ALONZO B. BOYLAN. Nearly all of the important history of the Town of Lakin might be written as incident to the record of the Boylan family. Mr. and Mrs. Boylan have been identified with the community almost continuously from the beginning, and both of them are people of prominence not only in those interests which are normally within the scope of a private citizen but also in politics, good government and the establishment of every institution that reflects the moral and civic advancement of the community.
Mr. Boylan was born at Canaseraga, Allegany County, New York, July 21, 1841. His grandfather, Samuel Boylan, was of Irish stock, spent his life as a farmer in New Jersey and New York, and died at Canaseraga. He married Elizabeth Bradner, and had five sons and one daughter. Firman Boylan, father of Alonzo B., was a native of New Jersey, and throughout his long career was identified with farming. He died at Paynesville, Minnesota, in 1894, at the age of ninety-four. He married Laura Hurlburt, who was born in Massachusetts and died in Paynesville, Minnesota. She was the only daughter in a family of eight, and all her brothers were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. The children of Firman Boylan and wife were: James H., of Paynesville, Minnesota; Hurlburt E. and Samuel, both of whom died in New York State; Alonzo B.; Lenora V. and Victoria L., both deceased; and Mary E., wife of Ed Gale of Paynesville, Minnesota.
Alonzo B. Boylan acquired a good education, was a student in the Academy at Canaseraga and also in the college at Elmira. He took up telegraphy when it was in its infancy, learned operating with the Erie Railway and served that company as agent and operator in New York State. About the close of the Civil war he went to Minnesota, first locating at St. Cloud, and was a railroad man in that state until he came to Kansas. His first work in Kansas was with the Santa Fe Railway as operator in the superintendent's office at Topeka. From there he went to Dodge City, and finally to Lakin.
Mr. and Mrs. Boylan were married at Lawrence in Scott County, Minnesota. Mrs. Boylan's maiden name was Estella Florence Walter. She arrived at Lakin, Kansas, in September, 1875, following her husband and bringing to the town her two small children. Her father was Dr. Ambrose B. Walter, a physician and surgeon who went to Minnesota some years before the war and was one of the earliest settlers of Scott County. He spent his active life in the medical profession. While he never became a resident of Kansas he spent a considerable time in Kearny County in 1877. He came here for the purpose of securing a rest and incidentally to visit his daughter's family. But the rest was only a sample of his arduous professional business in his home community. He was kept busy setting broken bones, attending cases of consumption, and was also called upon to care for a smallpox patient who was traveling across the country with a family by wagon. Doctor Walter at the close of this visit returned to Minnesota and continued practice until his death at Shakopee, at the age of seventy-five. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, a son of Godfrey and Catherine (Tuttle) Walter. Godfrey Walter was a native of Virginia, while his wife was of a North Carolina Quaker family.
In Miami County, Indiana, Doctor Walter married Hannah Roll, daughter of a wealthy farmer. She died in Wayne, Nebraska. The children of Doctor and Mrs. Walter were: Lenora E., who married Judge Eli Southworth of Shakopee, Minnesota; Mrs. Boylan; Rolando M., a pharmacist and veterinary surgeon at Delano, Minnesota; Alice, wife of Henry Ley, president of the Wayne County Bank at Wayne, Nebraska; and Dora A., wife of Doctor Cramm, a physician and surgeon for the railroads at Sheldon, Iowa.
Mrs. Boylan was born at Miami, Indiana, September 3, 1851. She was liberally educated, attending the public schools of Minnesota, a girl's seminary at Belle Plain, and later the Moravian Academy at Shaska. Soon after leaving school she took up work as a teacher and taught three terms. About that time she met and married Mr. Boylan, who was then railway station agent at Blakely, Minnesota. It required only a few moments for Mrs. Boylan to change from the role of teacher that of housewife, and she has been caring for her home and family and playing an active part as a good citizen ever since.
Her duties have extended to the public service and during Cleveland's first administration she served as postmaster of Lakin. Her term extended into the Harrison administration. While in that position she was appointed a member of the school board, which then comprised the entire area of Kearny County as a single district. She was afterwards elected to the same office and her associates on the board were W. P. Haywood, Samuel Corbet and F. R. French. At that time the county schools numbered nine, and Mrs. Boylan did practically all the supervision that was done.
