Frederick A. Gaskell, an old and well-known resident of Crawford county, has spent nearly thirty-five years of his career in farming and kindred pursuits in this county, and has been so highly successful in his enterprises that a few years ago he gave up the personal and active management of his farm and moved into Pittsburg, where he engaged in the furniture business for about six years, until he retired to private life, well circumstanced and content with what the past years have given him. Besides his excellent civil record, he has the honor of being a veteran who saw much and varied campaigning during the rebellion and gained his first introduction to the Sunflower state during that war.
Mr. Gaskell was born in 1843, in Worcester county, Massachusetts, where has been the family seat for many generations. Among his Quaker ancestors were two who came over with Penn and settled in Pennsylvania, but his direct forefather came to the Massachusetts colony in the seventeenth century, and the old homestead in Worcester county has been in the Gaskell family for several generations and is still in their possession.
The parents of Mr. Gaskell were Elisha and Susan (Taft) Gaskell. In 1854 his father brought his family to the west and settled in Bureau county, Illinois. The railroad had not yet been built through there at that time, and Elisha Gaskell secured a contract, with P. D. Armour, for building a portion of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy through the state. When he had completed this contract he returned to his farm in Bureau county and engaged in farming until his wife's death, when he moved to Chicago and made that his residence till his death.
Mr. F. A. Gaskell had the substantial rearing and training of a farmer boy, and remained on the farm until the Civil war. In August, 1861, he enlisted in the Bureau county company known as Company D. They were sent to Quincy, Illinois, where they expected to join an Illinois regiment, but there was no demand for troops at that time. While they were encamped at Quincy, John Brown, Jr., son of the famous one of the name from Osawatomie, came along, in charge of a company that he had raised in Ohio, on his way to Kansas. The Bureau county boys were told that if they would come to Kansas they could enlist there, and, being very anxious to see actual service, they went along with Brown. They shipped their horses on the old Hannibal and St. Joe Railroad, and they themselves rode on top of box cars across the state. At Leavenworth they were mustered in as Company D of the Seventh Kansas. The first winter was spent in scouting duties and in chasing Quantrell along the Missouri-Kansas border. In the spring of 1862 the regiment went by boat down the Missouri and Mississippi and up the Ohio to Paducah, and thence through Kentucky and Tennessee, becoming a part of the Sixteenth Army Corps. They took part in the siege of Corinth, and in other skirmishes and battles on their progress to the south. While with Grant's army on the way to Vicksburg they were defeated at Holly Springs, and they later served at the siege of Vicksburg, being engaged in scouting duty at the time the city surrendered. The regiment was ordered to join Sherman for his march to the sea, but was later ordered back to Nashville. Mr. Gaskell's last service was in Missouri, where his regiment was engaged in keeping Price at bay. He was mustered out at St. Louis at the close of the war.
Mr. Gaskell returned to Bureau county and remained there until 1870, when he came out to Kansas and cast in his lot as a pioneer of Crawford county. There was no railroad in this vicinity, nor even anything worthy to be called a wagon road. He took up a fertile tract of land in Washington township, about five miles north of where the city of Pittsburg afterward grew up, and there he lived and developed a fine agricultural estate. He was unusually successful in his operations, and so bounteous were the fruits of the soil that in 1894 he retired from farming and moved to Pittsburg, where he has a beautiful home at 401 West Euclid avenue. He is esteemed as one of the substantial citizens of the town, and is well known throughout the county for his solid financial ability and his personal worth and integrity.
Mr. Gaskell affiliates with the Masonic fraternity and the Grand Army of the Republic. He was married in Bureau county, before coming to Kansas to live, to Miss Carrie Shawger. Their only child, Alice, is the wife of Frank Magie, of Duluth, Minnesota.Pages 426-428 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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