Robert A. Lovitt

ROBERT A. LOVITT. As president of the Saline County Bar Association, Robert A. Lovitt's professional status with his brethren may be judged, but his reputation in business, politics, social life and on the lecture platform extends all over the state. He has been a valued resident of Salina since August 5, 1876.

Robert A. Lovitt was born in his father's primitive log cabin in Muskingum County, Ohio, October 10, 1851. His parents were Evan J. and Leah (Stamats) Lovitt, he of English ancestry and she of German revolutionary stock. The father of Mr. Lovitt was born in New Jersey, was married in 1832 near Zanesville, Ohio, and died in 1888, aged eighty-nine years. The mother was born in Pennsylvania and died in 1895, aged ninety years. They were the parents of ten children, four of these surviving: Salina, who is the widow of S. J. Gilbert, of Pomona, California; Ruth E., who is the widow of Mr. McAlister, of Abingdon, Illinois; Alice, who is the wife of John Huston, of Blandinville, Illinois; and Robert A.

Robert A. Lovitt had collegiate advantages in Abingdon College, at Abingdon, Illinois, graduating in 1868 with honors and as salutatorian of his class. Afterward he engaged in teaching school and continued several years, during which time he was superintendent of the schools of Blandinville, Illinois, Bethany, Missouri, and Bedford, Iowa. In the meanwhile he pursued his law studies successfully and in 1873 was admitted to the bar at Bedford, Iowa. In the same year he settled at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he practiced law for three years and then came to Salina, as above indicated, entering into co-partnership with Col. John G. Spivey.

Mr. Lovitt's career at the bar has been not only creditable but brilliant. In 1891 he was elected county attorney on the democratic ticket and served until 1895 with a fine record as a prosecutor. For two years he was city attorney of Salina, during stirring times caused by prohibition enforcement according to the law. In 1888 he came out as an independent candidate for district judge and was defeated by a very small majority, 200 votes, carrying Saline County by five votes against a normal adverse political majority of 2,500 votes. His democratic friends prevailed on him to consent to be their candidate from the Fifth District for Congress in 1910, and the small majority that brought about his defeat showed how great is his personal popularity. He is an acknowledged party leader in all local affairs and on account of his fine presence and prominence in every way is always called upon to introduce distinguished guests to their audience.

On January 1, 1877, Mr. Lovitt married at Leavenworth, Kansas, Miss Lillian Marshall, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1860, and is a daughter of Dr. S. A. and Mary (Reeder) Marshall, pioneers of Leavenworth. They have five children, two sons and three daughters: Roy, Alice, Lucile, Katherine and George Donald. Mr. Lovitt with his family belongs to the Christian Church.

Mr. Lovitt has taken a very active and useful part in advancing the educational interests of the city. For six years he was a member of the board of education and during four of these, which was the period of ward school building, he was president of the board. As a public speaker be has long been in great demand and as he is well informed on every subject a wide range is afforded him when called upon. His personal standing in Saline County and all through Central Kansas as a moral and Upright man is unquestioned. He is identified with the Masonic fraternity but otherwise confines his membership to strictly professional organizations and social bodies.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Stephanie Kuehn, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 7, 1999.

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