Monroe Davis Herington.A man's real worth to the community in which he lives is not a matter of the accumulation of wealth, the ownership of broad acres or the controlling of commercial enterprises, except he use a part of that wealth, his business influence and a portion of his time in the upbuilding of his town, city or county, and to assist, through advice and example, his fellow citizens to fruitful labor and prosperity, and to live honorable lives filled with kindness and helpful deeds. The man whose name initiates this article has been a resident of the State of Kansas since 1881 and his career since becoming a citizen of the State exemplifies the truth of the foregoing statements. In the founding and development of the city which bears his name and which occupies a portion of the original Herington ranch, he has been the most potential factor, while his donations, in land and money, given as a means to secure railway facilities, greatly exceed those from all other sources.
Monroe Davis Herington is a native of Michigan, and was born on his father's farm in Lenawee county, April 23, 1844, a son of David R. and Nancy (Ferguson) Herington. His father was born in Oswego county, New York, in August, 1812, and was of English descent, the family being founded in America during its early settlement. David R. Herington was a farmer, who spent the early years of his life in his native State, New York, became a pioneer settler in Lenawee county, Michigan, later removed to Iowa, from there to Linn county, Missouri, where he remained until 1865, when he took his family to Bloomington, Ill., in order to give them adequate educational advantages. His death occurred on March 28, 1881, in the last named city. He married when a young man, Miss Nancy Ferguson, born in 1815. She died in 1907, aged ninety-two. They were the parents of six children: Diana (deceased), Pitt Bruce, Byron, Monroe Davis, the subject of this article, Helen, and Ida, deceased.
Monroe Davis Herington acquired his education in the public schools of Iowa and Missouri. He received little assistance from his parents, preferring to defray his expenses from his own earnings. He was reared a farmer and on completion of his education followed this field of endeavor. He came to Kansas in 1881, and with the profits of his previous years of efforts purchased 1,400 acres of land in Dickinson county, and engaged in the cattle business on an extensive scale. With his profits, he was a consistent buyer of more land, and at one time was the owner of 80,000 acres within the borders of the State. The Dickinson county property, known as the Herington Ranch, was his favorite, however, and this he made his place of residence. On this ranch was founded the present city of Herington, named in his honor and to him the town is indebted for its railway lines. At the time the Missouri Pacific railway was constructing its line westward to Colorado, he donated a righ-of-way[sic] through his ranch, a matter of four miles, forty acres of land and 81 lots for terminals and $1,000 in cash. In 1887, when the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railway was building its line to the south, he donated to them eighty acres of land, a one-half interest in 1,200 city lots, and free right-of-way through his lands. He also bought and donated to the company a right-of-way for both their southern and western main lines through Dickinson county, and guaranteed their bonds issued to cover their lines in Morris county. He has been equally generous in his donations to the building funds of various churches in the city of Herington, and to its schools, and is justly entitled to the sobriquet, "Father of Herington," both from the standpoint of being its founder and from having given it a parent's care during the growing years of its life. His is the distinction of having established the first bank in the city, a private institution, which was later incorporated and chartered as the Bank of Herington, its business office being the fourth building to be erected in the town. Mr. Herington served as president of the bank for several years after its incorporation. He built many of the business buildings occupied during the early days, assisted merchants to establish themselves in business, and gave freely of his wealth to promote the town. He built an opera house and hotel in 1887 at a cost of $90,000, which were the most substantial buildings erected in the city. The hotel was afterward destroyed by fire. He was the first incumbent of the mayor's chair, and elected for two subsequent terms. He was concerned directly or indirectly with many other enterprises, which were of material value in the growth of Herington, and until his retirement from active business cares, in 1896, his influence in commercial and civic affairs was dominant. Mr. Herington has traveled extensively and is a keen observer and close student of men and affairs. He visited Alaska in 1900, and experienced a rather thrilling adventure on the voyage north, his vessel encountering severe weather at the mouth of the Yukon river, where it barely escaped foundering. He has been for many years an influential and active member of the Baptist church, and his home congregation has received from him generous support. He is an ardent and earnest worker in the cause of Christianity, and his charities are many and varied. Mr. Herington has been twice married. In August, 1871, he was united in marriage with Miss Ida Jones. To this union were born three children: Diana, born May 25, 1872; Monroe Davis Herington, Jr., born May 29, 1877, a successful merchant of Los Angeles, Cal., and Alice, born June 26, 1873, married John Ross February 10, 1896, by whom she had one son, Clifford Monroe Ross, born July 26, 1898. Mrs. Ross died on November 22, 1901. Mr. Herington married, on June 17, 1880, Mrs. Jane Perkins. A daughter by her previous marriage, Miss Brusilla Perkins, is her only child.Pages 376-378 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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