The first home at Lakin was the Boylan's and in it was held the first church service. An itinerant preacher conducted the meeting and his text was "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." Later another minister came, Rev. Mr. Platt, and it is recalled his text was "I will arise and go to my Father." In the Boylan home was organized a Sabbath school and its first members were the two Boylan children and Charles and Fay Loucks. The first Catholic service was conducted by a priest from Dodge City who said mass at 4 o'clock in the morning in the Boylan dining room, his congregation being made up of railroad men then laying steel for the Santa Fe.
In 1891 the Boylans went to Colorado, following the line of the Santa Fe during its construction. Mr. Boylan was in charge of much important work for the company. While living at Victor Mrs. Boylan associated herself with other ladies of the town in club work for the discussion of social evils and for literary purposes. She organized the Women's Christian Temperance Union of that locality and was its president for El Paso, County. She also became a factor in Colorado politics, being a delegate at large from El Paso County to the Fusion State Convention at Pueblo. At the first election in Teller County she was a clerk in one of the largest precincts of Victor. She refused to certify to the returns because she was convinced that the number of votes cast did ont[sic] tally with the number counted and for three days and nights the board was kept locked in a room. The case finally got into the courts and created much excitement over that community. In a modest but effective way Mrs. Boylan has continued her interest in politics in Kansas, always using her efforts to see fair play and honest government. She has been president of the Old Settlers' Association of Kearny County, which holds a county picnic annually. Her presidential address contained a complete history of Lakin and vicinity.
Reference should now be made to some of Mr. Boylan's activities as a railway man and citizen. He was the pioneer Santa Fe agent at Lakin, having come to this locality with the force of men engaged in building and equipping the road. The date of his arrival here was July 16, 1874. At that time he opened the only station between Dodge City and Granada. For several years he had charge of the company's interests at Lakin and was the first train operator for the line from Dodge City to this point. He lived in Dodge, and worked down one day and back to Lakin the next, thus having a business day alternately at both places. The Lakin station had not been built when Mr. Boylan arrived, and the only building on the townsite was the Loughlin dugout and store. He might have owned the entire townsite had he accepted the offer of Mr. Nickerson, then president of the road. He declined to take more than a few acres of ground for a homesite and even this he failed to prove up. In 1878 Mr. Boylan entered his homestead, and upon this, adjoining the town, he has made his home all the time of his Lakin residence.
On leaving Lakin in 1891 Mr. Boylan was employed by the Santa Fe Company in Colorado as agent at Napesta, Monument and Victor, and while there he left the company temporarily and had some part in local politics. He was elected police judge of Victor, serving two terms. After that he resumed work as agent at Manzanola, Colorado. He again went back to Napesta, and from there to Victor, where he was ticket agent and cashier for the Colorado terminal. He also worked as relief agent on the Florence and Cripple Creek Road. On leaving that line he gave up railroad work altogether and has since lived in his old Kansas home at Lakin.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Boylan are democrats and have long been strong in their faith and their allegiance. Mr. Boylan is now serving as justice of the peace of his home precinct. He was the first director of the school board at Lakin, being associated with J. E. Bennett and T. W. Appleby. He was also a member of the board when the first high school was built.
Mr. Boylan has the distinction of having conducted the first permanent printing office at Lakin, where he established the paper known as the Pioneer Democrat in the early '80s. This paper was continued by him for several years, through the period of the county seat fight, when the Democrat issued a daily. He sold the paper to Mr. Goden, taking Meade County land in exchange, and the paper was finally absorbed by the Advocate.
Mr. and Mrs. Boylan may be justly proud of their two children, Lenora Victoria and Ambrose Bradner. Lenora V. is now the wife of George H. Tate, Jr., of Lakin. They have five children, James Noel, Victor B., Cecil A., Roland H. and Susanna F. Mrs. Tate was the first graduate of the Lakin High School and her son James graduated from the same school with the class of 1915, being the youngest of the twenty-two members of his class and valedictorian. He is now a junior in Kansas University. It is an interesting record that not one of Mrs. Tate's five children had ever recorded a case of tardiness at school. Mr. and Mrs. Boylan's son, Ambrose Bradner, is now second lieutenant of Company E, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment, serving with the Sixth Division of United States troops in France. He was the first recruit from Kearny County.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project