The subject of this narrative is J.W. Head, of Glasco, a retired farmer, lumberman and an old veteran of the Civil war. Although a born southerner and his father once a slave owner, true to his convictions, Mr. Head took up arms against the south. Some of his father's slaves are now living in Kansas City, and in Nicodemus, Kansas.
Mr. Head was born in Scott county, Kentucky, in 1849. His parents were James G. and Martha Ann (Sebree) Head. His grandparents' place of nativity was the historical county of Culpeper, near the Culpeper court house, where the Heads settled among the colonists of Virginia. His grandfather emigrated to Kentucky when that state was in its infancy, and where his son, J.G. Head, was born May 4, 1807. He was reared and married in Scott county and here his family of eight boys and two girls were born, five of whom are living, all in eastern Kansas, except the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Head's mother passed away when her children were yet young, but his father kept them together and never married again. He died May 23, 1884, in the seventy-seventh year of his age in Miami county, Kansas, where he emigrated as early as 1858. He was a farmer by occupation.
Mr. Head received his early education in the state of Kentucky. It was limited to a few terms in an old Iog school house. They came to Kansas in the state's pioneer days, and when the war broke out he enlisted in Company I, Fifth Kansas Cavalry, under Colonel Johnson, who was killed at Morristown. After his death they were transferred to General Powell Clayton's command, who was promoted to brigadier general for his bravery. Mr. Head stood in the foremost rank of his regiment as a marksman and being a good rider was made an orderly. He was held a prisoner at Little Rock three months. He made his escape with others by digging out. They formed an organization and planned an outlet. When named at roll call one morning it was found they had disappeared. They were three weeks accomplishing this feat of digging a twenty-seven foot tunnel, four feet in depth with an old door lunge. Of the seventy who escaped, all went in the direction of Fort Scott and got through in safety with the exception of Mr. Head and a comrade, who took another route in the direction of Mississippi and were run down by blood hounds, captured and returned to prison, after being out eleven days. They were only kept a few days, however, until they were paroled. Mr. Head's regiment participated in the battles of Helena and Pine Bluff. At the latter place General Clayton and his forces of six hundred men held the fort against four thousand confederates. The town was riddled with shot, shell and all sorts of missiles. The brick court house was pierced with three hundred and twenty-five balls. The building was afterward photographed. General Clayton seemed to have led a charmed life, as on his spirited horse he galloped around, above and before the breastworks, constantly exposed to the enemy's fire. The Fifth and Seventh Kansas regiments pushed South and were in the midst of dangerous warfare. in the battle of Helena, out of one hundred and seventy men only sixteen evaded the enemy; twenty-three were taken prisoners, and the rest left on the battlefield.
After the war Mr. Head resumed farming in Miami county until 1881 when he came to Glasco and became associated with Charlie Hatcher in the lumber yard, which they subsequently sold to the Chicago Lumber Comparty. Since then Mr. Head and his sons have farmed together. In 1899 he bought the handsome Parks residence property, one of the most imposing homes in Glasco.
Mr. Head was married in 1869 to Sarah E. Hull, a member of one of the old Kentucky families of Lexington. Mr. and Mrs. Head's family consists of three children, two sons and a daughter. James R., the eldest son, is married to Nellie, daughter of Ferd Prince, of Glasco. They are the parents of a little daughter, the first grandchild in the Head family. The other children are Ivan F. and Sarah F. In political principles Mr. Head is a Democrat. In bearing he is a true Southerner, possessing that chivalrous and courteous manner that years in the western country could not efface.
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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