LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 

Historic People of Kansas - "M" - Page 1

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Edward P. McCabeEdward P.McCabe (1850-1923) - Nicodemus colonizer and the first African-American to serve as state auditor in Kansas. He was born in Troy, New York on October 10, 1850. During his early years, he moved with his family to several places -- from New York to Massachusetts, to Rhode Island, and then finally to Chicago during the 1860s. There, he went to law school and in April, 1878, he moved to Kansas just in time to get caught up in the "Exoduster" dream of establishing All-Black towns. He was closely identified with Nicodemus, Kansas, near which he settled as a farmer and attorney. A Republican activist, he was elected as County Clerk in Graham County, and was twice elected as state auditor, until 1886 when racism surfaced to turn him out of office. After working for the state's leading Republicans in the election of 1888, he unsuccessfully sought the position of Register of the Kansas Treasury in 1889. The next year, he went to Washington to solicit newly elected President Benjamin Harrison to champion African American voting and civil rights and the same year, went to Guthrie, Oklahoma where he became a leading figure in an effort to stimulate a black migration into Oklahoma, with the hopes of creating a majority-black state that would be free of the white domination.  In pursuit of this goal, McCabe founded the city of Langston, Oklahoma. He soon served in a number of political positions in Oklahoma. For a while, it appeared that his efforts would work, but the prospect soon generated hate and fear among white settlers and many American Indians. McCabe's fortunes began to decline in 1891 and his political allies soon left him. However, McCabe continued to work diligently for black rights in Oklahoma but around 1908, he left the state. He died in Chicago in 1923 and his body was returned to Topeka for burial. Tragically, few people took notice. McCabe had years before drifted into obscurity, much as had his dreams of racial equality.

 

Margaret Hill McCarterMargaret Hill McCarter (1860-1938) - Author and educator, Margaret was born near Carthage, Indiana on May 2, 1860. Her parents, Thomas T. and Nancy (Davis) Hill, came to Indiana from North Carolina in 1858. They were Quakers, and through the Parker and Wickersham families McCarter can trace her ancestry back to the members of that sect who came over with William Penn. She was educated in public schools, the Carthage High School, Earlham College, a Quaker institution at Richmond, Indiana, and in 1884, graduated from the State Normal School at Terre Haute, Indiana. She taught for nine years in the Indiana public schools, and in 1888 came to Topeka, Kansas, where for nearly six years she was a teacher of English in the high school. On June 5, 1890, she was married to Dr. William A. McCarter. She has contributed to the newspapers and magazines, and is the author of The Cottonwood's Story, Cuddy's Baby, In Old Quivira, The Price of the Prairie, One Hundred Kansas Women, and The Peace of the Solomon Valley. She died in 1938.

 

Peter McVicar (1829-1903) - Clergyman, soldier and educator, was born at St. George, N. B., Canada, June 15, 1829. His parents were natives of Argyleshire, Scotland. At the age of fourteen he went to Wisconsin, and in 1852 entered Beloit College. Subsequently he studied for the ministry at the Union Theological and Andover seminaries, graduating at the latter in 1860. In October of that year he came to Kansas and within a few months became pastor of the First Congregational Church of Topeka. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the army and served under General Curtis. From 1866 to 1870 he was superintendent of public instruction of Kansas and while holding this position was instrumental in saving to the state the school lands in the Osage Indian reservation. At the close of his second term as superintendent he was offered and accepted the presidency of Washburn College, which at that time had neither site, endowment nor buildings and the building up of this well known educational institution may be regarded as his life work and stands as a monument to his memory. Mr. McVicar married Martha Porter Dana of Waukesha, Wisconsin in September, 1863. He died on June 5, 1903.

 

 

 

Isaac McCoy (1784-1846) - An Indian missionary, McCoy was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania on June 13, 1784. The next year his family moved to Kentucky; where his he grew up. In 1817 he began his work as a missionary among the Miami Indians in the Wabash Valley in Indiana. In the spring of 1820 he went to Fort Wayne, Indiana and in December, 1822, followed the Potawatomie Indians to Michigan, becoming the founder of the Grand River Mission in 1826. Two years later he was one of the commissioners appointed to visit the western country and select homes for the Ottawa and Potawatomie tribes. In January, 1829, he visited Washington and made a report of his investigations, and in July he again started west. In 1837 he was sent by the government to survey the Delaware Indian lands and while on this work he made arrangements for missions among the Otoe and Omaha; held a council with the Pawnee; visited the Cherokee and Creek and assisted in adjusting the boundaries of their reservations. He made a report proposing locations for the Potawatomie, Ottawa, Miami, New York tribes and some others. His report was accepted by the government and he remained with the Indians on their reservations until 1842, when he went to Louisville, Kentucky to assume the management of the work of the American Indian Mission Association. McCoy was the author of a History of Baptist Indian Missions. He died at Louisville in 1846.

