James Meek, a successful farmer of Nemaha county, who is active in the political life of Kansas, is a native of Ohio, born September 28, 1852. He is a son of Reason and Matilda (McIlroy) Meek, also natives of Ohio, where the father was a farmer. On October 13, 1864, the Meek family left their Ohio home, and started west. They made the trip in a prairie schooner, the entire distance to Black Hawk county, Iowa. Winter came on, unusually early that fall, and they met with bad weather and considerable snow. The trip required six weeks. After spending two winters in Iowa, they decided that the climate there was too rigorous, and they decided to go south. In the spring of 1866, they went to Nodaway county, Missouri. They settled on a farm there and both parents spent the remainder of their lives in that county, the father died in June, 1891, and the mother passed away the following year. James Meek remained with his parents until he reached maturity. After completing the district schools he attended high school at Maryville, Mo., where he was graduated and later attended an academy. In early life he taught school several terms, during the winters, while he followed farming during the summers. During this time he also served as assistant assessor of Nodaway county. In 1882, he came to Kansas, locating in Nemaha county and settled on the farm which is now his home. He first rented 80 acres, and bought a number of cattle, engaging quite extensively in that business, it being quite profitable at that time on account of so much free range, but the country settled up so rapidly within the next few years that free range soon became a thing of the past. The third year that he was in Kansas he bought eighty acres, and since then had bought two additional eighties. He now has one of the finest improved farms in Nemaha county. He is one of the successful farmers and stock raisers of Northern Kansas, and also an extensive feeder, a business which he has followed since coming to the State. He is also recognized as one of the successful breeders of Poland China hogs in that section. He feeds about 125 head of cattle annually and about 200 head of hogs. Since coming to the State, Mr. Meek has taken an active interest in politics, and has ever been a staunch supporter of the principles and policies of the Democratic party. Shortly after coming to Kansas he was elected Justice of the Peace, and has also served two terms as township trustee, and later was elected county commissioner of Nemaha county, serving one term, and declined to accept the nomination for the second term. In 1908, he was elected to the State legislature from the Thirty-eighth District and was reelected in 1910. He took an active part in the legislation of these two sessions and was recognized as a member of ability in that body. He was the author of House Bill, No. 519, relating to conveniences for persons accompanying live stock shipments, and was an earnest advocate of many other desirable measures, many of which are now on the statute books. During his membership of the lower house he served as chairman of the Judicial Apportionment Committee, and as a member of many other important committees. In 1912, he was elected to represent the Eighteenth District in the Kansas senate, and served with distinction in that body where he was active and influential. He was the author of a number of bills among which were senate bills Nos. 132 and 324, and he was one of the members of the Senate who made a hard fight for the repeal of the inheritance tax which was in force at that time. Mr. Meek is a capable parlimentarian, and he won a reputation for engineering many desirable bills through the legislature, and it can be said of him that he was an able, fearless and honest representative of the people in both the lower house and the senate. Mr. Meek was united in marriage July 3, 1879, to Miss Sarah A. Denny, a native of Nodaway county, Missouri. She is a daughter of William and Margaret (Storm) Denny, natives of Indiana, who went to Missouri probably in the early fifties. Mrs. Meek is a graduate of the Maryville High School, Maryville, Mo. To Mr. and Mrs. Meek have been born eight children: Leslie Hay, was for a time a teacher in Nemaha county, now a banker at Mulhall, Okla.; Lois May, a former Nemaha county teacher, married Zephar Nolan and now resides in Nemaha county; Reason A., in the employ of the railway mail service, Kansas City; Cassie Myrtle, married Tony Labbe, a farmer of Nemaha county; William D., deceased; one child died in infancy; Samuel G., resides with his parents, and Margaret Blanche is also at home. While Mr. Meek was a member of the house and senate his wife acted as his secretary and was prominent in the affairs at the capitol. Mr. Meek is one of the public spirited citizens of his county and willing to support any movement for the betterment of his county or State. His fraternal affiliations are with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Modern Woodmen of America. The family are members of the Christian church of which Mr. Meek is an elder.Pages 302-304 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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