George Washington Kanavel, chairman of the state board of railroad commissioners, is a native of Ohio, having been born on a farm in Holmes county, Jan. 27, 1844. His father, Thomas Kanavel, was of German descent, his ancestors having come from Pennsylvania to Ohio, where he was born in 1815. He was engaged in the trade of carpentering in his native state and died there in 1876. His wife was Mahala Helm, also a native of Ohio, born in 1820, and whose death occurred in 1893. They were the parents of eight childrensix sons and two daughtersfour of whom are now living, Henry R., George W., Mrs. Frances R. Williams, and Lyman M. With the exception of George W., all reside in Ohio.
George W. Kanavel spent his boyhood in Coshocton county, Ohio, where he attended the public schools. In November, 1861, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the Union army and served throughout the Civil war in Company F, Eightieth Ohio regiment, as a private and noncommissioned officer. He took part in many of the most important campaigns of the four years of war and fought on seventeen battlefields, including Iuka, Corinth, Jackson, Champion's Hill, Missionary Ridge, the siege of Vicksburg, the campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and the historic march from Atlanta to the sea, all of them being among the notable events of the great struggle, and in which he rendered valiant service. After the close of the war, he returned to his home and served an apprenticeship at the trade of shoemaker, but a few years later gave up this occupation and came west, arriving in Kansas in 1872. He took up a homestead in Harvey county, which still remains his home, his present residence being at Sedgwick in that county. The following year, 1873, he entered the Methodist ministry and spent the next eight years as a minister, giving what attention he could during this period to his farm. He first engaged in banking enterprises in 1882, becoming the president of the Sedgwick State Bank. Since that time, Mr. Kanavel has continued to be prominently identified with the banking business and is still interested in the Sedgwick State Bank. In the spring of 1885 he organized the First National Bank, at Riverside, Cal., and served as its first president. Although he retained his connection with this bank for three years, he still made his home at Sedgwick. He has served the State of Kansas for a number of years in positions where his integrity and financial training have made him a valuable public official. For a period of over six years he was a member of the state board of charities to which he was appointed by Gov. W. B. Stanley. In 1906 he was elected to the state board of railroad commissioners, and since his election he has most creditably discharged the duties of chairman of the commission.
Mr. Kanavel is a Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and his political affiliations are with the Republican party. He was married on Aug. 27, 1868, to Miss Mary A. Paugh, of Muskingum county, Ohio, and to this union have been born three children: Edwin J., and Allen B. Kanavel, both of whom are physicians, and Thomas M. Kanavel, whose occupation is farming.Pages 1587-1588 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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