MICHAEL FLEMING, a well-known and highly respected farmer and stock dealer of Cherokee County, resides on his finely improved farm of 160 acres, situated in section 3, township 32, range 23, in Ross townshp. He was born in County Kerry, Ireland, September 29, 1828, and is a son of William and Margaret (McGuire) Fleming.
William Fleming and his wife lived and died in Ireland. The father was a large stock dealer in County Kerry, and was considered a man of importance in his neighborhood. The four children of the family were: James and Patrick, both of whom died in Ireland; Michael; and William, who retains his home in Ireland.
The subject of this sketch remained at home, assisting his father in the business of stock buying and selling, until he was 24 years of age. He attended the local schools during his boyhood, and grew up intelligent and ambitious. A great desire possessed him to own a home and farm, and, realizing that Ireland at that time offered few such rewards of labor, he determined to cross the ocean to America, where thousands of acres of rich farming land awaited settlement. He arrived, on a sailing vessel from Liverpool, in the port of Boston. Massachusetts, on June 10, 1852, but several years of hard work intervened between him and his goal. Landing with only $2.50, the home and farm seemed very far distant. Through the succeeding 14 years which passed before he secured them, Mr. Flerning worked hard and lived economically. He lived in many places,Worcester, Massachusetts, different parts of the State of Indiana, and Newton County, Missouri. Late in the year 1873, he reached Cherokee County, Kansas, and secured the farm of 160 acres, where he still resides. He mortgaged his farm to stock it, but never had cause to regret this as he was soon able to put himself into comfortable circumstances, and free himself of all debt. Mr. Fleming has bought and carried on general farming, producing wheat, sold much stock, has raised a great deal and has corn and oats. Out of wild prairie land he has made one of the best farms in his section of the county. His first home was a small farm house, which he bought and placed on his land; later he built his present, comfortable residence. He has about 80 acres under cultivation, the rest being devoted to pasturage and other purposes.
Mr. Fleming was first married in Ireland, to Mary Reedy, who at death left one son, Patrick, now a farmer and stock dealer in Ireland. The second marriage was to Johanna Denyen, of Cork, Ireland, who died without issue. His third wife, Hannah Sullivan, whom he married in Montgomery County, Indiana, was a native of Kings County, Ireland. They had four children,Margaret, wife of John Carlson, of Ross township; William, of Weir City; Ellen, wife of Patrick Wiwn, of Kansas City, Missouri; and Mary, wife of James McNulty, who lives near Guthrie, Oklahoma. The fourth wife was Fannie O'Malley, a native of New Jersey. The children of this union are: John, who lives at Mineral; Michael, who married Maggie Ryan, and lives in Ross township; Theresa, wife of T. E. O'Brien, of Colorado; and Edward, Kate, Agnes and David.
The Fleming family are all members of the Catholic Church at Mineral. Politically, Mr. Fleming is a Democrat, but he has never sought office, preferring to give his time and attention to his personal affairs. He is widely known and much respected. While his life has bee n one of unremitting toil, he has reached a point when he can enjoy some ease and recreation. In 1884 he made a trip to Ireland and visited his brother and son, and the scenes of his boyhood and early manhood.
History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 5/5/97.