HENRY FRANKLIN MILLIKAN is one of the citizens of Southwestern Kansas who have been effective factors in the upbuilding of their community. Such a citizen exercises an influence upon the lives and affairs of his neighbors in proportion to his sense of responsibility for the well being and the civic and social righteousness of his surroundings, and he that recognizes in early life the duty he owes his fellows naturally acquires some of the distinction of a benefactor and some of the characteristics of a philanthropist, even though he never had a dollar to invest in charity or a fortune to devote to institutions founded by private funds and maintained for the public good.
In Dodge City among other men who early sensed their duty as community builders is Mr. Millikan, whose past has led through public as well as private affairs and who has made his personality an influence for encouraging men and women and children and drawing them to a nobler place of thought and action, and thus unconsciously has gained for himself a place of distinction as a citizen and a man.
Henry Franklin Millikan when he came to Kansas in February, 1885, occupied a very humble place so far as material circumstances were concerned. He was looking for something that he could do, and that something was a job of work on a farm. It was his intention to mingle with the adventurous frontiersmen on coming to Kansas, but his traveling companion induced him to stop in Lyons County by declaring that the region further on was "no good." Near Emporia, therefore, he hired to Mahlon Stubbs, an uncle of the recent Kansas governor. His year spent in Lyons County added something to his stock of cash and enriched his educational preparation for life, since he attended a business college there.
In May, 1886, he carried out his original designs and moved into Western Kansas, locating in the region of Garden City. He lost no time in locating upon a tract of the public domain. On May 11th he filed on the northeast quarter of section 2, township 29, range 33 in Haskell County. This claim cornered with the townsite of Santa Fe. It was taken with the idea of commuting and securing a patent within a short time, although just how he was to get the cash for this completed transaction he had no idea at the time. Notwithstanding he had only $20 when he reached Garden City, he arranged with a friend for the $200 necessary to prove up and soon found himself in possession of a farm.
Having satisfied the law with regard to his claim, he was free to devote his energies to making a living anywhere he could. He therefore became clerk in a store at Santa Fe, and that was his work until the county was organized and the county seat located at Santa Fe instead of Old Ivanhoe. He then became deputy register of deeds of Haskell County. A few months later he engaged in the real estate business, making abstracts and handling loans at the same time. This business was continued until his election as register of deeds of the county in 1889. Mr. Millikan was three times elected to this office, and retired from it to be sworn in as county treasurer, and in that position served four years.
All this time he had identified himself actively with republican politics and had acquired a wide popularity among party workers. The Seventh Congressional District sent him as one of its delegates to the National Republican Convention at Philadelphia, and in that convention he espoused the cause of Theodore Roosevelt for vice president and helped him to the honor of a nomination. Following the death of President McKinley and the succession of Colonel Roosevelt to the presidency, the service rendered by Mr. Millikan was rewarded by his appointment as register of the Land Office at Dodge City. He resigned as county treasurer and entered upon his new duties in March, 1902, successor to Thomas A. States. At the end of four years he was reappointed by President Roosevelt, and President Taft gave him another presidential commission, so that he was the incumbent of the office until March, 1914, when the democratic administration made way for its own friends and appointed his successor. While he was register there occurred a fast and furious resettlement of the West, and much of the public domain over which he presided was entered and proved up and its scope and area greatly diminished.
On retiring from the land office Mr. Millikan engaged in the real estate, abstract and insurance business in Dodge City in association with L. J. Pettijohn. The firm of Pettijohn & Millikan existed one year, and since then it has been Millikan & Turner, his partner being C. J. Turner.
Mr. Millikan is a native of North Carolina, having been born near Marlboro Court House in Randolph County March 2, 1859. His forefathers were Scotch-Irish, and the early Americans of the family established themselves in New England and Pennsylvania, later generations going south into North Carolina. The Millikans were Patriots in the time of the Revolution, and the Tories burned the home of Mr. Millikan's great-grandfather. This great-grandfather, as well as the grandfather, are buried in the State of North Carolina, which they modestly helped to build. The record of the Millikans shows them to have always stood by their country and its flag.
The grandfather, William Millikan, was a representative man of his day in North Carolina and filled various positions of honor and trust. Before the time of railroads he journeyed on horseback from North Carolina to Indiana to visit old Quaker friends north of Indianapolis, and he also returned home by the same method of travel. He was a school teacher and surveyor, and he died in North Carolina while still in the vigor of years. He married Sallie Williams, and their six children were Asahel, Daniel, Benjamin and Rebecca, twins, Nancy and William. Rebecca married Alexander Redding and Nancy became the wife of Nathan Stalker.
The father of the Dodge City business man was Benjamin Millikan, also a native of North Carolina. He married for his first wife Sarah Sawyer. Samuel Sawyer, her father, was of a good substantial North Carolina family of Quakers. He married a Murdock. Benjamin Millikan and his first wife had the following children: Louisa, who married Shield Dicks and died in North Carolina; Henry Franklin; Elmira, who married Nathan Dicks; and Julia, Mrs. Romulus Bulla, of North Carolina. The second wife of Benjamin Millikan was Sarah Laughlin, who was the mother of three children: James M.; Adelia, who married Albert Hoover; and Flora E., who became the wife of William Richardson.
Benjamin Millikan was a stanch partisan of the Union cause. That naturally put him in a very troublous position in North Carolina during war time. He was virtually ostracized, and as he felt his presence becoming more and more obnoxious to his Confederate neighbors as the war progressed he decided to save himself from harm and refuge in the North. He was smuggled through the rebel lines in Virginia, and got to the North after some very exciting experiences. He visited among old Quaker friends north of Indianapolis, where his father had been a visitor many years before. For a time he worked on a farm, and then decided to enlist in the Federal army, but on presenting himself at Indianapolis for this purpose it was too late, Lee having just surrendered. His experience in Indiana caused Benjamin Millikan to take up his residence there, and he bought eighty acres of land in Hamilton County, selling in the meantime his North Carolina property. He moved his family, along with other emigrants, from the old Tarheel state, but his stay in his new home was short. His wife soon died, and that tragedy took the heart out of his work and brought dissatisfaction with the country. He then exchanged his farm for another one back in the Guilford Court House region of North Carolina, returned there and spent his declining years.
Henry Franklin Millikan was a boy during most of the occurrences which have just been recited. He secured his early education in an old Quaker school at New Garden, now Guilford College, on the old Gullford Court House battleground of the Revolution. Some years after coming to Kansas, at Santa Fe, on November 26, 1891, Mr. Millikan married Miss Olive I. Rinehart, daughter of Samuel and Amanda (McCoy) Rinehart. Her parents were pioneers of Hartford County, where her father became a very extensive land owner. Mr. Rinehart is now living retired at Sublette, Kansas. His children are: Mrs. Flora Meredith, of Sublette: William W., of Waynoka, Oklahoma; and Mrs. Millikan. Mr. and Mrs. Millikan have two daughters: Hazel and Reba. The former is the wife of Lester McCoy, of Garden City. Reba is now a junior in the Dodge City public schools.
Mr. Millikan has rendered an important public service to Dodge City in the field of education and also in the religious life of the community. For eight years he has been a member of its school board, being now chairman. During this service the modern new high school was erected and equipped, making it one of the most complete in Kansas, representing all departments of public education. The family church life has been as Methodists. Mr. Millikan is chairman of the board of trustees of his church and has taught a class of boys in Sabbath school for many years. Many of these boys have gone from Dodge City and have taken positions of trust and honor and nobly reflect the Christian training they received during their youth.
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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