Prominent among the old settlers of the Clyde vicinity is James W. Law an old soldier of the Civil war, who homesteaded near the western boundary of Elk township in 1871. Mr. Law is a native of Ohio, born in Guernsey county, in 1835; for his ancestors the reader is referred to the sketch of the late Judge Borton, whose wife is a sister. Mr. Law emigrated to Iowa three years prior to locating in Kansas, but joined the innumerable throng that eagerly sought homes in the promising new commonwealth. For several years he struggled with destiny, for his capital was limited and commodities high. For seed corn and oats he paid one dollar and a quarter, and eighty cents per bushel, respectively.
Mr. Law narrated an entertaining incident which occurred in 1873. The prairies at that time presented about the same appearance in every direction, and it was a very easy matter for even a settler to lose his way after nightfall, but our subject proceeded to lose himself in the morning of a foggy day. He was enroute to visit his neighbor, McDonald, and in some unaccountable manner lost his bearings and instead of traveling northward, he was trending toward the opposite cardinal point. After wandering around and about indefinitely, he came in contact with a friendly dugout, and was so bewildered he did not recognize his neighboring settler's wife, Mrs. Cary Page, and the estranged wanderer inquired with the utmost reserve as if he were in a foreign land, "call you direct me to J.W. Law's?" With a merry twinkle in the eye of his hostess and the desired information the recognition became mutual, although there was nothing left for Mr. Law to do but admit he was thoroughly duped; he was in sympathy with the wandering savage who stoutly declared. "Injun not lost, wigwam lost."
August 22, 1862, Mr. Law enlisted in Company G, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served under the command of Colonel William Ball and Captain O.G. Farquahar until mustered out with his company in Washington, D.C., in April, 1865, and honorably discharged at Columbus, Ohio. He was "drummer boy" and served the entire term without being furloughed. His company participated in many important battles; among them, Gettysburg, battle of the Wilderness, Petersburg, Richmond, Cold Harbor, at Spottsylvania, where his company lost tell men; they were in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and with Sheridan on his famous ride which has been immortalized by Greenleaf Whittier in his beautiful poem. During one engagement in the Shenandoah his regiment fought their way through the ranks, mowing down men as they went. In this mad charge Company G counted a loss of half their men by shot and shell and could not tarry to remove their dead and wounded, Company G was also at Appomattox, where General Lee surrendered. The veterans relate their prowess of war to the "sons of veterans" who in turn will pass their achievements on down the line to their sons and thus the courage and valor of the "boys in blue" will live countless ages. To have served under the "stars and stripes" is a never forgotten glory after having faithfully served "Uncle Sam."
After the cessation of hostilities, Mr. Law returned to the home of his boyhood, was married to Miss Louisa J. Bainter, and shortly afterward emigrated to Iowa, where his parents had preceded them two years. To Mr. and Mrs. Law seven children have been born, three of whom died in infancy. Francis M., their eldest son, is a carpenter and resides in Concordia; his wife before her marriage was Minnie H. Ellis; they are the parents of two children, Ethel and Wilbur Francis. Minnie M., their only daughter is a prepossessing young woman; she lives under the parental roof. Lewis W.B., who has ably assisted his father on the farm, is now a student of the Great Western Business College, of Concordia. The youngest son, Elmer E., aged seventeen, was named for Colonel Elsworth of the famous "Elsworth Zouaves" who was killed at Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Law takes an active interest in the Grand Army of the Republic and is a member of Conforth Post, of Clyde.
The Law homestead is a fractional quarter section, comprised principally of second bottom land, and yields excellent corn, has never been an entire failure, with the exception of the grasshopper year. The little frame house of one room has been supplanted by a comfortable seven-room residence and although they were compelled to live in a very frugal way, resorting to all sorts of economy to live within their means, after buffeting with many hardships and discouragements Mr. Law and his family anchored in a safe harbor of prosperity. Their country home is made particularly pleasing by a garden of beautiful vari-colored flowers, where rich in nature's lines many varieties of chrysanthemums, asters and bright blushing Cosmos nod to and fro in the breeze, recalling the sentiment - "In every flower around that blooms, some pleasing emblem we may trace."
Mr. has always lived a straight-forward, upright life and enjoys the universal esteem of all who know him.
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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