Albert W. Slater, a Nemaha county pioneer, one of the original "Home Association" settlers that founded old Centralia, and a prominent banker and one of the founders of new Centralia, is a native of Sullivan county, New York, where he was born April 19, 1829. He is the son of Merenus and Lucy (Gorton) Slater, and at an early age he was apprenticed to learn the tailor's trade. After mastering it he worked in Binghamton and other places at tailoring for thirteen years, and finally went into business for himself at Binghamton, N. Y., where he remained until along in the '40s, when he disposed of his business and removed to Iowa. There he engaged in farming for about one year, when he decided to return to New York State, and for the following three years he operated a farm about four miles from Goshen, N. Y. In March, 1858, he again started westward, locating in Galesburg, Ill., where he remained until fall. It was while he was sojourning in Galesburg, Ill., during the summer of 1858, that Mr. Slater formed the acquaintance of the men who were the organizers of what was known as the "Home Association" of Kansas. This organization was formed for the purpose of colonizing settlers on a tract of land six miles square, which the association had purchased in the southwestern part of Nemaha county, and had divided into lots, consisting of village lots, ten-acre lots and a homestead of 160 acres. The Home Association was duly incorporated and received a charter from the Territory of Kansas in 1857. In the summer of 1858 the lots were auctioned off in the city of Galesburg to the highest bidder and Mr. Slater thus purchased a village lot, a ten-acre lot and a quarter-section for a homestead. He decided, however, not to start west until after the state election, as he had become particularly interested in the great battle for supremacy that was being fought by Abraham Lincoln against slavery and Stephen A. Douglas for state's rights, by attending their joint debate in Galesburg. Therefore he remained there to cast his ballot for the Free-soil party, and the day following started for Kansas. Immediately after his arrival at Atchison, the trip having been made to that point with two wagons, in which his family and household effects were hauled, Mr. Slater found a temporary home for his wife and children until he could build a house on his 160-acre tract in Nemaha county. After locating his family he drove on to his future homestead, and during the late fall and winter of 1858-59 he erected on his land a substantial one and one-half story frame house, which is still standing and occupied and in a good state of preservation. In the spring of 1859 he moved his family into their new home, which was destined to be the scene of much of Mr. Slater's success in life, as he at once turned his attention to practical farming and stock raising, both of which under his able management proved very profitable. Years passed and before long the Home Association became extinct, the village of Centralia ceased to grow, and its founders gave up the plan of establishing a "Utopia" on the wild prairies of Kansas. Then a new railroad was built through the county a few miles south of old Centralia, and following the suggestion of Adrian Holbert, his father-in-law, Mr. Slater at once aided in organizing a new Centralia town site company, purchased a quarter-section of land near the railroad and secured the location of the depot on its present site by donating to the railroad company a bonus of half of the town site lots. Mr. Slater at once built a residence in new Centralia, to which he moved, and from that day to the present time he has been one of the most energetic and active promoters of the town. He has helped to organize two banks in Centralia, and is president of the Ctiizens'[sic] State Bank, one of the soundest banks in Nemaha county. He also helped organize a bank in Goff. He aided in organizing and is president of the State Bank of Vermillion, and is a leading stockholder in a building and loan association at Blue Rapids, of which he is also vice-president. He also owns valuable business properties in Centralia and is one of the largest realty holders in that section of the county.
In 1855 Mr. Slater was married to Miss Marietta H. Holbert of Goshen, N. Y., the daughter of Adrian Holbert, a prominent citizen of that place. Two daughters were born to this union: Ella H., who married Albert Rodgers of Middletown, N. Y., and Jennie, who died in early womanhood unmarried. Both Mr. Rodgers and his wife are now deceased. They also became the parents of two daughters, the eldest of whom, Sadie May, was married to Allen A. Marvin of Seneca, and to them were born three children: Erma Mae, Etta Louise, and George Albert. Lena G., the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers, married Lawrence M. Sullivan of Atchison, Kan., and they have two children: Velna G. and Verena K. Politically Mr. Slater has always been an active Republican. He has always been a conspicuous figure in local politics. In the various political conflicts which he has witnessed he was always found on the firing line of stanch Republican principles. He cast his first vote for Henry Clay for president before he was twenty-one. He has frequently been honored by being elected to local offices, among which was that of mayor of Centralia for several years. He is also a Master Mason, and both he and his wife, who died Aug. 4, 1908, were lifelong members of the Congregational church. While Mr. Slater has nearly reached his eighty-third birthday he retains his vigor to a remarkable degree and is as active in all his various enterprises and interests as though he were a man of forty.Pages 1060-1062 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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