Benjamin J. Gunn, editor and publisher of the Arcadia Times, has played a prominent part in the journalistic work of Crawford county, and his career throughout has been filled with many points of interest. He has been identified with the affairs of this county for a number of years, and during the earlier period of his life was a successful and prominent teacher in this section of the state. He has maintain the Times at a high standard of newspaper excellence, and gives his numerous readers throughout the county something worth reading, and, while making his organ a weathervane of public thought and opinion and chronicler of events, has not neglected to wield his influence and power as editor for the welfare and general progress of his city and community.
Mr. Gunn, the youngest son of Jesse C. and Hannah I. (Reaugh) Gunn, was born on Greasy Prairie, Morgan county, Illinois, February 14, 1865. His father was born in Dickson county, Tennessee, in 1825, moved thence to Illinois in 1830, and resided on one farm there for forty-nine years, and died in Coalvale, Kansas, in 1890. He had been a Union soldier during one year of the war. His wife was born in Jefferson county, Kentucky, in 1824, and moved to Illinois in 1831, and died at Mulberry, Kansas, in 1894.
Mr. Gunn's early life was spent on the farm, in not materially different manner from that of other farm boys. In 1882 he entered the Illinois State Normal University at Normal, and remained there for two terms. He then went to Coalvale, Kansas, whither the family had moved in 1883, but in the next year returned to the school at Normal and spent another term in work. He began teaching in 1885, and followed that occupation for several years in Crawford county. In 1892 he was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the office of county superintendent of public instruction. He was an active Republican for ten years after coming of age, but at the beginning of the presidential campaign of 1896 he turned to the Democracy, and has since been identified with that party.
Mr. Gunn married, October 4, 1891, Miss Louisa Jane Gunn, at her home in Choctaw county, Alabama. Her father, John Gunn, was born in that county in 1822, and died in 1899 on the farm on which he had resided for seventy-three years. He was a Confederate soldier. His wife, Agnes Shoemaker, was born in the same county in 1827, and died there in 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Gunn have three sons: John W., born August 6, 1893; J. Wayne, October 5, 1895; and Harold S., Novemeber 7, 1898.
Mr. Gunn moved to Girard in 1892, and for the following year read law in the office of James T. Bridgens, being admitted to the bar in 1893. He purchased the Arcadia News in January, 1894. He moved to Mississippi in 1896 and in February founded the Quitman Herald, and in November, 1896, founded the Wayne County (Mississippi) News. In 1897 he returned to Crawford county, and in March assumed control of the Arcadia Times, and has managed that publication ever since.
Mr. Gunn was made a Mason in Mulberry, Kansas, in 1886, and was master of that lodge in 1892; affiliated with the lodge at Waynesboro, Mississippi, in 1896, and with the Arcadia lodge in 1898, being master of the lodge in 1902, also in 1905. He joined the Modern Woodmen of America at Girard in 1892, transferred to Arcadia in 1894, and was venerable consul in 1900-02 and is the present clerk. He was a charter member of the Home Builders' Union at Arcadia, and was master builder in 1902 and 1903. He united with the Methodist church on January 4, 1903, and was shortly afterward chosen one of its trustees. Mr. Gunn published a history of his family in 1891, containing the names of nearly four thousand of his relatives. In 1893 he published and collated all his early poems, sketches, and various writings. In his official career Mr. Gunn was appointed postmaster by President Benjamin Harrison of Coalvale, Kansas, the second appointment in Crawford county by that president.Pages 290-292 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 Lindsey Eldridge & Rachel Hartley, students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in March, 2003.
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