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.


James M. Isett

JAMES M. ISETT has been a factor in the affairs of Smith County more than forty years, still owns the homestead he entered in pioneer days, and from farming his activities have gradually extended to varied business affairs. He is a hardware merchant and actively interested in other matters at Athol.

Mr. Isett was born in Huntington County, Pennsylvania, October 28, 1844. His grandfather was a Scotchman, was reared near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was a miller by trade. James K. Isett, father of James M., was born in Huntington County, Pennsylvania, in 1812 and died there in 1862. For many years he conducted a distillery and was also a farmer. He was a very effective speaker and one of the early workers in the republican party in his section of Pennsylvania. During the Civil war his influence was extended effectively to quell a party of copperheads, and he used his persuasive powers so well that he averted a riot and induced many of the Southern sympathizers to join the Northern army. He served as road overseer and justice of the peace, but refused all other offices, as well as a nomination for Congress. He was a consistent Christian, a thorough Bible student and a member of the Lutheran Church. James K. Isett married Elizabeth Garner, who spent all her life in Huntington County, where she was born in 1813 and died in 1889. They had a large family of children, and several of their sons fought as soldiers in the Civil war. A brief record of the children is as follows: Luther F., who died in infancy; Mather G., who enlisted and served as second lieutenant in the Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry with Company C, was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, and is buried in the National Cemetery there; Mary Ann, who died at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1882, first married John Stedman, a miner, and for her second husband married William Huston, a miner, also deceased; George W., who died in Huntington County June 14, 1915, was a soldier in the Union army and was wounded at Gettysburg; James M., the fifth child; Luther, the second of the name, died in infancy; Samuel G. is in the oil business at Chanute, Kansas; John A., occupies the old home farm in Huntingdon County; Benjamin Franklin is in a supply station for the railway in Huntingdon County; Henry H., in the United States Secret Service, is living in Denver, Colorado; Elizabeth Jane, who married Debald Lynn, a farmer and afterwards a life insurance agent, died in Huntingdon County.

James M. Isett, grew up in the country district of Pennsylvania where he was born, attended rural schools and was at home up to the age of twenty. In 1864 he enlisted in the One Hundred Ninety-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, and was with the army until the close of hostilities. After the war he spent three years in timber and lumber camps, and in 1869 came west to Richland, Iowa, where he worked in the mines. In the spring of 1870 he proceeded farther west to Denver, and was on a farm there a short time and later floated ties down the Platte River. In 1871 he engaged in mining at Ten Mile in Colorado for one season. Returning to Denver, he went on east in February, 1872, to his old home and was there until the fall of 1873. Then returning to Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa, he farmed or mined in that locality until 1877.

That year brought him to Kansas. He settled eleven miles north and two miles west of Athol, taking up a claim of 160 acres. He had just sixty-five cents in cash when he began his residence there and all the prosperity which he now enjoys has been gained in Kansas. He still owns the homestead and also a farm of eighty acres one and a half miles east of that. He is still a farmer, though since 1905 he has lived in Athol and has been engaged in other lines of business. In that year he bought a hardware store and he and his son Jesse George now manage the business. He is also a stockholder in the People's Lumber Company and the People's Elevator Company at Athol. Mr. Isett keeps up associations with old army comrades as a member of Smith Center Post, G. A. R. He began voting as a republican but later became a democrat. At one time he affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Isett married in Jefferson County, Iowa, Lydia A. Snyder, daughter of George and Mary (Kistler) Snyder. Her parents are both deceased. Her father was for twenty-five years a butcher of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and after that a farmer. Mr. Isett's daughter Sophia Rosetta is the wife of Irvin Flathers and the mother of Lawrence, Clair, Daisy, deceased, and John. They live on a farm 11 1/2 miles north of Athol. Jesse G. is associated with his father in business. He married Minnie M. Hammer and has three children, Harold, Paul and Dartha. James Kennedy Franklin, always known as Frank, is a successful business man at Columbus Junction, Iowa, where he has a grocery store and is also food administrator of Louisa County. He married Alta Rinehart.


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 4 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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