W. H. Trotter

W. H. TROTTER. Of the rural families whose close connection with the development of Cherokee County merits special mention in this volume, is that of the gentleman whose name is used as the caption of this review, which is one of the most worthy. Mr. Trotter has been a citizen of the county since 1883, coming from Indiana, the State of his birth. He resides in section 27, township 33, range 23, in Salamanca township.

The Trotters are an old and honorable family in America, and are originally of Scotch-Irish extraction. The father of W. H. Trotter, John Trotter, was born in 1798, in County Armagh, Ireland, where his parents had settled upon their removal from Scotland. When W. H. was 17 years old, the family sailed from Belfast, for America, the three-months trip in a sailing vessel being in marked contrast with the seven or eight day voyage of the present time. The "Great West", which at that time was the Ohio Valley, then proved a stronger attraction than the crowded city, and they journeyed to Harrison County, Indiana, using the route then common, from Baltimore to Pittsburg, and down the Ohio by flat-boat. They settled on a farm, where the parents passed the remainder of their lives. Their family consisted of eight children, the youngest of whom, James, is still living in Indiana at the advanced age of 73 years. John Trotter followed farming, and flat-boating on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, during his lifetime, dying in 1862 at the age of 64 years. He was a man of influence and standing and served as county commissioner and township trustee. Like his father, he was of the Scotch Presbyterian faith, and a strong pro-slavery man. He married Mary Fleshman, a native of Harrison County, Indiana, whose parents were Virginia Dutch, from Shenandoah County, Virginia. She lived to be 77 years of age, dying in 1892, in Harrison County. Of their eight children, four died in Indiana, as follows: James H., at the age of 48 years; Leslie C., in 1901, at the age of 60 years; Mrs. Mollie L. Martin, in 1897; and Henry Clay, in infancy. Those living are: Mrs. Lucy Lopp, of Indiana; Jonas B., a stone and brick contractor, who lived in Cherokee County from 1884 to 1901, and now resides in Joplin, Missouri; Embree T., a contracting carpenter at Louisville, Kentucky; and W. H., the subject of this sketch.

W. H. Trotter was reared on the Indiana farm and had the advantage of a good school and refined home surroundings. A course in the high school was followed by a year's study in the university. For several years thereafter he taught school successfully, but was induced to turn his attention to agriculture, an occupation he has since followed. Upon coming to Cherokee County he spent about three months in Columbus, in the meantime looking about for a favorable location. He finally purchased 80 acres of unbroken prairie a part of his present farm, and later the northeast quarter of section 34, township 33, range 23. This farm of 240 acres, in all, well fenced and cultivated, with its eight acres of orchard and its many shade trees, and with a fine modern house and good outbuildings, stands to-day as a sample of what intelligent and consistent "Down East" farming will accomplish in Kansas. For, Mr. Trotter uses the system of rotation of crops, and the good old "Hoosier State" methods, which, with proper variation as to climate, will always prove successful.

Mr. Trotter became a family man in 1882, in his home county. Mrs. Trotter was Mary M. Highfill, born in Harrison County, Indiana, in 1852. She is a daughter of James F. Highfill, a farmer, and also a native of Harrison County. Her brother, Cary M. Highfill, spent several years in Cherokee County, and farther West, and then returned to Indiana, where he died in 1892. Mrs. Trotter's three sisters,— Mrs. Martha Stonecipher, Mrs. Katherine Stevens and Mrs. Helen Taylor,—all reside in Harrison County, Indiana.

To Mr. and Mrs. Trotter have been born four children as follows: One who died in infancy; James S., who was born in 1888, and died three years later; Elsie C., born in 1891, and Chester H., who was born in 1892, and died July 12, 1904.

During his career in Cherokee County, Mr. Trotter has been very much alive to the interests of the community in which he resides. Anything that promotes the public interests finds in him a warm supporter. He is an enthusiastic advocate of good schools, having been for the past 18 years a member of the local School Board. He has also served two terms as treasurer of the board of township trustees. As soon as the rural telephone was demonstrated to be a possibility, Mr. Trotter became earnestly interested in it, and he is now president of the Mitchell Telephone Line. Politically, a stanch Republican, he follows in the footsteps of his father in religious affiliation, and is an elder of the Presbyterian Church at Columbus. Both he and his family are of the type that prides itself in the qualities of good citizenship,—uprightness, industry and integrity.


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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