Seth Harland Piper, lawyer, one of the men of that profession who is singled out for his fine attainments, lofty ambitions and sterling manhood, is a Hoosier by birth, as he first saw the light of day in Shelby county, Indiana, May 4, 1869, being the son of Robert Henry and Elizabeth (Shirley) Piper. His grandfather, John R. Piper, was a native of western Virginia, but became one of the pioneer settlers of Kentucky and later of Illinois. He was a man of the Daniel Boone type, courageous, fearless, undaunted by any hardship, who felt crowded when the locality where he built his log home began to settle up, and for that reason was ever pushing to the outskirts of settlement. It was such men as this that caused the almost phenomenally rapid development of the great country between the Great Smoky and the Rocky mountains. Mr. Piper died in Illinois after reaching a hale old age. Robert Piper was also born in western Virginia and soon displayed the sturdy traits of his Scotch-Irish ancestors, and when only twenty-one years of age went to Indiana. There he met Elizabeth Shirley, the daughter of Hardin Shirley, a member of a prominent Shelby county family, whose Scotch-Irish ancestors had immigrated to America at an early day. They were married and settled on a farm near Shelbyville, but the lure of the West called Mr. Piper. The country beyond the Missouri was the land of promise in the '70s, and in 1878, accompanied by his family, they left Indiana for Kansas. On Feb. 22, of that year, they located on a farm near Elk City, Montgomery county, where Mr. Piper farmed until 1902, when he retired from active life to enjoy his last years in a well earned rest, and bought a home in Independence. He is now seventy-four years of age, but hale and hearty. During the Civil war he served his country for three years in the Seventh Indiana infantry, and while in the line of duty he was captured by the Confederates and imprisoned at Belle Island. He has lived a quiet, unostentatious life, but has been successful in a material way and enjoys a comfortable fortune. Mrs. Piper died in 1906 at the age of sixty-four. The family were Baptists and in that faith the three children were reared: Herschal Harold Leslie died at the age of twenty-three; Mary A. is the wife of H. E. West, of Independence, while Seth Harland, the subject of this sketch, chose medicine as a profession, but after studying medicine one year, changed to the study of law. He was but nine years of age when his parents moved West, and is as enthusiastic a Kansan as if the state was the one of his birth. Mr. Piper attended the district schools during the winters, helped on the farm during the summers until he graduated from the high school at Elk City. Soon after finishing his education, he began to read law in the office of J. R. Charlton, a well known attorney, and passed his bar examination just about the time he attained his majority, a rather remarkable achievement for one so young. He at once opened an office in Elk City and remained there until 1901, when he desired a larger field for his activities and came to Independence. He has a wide knowledge of the law, keen insight and is a ready reader of character. For three years he has been the city attorney of Independence and is vice-president of the board of education, on which he has been serving for eight years. In his political affiliations he is a Republican, and is one of the active workers and ardent supporters of that party. He has gathered and organized one of the largest law libraries in the State of Kansas, and is most generous in allowing men less fortunate to use it. Mr. Piper is a Mason, being a Knight Templar and a member of Abdallah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Leavenworth, and also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. In 1893 he was married to Claudine Woodring, a native of Kansas; she died in 1909, leaving a family of three children: Alpha W., Genevieve, and Elizabeth. The family are Presbyterian in faith.Pages 293-294 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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