RALPH RAY PRICE, professor of History and Civics in the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, has a more than professional interest in the history of Kansas, since he is. a native of the state and his people were factors in the pioneer life of the territory.
Professor Price is of Scotch-Irish descent and one of his ancestors fought for American independence in the Battle of Bunker-Hill. He was born on a farm in Willow Springs Township of Douglas County, Kansas, ten miles south of Lawrence on March 6, 1872. For several years he has been out of the state as a student or teacher, but otherwise his entire career has been identified with Kansas.
His father Francis Marion Price was born September 18, 1846, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, a son of William C. and Hannah J. Price. When he was thirteen years of age he came to Kansas with his father in 1859. They located in Willow Springs Township of Douglas County and F. M. Price made that his home almost constantly until his death on August 22, 1913. He was one of the boy soldiers of the Union army. He enlisted September 5, 1862, a few days before his sixteenth birthday, in Company B, Twelfth Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry. From that time he was in continuous service until honorably discharged May 24, 1865. On September 8, 1868 he was united in marriage with Margaretta Isabella Gallaher. She was born September 1, 1850, in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Ross) Gallaher. Her parents came to Kansas in 1867 locating in Douglas County, where Mrs. F. M. Price lived until her death on September 30, 1887.
Except while away at college the environment of Professor Price was that of the farm until he entered upon his career as a teacher in 1897. He acquired his elementary education in the unusually efficient country school of High Prairie District, Douglas County. In September, 1889, he enrolled as a student in the academic department of Baker University at Baldwin City and was graduated from Baker in 1896 with the A. B. degree. After two years of graduate work in history and political science at the University of Kansas he won his degree Master of Arts in 1898. Since then he has been a graduate student in the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, and the University of Michigan.
From 1898 to 1901 Mr. Price was instructor in history and civics in the Lawrence, Kansas High School, and covering a portion of the same period he was also assistant in history at the University of Kansas from 1897 to 1900. He spent the year 1901-02 as instructor in history and civics in the high school of Ishpeming, Michigan, and in 1902-03 was instructor in history and civics and assistant principal of the Rockford, Illinois, High School. Since 1903 he has served his state as professor of history and civics at the Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, where he has grown steadily, being a thoroughly successful instructor and an efficient administrator, serving continually as chairman of the more important faculty committees. Under his administration the department of history and civics, of which he is the head, has grown from a single teacher to five thoroughly efficient instructors.
While a student in Baker University, Mr. Price was a leader in the various college activities, 9.s evidenced by the fact that he was twice a member of the debating team, was president of his literary society, of the oratorical council, and of the lecture bureau, was editor of the college paper, editor-in-chief of the second college annual issued at Baker University, and held the highest office in the college cadet corps of any member in his class. He is a member of the scholarship fraternity, Phi Kappa Phi. There was no chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Baker.
That Professor Price has always taken an active interest in the moral and social welfare of the young people in the town and college is evidenced by the fact that he has long been an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, where he served for seven years as president of the Epworth League at Manhattan, after having served in a similar capacity for one year at Lawrence. That he is actively interested in the life and welfare of the community in which he lives is further evidenced by the fact that he is a director of the Home Building and Loan Association at Manhattan, and is a member and director of the Manhattan Country Club.
Professor Price is a life member and director of the Kansas State Historical Society, and in 1914 was president of the Kansas History Teachers' Association. He is an active member of the American Historical Association, of the American Political Science Association, of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, and of other similar organizations. He assisted in the preparation of the history of the United States and of the history of Kansas now adopted for use in the schools of Kansas, and is the author of an American history note book adopted for use in the high schools of the state, and which has reached its fourth edition.
Mr. and Mrs. Price were classmates in Baker University. Mrs. Price, before her marriage, was Roberta Alexandria Simpson. She was born in Christian County, Illinois, January 24, 1875, was brought to Kansas in 1877, was graduated from Baker University in 1896, and was married to Professor Price at Topeka, Kansas, June 25, 1903.
Her father, the late James M. Simpson, was one of the prominent leaders in the building of Kansas. He was born in Harrison County, Ohio, April 17, 1845. In 1864 he moved to Christian County, Illinois, and on July 31, 1872, was married at Mohawk, Ohio, to Miss Mattie J. Moore. In 1876 the Simpson family moved to McPherson County, Kansas, where James M. Simpson became a very successful farmer and stock man. He was one of the pioneers in introducing alfalfa into Kansas. He lived on the farm which he named "The Meadows" (Alfalfa) until his death, May 13, 1916. He was elected a member of the House of Representatives in the Kansas Legislature in 1882, serving two terms. He was also chairman of the Republican State Central Committee during two presidential campaigns, was state railroad commissioner four years under Governor Morrill, was postmaster at McPherson under President Harrison, and was internal revenue collector under President Roosevelt.
Professor and Mrs. Price have one child, James Francis Price, born at Manhattan, May 28, 1906.
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