THEODORE D. CLEMONS.
One of the most shining marks among the self-made men of Cloud county, is T.D. Clemons, whose farm is located less than one mile southwest of Jamestown. From a farm laborer he has become one of the most prosperous and well-to-do men of the county.
When our subject was but six years of age his mother died, hence, without maternal training, experience, or pecuniary aid, his duties were doubly difficult to perform; but regardless of the many discouragements, he has won financial success. Four years elapsed after he was orphaned ere Mr. Clemons could claim a home. But he was fortunate from that period for he lived in the family of Norman Nims and received the same kind consideration that was accorded their own, and, although he worked very hard, owes his success in life to his foster parents with whom he continued to live for eleven years. Prior to attaining his majority, he worked for his board and clothes and when twenty-one received one hundred dollars.
Mr. Clemons gained a common school education but his career proves the truth of Sir Walter Scott's statement - "The best part of a man's education is that which he gives himself," and also emphasizes Gibbon's assertion - "Every man has two educations, one which is given him, the other and more important one, that which he has acquired through actual experience." Soon after reaching his twenty-first year, our subject became restless on the farm, and deciding to become a clerk or something less laborious than farm life, left the state of Michigan, the place of his nativity, and removed to Ohio. After spending considerable of his small capital he decided the safest and surest plan was to stick to the farm, as a strange and unexperienced boy could not find many situations awaiting him. Ben Wheeler, a younger brother of Ex-Senator Wheeler, of Concordia, accompanied Mr. Clemons to Ohio and the two young men decided while there to try their fortunes in the west. The idea of coming to Cloud county suggested itself because Senator Wheeler was there and they would not be entirely alone among strangers. But Mr. Wheeler did not want to go west until spring; so Mr. Clemons started alone, landed in Cloud county in December, 1881, and a few weeks later secured employment on the farm of Will McCall and remained there until returning to Michigan, nineteen months later. But having had a taste of western life he was not contented there. Consequently in the autumn of the same year he and his brother bought tickets for Marion Center and were headed that way; but when they arrived at Emporia and Cottonwood Falls, they found there was a demand for men to garner the large corn crop of that section and they both worked there that winter. There were other attractive features for Mr. Celmons, however, for while previously sojourning in Kansas he met the young woman he afterward married, and who may have been in reality the magnet which drew him back.
Mrs. Clemons before their marriage, the 9th of March, 1884, was Miss Lettie Hitchcox, a daughter of William Hitchcox (see sketch). She was a successful teacher and taught in the Jamestown school. The first two years there was but one room and while the professor was holding forth with the larger pupils she would impart knowledge to the little folks herded in one corner. By her marriage to Mr. Clemons her school teaching ended and she assumed the responsibilities of a home. She has been a true helpmate to her husband and to her good counsel much of their success is undoubtedly due. They are the parents of three children, two sons and one daughter. Clarence, the eldest son, aged seventeen, is like his father, very ambitious. Mabel, a young girl of fourteen years, made a fine record as a student. She graduated in the common branches when but twelve and one-half years old and received the certificate of reward in reading, as the best in the county, and only lacked a small fraction of receiving the highest grade in her class. She is now in the senior grade of the Jamestown high school. Phil, the third child, is aged seven. When Mr. and Mrs. Clemons started on the journey of life together their capital consisted of rather an inferior team of horses, harness and wagon. A little reserve fund from Mrs. Clemons' salary enabled them to "set up housekeeping" after a very meagre fashion; but they prospered, and since buying his first land, eightly acres jointly with his brother in 1885, Mr. Clemons has accumulated a total of six hunderd[sic] and eightly acres.
The many fine shade trees of box-elder, ash, hackberry and elm are a pleasing feature of their handsome home, for their residence is situated in one of the bends of Cheyenne creek and is surrounded by a profusion of forest trees. Among the other desirable improvements are a good barn, sheds for all his stock, a fine peach orchard of three hundred trees and a fine apple and apricot orchard just ready to bear.
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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