EDWARD G. WICKWIRE is the pioneer druggist of Larned, and has been in that business and in that place since 1885. He comes of an old and prominent family, his American ancestry going back in this country nearly three centuries and in England to the time of the Norsemen. Mr. Wickwire graduated in pharmacy in early life and though he has numerous other business interests his profession has been his chief vocation ever since coming to Kansas.
Mr. Wickwire was born at Colchester, Connecticut, March 27, 1861, and it was from New England and the atmosphere of culture and family solidity that he came to the plains of Western Kansas. He was educated in Bacon Academy, endowed as the first free academy in the United States. On reaching manhood he began his business career, spending four years as a drug clerk in Colchester. He then moved to the City of Boston and attended lectures in the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in the spring of 1884 when he came out to the West. His principal object in coming west was to establish himself in the cattle business. He passed through Larned while en route to old Brown's Grove in Hodgeman County, and from there he went to the No Man's Land, now part of the State of Oklahoma. In the No Man's Land one of his relatives possessed extensive cattle interests. Old cattlemen will recall that the years 1884-85 marked a sudden decline in a phenomenal period of prosperity for the cattle industry, and Mr. Wickwire realized these conditions, and on account of the hazardous and uncertain prospects finally decided to resume his profession as a druggist.
For that purpose he returned to Larned in 1885 and became clerk in the drug store of Cummins & Spalding. He was then twenty-four years of age and was unmarried. In less than a year he had bought the interest of Dr. Spalding and had become a member of the firm of Cummins & Wickwire. That was the firm name of an old and reliable drug house at Larned until January 2, 1900, when Dr. Cummins also retired, and since then Mr. Wickwire has been in business alone.
He is one of Larned's most prosperous men. He is a stockholder in the Moffet Brothers National Bank and the First State Bank and for a number of years was director in the Moffet Bank. He has shown his faith in Western Kansas by investing his profits in farm lands and has done much development work in Pawnee County. His capital has brought under cultivation and added substantial improvements to several communities. His chief and most profitable efforts in farming have been the growing of wheat. He is a Shriner, and a member of the Median Temple, Wichita, Kansas.
Something should be said of Mr. Wickwire's genealogy and lineage. As already stated, the Wickwire family is descended from some of the Norsemen who in the early centuries of the Christian era wrought so much devastation on the English Isles and finally took up their seat in that country. A noted ancestor was Alnod or Elnod or Alnodus, being referred to by all these spellings, who held the position of "staller" to Edward the Confessor. Alnod was a man of power and influence in his country, and was the ancestor of the powerful English family of Berkeleys, who were also ancestors of Sir John LaWarre. Sir John LaWarre was granted the manor of Wick, which grant was afterwards confirmed by King John. This old manorial estate is in the Town of Wickwar in Gloucestershire, England, where the remote ancestor of this family settled as early as 1196. The family was referred to afterward as LaWarre of Wick, "Wick" meaning village in the old Norse tongue. From these two names the name of Wickwire was formed. John Wickwire of London made a will in which he spelled the name in three different ways, Wickwire, Wickware and Wickwere, which accounts for the different spellings of the American name. At the Village of Wickwar is an old Roman bridge built before 410 A. D. It is an arched bridge of stone and over this ancient structure the posterity of the Wickwire family have passed for more than 600 years.
The original American of the name was John Wickwire, who came from England about 1668. It should be stated that the last Lord of the Manor of Wickware was Lord Delaware, a name made up of three words, de la and Warre. This Lord Delaware was the first governor of Virginia, and the many counties, state and other localities named Delaware trace their name back to him.
The American ancestor, John Wickwire, married a sister of the wife of John Winthrop, son of Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts. Them women were the Poole sisters. Mrs. Winthrop willed her estate to the children of Mrs. Mary Wickwire.
A descendant of this prominent early New England colonist was Willard Wickwire, great-grandfather of the Larned business man. Willard was born near Colchester in New London County, Connecticut, and spent his life as a farmer. He married Hannah Chapell. Their children comprised: Gardner, Peter and Willard. Peter was a tavernkeeper at Chesterfield, Connecticut, while Willard became a hotel man at Elkhart, Indiana.
