John H. Shields, of Wichita, editor and publisher of the "Wichita Democrat," has been engaged in newspaper work over forty years, twenty-six years of which time has been spent in the city of Wichita. Though there has been an evolution in journalism, as in every other profession, and the days of Franklin, Horace Greeley and other such moulders of public opinion have passed, there are yet many conscientious men devoting their lives to the art preservative, who unswervingly support truth, as they see it, and with a full sense of the power at their command, also recognize their responsibility for good or evil in shaping public opinion. Mr. Shields, as the name of his paper indicates, is a Democrat and an ardent supporter of his party in political affairs, but the strength of his influence is always given toward law enforcement, irrespective of party, and he is a stanch supporter of every movement that has for its aim the advancement of the material, moral and social interests of the city of Wichita, his state and his nation.
Mr. Shields was born in Morgan county, Georgia, June 8, 1844, a son of John B. and Eliza, A. Shields. Both parents were natives of Guilford county, North Carolina, and both died in the city of Madison, Ga., the father's death having occurred in 1880, at the age of seventy-two, and the mother's in 1872, when sixty years of age. Both were devout Christians and were members of the Baptist church, in which denomination the father officiated as a deacon. The original ancestors of this branch of the Shields family in America came from Scotland and from Ireland about 1770, and settled in North Carolina, near the Virginia line. The paternal grandparents of Mr. Shields moved from North Carolina to Georgia in 1818.
John H. Shields was reared in Morgan county, Georgia, and was educated in the English branches at Madison Male Seminary, Madison, Ga. He was still a youth when the Civil war opened, but enlisted in the defense of the Southland at the very beginning of the conflict, and served four years in the army of northern Virginia, under Gen. Robert E. Lee. At the close of the war, or in June, 1865, Mr. Shields began his business career by engaging in merchandising in Madison, Ga. He continued in business there until January, 1868, when he moved to Paducah, Ky., and there became associated with Col. John S. Prather and John Martin, Jr., in publishing the "Daily Kentuckian." On June 29, 1885, he came to Wichita, Kan., where he was employed as assistant editor of the "Wichita Eagle," from 1885 to 1897. On Jan. 7, 1899, he became editor and publisher of "The Democrat," at Wichita, in which connection he has continued to the present time (1911). Under his able management "The Democrat" has become recognized as one of Wichita's leading weekly papers.
In Morgan county, Georgia, on Jan. 2, 1867, Mr. Shields married Sarah J. Butts, a daughter of Jacob Butts, of that county. Nine children have been the issue of that marriage, five of whom are still living: Mrs. Ula C. Wommack, of Braman, Okla.; Mrs. Sallie M. Bevis, of Wichita, Kan.; Miss Mae, who resides with her parents in Wichita; Mrs. Hattie B. Moore, and Ernest J., both of whom reside in Wichita. Fraternally Mr. Shields affiliates with two beneficiary societies, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Fraternal Aid Association. In church faith and membership he is a Baptist.Pages 889-890 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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