Lewis D. Raynolds

LEWIS D. RAYNOLDS. One of the prosperous and prominent farmers of Jewell County, and a man who has been identified with various of the activities of life, Lewis D. Raynolds, of Mankato, is not of that type who has had fortune and prosperity thrust upon him by inheritance and, perhaps, increased it by careful management. His large property, his satisfying competency, his prominent connection With a number of enterprises, and his high and substantial standing as a citizen have been acquired by individual force of character, by industry, perseverance and intelligent founded upon the strictest honor. Starting as a simple homesteader of land in Jewell County in 1873, he is now the owner of a large and valuable property and the repository of important interest, and no citizen in the community has a higher standing. Sine 1893 he has been identified with the Spiritualists of this country and has attended six of the annual conventions of the National Spiritualists Association as delegate from the State Spiritualists Association, and during the past three years has been president of the state organization, with his headquarters at Kansas City.

Lewis D. Raynolds was born in Pike County, Ohio, September 24, 1847, a son of J. W. and Judith (Ruckman) Raynolds. The family of which he is a member originated in England and was founded in the American Colony of Virginia by one Jeffery Raynolds, who immigrated to this country at an early day, leaving his native land at the time of the great London plague. George W. Raynolds, the grandfather of Lewis D. Raynolds, was born at Zanesville, Ohio, served in the War of 1812 under Gen. William H. Harrison, and fought the Indians, and subsequently became a merchant at Beavertown, Ohio. He passed his entire life in the Buckeye State and died in Pike County about the year 1847.

J. W. Raynolds was born in 1825, in Pike County, Ohio, and was there reared and educated. Five years after his marriage he removed to Marion County, Iowa, where he became a pioneer farmer, and in 1869 located near Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, in which community he homesteaded 160 acres of land. He continued to be engaged in successful agricultural operations during the remaining years of his life, and died on his farm in 1876. Mr. Raynolds was a sturdy abolitionist, a free state man and an adherent of the principles of the republican party. He represented the type of men who located on unimproved farms during the era of the state's growth and development, and though his residence in Kansas was not of long duration, while he was here he contributed his share to the movements which made for progress. He was a faithful member of the United Brethren Church. Mrs. Raynolds was born in 1827, in Pike County, Ohio. She still survives, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Seymor of Mankato. Shortly after the death of her husband she became a Spiritualist and has been a devoted advocate of that faith ever since. There were six children in the family, as follows: Lewis D., of this notice; Mary E., who is the wife of Robert A. Wilson, a farmer of Saskatchewan country in Canada; John, who died at the age of eight years; Sarah, who resides at Mankato and is the widow of the late Dr. D. R. Seymour, a physician and surgeon of this city; Isaac, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and Lincoln, who died when twenty-four years old.

Lewis D. Raynolds was educated in the public schools of Marion County, Iowa, and was reared on his father's farm until he was eighteen years of age, at which time he entered the office of the register of deeds of Winterset, the county seat of Madison County, Iowa. There he did clerical work as deputy register of deeds for a few months, following which he began mail contracting in Iowa, a business which he followed for eight years with a measure of success. Coming to Kansas in 1873, he located in Jewell County as a homesteader of 160 acres of land located two miles east of Mankato, and this land he still owns, in addition to other farms in Jewell County some 600 acres of the best oil lands to be found in Elk County. Mr. Raynolds continued to be engaged in cultivating his homestead until it was proved up, and in 1879 came to Mankato, where for two years he conducted a newspaper, the Jewell County Review. His next business experience was as proprietor of a drug store, which he owned for five years, and at the end of that period went to Montrose, Jewell County, and embarked in a lumber and general merchandise, livestock and grain business, with which he was identified for another half-decade. Going then to Chicago, he was the editor of the Chicago Express and the Chicago Sentinel, newspapers, for about five years, and in 1896 was the publisher of a well-known work, "The National Platforms and Political History of the United States," which was received very favorably by the public and well treated by the press and contemporary reviews. Since that time he has issued a booklet, "Era of Science and Reason," which has had a wide circulation. In 1902 he returned to Montrose, where he again engaged in shipping livestock and grain, along with a general merchandise and lumber business until 1909, and in the meantime also carried on extensive operations as a dealer in real estate. Since 1910 his connection with the Kansas State Spiritualists' Association has occupied most of his time, and in 1914 he was made president of the organization, a position which he still retains. Since 1910 he has spent the greater part of his time at Kansas City, where he has his home, although he still retains interests at Mankato. Mr. Raynolds has seen numerous changes in this part of Kansas since the last buffalo slain in Jewell County was killed on his claim in 1873, and during the forty four years of his residence here has taken an active part in many important movements. He has always maintained an independent stand in politics, and in 1892 was presidential elector of the peoples and democratic fusion party, which supported James B. Weaver for the presidency.

In 1867 Mr. Raynolds was married in Marion County, Iowa, to Miss Tabitha Moon, and they had four children Dr. Elmer L., of whom more later; Clara E., who is the wife of Wayne Clark, a farmer of Mankato, and they have three daughters, Amy, Ethel and Mildred, all taking high rank among the teachers of the county; William L., of whom a review follows later in this article; and May, who is the wife of a physician and surgeon, Dr. Sanford Wells, of Kansas City, Missouri, and is herself a practitioner of medicine and surgery. They have one daughter, Dorothy, born July 29, 1907. Mr. Raynolds was again married, wedding Miss Melva Van Dyke, who died in 1908, at Montrose, and they had one daughter, Lillian, who was born September 28, 1905, and is now attending the public school in the seventh grade.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Christopher and Brent, students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, December 1, 1999.

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