Biography of Hugh Philip Farrelly, Hon.

During a period of thirty years Hon. Hugh Philip Farrelly had been a member of the Kansas bar, and few men have a better record for straightforward and high professional conduct, or for success earned with honor and without arimosity. Mr. Farrelly, who had practiced at Chanute since 1887, is a man of scholarly attainments and exact and comprehensive knowledge of the law, and, while an active democrat and an ex-member of the Kansas State Senate, is at present concerned chiefly with the pressing and constantly broadening duties of his profession.

Hugh Philip Farrelly was born September 2, 1858, on a farm in Greene County, Illinois, a son of Hugh Philip and Elizabeth (Brewer) Farrelly. His father was born in 1818, in County Cork, Ireland, and came to the United States about the year 1838, locating’ first in Maryland. He became interested in the construction of railroads and canals, and as a contractor in this line went to Virginia, where he was married to Elizabeth Brewer, who was born near Harper’s Ferry, that state, in 1818. Later Mr. Farrelly went to New York, and finally to Green County, Illinois, where he was engaged in farming up to the time of his death, which occurred August 26, 1858, one week before the birth of his son, Hugh P. The father was reared in a devout Roman Catholic family and it had been his parents’ wish that he enter the priesthood, so that he was given an excellent aducation in his youth, but the young man’s inclinations led in another direction, and he was never ordained. Mrs. Farrelly aurvived until 1878, and died in Greene County. There were the following children in the family: Margaret Ann, who died in Greene County, Illinois, as the wife of John Gough, a retired farmer of that county; Mary Ellen, who also died in that county, being the wife of the late John Meneley, a farmer there; James K. Polk, who died in Greene County as a retired farmer and stockman; George W., who came to Neosho County, Kansas, in 1878, and settled near Chanute as a farmer, and died while filling his second term as postmaster of Chanute in 1898; John Thomas, who resided at Denver, Colorado, and is a stationary engineer; Rosa and Virginia, who both died when young; and Hugh Philip.

Hugh Philip Farrelly attended the rural schools of Greene County, Illinois, and was graduated from the high school at Greenfield, that state, in 1877. Following this, he embarked upon his career as an educator, and for five years taught at varjous places in the same vicinity, boing principal of the school at Rockbridge in 1882. When he gave up the educator’s profession, he engaged for a few months in the newspaper business at Rockbridge, subsequently buying the Carrollton Gazette, which he conducted for three years, and during this time studied law in the office of Henry C. Withers. In 1886 he successfully passed an examination before the Supreme Court of Illinois, was admitted to the bar, and began practice at Carrollton, that state, where he remained for 1 1/2 years.

Deciding that greater opportunities for the display of his talents were to be found in Kansas, in October, 1887, Mr. Farrelly came to Chanute, and this city had since continned to be his home and the scene of his success in the law. He had a large and important clientele, and had been identified with much of the important litigation of the state, in the district, supreme and federal courts, always fighting for the rights of the masses and displaying eminent abilities as a profound, learned and thorongh legist, equally at home in any department of his profession. His offices are at this time located in the Farrelly Building, on West Main Street.

Mr. Farrelly had always been a democrat, and for many years had been prominent in the ranks of his party in Kansas. In 1890 he was elected county attorney of Neosho County, and served in that capacity until 1894. His excellant services did much to bring him prominently before the people in a favorable light, and in 1896 he was elected to the Kansas Senate. While there he was one of the most active members of the body. In 1897 he introduced and secured the enactment of the Breidenthal Banking Law, which had been recognized for years as one of the best banking laws ever enacted and had been copied by many states. In the session of 1899 he introduced the Breidenthal Bank Gnaranty Law and secured its passage in the Senate. In the sessions of 1897 and 1898 he worked diligently for a law flxing a tax on gross incomas of insurance companies, and the existing law was finally passed and yields a revenne to the state of over $250,000 annually. As a member of the senate in 1897 he voted for and assisted in procuring the passage of a resolution providing for the Initiative and Referendum, and in the sessions of 1897, 1898 and 1899 took an active part in the enactment of many good laws, always co-operating with the then fusion majority in the Senate. Among these laws may be mentioned: Australian Ballot Election Law, School Text Book Law, amendments to the corporation laws, law providing for election of a state printer, law creating the State Society of Labor and laws requiring a laborer’s pay in cash and providing for safety in mines. In 1897 he prepared, introduced and secured the enactment of the existing Kansas Anti-Trust Law, which had been vigorously attacked and tested, but which had been sustained in every partieular in which it had been presented in the courts, state and federal, including the United States Supreme Court.

In 1902 Mr. Farrelly was chairman of the democratie state convention at Wichita and in 1906 held the same position at Topeka, was chairman of the democratic state committee in 1902 and a delegate to the national convention of his party in 1904. In 1908, when there was no hope of success, but purely in the interest of the democratic party, he made a vigorous campaign for the office of United States Senator, and in 1912 in the primary, when he had three opponents, polled 1,690 votes more than any of them, but under the law existing at that time did not receive the nomination, which he lost by but one district. In 1914, in a field of seven candidates, he was second when the votes were counted.

Mr. Farrelly is a member of the state and national bar associations, and belongs to the Chanute Commercial Club. He is one of the prominent fraternalists of the state, holding membership in Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Chanute Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons; Chanute Commandery No. 44, Knights Templars; and Mirza Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrins, of Pittsburg, Kansas. He was master of his Blue Lodge two years, and high priest of his chapter for one year. He belongs also to Chanute Lodge No. 96, Anclent Order of United Workmen; Chanute Camp No. 852, Modern Woodmen of America; Chanute Lodge No. 110, Knights and Ladies of Security; Chanute Council No. 44, Sons and Daughters of Justice; the Fraternal Aid Union; Lodge No. 806, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and Chanute Lodge of the Knights of Pythias.

On June 2, 1885, in Greene County, Illinois, Mr. Ferrelly was united in marriage with Miss Ella F. Robinson, daughter of the late Thomas C. and Eliza Robinson, pioneers of Greene County, Illinois. The two children born to this union, Mabel and Minnie, both died in infancy.

The editor-in-chief wishes to add that he had known Mr. Farrelly many years. He is one of the foremost citizens of Kansas. He is one of a small number of lawyers recognized as standing at the head of the Kansas bar. He is a splendid example of the self-made, self-reliant, indspendent American. He had public spirit, and his word is his bond. He is genial, whole-souled, and a good neighbor. He is held in high regard by the people, and he is known to almost the entire population of the state. For character, intelligence and achievement he is among the first citizens of Kansas.



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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