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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Joseph Varnum Burroughs

JOSEPH VARNUM BURROUGHS was born June 3, 1859, at Decatur, Illinois.

Joseph and Rebecca Burroughs were born in Prince Frederick, Maryland, and moved to the new country of Illinois and settled on a farm near Edwardsville. They had one son and two daughters. Caleb Cartright Burroughs was born in Prince Frederick, Maryland. The two daughters, Ellen and Esther, were born at Edwardsville, Illinois.

Caleb C. Burroughs was educated in Edwardsville and later graduated at McKendrie College in 1854 and in 1855 he was preceptor and teacher of mathematics and natural sciences in the Shelby Seminary at Shelbyville, Illinois. Here he met Miss Nancy Phillips of Middleville, New York, who was the first music teacher in the seminary.

Miss Phillips' father, Varnum O. Phillips, and her mother, Abigal Phillips, lived near Middleville, New York, on a farm. The children in the home were Varnum Ogilva, Mary and Nancy. Nancy Phillips was married to Caleb C. Burroughs in Middleville, New York. They founded their home in Decatur, Illinois, where Mr. Burroughs installed a book store and afterwards helped to found the Union Iron Works of that city and was prominent in the early life of Decatur in both political and church life. To them two children came, Joseph Varnum Burroughs and Charles Norman Burroughs. The mother died November 30, 1881, in St. Louis, while visiting her son J. V. Burroughs, who was then working in that city. The remaining family moved the next year, March 1, 1882, to Rooks County, Kansas, where they had land, and began farming and cattle raising when there was no railroad nearer than Hays on the south and Alton (then Bull's City) on the north.

Joseph V. Burroughs was educated in the Decatur schools and finished in the University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois, taking a mechanical course and became a practical mechanic. He spent several years working on locomotives for the Wabash Railroad at Decatur, Illinois, Moberly, Missouri, and Andrews, Indiana, also St. Louis.

He came to Zurich, Kansas, in March, 1887, and on September 15, 1887, was married to Miss Jeanette Jeffry, of Andrews, Indiana.

Willis and Zilpha Thomas Jeffry moved in the very early days from Virginia to the unbroken timber of Northern Indiana, Huntington County, and there made a good home and raised a large family of children. They were all very religions and belonged to the Methodist Church. John Thomas Jeffry was born to them July 1, 1829, and grew to manhood in the home, receiving such education as was possible in a new country and also had several terms as Crawfordsville College. He was married to Elizabeth C. Penland, whose people, Alfred and Mary Penland, came from Prible County, Ohio, to Huntington County, Indiana, and were very devout members of the Christian Church. Mr. Jeffry was a tanner by trade and ran a tan yard for years at Wabash, Indiana. To them were born eight children, the youngest of whom was Emma Jeanette, wife of the subject of this sketch.

J. V. Burroughs and his wife moved to Zurich, Kansas, in October, 1887, locating on a farm one mile west of Zurich, and he was engaged in farming and cattle raising and also bought and sold grains at Zurich. In 1891 he and his brother Charles N. Burroughs established the Plainville Mill & Elevator Company at Plainville, Kansas. The business has grown from a 50-barrel mill to a 300-barrel per day capacity, and an electric light plant has been added which lights and pumps water for Plainville and furnishes light for Palco, Kansas, a town fifteen miles west. Mr. Burroughs' knowledge of machinery has been a great help to him in operating this plant.

Mr. Burroughs has been very much interested in the growth and development of this new country and has done much toward the progress of the community and helped in a material way every effort in any movement for the betterment of the town. He has been president of the school board for nine years and has given much time and effort to bring the school up to its present standard as an accredited high school. There were four daughters in this home: Ruth Alice, who finished the high school at Plainville and also attended Drake University two years. She taught one year in the Plainville schools and was married in 1910 to William J. Fischer and live on a farm near Tescott, Kansas. Laura Jeanette, the second daughter, also graduated at the Plainville High School. She taught one year in the schools of Plainville and was married in 1911 to Clyde Rice, [see note below] a merchant of Waldo, Kansas. Lois Ethel, the third daughter, was graduated from the Plainville High School and attended school at the State Normal at Hays and finish a music course at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, and is now teaching music at Oberlin, Kansas. Jean Josephine, fourth daughter, is at home attending school and is in the sixth grade.

Mr. Burroughs has been very active in the business, social and church life of the town. He has served as elder in the Christian Church for twenty-one years. He has always been a republican in politics. He was always ready to lend his aid to anything for the good of the people or country.


Pages 2398-2399.

Note added 1/1/2007: Clyde Rice should be Clyde Bice. Laura and Clyde were my grandparents. — Mary Blair


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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 5 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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