HON. M. A. HOUSHOLDER, whose popularity in Cherokee County has been repeatedly emphasized by his election to high and responsible public offices, has resided here since 1880. For the last 12 years he has ably and honorably held the position of Senator from the Tenth Senatorial District, and is equally well known to the citizens of Columbus and Cherokee County, as a lawyer, merchant and breeder of some of the finest cattle ever exhibited from this portion of the State.
Senator Housholder was born June 13, 1852, on his father's farm, in Darke County, Ohio, and is a son of David and Rachel (Stahl) Housholder. On both sides the ancestry is of German extraction. On the paternal side, the great-grandfather emigrated from Germany and settled first in Virginia; he removed thence to Maryland and still later to Pennsylvania, where Senator Housholder's father was born, July 21, 1811. On the maternal side, the first migration was to England, thence to New York and later to Pennsylvania, where Senator Housholder's mother was born, in Bedford County, April 20, 1815. After his marriage, in 1835, David Housholder, who had formerly been engaged in lumbering, moved to Darke County, Ohio, and there secured large tracts of heavily timbered land from the government, and became, in the course of time, one of the prominent farmers and exemplary citizens of his locality. His death, which was occasioned by an accident, occurred in 1897, when he was 87 years of age. He supported the Democratic party, but never consented to take an active part in political life. His wife died on the farm in Darke County in 1868. Both were most worthy members of the United Brethren Church. Of their 10 children, all but two survive; one of the deceased was an infant, and the other, Francis Marion, died in 1897. Francis Marion Housholder was a very prominent citizen of Noblesville, Indiana, who was state's attorney, and postmaster during the administration of President Cleveland. His death, in the prime of life, was caused by disease contracted in a protracted army service, during the Civil War. He enlisted first in Company C, 52nd Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., and reenlisted in Company G, 187th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., and served faithfully until the close of the war. He then engaged in the practice of the law at Noblesville, and became a prominent and valued citizen, but his health had been undermined and he finally succumbed.
Senator Housholder remained in Darke County, Ohio, until he was 25 years of age, enjoying the educational advantages offered by the common and high schools of that locality, and later attending the National Normal School at Lebanon, Ohio. After completing his education, he was engaged in teaching for four years, both in the country and in Greenville, and then entered upon the study of the law. Subsequently he was graduated, in 1879, at the Indiana Central Law School, at Indianapolis, and, under the late Hon. Walter Q. Gresham, was admitted to practice in the United States Circuit and the Indiana courts.
In May, 1880, the young lawyer came to Cherokee County, and during his three years of legal practice became also interested in merchandising and in the breeding of fine stock. He almost immediately took a leading position in political circles. He secured a ranch on Cherry Creek, about 10 miles north of Columbus, and stocked it with thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle, the breeding of which has not only brought large financial returns to him, but has afforded him the recreation and outside interest so grateful to the tired, political leader. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that his herd of splendid cattle has twice taken the large prize offered by the Iowa State Fair where all breeds of cattle were in competition. Senator Housholder still continues to be one of the county's farmers, but closed out his mercantile interests in 1903. His delightful suburban home is situated in the midst of a park of 15 acres, adjoining the city of Columbus.
Senator Housholder has had many political honors tendered to him, the last one being a unanimous nomination to the office of Lieutenant-Governor, proffered by the late Populist and Democratic Convention which assembled at Topeka, on August 3, 1904. He has been in the public eye since 1888, when he was first nominated by the Democratic party, as Senator from the Tenth Senatorial District. This nomination came as a surprise, his first intimation of the honor done him, being received through a newspaper. At that time he was exhibiting his fine cattle at the State fairs of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. The Democratic party met with defeat that year in the district, although our subject ran far beyond the ticket. In 1892 he was nominated for the same office by the Populist party, C. B. Stone of Galena, and Dr. J. H. Baxter, of Columbus, being respectively, his Republican and Democratic opponents, both men of worth and ability. Senator Housholder was elected to the office by a plurality of 687 votes. In 1896, after a bitter fight made by the Republican party, he was reelected by the gratifying plurality of 1,400 votes. In 1900 he was a third time elected, having the distinction of being the only Senator elected to this office thrice consecutively. During each candidacy, he was nominated by acclamation, this unanimity of feeling showing clearly the public esteem in which he is held. His services in the Senate have been consistently directed to aid the constituency by which he was elected, but at the same time he has always held the interests of the public before all others.
Senator Housholder is a man of versatile talents, as is evidenced by his success in so many different lines. He has filled other positions of responsibility, always with the same conscientious regard for the welfare of all concerned. Since 1893, when he was appointed a member of the State Board of Charities, by Governor L. D. Lewelling, he has served as its president. His attention is also given to local matters where his influence may lead to public improvement or progress, and many, times he has shown a deep interest in educational matters and charitable institutions.
On August 6, 1876, Senator Housholder, then but an ambitious young aspirant for legal honors, was united in marriage with Mary J. Baughman, who was born October 28, 1856, in Darke County, Ohio. She is of German ancestry, her parents, William and Elizabeth Baughman, having been born in Germany. The five children of this marriage were: Forest A., who was born November 10, 1877, and died at Columbus, Kansas, November 11, 1884; Mabel M., born in Darke County, Ohio, April 6, 1880, who is a very accomplished young lady, and has served with extraordinary capacity as her father's private secretary during five sessions of the Kansas Senate; and Valley Fern, born at Columbus, Kansas, October 25, 1885; Vale I., born at Columbus, October 12, 1888, and Victor Hugo, born March 18, 1892, all of whom live at home.
For many years Senator Housholder has been a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he has always given a liberal support. In closing this brief sketch of one of Cherokee County's favorite sons, it is pleasant to record that his popularity with the public is fully equaled by the esteem felt for him in private life. He is fortunate indeed in enjoying domestic happiness, the respect and affection of those with whom he has been associated on terms of personal friendship for so many years, and a popularity of no uncertain kind, after having been in the lime-light of public life for more than a decade.
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, 12/17/96.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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