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.


Dan C. Sullivan

DAN C. SULLIVAN, who died June 16, 1913, was one of the last survivors of that group of real cattlemen of Grant County. It is reported on reliable authority that Dan C. Sullivan never plowed a furrow in all his life. He was not a farmer, but heart and soul was engaged in the business of raising stock, first on the free range and afterward on land of his own, and was also a competent business man and a citizen whose life meant much to Grant County during its formative era.

Another distinction that belongs to him is that he was the second permanent settler in Grant County, second only to Richard Joyce, who enjoys the premier distinction. Dan C. Sullivan was born in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, March 1, 1849. His father, also named Dan Sullivan, brought his family to the United States when Dan C. was seventeen years of age. In after years he moved to Colorado, located on Mud Creek, and died there. He was a cattleman in Ireland, and that vocation is almost a matter of inheritance with the different generations of the Sullivans. Dan Sullivan married in Ireland Julia Canty. Their children were: Jerry; Mrs. Nell Malloy, of Las Animas, Colorado; Mrs. Anna Lenhart, who died in Las Animas; Mrs. Mary Cain, wife of Felix Cain, of Butte Creek, Colorado; and Dan C., who was the third child in age.

Dan C. Sullivan lived with the family for several years at Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. His brother Jerry Sullivan was the first to come West, and Dan followed his brother to Omaha and found employment there until he secured enough money to take him to Colorado. About his first experience in Omaha was being robbed, and that opened his eyes to the dangers and vicissitudes of western life.

It was during the '70s that Mr. Sullivan went into Colorado, traveling by stage from Omaha to Denver. He found employment in the mining district, was a government hay contractor at Fort Lyon, and finally located on Mud Creek and engaged in ranching. From Las Animas he came direct to Grant County, Kansas, in 1881. He brought with him a portion of his stock and he and John O'Loughlin had cattle in this region before any one else became established as permanent citizens. Dan C. Sullivan filed on a homestead, later commuted the tract, and his first Kansas home was on that land.

His pioneer shelter was nothing more than a hole in the ground, an impression of which still remains. It was in this humble abode that his son was born, the first native white child of Grant County. Around this dugout were developed his ranch headquarters, and the chief incidents of his Kansas life occurred here. Besides stock raising he became a merchant at old Ulysses and later became a banker, being one of the founders of the Grant County Bank and president of the institution. For a time he was engaged in shipping Oregon horses into Western Kansas, and thence to market in the eastern part of the state. He never left off supervising his cattle ranch. His merchandise establishment, burned in 1892, and this loss, together with his investment in the bank, broke him financially, and about 1893 he had to begin all over again.

He was a true westerner in courage and spirit and was undaunted by disaster. His recuperation was rapid. He made his second start by buying and selling cattle on commission, and finally was able to invest his own capital again. At the old ranch he gradually rounded up a herd and from that time forward was prominent in the cattle, horse and mule business until his death. He spent several winters in old Mexico, speculating in lands around San Luis Potosi. Besides his own cattle he furnished a market for those of other people and was a purchaser of stock from as far away as Clayton, New Mexico. For a number of years he was one of the leading figures and most distinctive personalities of the Kansas City market. In order to protect his cattle and his pastures he bought extensive lands in Grant County and developed a ranch of 4,000 acres in a single body.

Politically he espoused the cause of the democratic party. He was elected and served one term as commissioner of Grant County. His fellow commissioners were Ferguson and Green, and they were in service during the county seat fight. Dan C. Sullivan, as one of the old school cowmen of the West, was noted for his practical businesslike efficiency, his good judgment and his integrity. He was an excellent penman and had acquired a fair education in his native land. He was a member of the Catholic church and was affiliated with the Knights of Pythias lodge until it disbanded at old Ulysses.

At Kansas City, Missouri, February 14, 1884, he married Miss Mary R. Sullivan, daughter of Patrick and Catherine (Carey) Sullivan, the former a native of County Cork and the latter of County Kerry, Ireland. Patrick Sullivan was a tailor by trade, came to the United States several years before the Civil war, locating in Allegany, New York, and died at Salamanca in that state, while his wife died in New York City. Their children were: Mrs. Ellen Benson, of New York City; Mrs. Dan C. Sullivan, who was born May 6, 1855, in Allegany, New York; and Mrs. Jennie King, of New Jersey.

The late Dan C. Sullivan had two sons, Dan C. and Jerry, The latter was born on the old ranch in Grant County, was well educated, taking one year of the law course at the Kansas City School of Law. He is one of the strenuous young patriots of America at the present time. He made an effort to join the United States Marines at Denver, but was rejected, and he again was rejected when he applied to the local exemption board. He was finally requested to report at Topeka, and after a third examination was accepted and is now in active service with the 353rd Infantry in France. It is interesting to note that Mrs. Dan C. Sullivan, Sr., was the first white woman to live in Grant County as a permanent resident and for a time her nearest neighbor was sixteen miles away.

Dan C. Sullivan, Jr., who is distinguished as being the first white child born in Grant County, first saw the light of day in his father's rude home on the prairie December 22, 1885. He grew up in the same locality where he still lives, was educated in a little country school nearby, and at the age of sixteen was sent to the State Agricultural College. He took the general scientific course with particular stress upon animal husbandry, and early in 1908 was graduated. Before graduation he took work with the government in the bureau of animal industry and off and on for a period of two years was employed in New Mexico and Arizona. His inclinations have run along the same practical lines as those of his father, and he has had the advantage of adequate theoretical and scientific training. He practically grew up in the atmosphere of his father's ranch and was his business associate for many years. After leaving school he spent a summer in the Southwest and returning to Kansas entered actively into the ranching business of his father. He was acting head of the Sullivan estate until 1917, when he took charge of his own property. He is well known as a dealer in live stock, and has shipped many car loads in his time both into and out of the county, and is well known in the Kansas City markets. In addition to their cattle and horse interests Mr. Sullivan and his mother and brother are developing a farm and alfalfa ranch.

Mr. Sullivan began voting as a democrat, casting his first vote for W. J. Bryan. He was elected and served a term as county surveyor, and in 1916 was chosen a member of the Legislature. During the session of 1917 he was in the House under Speaker A. M. Keene and was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, was secretary of the State Affairs Committee and was ranking democrat on the Live Stock Committee. He supported all the temperance reform measures that went before the Legislature, including the Bone Dry bill and the Anti-Cigarette bill, and though a democrat gave the state administration fairplay and supported some of the chief features suggested in the budget of the governor and favored the constitution of the proposed constitutional amendment for a three-fourth jury trial. He is unopposed for reëlection.

Mr. Sullivan is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi college fraternity. He married in Grant County February 3, 1915, Miss Ellen M. Hickok, daughter of Charles D. Hickok, one of the prominent old timers of Ulysses. They have one son, Dan C., fifth of the name in the Sullivan family, and a daughter, Mary Ellen.


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 4 - Table of Contents

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