Henry R. Honey

HENRY R. HONEY. A pioneer of North Central Kansas, where he has resided for more than fifty-three years, Henry R. Honey has watched and participated in its growth and development from Indian days and has been variously identified with the movements and institutions which have brought about advanced civilization and the establishment of conditions that make this one of the most prosperous and enlightened sections of the country. He has been connected prominently with business and financial affairs, but more particularly with journalistic work, and for over two decades has been publisher and proprietor of the Western Advocate, the leading newspaper of Jewell County. In public affairs he has also been active and prominent, and at this time is postmaster of Mankato, having held this office since August, 1914.

Mr. Honey is of Irish descent, but also has a strain of Iroquois Indian blood in his veins, being one-Sixteenth Iroquois, this coming through his paternal grandmother. The Honey family originated in Ireland, where the name was spelled Mahoney, and the great-grandfather of Mr. Honey, who spelled his name in the old way, fought as a soldier during the Revolutionary war. Joseph Honey, the grandfather of Henry R. Honey, was born in 1791, in Vermont, was there reared, and married Miss Shipman, through whom Mr. Honey has inherited his Indian blood. Joseph Honey fought as a soldier from Vermont in the War of 1812, being with Gen. Wade Hampton at Lake Champlain, and in 1835 removed with his family to Trumbull County, Ohio, as a pioneer, there continuing in agricultural pursuits until a short time before his death which occurred at Youngstown, Ohio, in 1879. The grandmother also died in that state.

Randal Honey, father of Henry R., was born in 1820, at Windsor, Vermont, and at the age of fifteen years was taken by his parents to Trumbull County, Ohio, where he was brought up on the home farm. Agricultural life did not appeal to him, however, and he learned the trade of pattern-maker, his ability in this vocation being such that he whittled out his own patterns with a jack-knife, and for some years worked at that trade in various foundries. From Ohio he removed to Jefferson, Wisconsin, and in March, 1864, took up his residence as a pioneer homesteader in the vicinity of Ames, Cloud County, Kansas. He continued to be engaged in the cultivation of his 160 acre tract of land during the remainder of his life, and died thereon in 1902. Mr. Honey was one of the reliable and substantial citizens of his community, had the respect and esteem of his townspeople and he performed his full duties in life. He was a republican in his political adherence. He married Polly A. Phillips, who was born in 1822, in Connecticut, and died at Concordia, Kansas, in 1906, and they became the parents of the following children: Rosella, who married W. M. Wilcox, and is a pioneer of Concordia, where Mr. Wilcox is a retired farmer; Elson H., who is the owner of a ranch at Olympia, Washington; Henry B.; and Kittie V., who is the wife of Daniel Zedeker, a farmer of Northern Idaho. Mrs. W. M. Wilcox was engaged in educational work for some years prior to her marriage, and taught the first school in Cloud County, Kansas.

Henry R. Honey was born at Jefferson, Wisconsin, March 21, 1859, and was five years old when brought by his parents to Cloud County, Kansas, where he received his education in the rural schools. He was reared on his father's farm, where some of his boyhood playmates were the sons of the Indian residents who were still to be found in large numbers in that locality, and when he was sixteen years of age bound himself out as an apprentice to the printer's trade, which he mastered at Concordia. There he became the owner of the Concordia Empire, which he bought in 1880 and published until 1883, in the latter year disposing of his interests therein and entering the Concordia State Bank as cashier. While he was connected with this institution it became nationalized, and he remained until 1885, when he went in the same capacity to the Merchants State Bank of Ellis, Kansas, being identified with this institution until 1892. Mr. Honey's next experience was in the life insurance business, in which he was engaged for one year at Indianapolis, Indiana, then being made state agent for Nebraska of one of the large life insurance companies, with headquarters at Lincoln, remaining in this capacity for one year. It has been said that once an individual has been in the newspaper business no other line of endeavor will ever satisfy him. At any rate, Mr. Honey again entered this field at Concordia with the publisher of the Concordia Blade, in which he had an interest for one year. Next, he was a partner in the publication of the Concordia Kansan, until the fall of 1896, when he came to Mankato and here, in January, 1897, bought the Western Advocate, of which he has since been publisher and proprietor. This, the leading paper of Jewell County; democratic in its policy, was founded in 1890 by W. E. Bush. Under Mr. Honey's management it has extended its scope and influence materially and now circulates through Jewell and the surrounding counties, having a large subscription list and splendid advertising support. The modern plant and offices are located in one of the finest buildings of the city, located on Main Street and owned by Mr. Honey, in connection with which is run an up-to-date job printing department, where all manner of work is done in an artistic and expeditious manner. Mr. Honey is a clever and accomplished newspaper man, familiar with every angle and department of the business, and wielding a trenchant pen. His paper is considered a valuable party organ and in its conduct Mr. Honey has given the readers a clean and strictly reliable sheet which has become more than ordinarily effective in the molding of public opinion. Long one of the prominent democrats of his county, Mr. Honey in August, 1914, was appointed postmaster of Mankato by President Wilson, and this office he still retains. Under his administration the office has advanced to the second class and free city delivery being given to the patrons. Mr. Honey is ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church, belongs to the Mankato Commercial Club, and is very prominent in fraternal circles, belonging to Mankato Lodge No. 87, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master; Jewell Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Jewell, of which he is past high priest; and Citrine Commandery, Knights Temblor, of Belied, Kansas; also being an ex-member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pistils and the Improved Order of Red Men. With profound faith in the future prosperity of his community, he has invested his means in realty, and is now the owner of his own home on Center Street, dwellings on Main and Jay streets, and 320 acres of farming land in Railings County, Kansas.

Mr. Honey married in 1884, at Nashville, Illinois, Mrs. Sarah (Logan) Kennedy, who was born at Laborite, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Honey have had no children, but by her former marriage Mrs. Honey had two daughters: Imagine, who married the late James C. Remover, an insurance man, and died in 1917 at the home of Mr. Honey; and Georgia L., who is the proprietor of a Linotype shop at Jacksonville, Florida.


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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