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


Arthur M. Thurman

ARTHUR M. THURMAN. As the prosperous and rapidly-growing city of Caney is located almost on the state line between Oklahoma and Kansas, many men who make their homes in the city are the owners of property in the former state, particularly land that is used for agricultural purposes. A large number of these make daily trips between their country estates and their city residences, either by way of train or automobile, and in this class is found Arthur M. Thurman, a prosperous farmer and rancher, who lives at Caney, but whose magnificent property, consisting of 1,280 acres of fertile and productive land, is located nine miles southeast of the city, in Osage County, Oklahoma. When Mr. Thurman came to Caney, then but a farming center, in 1901, he was possessed of no means other than those represented by his ambition and determination, and his first work was as a clerk in a drug store. From that time to the present he has steadily advanced, until now he is justly accounted one of the substantial men of his community.

Arthur M. Thurman was born at Osceola, the county seat of Saint Clair County, Missouri, January 28, 1879, and is a son of Richard Scott and Eliza (Cobb) Thurman. The family originated in Ireland, from whence the first American progenitor emigrated during colonial days, members of the family locating in the Western Reserve of Ohio as pioneers. Joseph Thurman, the grandfather of Arthur M. Thurman, was born in 1776, in Ohio, from which state he enlisted as a soldier in the American army for service during the War of 1812. In 1816 he traveled westward, locating in Missouri, and in his later years became a pioneer farmer of Kansas, and died at Fort Scott, in August, 1862. He had fought under Gen. William Henry Harrison, but was a democrat in his political belief. Mr. Thurman married a Miss Price, who bore him four children, namely; John, who crossed the plains to California during the gold rush of "the days of '49," and after a short experience as a miner died in that state; Marion, who died in Missouri after a successful career spent in the milling business; Joseph, who was engaged in farming until his death at Nevada, Missouri; and Job, who was also an agriculturist and died at Neosho, Missouri. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Thurman was married to Mrs. Mary (Roberts) Joslin, a native of Kentucky, who died near Joplin, Missouri, and they had three children, namely: Isaac Riley, who followed farming as a vocation and died at Neosho, Missouri; Zacharias, who was a miner and died in the far West; and Richard Scott.

Richard Scott Thurman was born at Saint Charles, Saint Charles County, Missouri, January 21, 1847, and was a small child when taken to Newton County, in the same state, by his parents. There he received a public school education and was reared on the home farm, on which he worked until his activities were interrupted by the coming on of the Civil war. When he was but fifteen years old, in August, 1862, Mr. Thurman enlisted in the Union army for service in the war between the states, becoming a member of Company E, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry. With this command he saw some hard fighting, including all the engagements incidental to Price's raid, and when he received his honorable discharge and was mustered out of the service, it was with an excellent record for gallantry and fidelity. On his return from the war, the young soldier went to Saint Clair County, Missouri, where for nearly thirty years he operated the ferry on the Osage River. Subsequently, he went to Nowata, Oklahoma, where he engaged for a time in teaming, and July 12, 1905, came to Kansas and located at Coffeyville, where he has been engaged in private teaming and in working for the city with his teams to the present time. He is the owner of his own residence, at No. 303 East Twelfth street, Coffeyville, as well as the lot adjoining. Mr. Thurman has been a man of industry, and while he has not become wealthy, has accumulated a competence for his declining years. He has always been known for his honesty and straightforward dealing, and among those who know him is held in the highest esteeem.[sic] Politically a democrat, he has never been a politician. His only social connection is with Sheridan Post No. 90, Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Thurman was married in 1871, at Fort Scott, Kansas, to Miss Eliza Cobb, daughter of David and Martha Cobb, both of whom are now deceased. Mr. Cobb was a veteran of the Civil war, having fought from 1861 to 1865 as a member of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Thurman were as follows: Walter, who resides near Coffeyville, Kansas, and is engaged in farming; Clara Belle, who died at the age of three years; Arthur M.; Oscar Frank, who was an engineer for a steamshoveling company, and in May, 1914, was so injured in a boiler explosion at San Diego, California, that he only lived forty-eight hours; and H. R., who is a teamster and makes his home with his parents at Coffeyville.

Arthur M. Thurman was educated in the public schools of Osceola, Missouri, where he attended the high school, but at the age of seventeen years left school to go to Nowata, Oklahoma, where he worked on farms for about two years. In 1898 he went to Coffeyville, Kansas, and for three years had experience as a clerk in a store, and in 1901 came to Caney. This community was then only a farming center, but Mr. Thurman had the foresight to see that some day it was destined to be a live commercial and manufacturing community, and he accordingly laid his plans to remain here. His first employment was as a clerk in the drug store conducted by Doctor Booker, but two years thereafter turned his attention to farming and ranching in Osage County, Oklahoma, a line in which he has continued to the present with almost phenomenal success. On his broad acres Mr. Thurman raises blooded stock in horses and cattle, and fancy chickens and turkeys, in addition to which he carries on diversified farming. He maintains his residence on Third Avenue, Caney, and makes daily trips to and from his ranch in his automobile. With his years of experience, his excellent business foresight, and his managerial ability, it is needless to say that Mr. Thurman accomplishes the greatest possible results from the operation of his land. He is a republican in politics, and while he has not cared for public honors, has discharged his duties of citizenship by acting as a member of the school board in the vicinity of his ranch in Osage County for two years. Fraternally, he is connected with Lodge No. 160, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Caney, and Lodge No. 1215, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and also holds membership in the Country Club, situated on Big Caney Creek. He is a man of strong characteristics, public spirited, popular, honorable in all his dealings, and through his upbuilding of his handsome and valuable property is an agricultural factor of widespread influence.

Mr. Thurman was married March 29, 1903, at Caney, Kansas, to Miss Lola Labadie, daughter of Frank and Samantha (Miller) Labadie, and a one-eighth Osage Indian on her father's side. To Mr. and Mrs. Thurman there has come one child, Geneva E., who was born at Caney, March 27, 1906, and is now attending the public schools.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1987-1988 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 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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