To the large per cent. of emigrants who came to Kansas without capital and have forged their way to prosperity and prominence, belongs the subject of this sketch, Edgar Martin Kenyon. From the original wilderness of prairie his homestead and possessions have increased until he owns five hundred and sixty acres of finely cultivated land, herds of cattle and hogs, a residence of modern architecture that would do credit to a city, and barns fashioned after the commodious structures of the east.
Mr. Kenyon continues to live on the homestead that has undergone all these changes since he located his claim in 1870. He came to the new west alone, and after building a very unpretentious house and purchasing a sack of flour, for which he paid seven dollars per hundred pounds, the settler, remote from his eastern home and family, was left on the sparsely inhabited prairie with but four dollars in his pocket - his cash capital; but he was not discouraged, felt no reluctance, for he was young, sanguine and ambitious, and believing the future held golden harvests, he spent the summer preparing for the arrival of his wife and son, Orlin (their only child at that time), with a light and happy heart. He secured employment hauling freight at $1.25 per hundred, for Sibley's pioneer merchant, J.D. Robertson. Mr. Kenyon had nothing to lose, but prospered from the beginning, notwithstanding reverses brought about from grasshoppers and hot winds. When bountiful harvests began smiling on their little western home, a substantial and imposing residence sprung into existence and the primitive dwelling vanished. In addition to the spade, the scythe and the plow, with which he carried on farming, his estate is abundantly supplied with every implement known to agriculture for planting and garnering the grain with economy and profit.
Mr. Kenyon is a native of Canada. He is a son of Amos and Caroline Cordelia (Blanchard) Kenyon. Amos Kenyon, of Vermont birth and English origin, emigrated to Iowa in 1855, settled in Delaware county, where he died May 1891. Mr. Kenyon's mother was of New York birth; she died in Iowa, July 22, 1889. Mr. Kenyon is one of little children, seven of whom are living, all in Iowa, excepting our subject and a sister in Denver. In 1868 Mr. Kenyon was married to Miss Cordelia Smith, who was born in the state of New York. Her father, Samuel Hastings Smith, removed to Concordia in 1872 and died there in 1900, at the age of eighty-five years. Her mother, who survives him, is also four score and five and lives with her daughter in Concordia. Mrs. Kenyon is a refined gentlewoman. The atmosphere of refinement is one of the fundamental elements often overlooked in the country home, but this is not lacking in the Kenyon residence where everything bespeaks cultivated taste. Mrs. Kenyon taught the second term of school in joint District No. 1, Cloud and Republic counties. She taught one term over the line in Republic county, which was the first school held in Norway township. Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon's family consists of four children, two sons and two daughters. The two sons, Orlin and Arthur, are prosperous farmers, and are both married. The daughters are educated young women, well qualified for the important positions they occupy. Helen, who is teaching on her second school year at Valley Falls, graduated from the Emporia State Normal in 1901, receiving a life diploma. June is a graduate from the Wesleyan Business College of Salina and is employed as stenographer and bookkeeper at the Soldiers' Orphans' Home in Atchison.
Politically Mr. Kenyon votes with the Republican party. He has served as treasurer of his district for almost a quarter of a century. The teachers in this school have all been fortunate enough to find a home with the Kenyons. Socially Mr. Kenyon has been an Odd Fellow for thirteen years and is identified with the Order of Elks in Concordia.
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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