One of the pioneers of Shirley township is Dennis Byrne, who homesteaded a claim on Beaver creek, section 11 range 1, town 6, in 1869. A year and a half later he sold the homestead and contested the claim known as the "McNelly heirs" claim, which he won, and has since lived on until selling to E.J. Turner in the spring of 1902, taking in exchange a stock of hardware and harness. Mr. Byrne, in connection with John Dowell, bought the first ferry that ran across the Republican river at Clyde, called the Clyde Ferry Company. It was established in 1871. There was a great deal of travel at that time and it proved a lucrative transaction. About three years ago Mr. Byrne went into the watermelon raising business. The ground thus planted averaged per acre from twenty to twenty-five dollars.
Mr. Byrne was born in Pennsylvania in 1842, but was reared in the state of Ohio, where he worked in the coal mines most of the time until he enlisted to take part in the glorious struggle that redeemed our nation and of which like every old veteran he is justly proud. He entered the service in 1863, Company B, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Ohio, under Colonel Howard Johns and General Burnsides. After seven months he enlisted in Company I, One Hundred and Ninety-first Ohio Volunteers, under Colonel Kimberly, and served in the Middle Department of the Shenandoah, under General Hancock. Mr. Byrne participated in the siege of Knoxville, surrender of Cumberland Gap and several minor engagements. The last company were with the pioneer corps. Mr. Byrne served until the close of the war and was discharged August, 1865, at Winchester, Virginia. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic of Clyde, and was a charter member of both the first and present organization.
Mr. Byrne was married in 1872 to Etta Lamb, of Indiana. Her parents came to Kansas in 1872 from Nebraska, where they had lived a short time prior to coming to this state. To Mr. and Mrs. Byrne five children have been born: John F., Dennis, Lemuel J. and two little daughters, Allie and Olive. John F. served an apprenticeship under Mr. Turner, former proprietor of their present business. Dennis and Lemuel J. both assist in the store.
Mr. Byrne is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and one of the first to be initiated in the lodge at Clyde. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen of eighteen years' standing. He is an independent in politics and votes for the man regardless of party. Mr. Byrne was county commissioner from 1893 to 1896 and was instrumental in getting the bounty of one dollar each placed on the wolf scalps. He has been road overseer and treasurer of his township.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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