Charles Estabrook Cory

CHARLES ESTABROOK CORY, of Fort Scott, divides with Hon. J. G. Slonecker, of Topeka, the honor of being the two oldest referees in bankruptcy in continuous service in the State of Kansas. Both were appointed to this office in 1898, before the Bankruptcy Law actually went into effect. Mr. Cory received his first appointment from Hon. Cassius G. Foster, and was continued in office by reappointment from Judge William C. Hook, and his last several appointments came from Hon. John C. Pollock.

As a lawyer Mr. Cory has been identified with Fort Scott for over thirty years. He began his career in Southeastern Kansas as a teacher more than forty years ago. He is a Canadian by birth, having been born at Dumfries, Ontario, December 2, 1853, son of Nathaniel Vail and Eleanor (Springstead) Cory. His father was a native of New Brunswick and his mother of Ontario.

Reared on a farm, educated in the public schools of Oxford County, Ontario, Charles E. Cory on reaching his majority came to Kansas in 1874. For the next nine years he taught almost continuously in Neosho and Crawford counties.

Mr. Cory had a distinguished preceptor in his legal studies. In 1883 he entered the office at Fort Scott of Hon. Eugene F. Ware, "Ironquill," and under that eminent man, distinguished not less in the law than in the field of poetry and politics, he continued his studies until admitted to the bar in 1885. His associations with Mr. Ware were continued after that for three years, during which time he was junior member of the firm of Ware, Biddle & Cory. The second party in that firm was W. R. Biddle.

Mr. Cory then organized the firm of Cory & Hulburt, his associate being E. W. Hulburt. They soon ranked as leading lawyers and had a splendid practice, but after three years the partnership was dissolved. At that time Mr. Cory was elected county attorney of Bourbon County, and it was after his service in that position that he was appointed referee in bankruptcy, an office he has now filled continuously for eighteen years.

Mr. Cory has also served his home city as a member of the board of education several terms, and has been a leader in educational affairs in Fort Scott. He is a director of the State Historical Society, a member of the executive council of the State Bar Association, and is president of the Fort Scott Public Library Board He is a man of culture, a great reader, and possesses a rare ability and skill as a lawyer. He is in every sense of the word a standpat republican. In Masonry he is a member of Rising Sun Lodge at Fort Scott, of Fort Scott Consistory, Scottish Rite, and Mirza Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Pittsburg. He also belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America. His church home is the Baptist.

On July 1, 1880, at Moundville, Missouri, Mr. Cory married Miss Ruth Emeline Kellogg. Mrs. Cory was born in Wisconsin, daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah (Fellows) Kellogg. Four children have been born to their marriage. Catharine Kellogg Cory is a graduate of the domestic science department of the State Normal, and has since occupied chairs in domestic science in the State Normal schools of Missouri and North Dakota, and is now in charge of the business department of the Fort Scott High School. Sarah Eleanor Cory, who was born in Fort Scott, is the wife of Harry E. Menezes, of Dallas, Texas. George E. Cory, also a native of Fort Scott, now lives at Beardstown, Illinois, and is a trained electrician. Ruth Vail Cory, who was born in Fort Scott, is now the wife of Prof. Daniel E. Ottinger, who is in charge of the manual training department of the Boys' Industrial School at 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 October, 1997.
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