ROBERT N. MOLYNEUX. Of names that now and in the future generations of records of factors in the pioneer days of development in Clark County that of Robert N. Molyneux stands out prominently. Mr. Molyneux has been identified with the county thirty-four years, and the greater part of that time has been spent as a merchant at Ashland and also as a rancher and stockman and an interested participant in public affairs.
He was a young man when he came to Kansas and had never been away from home influences and environment until he came to this state. He was born near Beverly, Washington County, Ohio, August 5, 1859, and grew up on a farm in Morgan County of that state. He was educated in country schools and also had a single term in College. His father, Robert Molyneux, was born in England, coming to the United States when a young man and settling in Morgan County, Ohio. He was always a farmer and a very successful man in that occupation. He lived a private life and never sought office in politics, voting the democratic ticket. He died on his old Morgan County farm December 19, 1906, when past eighty years of age. He had come to the United States with a brother, Edward Molyneux, who also reared a family in the same county and died there.
Robert Molyneux married Jane Pilkington, whose parents came to the United States from England. Mrs. Molyneux was eighty-four years old in November 1917. Her children were: John R., William H., Thomas E., all of Beverly, Ohio, Robert Nelson, of Ashland, Kansas, and Margaret C., of Beverly, Ohio.
Robert N. Molyneux is the only member of the family in Kansas. He came to this state from his native county, and, leaving the railroad at Dodge City, drove overland with other colonists sent into Clark County by the Windfield Town Company, which promoted the Town of Ashland. Among his companions and fellow pioneers were Albert Hughes, Francis Hall and a Mr. McDonald. All of them except McDonald entered land and became permanently identified with the county. Mr. Molyneux entered his pre-emption seven miles southeast of Ashland, and there had his first pioneer home. It consisted of a combined soddy and dugout, roofed with flooring and with only the bare ground as a floor. He succeeded in raising a crop of corn and potatoes and cane during the year 1885, but the year 1886 proved a total failure. He brought with him to the county only about $75 in cash, and when that was exhausted he had to earn his living elsewhere. He retained his residence on the claim at week ends in order to fufill the requirements of the law, but worked in Ashland as clerk in a lumber yard and then with the firm of Hughes & Hall, his companions in coming to the county. After working for wages about eighteen months he joined John Taylor in buying out the store of Hughes & Hall. They bought it on credit and gradually paid for it out of its earnings. Molyneux & Taylor conducted the business from July, 1886, until July, 1890, when Mr. Molyneux bought his partner's share and remained in business alone. In 1891 he also bought the stock of Brooks Brothers and added that to his former establishment and made "The Pioneer Store" a center for trade and custom throughout all the surrounding country. In December, 1916, he sold his business to R. B. Lostutter and then responded to the call for increased agricultural production by giving his personal supervision to his ranching and farming, beginning with February, 1917.
For a number of years he had been developing a ranch, beginning with only a half section, and at one time had about 4,500 acres. His ranch has since been reduced to more than 3,000 acres. Mr. Molyneux began stocking it with cattle in 1897, and has been a cattle raiser since that time. His first stock was western cattle, but he has developed a high grade of Shorthorns. He has practiced shipping from his ranch. While he has always emphasized cattle, hogs and horses have also been an important feature of the ranch and invariably profitable.
Mr. Molyneux took an interest in banking and became a stock holder of the Citizens State Bank of Ashland, of which he is the president and a director.
Mr. Molyneux grew up under democratic influence and began voting as a democrat. In Ashland he was elected to the City Council when the town was young, and filled that office for fifteen years or more. Later he was elected mayor, and held that office six years. The first concrete sidewalk was laid during his term, grading was continued, and a quarter of the city debt of $10,000 was paid off while he was mayor.
Mr. Molyneux was reared in a Catholic family. Recently he has identified himself with church work, since the Rayburn meetings of 1917, and he and his wife are regular attendants of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Molyneux have no living children. They married at Erie, Kansas, December 17, 1888. The maiden name of Mrs. Molyneux was Miss Emma Santee, daughter of David and Rhoda (Harper) Santee. Her father was born in Adams County, Ohio, but came to Kansas from Morgan County, Ohio. He was a veteran Union soldier, and died at Okmulgee, Oklahoma, in October, 1914, at the age of seventy-nine. Mrs. Molyneux was born May 28, 1867, and was the only surviving child of her mother. Her father married for his second wife Mary A. Eicher, and they had children named Norvall, Joseph Forest and Pearly G., all of whom live in Oklahoma.
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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