Perry Hutchinson.To the miller of Kansas the name of Perry Hutchinson is as familiar as that of George Washington to the school boy. His is the distinction of having built the first flour mill in the State of Kansas, west of the Missouri river, and of having milled the first roller process flour in the state. A resident of Marysville since 1859, he has been an active participant in practically every phase of her development. He is one of the distinctively representative men of Kansas, and although in his eightieth year his mental and physical vigor is that of the average man at sixty, and he still manages in person his large and varied interests. He is president of the First National Bank of Marysville, is Marshall county's largest cattle feeder, and operates one of the finest farms in the state. Perry Hutchinson is a native of the Empire State and was born at Fredonia, Chautauqua county, Dec. 2, 1831, a son of Calvin and Sophia (Perry) Hutchinson. His ancestors, maternal and paternal, were among the early settlers of America, and numbered among them all men who have achieved distinction in the town, state and nation. Elijah Hutchinson, grandfather of Perry, and a cousin of Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts, was a pioneer settler of Chenango county, New York, and there was born his son, Calvin. Sophia Perry was a daughter of Col. Sullivan Perry, who in 1812 was in command of an American ship of war which sunk a British vessel off Dunkirk, N. Y. Colonel Perry was a first cousin of Commodore Perry, who won the famous naval victory at Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie, in the war of 1812.
Perry Hutchinson was reared on his father's farm and attended the public schools, and later the Fredonia Academy. On attaining his majority, in 1852, he sought an opportunity to gain his fortune in the West. He journeyed to Wisconsin and secured employment with the logging firm of McAdoo & Schuter, one of the largest operators of that time. He was soon made foreman of their rafting crew, a position of importance, requiring nerve, the ability to handle men, and initiative. He drove several large rafts of logs from the Wisconsin river to St. Louis and concluded the marketing as well, drawing a salary of $8 per day. When winter made driving on the river impossible he returned to his old home in New York, where he remained until the spring of 1853, when he went west to Iowa and purchased a farm in Linn county, near Cedar Rapids, and engaged in farming. In 1857 he built, in Vinton county, a saw and flour mill, which he operated successfully until 1859, when, through the defalcation of a partner, he was forced to give up his entire property to satisfy creditors of the firm. He purchased, on credit, a pair of horses and a wagon and, with his wife and children, came to Kansas. He reached Marysville, Marshall county, Oct. 3, 1859, and secured employment as a harvest hand. He found time to fill his larder with buffalo meat, his family's chief article of diet for about five months, tea, coffee and sugar being unknown to them. The following year he took a claim, seven miles east of Marysville, and on it built a small cabin, which he utilized as a hotel and stage stop. While here he made the acquaintance of the superintendent of the Holliday Stage Line, a Mr. Lewis, and through him secured the lease of the Barrett House at Marysville and funds to operate it. In July, 1862, he organized Company E, Thirteenth Kansas infantry, and was elected its captain. The company was mustered into service at Atchison, in August, 1862. Captain Hutchinson served until the fall of 1863, when he received his discharge on account of illness. In the spring of 1864 he secured the water power rights on the Blue river, one and one-half miles west of Marysville. There he built a sawmill and in it was sawed all the lumber used in building the stations of the Holliday Stage Line, between Marysville and Denver. In the fall of the same year he built, opposite his sawmill, the first flour mill to be erected west of the Missouri river. His product was sold as far east as Lawrence and wheat was brought by the growers from a radius of 150 miles. His first step toward the accumulation of a fortune occurred through his securing from Strickler & Streator, railroad contractors of Junction City, a contract to supply their camps with flour. He was the successful bidder, at $7.75 per sack of ninety-eight pounds, twelve other firms contesting. This contract covered the flour used by Strickler & Streator while building the Union Pacific railroad from Junction City to Denver, and from it Mr. Hutchinson realized a net profit of about $25,000. In 1881 the mill was completely remodeled and rolls were installed, the first mill in Kansas to be so equipped. For nearly fifty years the Hutchinson mill has been operated by one man and its products are known for the high standard maintained. For many years the output has been sold principally to the large baking concerns, St. Louis being the chief market, and a business totaling $400,000 per annum is done. In 1880 Mr. Hutchinson became interested in banking. He was one of the founders of the Marshall County Bank, which was succeeded, in 1882, by the First National Bank of Marysville, of which J. A. Smalley, Samuel A. and Edgar R. Futon and himself were the principal organizers. He became president of the institution, in 1893, and has remained in that position since. The bank is the leading financial institution of Marshall county. It has a capital of $75,000, an earned surplus of $50,000, undivided profits of $20,000, and average deposits of $450,000. While not an active executive in the administration of the business of this institution, Mr. Hutchinson is favorably known to the banking fraternity. He is recognized as an able and discriminating financier and his connection with a financial institution is a guaranty of safe, sane and conservative management. He has purchased from time to time several tracts of the choicest farm land in Marshall county, which he operates personally, and in this work finds his recreation. He is the most extensive cattle feeder in the county and his 600-acre farm, near his mill site, is one of the best examples of scientific agriculture to be found in the state. His political allegiance has been given to the Republican party. He was elected to the state senate in 1880, and served with honor and distinction. He was a member of the Committee on Ways and Means and was chairman of that on State Institutions. He was appointed, in 1876, by Governor Martin, one of a committee of three, which included the late Eugene Ware, to represent Kansas at the Centennial Jubilee, held in New York City. He was a delegate to the Republican National conventions which nominated James A. Garfield and James G. Blaine for the presidency. He has attained the Knight Templar degree in Masonry, and is the nestor of the Kansas Millers' Association.
Mr. Hutchinson was married Dec. 19, 1855, to Miss Lydia Jeanette, daughter of Champlin Barber, a farmer of Chautauqua county, New York. They are the parents of three children: Frank W. is a retired merchant at Marysville; Wallace W. is superintendent of the Hutchinson mill; and Etta Viola is the wife of Harry Koetch, of Sturges, S. D. Mr. Hutchinson is a high type of the virile, active American, diligent in his duties and commercial affairs and conscientious in all things. At the age of eighty, with mental and physical powers practically unimpaired, he is one of the sturdy figures which span the time from the pioneer days of the state to those of the presentfrom the days of the Indian and the buffalo to those of the automobile and airshipand is still on the firing line and in command. He has been a tireless and ambitious worker and has realized a large and substantial success, by methods clean, capable and honest. His accumulations represent the pluck, energy, and brain of a man who has been able to know the knock of opportunity and avail himself of it. The writer is persuaded to believe that northern Kansas does not possess a man who can claim as many sincere friendships or whose reputation for honesty, able living, and broadness of mind and heart will exceed that of Perry Hutchinson.Pages 312-314 from volume III, part 1 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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