Clitus B. Hosford

CLITUS B. HOSFORD. The Hosford family is one of the oldest in Kansas, dating back to territorial times. The three generations have been represented in this state by men of force and ability and of that initiative which brings constructive results in any community.

Dr. William Hosford, the founder of the family in Kansas, came to this territory from Ohio in 1858. He homesteaded a tract of 160 acres in Jefferson County, and developed his claim though he was a physician by profession and immediately undertook to meet the heavy demands upon his professional skill. He was a native of Vermont, and accompanying him in his removal to Kansas were his wife, three sons and three daughters. He was one of the earliest physicians in Jefferson County, and became a man of great influence and usefulness in that locality. Much of his practice was given gratuitously since the early settlers were poor, and had all they could do to provide the necessities of life and could not pay for medical attention. Doctor Hosford's home became a station on the underground railway during the years before the war, and he was a determined abolitionist and took an active part in the free state movement. Doctor Hosford died in 1879.

His oldest son is Ovando Hosford, who now lives at Lawrence at the age of sixty-nine. He was a small boy when brought to Kansas by his parents, and his early days were spent on the homestead. Though his education was largely the result of self application to his studies, and to such advantages as could be secured in the neighboring schools, he became a proficient civil engineer and for many years was engaged in railroad construction work. He was chief engineer of the old Wisconsin Valley Railroad during its building and while living in Wisconsin he married Helen M. Blair. Upon the death of his father Ovando Hosford returned to Kansas in order to settle up the estate and has remained a resident of Kansas ever since. In 1901 he removed to Lawrence in order to afford his children better educational opportunities, and he is now living in that city retired. For over ten years he filled the office of county surveyor in Jefferson County and later was elected and served as treasurer of the county. He is a stanch republican in politics and is identified with the Masonic fraternity, while his church is the Methodist.

Clitus Blair Hosford, a grandson of Doctor Hosford, and a son of Ovando Hosford, has made an unusually successful career as a real estate man, in which field his work has been characterized not only by ample energy but by remarkable foresight and an ability to understand latent opportunities.

One of six children, he was born on the old homestead in Jefferson County, Kansas, June 13, 1879. His early years were spent on a farm and in the public schools of the neighborhood. At the age of nineteen he qualified as a teacher and taught in the country schools, at the same time during his vacations furthering his own education in the higher branches. For two years he was a student in the University of Kansas. His first important business experience was in the Kansas oil fields where he spent two years leasing properties and developing them by the drilling of wells. In 1906 Mr. Hosford returned to Lawrence and engaged in the real estate business. He had an exceedingly limited capital and his success has been due not so much to capital as to his individual judgment. Mr. Hosford realized that Lawrence had a future development and growth not comprehended by local citizens. When he entered the real estate business real estate was a drug on the market. He quietly secured some options on tracts that were considered entirely undesirable, and he gradually stimulated the market and as soon as conditions justified he began building and selling. His operations since then have reached extensive proportions. Through his efforts were created the Hosford's First and Second Additions to the city, Hosford's Subdivision, Maple Lawn and Haskell Place Additions, Babcock Place and Fair Grounds Addition. These are now considered among the most desirable sections of Lawrence, and the initiative in their development is entirely due to Mr. Hosford.

In 1911 his business was incorporated under the name The Hosford Investment and Mortgage Company, with a capital stock of $50,000. Mr. Hosford is president of the company, with E. T. Arnold secretary and treasurer. Mr. Hosford also organized in 1911 the Citizens State Bank of Lawrence. He was its vice president until the bank was sold in 1916.

He was married October 19, 1907, to Miss Helen Johnson of Oskaloosa, Kansas. They are the parents of four children: Elizabeth, Catherine, Alice and Clitus Blair, Jr.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 1-28-99.

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