Gilmore McGrath Stratton.A publication of this nature exercises its most important function when it takes cognizance of the life and labors of those citizens who have risen to prominence and prosperity through their own well directed efforts and who have been of material value in furthering the advancement of the commonwealth. A resident of Clay county since 1870, Mr. Stratton has, in his various activities, realized a substantial success. He has served in public offices with honor and distinction, first as postmaster at Clay Center and during the years of 1890 to 1900 as deputy collector of Internal Revenue for the Northern District of Kansas.
Gilmore McGrath Stratton is a native of Ohio, born at Salem, July 9, 1845, son of Hon. Stacy L. and Margaret (Grimmesey) Stratton. His paternal ancestors were Quakers and settled in America during the Colonial period. Stacy L. Stratton was born in New Jersey, Oct. 3, 1811, and in early life located in Salem, Ohio, where he became a carriage manufacturer. There he met and married in January, 1831, Margaret Grimmesey, a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, born in 1812, and who came with her parents to America in 1828. Mr. Stratton located in Peru, Ind., in 1848, and in 1856 in Lancaster, Wis. In each of these locations he continued in the manufacture of vehicles. In 1870 he came to Kansas and located on government land, six miles south of Clay Center. He became actively identified with the public life of the locality and was elected justice of the peace, serving six years. He was elected, on the Republican ticket, a member of the legislature, in 1873, and supported John J. Ingalls for the United States senate. In 1876 he left the farm and became a resident of Clay Center, resumed the manufacture of carriages and continued in this occupation until his death in 1891, his wife preceding him to the life eternal Sept. 9, 1890. They were the parents of eight childrenfour sons and four daughters. Albert and Lemon died in infancy; Alcinous L., a resident of Clay Center, died in 1900, aged sixty-three; Hannah, Adeline, and Mary have also passed away, and Gilmore McGrath and Annes, the widow of John W. Reed, of Medford, Okla., survive.
Gilmore McGrath Stratton acquired his education in the public schools of Grant county, Wisconsin, and was preparing to enter the University of Wisconsin when his love of country determined him to offer his services in her behalf. He enlisted in January, 1864, as a private in Company C, Second Wisconsin infantry, which formed a part of the "Iron Brigade" of the Army of the Potomac, and served until mustered out July 29, 1865. His regiment saw service in a number of the most important battles of the war. Mr. Stratton was wounded at the siege of Petersburg and was confined in the hospital about three months, but was on active duty at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. On the conclusion of his military service he returned to his former home in Wisconsin and until 1870 was engaged in farming. In that year he accompanied his parents on their removal to Kansas, and located on a homestead adjoining his father's, six miles south of Clay Center. In 1875 he became a resident of the city of Clay Center and established a general merchandise business, a venture in which he met with success. He had early developed a keen interest in questions affecting the public welfare and was an active worker in the ranks of the Republican party. He was appointed postmaster at Clay Center, in 1878, by President Hayes, and was reappointed by President Arthur, serving, in all, eight years. In 1885 he entered the real estate field and in connection conducted an extensive mortgage loan business. He was appointed, in 1890, by President Harrison, deputy collector of Internal Revenue for the district of Northern Kansas, and was reappointed by President McKinley. He filled this important position with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the treasury department. He resigned on April 1, 1900, to accept the duties of secretary and manager of the Triple Tie Benefit Association, a fraternal insurance organization with headquarters in Clay Center. His services in this capacity resulted in the placing of the business of the order on a sound financial basis and in the building up of an extreme and healthy membership. He demonstrated conclusively the possession of high executive ability, sound financial sense, and that unflagging energy necessary to success in the development of a business of this character. In 1907 he promoted the organization and incorporation of the Clay Center Telephone Company, purchased a controlling interest in its stock, and was elected secretary and treasurer of the company. The properties of the Clay Center Telephone Company (a co-partnership), were purchased and more than $20,000 was expended in improvements, giving the new owners a plant second to none in the state. Mr. Stratton has been the managing executive since its organization and the results obtained have been highly satisfactory, both to owners and patrons. He has important interests aside from his telephone property and is chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors of the People's National Bank. He has served as a member of the common council of Clay Center and for a number of years on the board of education, having been president of the latter body. He has served eight years as a trustee of the Clay County High School and was elected secretary and treasurer of that body. He has attained the Knights Templar degree in Masonry and is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He is a member and past commander of Phil Sheridan Post, No. 88, Grand Army of the Republic, department of Kansas. The soldiers' monument, erected by this post in the court house square at Clay Center and dedicated May 30, 1911, is largely the child of Mr. Stratton. He promoted in October, 1904, the organization of the Clay County Monument Association and was elected secretary. In 1910 he began an energetic campaign to secure the necessary funds to build it, and while many assisted in the work, he was the inspiration, the unflagging, active force which scored success.
Mr. Stratton married Jan. 10, 1867, Miss Mary E. Snider, born June 27, 1848, daughter of Jacob and Julia Snider, her father being a prosperous farmer of near Bloomington, Wis. Mr. and Mrs. Stratton are the parents of five children: Nellie, born Dec. 20, 1868, the wife of Edward A. Smies, a merchant of Clifton, Kan.; Addie E., born April 6, 1871, is the wife of Daniel J. Stratton, a farmer of Kingfisher, Okla.; Allie T., born Nov. 21, 1873, is residing with her parents; Anna M., born Feb. 27, 1875, is the wife of Henry E. Smies, a merchant of Clifton, Kan.; and Lottie V., born April 17, 1877, is the wife of Eugene W. Cross, a funeral director of Tonganoxie, Kan. Mrs. Stratton is a member of the Methodist church and is active in the charitable and social work of the congregation. The family is one of the most prominent socially in Clay county. Mr. Stratton is a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and commercial affairs and conscientious in all things.Pages 950-952 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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