Lemuel T. Heritage, a native of New Jersey, an 1857 pioneer of Emporia, a veteran of the Civil war, the organizer of the first bank of Lyon county, and for years a banker, but now a retired and honored citizen of Emporia, is worthy of more than a passing mention as one of the men who have aided in developing the great State of Kansas.
Mr. Heritage was born in New Jersey, March 24, 1838, and is now in the seventy-fifth year of his life, a life that has been well led, and one that until recently has been active in business affairs and in the interest of public weal. For fifty-five years he has resided at Emporia, to which city he came in 1857, just after the city was laid out, and when there were but few houses in the place. He has witnessed the city grow from a mere village to a thriving commmercial center of more than 10,000 population, and to its growth and development Mr. Heritage has contributed a goodly, share of his time, means, energy and influence.
From his coming to Kansas when a young man of nineteen years Mr. Heritage has directed his life in commendable lines. He at once entered with enthusiasm into the western spirit of progress, loyalty and aggressiveness, which traits of character have been present in all his private and public relations. His parents were Judah and Susan (Tomlinson) Heritage, natives of New Jersey. His father was a farmer, descended from a worthy New Jersey family. Maternally Lemuel T. Heritage is descended from James Tomlinson, an Englishman, who on immigrating to America first settled in Philadelphia, but later removed to the state of New Jersey and became a lieutenant in the Colonial army, aiding in securing independence for the colonies. He had a son, Lemuel Tomlinson, born in New Jersey, in 1790, and died there in 1833. Lemuel Tomlinson was the maternal grandfather of Lemuel T. Heritage, after whom Mr. Heritage was named.
In Union Academy, at Shiloh, N. J., Mr. Heritage received his preliminary education, which was supplemented by a year's course in Union College, at Schenectady, N. Y. For one year he studied medicine in the Albany Medical College, Albany, N. Y., but gave up his study of medicine to join in the tide of emigration westward, coming, in 1857, to Kansas, as already stated. He became a bookkeeper in one of the very first mercantile establishments of Emporia, and was thus employed when at the beginning of the Civil war, prompted by a spirit of loyalty and patriotism he sought to tender his services in defense of the Union. In the fall of 1861 Governor Robinson authorized him to do recruiting. His recruits were mustered into the service, in Company H, Eighth Kansas infantry, and he was commissioned first lieutenant, which commission he resigned, in the spring of 1862, when Company H was transferred to the Ninth Kansas cavalry, becoming Company B of that regiment. Lieutenant Heritage returned to Emporia, but, in the fall of 1862, he again enlisted, this time in Company C, Eleventh Kansas infantry, in which he was soon afterward made captain, and in this rank he commanded his company at the battle of Prairie Grove, Dec. 7, 1862, where he was severely wounded in the left leg above the knee, by reason of which wound he was disabled for further military duty. He was first sent to Fayetteville, Ark., thence to Fort Scott, Kan., and finally was mustered out of the service, in August, 1863, because of disability arising from his wound. His military record, though of brief duration, was brilliant, and his company was much attached to him, a fact well attested by subsequent pleasant and close relations to members of the company, with whom he has met in many enjoyable reunions. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and also of the military order of the Loyal Legion. For eight years after receiving his wound at the battle of Prairie Grove he suffered much from the wound, being compelled to use crutches.
In the year 1867 Mr. Heritage organized the first bank of Lyon county at Emporia. It was known as the Bank of Swallow, Heritage & Soden. In fact it was the only bank at that time west and south of Topeka and Lawrence, the nearest places with banks. Mr. Heritage had exclusive management of the affairs of the bank, and under his direction the institution prospered even beyond the most sanguine hopes of his associates. In 1872 the bank, under a reorganization, was made a state bank, but during the same year it was nationalized as the Emporia National Bank, which is today not only a leading bank of Emporia but also of Kansas. For a few months after its nationalization Mr. Heritage was president of the bank, but, at his own request, the late Hon. Preston B. Plumb, was chosen president of the institution, in January, 1873, and Mr. Heritage became cashier. Mr. Heritage remained the efficient cashier of the bank until 1902, when, of his own volition and much to the regret of the directors and stockholders, he resigned the cashiership that he might retire from active business life. For thirty-five years he was a banker, thirty years of the time cashier of the Emporia National Bank, which grew out of the banking house of Swallow, Heritage & Soden, which he established or organized in 1867; therefore, he was virtually with the same institution during the thirty-five years. This fact alone is sufficient indication of the unusual ability of Mr. Heritage as a banker. While he has always been a stanch Republican in politics he has never sought political honors; yet in 1870 his services were called into requisition in public office, his fellow citizens then electing him treasurer of Lyon county, a position he acceptably held for one term. He has always been a friend to education and church. Though not a member of the First Congregational Church of Emporia he has worshiped with this church. His fraternal relations abide with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Heritage is a bachelor.Pages 1504-1506 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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