Buchanan County, Missouri
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Lucian J. Eastin. One of the prominent lawyers and a leader in his profession in the St. Joseph bar, Lucian J. Eastin is properly mentioned, even though somewhat briefly, in a work of the nature and purpose of this publication. His legal activities, for the most part, since he launched out into the practice of his profession, have been carried on in Buchanan County, and he is widely and favorably known hereabouts.
Lucian J. Eastin was born in Clay County, Missouri, on July 12, 1868, and is a son of George W. and Susan C. (Dollis) Eastin. The father, a native of Kentucky, came to Missouri in 1851 and settled in Clay County, and there took up farming activities, and spent the remainder of his life thus occupied, save for the period he spent as a soldier in the Confederate Army during the Civil war, in the command of General Shelby. He died on February 16, 1892. The mother of Lucian J. Eastin was a native of Clay County, and she died there on September 4, 1876, when her son was a boy of eight years. The family, on both paternal and maternal sides, is one that has long been established on American soil. Stephen Eastin, the great-grandfather of the subject, was born in Virginia in 1756, and the maternal grandsire of Mr. Eastin, John Majors by name, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He lived to a fine old age, and died in Clay County December 27, 1844, having come to that part of Missouri in 1838. His grave in Clay County is marked with a monument erected by the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, to which society members of the family are eligible because of his service in the Revolutionary war period.
Lucian J. Eastin graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan, in 1894, and came direct to St. Joseph and began practice, and he has since been occupied in legal work in the city and county.
In November, 1908, he was elected judge of the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, and he served from January 1, 1909, to January 1, 1911, when he resigned to return to the practice.
Mr. Eastin has been active as an Odd Fellow, has been grand master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and has since 1907 represented that body in the Sovereign Grand Lodge, of which he is an active member.
On October 4, 1904, Miss Janet Strong, a daughter of Col. James W. Strong, became the wife of Mr. Eastin. Mrs. Eastin's father was a prominent lawyer of St. Joseph for years, and he was engaged in the publishing of the St. Joseph Herald from 1885 to June, 1886, when he met death in a tragic and untimely manner. Colonel Strong had been prominently identified with many public enterprises in St. Joseph and his death was a great shock and a heavy loss to the city.
Mr. and Mrs. Eastin have one son, Robert Strong Eastin, and the family home is at No. 202 S. Twentieth Street.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


J. Breckenridge Ellis. A Missourian who has gained a more than national reputation, and whose name it is likely the state will always catalogue among its brilliant men, is John Breckenridge Ellis, of Plattsburg a man of fine mental attainments and broad culture, gifted with a vivid imagination and a forceful command of language, and for some years a conspicuous figure in literary circles in the Central West as a writer of romance, fiction, biography and songs. His works have a large circulation throughout the United States and abroad, and many thousands of readers, otherwise unacquainted with his personality and his biography, will recall his name through the recent popular novel, "Fran," which has attained a place among the most widely read works of fiction in America.
A son of the late Dr. John William Ellis, John B. Ellis was born at Hannibal, Missouri, February 11, 1870. He is a lineal descendant of John Ellis, an early settler of Virginia, and on both sides of the house comes of patriotic stock, some of his ancestors having fought in the Revolution and in the War of 1812. Dr. John William Ellis, his father, was born at Carthage, Illinois, in 1839, and died at Plattsburg, Missouri. His grandfather, Robert Evans, was a Kentuckian. With an excellent education, the late Doctor Ellis soon after his marriage took the presidency of a college at Warsaw, Kentucky. For a number of years, until 1878, he was engaged in the practice of law at St. Louis, Missouri, then for two years was president of Woodland College at Independence, Missouri, and finally moved to Plattsburg, where he served as a minister of the Christian church and eventually became proprietor and president of Plattsburg College.
From 1900 until 1902 he was president of the Christian College at Albany, Missouri. He became widely known as an educator, a preacher, and a popular public speaker and lecturer. He was affiliated with the Masonic order in the lodge, chapter and commandery, and served as grand prelate in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Dr. John W. Ellis was married in Boone County, Kentucky, in 1864, to Miss Sallie Breckenridge, who was born in that state in 1841, a daughter of Perry Breckenridge. Her grandfather, John Breckenridge, married Nancy Ellis, a daughter of Robert Ellis, who was a soldier in the War of 1812. The name Breckenridge is one of the most honored in Kentucky and Virginia, and the entire South, and has furnished conspicuous members to the professions and politics for many years. The children of the late Dr. John W. Ellis are two sons: Perry Camby, editor of the Mississippi Valley Magazine at Quincy, Illinois; and John Breckenridge.
