Edwin D. Mikesell, of Fredonia, Kan., a lawyer of intellectual vigor, of resourcefulness and of determination, is a young man whom Wilson county proudly recognizes as one of its representative citizens, because of his accomplishments and because he is a native son of that county. He was born Nov. 13, 1871, on a farm nine miles southeast of Fredonia, where his parents, Daniel L. and Mary J. (Lingel) Mikesell, settled in 1869, and where they resided for many years. The father is a native of Elkhart county, Indiana, but when seventeen years of age accompanied his parents to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he resided until his removal to Kansas, in 1858. Settling first in Woodson county, he there bought a claim, but in 1869 removed to Wilson county and preëmpted a claim which remained the family homestead nearly forty years. Being among the earliest settlers of Kansas, he saw it pass through the hazardous times just prior to and during the Civil war, and himself participated in the protection of the new state, as a member of the Sixteenth Kansas cavalry. This regiment had its inspiration in the infamous Quantrill raid, in August, 1863, and for the most part did post and escort dutyguarding the defenseless homes of the citizens of Kansas on and near the order. However, it also saw active service and participated in the battle of the Big Blue, in the vicinity of Westport, Mo., and took part in the pursuit of the retreating Confederate General Price. It was also sent to the plains in pursuit of hostile Indians; its service extended from September, 1863, to Oct. 8, 1864. After the war Daniel L. Mikesell resumed farming and continued thus engaged until his retirement, in 1907, and his removal to Fredonia. The mother of Edwin D. Mikesell died in 1906. Her father was a native of Indiana and moved from that state to Iowa, where he died. Both parents were members of that branch of the Christian church known as the New Lights. David Mikesell, grandfather of Edwin D., was a native of Pennsylvania, from whence he removed to Ohio, thence to Indiana, and from there to Wilson county, Kansas, where he died when ninety-one years of age.
Edwin D. Mikesell was reared in Wilson county, Kansas, and obtained his earlier education in its public schools. Later he attended the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott. He then began teaching school and taught three years, though this was but an initial step to other professional labor, for he had determined on a career in law. He began his legal studies under S. S. Kirkpatrick, who later became a member of Congress, and after diligent preparation was admitted to the bar, May 31, 1897. A week later, on June 7, he opened a law office at Neodesha. He not only had no capital with which to survive that beginning period, which is the trial of every novitiate in professional life, but was $150 in debt. With the resourcefulness which has characterized his subsequent career, he began to make business. This he did by soliciting all the business men of Neodesha for their collections. In less than two months he had all that he could do, and from that time to the present his success has been continuous. In 1900 he was elected county attorney of Wilson county, as the Republican candidate, and at that time removed to Fredonia, where he has since resided. He has advanced steadily in his profession and is recognized as one of the best lawyers of the Wilson county bar. His clientage has been representative in character and remunerative in reward, and he has had charge of more cases in the supreme court of the state than has any other practitioner in Wilson county. He is also admitted to practice in the Federal courts. He served as county attorney two terms and was considered the best official in that capacity that Wilson county ever had. On June 22, 1905, he was appointed assistant attorney-general under Governor Hoch and his achievements in that connection were of an important character. He soon demonstrated his ability to do things. Seven open saloons in Neodesha were closed, their bars confiscated, and a number of the keepers convicted. All the liquor business of the county was suppressed and during his appointment prohibition reigned in Wilson county. While devoted to his profession, he maintains a warm interest in the affairs of his city and is now (1911) president of the Fredonia board of education. In political affairs he gives his allegiance to the Republican party and fraternally is a Royal Arch Mason.
In 1899 Mr. Mikesell wedded Miss Alice, daughter of V. L. Browning, of Cherokee county, Kansas. Mr. Browning is a veteran of the Civil war, in which he served three years, and is a native of Illinois, from which state he removed to his farm in Cherokee county. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Mikesell have been horn four children: Ralph, Alma, and Edwin, all of whom are in school, and Helen, an infant. Mr. and Mrs. Mikesell are members of the Methodist church.Pages 571-573 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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