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.


Clarence H. Lyman

CLARENCE H. LYMAN. Some day Kansas will build a monument, not to its soldiers and statesmen, but a monument symbolical of the pioneer and his struggles on the western prairies during the decades of the '70s and '80s. The Kansan who helped fight for freedom during the '50s and '60s is a truly admirable figure, but he is not more so than the man who fought for the necessities of existence and struggled through the adversities of dry weather, hard times and other difficulties in the western counties.

A peculiarly interesting experience, on which might well be woven into a composite narrative of life in Western Kansas, is that of Clarence H. Lyman of Rush Center. He was one of the early settlers, saw the good of staying with the country when conditions were extremely discouraging, and has long enjoyed that position due to material achievement and public esteem.

Perhaps some of the persistence and courage which enabled him to stay here and fight out the battle are inheritance from the splendid American stock he represents. His forefathers were New Englanders and Massachusetts people for a number of generations. He is descended from one of the three sons of Sir Richard Lyman who came out of England to the colonies in the early days. His grandfather, Enos Lyman, married Lydia Wadsworth. The Wadsworths have a worthy name in American history. Her uncle was that Captain Wadsworth who, as is told in American history, played the leading part in an event on Boston Common when the emissary of King George, Edwin Andros, was attempting to read a proclamation from the king. Captain Wadsworth, so the story goes, ordered the drums to beat, and by other means created such confusion that the proclamation was never read so that any one heard a word of it. Some of the more common names in the Wadsworth family in the different generations were Charles, Frank and William.

The father of Mr. Lyman was Wadsworth P. Lyman, a native of Northampton, Massachusetts. He was a carpenter and was considered a perfect genius with tools. He spent his life as a mechanic, and died at Ruggles, Ashland County, Ohio, in June, 1892, at the age of sixty-nine. He married Roby Ann Morton. Her mother, Mrs. Susan (Remington) Morton, was of a prominent New England family. Mrs. Wadsworth P. Lyman was born in Connecticut October 26, 1827, and is still living, at the age of ninety, in New London, Ohio. Her children were: Clarence H.; Charles D., of Columbus, Ohio; Louise H., of New London, Ohio; and Frank A., of Custer City, Wyoming.

Clarence H. Lyman was born November 9, 1847. His birth place was on the slope of Mount Holyoke at Hackonum, across the Connecticut River from Northampton, Massachusetts. When he was five years of age, in 1852, his parents moved to Huron County, Ohio, and later to Ashland County, where he grew to manhood. His early education was confined to the advantages of the Ohio country schools.

Though at this writing Mr. Lyman is just seventy years of age, he has the distinction of an honored service in the Union army during the Civil war. He is one of the youngest of the surviving veterans. He was a little past sixteen when in February, 1864, he volunteered in Battery D of the First Ohio Light Artillery. He saw some of the hardest campaigning of the last year of the war. He was in the Atlanta campaign, and when that city fell before Sherman's army the battery was sent with General Schofield's command to fight Hood's army, which had gone back through Tennessee, and he was present at the decisive battles of Franklin and Nashville. The army then followed Hood's troops to the Tennessee River, took steamers at Clifton to the Ohio River at Cincinnati, and from there transferred to train and traveled east to Washington. They arrived at Washington in January, 1865, and after a night at Camp Stonemnn were taken across the long bridge to Alexandria and there put on transports bound for Fort Fisher. Landing at Smithland, under the command of General J. D. Cox they marched up the Cape Fear River, taking Fort Anderson, Wilmington and Kinston, and then joined General Sherman's army, which had come up from the south at Goldsboro. The combined armies captured Raleigh, North Carolina, and thence removed to Greensboro in that state, where they were stationed until July 4th. Mr. Lyman and his comrades were then ordered to Cleveland, Ohio, for discharge. His service was as a private soldier and he went through without wounds, though he was injured when thrown from a cannon' and run over.

He was still only eighteen years of age when he returned to Ohio. He became a student in Oberlin College, and after that training qualified as a teacher. He taught a few terms in Ohio, and in 1869 removed with his parents to the vicinity of Tullahoma, Tennessee, where he was also a teacher. Mr. Lyman remained in Franklin County, Tennessee, for two years. While there he met and married, on May 7, 1871, Miss Lina Bunn. Mrs. Lyman is a daughter of John Bunn and a sister of the late Burris H. Bunn, a prominent Western Kansas settler elsewhere mentioned. Mr. and Mrs. Lyman had only two children: Lillie May and Herbert H. The daughter died at Rush Center at the age of fifteen. Herbert was born December 31, 1876, and is now a farmer near Copeland, Kansas. He married Myrtle Clothier.

