Alonzo Eldridge Helm, of Wichita, one of the leaders of the Kansas bar, is a native of Ohio, having been born on his father's farm in German township, Darke county, Jan. 13, 1855, a son of Charles and Matilda C. (Bates) Helm. His ancestors were among the early settlers of America, and among them were pioneers of influence in the development of Ohio and Tennessee. His paternal grandfather, William Helm, was born in Tennessee, but removed to Darke county, Ohio, where he died in 1853. He married Phoebe Thomas, a native of Pennsylvania, born on May 22, 1794, a daughter of Daniel Thomas, who was born in Pennsylvania on Oct. 5, 1765, and died on Feb. 14, 1847. Charles Helm, the father of Alonzo, was born in Darke county, Ohio, Aug. 5, 1828. About 1860 he removed to Randolph county, Indiana, locating near Spartansburg, where he became a successful farmer. At the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted in the Ninth Indiana volunteer infantry as a private and served with his regiment until the close of the conflict. In early life he married Matilda C. Bates, who was born at Richmond, Ind., July 4, 1834, her father a native of Ireland and her mother of Virginia. Charles Helm died at Hartford City, Ind., at the age of seventy-two years. His widow still resides at Hartford City. They became the parents of the following children: Alonzo E., whose name introduces this sketch; Mrs. Margaret M. Spaulding of Wells county, Indiana; Harvey A., a resident of Mount Vernon, Ohio; Daniel T., a resident of Hartford City, Ind.; George E., also a resident of Hartford City; Mrs. Emily V. Tate of Keystone, Ind.; Mrs. Sarah E. Gilbert of Wells county, Indiana; John M., who resides in St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Laura M. Strubble of Van Buren, Ind.; Mrs. Effie C. Goldsborough of Hartford City, Ind., and a daughter Frances, who died at the age of twenty-four years.
Alonzo E. Helm received his early education in the public schools of Randolph county, Indiana. He then entered the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso when it was established, and graduated as a member of its first class in 1875. Prior to attending this institution, he had engaged in teaching, and after his graduation he followed that profession for some time in the public schools of Bluffton, Montpelier, Warren and Huntington, Ind. In 1882 he was appointed to a clerical position in the office of the first assistant postmaster-general at Washington, D. C., and remained in the postal department until 1887, reading law in the meantime. In 1885 he graduated in the law department of the National University with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, receiving the Master's degree the following year, his diplomas bearing the signature of President Cleveland. On Oct. 11, 1886, he was admitted to practice in the supreme court of the District of Columbia. In September, 1887, he came to Kansas and located at Wichita, where he opened a law office, and where he has since made his home. His early experience as a young lawyer in a strange land was that usually accorded to young attorneys under such circumstances, but by his energy and assiduity he soon became recognized as one of the forceful members of his chosen profession in southern Kansas. It was therefore not long until his clientele included a number of the leading business concerns of Wichita, and his appearance in connection with important cases, in which he was almost universally successful, gave him a standing second to none as a member of the Kansas bar. In 1900 he took up railway law as a specialty, and since then has given the greater portion of his time to that line of legal study, especially the laws relating to freight rates and tariffs. The present railroad law of Kansas, enacted by the legislative session of 1907, was drawn by Mr. Helm, and after it went into effect he defended it successfully before the supreme court of the state and the supreme court of the United States, thereby adding fresh laurels to his reputation as a trial lawyer. Mr. Helm has rendered service of almost incalculable benefit to the railroad committees of the state legislature, and has assisted materially in shaping the railway legislation of Kansas. In 1910 he appeared as counsel for the Kansas Millers' Association in the famous bleached flour case, which was tried before Hon. Smith McPherson, judge of the United States district court at Kansas City, Mo. Mr. Helm's great activity in recent years, however, has been in connection with matters that have come before the Interstate Commerce Commission, where he has come to be acknowledged as an authority on laws relating to freight tariffs and traffic. He is counsel for the Southwestern Shippers' Traffic Association, which is composed of the commercial organizations in the principal cities of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas; the Denver (Colo.) Consumers' and Shippers' Association; the Kansas Salt Manufacturers' Association; the Wichita Board of Trade; the Wichita Transportation Bureau, and the leading jobbing interests of the city. For many years Mr. Helm has been affiliated with the Democratic party, but has never held but one political officethat of city attorney of Wichita, from April, 1899, to April, 1903. He is a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; the Sedgwick county and Kansas state bar associations; the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and the Riverside club.
On Feb. 24, 1880, Mr. Helm married Miss Addie Corwin, a native of Franklin, Ohio, and a member of the well known Corwin family of that state, to which Tom Corwin, a famous governor of Ohio, also belonged. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Helm, viz.: Charles C., a commission merchant of Kansas City, Mo.; Ada, wife of Alfred Guy, a merchant tailor of Wichita; Gertrude, a high school student who resides at home with her parents; and Ralph, who died in 1907 at the age of sixteen years. Mrs. Helm is a woman of broad culture, popular in the best circles of Wichita society, and active in various charities.Pages 1107-1108 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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