Biography of Charles Reynolds Love

Charles Reynolds Love. A former Topeka citizen well remembered for his activity in business and his benevolence and splendid character was the late Charles Reynolds Love. Mr. Love came to Kansas a great many years ago, and spent many years in Topeka, where he died April 15, 1910.

He was of an old and prominent Pennsylvania family and was born at Newcastle in that state August 23, 1848. His parents were John Brown and Maria (Chenoweth) Love, both natives of Pennsylvania. Maria Chenoweth was the daughter of Arthur and Maria (Reynolds) Chenoweth, both of whom were natives of Virginia. This branch of the Chenoweth family is descended in direct line from Oliver Cromwell. The Chenoweths were among the first settlers around Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and the old farm owned by the family included land on which the court-house now stands. The Chenoweth family has furnished many statesmen and makers of history all down the line. Charles R. Love had two brothers who saw active service in the Civil war. Alfred W., one of these brothers, is now deceased, and George Pearson lives in California. Alfred was in Sherman’s army, participated in the great Atlanta campaign and the march to the sea, having enlisted from Illinois. George Pearson ran away from home at the age of sixteen in order to enlist. There was also one sister who died at the age of eighteen years.

Charles R. Love received his early education in the public schools of Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and Laharpe, Illinois. His father for a time was a hat maker in Illinois, and afterwards engaged in the mercantile business at Newcastle until death. The first business experience of C. R. Love was in a nail factory at Youngstown, Ohio. One of the proprietors of that factory was his uncle. The business was conducted under the name of Brown, Bonnell & Company, and the old organization is now part of the United States Steel Corporation. This firm conducted large plants both in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and Youngstown, Ohio.

Mr. Love was in that line of business in the East until 1876. He married Alice J. Houk, a daughter of John and Jane (Fulkerson) Houk, natives respectively of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. John Houk was an early settler at Neweastle, and his old farm is still owned by the family. Mrs. Love’s maternal grandparents possessed strong anti-slavery ideas, and had left Virginia to avoid association with the instition of slavery. Arthur Chenoweth brought the first colored man to Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. This negro had been given his freedom, but his love for his former master caused him to live on the same farm until his death. Mrs. Love’s great-grandfather Houk was a veteran of the Revolution and her grandfather was a veteran of the War of 1812. Clare Houk, an aunt of Mrs. Love, married Captain Leslie, a pioneer Ohio River steamboat captain and later founder and proprietor of the Leslie House, a noted old hostelry at Newcastle, Pennsylvania, which is still standing.

On account of ill health John Houk brought his family, consisting of his wife and two sons and Mr. and Mrs. Love, to Kansas, and secured 320 acres of raw prairie land sixteen miles from Larned, which was their best market place, and seven miles from Kinsley. Here the various members of the family engaged in general farming, and for several years they lived in a sod house and put up with all the discomforts associated with early Kansas pioneering. There were no schools or churches, and neighbors were few and far between. John Houk died on that farm August 14, 1887. His son Horace Greeley Houk had died September 28, 1881, as a result of the hardships incident to the development of a new farm in Kansas. Mrs. Houk, the mother of Mrs. Love, died in Topeka September 16, 1896. All the deceased members of the family now rest in the Garfield cemetery in Pawnee County.

Two years after coming to Kansas Mr. Love left the farm and removed to Topeka. Here he became identified with the construction department of the Santa Fe Railway as a foreman. After the death of Mrs. Love’s brother in 1881 he returned and located in the Town of Kinsley near the old homestead. There he followed employment as clerk in a hardware store until the death of Mrs. Love’s father, when the old farm was sold and Mr. and Mrs. Love then removed to Topeka. In the capital city Mr. Love engaged in the wall paper and interior decorating business and built up a very large and successful establishment.

In character he was kindly and generous, was greatly loved by children and both young and old, and was continually sacrificing his own interests in order to be helpful to others. He was also a man of splendid business judgment, and soon after coming to Topeka he bought valuable real estate at the corner of Thirteenth and Van Buren streets and built there the home which he and his family occupied for a quarter of a century. Later he bought the home at Thirteenth and Harrison streets, where Mrs. Love still resides. Politically he was a republican, was a charter members of the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was a devout Christian and closely identified with the Methodist Church.

Mr. and Mrs. Love had one daughter, Bertie M. Love, who became the wife of Prof. C. R. Forbes, of the School of Mines of the Missouri State University. Mrs. Forbes was born in Youngstown, Ohio, received her early education in Kinsley and Topeka, Kansas, and became very active in church work and was a social favorite. Her services and the hold she had upon the affections of many people made her death on February 27, 1913, almost a public calamity. She had her father’s disposition and qualities of character. The late Mr. Love was a man of great patience and was never known to complain of reverses and hardships. The Rev. Mr. Estey of Topeka, who had been intimately connected with the family ever since they took up their home in that city, paid Mrs. Forbes a beautiful tribute, praising her splendid character, the life of helpfulness and service which she had led and particularly her charity, unostentatious and sincere, bestowed upon poor and needy people.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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