John H. Coonrod is another of the pioneer citizens of Crawford county residing in Lincoln township, with postoffice at Cato. He came to the county as long ago as October, 1857, at which time there were a hundred Indians camped along Drywood creek near where his present estate is located. In the course of forty-seven years he has naturally witnessed a wonderful change in the conditions and the appearance of the county, and he has performed his share of this work of development and progress. He has always been a friend and supporter of good institutions, whether church, state or schools, and has lent his efforts in a substantial manner toward making his section of Crawford county a good place to live in.
Mr. Coonrod is also esteemed as having been a soldier in the Civil war. August 15, 1861, he enlisted in Captain Jewell's company of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, a well known regiment which did good service along the Missouri and Kansas border, fighting both the regular Confederate armies as well as the bushwhackers and guerrillas. Mr. Coonrod served eight months in this regiment and then received his honorable discharge.
Mr. Coonrod was born in Scott county, Illinois, in 1831, being a son of Woolery and Jane (Pruett) Coonrod. His father, a native of Virginia and a member of an old family of that commonwealth, was one of the early settlers of Scott county, Illinois. The mother was born in Brown county, Illinois, her family also being first settlers of that locality, and coming originally from Kentucky, one member of the Pruett family having been a soldier in the war of 1812. When John H. Coonrod was a baby his parents moved to Jasper county, locating on a farm seven miles from Carthage, Missouri, and thence in 1855 they moved to the territory of Kansas, being pioneers in settling along the rich land on Drywood creek, at the time the Osage Indians were still here. They built a log cabin for their first home, and in time had made a nice farm. They both died in this county, the father at eighty-five and the mother at eighty-four. They were members of the Christian church, and the former was in politics a Democrat. Fourteen children were born to them, several of them dying in infancy or childhood, and those who grew up being named as follows Adam, Martha, Mary, John H., Elisha, Emeline, Francis, Jefferson, William and George.
Mr. Coonrod grew to manhood on the farm in Jasper county, and he experienced many pioneer conditions during his young life. The schoolhouse where he obtained all his educational advantages was built of logs, had slab seats and a fireplace, and was primitive in both furnishings and methods and material of instruction. As has been stated, he came to this county in 1857, and in 1865 moved to his present location, where he has lived continuously for forty years. He has a pretty and comfortable homestead, with all the improvements and conveniences which mark the twentieth century farmstead, and he is certainly well circumstanced for the declining years of a long and prosperous life. His farm of one hundred and forty-four acres is located on Drywood creek; there is both meadow and timber land, and the land is well cultivated and exceedingly productive.
Mr. Coonrod has been married three times. He took Miss Sadie Odum for his first bride, their wedding being performed in Jasper county when he was twenty-two years old. She was born and reared in Missouri, being a daughter of John Odum. She was a good Christian woman, and her character was noble in all its attributes. At her death in 1868 she left four children: Calla Hutchins; Arizona, who has been a popular and successful teacher in this county for a number of years; Woolery and John. Mr. Coonrod married, second, Elizabeth Hensley, who was born in Dade county, Missouri. She was a member of the Christian church and died at the home place in this county, leaving three children, Hillman, Dick and Minnie Williams. Mr. Coonrod's last wife was Mrs. Nancy Dowdall, who died May 22, 1902.
Mr. Coonrod is a Democrat in politics. He has long been an active member of the Christian church, for years being deacon and elder, and he has been very liberal in supporting the church and its various benevolences. His son, Dick Coonrod, who lives at the old home and manages the farm, was married on June 10, 1903, to Miss Sarah J. Ater, a successful teacher of the county, and they have one son, Carl Chester.Pages 417-419 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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