GEORGE M. BAGLEY. One of the oldest men in the service of the Missouri Pacific Railway in Kansas is George M. Bagley, one of the first settlers at Hoisington and an engineer who has given practically all his mature years to railroading. As an early settler of Kansas he tried farming and homesteading with disastrous consequences.
Mr. Bagley was born at Rockwood, Ohio, on a farm, September 15, 1857. He is a son of Henry and Mary (Spears) Bagley. Henry Bagley was a small child when his mother died, and he was one of three brothers bound out to Asa Kimball. Kimball kept the boy working in the woods cutting logs, and schooling was hardly thought of. Henry Bagley therefore reached man's estate without a knowledge of the fundamentals of education, and he learned to figure and to read under the instruction of his wife. In West Virginia, along the Ohio River, he married and devoted the rest of his life to his farm. He came to Kansas at the same time with his son, and in spite of educational handicaps made a success of his career. He bought 160 acres in Saline County, and after the death of his wife left the farm and removed to Salina.
Henry Bagley was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, May 20, 1824, and died April 16, 1902. He was an enthusiastic Methodist and in politics was a republican, sending a son into the ranks of the Union army. His children were: Henry, who enlisted in Captain Miller's Company in the Fifth Virginia Regiment and died in December, 1861; Landon T., a resident of Chicago; John R., of Kansas City, Kansas; Martin L., of Huntington, West Virginia; George M.; Benjamin, a farmer near Hoisington; and James H., of Salina who, being the seventh son, is popularly known as Doc.
George M. Bagley received the rudiments of his education in the rural schools of Lawrence County, Ohio. He grew up on a farm and had no practical knowledge of any other work when he came to Kansas in 1878. He located in Saline County and for seven or eight years tried farming. There was a succession of poor crop years, and when discouragement was piled on discouragement he also lost a drove of hogs from the cholera. Under these circumstances it is not strange that he was an applicant for some other vocation. His opportunity came in 1886 when the Missouri Pacific Company was building its road through Kansas. He secured a place as a locomotive fireman at Salina, and after two years in that work was made an engineer. He then located at Hoisington, then called "Monon," and since has been in uninterrupted service of the Missouri Pacific Company, his runs being confined almost exclusively to the Horace Division. He has been railroading now for over thirty-three years.
When Mr. Bagley first saw Hoisington there was nothing to identify it as a town. The site had been platted but the streets could not be located, and only one building had been started, located on the present site of the E. R. Moses Mercantile Company. Mr. Bagley did not bring his family to Hoisington for two years. For a time he lived in a small two-room home and was too poor to build a better one. Since then he has lived in two homes of his own construction, and thus has contributed something to the material growth of Hoisington.
He has likewise been interested as a citizen and on several occasions served on the city council. He was on the council when the waterworks was undergoing construction or extension and was a member of that council which made the donation for the city of the site for the Young Men's Christian Association. Mr. Bagley has been a steady republican voter since casting his first presidential ballot for Rutherford B. Hayes. Fraternally he is a past master of Hoisington Lodge No. 331, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Mrs. Bagley is an active Methodist and during the war was identified with the Red Cross and other relief measures.
In Saline, Kansas, in September, 1878, Mr. Bagley married Anna Balding. Her father, George Balding, was born in Indiana, was reared near Terre Haute, and for many years has been a farmer in Iroquois County, Illinois. His children comprise: Etta, wife of Lute Greenleaf, of Chicago, Illinois; Jasper, of Boulder, Colorado; Charles, who died in Iroquois County, Illinois; Mrs. Bagley, who was born February 2, 1860; and Walter, of South Dakota.
Mr. and Mrs. Bagley have reared a family of children, and they also have several grandchildren. The oldest child is Lula, wife of Robert Niblo, of Hoisington; Landon T. is a conductor with the Rock Island Railway Company, lives at Fairbury, Nebraska, and by his marriage to Gertrude Kantz has twin children, Ilene and Eloid; Clara is the wife of C. E. Craig, of Seattle, Washington; Gertrude, who married J. D. Watts, of Cherokee County, Kansas, has two children, Anna Louise and Aubrey B.; Ella is the wife of Henry Vladar, of Larned, Kansas, and her two children are Myrtle Morine and Doris LaVerne. The youngest of the family is Owen E., attending high school at Hoisington.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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