HENRY W. CONRAD GRAVESTONE PHOTO
KANSAS: A Cyclopedia of State History,
Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent
Persons, Etc. Supplementary Volume of Personal History and Reminiscence. Vol.
III. Part I. Standard Publishing Company, Chicago. 1912. Page 267.
HENRY W. CONRAD
Henry W. Conrad, postmaster of Independence, is the oldest settler of Montgomery county. He has had his full share in the dangers and hardships of the days when both he and the territory were young, and is now enjoying the fruits of his labors. He was born in Harrison county, Indiana, March 15, 1847, the son of George and Nancy (Wiseman) Conrad. His paternal grandparents, Jacob and Mary Conrad, were natives of Pennsylvania, where they spent their lives. George Conrad was born in Pennsylvania, and when a young man, went to Indiana, where he met and married Nancy Wiseman, the daughter of Philip and Nancy Wiseman, both natives of Virginia, where their daughter also was born. Unto George Conrad and wife were born eleven children, of whom only seven grew up. The parents settled on a farm in Harrison county, Indiana, and there Henry W. was born and reared. He attended the country school until he passed through the grades and high school, and then his father sent him to Hartsville (Ind.) University. He left that institution, however, at the age of seventeen to enlist, in April, 1864, in Company E, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Indiana infantry, of which be became corporal, serving as corporal for nearly a year, and was mustered out of the service on account of the close of the war. Mr. Conrad remained in Harrison county, Indiana, for a while, after the close of the war, and came to Kansas in 1868. Mr. Conrad came at once to Montgomery county, which at that time still belonged to the Indians, and formed part of the Osage Diminished Reserve. He lived among the Indians, who became his fast friends, as he was always honest with them in all dealings. Soon after coming to the state, he took up a claim in what is now Liberty township, improved the land, filed on it after the reservation was thrown open to white settlement, and lived there until 1883. For some years he had taken an active part in local politics; was regarded as a local leader of the Republican party, of which he has ever been a loyal and stanch supporter; and in 1883 he was elected county clerk on that ticket. The family moved to Independence to live, while Mr. Conrad filled the office for two terms. After finishing his career in that office, he was retained as assistant county clerk for six years, when he resigned to go to Kansas City, Kan., where he engaged in the live stock business for a year; but he returned to Independence in a little over a year and rejoined his family, who had remained in that city. For some time he was in the abstract business, and at the same time took an active part in politics. He was elected to the lower house of the legislature as representative from the Thirteenth district, in 1897, serving two years. Following this he was elected state senator from his home district for a period of four years, and was appointed postmaster of Independence, serving now in his seventh year in that position. Although he has practically given up farming as an occupation, Mr. Conrad still owns his fine farming land in Montgomery county, in which he takes great pride. Since first coming to the Sunflower State, Mr. Conrad has taken an interest in all affairs of his state, county, and the city where he elects to make his home, being progressive in his ideas, and ever working for the uplift of the community. He has lived in the same county nearly half a century and is one of only two men left, who located in the Osage Diminished Reserve before it was ceded to the government by the Indians, when they removed to the Indian Territory. Many are the reminiscences, softened by the mellowing glass of time, that Mr. Conrad tells of the early days in Kansas. He is a member of the Masonic order, having joined that order in 1881. He also served as trustee of Liberty township.
In 1875, Mr. Conrad married Wilhelmina Flora, the daughter of V. P. Flora. She was born in Bartholomew county, Indiana. Three daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Conrad—Maude, the wife of W. A. Hamilton, assistant postmaster of Independence; Mary, the wife of Walter Salathiel, a grocer of Independence; and Opal, who is at home.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.