MRS. MINNIE A. LAWLESS. The successful management of a newspaper is a man's job, as everyone competent to speak on the subject will agree, and it is the successful management which she has given to the St. Francis Herald since her husband's death which distinguishes Mrs. Minnie A. Lawless as one of the notable citizens of Northwestern Kansas.
Here is the only newspaper in Cheyenne County and its history covers practically all the recorded annals of white civilization in that corner of the state. Even before Cheyenne County was formally organized there was in existence the Bird City News, published at the original county seat. Its publisher was George W. Murray. In 1895 the News was moved to St. Francis and the name changed to the Kansas Eagle. At that point George Lawless came into the history of the paper as editor and publisher. Various other local papers were absorbed by the Eagle, including the Cheyenne County Rustler, which was founded in 1886, and in 1891, by consolidation, became the Cheyenne County Rustler-Review. In 1904 the Rustler was consolidated with the Kansas Eagle and was succeeded by the Kansas Eagle-Rustler, but the name was soon changed to the St. Francis Herald. The paper has been published as the Herald since July 14, 1904.
Mrs. Lawless, who was born at Iowa City, Iowa, is a member of one of the first families to establish permanent homes in Cheyenne County. Her father was the late Isaac Newton Taylor, born at Turtle Creek, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 28, 1831. The Taylor family came from Scotland originally. Elijah Taylor in 1772 pursued the route which had been followed by the illfated expedition of General Braddock in 1754 to Western Pennsylvania, and located near Fort Du Quesne, now Pittsburgh.
Isaac Newton Taylor grew up in that community of Western Pennsylvania and at the age of eight was left an orphan. He served an apprenticeship in Pittsburgh as a stair builder and after reaching his majority lived in Chicago a few years. He also lived for a time at Magnolia, Illinois, and afterwards in Marshall County of that state, all the time following his trade. He married in Marshall County and in 1886 moved from Illinois to Old Wano, which was the pioneer town of Cheyenne County and aspired to the original honors as the seat of government. He homesteaded a claim there, proved up, and was a farmer for a number of years. He died at Omaha, Nebraska, January 8, 1905, and was buried at his home, St. Francis, Kansas. Isaac Newton Taylor was a man of thought as well as of action, and was keenly interested in the early struggles of Kansas in grappling with the political, social and economic problems. He was a democrat until the populist movement and was a leader in his section of the state and at one time a delegate to the populist convention at Omaha. He served two terms as probate judge of Cheyenne County. He was a Presbyterian in religion, and for over half a century was an honored member of the Masonic fraternity, being a charter member of two lodges. In many ways his influence was identified with the pioneer upbuilding of the Town of St. Francis.
Isaac Newton Taylor married Gillia Sophia Dent, a native of Putnam County, Illinois, born September 22, 1838. She died January 28, 1912, while visiting in Pueblo, Colorado, and was laid to rest beside her husband at St. Francis. These pioneer parents had eight children: Silvia Dorcas, who married in 1878 A. H. Linebarger, and lives in Pueblo, Colorado, where he is a merchant; Ralph Benona has for many years been a government secret service agent, and owns a home at San Diego, California; Orange Parrott, who is connected with the Livestock Exchange at Sheridan, Wyoming; Magnolia Irvin is the wife of Floyd J. Reynolds, a tinsmith at Omaha, Nebraska; the fifth in the family is Mrs. Lawless; William Harrison is a rancher at Pueblo; Gillia Emily married W. E. Rycraft, a wholesale merchant at Denver; and Isaac Royal is a manufacturer of silos and a dealer in cement materials at Denver, Colorado.
Minnie A (Taylor) Lawless spent most of her girlhood in Marshall County, Illinois, attending school there and later in Webster County, Nebraska. She came to Kansas with her parents in 1886, and in 1890 began teaching in Cheyenne County. For eight years she taught in some of the country districts and also in the schools of St. Francis.
February 17, 1898, at St. Francis, she became the wife of George Lawless. He was born at Freeport, Illinois, in 1860, and died at St. Francis, Kansas, August 2, 1912. Coming to Kansas in 1888, he was also one of the early settlers of St. Francis, and in the same year was elected county superintendent of schools. He filled that office six years, and during that time established the basis of a sound educational system in the county. In 1894 he entered the newspaper field, as above noted, with the Kansas Eagle, and conducted it through its various changes and with growing success until his death. In 1907 the Herald Publishing Company was formed, with Mr. Lawless as editor and manager. The post of editor and business manager since his death has been the office of Mrs. Lawless, and she has proved herself an expert in directing the editorial policy of the paper and in maintaining it as a live and prosperous independent weekly, with circulation throughout Cheyenne and surrounding counties. A number of copies go to subscribers in New England and other distant states and some of them even cross the ocean to Scotland. The Herald Publishing Company owns the plant and building on Main Street. The other officers of the company are: G. A. Benkelman, president; H. B. Bear, secretary; and L. J. Willits, treasurer.
Mrs. Lawless was reared a Presbyterian. She has long been a member of the P. E. O. Sisterhood and is president of the local chapter. In politics she is a democrat. Mrs. Lawless has one daughter, Ruth, born December 3, 1904, at St. Francis.
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