John T. and Robert McCombs

JOHN T. AND ROBERT McCOMBS. These gentlemen represent a family which is a somewhat late arrival in the county, but they have by their courteous bearing and upright conduct already established themselves in the affections of the early settlers. They are from the "up-State" country, McPherson county, where they settled with their parents in 1872 from Mahaska County, Iowa. They came to Cherokee County in 1897 and purchased a quarter section near Columbus. In 1901, Robert McCombs purchased a farm in sections 15 and 16, township 33, range 22, in Lola township. These gentlemen are the sons of David McCombs, who was born in Harrison County, Ohio, in 1809.

David McCombs, who was of Scotch-Irish lineage, followed the occupation of farming during the 74 years of his life, until the close of the war in Harrison County, then in Mahaska County, Iowa, and from 1872 to the year of his death, 1883, in McPherson County, Kansas. He was a great worker and succeeded well in life, always being in possession of considerable property. In the different communities where he resided, he was always influentially connected with affairs, holding many of the minor offices. In politics he was a Jacksonian Democrat. In Harrison County, Ohio, he married Isabelle Ferrell, a native of the county, born in 1812. She was a daughter of Charles and Mary Ferrell, who were from the Emerald Isle, and were early pioneers in Ohio. She died in Mahaska County, Iowa, November 19, 1871. In the family born to these parents were 12 children, 10 of whom lived to maturity. Four of the sons served their country faithfully and loyally during the Civil War. In order of birth, the 10 children who grew to maturity were as follows: Charles, James, John T., Samuel, Mrs. Mary M. Todd, William, Mrs. Sarah J. Sales, Robert, R. Wesley and David Alexander. Charles, at present residing in Monroe County, Iowa, served 90 days in the Civil War as a member of the Ohio militia. James, who died in Iowa, sent a substitute to the war, as conditions were not such as to permit of his leaving home. Samuel resides in St. Clair County, Missouri; he first enlisted with his brother John T. in Company F, 98th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., in which he served some nine months; during this service he was injured by a horse and spent some time in the hospital at Louisville; returning home after his discharge, he soon again enlisted, this time in Company H, 185th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., in which he served to the close. Mrs. Mary M. Todd was the eldest daughter; she died in Harrison County, Ohio. William, now a resident of Custer, Nebraska, served in the militia three months during the war. Mrs. Sarah J. Sales resides in Cherokee County. R. Wesley lives in Oklahoma.

Of the two brothers now residing in Cherokee County, the elder, John T., single, and living with his brother Robert, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, October 3, 1832, and during the life of his parents resided with them. On the 8th of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company F, 98th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., Captain Butts commanding the company and Colonel Webster, the regiment. He participated in the battles of Perryville, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Buzzard's Roost, Nashville, and many minor engagements, being mustered out June 30, 1865. During this service he was twice wounded, once in the left hand and again in the right heel, necessitating his spending some eight months in the hospital.

Robert McCombs, who is much younger than John T., was born in Harrison County, Ohio, January 3, 1846. He remained at home until the war was nearly over, being too young to enter earlier. However, on February 13, 1865, he succeeded in passing muster and became a member of Company H, 185th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf. There was little to do but guard the railroads in Kentucky, and he was mustered out at the close of the war after seven months of service.

After the war, he accompanied the family to Iowa and on to Kansas, coming to Cherokee County as stated above. Mr. McCombs was rather deliberate in choosing a life partner, his marriage not occurring until 1884. Mrs. McCombs was born in 1866 in McLean County, Illinois, and is a daughter of Lawrence and Christiana (Price) McHaffey, her Christian name being Adella. To her have been born six children, all of whom are at home, as follows: David E., Myrtle, Belle, Robert J., Edith and Joseph.

In the matter of politics the McCombs family were stanch Democrats prior to the war, since which time they have supported the policies of the Republican party. When a resident of McPherson County, John T. McCombs acted as deputy sheriff and held other minor offices. Both brothers are members of the G. A. R. and of the A. H. T. A., and both are regarded most highly by their friends and neighbors.


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.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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