Joseph E. Humphrey, one of the well known members of the newspaper fraternity of Kansas, who owned and edited the "Argosy" of Nickerson, was born in Athens county, Ohio, Sept. 6, 1861, a son of E. C. and Sarah (Rigg) Humphrey. The American branch of the Humphrey family in America was established by two brothers who immigrated from England and located in Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively, and from them nearly all the Humphreys in this country are supposed to have descended. W. E. Humphrey, Joseph's grandfather, was born in Pennsylvania, was a pioneer settler of Ohio, where he was accidentally killed by having a tree fall on him while clearing some land. His son, E. C. Humphrey, responded to the call for volunteers during the Civil war and enlisted in the Seventy-fourth Ohio infantry, in 1862, serving until discharged, in 1863, on account of disability, due to a wound received while on duty. After recovering from his hurt he reënlisted in the same regiment and was detailed to take charge of a pack train which went over the Cumberland mountains, serving until the close of the war. His oldest son, John E., enlisted at the age of sixteen and when only seventeen gave his life for the preservation of the Union and lies in some unknown grave on a Southern battlefield. Mr. Humphrey married Sarah, a daughter of William Rigg, a boat builder on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers, a man of more than average mental ability and strong physique. Mrs. Humphrey was born at Brownsville, of Quaker stock, and was twenty-one years old at the time of her marriage. She reared a family of four sons: John E., killed during the war; Charles E., who died at Alaska, Ohio, at the age of twenty-two; William E., a farmer of Ohio, and Joseph E., who was given a good preliminary education in the common schools of Ohio, then graduating in the high school. At an early age he showed a decided tendency toward journalism and after leaving school entered the office of the "Journal," at Athens, Ohio, to learn the printer's trade. He remained there for eight years and learned every branch of the business, from "printer's devil" to foreman, holding the position of compositor for eight years, and for two years filled the position of foreman; but being ambitious, during the time he was with the "Journal" the desire had grown within Mr. Humphrey to own and manage a paper of his own. He heard of the many openings in the West and, in 1886, came to Kansas, locating at Nickerson, where he formed a partnership with his uncle, by marriage, Mr. Hendry, and they bought the "Nickerson Argosy" at a sheriff's sale. Within a short time they built up the circulation of the paper, placed it upon a substantial financial basis, and it was recognized as one of the leading Republican organs of the state, yielding great influence in Reno county. After twelve years in the newspaper business Mr. Humphrey was appointed postmaster at Nickerson, in 1899, which office came to him without contest, and for which he was eminently fitted. Mr. Humphrey has always been a sturdy worker in the ranks of the Republican party; has served as secretary of Republican state conventions and officiated in that capacity in 1900, in the convention that nominated candidates for state offices. Fraternally he is a member of Lodge No. 43, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; of Lodge No. 90, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; also belongs to the Knights of Pythias.
On April 24, 1901, Mr. Humphrey married at St. Joseph, Mo., Nellie B. McCoy, who was born, reared and educated in Ohio. She is a member of the Episcopal church and a lady of great mental ability and charm. For years Mr. Humphrey has taken an active part in promoting all movements for the prosperity and progress of Reno county and the town in which he lives. Nickerson never had a more popular postmaster, and he is universally respected as a business man and loved as a friend.Pages 1241-1242 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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