Gardner Wickwire, grandfather of Mr. Wickwire, was a well-to-do Connecticut farmer and was widely known over his section of the state as Squire Wickwire. He served as justice of the peace, and at one time was a member of the Connecticut Legislature. He was born at Montville, Connecticut. His ardent advocacy of Jeffersonian democracy introduced into the family that brand of politics, subsequently inherited by his son Giles, and passed on down through other members of the family. Squire Wickwire married a member of the Miner family, which is numerously represented around New London and Lyme and is represented in almost all the vocations. Besides Giles G., their children were: Allen, who became sheriff for his home county; Mrs. Abbie Wheelock-Fay of Boston; Mrs. Lucy Balch of Colchester, Connecticut; and Mrs. Mary Bliven of Salem, Connecticut.
Giles G. Wickwire, father of Edward G., was born at Montville Connecticut, and attained manhood with a liberal education. He had a short but successful business career, and then entered politics, and stood sponsor for Governor Waller and contributed materially to his election as governor of Connecticut. Ever after that he was extremely active in democratic politics. He was chosen one of the selectmen of Colchester and was first selectman for twelve years. He was twice elected a member of the Legislature, and remained an influential democrat in Connecticut until his death in 1891 at the age of fifty-nine. At the time of his death he was serving as postmaster of the city, having begun his term during the Cleveland administration. He was also a well known Mason and was buried with Masonic honors. Giles G. Wickwire married Jane Crouch, daughter of Ogden Crouch, whose family record is traced back into colonial history in Rhode Island. Ogden Crouch was a well-to-do farmer and horseman. Mrs. Giles Wickwire is now living in New York City. Her children were: Edward G.; Charles M., a wholesale meat dealer at New York City; Arthur G., of New Haven, Connecticut; and Addie M., assistant superintendent of the Ophthalmic Hospital in New York City.
On September 18, 1890, at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Edward G. Wickwire married Miss Josephine Reeser. Mrs. Wickwire, born February 16, 1864, at Lock Haven, has long been prominent in social and club life in the state. She is a graduate of the Lock Haven High School, taught school there and also in Larned until she married. She was organizer and first regent of the Fort Larned Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, for two years was president of the Kansas Seventh District Federation of Women's Clubs, has been a state delegate to the National Convention, as well as a state delegate to the Fourth American Peace Congress from the Kansas Federation of Women's Clubs, state speaker for United War Work Campaign, and county chairman of same for Pawnee County, Women's Division, Chorister of the Presbyterian Church at Larned for a dozen years, past president of the Portia Club, Progress Chautauqua and Ladies' Music Club vice chairman of the Pawnee County Red Cross Chapter, chairman of the Pawnee County Woman's Committee Council of National Defense; chairman of the Woman's National Committee, Third and Fourth Liberty Loan, for Pawnee County, and treasurer of the state Woman's Committee Council of National Defense, Kansas Division. Mrs. Wickwire is a daughter of Samuel and Mary A. (Sigmund) Reeser. Her ancestors of that name came out of the Palatinate of Germany and her first American ancestor located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where the family were extensive land owners. Mrs. Wickwire's revolutionary ancestor on the maternal side was George Scharff, whose father, Conrad Scharff, came to Livingston Manor, New York State, with his parents in 1709-10. In 1723 they floated down the Susquehanna River to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he had land surveyed in 1735. George Scharff was ensign Eighth Company, Seventh Battalion, Chester County, in the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Wickwire is one of four daughters. One of her sisters, Annie M., a noted singer, died in Philadelphia. She was the wife of Dr. Henry Curtis Lichtenthaler, who at one time lived in Larned. Another younger sister, Rose, also died in Philadelphia. Her only living sister is Mrs. Clinton H. Thomas, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mr. and Mrs. Wickwire have two talented children. The daughter, Mary F., is a graduate of Washburn College, Topeka, spent a year in the study of language and music in Forest Park University at St. Louis and for four years was under Madam Souther, a Norwegian, at Topeka, Kansas. She is now the wife of Edward A. Ingham, formerly of Boston, Massachusetts, where he was professor of biology in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but who now is state health officer of the South Coast District, California, with office in Union League Building, Los Angeles. Mr. and Mrs. Ingham have two sons, Edward and John. Mrs. Ingham is a Kappa Alpha Theta and was state secretary of Massachusetts, 1915-16. Edward Giles Wickwire, the son, is a graduate of the Kansas City College of Pharmacy and was actively associated with his father in business until he answered the call of his country (1918). He is now in the medical detachment of the Three Hundred and Fifty-first Infantry, somewhere in France. He is a member of the Larned Masonic Lodge No. 167, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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