Mills G. Voris

MILLS G. VORIS is now serving his third consecutive term as register of deeds of Cowley County. His is a case of exceptional fitness for public office. He has had a wide experience in public affairs, beginning when as a boy he was elected to succeed his father as county surveyor back in Illinois. He also knows the people and conditions in the Southwest, particularly in Cowley County, and has been both a farmer and business man. He is honest, capable, competent and efficient, and the work of his office was never in better hands.

Mr. Voris was born in Knox County, Illinois, November 8, 1861. His paternal ancestors were Holland people and were Colonial settlers in New York State. His great-grandfather served as an orderly under General Washington during the Revolutionary war. His grandfather, Peter Voris, was born in 1801, spent most of his active life as a farmer near Akron, Ohio, but died at Mattoon, Illinois, in 1871.

Ralph Voris, father of the register of deeds, was born in Stark County, Ohio, in 1829. He grew up there and in young manhood went to Knox County, Illinois, where he married. He was an old-time land surveyor, and for twenty-four years held the office of county surveyor of Knox County. During the Civil war he did recruiting duty for the Union cause. He was a republican and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Ralph Voris died in Knox County in 1885. His wife was Elizabeth Melton, who was born in Knox County in 1839 and died at Newport, Arkansas, in 1908. There were five children: Virginia, who died in Knox County, Illinois, in 1893, the wife of George A. Felt, now living at Galesburg, Illinois; Mills G.; Roxwell, a market gardener living in Florida; Mary, who died in Knox County in 1894, was the wife of George Brainard, a retired resident of Galesburg; Ruth is the wife of John Blanshard, a furniture dealer and undertaker at Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Mills G. Voris spent his early life in Knox County, Illinois, attended the public schools and had his higher education in Knox College at Galesburg, which he attended into the junior year. The death of his father called him away from his studies. He had learned surveying under his father, and at a special election held in 1885 he was elected successor to the elder Voris in the office of county surveyor. He proved a thorough capability for that office and filled it to the satisfaction of all concerned for eight years.

Mr. Voris took part in the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma in 1893, settling at Newkirk. For two years he filled the office of county surveyor of Kay County, for two years was assistant postmaster at Newkirk and for four years was county clerk. He then became a farmer on the Osage Reservation in 1901, and remained there for two years.

Mr. Voris has been a resident of Cowley County since 1903, when he bought a farm at Maple City. After two years he sold that property, and then for a couple of years was interested in a stone plant at Silverdale, in Cowley County, and also conducted a general store there for four years. From these varied interests he was called in the fall of 1912 to the office of register of deeds at Winfield, and by re-election in 1914 and 1916 has occupied the offices in the courthouse for nearly five years.

Mr. Voris owns a fine stock farm of 240 acres five miles east of Winfield and also has a good home at 1803 Fuller Street. He is an active member of the Winfield Commercial Club, belongs to the Presbyterian Church, is a republican, is affiliated with the Newkirk, Oklahoma, Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and with Winfield Camp No. 583, Modern Woodmen of America.

Mr. Voris was married at Newkirk, Oklahoma, in 1901, to Miss Harriet Clapp, daughter of James and Catherine (Randolph) Clapp. Both her parents are now deceased, her father having been an Oklahoma farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Voris have four children: Ralph, born June 8, 1902; Mills J., born in April, 1906; Frank, born July 8, 1907; Catherine, born November 8, 1912.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Jackson Babb, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, January 28, 1999.

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