James H. Ransom, Ransomville, Kan. The subject of this record is one of the many eastern men of ability and energy who have contributed so largely to the development of Kansas as an agricultural and commercial state, and have helped it to rank among the first of the Union in its civic progress. Mr. Ransom was born in Chautauqua county, New York, Nov. 15, 1836, his parents being Willard and Marietta (Briggs) Ransom, both natives of Chautauqua county. Willard Ransom became a very prominent citizen of Panama, that county, where his whole active career was spent as a physician, and where he was also postmaster for a number of years. He was a member of the Methodist church, and was a Democrat as was his father, Cyrus Ransom, a native of Virginia, who removed to New York and spent his life there on a farm. Both the paternal and maternal ancestors of James H. Ransom were of English descent. James Briggs, the father of Marietta (Briggs) Ransom, was an early settler in Chautauqua county and in 1849 joined the California gold seekers, making the journey overland with an ox-team. He experienced the same sad fate that befell so many others and never returned.
James H. Ransom was reared in Chautauqua county and educated in the schools there. Upon reaching his majority he began his independent career as a clerk in a store, later going to the oil fields of Pennsylvania where he was employed five years. The West with its wealth of opportunity for the young man of energy and determination was luring, and in 1866 Mr. Ransom came to Kansas, became a contractor and builder of railroads, continuing the business to the present time with great success. His first contract was for the Lawrence & Carbondale road, began in Douglas county. Upon the completion of this work he bought a large farm near Ransomville, Franklin county, where he has a beautiful home. After his removal to Ransomville he engaged in the coal business, there being valuable deposits on his own farm and those adjoining, but has continued the contracting business with A. L. Cook as a partner, the firm name being Ransom & Cook, with offices at Ottawa, Kan. They are at present engaged on large contracts for the building of a reservoir at Chanute, Kan., for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, and the building of a double track for the same railroad in northeastern Missouri. Besides the extensive interests mentioned, he is conducting a large dairy business on his farm and also raises some fine blooded live stock. Mr. Ransom is known as a progressive and public spirited citizen, always interested in movements for the improvement of conditions, political, educational and industrial. He was twice elected on the Republican ticket to the state legislature, where he gave his constituents' interests the same consideration that he gives to his own business interests. He thus deserves the high esteem in which he is held by his friends and fellow citizens.
In 1862 Mr. Ransom was united in marriage to Eunice Glidden of Panama, N. Y., who was summoned to the life eternal in 1901. To them were born two children: Myra, who married B. D. Bennett of Ottawa; and Willard, who is located in Davenport, Iowa, where he is a member of the Bettendorf Axle Company. Mr. Ransom's second marriage was to Edith Kessinger of Cincinnati, Ohio, daughter of Charles Kessinger of that city. Mrs. Ransom is a member of the Baptist church.Pages 1046-1047 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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