The late A.A. Carnahan, a retired attorney, statesman, politician and an old landmark of Cloud county, was born in Loudonville, Ashland county, Ohio, December 2, 1837. He was a son of William Karnahan (the original mode of spelling the name), an anti-slavery man, one of the little band who organized the Liberty Party in Ohio in 1842, and a station agent on the underground railway. He was a strict Covenanter for many years and an elder in the church. His paternal ancestors were of Scotch-Irish origin. His mother was a Miss Mary Speer, of Holland extraction. She was an intelligent woman and a devout member of the Covenanters' church. William Karanhan[sic] died in 1845, and his wife married James Robinson, a very worthy member of the same church.
A.A. Carnahan was one of six children, only one of whom is living: William R., with residence in Findlay, Ohio. A.A. Carnahan was educated in Northwood, Logan county, Ohio, at the Miami University. Upon finishing a course there he began the study of law in the town of Bucyrus, Ohio, and after pursuing his studies for two years he emigrated to Olathe, Johnson county, Kansas, in the year 1860, and in June of the same year he was admitted to the bar by Judge John Pettit at his court in Wyandotte, to practice law in the various courts in Kansas.
For a brief time he practiced law in Olathe. At the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted in Company C, Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and served until his regiment was mustered out by general order. He then re-enlisted in the First Kansas Cavalry, afterward known as the Seventh Kansas, original "Jayhawkers," and served until February, 1863, when on account of wounds received at Blue Springs, Jackson county, Missouri, by the Quantrill band, which confined him at the hospital at Kansas City, he was honorably discharged.
In 1865 he was employed in the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad between Lawrence and Abilene. In 1867 he located at Lake Sibley, Cloud county. In 1868, he was elected to the senate and served two sessions. The seventh judicial district was then composed of Marshall, Riley, Washington, Republic, Cloud and all the district of unorganized counties to the westward. He was one of the senators who voted for and secured the ratification of the fifteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, guaranteeing universal suffrage.
His services in the senate occurred during the time when a vast portion of western Kansas was devastated by grasshoppers and drouth, and when his own district was invaded by Indians. He was one of the most active and efficient workers for the relief of sufferers, and it was largely through his ability and influence that the passage of bills for relief by state contribution to the famine stricken people, of seed wheat, corn and appropriations for sustenance of the militia in defense of the frontier was due. Also in securing the passage of a concurrent resolution memoralizing congress to establish the Republican land district. He was a volunteer and soldier in defense of the people during the Indian troubles. Was judge of the twelfth judicial district of Kansas by appointment in 1884, and was one of the early probate judges of Cloud county.
In 1886, under Cleveland's administration, he was appointed receiver and disburser of public monies. He took an active part in the organization of the People's party. In 1898 he connected himself with the Socialist Labor party and was chairman of the first Socialist convention held in Kansas at Fort Scott, and the party candidate for chief justice of the supreme court of Kansas. In 1900 he attended the Socialist convention in Topeka, and was party candidate for associate justice of the supreme court, and was one of the state committee at that time trying to organize the Socialist party in Kanasas.[sic]
A.A. Carnahan was married in Topeka April 22, 1872, to Ollie E. Sheldon, a daughter of Doctor Sheldon, of Stowe, Vermont. Mrs. Carnahan was visiting her two sisters in Topeka, and had in the meantime established herself as a music teacher. She is an educated, refined lady and especially distinguished in musical circles. Two sons have been born to this union: William Edwin, born in Concordia, Kansas, in 1874, is a trusted employe in the capacity of cashier in a bank at Randall; Harry T., born in Concordia in 1879, has for several years held a clerkship in the Bon Marche, one of the leading dry-goods houses in Concordia. These boys were both educated in the high school of Concordia. William has a cultivated baritone voice of considerable range.
Mr. Carnahan a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and was buried by the rites of this order. He was past master of St., John's Lodge No. 113, and past high priest of Concordia Chapter, No. 5. He was a member of Hiram Council, Royal Select Masters No. 10, and was most illustrious past master of the state of Kansas, a member of Concordia Commandery No. 42, and of Isis Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of Mystic Shrine. He was a member of of[sic] the Ancient Order of United Workmen and of the Modern Woodmen. In 1857 he became a member of the original Alpha Chapter of the Phi Mi Chi fraternity.
In the early settlement of Cloud county Judge Carnahan was a valued citizen. He was a man of genial and sunny nature and was probably as well known throughout the state as any man in the country.
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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