Joseph A. Whitehair, postmaster of Chapman, veteran of the Civil war, and popular citizen of Dickinson county, was born on his father's farm in Lee county, Iowa, August 11, 1845, a son of Francois Anton and Amelia (Dell) Whitehair. His father, Francois Anton Whitehair, was a native of the Province of Alsace, France, and served under Napoleon in several campaigns, concluding his service under the banner of France at the Battle of Waterloo. He came to America in 1820, and first settled at New Orleans, where he secured employment as a member of the police force of that city. In 1830, he removed to Lee county, Iowa, of which he was one of the first settlers, not only of the county, but of the State. He came to Kansas, in 1855, and located on Government land in Jefferson county, and was one of the active factors in the organization of that county. This remained his place of residence until his death, which occurred in 1872, at the age of eighty-five. He was twice married. Seven children were born to the first wife. His second wife was Amelia Dell, who became the mother of the following children: John Whitehair, a retired farmer of Nortonville, Kansas; Joseph H., the subject of this sketch; Peter F. Whitehair, a retired blacksmith of Chapman, Kan.; Amelia, the widow of J. M. Wandler, of Lyon's Creek, Kan.; Andrew J. died March 24, 1901; Rose died in 1903, and Elizabeth died in 1909. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Whitehair married Richard Rohrer, by whom she had four children: Richard, now clerk of Geary county, Kansas; Henry, deceased; Anna, the widow of Ira Rudy, now an instructor in the public schools of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Josephine, deceased. Mr. Rohrer served throughout the Civil war as a private in the Sixth Kansas cavalry. His death occurred in 1882, and that of his wife in 1902.
Joseph A. Whitehair passed the first ten years of his life on his father's farm in Iowa, and obtained the rudiments of an education in the schools of that early day. He accompanied his parents to Kansas in 1855, assisted in the labor incident to the development of a farm from the raw land on which his father had settled, and completed his schooling. August 26, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, Thirteenth Kansas infantry, and served until June 26, 1865. With his regiment, he participated in a number of important battles, but was never wounded. On being mustered out of the service, he entered the employ of the quartermaster's department of the regular army, as a teamster, and drove a six-mule team between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Union, New Mexico. He returned to his old home in 1867, and resumed farming on the home place, remaining until 1871, when he came to Dickinson county, where he entered a homestead. He left the farm in 1875, removed to the city of Chapman, where he opened a blacksmith shop and continued in this line of occupation until 1901. He was the first mayor of Chapman, being elected in 1883. He has also served as city treasurer, member of the council and of the school board. He was appointed postmaster on September 17, 1903, re-appointed December 18, 1907, and re-appointed a second time February 20, 1911. He is a past commander of Chapman Post, No. 362, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas, and has filled other chairs in this body. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias. He has been a useful citizen of the city of Chapman and enjoys the respect and esteem of his fellow men.
Mr. Whitehair married, on March 10, 1869, Miss Lora Doumie Dalton, of Jefferson county, Kansas, who was born in Illinois, on January 3, 1852, and who came to Kansas during its early settlement. To this union have been born the following children: Utie R., born December 12, 1870, the wife of C. E. Lindsay, a railway official of Decatur, Ill.; Ira A., born April 13, 1872, a printer and musician of Winter Haven, Fla.; Clarence H., born August 18, 1875, died March 11, 1899; Pleasant Pressie, born January 3, 1879, confectioner and assistant postmaster of Chapman; Edna Florence, born June 26, 1886, the wife of Prof. G. H. Baird, superintendent of the schools at Clyde, Kan., and Ethel Roena, born June 25, 1891, the wife of Leroy Price, an employe of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company telegraph department.Pages 373-374 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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