, with an active participation in local affairs, in the course of which he gained the thorough confidence of his fellow citizens. In 1889 he became city attorney of Chanute, by appointment, and in the following year was elected county attorney of Neosho county, which he continued to fill during two terms. During that incumbency his management of the office was such as to reduce to a minimum the law violations in the county. It was during his term that the Santa Fe Railroad Company undertook to have their taxes reduced in the various Kansas counties through which their line passed, and Mr. Farrelly made such a vigorous protest against said reduction before the board of commissioners of Neosho county that they refused to grant the Santa Fe's request. The matter was carried to the Federal court, where Mr. Farrelly was sustained in his contention and the sum of $4,000 was saved to the taxpayers of Neosho county. In 1896 he was nominated by the Democrats of the Third Congressional district for Congress, but withdrew from the race and thereby caused the election of E. R. Ridgely. After his withdrawal from the Congressional race he was made the Democratic candidate for the state senate and was elected by a majority of over 500 votes, being the first Democrat to enter the state legislature from that district. His senatorial career was one of great industry and his service one of credit and increasing reputation to himself and of usefulness to his state and to his constituency. He was made chairman of the committee on banks and insurance and also served on other important committees. The anti-trust bill, which he introduced, and of which he secured the passage, caused more discussion by the press of the state than any other measure brought before the senate during that session. He secured the enactment of the Breidenthal banking law, also the law to fix a charge of two per cent. on home and four per cent. on foreign insurance companies' gross premiums collected on business done in the state. By the passage of the latter law a revenue of about $100,000 is annually secured to the state. In 1900 Mr. Farrelly was the choice of the Democratic convention for Congress, but at the joint convention of Democrats and Populists he lost the fusion nomination. At the state convention of both parties, held at Fort Scott, he was selected as the candidate for attorney-general of the state, but went down to defeat with the whole ticket. Since then he has been a candidate for the office of lieutenant-governor of the state and that of United States senator, but suffered defeat in each instance. At the present time (1911) he is a prominent candidate for nomination of United States senator on the Democratic ticket. He has served as chairman of the Democratic state central committee two years, throughout the whole of his political career has been loyal to his political party, and as a public servant, he has labored with untiring devotion for the welfare of the constituency he represented and the State of Kansas.
On June 2, 1885, Mr. Farrelly was married in Carroilton, Ill., to Miss Ella F., a daughter of Thomas C. and Eliza A. Robinson. Two children were born of this marriageMabel E. and Minnieboth of whom died in infancy. Mr. Farrelly is prominent in fraternal circles as well as professionally and in political affairs. He is a member of the Blue Lodge, Chapter, and Commandery of the Masonic order, and for many years has been a member of the Knights of Pythias, in which order he has been chairman of the law committee of the grand lodge. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America, and has filled the various offices in both orders. In February, 1901, he represented his camp in the state head camp of the Woodmen and was there elected a delegate to the head camp of the order at St. Paul, which he attended the following June. His fraternal affiliations include also the Knights and Ladies of Security and the Sons and Daughters of Justice. Duty well performed during twenty-five years of activity in this state has won Mr. Farrelly recognition as an earnest, loyal, and public-spirited citizen, and has also won him the highest esteem in his community and throughout the state as a man of honor and usefulness.Pages 1307-1310 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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