An attack of spinal meningitis when he was a year and a half old left J. Breckenridge Ellis unable to walk, and consequently shut out from the entire field of robust boyhood sports and occupations. With a handicap which most men would have regarded as a justifiable excuse for inaction, he developed the native talents of his mind and imagination and it is not exaggeration to say that John Breckenridge Ellis is one of the most useful citizens of northwest Missouri. Brought up in a literary atmosphere, his boyhood and youth having been spent largely in the academic surroundings in which his father moved, he began writing at the early age of thirteen, and for many years went through the discouraging routine of the literary aspirant, sending stories and other articles to magazines and publishers, and having them all come back. Concerning this phase of his career Mr. Ellis says: "I made it my motto never to give up while there was a chance to fail. And there was always a chance to fail, so I never gave up."
Graduating with honors in 1886 from the Plattsburg College, he continued with that institution for eleven years as an instructor, and for two years was a teacher in the Christian College at Albany. At the age of twenty-nine he had his first satisfying success in the literary field, when his book, "Shem," a biblical story, was accepted by publishers, but soon after its appearance the publication firm went into bankruptcy and Mr. Ellis received only about $6 in royalties. He kept on writing, and though he had to view life from a wheel-chair, he has seen much more of the world and of its affairs than most men, and has traveled over Mexico and Europe, as well as in his own country. He finally gave up educational work in order to devote himself entirely to literature. In recent years his books have had a steadily increasing popularity with each issue, and the nineteen romances that have been evolved from his brain and the interesting biography, entitled "The Story of a Life," have won the approval of all that part of the reading public that enjoy clean, pure, well-written literature. Among the published works of Mr. Ellis are the following novels: "The Woodney’s," "Lahoma," "Fran," "Third Diamond," "Little Fiddler of the Ozarks," "Something Else," "Arkansaw Cousins," "Twin Starrs," and "Red Box Clew." His most popular work has undoubtedly been "Fran," published in 1912, and at one time the best selling book in America. Among other stories and romances which have come from his pen should be mentioned "The Soul of a Serf," "Holland Wolves," "Adnah," "Dread and Fear of Kings," "Garciliaso," "Fated to Win," "Shem," "In the Days of Jehu," and "King Saul." He has also written many popular songs and a cantata.
In an interesting article in the Kansas City Times on "A Missouri Author Who Has Climbed Over Many Obstacles to Success," some further glimpses of this popular author in his life and character are found. "During warm weather Mr. Ellis lives much out of doors; he has a small, vine-covered summer house of a studio, and there he works with the song of birds in his ears and the voices of the wind whispering to him. Neighbors and old friends drop in to see him, and Plattsburg regards his success as a thing in which it has a warm and active share.
"Mr. Ellis' own opinion of his books is rather interesting. In a letter written to a friend not long ago he remarked whimsically: 'I believe some of my best novels have sold least; but I hope wide sales do not necessarily prove a bad book, and I don't believe they do.'
"The fiber of the man is interestingly shown in an incident which occurred a year or two ago. Mr. Ellis was threatened with becoming wholly blind. It might have seemed as though that were the crowning stroke of misfortune; that he might reasonably cry 'Quits' and fling his hand upon the table. But that was not his way of meeting things. He set to work at once to teach himself the Braille system of reading for the blind, and in a few months had mastered it. Happily his affliction turned out to be not so serious as the doctors had feared it would, and the author's sight was spared.
"In reading of the life of this Missouri author one cannot help being reminded of Stevenson. He has the same indomitable, gallant spirit which, soaring quite away from the infirmities of the body which encased it, was able to declare blithely that 'the world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.'"
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


THOMAS W. EVANS is one of the best known and most popular citizens of St Joseph, being cashier in the Merchants' Bank of St. Joseph, and being President of the Citizens' State Bank of Conway Springs, Kans. From 1882 to 1884 he was City Treasurer of St. Joseph and funded the city debit $919,000 in bonds, for which he was responsible. He is a veteran of the late war, having been in active service from September, 1861, till January 1866.
