James M. Priddy

JAMES M. PRIDDY. Among the progressive and substantial agriculturists of Shawnee County who have made an especially creditable record both in husbandry and in citizenship, is James M. Priddy, whose attractive residence and valuable farm are situated in Menoken Township, not far from the Village of Elmont. Since coming to Kansas, in 1869, it has been Mr. Priddy's fortune to have realized many of his worthy ambitions, and through the exercise of industry, good judgment and business sagacity to have wrested from his opportunities a full measure of financial and general success.

Mr. Priddy was born on a farm in Huntington County, Indiana, November 20, 1846, and is the second son of John W. and Jane (Scott) Priddy, natives of Ohio. Thomas Priddy, his grandfather, fought as a soldier in the Mexican war, although little is known of his record, and the family originated in England, from whence the American progenitor emigrated to this country shortly after the close of the War of the Revolution. James M. Priddy was given better educational advantages than those usually afforded Indiana farmers' sons of his day, first attending the public schools and later Hillsdale School, a Baptist collegiate institution. He was only fourteen years old when the Civil war broke out, but was anxious to enlist, and when denied parental consent, ran away from home and endeavored to join the army. He was refused as being too young by the recruiting officers and compelled to return to his home, but in spite of this refusal made attempts on two later occasions, and when these met the same fate enlisted in the Home Guards and trained for three years, although he never saw active service at the front.

Not long after the close of the war, Mr. Priddy's father bought 640 acres of land in Shawnee County, Kansas, a part of which is now owned by James M. Priddy and forms his homestead. In 1869, the three sons, J. W., R. S. and James M., drove across the country from Indiana in a "prairie schooner" and after being twenty-six days on the journey arrived at their destination in what was then in an Indian reservation, but on railroad land. They broke the prairie with teams of oxen and shipped two carloads of lumber, with which they erected a twelve-room house, and there kept "bachelors' hall" for two years. James M. Priddy, however, desired a home of his own, and, having met the lady of his choice, was married February 10, 1871, to Miss Florence E. Antrim, of Illinois, who had come with her parents to Kansas two years before. To this union there were born three children: Effie, who is now Mrs. Frank Carey, of San Bernardino, California; John, who resides with his parents; and Cora D., who is the wife of Orrin Layton, of Topeka.

After his marriage Mr. Priddy continued in his farming and stock raising ventures, as did his brothers, who also married and established homes, and the three exchanged land and labor until all became prosperous. In time James M. Priddy accumulated 400 acres, which constitute his present fine farm in Menoken Township, where he has made modern improvements and erected handsome buildings. In addition to carrying on general farming, he is a breeder of thoroughbred cattle, and also breeds and feeds a high grade of cattle and hogs, horses and mules, and is considered one of the expert stock men and an authority on agricultural subjects in this part of the county.

If Mr. Priddy has been successful in his individual operations and activities, he has been equally so in acquiring things for his community. He has always been a friend of education and religion and has been one of the prime movers in securing schools and churches for his locality. Mr. Priddy assisted in the building of the first school in his district, No. 66. He has been a leader in the work of the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church, of which he has been an elder for twenty-five years and for a long period superintendent of the Sunday school, and was one of the organizers of Bethel Chapel, which is situated two miles north of his home. Any worthy movement receives his full support, and, having succeeded himself, he is always willing to lend a helping hand to those who are deserving. Politically he is a republican, but has independent leanings, and is apt to vote rather for the man than the party. He has been township trustee of Menoken Township for four years, and for a long period has been a member of the school board, and in his official capacities has rendered able and conscientious service. His children have all been given good educational advantages, having been sent to college and fitted for whatever position they may be called upon to hold in life.

John Priddy, who resides on the homestead and is associated with his father in his various agricultural ventures, is one of the energetic and progressive farmers of Menoken Township. He married Miss Blanche Goodno, of this township, and they are the parents of two children: John Dana and Donald James.


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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