La Rue Royce

LA RUE ROYCE, who recently began practice of his profession as a lawyer at Salina, represents one of the distinguished names of Kansas. He is a son of John Quincy Royce of Topeka, long prominent as a lawyer, editor and a dominating character in republican politics in this state.

John Quincy Royce was born on a farm in Fayette County, Iowa, June 1, 1856, a son of David P. Royce, who was a native of New York State. When nine years of age John Quincy Royce was taken from the farm in his native Iowa county to Independence in that state, and in that city he grew up. He attended the public schools, graduating from the Independence High School at the age of eighteen. For two years he studied law at West Union, Iowa, and on completing his studies was admitted to the bar at Independence in April, 1879. Casting his eye over the country for a suitable location, he arrived in June of the same year at Smith Center, Kansas. In that comparatively new country he rapidly built up a reputation as an able young lawyer, and was in active practice until January, 1885. From that date until January, 1887, he served as county attorney in Smith County.

On leaving office he changed his profession to a journalist, and for more than twenty years was one of the foremost writers and editors of the state. He was editor and proprietor of the Smith Center Bulletin for several years and by the purchase of the Smith Center Pioneer he consolidated the two papers making what is still known as the Pioneer-Bulletin. Selling that paper in 1893, he bought the Phillipsburg Dispatch, of which he was editor and proprietor for seventeen years. While in the newspaper business he served as postmaster of Phillipsburg, having been three times appointed to that office.

On May 10, 1905 John Q. Royce resigned his office as postmaster to become state bank commissioner. On November 10, 1908, he left that office to accept the position of secretary of the Aetna Building and Loan Association of Topeka.

During all his career as lawyer, editor or in other positions he has been a conspicuous figure in the republican councils of Kansas. For sixteen years he was chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee of the Sixth Kansas District. For eight years he was assistant chief clerk of the Kansas House of Representatives and for two years was assistant secretary of the State Senate. It is noteworthy and an indication of his strong personal influence that when he resigned the office of postmaster and also that of state bank commissioner he had the pleasure of dictating his successor. In national politics he has attended a number of national conventions, and in the St. Louis Convention of 1896 he served as special sergeant at arms. At the Philadelphia Convention of 1900 he was assistant secretary. Since retiring from public office he has resumed the active practice of law with home and office at Topeka.

John Q. Royce was married May 4, 1887, to Mrs. Olive Irene (Johnston) Crane, of Cawker City, Kansas. Mrs. John Q. Royce was a woman of refined and cultivated tastes and of exceptional strength of character. For years she was both a wife and a valued counselor to her husband in his political and official life, and much of his success was due to her clear vision and sound judgment She was an ideal figure in her home and in social circles, was devoted to family and friends, and her life was an inspiration to all with whom she came in contact. Among the other resources of this splendid woman she possessed unusual ability as a writer and was connected with various organizations of women in Kansas. She was a life long member of the Presbyterian Church. She was born in Jones County, Ohio, May 4, 1858, and died at Topeka, June 16, 1910.

La Rue Royce, the only son of his parents, was born February 8, 1891, at 222 Clay Street in the City of Topeka. He is one of the fortunate young men of Kansas. He had the good fortune of a liberal inheritance in those marked qualities of intellect and character which have distinguished both his father and mother, and he deems it a part of his good fortune that he was born and reared in Kansas and has had the benefit of some of its best institutions. He was educated in the University of Kansas at Lawrence, and also in Washburn College at Topeka. He was graduated from Washburn with the degree A. B. in the class of 1914, and then continued his law studies there, graduating LL. B. in 1916. Soon after his graduation he established himself in practice at Salina.

Mr. Royce also had the good fortune to marry one of the most cultured young women of the state. Mrs. Royce was formerly Miss Winifred Burch, a daughter of Judge R. J. Burch, an associate justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. She was born at Salina June 25, 1891, but was married October 25, 1916, at Topeka, where her father has his official residence.


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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