Ralph H. Faxon.It would be hard to find in all Kansas a man more loyal to the state of his birth or more zealously devoted to its progress and upbuilding than is Ralph H. Faxon, of Garden City. Kansas made a remarkable record in the first fifty years of its statehood and the men of stout heart who accomplished that record have won enduring places on the pages of the state's history. But ever since the dawn of civilization progress has been continuous; there is no standing still; and in Kansas the earlier helmsmen of affairs have largely released their places to an equally energetic and ambitious younger generation intent on keeping their state ever to the fore in the march of progress and development along all lines.
Born on a farm five miles east of Topeka on May 9, 1875, Mr. Faxon was reared a farmer boy in Shawnee county and received his earlier education in its public schools. Later he attended the academy of Washburn College at Topeka and was graduated there with the class of 1892. He also attended a business college at Topeka one year and there completed a course in stenography. Taking up newspaper work as his vocation, he became an employee in the business office of the "Chicago Evening Mail," where he remained from 1892 to 1894. In the latter year he returned to Kansas and until May, 1897, as a reporter was successively connected with the "Topeka Press," the "Topeka State Journal," the "Kansas City World" and the "Kansas City Star." He then assumed news and editorial management of the "Newton Daily Republican," a paper that had been made famous by Noble Prentis and Thomas J. Norton, but a year later, or in May, 1898, he relinquished his duties at Newton to become secretary to Chester I. Long, with whom he remained eleven years, or during Senator Long's service both in the national house of representatives and in the United States senate. During all of that time Mr. Faxon did special work in Washington and elsewhere for the Kansas daily newspapers.
In May, 1908, be bought the "Evening Telegram," at Garden City, of which he took charge on March 4, 1909, and of which he is still the editor. In addition to his newspaper work, which he has made a power for good, he has also been active in development work, in the building of towns and in promoting and developing the state's natural resources. He organized the Arkansas Valley Commercial Association of western Kansas, which is devoted to the upbuilding of Finney, Gray, and Kearny counties. He assisted in organizing and is president of the New Santa Fe Trail, an important road movement which opened up a highway from Kansas City to Carson City, Col., and has given a strong impetus to a general good-roads campaign in not only the State of Kansas but the entire West. The Kansas Development Association, which is a union of all the commercial clubs of the state, also numbers Mr. Faxon among its organizers and elected him its president in 1911. He is the author of the law creating the Kansas State Conservation Commission and is now chairman of that commission. For five years he was a member of the committee on resolutions and at the present time is a member of the executive committee of the National Irrigation Congress, in the work and accomplishment of which he is deeply interested because of its value and bearing on the development of the arid sections of Kansas. In 1910 he was secretary of the board of control of the Pueblo Irrigation Congress and was its director of publicity. Mr. Faxon has been an equally active member of the Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress and had charge of its publicity work in 1911. For some years he has been a director and is now vice-president of the Garden City Industrial Club and is president of the Garden City council, Boy Scouts of America, and secretary of the Garden City library board. He is also president of the Finney County Wheat Growers' Association. In the line of his professional interests he is a member of the state and National editorial associations and was president of the Southwestern Kansas Editorial Association in 1909-10. He is a director of the Kansas State Historical Society; is president of the Kansas Day Club, that prominent organization of young Republicans of the state; and is a member of the National Geographical Society. The Boy Scouts movement, a movement that is upsetting and revolutionizing the modern modes of education in America, quickly caught the interest and attention of Mr. Faxon, who is keenly alert to every influence that will develop the highest type of citizenship as well as to all that aims for material development, and in 1911 he organized the Boy Scouts of Garden City and is president of the local council there. Fraternally he is a Master Mason, a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar Mason a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, and a Knight of Pythias, and by virtue of lineal descent he is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and of the Sons of Veterans.
Thomas J. Faxon, the father of Ralph H., was born Aug. 1, 1839, in Lenawee county, Michigan. The war of the Rebellion opened shortly after he had attained his majority and with all the patriotic ardor of young manhood he enlisted in defense of the Union as a private in Company E, Second Iowa cavalry. Later he became a member of the Eighth Veteran corps and altogether saw five years of active service during that conflict. After the war he returned to Michigan and engaged in the mercantile business at Adrian until 1867, when he came to Kansas and located in Shawnee county, where he yet resides, one of the best known and respected pioneer farmers of that county. He is a Republican in political views but has never sought official preferment. On Oct. 9, 1867, he was married at Deerfield, Mich., to Maria C. Canfield, who was his life companion for nearly forty years, her death having occurred May 12, 1906, at Topeka. She was born April 27, 1844, near Rochester, N. Y., to Thomas S. and Minerva Canfield. To Thomas J. and Maria C. Faxon were born four children: Margaret M., who was born in 1869, and died in infancy; Ralph H., the immediate subject of this review; Mira Del, who was born in 1877, and is now the wife of G. E. Griswold, a Shawnee county farmer; and Bessie May, born May 31, 1880, who is now the wife of John P. Siegel, a rate clerk in the Santa Fe general offices at Topeka; Mr. and Mrs. Siegel have two children.
On June 24, 1904, at Hutchinson, Kan., was solemnized the marriage of Ralph H. Faxon and Miss Louise C. Winans, a daughter of George W. and Flora B. Winans. A personal sketch of Mr. Winans appears elsewhere in this volume. To Mr. and Mrs. Faxon were born twin sons on April 10, 1905. Wesley Webb died in infancy and the other son is Wallace Winans Faxon.Pages 1557-1559 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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