A. Sidney Chase

A. SIDNEY CHASE. Quite recently, by his own choice, Mr. Chase terminated an official career which had been continuous for twenty-four years in the office of probate judge of Ellsworth County. It was a long and honorable service and when considered in connection with Judge Chase's well known integrity of character and other successful accomplishments it stands as a credit to the entire State of Kansas.

To a large degree Judge Chase is the architect of his own destiny, but he had that inestimable advantage of good birth and the inheritance that comes from solid and substantial old American stock. It was the same family which in a collateral branch produced the eminent Salmon P. Chase, secretary of the treasury under Lincoln and later Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge Chase's great-grandfather, John Chase, was a soldier in the provincial wars and also in the Revolution. The grandfather, Silas Chase, not only fought in the Revolution but also in 1812. Judge Chase was born at Boston, Massachusetts, February 5, 1842, a son of Autumnus S. and Mary A. (Peterson) Chase, both of whom were natives of Massachusetts. Autumnus S. Chase was an officer in the United States Navy and was on duty during the Mexican war. In 1848 he went to California with a ship load of miners' cabins, ready to put up. He landed in California, went to Nevada City, where he was stricken with the Chagres fever and died there. It was nine years before his fate was learned by his family back East and the news was finally conveyed to them because of that strong tie that exists between fellow Masons.

After his father went West A. Sidney Chase and his mother removed to Albany, New York, where he grew to manhood. At the age of twelve years he had to leave school in order to support his widowed mother. In order to earn a living he turned to a trade and served an apprenticeship as a piano maker. He finished the apprenticeship at the age of eighteen.

Within less than a year, in 1861, he responded to the call of President Lincoln for troops to put down the rebellion. Enlisting at the first call, he went out with Company I of the Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry and was with his regiment until the expiration of the term of service. He was promoted to corporal, then to sergeant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant, and was mustered out at the end of the war as captain of Company C. His regiment was included in the Army of the Potomac and participated with it in all the engagements until after the battles of Mechanicsburg and Chancellorsville. At Shepardstown Judge Chase was wounded by a canister shot.

After the war Judge Chase worked as a piano maker until 1877, when he came to Kansas and took up a soldier's claim in Ellsworth County. He remained on his farm for ten years and made a valuable agricultural property out of it.

Judge Chase has been a resident of Ellsworth since 1885. He was engaged in the real estate business there until 1892, in which year he was first elected to the office of probate judge. He served continuously in that office, requiring so much ability, understanding and sympathy in the adjustment of delicate human relations, until 1916, a period of twenty-four years. At the last six elections he had no opposition, and he might be serving today had he not preferred to retire, feeling that his responsibility to the public had been adequately discharged. His record justifies the claim made by his friends that he has been one of the most successful probate judges of Kansas.

Judge Chase is a republican, and has long been prominent in Masonic circles. He took his first degrees in Masonry in Lily Lodge No. 342, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at New York City. He is past master of Ellsworth Lodge No. 146, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, belongs to the Ellsworth Royal Arch Chapter and the Council of Royal and Select Masters, and is now a life member of the Scottish Rite bodies of Indiana, including Adoniram Grand Lodge of Perfection, The Indianapolis Chapter, Rose Croix, and the Indianapolis Consistory. On November 13, 1873, he was elected an honorary member of the Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Masons, and is an honorary member of Wichita Consistory. He is also active in the Grand Army of the Republic, being a charter member and past commander of Ellsworth Post No. 22.

Judge Chase married at Brooklyn, New York, January 3, 1865, Maria R. Simonds. Mrs. Chase is descended from ancestors who were soldiers in the Revolution, while her father, Joshua Simonds, was in the War of 1812 and his brother Joseph Simonds was midshipman under Commodore Perry in the same conflict. Judge and Mrs. Chase have two children, Maria and Clarence. The daughter was well educated and taught school in Ellsworth County until her marriage to William P. Spicer. Mr. and Mrs. Spicer live at Lawrence, where he is in the tailoring business. They have two children, William and Miriam. William, grandson of Judge Chase, is a graduate of Kansas University and is a teacher in the summer school of the University in 1917. The granddaughter, Miriam, is a graduate of Kansas University and is at home with her parents.

The son, Clarence Chase, is a graduate of the Salina Business College and a very successful Kansas business man, being general sales manager of the Lee-Warren Milling Company at Salina, and also head of the Chase Wholesale Company of Topeka.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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