Asa Fortney, the present clerk of the court of Cloud county, comes from good old Virginia stock of French origin. The name was formerly spelled Fordney, but after becoming American citizens the name was changed by dropping the "d" and anglicized by substituting the "t." The name Fortney is found in nearly every state of the Union, a considerable number being in the ministry, some are physicians, others are members of the legal profession, many have been educators in both public school work and in the higher institutions of learning, some have been superintendents of public instruction and others statesmen. Mr. Fortney's grandfather, Daniel Fortney, was a native of France and married into the Pickenpaugh family, of whom those of Morgantown, Virginia, are a branch. She was a German woman and taught their children to speak their native tongue. They emigrated to America in the seventeenth century and settled in Maryland, near Harpers Ferry, where they bought land and farmed several years. Rumors reached them of a country in the far west (Virginia), where the buffalo or bison and the lithe-limbed deer wandered at will. Animated with a desire to visit this remote region they sold their possessions in Maryland and settled in Virginia in 1795. They bought land in Preston county, Virginia (now included in Monongalia county, West Virginia), where they lived until their death. Their sons were Daniel, Henry, Jacob and John. The sons of Daniel were John, David, William P. and Barton. The sons of Henry were Hunter, David M., Aquilla and Jacob. The sons of John were Elisha, Buckner, John H., Caleb and Thomas. The sons of Hunter were Elisha, George, Aquilla, John and Asa - the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Fortney received his rudimentary education in the common schools of Virginia, followed by a two-years' course in the Mount Union College. He spent his earlier life in educational work and was a very successful teacher. He had just attained his majority when he came to Kansas in 1877. He came on a sort of prospecting tour, allured by the desire of obtaining land, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres, which he rented. Not being pleased with the newness of Kansas, as a place of residence, he located temporarily in Illinois and taught school for one year. The following year he bought another quarter section of Kansas land. For a year he vacillated between the Sunflower state, Illinois and Virginia. But that indefinable something that draws people back again who ever tarries within her borders, brought Mr. Fortney to Kansas soil again in 1879. Having given his attention to ministerial work in the meantime, he supplied the Methodist Episcopal churches of Seappo and Fairview, and the next year Greenleaf circuit. He ministered one year at Woodbine, Dickinson county, and since then he has been engaged in farming and stock raising. He owns three quarter sections of land in Sibley and Lawrence townships. Mr. Fortney's father was a Whig and one of the organizers of the Republican party and he has inherited his father's principles. He was nominated by the Republican party at their convention in 1902 and was elected with an easy victory - was high man on every batllot.[sic]
Mrs. Fortney, before her marriage, was Adie McKinney and was reared in the same Virginia community with her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Fortney are the parents of two children, a daughter and a son. Elizabeth Ellen is a young lady of eighteen years, who has not yet finished school. William John is a school boy of sixteen years. Fraternally Mr. Fortney is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Concordia Encampment. That Mr. Fortney will prove a capable, efficient and courteous official is conceded by all who know him. As a citizen he is held in high esteem and in his home life maintains all the traditions of true southern hospitality.
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.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project