Transcribed from 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
THE PITTSBURG SASH & DOOR COMPANY. One of the very considerable industries of the City of Pittsburg is The Pittsburg Sash & Door Company, which like many successful concerns had a very modest beginning but is now contributing a great deal of wealth to the city and is furnishing support to many families whose members find employment there. This business was originally started as a hay press by L. N. Mosteller, now a retired business man of Pittsburg.
In October, 1902, Henry R. Ransom arrived in Pittsburg and bought what was then known as the Pittsburg Planing Mill, situated at Fourth and Grand Avenue. Since then the business has been under the direction of the Ransom family, and during the past year its business has been so voluminous that its payroll amounts to $15,000. It has prospered and expanded continuously during the fifteen years since Henry R. Ransom took charge of the industry.
The Ransoms were a colonial English family that settled first in Virginia. Later they lived in New York State. S. S. Ransom was born at Perrysburg, New York, and is still living now retired at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was reared and married in Perrysburg, New York, and was for many years a traveling salesman. S. S. Ransom married Jennie Strickland, who was born in Ellinsville, Warren County, Pennsylvania.
Henry R. Ransom, head of The Pittsburg Sash & Door Company, is the only child of the above parents. He was born at Perrysburg in Cattaraugus County, New York, March 27, 1870. He received his early education in the public schools of Warren County, Pennsylvania, but at the age of sixteen left school to take up the carpenter's trade. He became a contractor and builder, and began contracting at the age of nineteen. For five years he was in that line of business at St. Louis, a similar time at Carthage, Missouri, and while there was connected with the Carthage Sash and Door Factory. From Southwestern Missouri he moved to Kansas in October, 1902, and bought the industry at Pittsburg which he has since conducted with such notable success. Henry R. Ransom is an active republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On June 17, 1891, at Jamestown, New York, Henry R. Ransom married Miss Gertie N. Kilbourn. The Kilbourn family is of very old American stock. The first of the name came from Wood Ditton, England, to Weathersfield, Connecticut, as early as 1635. The original American ancestor had several children. The great-grandfather of Gertie N. Kilbourn was Robins Kilbourn, who was a minister in Connecticut, and in 1835 moved to Cherry Creek, New York, where he died. He was the father of Mrs. Remmington, who had her home in Ilion, New York; William R.; and several other children not now recalled.
William Robert Kilbourn, grandfather of Mrs. Henry R. Ransom, was born in Connecticut in 1800, and in young manhood moved to Cherry Creek, New York, where he married and where in 1824 he built the first sawmill. He followed that business for many years. He was quite influential in that locality and besides his business connections was an active church member, served as supervisor in 1841-43 and was a leading whig. He died at Cherry Creek in 1875. William R. Kilbourn married Lydia King, who was born in Rhode Island in 1801 and died at Cherry Creek, New York, in 1884. Her parents came to Cherry Creek when she was young, and her father was one of the original purchasers of town lots there. William R. Kilbourn and wife had the following children: William Robert, who was born in Cherry Creek in 1826 and died there in 1883, having followed his father's occupation and never married; Hiram, mentioned below; Mary, who was born at Cherry Creek and died at Watrous, New Mexico, in 1902, the wife of O. A. Hadley, who was at one time governor of the State of Arkansas, owned extensive ranch interests in New Mexico and died at Pasadena, California, in 1915; Mrs. Carr, wife of a farmer at Cherry Creek, where she died; Norman, who was born at Cherry Creek and spent his last years as a farmer in Minnesota; Elisha, who died at his native Town of Cherry Creek in 1892, having been identified with farming and the milling industry; Leonard, who was born at Cherry Creek and died on his farm in Minnesota; Benjamin, who spent his brief life in Cherry Creek.
Hiram Kilbourn, father of Mrs. Henry R. Ransom, was born in Cherry Creek, New York, in 1827, and died in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1909. He was reared in his native town and his early experiences in business affairs were in conducting a planing mill and in managing a farm. He finally moved west to Waterloo, Iowa, where he was in the millwright business, and in 1869 came as a very early pioneer into Crawford County, Kansas. He took up and farmed a homestead of a quarter section, but in 1875 returned to his native village in New York and resumed business as a sawmiller and chair manufacturer. In 1886 he retired to Jamestown, New York, but in 1902 returned to Pittsburg, Kansas, where he lived until his death. Hiram Kilbourn was an active republican, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Masonic fraternity. He made a creditable record in the Civil war. In 1862 he enlisted in Company G of the Ninth Iowa Infantry, and was in service practically three years. In the North Georgia campaign he was wounded at Ringgold, and was incapacitated and the war closed before he was fit for service. Hiram Kilbourn married for his first wife Miss Carr, and her children were: Robert, who is a wagon maker at Carthage, Missouri; Mary, who died in Washington Township of Crawford County, Kansas, in 1870. For his second wife Hiram Kilbourn married Hulda Shirley, who was born near Rockford, Illinois, November 15, 1848, grew up there on a farm, and is now living at Pittsburg, Kansas. She is an active member of the Methodist Church and belongs to the Woman's Relief Corps. Her children are: Minnie L., who died at Jamestown, New York, in 1893, the wife of Angus McKenzie, who is still living at Jamestown; Mrs. Henry R. Ransom.
Gertie N. Kilbourn, wife of Henry R. Ransom, was born in Washington Township of Crawford County, Kansas, a mile north of Frontenac, on March 8, 1872. Thus she has the distinction of having been one of the early white children born in this new country of Southeastern Kansas. While she was still an infant her parents returned to Jamestown, New York, where she was reared, attending the grammar and high schools there. She is a regular attendant and a generous supporter of the Methodist Church.
Henry R. Ransom and wife are the parents of three children. Raymond R. was born June 29, 1892, in Jamestown, New York, but has lived in Pittsburg, Kansas, since he was ten years of age; he graduated from the high school in 1909 and then continued his higher education in Baker University, from which he received the degree A. B. in 1913; he is now actively associated with his father in The Pittsburg Sash & Door Company. On December 28, 1913, Raymond R. Ransom married Miss Beatrice Fast, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Fast of Hutchinson, Kansas.
Paul, the second child of Henry R. Ransom and wife, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, December 27, 1896, was graduated from the Pittsburg High School in 1913, and is now a sophomore in the electrical engineering department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Donald, the youngest child, was born in Carthage, Missouri, December 24, 1900, and is now a student in the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, Kansas.
Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2021-2022 of 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; originally transcribed by students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March, 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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