LEWIS C. TRUE. - There are many salient points of interest in the history of the career of this honored and representative member of the Kansas bar, and no citizen of Wyandotte county holds more secure place in popular esteem than does Colonel True, to whom also belongs the title of judge. He was one of the valiant young patriots who went forth to render service in defense of the Union when its integrity was jeopardized by armed rebellion, and he served throughout the entire conflict, in connection with which he had the distinction of being the youngest officer of his rank, that of colonel, in the entire body of Federal forces. He has been a member of the Kansas bar for forty years and since 1882 he has maintained his residence in Kansas City, this state, where he has been continuously and successfully engaged in the work of his profession, save for such time as he served in judicial offices. Colonel True is known and honored as one of the essentially strong and resourceful lawyers of Wyandotte county and as a citizen of the highest type of loyalty and progressiveness. His character and services eminently entitle him to recognition in this history of his home county.
Colonel Lewis Corbin True is a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of Illinois and was born on the paternal farmstead in Coles county, that state, on the 4th of April, 1842. He is a son of Frederick G. and Cynthiana (Wigginton) True, both of whom were born at Frankfort, the capital city of Kentucky, and the former of whom was a son of John W. True, a native of Virginia and a representative of a family early founded in the historic Old Dominion. The mother of Colonel True died when he was a child and his father continued to reside in Illinois until his death, when well advanced in years, his occupation having been that of farming and stock growing. He whose name initiates this sketch was reared to maturity under the sturdy discipline of the firm and under the care of his father and his elder sisters, who saw to it that he had his due quota of sassafras tea and quinine in connection with his frequent and agitated experiences with the prevailing "fever and ague," which at that period constituted one of the chief "occupations"of the people of that section of Illinois. He gained his early education in the common schools of his native state, where he continued to be identified with farm work until he had attained to the age of nineteen years, when he entered Illinois College, at Jacksonville, where he continued his studies for a period of about one year. He withdrew from college to respond to the call of higher duty, as he was among the first to tender his services in defense of the Union when the Civil war was precipitated.
In 1861 Colonel True enlisted as a private in Company E, Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the autumn of 1862, when he was transferred to the Sixty-second Illinois Infantry. With this gallant command he made a record of most distinguished order and with it he participated in many of the important battles marking the progress of the great fratracidal conflict. He served in turn as adjutant, lieutenant, captain, major and lieutenant colonel of this regiment, and when its members veteranized, at the expiration of the three years' term of enlistment, he was duly commissioned colonel of the veteran regiment, with which he continued in active service for six months after the surrender of Generals Lee and Johnston. After peace had been declared he was sent with his command to the western frontier, where he continued in the Indian service until August, 1866, when he received his honorable discharge. The most of this final service was in the Indian Territory, in subduing uprisings of the Indians. As has already been stated, he was the youngest officer of his rank in the entire armies of the Union. He has ever retained a lively interest in his old comrades in arms and signifies the same by his affiliation with Burnside Post, No. 28, Grand Army of the Republic, in Kansas City, in which he is an appreciative and valued member. During the war Colonel True frequently acted as judge advocate of court martials, and his experience in this connection had indubitable influence in leading him finally to adopt the legal profession.
At the close of his long and gallant military career Colonel True located in Franklin county, Kansas, where he became associated in the live stock and ranch business with his brother, James F. True, and with Hon. F. D. Coburn, secretary of agriculture for the state. His experience was similar to that of many others of the sterling pioneers of the state, in that recurrent droughts and grasshopper scourges compelled him to retire from this line of enterprise. He then removed to Chetopa, Labette county, and engaged in the study of law, under the able preceptorship of William P. Lamb, and in 1871 he was duly admitted to the bar of the state, in Cherokee county. For the ensuing five years he was engaged in the practice of his profession at Chetopa and he was then elected county attorney of Labette county. He assumed this office at the time when the prohibition law was put into effect, and he was the first and only county attorney in the state to enforce rigidly the provisions of the new laws governing the liquor traffic. In so doing he naturally created the most bitter opposition and he paid the penalty of his righteous and fearless efforts in having his house destroyed by fire and in failing of re-election at the close of his first term. At this election also was compassed the defeat of Governor St. John, who had been renominated on the Prohibition ticket.
In 1882 Colonel True removed to Kansas City, where he has since followed with vigor, ability and pronounced success the work of his profession, in which he has retained a large and representative clientage. The only intervals of direct inactivity in practice have been those during which he served in judicial office - one term on the bench of the court of common pleas of Wyandotte county and one term as judge of the second division of the court of the Twenty-ninth judicial district. In politics the Colonel has ever given unqualified allegiance to the Republican party, and he is an effective exponent of its principles and policies as well as a valued factor in its local councils. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church.
In the year 1866, soon after leaving the army, Colonel True was united in marriage to Miss Annie Keeler, of Pine Bluffs, Arkansas, in which state her father, the late George Keeler, was a representative planter and prominent citizen. Mrs. True was born in the state of Arkansas. Colonel and Mrs. True have two sons - Frederick G., who is a resident of the city of Peoria, Illinois, where he is engaged in the railroad business; and George L., who is a resident of Clovis, New Mexico, where his vocation is that of a general merchant. It should be stated further that Colonel True had the distinction of being the first city attorney of Kansas City after its consolidation with Wyandotte. He has an attractive home at 563 Freeman avenue, in one of the best residence sections of the city.
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