After his marriage Mr. Lyman went to Marietta, Ohio, and secured employment in the Marietta Chair Factory. The panic of 1873 closed down that plant, and being out of work he removed to Monroe County, Ohio, and started farming. He continued his business as an Ohio farmer until 1877. All he made from his farm was barely sufficient to provide a living and it was this discouraging situation and with a view to securing the more ample prospects of the West that he determined to come to Kansas.

Mr. Lyman arrived in Rush County, Kansas, in April, 1877. He left his wife behind in Ohio, since there was not sufficient money to bring them both, and he traveled by railroad to Larned. What money he had after paying his railroad fare was taken from him on the train by a pickpocket. From Larned he walked across the country to Rush County. Here he found, as be describes it, "a good, big open country," and the town of Rush Center, then the county seat, comprised only eight buildings.

He entered as his homestead land on Walnut Creek, including the south half of the northeast quarter and the north half of the southwest quarter of section 12, township 18, range 18. After paying the land office fees he had less than $10 capital. In order to support himself and secure money necessary for his family he soon went to Rice County and found work in the broom corn harvest. He earned $50 there, and he used most of it to buy materials for the one-room stone house which he built on his claim. His wife joined him in November, 1877, and he quarried the rock and by hiring a mechanic to help him lay up the wall he had his house ready for occupancy on March 12, 1878. However, there was no door and no floor. He paid his own and his family's board that winter by working in a livery stable. He was also a competent carpenter, and about that time was elected justice of the peace, and between his trade and his office he earned enough to keep the wolf from the door. The first team he bought was a yoke of cattle. By work as a carpenter he bought a cow and finally traded them all for a team of horses. He broke a few acres himself and hired another to break the sod for his first crop, but the first two years resulted in nothing for his pains.

In 1880 Mr. Lyman left Rush County temporarily and went to Kansas City. He paid his way as far as Topeka, but from there walked into Kansas City and for seven weeks was employed as a carpenter at the Fowler Packing House. When he returned to Rush County he had enough money to buy 500 pounds of flour, a larger provision than he had ever had before at one time. He had to return home to take care of his crop of millet, and from it he threshed 100 bushels of millet seed, which were sold for $50.

The following winter he taught school in district No. 9, and was teacher there for two winters and was hired to teach a third, but instead he substituted his sister in his plcae.[sic]

About that stage in his fortunes Mr. Lyman was granted a pension, and this pension, covering several prior years, amounted to about $400. It proved a great boon and with it he purchased ten head of cows. He already had a team and a farming outfit, and with his cattle he was practically out of the reach of the wolf of hunger. He used his team to do farming, and the increase in his cattle brought him still nearer to independence. As better times came he invested his surplus in other lands, and when he left the farm he had accumulated 560 acres, 200 acres being under cultivation. He also had as improvements two houses, a large cattle shed and barn, and the only failure of importance had been his attempt to build up an orchard. However, it was not all smooth sailing even after that. In 1893 fire devastated a large area of the country, and in the course of it it destroyed his home and contents. In a few minutes he was worth $1,500 less than he had been before. To add misery to misery, he lost his insurance money through the failure of the bank. In that critical time Mr. Lyman more than ever before realized the value of good friends. Some of his neighbors proved a help in time of need, and with their assistance and with his own efforts he got back to the place he had formerly occupied after several years.

On leaving the farm Mr. Lyman came to Rush Center and in December, 1904, entered banking as cashier of the Citizens State Bank. He was actively identified with that institution until July, 1911. Since then he has given his principal time to insurance and loans. He is a director and stockholder in the Farmers Elevator of Rush Center and a director and stockholder of the Rush County Fair Association, and director of the Auditorium Association of Rush Center.

While living in Center Township Mr. Lyman served as justice of the peace, clerk, treasurer and trustee. There is not a single flaw in his record as a good republican. He has always voted straight republican in state and national affairs, and has given service on the county central committee. He kept his political allegiance clear even during the populist and free silver craze and still later during the progressive movement which split the republican forces. He attended some conventions, assisting in nominating Governor Hoch at Wichita and Ed Madison for congressman of the seventh district.

Mr. Lyman was made a Mason at Rush Center, is past master of Walnut City Lodge, and for over thirty years has been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and has sat in the Grand Lodge. He and his wife assisted in erecting the first church building of Rush Center, and they have contributed to all the churches and other worthy causes of their community.


Pages 2162-2163.


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 5 - Table of Contents

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