Aikman Brothers

AIKMAN BROTHERS. As farmers, merchants, lawyers and active citizens the Aikman family have been prominent in Butler County for over forty-five years. The father of the Aikman brothers, lawyers and business men at El Dorado, was the late William A. Aikman, who on coming to Kansas in 1871 took up a homestead in Butler County and contributed his share of the heavy work involved in converting the virgin prairies into fertile farms. He was the father of four sons. Granville P. has long been a lawyer of El Dorado and has been distinguished by long and capable service on the bench. C. L. Aikman, the second of the brothers, is also a lawyer, and is now in practice with his brother Judge Aikman. J. S. Aikman is a wholesale merchant at San Francisco, California, while C. A. Aikman is the leading feed and grain dealer at El Dorado.

William Allison Aikman was born in Laurel County, Kentucky, a son of John Aikman, a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and grandson of Alexander Aikman, a native of Scotland who came to America with two brothers before the Revolutionary war. One of these was killed while an American soldier at the battle of Brandywine. John Aikman moved to Kentucky about 1795, and was one of the pioneers in that state, where he spent the rest of his days. William Allison Aikman grew up in Laurel County, Kentucky, and was living there when the war broke out between the states. He remained loyal to the Union, and tendering his services to the Federal Government was placed in charge of the blacksmith shops at Camp Dick Robison and had the supervision of several men. After the war he became a druggist, but in 1871 came out to Kansas, locating in Benton Township of Butler County. Here he took up a homestead and continued to be identified with farming until 1883. In that year he removed to Towanda Township, and continued his efforts along the same line until 1898, in which year he removed to El Dorado. He was one of the honored and highly respected citizens of the county and his death on December 16, 1906, marked the passing of the pioneer. His widow is still living at El Dorado. Her maiden name was Martha Angeline Graves. She was born in Madison County, Kentucky. Her father, William Graves, was a Virginia planter, and lost his fortune during the conflict at arms between the states. Mrs. W. A. Aikman was the youngest of nine children, is the only one now living, and her physical and mental powers are wonderfully preserved for a woman of her advanced years.

Judge Granville P. Aikmain was born in Laurel County, Kentucky, but has lived in Butler County, Kansas, since early youth. As a boy he attended the London Seminary in Kentucky, one of the most thorough educational institutions of that state. After his parents removed to Butler County he was in the local schools for five years, and then entered the law office of Shies & Hatton, under whose capable direction he read law. He was admitted to the bar at Wichita and at once began practice in El Dorado. Judge Aikman has since become recognized as one of the ablest representatives of the legal profession in Kansas. Soon after his admission to the bar he was elected judge of the Probate Court of Butler County, being the youngest man ever elected to that office in the county. He filled the position four years, and gave a most careful administration of the delicate and responsible duties of the office. In 1904 Judge Aikman was elected judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District, and was re-elected for two terms, serving altogether twelve years. During that period he contributed some of the best traditions to the Kansas judiciary. Several years ago William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, said of him: "That his decisions, made necessarily upon the spur of the moment, have been sustained by a reviewing court, after months of close examination and deliberation, prove him to be an able lawyer as well as a just judge. Few Kansas judges have made such a creditable record." The higher courts, including the Supreme Court, frequently paid his decisions rare compliment. Many important civil and criminal cases came before him as judge, and he sat as judge in one of the most noted criminal trials ever conducted in Kansas, a case that attracted wide attention both in America and in foreign countries.

Retiring from the bench, Judge Aikman has resumed his large private practice. Learned in the law, fortified by a large and varied experience with men and affairs, he also possesses that inestimable quality of courage and fighting ability, and while one of the closest observers of ethical and honorable means who ever practiced in Kansas, he has been considered a lawyer who will fight for the interest of his clients to the last ditch. He has long been an active figure in the republican party, and the political history of Kansas gives him the distinction of having written and offered in a republican state convention the first resolution endorsing woman suffrage in Kansas. He proposed this resolution against the advice of many leading republicans, who opposed the measure and predicted that his offering it would spell his political ruin. Being convinced of its wisdom and justice, Judge Aikman was undeterred by this advice, had the resolution carried before the convention at large and came home to undertake an active and effective campaign in Butler County in behalf of the plank. He was the only political speaker in the county who took that position during the campaign, and then and since he has been a determined fighter in behalf of woman's suffrage.

Judge Aikman is a member of the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodman of America. He married Miss Carrie Sandifer, whose father, the late George M. Sandifer, was a well known citizen of El Dorado.

Christopher Leonidas Aikman, who was admitted to the Kansas bar over a quarter of a century ago, has been in practice at El Dorado and much of the time has been an associate of his brother, Judge Aikman.

He was born at London, Kentucky, October 22, 1865. He was six years of age when the family came to Butler County, Kansas, and here he attended country schools and the town schools at Augusta and El Dorado. He was also a student in the Fort Scott Normal College at Fort Scott, and for a number of years before entering the legal profession was a successful teacher. He taught at Towanda, Haverhill, Rosalia and White Station.

After his admission to the bar in 1889 he was for two years a partner with the late Major Kilgore, of El Dorado. He was then associated with his brother Judge Aikman until 1905, when his brother was elevated to the bench of the District Court. In 1905 C. L. Aikman was elected county attorney of Butler County, was renominated without opposition in 1907 and re-elected, and in 1912 was again given the nomination without opposition, but declined to enter the campaign. In 1915 he and his brother Judge Aikman again formed a partnership. This firm stands in the front rank of lawyers in Southern Kansas. They have a large and profitable clientage, and their professional interests extend over many counties.

As a diversion from his profession C. L. Aikman has given more or less active supervision for a number of years to his farm in Butler County. He is a lover of thoroughbred Jersey cattle and has built up a herd of Jerseys second to none in quality and pedigree. On December 31, 1894, at Nevada, Missouri, he married Miss Anna D. Gilbert.

C. A. Aikman, youngest of the Aikman brothers, has chosen to express his energies and inclinations in the lines of business rather than at the law. He is the only one of the brothers who are natives of Butler County, Kansas. He was born in Benton Township July 5, 1874. He had the advantage of the common schools during his youth, and also had a business course in the Wichita Commercial College.

He started life as a farmer, and while still living on his farm he engaged in the buying and shipping of field seed and grain in 1898. By 1903 this business had developed to such proportions that it required all his attention. At that time he bought the old Christian Church building on North Main Street in El Dorado, converted it into a warehouse, erecting a suitable office building in connection, and soon expanded his business to handle coal and other supplies. He has since developed one of the most successful concerns of the kind in Butler County. In 1910 he built a large elevator on the Missouri Pacific tracks at El Dorado.

On September 20, 1905, he married Miss Lucinda Green. Mrs. Aikman was born in Sumner County, Kansas, a daughter of D. M. Green, who came out of Kentucky and was a Kansas pioneer. He is now living retired at El Dorado. Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Aikman have two children: Conrad A., Jr., now ten years of age, and Daniel Robert John, aged five.

While always an active supporter of the republican party, C. A. Aikman has had little to do with practical politics. He is essentially a business man, and has conducted his business upon the high plane of performing an adequate service for all the remuneration of profits which he enjoys. His chief diversion from business has been the following of a pronounced literary bent. While only his closer friends are aware of the fact, he frequently writes verse for his own entertainment, and some of his short poems have the literary merit which would deserve for them a wider appreciation and reading.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, October 21, 1999.

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