JOHN R. LOVITT is a product of Western Kansas, grew up on the prairies around McCracken, attended some of the primitive schools there, and his familiarity with the country, with its people, and the atmosphere he carries with him of almost a native son has been an important factor in his business success. At the present time Mr. Lovitt is serving as postmaster of McCracken.
He was born in Jasper County, Iowa, February 27, 1875, came with his parents three years later to Kansas, and has been a resident of Rush County since 1881.
His father was the late John Lovitt, one of the prominent early settlers of Rush County. He was born in Whitley County, Kentucky, December 11, 1835, a son of Canada Lovitt, a farmer who moved from Ohio to Whitley County, Kentucky, where he died. John Lovitt on coming to Rush County took up a homestead one mile east of McCracken. He proved up that claim, made a success as a practical farmer, and the old farm is still owned by his family. He was not a wealthy man when he came to Western Kansas, possessing only a team and wagon, two cows and a small amount of cash. The home to which he introduced his family was a dugout, a one room habitation practically underground, and roofed over with willows and dirt. In that rude structure the family spent a year, and then moved to a sod house, and in 1888 a comfortable frame dwelling succeeded. These changes in habitation were accompanied by like changes and improvements in the matters of comforts and luxuries, and from his enterprise as a farmer John Lovitt gained a satisfying competence. He accumulated a farm of 480 acres. He was one of the early democrats in this section of Kansas, and when the populist tide was running strong in the state he was elected a member of the State Legislature, serving one term. Though he provided for his family through his efforts as a farmer, he was also a Primitive Baptist minister, and he gave all the time he could to his ministerial labors.
John Lovitt married Emeline Waldon. She was born in Kentucky, and her father was killed while acting as sheriff in that state. Mrs. John Lovitt is still living, her home being near Towner, Colorado. Samuel, her eldest child, was a veteran passenger conductor on the Missouri Pacific Railway between Kansas City and St. Louis, and died at Excelsior Springs, Missouri, leaving two children by his marriage to Anna Myers. Charles, the second eldest of the family, is a successful farmer near McCracken, and by his marriage to Lucretia Plotner has six children. William is a resident of Sedgwick, Kansas, and has a large family of ten children by his marriage to Mary Start. Maggie is the wife of John Farley, and they reside at Crescent, Oklahoma, and have eleven children. Mrs. Mary L. Pryor, of Towner, Colorado, has one son. The next in age is Mr. John H. Lovitt. Staten, who lives in the Montezuma Valley of Colorado, married May Davis and has one sea. Lula is the wife of P. S. Yawger, of Rush County. Jennie married Ora F. Ware, of Towner, Colorado, and has one daughter.
Mr. John R. Lovitt made the very best of his advantages to obtain an education in the local schools around McCracken, and his first occupation was teaching. After leaving the schoolroom he took up farming, raised some crops and gained experience and some profit, and then became a section foreman for the Missouri Pacific Railway. That was his work for six years, and since then he has been in the real estate business at McCracken. He is one of the best informed men on real estate values in this section of Kansas, and has been very successful in introducing settlers from the adjoining states of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri into the districts of Rush, Ness and Lane counties. At first he was in the real estate business as a member of the firm of Coughenour & Lovitt, and subsequently as Lovitt & Cutler.
For years he has manifested a public spirited interest in local affairs and in democratic politics. He cast his first presidential vote for Mr. Bryan, and has supported every democratic nominee since then. He was in the democratic convention that nominated George W. Neeley for Congress. On January 13, 1914, Mr. Lovitt was appointed postmaster of McCracken, and entered upon the duties of the office on the 16th of February, succeeding C. P. Dutten. Besides this public service he was member of the city council at McCracken for eight years. In fraternal affairs he is a past master of his Masonic Lodge, belongs to the Royal Arch Chapter at Ellis, Kansas, and has sat in the Grand Lodge. He is also a past consul of the Modern Woodmen of America. His church home is with the Methodist denomination, and he is now serving as trustee of the church at McCracken.
Mr. Lovitt was married in Ness County May 2, 1893, to Miss Orah B. Temple, a daughter of W. M. and Jane (Downs) Temple. Her father was a native of New York State, but came to Kansas from Hebron, Indiana, his wife being also a native of Indiana. Mr. Temple was a farmer. Mrs. Lovitt was one of nine children. Mr. and Mrs. Lovitt have two sons. Leon J. is postmaster at McCracken. Ralph W., also a resident at McCracken, and connected with the Salina Oil Company, married Marian Ware.
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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