Biographies
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Crawford County

This page will be the home to biographies of men and women who played an important part in the growth and development of Crawford County. If you have a biography of a person who resided in Crawford County, I would be pleased to include it on this page. Send them to Coordinator at genealogy@pittsburg.lib.ks.us.


VONOLA LEVERE JOHNSON
1909-1978
(Contributed by Jackie Crawford)

Vonola Levere Johnson was the second of two daughters born on May 17, 1909 to William Harrod Johnson and Pearl May Foss in Prairie Township, Crawford County, Illinois. The attending physician at her birth was S. A. Smith. William worked as an oil field tool dresser, moving his family frequently as his work took him from oil field to oil field. Perhaps as a result, Von grew up tough and self-reliant. She appears to have doted on her older sister, Vivian (nicknamed Nicky) who was born August 18, 1906.

According to her daughter, when Von was a junior in high school she put a red polka dot dress on layaway for her junior prom. She saved her money to buy pumps to go with it. She never got to go because her family needed the money for food or because Nick got sick and needed medicine.

Money must have been a lifelong shortage. Von never finished high school because her family needed money. She quit school and went to work for a baking powder company. The company paid her to go around to various parts of the state and teach women to use their product. She taught women to make pie crusts and bicuits.

When Von was about seventeen she met Homer Crawford in Winfield, Kansas. She and her sister Nicky worked as waitresses at the Naylor Hotel. Von married Homer on June 7, 1921 in Ballinger, Runnels County, Texas. They returned to Winfield to live, working and running Crawford's service station. In 1933 they bought a farm just outside of Winfield. There they stayed to raise chickens, pigs, 3 head of beef cattle and their two children: a boy, Jack, born in 1928, and a girl, Jackie, born in 1929. In the 1940's Vonola (Von) worked at a music store in Winfield, Kansas.

Jackie remembers that she and her brother would pretend in the kitchen of their home, singing about "Von Crawford's little biscuits" that they remember being so good.

Von Crawford was always very proud of her strength. She would demonstrate to me, her granddaughter, how she could place a heavy book on her abdomen and make it bounce into the air. Her daughter remembers her doing one-armed pushups.

At the time of her death Von was 69 years, 5 months and 20 days old. She was buried next to her husband at Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens in San Angelo, Texas.


JOHN R. LINDBURG
1849-1915
(Contributed by Mark Hill)

When John R. Linburg arrived in Pittsburg in 1877, the population was only 42. In partnership with John STRYKER, Lindburg opened a drug store at 324 N. Broadway. Later Lindburg purchased Styrker's interests and conducted the business until 1887, when he disposed of it to W. E. PIERCE.

Linburg was the founder of the Commercial Club, the forerunner of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the first city council. In March 1883, he became president of the Pittsburg Building and Loan Association, a position he held for more than 20 years. With his associates, he erected 10 brick business houses in the new city and over 200 homes. When the First National Bank was established in 1886, he was made its first vice-president being elected president in 1888.

Born in Wimmerby, Sweden on December 23, 1849, Lindburg received his education at the Wimmerby Collage. In 1868, at the age of 19, he immigrated to the United States, locating first in Chicago where he worked in a sawmill for six months. He then went to Peoria, Illinois for a short period, returning to Chicago to work in a store. Eventually he went into the mercantile business for himself. From Chicago, he went to Red Oak, Iowa where he also clerked a store.

John R. Lindburg died on July 10, 1915 and is buried in Pittsburg. The pharmacy that he sold to Pierce in 1887 retained his name, and today, in 1997, the Lindburg Pharmacy is still in existance.


JAMES PATMOR
1851-1909
(Contributed by Mark Hill)

James Patmor was born in 1851 in Ohio, and came to Kansas in 1877 to forget the death of a close friend. Because this area reminded him of Ohio, he decided to stay.

Several assistants traveled with him to introduce surface mining for coal in this area. As business boomed, Mr. Patmor had the first machinery shipped to this area for use in strip mining. Although he found a challenge in strip mining, problems that involved hauling the coal disillusioned Patmor. A fire that destroyed his steam shovel climaxed the problem and put him out of business. However, Patmor's motivation and unusual interests gave rise to the enormous coal industry that located in Pittsburg.

Although he received most of his education in Ohio, Patmor attended night classes and became an accountant after his mining experiences. In 1883, Patmor became a purchaser for the Bank of Pittsburg, then a branch of the Bank of Girard. He eventually became cashier. When the bank nationalized and changed its name to the National Bank of Pittsburg in 1886, Patmor was elected vice-president and remained at the bank for almost twenty years.

In 1903, he resigned from the bank, which at the time was one of the most prosperous and largest banks in the nation. On his 47th birthday, January 25, 1904, Patmor opened the doors of the First State Bank and was elected president. The bank is still in existance today.

Patmor continued his active service until his health compelled him to resign. He died December 15, 1909. His son, Jay Patmor, continued with the bank.


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Last updated 25 Feb 2005.

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