Abram Baxter, a retired farmer in Pittsburg, Kansas, has lived in Crawford county for over thirty years, and for a number of years was actively and successfully engaged in farming and stock-raising. He was one of the pioneers of the county, and helped develop it into the great agricultural community which it now is, at the same time sharing in the profits which were the rewards of that industry. He has also been interested in other enterprises within the county, and was especially prominent in the public affairs of his township. Some years ago he retired from personal participation in farming and has since resided in Pittsburg, where he has from time to time placed the proceeds of his former industry in several commercial or financial enterprises. He has been recognized throughout his career here as a man of stanch and solid character, possessed of an energy that accomplishes what it undertakes, and honorable and upright in all his dealings both in public and private life.
Mr. Baxter was born at Cold Spring on the Hudson, New York, March 17, 1836, a son of W. T. and Libby (Hummings) Baxter. His father was a native of Newburgh, New York, was a machinist by trade, and for a number of years was employed in the machine shops at West Point. About 1860 he came out to Illinois to join his son Abram, locating on a farm near Geneseo, Henry county. He lived to a good age, and died July 20, 1899, in San Francisco, whither he had gone to live with his daughter. His wife, who was a native of Connecticut, died at Geneseo, September 20, 1891.
Mr. Abram Baxter was educated in the Cold Spring schools, and learned the trade of machinist in the shops at West Point, New York. It is a matter of general interest that one of his last pieces of work in the shops there was performed on the frigate Merrimac, which was built for the government at those shops, and which afterward fell into the hands of the Confederates and was converted into the terrible ironclad monster that spread terror among the Union ships until they found a champion in the little Monitor. In 1857 Mr. Baxter came west, and after stopping a few months in Sycamore, Illinois, in search of a suitable location, went back to New York, but later returned to Illinois and located at Geneseo, in Henry county, where his father and the rest of the family afterward joined him. He was engaged in farming and stock-raising there for several years. In March, 1865, he enlisted, at Dixon, Illinois, in Company G, One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and during the remaining months of the war served in Tennessee, in the vicinity of Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville, and after the war was for a time connected with the Freedmen's Bureau at Memphis.
In 1872 Mr. Baxter came to Kansas and located in Baker township, Crawford county, four miles east of the present city of Pittsburg, which was not in existence at that time. He bought a farm, and became a successful and prominent farmer and stockman of the county. He developed a fine farm from the bare prairie range of those days, and he still owns his place, although in 1889 he moved into Pittsburg and has since built a beautiful residence in this city. He took a prominent part in the public affairs of Baker township, and served one term as township trustee. He was also an active spirit in the building of the Joplin and Girard Railroad, and was one of the directors of the road until it was sold to the Frisco system. Since the opening of the coal industry in the Pittsburg district he has at various times held interests in coal mines. He has been very successful in all his enterprises, and has a solid standing in the financial circles of the county.
Mr. Baxter was married at Newburgh, New York, October 8, 1856, to Miss Hannah E. Westlake, daughter of Benjamin Westlake. They have five living children: Sylvester W., now a resident of Kansas City; Leonard C., manager of the Long-Bell Lumber Company's branch establishment in Pittsburg; Norman, who lives on his father's farm; Dr. Millard F., who is practicing medicine in Joplin, Missouri; and Eliza L., the wife of Walter L. Baird. Mr. Baxter is a prominent Mason, and has been affiliated with the order since 1863.Pages 440-442 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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