No one is entitled to more credit for the building up of Jamestown and that part of Cloud county than F.A. Lane, one of its active citizens and successful financiers. He has borne a prominent part in all enterprises promoted for the improvement of the town and for the development of local resources.
The prosperity of Jamestown, one of the best towns of its size in the state is due in no small measure to his business acumen and sagacity, for he uses his influence to induce the people to support their own market and promotes projects that are of permanent value to the place. In a straight business way, he has assisted more of his friends and fellow citizens than any man in the community. In the great financial crisis Mr. Lane helped many a struggling man to withstand the storm and retain his credit, that would have otherwise gone to the wall. During the years of crop failures he furnished many of the farmers with seed oats, wheat, etc., and allowed them the privilege of repaying it whenever they were able. In this and various other ways he has proven himself a public benefactor.
Mr. Lane is of New England birth, having been born in Cambridge, Maine, in 1845. When thirteen years of age he removed to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served an apprenticeship with an elder brother, who was a resident of that city, and who, as a contractor and builder, erected all of the Harvard University buildings. Mr. Lane worked with him until enlisting in the army in May, 1861. He was a member of the Tenth Maine, which was subsequently merged into the Seventeenth Maine. He served until May 22, 1865, and after receiving his discharge in Washington, District of Columbia, he settled in Boston, Massachusetts, and later engaged very successfully in a general merchandise business at West Quincy, Massachusetts.
In 1873 he became interested in a wholesale commission house in Boston; but owing to the "panicky" times, did not prosper. In 1876 he decided to try his fortunes in the west and selected Vallisca, Iowa, as a place of residence; but two years later pinned his faith to Kansas, and the thriving little city of Jamestown, by investing his money in that locality, bought two hundred and forty-four acres of land, now included in his ranch, and one year later moved his family there. He worked with a will, is a rustler and prosperity has rewarded his judicious efforts. He is a shrewd manager, a tireless worker, and the outcome of his hustling qualities, coupled with his sagacious judgment is shown in the extent of his possessions and the magnitude of his personal interests.
His landed estate in Cloud county aggregates one thousand and forty acres of land, situated four miles northwest of Jamestown and is one of the finest ranches in the country. Mr. Lane has been engaged in stock raising and shipping ever since coming into the state. Besides farming and stock interests he conducts a real estate and loan office. He loaned money when it was impossible to borrow it from the banks, hence did much towards the development of the Jamestown vicinity. He has perhaps loaned more money than any one man in the county. Mr. Lane opened the state of Kansas, for the Burlington Insurance Company, and did an immense amount of business in that line for several years.
In his hands large financial trusts have been placed and faithfully guarded. He was receiver for the "Barons House" when it failed several years ago, and conducted that popular hotel with profit for seventeen months. He was receiver for the Exchange Bank of Jamestown, that failed in August, 1895; and also closed the business transactions of the Bank of Jamestown. He is also interested in valuable mining stocks. He is vice-president of the Matchless Mining and Milling Company, whose headquarters are in Denver. Their properties are on Farncombe Hill, in the vicinity of Breckenridge, Colorado.
Mr. Lane is a son of Ammi and Eliza (Whitehouse) Lane. His paternal grandfather was a sea faring man, and on one of his distant voyages was lost and never heard from. Mr. Lane's father was a farmer and died in Maine in 1863. His mother died in Massachusetts in 1886. He is one of a family of six, three brothers and three sisters. Oscar is a resident and business man of Boston. America, resides in New Haven, and for years has been division superintendent of a railway there. Philena is the wife of A.S. Palmer, of near Taunton, Massachusetts. The youngest sister is Frances, the widow of E.E. Hall, who died in the "Barons House," Concordia, several years ago. Mr. Lane was married to Mary Persis Knight, at Marlboro, Massachusetts. An interesting little romance precedes their marriage. Mrs. Knight had a brother in the Army Square Hospital, Washington, District of Columbia, suffering from a gun-shot wound received in the army. Mr. Lane was there from the same cause, and as if touched by some magic wand the cots of the wounded comrades were placed near each other. The sister came to nurse back to health her wounded brother, George Knight. Her ministrations did not cease with him, however, but were extended to others in that part of the hospital, among them the subject of this sketch. The acquaintance begun in this romantic way, resulted in their marriage very soon after the close of the war.
Mrs. Lane died in Quincy, Massachusetts, in April, 1870, leaving an infant son three months old, Frank E. Lane, whose sketch follows this of his father. While F.E. Lane was visiting his mother's people the past summer (1902) he found in their possession the melodeon his mother used to play, and brought the instrument home with him, as a relic of her belongings. It was constructed nearly one-half century ago.
Mr. Lane was married to Anna Stuart, in Waterville, Maine. She was a representative of the noted confederate Stuart family, of Petersburg, Virginia, the place of her nativity. Mrs. Lane was a devout southerner, always retaining her southern sympathies. During the siege of Petersburg, she, with other women, sought refuge in other quarters, and made the journey through the Union lines. She had many jewels, for the Stuarts were wealthy people, and during this exodus she carried the diamonds she had cut from their settings, under her tongue, and in this unique manner saved them from being confiscated. Mrs. Lane was a woman of culture and refinement. She finished her education in a northern college and subsequently removed to New York, where she met and was married to Mr. Lane. She always kept in touch with her southern home and the leaders of the South, having personal correspondence with Jefferson Davis, and other celebrated confederates. Mrs. Lane died in the Barons House, Concordia, in December 1887.
Socially, Mr. Lane is a Mason, having joined Rural Lodge, of Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1878. He is a member of the Jamestown Knights of Pythias lodge, and the Grand Army of the Republic. Politically, he is a stalwart Democrat and fervently expounds the principles for which the party stands. Mr. Lane's enterprises have been remarkably successful, and he is ranked among the most prosperous men in the county. He is public-spirited and generous, and has given liberally to everything that appeals to him as worthy.
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