Frank Pitts MacLennan, editor and proprietor of the "Topeka State Journal" and one of the best known newspaper men in Kansas, is a native of the Buckeye state, born at Springfield, Ohio, March 1, 1855. He began his business career in his native town by carrying papers, and his early association with the press in this humble capacity doubtless had some influence in shaping his subsequent career. In 1870 his parents, Kenneth and Adelia M. (Bliss) MacLennan, removed to Kansas and settled in Lyon county. After a thorough preparation, he entered the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, and in 1875 received the degree of Bachelor of Science from that institution, and the degree of Master of Science about a dozen years later. His active work as a newspaper man began with the "Emporia News" in 1877, where he was employed as mailer, bookkeeper, clerk, reporter, and all round utility man. He remained with the "News" for several years, becoming associate editor and business manager. On March 1, 1880, he acquired a proprietary interest in the paper, which interest he held for five years, when he learned that the "Topeka State Journal" was ordered to be sold by the receivers. He disposed of his interest in the "News" and failing to secure the "State Journal" property at private sale, bought the paper at auction, assuming control on Oct. 30, 1885. At that time the entire circulation of the "State Journal" was about 800 copies daily. Within five years, through his diligence and executive ability, the circulation was more than ten times that number. With an optimism born of confidence in his ability, he recently acquired three additional lots adjoining the "State Journal" building on the south, with a view of erecting a new building thereon whenever the paper should outgrow its old quarters at the southeast corner of Eighth street and Kansas avenue. His hope has been realized, and early in 1912 plans for the new building were completed. When the new quarters are ready for occupancy, Mr. MacLennan will have one of the most modern and best equipped newspaper plants in the middle West. Concerning the "State Journal" a recent writer says: "It is all his and it is all clear, and if he keeps up for twenty years longer he will be independently rich, because he works hard and pays as he goes, stands by his friends through thick and thin, and does not lie or steal. If any boy will follow these rules he can be decently well-to-do, but he will find that it is rather a harder job than it looks."
The job may have looked hard to Mr. MacLennan, but if so he has never shown evidences of being discouraged. Industry and determination are his chief characteristics, and by the exercise of these traits he has overcome obstacles that to a weaker nature might have seemed insurmountable. It may be said that he has had the financial support of wealthy friends in emergencies, but it must be remembered that men of high financial standing do not give support to the unworthy, and the friends who extended aid to him when he needed it did so with full confidence in his ability and integrity, knowing the loan would be appreciated and repaid. In 1903 Mr. MacLennan visited Europe and while on his trip wrote a series of letters for his paper. These letters were published under the caption of "Five Weeks Abroad," and were widely read. With the true journalistic instinct he saw many things that would have been overlooked by the average tourist, hence his letters contained many interesting facts and much valuable information not to be found in ordinary letters or books of travel.
On May 29, 1890, Mr. MacLennan married Miss Anna Goddard, of Emporia, Kan., and they have one daughter, Mary, one of the popular and accomplished young ladies of Topeka. Mrs. MacLennan is an intellectual, cultured woman, thoughtful and considerate of the welfare of others, and her home is the popular center of a large circle of friends. In addition to his property in the city, Mr. MacLennan is the owner of a farm of 100 acres on "Martin's Hill," six miles west of the city of Topeka. On this farm, which is known as "Cedarcrest," he spends a great deal of his time during the summer months and entertains his friends at all seasons of the year. Here he keeps cows, giving his family a supply of pure milk, cream and butter, raises poultry and vegetables, and finds relaxation from the busy cares of the city. On the farm is a tract of twenty-five acres of timber, and he has constructed a fish-pond of two acres in extent, where he raises some fine bass. Walt Mason, the Emporia poet, recently made "Cedarcrest" the subject of one of his rhymes, to-wit:
'The sun was rising in the West, and shed its beams on Cedarcrest, where pensive goat and sportive cow were perched upon the cedar bough. There Frank MacLennan watched his flocks, and slugged the gentle sheep with rocks, and drove his hens to lakelet's brim, that they might dive, and bathe, and swim. The pigs were climbing elms and firs, the hired man gathered cockleburs; a doctor passed on horse's back and all the ducks called loudly: 'Quack!' The fruit tree agent asked to stay all night; the horses whinnied 'Neigh!' Peace hovered o'er the prairie wide; the cattle lowed, the horses highed; and sounded through he village smoke, the bark of watchdog, elm and oak. And he who owned these rustic scenes, had seeded down his farm to beans."
Politically, Mr. MacLennan classes himself as an independent Republican, and along those lines he has made the "State Journal" a power for good in the political affairs of the state. Notwithstanding he is a busy man in connection with his private business, he has found time to devote to the commonweal and to the upbuilding of his adopted city. He is vice-president of the Associated Press; is a member of the Advertising, Commercial, Topeka and Country clubs; president of the Saturday Night Club, and belongs to the Beta Theta Pi college fraternity. One who knows him well has this to say of his general character: "Personally Frank McLennan is one of the warmest-hearted men in the world. In sickness, disaster, distress or death, the man who works on the 'State Journal' is the recipient of substantial assistance when necessary, and at all times the subject of quiet, kindly interest."Pages 160-162 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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