John McLaughlin

JOHN McLAUGHLIN. Among the early settlers of Cherokee County, Kansas, the late John McLaughlin took a prominent part, for he was a man of sterling traits of character, a promoter of all enterprises undertaken for the public good, and one, who, while working for the welfare of his family, remembered the claims of education and morality. He was born in County Derry, Ireland, December 22, 1825, and died on November 29, 1874, in Cherokee County, Kansas. His parents were William and Mary (Patterson) McLaughlin.

The parents of Mr. McLaughlin spent their whole lives in Ireland. The four of their nine children who came to America, were,—John, the subject of this record; William, a resident of Mercer County, Illinois; Matilda and Jane.

John McLaughlin grew up on his father's small farm, which he continued to assist in cultivating until he reached the age of 21 years, when he learned the carpenter's trade, which was his main occupation through life. After coming to America, he settled in Allen County, Indiana, where he married. In 1855, he removed with his wife to Richland County, Wisconsin, where he was engaged in farming for a time. Then he went to Illinois, and rented a farm in Mercer County until 1866, when he located in Johnson County, Kansas. In the spring of 1867 he came to Cherokee County. He secured 160 acres of wild land in Sheridan township, to which he later added 160 more, which was subsequently found rich in coal deposits, and was sold to a coal company.

Those pioneers who settled in Sheridan township as early as 1867, only 10 years later than the arrival of the first settler who dared fate by establishing a home in this Indian reservation, had still much to contend with,—the subjugation of Nature in the clearing of their lands, the protection of their families and flocks from the savages and wild beasts, and the endurance of drudgery and deprivations of every kind, being inevitable incidents of those days on the frontier. Mr. McLaughlin had the great advantage of possessing a wife who was his cheerful, helpful assistant in every emergency, and one to whom he always gave much credit for his success. While he cleared his land, and made the fine improvements which mark it as one of the valuable farms of the township, he continued to work at his trade. He built structures of all kinds throughout the county, including the first house in Oswego, Kansas, and many of the churches and school houses, which bear their own testimony to the educational and moral status of the good people of Cherokee County.

In Allen County, Indiana, on January 9, 1852, Mr. McLaughlin married Isabel Orr, who was born in March, 1831, in County Derry, Ireland, and is a daughter of James and Jane Orr, both of whom were natives of County Derry. Mr. Orr came to America in 1834 and settled at Trenton, Ohio, later moving to Allen County, Indiana, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives on their farm. The three survivors of their nine children are,—William, who lives on the homestead in Indiana; Annie, who resides at Ovid, Michigan; and Mrs. McLaughlin. The five children born to Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin were,—Alvin, who is a prominent citizen of Chandler, Oklahoma, where he is treasurer of Lincoln County, and a large land owner; James Orr, deceased at the age of 38 years, who was a farmer in Ross township, Cherokee County; William and Willis, twins, of whom the former is night watchman in mine No. 8, West Mineral, and the latter is a lumber dealer at Wellington, Kansas; and Mary (Mrs. Alexander Hudson), who resides in West Mineral.

Mr. McLaughlin became a member of the Republican party soon after its organization, and continued his identification with it until his death. He was a prominent figure in county politics for years, filled many township offices, and was a member of the Board of County Commissioners. For years he was active in the Presbyterian Church, being one of the elders, and was always interested in the work of the Sunday-school. Wherever known, he was respected and esteemed.

Mrs. McLaughlin still survives, and until 1904 she continued to reside on the home farm in section 12, township 32, range 22, in Sheridan township, the place in which she and her late husband had spent so many happy years together. She now resides in a pleasant home in West Mineral, surrounded by all the comforts grateful to advancing years, and beloved by her family and friends.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens , ed.& comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Alisha Bilke, student from USD 508, Baxter Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 11-26-96.


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