One of the progressive farmers and stockmen of Lyon township is the subject of this sketch, James Hurley, who came to Kansas in 1870, from the northern part of Iowa, Mitchell county. Mr. Hurley is a native of southwest Ireland, born in County Kerry in 1839. He was educated in the parochial schools of Ireland and when about nineteen years of age emigrated to America. Mr. Hurley was in the employ of the government five years with the First Army Corps along the Potomac; was in the supply car service.
He afterward returned to Pennsylvania and thence to Maryland, where he was married in 1868 to Nora Collins, also of Irish birth. Her father emigrated to America and settled in Washington, District of Columbia, where he died in 1875. Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hurley located in Iowa and shortly afterward emigrated with teams to Fort Scott, Kansas. Not being pleased with that country they came to Junction City. There were a number of families who came together and traveled about hunting a location. In the party were the Dillons, Pierce Butler, Thomas Butler, Keith and Downey.
They made a stop at Asherville, Micthell county, where they met an old soldier who told them the Indians were coming. Instead of going further west they turned backward and located in Cloud county, took up homesteads, built log houses and proceeded to build homes. Mr. Hurley's possessions were less than four hundred dollars. It was a dry year and the prospect was a gloomy one. They had to travel to Salina to mill, for their groceries and seed wheat; they took their revolvers to guard against the Indians, but they had been driven further west.
Mr. Hurley was able to sustain his family after the first year by hard work and economy. By degrees he has prospered until he now owns one of the best homes in Lyon township. He was more fortunate than most of his neighbors and kept out of debt, and never mortgaged his land only to buy more. He has a herd of native cattle; is grading them with Herefords and Shorthorns. He owns six hundred acres of land in Lyon township, good bottom corn land, and wheat land. In 1890 he had sixty acres of ground that yielded thirty-seven acres of wheat per acre. In 1898 Mr. Hurley erected a handsome nine room, two-story, frame house. His place is well improved, good barn, out buildings, an enclosed shed 80x20 feet in dimensions, which accommodates eighty head of cattle.
Mr. and Mrs. Hurley are the parents of eight children, viz: Mary, wife of Edmond Colton, of Kansas City, an engineer on the Rock Island Railroad; Timothy assists his father on the farm; Anna, wife of John Butler, a farmer of Lyon township: Margaret, William, Eliza, Helen and Frank. Mr. Hurley is thoroughly Americanized and loyal to his adopted country where he has spent the better part of his days, built a comfortable home and prospered.
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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