 

John Alexander MartinJohn Alexander Martin (1839-1889) - The 10th governor of the State of Kansas from 1885 to 1889, Martin was born on March 10, 1839, at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, a son of James and Jane Montgomery (Crawford) Martin. He acquired his education in the public schools and at the age of fifteen years he began learning the printer's trade.

 

In 1857, when only eighteen years of age, he came to Kansas, bought the newspaper known as the Squatter Sovereign, published at Atchison, and changed the name to Freedom's Champion. This paper he continued to publish until his death.

 

He was a firm Free-State man and soon became actively involved in the political affairs of the territory. In 1858 he was nominated for the Kansas Territorial Legislature, but declined because he was not yet of legal age. In 1859 he was a delegate to the Osawatomie Convention which organized the Republican Party in Kansas, and for the remainder of his life he was an avid supporter of the principles and policies of the organization.

 

On July 5, 1859, he was elected secretary of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention; was secretary of the Railroad Convention at Topeka in October, 1860; was a delegate to the Republican National Convention of that year, and was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 1861. Before the expiration of his term as senator, the Civil War broke out and in October, 1861, he was mustered into the United States Volunteer service as lieutenant-colonel of the Eighth Kansas Infantry.

 

Early in 1862 he was appointed Provost-Marshal of Fort Leavenworth and held the position until his regiment was ordered to Corinth, Mississippi in March. There, the Eighth Kansas Infantry became a part of General Buell's army, and it remained in the Army of the Cumberland until the close of the war. On November 1, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel  Martin was promoted colonel, and a few weeks later was assigned to duty as Provost-Marshal of Nashville, Tennessee, which he held until the following June. With his command, he took part in the battles of Perryyule and Lancaster, Kentucky; the various engagements of the Tullahoma Campaign; the bloody Battle of Chickamauga; and in November, was present at the siege of Chattanooga and the storming of Missionary Ridge.

 

With General Sherman's army he marched to Atlanta in the memorable campaign of 1864, the line of march being marked by engagements at Rocky Face Ridge, Dalton, Resaca, Kingston, Kenesaw Mountain and various other points. After the fall of Atlanta, Colonel Martin's regiment joined in the pursuit of General Hood as he marched northward into Tennessee, where it closed its service. During the closing scenes of his military career Colonel Martin commanded the First Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps until he was mustered out at Pulaski, Tennessee on November 17, 1864, receiving at that time the rank of Brevet Brigadier-General "for gallant and meritorious services."

 

Returning to Kansas, he resumed the editorial management of his newspaper, and again he became a factor in political affairs. In 1865 he was elected mayor of Atchison, of which city he had served as the third postmaster, holding the office for twelve years. For twenty-five consecutive years he was chairman of the Atchison County Republican Central Committee; was a member of the Republican National Committee from 1868 to 1884, and secretary of the committee during the last four years of that period; served as delegate to the National Convention of his party in 1868, 1872 and 1880; was a member of one of the vice-presidents of the United States Centennial Commission; was one of the incorporators of the Kansas State Historical Society, of which he was president in 1878; was president the same year of the Editors' and Publishers' Association; and from 1878 to the time of his death was one of the board of managers of the Leavenworth branch of the National Soldiers' Home.

 

During all the years following the Civil War he manifested a keen interest in the work and welfare of the Grand Army of the Republic, and when the Department of Kansas was organized, he was honored by being elected its first commander. It is said that for years before his election to the office of governor, he had a laudable ambition to be the chief executive of his adopted state, but that he knew how to wait and prepare himself for the duties of the office in case he should be called to fill it.

 

The call came in 1884, when he was nominated and triumphantly elected. His first administration commended him to the people, and in 1886 he was re-elected. His years of experience as a journalist and political leader gave him a ripe judgment which enabled him to discharge his gubernatorial duties with marked ability, and it is probable that no governor of Kansas ever retired from the office with a larger number of friends. On June 7, 1871, Governor Martin married Ida Challis, and to this union were born seven children. Governor Martin's death occurred on October 2, 1889.

 

"Uncle" Walt Mason (1862-1939) - A poet and humorist, was born at Columbus, Ontario, Canada on May 4, 1862, a son of John and Lydia S. (Campbell) Mason. He is self-educated, and in 1880 came to the United States to engage in newspaper work. From 1885 to 1887 he was employed on the Atchison Globe, and later was connected with the Nebraska State Journal published at Lincoln. In 1893 he became a writer on the Washington Evening News and the same year, married Ella Foss of Wooster, Ohio on February 15, 1893. Beginning in 1907, he was associated with William Allen White in the publication of the Emporia Gazette. Mr. Mason is the author of "Rhymes of the Range," "Uncle Walt," and a Calendar. His "Poetic Philosophy" was published in a number of newspapers throughout the country. He died in 1939.

 

 

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