Samuel W. McComb, of Stafford, Kan., is one of Stafford county's most prominent and substantial citizens and is the present representative of that county in the Kansas state legislature. He was born in Philadelphia, Pa., July 12, 1851, and is of Scotch-Irish descent. His parents were John and Hannah (Gillis) McComb, the former born in County Dublin, Ireland, in 1809, of Scotch lineage. John McComb came to America when but a boy and settled in Philadelphia, where he followed his trade of weaving, which he had learned in Ireland. Hannah Gillis McComb was born in Scotland and came to America with her parents in girlhood. She died in Philadelphia in 1856, and in 1857 John McComb married Miss Rebecca Hood, who was born in Ireland and is still living, a resident of Topeka. John McComb continued to be employed at his trade in Philadelphia until 1856, when he removed with his family to Washington county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming until 1858. In April of that year he removed still farther westward and settled in Shawnee county, Kan., where he located on a tract of wild land seven miles west of Topeka. There the family lived in wagons and in a tent until the completion of their house, in the fall of 1858. The journey, which had been made with ox teams, was long and wearisome due to poor roads. It took them two hours to ferry across the Kansas river, which they crossed just west of where the Topeka bridge now spans the river. The country was then unsettled, undeveloped and filled with Indians.
The youth of Samuel W. McComb, up to the age of thirteen, was spent on that farm, where he was employed in the usual farm labors and in herding cattle. The buffalo still roamed the prairies in countless numbers and Mr. McComb has killed hundreds of them, both for meat and for the hides. On one hunt alone he killed ninety-seven of them. His educational advantages were limited to the training he had received before leaving Philadelphia, and to the attendance for a few months at a country school on the Kansas frontier. The severe drought of 1860 destroyed the crops in Kansas, and in October of that year Samuel accompanied his father to Clinton, Iowa, for a supply of provisions. The journey was made with an ox team and wagon. In Iowa Mr. McComb bought twenty-five bushels of spring wheat and ten bushels of corn. This was ground into flour and meal, five bushels of potatoes were added and they set out on the return trip. That winter was very severe, a heavy snowthree feet deep in some placesfell in December and lay on the ground until in March, 1861. This added to the sufferings of the pioneers. The family ran out of provisions and Mr. McComb went to Atchison, where he received eight bushels of corn meal and two sacks of navy beans, and this carried them through the remainder of the winter.
At the age of thirteen Samuel began his independent career by securing work on a farm, where his remuneration was his board and clothes. Later he farmed on the shares and still later began farming independently. It was his to witness many of the exciting events in Kansas prior to and during the Civil war, in which his father served as a member of the home guards. In February, 1876, he removed from Shawnee county to Stafford county, where he took up a homestead and a timber claim wild prairie land, the nearest timber being 120 miles southwest, in Barber county. He built a sod house, going to Elk creek for poles with which to construct a roof, and the first spring broke twenty-five acres of prairie sod and planted it to corn. He then found employment at breaking sod for some of his neighbors at two dollars per acre. By this means he acquired 320 acres of fine land, than which there is no better in the State of Kansas for wheat, corn, alfalfa and all cereal crops. He now has five quarter sectionsor 800 acresall in one body and just rolling enough to drain well, yet the lay of the land is such that it can be plowed by steam at the rate of 40 acres per day. The improvements are ample and modern and withal the farm is one of the best and most desirable in Stafford county. No fairy wand produced the magic change for Mr. McComb for his success has been accomplished through years of incessant toil, good foresight and business discernment. Shortly after removing to his present location he planted timber and now has on his farm all that is necessary for his needs. For the first nine years of his residence in Stafford county there was no railroad through that county and all of his farm products had to be hauled a distance of forty miles to Hutchinson, the nearest good market. Now Zenith, a wide-awake little town on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, is located within a mile of Mr. McComb's home. Good wagon roads, of which there were few in the earlier days, now traverse every part of the county. During the drought and grasshopper devastation, Mr. McComb hauled salt from the salt plains in Oklahoma to Hutchinson, Kan., a distance of 200 miles, for thirty cents per hundred to provide the necessaries of life for his family. In fact there is little of the hardships and privation incident to the life in Kansas on the frontier and during the earlier years of the state with which he is not familiar. He has been successful, but it is a well earned and a well deserved success. He has dealt largely in stock, mostly in cattle and hogs, and has found the latter to be very profitable. He is a wide reader on all that pertains to agriculture and puts into practice the most modern methods in that industry.
On April 22, 1879, Mr. McComb married Miss Elizabeth Simmons, who was born at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, March 15, 1862, a daughter of Isaac and Melissa (Shepard) Simmons, who came to Kansas in the spring of 1878. To this union have been born the following children: Ray, born Feb. 21, 1880; Herbert S., born Sept. 10, 1882; Charlotte, born Jan. 2, 1885; Lillian, born March 3, 1886; Glenn, born April 21, 1888; Pearl, born Oct. 13, 1890; Ethel, born April 13, 1893; Frances, born May 14, 1895, and Harry, born Aug. 9, 1897. All of these children were reared in Stafford county, were educated in the same district school, and all are graduates of Eastern correspondence schools except the youngest, Harry, who is still in school. The family circle is unbroken by death, but two of the elder daughters and one son are married.
Mr. McComb has been a Republican all of his life and has held many offices of trust and responsibility. He served for seven years as a member of the board of commissioners of Stafford county, has been a justice of the peace there many years, and he has been a member of the school board of Fairview district and the town of Zenith ever since it was organized, in 1880. In 1910 he was elected to represent the seventy-seventh district in the state legislature, by a majority of 204 votes, while his predecessor, a Democrat, had carried the district in 1908 by a majority of 204 votes. He is aligned with the progressive branch of the Republican party, and Stafford county was well and ably represented in the session of 1911 by Mr. McComb, whose characteristic, that of the conscientious performance of duty, soon became as well known to his colleagues in the house as to his constituents at home. Mr. McComb and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and the family is one of high standing in Stafford county.Pages 1560-1562 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.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project