EDWIN O. STUART Came to Kansas with his parents in 1886, then a youth of nineteen, and the years of his manhood and the efforts which have made him one of the successful ranchers of Western Kansas have been largely spent in Grant County and in Sullivan Township, where he now resides. The Stuart family is one of the best and most widely known of the substantial older stock of this county.
Three generations of the name have lived in Grant County. His grandfather, Jehu Stuart, was born in South Carolina in 1788 and was doubtless of the Carolina Quaker stock. He married Sarah Goddard, and in very early times came north and settled in Wayne County, Indiana, the center of Quaker colonization in the northwest territory. His brother cleared the land where the City of Richmond now stands, and in the same locality Jehu Stuart lived for a number of years. In the early '70s he moved west to Missouri, settling in Audrain County, where his wife died in 1883. Several years later he followed the family to Kansas, took a homestead in Gray County, and died near Copeland in 1887. His children were: John C.; Mary, wife of William Rock; Ithamer, who served as a Union soldier in the Civil war; Laura, who married Dr. R. H. Johnson; and William Penn, who lives in California and married Fannie Middleton.
The second generation of the family represented in Grant County is represented by John C. Stuart, who was born in Henry County, Indiana, July 15, 1840. He grew up on a farm, acquired a country school education, and in 1872 took his family to Missouri. He lived first in Lincoln County and then in Audrian County until the spring of 1886, when he came to Kansas. He made his first stop in Gray County, where he took up a homestead, and also filed on a timber claim in Grant County. His homestead was commuted, and later he proved up a second claim in Grant County. The family moved to Grant County in 1888, and John C. Stuart has spent the rest of his years in this section. When coming to Kansas he and his family traveled by railroad as far as Cimarron. They brought an emigrant car, loaded with household goods, horses and cattle, and besides his own family his brother William P. Stuart and family also came. John C. Stuart entered the cattle industry on a small scale, and subsequently developed it and handled extensive herds over the free and open range. He was a leading stockman for about twenty years, altogether in Grant County except a brief period in Wilson County. John C. Stuart has lived a life of quiet and unassuming endeavor, has been interested in his private affairs, and has filled no public office except as township trustee of Sullivan Township for a year or two. He belongs to no fraternity and no church, but is a stanch and almost a radical republican.
John C. Stuart married Eliza Ellen Bartlett, one of a large and numerous family that were identified with the early settlement of Hancock County, Indiana. She died in Grant County, Kansas, in 1900. Her two sons were Edwin O. and William H., the latter dying in young manhood in 1887.
Edwin O. Stuart was born near Charlottesville, Indiana, September 21, 1867. He was five years old when the family moved to Missouri, and received his first formal school instruction in Lincoln County of that state. His teacher was a Hardshell Baptist preacher and he has to this day vivid recollections of the old log schoolhouse and of the slab bench seats which have long since been outlawed and replaced by iron and polished wood desks. Mr. Stuart finished his education in Missouri and was able to do a man's part when he arrived in Kansas. His home was with his parents until after passing his majority, and he entered his first land in Grant County. He proved up a preemption, then filed on a homestead and proved that up, and is now living on a timber claim which he took up and developed. While his parents lived in a sod house on coming to Kansas, Edwin Stuart's first home was a dugout.
It is a matter of history which should not be omitted that the postoffice of Lawson was established at his wife's home about thirty years ago and is one of the two remaining star route offices in Grant County. Mrs. Stuart has been postmistress of Lawson now for many years.
While proving up his claims Mr. Stuart maintained himself by raising a few head of stock and such feed as was necessary to keep them over the winter. Unlike many of the early settlers he never had to work out to earn a living, the only exception to that being a week he spent as a farm hand in the employ of a neighbor. With his father he developed a bunch of White Face cattle, and when their partnership ended Edwin bought the remnant of his father's land and stock and has continued the cattle industry ever since. Because of the curtailment of the open range his herd has been materially decreased in recent years, and from running several hundred he now as only about 150 head on pasture. Some time after entering his timber claim he went to it as a home, and the shade trees, residence, barns and shed are all evidence of his productive enterprise. His accumulations now represent 10 1/2 quarter sections, practically all of which is fenced, and 300 acres are under the plow. His farming grows sufficient crops for the needs of his livestock. Besides cattle his ranch is equally well known for his Percheron horses. He has about forty head at present, and that feature of the stock industry is as profitable as any other.
Mr. Stuart was identified with the region early enough to help organize the old school district No. 32. He also voted at the second county seat election. His first presidential vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and including that vote every ballot he has cast has been within his present precinct. For six years he was township trustee and for many years a member of the School Board of district No. 4. As a republican he has attended several state conventions at Wichita and Topeka, and in 1896 helped nominate Governor Morrill. Fraternally he is a past noble grand of New Ulysses Lodge No. 568 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is past master workman of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His church leanings are Catholic, his wife being a member of that faith.
In Barber County, Kansas, June 20, 1898, Mr. Stuart married Miss Eva O'Dea, daughter of Mathew and Margaret O'Dea. Her father was a native of Ireland. Mrs. Stuart has two brothers, John and James, both of Stevens County, Kansas. The young people in Mr. and Mrs. Stuart's home are Ellen U., Ralph W. and Harold Edwin.
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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