Mrs. Mattie O. Hilliard, who has so capably and acceptably performed the duties of superintendent of public instruction in Pratt county for the last eight years, is a native of Iowa, born on a farm in Warren county, Jan. 1, 1866. She is a daughter of Charles L. W. Proudfoot, a West Virginian by birth, born Feb. 20, 1842, to parents that were natives of the Old Dominion. He removed to Iowa early in life and, in 1860, wedded Rebecca Lewzader of Warren county, Iowa, but a native of Indiana. Mr. Proudfoot was a farmer by vocation, but part of his business life was spent as an employee in a railroad office. He and his wife were the parents of two sons and three daughters: Emma Hester, born May 5, 1862, married William Herbert, a blacksmith, and they reside in Petaluma, Cal.; Merritt Ulysses Grant, born Sept. 29, 1864, is a train dispatcher at Des Moines, Iowa; Mrs. Hilliard is next in order of birth; Harriett Elizabeth, born Nov. 13, 1868, is the wife of William Burg, a successful farmer of Polk county, Iowa; and James Paris, born Jan. 29, 1870, died in 1903.
Mrs. Hilliard was educated in the public schools of Warren county, Iowa, and at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, where she graduated in 1881. After a splendid career as a student she entered duly upon the life of a teacher. However, after teaching one year in Iowa, she gave up her profession for domestic life and was married, Nov. 7, 1883, to Albert Hilliard of New Virginia, Iowa. He was a farmer, and in May following their marriage they removed to Kansas, making the journey by wagon and locating on government land in Pratt county. They made final proof on 160 acres by preëmption; after one year's residence there, and then in 1885 removed to Meade county, where Mr. Hilliard took a soldier's homestead, making final proof after three years' residence. They then returned to Pratt county, where he became a salesman in a hardware store. He died Sept. 1, 1906. It was his to render valiant service as a soldier of the Union in the Civil war, enlisting as a private in Company B, Thirty-seventh Illinois infantry, with which he served three years. To Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard were born four children: Blanche died in infancy; Alta Geneva, born July 20, 1886, was engaged in teaching five years and on Sept. 10, 1908, married Harry Warren, a bank clerk, and they have two sonsHilliard, born July 30, 1909, and Harold, born Oct. 23, 1910; Frank Charles was born Nov. 23, 1887, is a graduate of the Pratt County High School and was a law student at the University of Kansas two years, being compelled to give up that course on account of ill health, and is a railroad conductor at Los Angeles, Cal.; and Vernon Victor, born Oct. 19, 1890, is also a graduate of the Pratt County High School and is a salesman.
For eleven years Mrs. Hilliard proved an exceptionally energetic and able member of the teaching profession in Pratt county. Her ability in that direction and her unusually strong talent for administration secured her election to the office of superintendent of public instruction in Pratt county, in 1904, on the Republican ticket. She was successively reëlected to the office in 1906, 1908 and 1910, a strong and convincing testimony as to her fitness for the position and the esteem in which she is held. In the election of 1910 her opponent on the Democratic ticket was a lady candidate, over whom Mrs. Hilliard was elected by a majority of 297 votes. Out of forty-seven women who are holding similar positions in Kansas Mrs. Hilliard's record stands exceptionally high as a school woman and as a public officer. She is a member of the Coterie Literary Club of Pratt, and of the Rebekah lodge, and is also a member and recording secretary of the Royal Neighbors, auxiliaries respectively of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. She is president of the Woman's Relief Corps, Grand Army of the Republic. She is active and prominent in both club and church work in Pratt and is the teacher of a class of fifty in the Methodist Episcopal Sunday school at Pratt.Pages 982-983 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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