LEWIS C. BREEDEN, who has been a prominent citizen of Barton County for twenty-five years, and a former judge of the Probate Court of the county, has been a Kansan since 1886, and since 1901 has been an active factor in real estate circles at Great Bend.
In the paternal line he is of Scotch and English ancestry. The Breeden family was founded in Virginia, around Richmond, during Revolutionary times. His grandfather, Joseph Breeden, moving from Virginia settled in Tennessee and was killed by being thrown from a horse at the age of thirty-five. Among his children were Thomas, who died in Missouri, and William, who died in Daviess County of the same state.
Joseph H. Breeden, father of Judge Breeden, settled in Clinton County, Missouri, when a young man and married there Elizabeth J. McCulley, a daughter of Andrew J. McCulley. She was a native of Kentucky and a merchant's daughter. Joseph H. Breeden died in 1867 and his wife in 1884, and they were laid to rest side by side. Their children were: John T., of Maryville, California; Mrs. Mary J. Wood, who died in Missouri; Alexander L., of Sheridan County, Kansas; Martha A., wife of George H. Clark, of Baker, Oregon; Charles P., of Sheridan County, Kansas; Lewis C.; Emily E., who married S. I. McWilliams and died in Graham County, Kansas; and Lizzie B., who died unmarried in Graham County.
Lewis C. Breeden was born in Clinton County, Missouri, February 28, 1861, and the environment in which he grew up was that of a substantial agricultural community. When he was thirteen years old he was the victim of a serious accident, and after that he attended district school on crutches. The injury crippled him for twenty years, until the working out of the shattered parts of the bone brought full recovery. Besides the district schools he attended a college at Stewartsville, Missouri, and being handicapped for other vocations by his physical injury he took up teaching and taught in Clinton, DeKalb and Daviess counties, Missouri.
It was teaching which enabled him to exist during his early years in Kansas, when he had to endure the adversities of climate in Graham County, where he entered land in 1886 in the southwest corner of the county. He had all the experiences incident to a sod house existence for eight years, and during that time he taught school, part of the time in a sod house and also in better buildings. He acquired title to his land, but made little success of farming, though he put in a crop practically every year and also gathered up some stock.
In September, 1894, Judge Breeden moved to Claflin in Barton County and engaged in the grain and grocery business there for two years. From that locality he was chosen as probate judge of the county, succeeding Judge McCorkle, and the four years' administration of that office proved him one of the most capable of its incumbents. On retiring Judge Breeden engaged in the real estate business at Great Bend in 1901, and the only interruption to his work in that line came when he was chosen county assessor. He was the last to fill that office in the county, the office being abolished by the Legislature toward the close of his term. Judge Breeden is associated with W. H. Dodge in the firm of Breeden & Dodge, insurance, real estate and loans.
In politics Judge Breeden's record is an unusual one. He cast his first vote for Cleveland, and through all the years has been stanchly aligned with the democratic party. When he was chosen probate judge of Barton County the electorate was almost evenly divided between the two major parties, and it was his personal ability that carried the scale in his favor. While he was chairman of the County Democratic Central Committee his party elected every candidate on his ticket, something that never occurred before nor since.
Judge Breeden is a member of the Congregational Church, brought up his family under its influence, was chairman of the board of trustees for a number of years, and also served the Sunday school as superintendent. He holds an office in many of the fraternities at Great Bend. He is a Lodge and Chapter Mason, is a past master workman and financier of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was for six years clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, is present clerk of the Woodmen of the World, is correspondent of the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, is secretary of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, secretary of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
The home of the Breeden family at Great Bend is a comfortable residence built for Judge Breeden at 2803 Forest Avenue. He has an interesting family of children and grandchildren and his younger son is distinguished as one of the gallant fighters in the Thirty-Fifth Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. In Clinton County, Missouri, July 24, 1887, Judge Breeden married Miss Clara J. Church, one of the thirteen children of William and Cassa (Hankins) Church. Her mother is now spending her declining years in the Breeden home at Great Bend. The children of Judge Breeden are: Charles B., a farmer southwest of Great Bend. He married Millie Pearl Saling, and their three children are Ruby Pearl, Ila Doris and June. Elsie A., the second child, is the wife of Frank W. Kellam, of Barton County, and the mother of one daughter, Louise. Clytie B., the third child, died at the age of twenty. The soldier son is Leo F., who went into the World war as a member of the National Guard from Great Bend, and became a corporal in Company C of the One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Regiment of the Thirty-Fifth Division. In the fighting at Argonne Forest, which marked the climax of the American participation in the war, he lost his right arm. His wounds, twenty-one in number, occurred in the Argonne Forest battle and were the result of the bursting of an enemy shell beside him. The explosion blew his body some distance and sent ten of its fragments into his chest, three into his face, five into his right arm and three into his right knee, and yet he wrote home that he wishes he had a million arms to give to the cause.
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