FRANCIS P. FREELAND. The real man welcomes obstacles, because each one which he overcomes adds strength to his character, and the western man who has become strong, like Francis P. Freeland, of Leoti, does not have to seek obstacles. They come to him as a matter of course in the part which he plays in the development of a real country.
Mr. Freeland has been a resident of four stateshis native Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas. He is a veteran of the Civil war, has had his trials, adversities and successes in wresting prosperity from the soil, has been honored with various public trusts and, although fairly advanced in years, is still vigorous, mentally and physically. He is a typical Kansan, the kind of a man to whom the state is indebted for its virility and stability.
Born in McDonough County, Illinois, on March 11, 1842, Mr. Freeland was reared on a farm and obtained his book learning in a rural school. At the age of nineteen he enlisted in Company D (Capt. G. L. Farwell), Twenty-Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Col. A. K. Johnson). His regiment rendezvoused at Camp Butler, Illinois, was armed and equipped at St. Louis, and was then stationed at Camp Thebes, Illinois. The Twenty-Eighth Regiment became a part of the Army of the Tennessee, was sent to Bird's Point, Missouri, to be drilled, and then spent a season in wading around in the swamps and bottom loads of the Mississippi. The boys were new to soldiering in all its branches and some were exceeding nervous. Mr. Freeland had as his comrade in guarding a railroad bridge a rather excitable Irishman, and one especially dark night an owl screeched from a tree just overhead and, without stopping to consider the direction from which the awful sound came, Paddy jumped to his feet with "By the Holy Smoke, Frank, they're a commin'!"
The first engagement in which Mr. Freeland participated was that at Belmont, and he was afterward in the campaigns around Forts Henry and Donelson and in the battle of Shiloh, where he received a flesh wound in the right thigh. He was next under fire at the Hatchie River engagement, and the siege of Vicksburg and operations at and near Jackson. Not long aftreward[sic] the regiment was sent down the river to Natchez and mustered out of the service.
Mr. Freeland returned to his home in McDonough County, Illinois, and was married in April, 1865. He then became an independent farmer, and in December of that your left the state, with his young wife, for Monroe County, Missouri. There he spent three years and in 1868 moved to Appanoose County, Iowa, where he spent eighteen years as a farmer and teamster. Such a contracted life did not satisfy him, and he decided to get into the wider west with its greater opportunities for those who were willing to suffer deprivations and have brave faith in the future. Kansas appealed to him from every standpoint, and Wichita County especially. In April, 1886, Mr. Freeland shipped a car from his Iowa farm to Lakin, Kansas, on the Santa Fe line, and followed with a team and wagon and eight head of cows to Wichita County. He came stocked with courage, but had so little cash that when he paid for his pre-emption papers for his land in section 9, township 19, range 37 (White Woman Township) he was entirely out of ready money. But he managed to build a two-room, story and a half, frame house on his claim, which still forms a part of his present residence.
As required by law, Mr. Freeland commuted on his pre-emption and began farming, but did not make much headway until he commenced to sow wheat. He also engaged in the horse-raising industry, and did well in that line, but ill luck attended his cattle and, in the earlier years, he lost many of them. His wheat crops were especially profitable in 1891 and 1892, but his corn was a failure. When he abandoned his pre-emption after a few years of varied experiences he moved to a ranch in township 10, range 36, and there filed on a school tract and, subsequently, on a soldier's homestead. These tracts were on the White Woman River, where water was plentiful and forage abundant. It was a fine stock country. He bought a number of mares, the breeding prospered, and during the following twelve years he erected a good residence and ranch buildings, in comformity with his well-earned prosperity. He organized his district, and both his wife and daughter taught school. He himself was a member of the school board, and the first assessor of the township. But misfortune in the shape of fire overtook the household. In 1904 residence and ranch buildings were entirely destroyed, and Mr. Freeland disposed of his lands at a sacrifice and moved to Leoti. There he has since given his time to trading, looking after other personal matters and officiating in public life. He has filled one term as probate judge, having been appointed to that bench as the successor of Mrs. Judge Ellen McClung.
As to politics Mr. Freeland has been a republican since he cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Of recent years he has been of the progressive type.
Mr. Freeland's father was Frank Freeland, born in North Carolina, went with the family as a child to Fleming County, Kentucky, and there married. At an early day he drove hogs from his Kentucky home to Charleston, South Carolina, and when he lived in McDonough County, Illinois, he drove his stock to the Keokuk, Iowa, market. He took part in the raid which drove the Mormons out of Nauvoo, as did Mrs. Freeland's father, Milton Johnson. Frank Freeland married Miss Julia Mayhew, who died in April, 1873, and he himself expired in 1887. They both passed away at Hunnewell, Missouri, whither they had located soon after the Civil war. Their issue were Sophronia Paralee, who married Benjamin Reynolds and died at Shelbina, Missouri; John W., of Arapaho, Oklahoma; Fielding, a soldier of the Seventh Kansas, now residing at Blackwell, Oklahoma; Fleming H., also a soldier of the Civil war, who died at Shelbina, Missouri, leaving a family; Francis P., of this biography; Napoleon B., also a Union veteran, of Duncan, Oklahoma; Lucien, who died at Murdock, Illinois, leaving a family; Rufus A., of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma; Arthur L., of Lakenan, Missouri; Joseph B., who was killed by desperadoes in Oklahoma, while he was in the Indian service at Cash, that state.
Francis P. Freeland, of this sketch, was married April 6, 1865, to Miss Anna Johnson, a daughter of Milton and Matilda (Botts) Johnson. Mr. Johnson was born near Lynchburg, Virginia, went to Kentucky in 1835 and to Illinois in 1836, settled in Hancock County and finally moved to Iowa and died in Bloomfield. His widow died in Leoti, Kansas. Their issue comprised Mrs. Mary Wood, of Appanoose County, Iowa; John M., who died at Milton, Iowa; Mrs. Freeland, born October 7, 1841; Sidney, an Illinois soldier, who died at Quincy, that state; John M., who was a captain in the One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Illinois; Edwin, also a soldier of that regiment, who died at Quincy; Albert, of Sonora, California, and Mrs. Jennie Hale, of Kansas City, Missouri.
There have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Francis P. Freeland the following: Mrs. Fairy E. Seldon, of Los Angeles, California, who is the mother of Herbert, Mabel, Sibyl and Sidney; Fred, a revenue inspector in Idaho, who married Ora Helvern, and is the father of Grace, Esther, Wallace, Harriet and Hank; Clyde, of Leoti, who married Grace Campbell, and they are the parents of Fern, Arthur and Charles; Mattie, wife of D. C. Scott, of Spokane, Washington, and the mother of Cecil, Harry, Clyde and Roger; Bessie, of Tribune, who married Walter M. Parish and is the mother of Zoe, May, Neva, Keith, Fred, Edith, Frank, Max and Clyde; Nellie, wife of Ora Barger, of LaJunta, Colorado, and who has Reginald, Zelda, Vera, Wayne, Howard, Viola, Belle, Donald and Melba.
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