HARRY L. HINCKLEY, M. D. Visitors of a decade past at Barnard, Kansas, who found good reason, especially in bad weather, to hasten the transaction of their business so that they might pass on to a more attractive and modern village, would scarcely recognize the present beautiful town, with its substantial buildings, its fine graveled streets and its air of progress and civic pride. There are few of the satisfied residents who do not gratefully acknowledge that much of this change has been brought about through the admirable administrative efforts of Dr. Harry L. Hinckley, who is serving in his third term as mayor of Barnard. Few men in Lincoln County are better known. He has been in the active practice of his profession here for twenty-seven years and with two exceptions is the oldest resident physician in the county; is vice president of the Farmers State Bank at Barnard; and is probably the most successful breeder of Percheron horses and of fine poultry in the state.
Harry L. Hinckley was born in Lorain County, Ohio, December 23, 1859, and is a son of R. C. and Ann J. (Foster) Hinckley, the ancestry on both sides being English. The maternal grandfather was Albro Foster, who was born in 1783, on Lake Champlain in Vermont, and died in Lorain County, Ohio, in 1873. From Vermont he moved to Sacket Harbor, New York, and from there enlisted as a soldier in the War of 1812, moving afterward to Medina County, Ohio, and later to Lorain County. He married Rispah Doane, who was reared on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where her people had settled as English colonists. She lived to be ninety-one years old and died in Lorain County, Ohio.
R. C. Hinckley, father of Doctor Hinckley, was born in Medina County, Ohio, in 1829, and died in Lincoln County, Kansas, in 1887, a veteran of the Civil war. He grew to manhood in Medina County and after marriage moved to Lorain County and in 1880 came to Kansas and settled on a farm in Lincoln County. In 1862 he enlisted for service in the Civil war, becoming a member of the One Hundred and Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and remained in the service until the war closed, participating in many engagements and was in General Thomas' command at the siege of Knoxville and the battle of Franklin. In spite of his military prowess, he was a man of peace, an elder and local preacher in the Christian Church and he was one of the organizers of the church of this denomination in Logan Township, Lincoln County. He was an old-time democrat in politics and because of his sterling traits of character and soundness of judgment, was frequently chosen for office in the townships in which he had his home. In Medina County, Ohio, he was married to Ann J. Poster, who was born at Sacket Harbor, New York, in 1831, and yet survives. Their family consisted of five children: The eldest was a daughter who died when aged three years; Harry L.; A. J., who is a farmer in Lincoln County, Kansas; Nora, who resides with her brother, A. J.; and Lydia, who is the wife of Claude Taylor, a farmer and businesesman residing at Lincoln, Kansas.
Harry L. Hinckley attended the public schools in Lorain County, Ohio. and subsequently the Normal Institute at Minneapolis, Kansas. From early youth cherishing a desire to enter the field of medicine, he directed his study and reading in that line even while following agricultural pursuits in Lincoln County, Kansas, prior to becoming a student in the Kansas City Homeopathic College. In 1898 he was graduated from an independent medical college in Chicago, and obtained his medical degree. Previously, however, as early as 1890. Doctor Hinckley had engaged in medical practice at Barnard as one of the pioneer physicians, and for twenty-seven years, notwithstanding his many other interests, he has continued in practice. He is the oldest physician in point of years of service at Barnard, and the oldest in the county except Doctor Hall and Doctor Cole, both of Lincoln in Lincoln County. In 1896 he built his handsome residence on Main Street and also owns his office building on the same thoroughfare.
Politically a democrat, by that party he has been elected to many offices of responsibility. He served as township clerk and on the school board for many ears, and in 1910 was first elected mayor of Barnard and afterward was re-elected for a second term, serving four years, and in the fall of 1916 was recalled once more and is the present mayor of the city. It can easily be recalled that once the streets were in lamentable condition, an eye sore to progressive and public-spirited citizens. At present no town of its size in the state can show finer streets, all beautifully clean and graveled, and this has been but one of the beneficent results of Mayor Hinckley's administration. He is a man of progressive ideas and wide vision and in his recall to the mayor's chair in 1916 there is evidence that his efforts for the benefit of the people generally have been recognized and are appreciated.
Doctor Hinckley for some years has taken much interest improving the horse stock in this section and owns a string of five pure blooded Percheron stallions and several mares and colts, which have taken prizes whenever shown. He owns one gray stallion that weighs 2,300 pounds, which heads his herd. He is interested also in breeding pure Barred Plymouth Rock poultry, and during the past season exhibited them but four times but won forty prizes.
In Lorain County, Ohio, in 1880, Doctor Hinckley was married to Miss Mary J. Cowgill, who was born in Ohio and died at Barnard, Kansas, in 1903. There were four children born to this marriage, namely: Pearl M., who died in Mitchell County, Kansas, at the age of twenty-seven years, was the wife of the late Frank Cole, a ranchman and large landowner; Albert, who resides at Minneapolis, Kansas, is in the horse-buying business; Hattie M., who is the wife of Benjamin Gurley, resides at Salina, Kansas, where he has oil and insurance interests; and Elson, who is pursuing his theological studies in Cotner University at Bethany, Nebraska, preparing for his ordination as a minister in the Church of Christ. He is a very brilliant young man and has already made a favorable impression in churches both in Kansas and Nebraska. In Lincoln County, Kansas, in 1906, Doctor Hinckley was married to Miss Flora M. Hart, who was born in Iowa. They have one son, Harry, who was born in February, 1910.
Doctor Hinckley is vice president and a director of the Farmers State Bank of Barnard, and if anything were needed to promote public confidence in this sound and stable financial institution, his name on the directorate would be sufficient. He is interested in several fraternal organizations that have a large membership in Kansas, and helped to organize the Knights and Ladies of Security and for the past twenty years has served as collector for this society. He belongs also to Barnard Camp, Modern Woodmen of America. He has never grown beyond the influence of his careful, early religious training and has been a consistent member of the Church of Christ since his youth and has been an elder in the same. Personally it is a pleasure to meet Doctor Hinckley and it is illuminating to listen to his reminiscences of early days in Lincoln County, for it has been his fortune to have known the people of this section as they really are, in their homes and by their firesides, and tender and sympathetic are his recollections.
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, December, 1999.
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