Keenan Hurst

KEENAN HURST, a veteran of the Civil war, forty years a resident of Elk County, is one of the most widely known and esteemed men in this section of Kansas. He followed farming and stock raising several years, took an active part in politics, finally entered the legal profession, and has handled a general practice as an attorney at Howard. He is now serving as city attorney and deputy county attorney.

Mr. Hurst was born in Warren County, Ohio, March 5, 1839. His Hurst ancestors came from England to Virginia in colonial days. His grandfather, George Hurst, was born in Virginia, near Richmond, and died on his plantation in Loudoun County in that state in 1820.

Herod Hurst, father of Keenan Hurst, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, on his father's plantation, in 1820 and died at Howard, Kansas, in 1907, aged eighty-seven years six months. Long life and prosperity have apparently been dominant characteristics in the Hurst family history. Herod was reared in Loudoun County, spent his early life on a Virginia plantation, and at the age of twenty-one, moved to Warren County, Ohio. He was there engaged in farming and stock raising and later went to Clermont County in Southern Ohio. In 1870 he was one of the pioneer settlers in Linn County, Kansas. Later he retired from active life and moved to Howard near his sons. As a youth he had been affiliated with the old whig party and afterwards became a republican. He enlisted for service in the Mexican war, but his company was never called into the fighting forces. He was a deacon and active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was also a Mason. Herod Hurst was married in Warren County, Ohio, to Miss Nancy Kelsey. Their children were: Phineas, who died in Polk County, Missouri, in 1904; Keenan; William, now living in Pike County, Illinois; Jefferson, a retired farmer at Howard, Kansas; Thomas, of Elk County; George, now living at Leadville, Colorado.

Keenan Hurst spent his early life on his father's farm in Southern Ohio in Clermont County. He was still quite young when on August 13, 1861, he enlisted in Company K of the Twenty-seventh Ohio Infantry. He was with the armies of the Union through some of the most hotly contested campaigns in the South. He fought at the battles of Chickamauga, Corinth, Nashville, and was in the advance upon and the siege of Atlanta. At Big Shanty Station in Mississippi he was taken prisoner, but made his escape the following night. At Dalton, Georgia, he was wounded in the ankle, and on July 22, 1864, during the siege of Atlanta, he was twice wounded. That was the same day that General McPherson was killed. His wounds incapacitated Mr. Hurst for only a week. He has always taken a great interest in Grand Army affairs and is a genial old soldier and finds much pleasure in recounting the incidents and hardships of army experience. He is affiliated with E. M. Stanton Post No. 23, Grand Army of the Republic, at Howard, and is a past commander.

After the war Mr. Hurst diligently applied himself to making up some of his early deficiencies in the way of education.

Coming to Kansas in the '70s, Mr. Hurst engaged in farming and stock raising in Linn County for five years, then became a resident of Elk County. He lived on a ranch in this county a few years, then was elected clerk of the District Court and removed to Howard, and that city has since been his home. During the four years spent in the office of District Court clerk Mr. Hurst utilized his leisure in the study of law, and on October 13, 1888, was admitted to the bar. However, his official duties continued for a number of years and interfered somewhat with the establishment of a regular clientage as a lawyer. He was appointed a member of the State Board of Live Stock Sanitary Commissions, remaining with that board four years. As a lawyer he has handled many cases, both in the civil and criminal branches. For the past twelve years he has looked after the legal business of the city as city attorney, and for six years has been deputy county attorney. Mr. Hurst is a republican.

His home at Howard is in the southwest part of that town. He was first married in 1858, in Clermont County, Ohio, to Miss Margaret Long, whose parents, Rev. Daniel Long and Rachel Van Horne Long, came to Ohio from Virginia. She died at Howard in 1894. All his children are by the first marriage. Clara, who died at Wichita, Kansas, married J. M. Eaton, a hardware merchant, who is also deceased. Margaret Louise is the wife of A. M. Garber, an attorney of Birmingham, Alabama, formerly attorney-general of Alabama. Wilbur Jefferson Hurst was a progressive young farmer and stock man at Howard when he died at the age of twenty-eight. Daniel H. Hurst became manager of a sash and door factory at El Paso, Texas, but died at the age of thirty years. Charles F. Hurst is in the automobile business at Dallas, Texas. Lottye Lee is a teacher of music in the State Industrial School for Girls at Montevallo, Alabama.

On August 6, 1902, at Emporia, Kansas, Mr. Hurst married Mrs. Mary (Pennington) Shaw. Her first husband, George W. Shaw, was a merchant of Pittsfield, Illinois. Mrs. Hurst was a daughter of Joel and Mary C. (Moore) Pennington, both of whom are deceased. Mrs. Hurst died December 29, 1915.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical 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 Jennifer Markley, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas,Nov. 6, 1998.

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