Abel James McAllister, Jr., superintendent of the city schools at Herington, where he has followed the useful vocation of teaching for the past five years, is one of the well known and honored citizens of Dickinson county. He was born in a log cabin on a farm eighteen miles southeast of Concordia, Cloud county, Kansas, March 1, 1875, a son of Abel James, Sr., and Sarah Jane (Brown) McAllister, the former born in Darke county, Ohio, June 10, 1838, and the latter in Jacksonville, Ill., Feb. 2, 1842. In early manhood the father moved with his parents to Poweshiek county, Iowa, where he enlisted in the Fortieth Iowa infantry for the Civil war. This regiment was mustered into service at Iowa City, Nov. 15, 1862, and on December 17 was ordered to Columbus, Ky., which was threatened by an attack from Forrest. It remained there and at Paducah until May 31, 1863, when it was ordered to join in the Vicksburg campaign. It was stationed on the Yazoo river in the vicinity of Haynes' and Snyder's bluffs, as a part of the army of observation, to prevent Johnston's reënforcing Pemberton in Vicksburg. On July 23 the regiment was embarked for Helena and in a few days it marched with General Steele's army on Little Rock. It remained at the latter place until March, 1864, when it marched out on the ill-fated expedition, designed to aid General Banks in the unfortunate Red River campaign. At Okolona the regiment was engaged with the enemy, and it was also engaged at Prairie d' Ane. During the battle of Jenkins' Ferry the regiment did not fight in a body, but all companies fought bravely and well. In the early part of 1865 Colonel Garrett, the commander of the regiment, was assigned to the command of the district of south Kansas, with headquarters at Fort Gibson, I. T., and his regiment remained with him till mustered out at Fort Gibson, Aug. 2, 1865. Mr. McAllister removed to Kansas in September, 1870, and homesteaded in Oakland township, Cloud county. He became prominent as a Greenbacker and later as an Alliance man and Union Labor leader, and was one of the presidential electors of Kansas that cast their votes for James B. Weaver in 1892. He and his wife still reside on the old homestead and are enjoying good health. In her girlhood days Mrs. McAllister moved with her parents to Poweshiek county, Iowa, where she and Mr. McAllister were married on Feb. 28, 1861. They became the parents of nine children, eight of whom are living: John E., born in 1863, graduated in the Kansas State Normal with the class of 1886, and is now farming at Ellendale, Okla,; Lillie, born in 1867, is married to a Mr. Welch and resides at Mankato, Kan.; Byron F., born in 1870, is an osteopathic physician at Fayetteville, Ark.; Wilson H., born in 1872, died of measles in the Spanish-American war, while serving as a corporal in Company M, Twentieth Kansas infantry; Abel James, Jr., is the fifth in order of birth; Ruth, born in 1879, is the wife of a Mr. Mitchell and is living on a farm at Woodward, Okla.; Mary, born in 1881, is married to a Mr. Steepleton and is living in Miltonvale, Kan.; Charlotte, born in 1883, is married to a Mr. Marshall and is living at Barnard, Kan.; and Horace G., born in 1885, is farming on the old homestead, eight miles west of Miltonvale. Prof. McAllister is of Scotch-Irish descent, mingled with English, Yankee and Pennsylvania German strains. In his youth he attended the country schools, his average yearly attendance, however, being less than four and one-half months. At the age of seventeen he attended the Salina Normal University for a period of twenty weeks, after which he obtained a certificate to teach in the schools of Cloud county. His father being a poor man with a large family the son made his own way, besides helping on the farm at home for several summers. He began teaching in 1894, his first employment being a four-months term at $30 per month; but it was during the hard times following the panic of 1893, and he was glad to get a school at any salary. With the exception of one he has taught every year since then, attending school at the Salina Normal University and the Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina between terms, until he completed the scientific course at the former and the normal course at the latter. He taught seven years in the rural schools of Cloud county, was principal of the Aurora schools one year and of the Glasco schools three years, both in Cloud county. Then, after officiating as principal of the Garfield school in Abilene one year he came to Herington, where he has been superintendent of the city schools five years, and has brought the schools there from a chaotic condition to a rank equal with any schools in a city of the second class in the state. He served as president of the North Central Kansas Teachers' Association one year, and has been vice-president of the Herington Commercial Club two years much of the time officiating as president. He has instructed in and conducted the normal institutes of the state for the past six years in Cloud, Jewell, Morris, Dickinson, Saline, Atchison and Lincoln counties.
In 1903 he married Miss Lillie Arvilla Ellison, a music teacher of Glasco, and of this union there is one child, Abel Franklin, born Sept. 9, 1906. Mrs. McAllister has three brothers and two sisters, all living. Her eldest brother, I. C. Ellison, is road master for the Missouri Pacific at LaCrosse; her oldest sister, Bertha, is a primary teacher in the Herington schools; her second brother, Roy, is a linotype operator at Little Rock, Ark., and her youngest brother and sister are attending the Salina High School. Her parents reside at Salina, where her father is engaged as a railroad man and her mother as a dressmaker.Pages 1479-1481 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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