Mr. Evans was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, in the village of Cambridge, April 21, 1843, and is a son of the Hon. Nathan Evans, whose birth occurred on June 24, 1804, in Belmont County, of the same state, and who was a member of Congress from 1848 to 1852, being a contemporary of Clay, Webster, Calhoun and the other famous statesmen, whose names have gone down in history. Our subject's paternal grandfather, Ezra, was born in the Old Dominion and was a farmer in Loudoun County until the early part of 1804, when he re moved to Belmont County, Ohio. He was of Welch descent, tracing his ancestry back to old Christian Evans of colonial fame. His wife was of a Quaker family/ The Hon. Nathan Evans was educated in the old log schoolhouse of pioneer days, which he attended not more than a month all told. Though he was reared as a farmer he took up law, beginning practice as an attorney in Cambridge, Ohio. He was politically a Whig, and later a Republican, and was elected as Judge of the Common Pleas Court. He was almost entirely self educated, being well read and posted on different points pertaining to law, and having many a time, while a boy, studied at night for hours. He was just as a Judge and was honored and respected. In his political belief he was an active Republican and religiously, a member of the Christian church, in the faith of which he died in 1879.
Our subject's mother who was before her marriage Miss Elizabeth J. Way, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, where her father was an agriculturist. This estimable lady was called from this life in 1850. She was the mother of six children, only two of whom grew to maturity and are yet living. Alfred H., who enlisted for three months in the Sixteenth Ohio Infantry as Sergeant, was later made Captain of the One Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Ohio, serving until he was obliged to resign on account of the loss of his eyesight. He is now an attorney in Mt. Vernon, Ky. Our subject's father was again married, having one son by his second union, George E., who is superintendent of Transportation on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad with headquarters at Louisville, Ky.
Thomas W. Evans passed his boyhood in his native town, which is situated on the old National turnpike. His education was derived from the common and high schools, and when the War of the Rebellion came on he enlisted, on September 6, 1861, in Company B, Fifteenth Ohio Infantry, being mustered in at Mansfield, and at once sent to Kentucky, joining Gens. Buell and Rosecrans. The following year he took part in the battles of Shiloh, Siege of Corinth and Stone River, in the last mentioned engagement receiving a flesh wound in bis left leg, and after remaining in the hospital for some time went home on a furlough and was later detailed to the Provost-Marshal's office in Columbus, Ohio.
After the battle of Chickamauga Mr. Evans was ordered to join his regiment, and on his way was detailed on the gunboat “Rosecrans” for thirty days, going back and forth on the Cumberland between Nashville and Fort Donelson. He joined his regiment at Chattanooga two days after the battle of Mission Ridge thence marched to Strawberry Plains, when he with the others veteranized, having a furlough to return home for thirty days. Returning to Chattanooga he joined Sherman on the Georgia Campaign, participating in the following named battles: Buzzard's Roost, Pumpkin Vine Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Snake Creek, and Peach Tree Creek, being under lire all the time to Atlanta and never off duty. In that city he was in the Fourth Army Corps and then returned to Nashville, taking part in the battle of Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, following Hood through Jonesboro, Eastern Tennessee, then back to Nashville, remaining in the service until the close of the war, being mustered out at San Antonio, Tex., November, 1805, and receiving an honorable discharge on his return home at Columbus, Ohio, about December 28, 1865.
Mr. Evans soon after this went to work as a clerk in a drug store in Cambridge, where he was for fourteen months, and then in 1867 went on a trip to Minnesota. In December of that year he made another western trip, going to Plattsmouth, Neb., where he took a position as bookkeeper in the banking firm of Tootle, Hannah & Clark, remaining with them until 1871 when the bank was changed to the First National and he was made its Assistant Cashier, which position he held until 1874, when he resigned. He was for six weeks Cashier of the State Bank of Nebraska, at Crete, when he left in order to take the place of Assistant Cashier in the First National Bank of St. Joseph, with whom he was engaged until they sold out in 1878. The Merchants' Bank succeeding the First National Bank of St. Joseph, he was made Assistant Cashier, was with them for two years as such, and then became its Cashier. In the latter capacity he served until the bank changed hands in 1887, when he retired from active business for a time, traveling for three years in Idaho, Oregon and Kansas. In 1888 he went to New York and in the following year came to this city. In July, 1800, he bought an interest here and was made Cashier of the Merchants' Bank which has a capital stock of $200,000.
In Memphis, Tenn., was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Evans and Miss Mary C. Venable, in 1869. Mrs. Evans was born in DeKalb County, Mo., and is the daughter of Joseph Venable, who was well known in that locality. Our subject is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, and is Past Commander of Ouster Post, No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic. He was Chief Mustering Officer on staff of Hiram Smith, Jr., who was Department Commander in 1888.
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Buchanan and Clinton Counties, Missouri. Publ. 1893. Transcribed by Charlotte Slater)

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