G. J. COLEMAN, familiarly known as Prof. Coleman, has been a resident of Labette county, Kansas, since 1870. He is of the seventh generation from Thomas Coleman, who came from England, and settled at Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1637. G. J. Coleman was born in Dutchess county, New York, in 1826, and is a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Dean) Coleman.
Jethro Coleman, grandfather of G. J., was born on Nantucket Island, in 1755, and died September 17, 1817. He was a sea captain for many years. Benjamin Coleman, the father of G. J., was born on Nantucket Island, December 8, 1788, and his death occurred May 20, 1845. He was a wealthy stockman. He married Sarah Dean, who was a native of New York. She died when G. J. was quite young. Seven children resulted from this union, among whom were the following: Henry, who was born September 9, 1816, and died in December, 1816; Mary, who died in 1839; Edwin, who died in 1830; Joseph D., who was born July 14, 1820, at Stanfordville, Dutchess county, New York, and is a farmer in that county; G. J., the subject of this sketch; and Robert R., who was born May 31, 1828, and died January 3, 1882, - his family resides in Mound Valley. William C., a son of Robert R., is manager of the Carbon Light Company, with headquarters at Wichita.
G. J. Coleman, the subject of this sketch, was reared and schooled in his native county. He graduated from the Quaker boarding school in town of Nine Partners, and began lecturing on chemistry, astronomy and philosophy, at the age of nineteen years. Until his removal to Kansas, he traveled constantly, and lectured in all the states east of the Mississippi river, with the exception of Maine, Michigan and Louisiana. His name was in a lecture bureau's book in New York City, and he was sent to different cities, and was paid by the night.
Mr. Coleman, in company with his son, K. B. Coleman, left New York in 1870, with the determination of driving west, to Kansas. He lectured en route, and when he reached Kansas, in the fall of 1870, he had $80 more in money than he had when he left New York. Mr. Coleman met his brother at Kansas City, and came to Labette county. They bought land from two men who had located claims in the north half of section 26, township 32, range 18. Mr. Coleman secured the northwest quarter, and his brother took the northeast quarter. They built frame houses, which were located on opposite sides of the main road to Mound Valley. Mr. Coleman has a finely improved farm. About fifteen years ago, he set out 15 acres of trees, and his orchard bears fine fruit. Mr. Coleman lectured several years, to pay for the farm, and his wife taught school three years in their own house. Subsequently, when the schoolhouse was built north of this farm, she taught two years longer. Mr. Coleman is a very intelligent man, and is thoroughly conversant with agricultural matters, as well as with those topics which were the source of his income in earlier years. He has always been prominently identified with the growth and prosperity of Mound Valley township, and gives his support to all public enterprises.
Mr. Coleman was united in marriage, in New York, with Harriet A. Bushnell. She was born November 14, 1830, at Hunter, Greene county, New York. She is a daughter of Alvin and Fannie (Shepherd) Bushnell. Alvin Bushnell was born in Massachusetts, and his death took place in Labette county, Kansas, in 1875. His wife was a native of Connecticut, and died in Chicago, Illinois, while on a visit there. Seven children, of ten that were born to them, reached maturity, namely: Aaron, who died in 1889; Gideon E., who died in 1900; A. Bigelow, who lives in Mound Valley; George, who died April 7, 1900; Harriet A., the wife of Mr. Coleman; Fannie, deceased; and Sarah, who is now in Oklahoma. Mrs. Coleman was reared and educated in New York. She graduated from the State Normal School, at Albany, in 1848, and taught school for a number of years.
Mr. and Mrs. Coleman have been blessed with four children, namely: Nettie, who married Clarence Lown, who died at Poughkeepsie, New York; Kay B. married Emma McGregory, who died at Mound Valley, October 19, 1893, having had three daughters, one of whom, Ethel S., lives with Prof. Coleman, and Bessie and May, who are deceased; Dean S.; and Fannie, the wife of W. B. Covalt, of Wichita, who has one child., George, Jr., named after the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Coleman is a member of the Populist party. He has served as township. clerk, and clerk of the school board, and has filled both offices in an able manner. He was formerly a member of the Good Templars lodge. He has always been a Quaker, but the other members in his family are Baptists. Mr. Coleman is a very popular man, and has always been a loyal and upright citizen. He has many warm friends in Labette county.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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