Joseph Charles Gafford, state accountant and well known banker of Kansas, was born in Mahaska county, Iowa, June 25, 1854. His lather was James Albert Gafford, a native of Indiana, who was engaged in the furniture business during the greater part of his life. He came to Kansas in 1858, when his son, Joseph, was but four years of age and located on a farm near Winchester, in Jefferson county. Two years later, in 1860, a severe drought was experienced in that locality which caused the loss of practically all the crops of the season, and James Gafford returned with his family to Mahaska county, Iowa. At the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in the Union army and served as a corporal in Company I, Thirty-third Iowa regiment, until 1863, when he was honorably discharged on account of ill health which he had contracted while serving with his regiment in the Yazoo district of Mississippi. Soon after this he returned to his farm in Jefferson county, Kansas, and continued to make his residence in different counties of the state until his death, in 1904. In 1865 he removed with his family from Jefferson county to Sabetha, Nemaha county, where they resided for two years and then made their home in White Cloud, Doniphan county, and in 1874 located at Concordia, Cloud county. His wife was Mary Ann Carpenter, a native of Ohio, whose death occurred in 1886. They had two children: Joseph C. and a daughter, who is Mrs. B. F. Bracken of Beloit, Kan. Joseph C. Gafford received his education in the public schools of Kansas and in his early manhood taught school for one year. At the age of twenty-two he entered into partnership with his father, who was at that time a furniture merchant at Concordia, and for the next eight years was profitably engaged in this business. During his residence at Concordia he served for two years as county commissioner of Cloud county. In 1885 he removed to Glasco in the same county and established the Glasco State Bank, of which he became president and his brother-in-law, B. F. Bracken, cashier. In June, 1887, he founded the Minneapolis National Bank at Minneapolis, Ottawa county, and was accompanied in this enterprise by Mr. Bracken, who accepted the position of cashier. Mr. Gafford served as president of this financial institution for four or five years, when, Mr. Bracken's health having failed, an exchange of positions was made, Mr. Gafford becoming cashier and Mr. Bracken president, in order that the latter might be relieved of the confining duties of his former office. Since that time Mr. Gafford has held the position of cashier in the bank and has continued to make his home at Minneapolis. For the past five years he has divided his attention between the duties of this position and those of the office of state accountant of Kansas, his responsibilities as a banker being assumed in his absence by his son, R. C. Gafford, who is the assistant cashier of the Minneapolis National Bank. In 1906 Mr. Gafford organized the Oak Hill State Bank at Oak Hill, Clay county, of which he is president and his younger son, Earl R. Gafford, cashier. He received his first appointment as state accountant from Gov. E. W. Hoch, June 1, 1905. He was reappointed by the same governor in 1907. In 1909 he was reappointed by Gov. W. R. Stubbs and is now serving his fourth term in this office, having been again reappointed by Governor Stubbs in 1911. He has also been honored with public offices as a citizen of Minneapolis, serving for seven years as mayor of that city and for ten years was chairman of the Republican county central committee of Ottawa county. Mr. Gafford is a member of the Presbyterian church and is a prominent Mason, having attained to the degree of Knight Templar. He is a past master and past high priest in the order.
His marriage to Miss Elizabeth E. Morden of Nebraska City, Neb., occurred Jan. 6, 1876. Mrs. Gafford died Jan. 31, 1910, leaving three children: Roy C., Earl R., and Edna May. R. C., a graduate of a business college, married Stella Cole, and they have two childrena son and daughter; Earl R. was a student in the University of Kansas, and married Alice Rankin; Edna May graduated at the University of Kansas, June, 1910, and on Oct. 24, 1911, became the wife of George A. Porter of Kansas City, Mo.Pages 516-517 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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