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Adoniram Judson Whitford
Adoniram Judson Whitford. A special place in ranks of the pioneer
business men of Kansas should be accorded the late Adoniram Judson
Whitford of Manhattan. For over forty years he sold hardware in that city.
When he opened his first stock of goods the Civil war was raging over the
country. He began on a modest scale, in proportion to his individual
resources, and also to the needs and demands of the town and surrounding
country. He prospered and expanded his enterprise even as Manhattan
expanded as a city and the surrounding country took upon itself advanced
features of progress.
He was one of the very early settlers of Kansas Territory, and Mrs.
Whitford, his widow who survives him, is one of the few living Kansas
women whose recollections go back to the period soon after the passage of
the Kansas-Nebraska hill in the early '50s.
The late Mr. Whitford was born at Watertown, Jefferson County, New York,
April 12, 1835, and died at his home in Manhattan December 19, 1910. He
had lived three-quarters of a century, and two-thirds of this time had
been spent in Kansas. He was a young man of about twenty-one when he came
to the territory in 1856. For a time he lived at Topeka and there learned
the trade of tinsmith. He was also a homesteader, hut afterward sold his
land, and with the proceeds, together with his other savings, aggregating
not more than $1,500, he invested in his first stock of hardware. He
opened his place of business at Manhattan in the early part of 1862. His
capital for business was more than the money invested in his original
stock. He had judgment, perseverance, industry and above all a thorough
integrity of character which caused men to confide in him and to trust him
through all the years as a reliable merchant and business man. It is not
strange therefore that as a result of his long career he had accumulated a
handsome estate, including business property in Manhattan and the handsome
home which he erected at the corner of Fifth and Leavenworth streets. A
few years before his death he sold the hardware business and planned to
enjoy complete rest and freedom from business activities. This well earned
pest was not for long, since his death occurred within a few years. The
late Mr. Whitford was a republican voter, but in no wise a politician. He
led an exemplary life, and what he did and what he stood for should not
easily depart from the memory of living Kansans.
||On December 3, 1862, the same
year he entered the hardware business at Manhattan, he married Miss
Jennie Nichols. Mrs. Whitford, who is now in her seventy-fifth year
and still resided at Manhattan, was born in Crawford County,
Pennsylvania, September 26, 1842. When she was twelve years of age
she accompanied her father, O. C. Nichols, to Kansas. The Nichols
family located near Topeka, and since then Mrs. Whitford had been a
witness of the varied web of events which have transformed a
territory into one of the greatest states of the Union. Mr. and Mrs.
Whitford had enjoyed their ideal married companionship for
forty-eight years. They had long worshiped together as members of
the Congregational Church.
Their children were: Walter Scott, who is a traveling salesman living
at Kansas City; Elffle May, who died in childhood; Minnie May, now Mrs.
Alexander a widow living with her mother; Jessamine, who lives in Council
Bluffs, Iowa; Harry Nichols, who was graduated from the Kansas State
Agricultural College in 1890, and is now head of the tropical forestry
department at Harvard College; and Casso O., a merchant in California.
Source: "A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans",
compiled by William E. Connelley, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1918.
The above biography is held at
Access Genealogy. Permission
has been granted to republish here.
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