Thomas W. Tallman, one of the leading lumber merchants of Fort Scott, was born in Burlington county, New Jersey, October 25, 1826, son of Woodmanse and Elizabeth (Read) Tallman, natives of New Jersey, where they were reared, educated and married. Thomas W.'s grandfather, also named Thomas, was an Englishman who immigrated to America and settled in New Jersey. In 1831 Thomas W.'s parents, with their children, moved to Logan county, Ohio, where the father bought some timbered land, which he cleared, and became a well-to-do farmer. Both he and his wife spent their lives there. Thomas W. attended the subscription schools of Logan county and continued to live at home until his eighteenth year, when he became a trader and spent most of his time at West Liberty and Bellefontaine, Ohio. In October, 1855, he married Katharyne Austin, and in April of the next year came west to see what opportunities there were for agricultural pursuits. Upon arriving at Kansas City, Mo., with five others he hired a team and wagon and drove to Fort Scott, having heard of the land office at that point. They reached the town on April 23, the weather was beautiful, and Mr. Tallman was so impressed with his surroundings that he went out and bought a 160-acre claim at the edge of town. He filed upon it and subsequently proved upon it. He bought more land adjoining his first holding and built one of the best log houses in the vicinity. Not having it quite finished he hired a man to complete the building and in July returned to Ohio for his wife and child. They came by rail to Jefferson City, Mo., and then bought a team, wagon and equipment and drove across the country to Fort Scott, as there were no railroads west of Jefferson City, Mo., at that early day. After furnishing the home Mr. Tallman started farming. He broke the virgin sod, built fences, and made all the improvements possible in a new country. He and his wife have continued to reside there ever since, though they built another home. The winter after the arrival of his family the border warfare broke out in eastern Kansas and Mr. Tallman says that he felt safer while on guard duty in town than on his farm. He has lived on his farm continuously since the time he purchased it. The new home stands on a high hill overlooking the surrounding country. In 1878 he was elected to the state legislature, being one of the few Democrats who voted for submitting the question of state-wide prohibition to the people. He had the honor of being one of the county commissioners who laid Bourbon county off into townships while Kansas was still a territory, having been appointed by the governor for that purpose. He served as county commissioner for three years and as sheriff of the county four years. When Mr. Tallman arrived at Fort Scott there were not over 200 people in the town, and most of them lived in the government houses. Since that time he has been identified with every movement for building up the city and improving it. Mr. Tallman was one of the charter members of the lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Fort Scott, having been a member of the order since he was twenty-one years old. In 1893 he engaged in the lumber business in Fort Scott, under the firm name of T. W. Tallman Lumber Company, having his sons as partners. The sons now conduct the yard independently of their father, who has retired from active business. Five children were born to Thomas W. and Katharine Tallman: Emma, deceased, was the wife of William Davis; Frank A. and Charles O. carry on the lumber business in Fort Scott; Lillie, deceased, was the wife of George E. Ware, of Fort Scott; and Fannie, deceased, was the wife of John H. Train, an attorney of Fort Scott. On May 26, 1900, Mrs. Tallman died. She was a Christian woman, having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in Ohio. Mr. Tallman was a Whig while he lived in Ohio, but after he came to Kansas joined the Democratic party. At the present time there are only one man and two women living in Fort Scott who were there when Mr. Tallman arrived.Pages 1264-1265 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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