Henry M. McLachlin, a retired citizen of Paola, was born at Tribes Hill, N. Y., Jan. 10, 1838, a son of William McLachlin, who was born at Sattcoate, Scotland, and Jane McLachlin, born at Newry, Ireland. He was the eldest in a family of eight children and his childhood was passed on a farm adjoining Whitehall, N. Y., in the winter attending school until the age of ten, and in the summer working on the farm, delivering milk to canal boats and doing chores. His father removed to the city where he kept a grocery store, and a year later Henry went to Manchester, Vt., where he secured a contract as driver on a railroad then in process of construction. When winter came he went to Albany, N. Y., and after a short time came back to Whitehall. The next summer he worked on the canal and in the winter drove a team in the iron ore mines at Fort Henry, later clerking in a store at Plattsburg. Leaving there he worked his way to Chicago, and from that city to St. Louis, arriving in 1852, accompanied by his half-brother. He secured a position in a storage and commission house, the first week receiving no pay, the second week only $3.00, but by strict application to his duties he was advanced rapidly, in a short time becoming one of the managers and having complete charge of the outside department, including the help, and remained with the same house under different owners as long as he stayed in the city. He was thus abundantly repaid for the inconvenience of living for a short time on $3.00 per week, a sum which barely covered his board, doing his own laundry work himself and pawning his watch for other necessary expenses.
Mr. McLachlin contracted the Kansas fever and came to this state in 1857, making the trip to Kansas City on the steamboat New Lucy. He stopped at the Gillis House on the levee, the next day walking to Westport, carrying his valise and having a letter of introduction to Henry Clay Pate, an editor of that place. The same day he walked to Little Santa Fe, and the second day walked to Paola, where he had a letter to Maj. M. McCaslin. From Paola he went on horseback to Miami Mission with Gebou and helped to survey the Indian reservation, while there taking a claim on Middle Creek, which was later sold. He then hauled logs for Phelan & Hopkins at the Mission, lost his oxen during the winter and was preparing to go to Pike's Peak when R. B. Clark offered him four teams of oxen, a wagon and a pony on credit. Then in company with a man by the name of Downie he contracted to supply the Wagstaff A. Floyd mill, west of town, with logs. They also farmed that season and lived on the west side of the creek. They rose before daylight, cooked enough food to last all day, eating their meals as they walked behind the oxen. In this way he prospered financially, bought more cattle, supplied another mill with logs, and purchased a horse team, with which he broke prairie and hauled freight from Kansas City.
In 1862 Mr. McLachlin married Mary Dolar, of Paola, who was born in Ohio. About this time he extended his freighting operations to Fort Gibson and Fort Smith, later selling his teams and purchasing three lots on Walnut street in Kansas City, where he located for a short time and then returned to Paola. Here he helped to build the barracks west of town, bought horses and mules for the government, giving vouchers in payment, and freighted to Fort Riley. Selling his Paola interests he bought the Mansion House livery stable in Leavenworth, which he sold and bought the A. B. Light livery barn at Paola, selling this property to Knowles Shaw, and with the proceeds establishing a furniture business, both store and factory. Later he was in the mercantile business with his brother, but traded the stock and went to a farm,remaining there two years and returning to Paola to go into the drug business with T. F. Clifton, whose interest he later bought. His farm was traded for Paola property and he erected a brick building and was one of the original owners of the cheese factory, which later became his exclusive property. Mr. McLachlin has been prominently interested in many of the business houses of Paola. He bought the entire stock of the Fair Association and ran the fairs for a number of years; was one of the charter members of the Miami County National Bank; owned the Sponable mill and elevator for some years; bought the stationary store of Smith & Jones and added it to the drug store; added a stock of jewelry; sold half interest in store to J. E. Wallace, and the other half to T. K. Clifton; opened a new drug, stationery, jewelry and music store in partnership with Mr. Wallace; bought the grocery store of Frey & Cavally to get the building, engaged in the business for a number of years, sold it to J. E. Wallace, later bought it back and ran it in partnership with George H. Hall. After selling his mill and elevator he made a trip to Arizona and California and on his return bought one-third interest in the Little Bay Lumber Company at Little Bay, Ark., later becoming half owner in the concern; was for a time president of the local gas company.
Mr. McLachlan retired from active business in 1905. His time is now devoted to looking after his vast properties and loans. His holdings include property in Paola, Osawatomie, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., and extensive farm lands in different parts of eastern Kansas. He has been busily engaged in developing and promoting the natural resources of the young state and never aspired to office, but has always been a good Republican. He is an Odd Fellow, having passed through the chairs in that order. His parents both died at Whitehead, N. Y., in 1857, within a few months of each other. He has four living children: John C., of Los Angeles, Cal.; Arthur F., of the Paola Lumber & Coal Company; Sadie M., married to E. S. Boyd, of the same concern at Paola, and Maud B., married to C. M. Emery, a merchant of Paola.Pages 1117-1119 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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