Count Sobieski Steel, justice of the peace at Uniontown, Kan., was born at Port Byron, Cayuga county, New York, Oct. 30, 1833, son of Elisha and Mary (Hadden) Steel, the former born in Connecticut in 1801, and died at Logansport, Ind., May 29, 1848, and the mother was born in New York in 1804 and died at Mishawaka, Ind., April 28, 1860. The Steel family came from Essex, England, the first American member of the family being John Steel, who immigrated to this country, in 1631, and located in New Town, now Cambridge, Mass. His fifth descendant was Jobe Steel, Count S. Steel's grandfather. Jobe Steel married Olive Stoddard, served in the American army during the war of 1812, and died in February, 1813, while home on furlough. His first child was Elisha, Count's father. Elisha Steel was reared on the lake and learned to be a boat builder on the Erie canal and at Port Byron. In 1825 he married Mary Hadden and in 1843, accompanied by his wife and seven children, went by way of the canal and the great lakes to Loganport, Ind., where he built canal boats until his death. Count S. Steel secured very little early education, as he attended school only seven termstwo in New York state and the rest at Logansport. Since that time his education has been acquired by his own efforts, and he is a well informed man. Soon after his father's death Count S. started out in life for himself. He first shipped as cook on a canal boat, the "Mill Boy," which ran to Lafayette and Toledo, and on the homeward trip served as boat driver on the "S. Taylor." He then returned to Logansport and gave his savings to his mother. During the winter of 1848-49 he attended school, and in 1851 shipped on a canal packet as cabin boy, making the run from Toledo, Ohio, to Terre Haute, Ind., on the Wabash and Erie canal. In 1852 his mother married James Pratt and the family moved to the latter's farm in Marshall county, Ind. In August of that year, Count S. returned to Logansport and started to learn the blacksmith trade, but in May, 1853, became steward of a hotel at Logansport. In June he gave that up and went to Rochester, Ind., and started in again to learn his trade, and also to make wrought iron from the ore. In November he left the forge and went to Peoria, Ill., and commenced smithing for Shepler & Reding of that city, but soon left to become engineer on a boat called the "Chief Engineer." With it he made the trip to St. Louis, Mo., where the boat was laid up for the winter and Mr. Steel became caretaker or watchman. In the spring of 1854 he shipped on the same boat, as assistant engineer, and worked in that capacity until the close of navigation in the fall. He then returned to Indiana and opened a blacksmith shop about one mile from Maxinkuckee Lake. He became convinced that there was still much to be learned about his trade and, with forty-five cents in his pocket, started and walked to LaPorte and secured a job in a carriage shop. In October he reached Chicago and, having no money, hunted for work at his trade. Not being successful, he shipped on a canal boat as steersman. He made the trip from Chicago to LaSalle, Ill., where he left the boat and went down the Illinois river to Peoria. He began work in a carriage shop there, and it was in Peoria that he cast his first vote, for John C. Fremont. He remained in Peoria until the spring of 1857 and then returned to Marshall county, Indiana. He worked in a carriage factory there for a year and then moved his mother and sisters to Mishawaka, Ind. The next year the Mishawaka Carriage & Wagon Company was organized and Mr. Steel became a member of the firm and stockholder, but continued to work at the forge. In 1858 he ironed a two-seated cutter that took the highest award at the United States Fair at Chicago. On March 4, 1859, Mr. Steel married Elizabeth M. Collins, of Mishawaka, and the next year they started to drive from Indiana to Kansas, arriving at Fort Scott, June 16, 1860. On July 12, they came to Marion township and Mr. Steel opened a blacksmith shop at Rockford, but in the fall of 1861 began farming on a homestead, which he preëmpted. On Aug. 22, 1862, he enlisted in the Second Kansas battery, commanded by Maj. C. W. Blair. On Oct. 28, 1863, he was commissioned first lieutenant of Company G, Fourteenth Kansas cavalry, which served in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Among the engagements in which Mr. Steel took part were Jenkins' Ferry and the many skirmishes along the border. On June 2, 1865, he was commissioned regimental commissary, with rank of first lieutenant, and was honorably discharged and mustered out of the service, June 25, 1865, at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation. After the close of the war he returned to his farm and remained there until March 14, 1874, when he came to Uniontown and started a blacksmith shop, where he has continuously been engaged to the present time. Mr. Steel has always been a Republican; he has served as school director, road overseer, and township trustee; in 1873 represented his district in the state legislature, and he has been justice of the peace at Uniontown for twelve years. He studied law and, in 1890, was admitted to practice at Fort Scott. Four children have been born to Mr. Steel and his wife: Mary E., wife of Dr. C. J. Helm, of LaHarpe; Maude, wife of Roland Hughes, of Kansas City; Nettie S., wife of George Cawden, of LaHarpe; and Katie, deceased, who was the wife of W. J. Waters, of Uniontown. Mrs. Steel died in 1893, and on April 28, 1896, Mr. Steel married Mrs. Emma R. Puliam, of Fort Scott. He is a Mason, belongs to the United Workmen, Degree of Honor, and the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Steel came to this state when it was little settled and in his day has seen many changes; the Great American Desert has become fine farm land and today Kansas is one of the leading agricultural states of the Union. Having had a hard fight to start in life himself, Mr. Steel has taught fourteen boys his trade, in order to encourage and give them the start for which he had to work so hard.Pages 331-333 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.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project