CLAUDIUS ALBERT GILLUM has spent more than half his lifetime in Kansas and has been in Stanton County since 1888. His name is associated with many of the pioneer activities and the civic affairs of Mitchell Township, including the development of a modest holding as a farmer and stock raiser. His home is adjacent to the rural postoffice of Fisher. Mr. Gillum is also well known at the State Capital, and for three consecutive terms he has represented the people of his western section of Kansas in the House of Representatives. He is of Indiana nativity and of old North Carolina Quaker ancestry.
He was born in Orange County, Indiana, June 28, 1849. His father, John Wesley Gillum, was born in North Carolina, and was one of the numerous Quakers who migrated from there and found homes in Indiana in the early half of the nineteenth century. He acquired a liberal education and was a man of more than ordinary influence in his section of Indiana. He served in the Legislature of 1848, and rode horseback to the capital, carrying his clothing and other personal effects in saddle bags. He was elected as a whig, and he died in 1857, about a year after the republican party put its first candidates into the field. He was only thirty-three when he passed away, and his wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Jane McCoy, died when her son Claudius was an infant. Her father, William McCoy, came out of Kentucky into Indiana and proved up a tract of Government land in Orange County. The children of John W. Gillum and wife were: William A., who served as a Union soldier in the Thirty-Eighth Indiana Infantry and is now in the Soldiers Home at Leavenworth; Frances, wife of Uriah Glover, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; and Claudius A.
Claudius A. Gillum was eight years old when his father died and after that as an orphan he grew up on a farm near Paoli, the county seat of Orange County. He had only a common school education but made the best possible use of his advantages and when he first came to Kansas in 1871, locating in Labette County, he was chosen a teacher of one of the district schools there. He spent seven years in Kansas during his first sojourn, but in 1878 returned to Indiana and lived there for another period of seven years.
He then sought the frontier of Stanton County, arriving by railroad at Syracuse in March, 1888. Preliminary to his actual settlement he filed on a tract of Buffalo grass region, entering as his homestead the northwest quarter of section 15, township 27, range 42. This has been the site of his activities ever since. His pioneer home was a two-room frame building, the best built and finished residence of the entire region at the time. By enlargement and modification it has served as a complete home for the family ever since. He began with a mule team, and a frame stable sheltered them. In the fall of 1888 he bought a cow, and that became the nucleus of his livestock interests. As was the case with most of the other early settlers he presumed to farm according to the methods he had learned back east. Failure was practically inevitable, his corn, oats and other crops refusing to stand up under the hot winds. Later his attention was directed to crops that would mature in spite of dry weather conditions, and maize, kaffir, feterita, rice corn and other dry weather crops have become his standbys. His experiments with broom corn brought good profits, while his cattle have been never failing sources of revenue. Mr. Gillum took a timber claim in the same section, the northeast quarter, and that still forms part of his estate. In the way of cattle he now handles the Galloways and has pasture in abundance on the free and open country surrounding him.
The people of Mitchell Township have always looked upon Mr. Gillum as a leader in local affairs. Matters of education have received much of his time and he frequently served as a member of the board of school district No. 25, and at one time he and his wife, theirs constituting the only family in the district, both filled the offices of director. For several terms he was trustee of Mitchell Township, and did the work of assessing the property of that, the most populous and wealthy township of the county. In November, 1902, he was elected county clerk, and served four years.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Gillum have been active as republicans in this county. In 1912 Mr. Gillum was elected to the Lower House of the Legislature as the successor of J. A. Wartman. He served his first term under Speaker W. L. Brown. That was a democratic House and he was given work on the railroad, the penal institutions, irrigation and other committees. The session was largely valuable in the way of experience, since he applied himself to a study of legislative procedure and was especially watchful of everything concerning his district. He cast a vote for Judge William H. Thompson for United States senator in accordance with the primary recommendations. In 1914 Mr. Gillum was again elected, serving under Speaker Robert Stone. He got about the same committee assignments, but was not interested in any special legislation. In 1916 the people of the county elected him to a third term, and his previous experience made him a valuable member of the House of 1917. In that session he served under Speaker A. M. Keene. He was a member of the committees on emigration, county lines, county seats, enrolled bills and printing. All the prominent legislation proposed received his active support, including the bone-dry law, the anti-cigarette law, the new road law and considerable railroad legislation. The only bill he introduced was entitled "for the Relief of Minors who have purchased school land and have made full payment therefor." This bill was passed by both Houses and became a law by the Governor's signature. Through that bill he made a record not surpassed by the most influential members of the House, since he got through 100 per cent of the legislation he proposed.
Mr. and Mrs. Gillum are active church people and were interested in the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Fisher. Mrs. Gillum and her son Maurice are charter members of the church. Mr. Gillum married in Vigo County, Indiana, November 29, 1881, Miss Minnie Bobbins, daughter of Daniel and Emily (Rigney) Bobbins. Her father was a native of Indiana, spent his life as a farmer in Orange County, that state, and his parents had come from Orange County, North Carolina. Daniel Bobbins was an active member of the Methodist Church. He died in 1872, at the age of forty-eight, and his wife died in 1877. Their children were: Edwin, who after forty years of service as a missionary in India, is now living retired at Los Angeles, California; John, who died in Orange County, Indiana; Samuel, of Dos Cabezos, Arizona; Frank, of West Baden, Indiana; Alice Emma, who married Jacob Swarts, of Leavenworth, Kansas; Adam, of Vigo County, Indiana; Mrs. Gillum, who was born in Orange County, Indiana, March 26, 1860; Cora, wife of George Morris, of Manchester, Oklahoma, where she is filling the office of postmaster; and Heber M., of Butte, Montana.
Mr. and Mrs. Gillum have two children, a daughter and a son. Lillis Faye, the daughter, married Peter Milburn, of Morton County, Kansas, and their five children are Elver, Earl, Emma, Alma and Grace. The son, Maurice Leland, is now in France doing "his bit" as a soldier in the Three Hundred and Fifty-Third Supply Company of the Eighty-Ninth Division. He married August 7, 1917, Bertha Thrush.
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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