The subject of this sketch, J.D. Sexsmith, is one of Cloud county's sixty-niners who took up a homestead and began farm life on an uncultivated Kansas prairie with a yoke of wild Texas steers. He was an unmarried man at that time and only improved his claim enough to hold it and engaged in teaching school on the frontier, He was the pioneer teacher in the "Rice" district and in this seat of learning, constructed of sod and boards, Mr. Sexsmith imparted knowledge to about one dozen rising young Kansans and received a salary of twenty-five dollars per month.
His father, Matthew Sexsmith, a farmer of Delaware county, New York, the place of our subject's nativity, was also an early settler in Kansas. He filed on government land in Cloud county and lived there until his death in 1886. His mother before her marriage was Mary Douglas. She died in 1852, when Mr. Sexsmith was but six years old, and left six other children. Mr. Sexsmith acquired his rudimental education in the common schools of New York, followed by an academic course in Andes Collegiate Institute of Andes, New York, graduating from this institution, took a regent's examination and was granted a diploma. He was practically reared on a farm and followed that occupation until 1864, when he enlisted at the youthful age of eighteen years in Company I, One Hundred and Forty-fourth New York Volunteers.
This regiment changed the position of their troops from Virginia to the Department of the South and operated under the command of General Gillmore. During Sherman's march to the sea his regiment occupied the attention at the other end of the route. The One Hundred and Forty-fourth was the first Union regiment in the city of Charleston, but Mr. Sexsmith was prevented from being there, owing to a wound he received in a charge on James Island and was disabled for two months. He joined the forces at Hilton Head, South Carolina, where they remained until discharged. When they were mustered out at Elmira, New York, Mr. Sexsmith returned to his home and resumed his farming pursuits until coming to Kansas in 1869.
By 1876 he had improved his homestead to the extent of concluding he could afford a wife, and believing it was not best for man to live alone, he was united with Miss Emma Lamb in the bonds of matrimony. Her father, T.C. Lamb, came from Missouri, where she was born, and settled in Shirley township. He was also an engineer and saw mill man. After having put his land under a high state of cultivation, Mr. Sexsmith sold it in 1882 and moved into Clyde, where he was engaged in various pursuits, chief among which was an interest in the manufacture of pottery. In 1884 he was elected clerk of the court of Cloud county. At the expiration of his term in this office he embarked in the real estate and insurance business. In 1899 he was elected city clerk of Concordia and was re-elected each succeeding, year until 1901, when he retired and engaged again in the real estate and insurance business.
To Mr. and Mrs. Sexsmith four children have been born, viz: Daniel J., court stenographer at Enid, Oklahoma; Matthew T., associate editor of the Concordia Press; Charlotte Gertrude, a successful Cloud county teacher, and Leonard D., a student of the Concordia High school.
Mr. Sexsmith is a Republican politically and takes an active part in all legislative affairs. He cast his first vote for President Grant in 1868. Mr. Sexsmith takes an active interest in everything pertaining to the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member and past post commander of W.T. Sherman Post, of 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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