Biography of Francis Marion Abbott

Francis Marion Abbott. Prominent among the men who have been helpful factors in the development of Southeastern Kansas, is found Francis Marion Abbott, president of the Neosho Valley Bank, of Chanute. Mr. Abbott came to Neosho County in 1867 as a veteran of the Civil war, and for many years was engaged in farming, and at the same time lent his aid in various ways to the building up of this part of Kansas, where the best years of his life have been spent and where his enviable success had been gained. Whether as agriculturist, banker, public official or private citizen, he had always had the respect and confidence of his fellow-townsmen.

Mr. Abbott was born in Brown County, Ohio, August 24, 1841, and is a son of John Milton and Viletta (Newman) Abbott. His grandfather, John Abbott, was born in England, and as a young man emigrated to the United States, locating in Brown County, Ohio, where he became the owner of a good farm, and where his death occurred before the birth of his grandson. John Milton Abbott was born in 1820, in Brown County, Ohio, and was there educated, reared on a farm, and married. In 1850 he removed to Grant County, Indiana, on the Miami Reservation, where he took up a tract of 160 acres of school land. He was an industrious and enterprising farmer and accumulated 400 acres of good land, but sold some of this off, and at the time of his death, which occurred in Grant County, in 1900, was possessed of 280 acres. He was a Douglas democrat and at one time served as assessor of Grant County, but gave his principal attention to his farming operations and confined his activities in politics to casting his vote for the men and measures which he deemed would be most beneficial to his community and country. He was an active member of the Universalist Church. Mr. Abbott married Miss Viletta Newman, who was born in 1820, in Brown County, Ohio, and died in 1874, in Grant County, Indiana, and they became the parents of the following children: Francis Marion; Sarah Jane, who died in Grant County; Eliza Ann, who is the wife of Scott Walker, a farmer of Grant County, Indiana; Grear Newman, a veteran of the Civil war and retired contractor, now residing at Arkansas City, Kansas; Elvira Elizabeth, who is the wife of Isaac Wright of Tinkersham, California, owner of a ranch and fruit and chicken farm; David Sidwell, who died at the age of twenty-four years in Grant County, Indiana; John Milton, who is a retired farmer and resided in that county; Charles Eaton, who is unmarried and a ranch owner in New Mexico, but who makes his home at Tinkersham, California; two sons and a daughter who died in infancy; and Hamer Ulysses, who resided at Seattle, Washington.

Francis Marion Abbott received his education in the public schools of Grant County, Indiana, and remained on his father’s farm until reaching the age of twenty-two years. In 1863 he answered the call of his country for defenders of the flag during the Civil war, and enlisted in Company K, One Hundred Eighteenth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. When his first term of service expired he veteranized in Company F, One Hundred Fifty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, the greater part of his service being in Eastern Tennessee. After his first enlistment he was mustered out of the service at Indianapolis, Indiana, and at the close of the war was mustered out and honorably discharged at Louisville, Kentucky.

As a result of the hardships and privations of a soldier’s life, Mr. Abbott was sick for a year after he had returned to his home, but by April, 1867, had partially recovered, and, being anxious to try his fortunes in the West, came to Neosho County, Kansas, where he took up a claim of 160 acres, eight miles south of Chanute. There he resided for seventeen years, cultivating his fields and harvesting his crops, and through good management and hard work making a success of his operations. He is still the owner of 350 acres on Elk Creek. He then returned to his old home in Grant County, Indiana, on a visit, and subsequently went to the New Orleans Cotton Exposition of 1884. On his return to Kansas he purchased a residence at No. 623 South Highland Avenue, in Chanute, and there he still makes his home. Mr. Abbott’s activities in Kansas have also invaded the field of education, he having taught thirty-one terms. For four years he taught in the schools of Chanute, and for eight years he was superintendent of schools of Thayer. While he is practically retired from active labor, he still looks after his extensive property interests and acts as president of the Neosho Valley Bank, a position for which he is well fitted by nature and training. He had made it one of the strong banking houses of this section, with the confidence of an army of depositors and a high reputation in financial circles of the country. Mr. Abbott maintains an independent stand in politics. As an independent he was elected assessor of Canville Township, in which community his farms are located, and in which office he served one year, and since coming to Chanute had been a member of the council seven years, and mayor in 1909 and 1910. In his official capacities he displayed much executive ability, and during his administration the City of Chanute had its affairs handled in a clean, expeditious and business-like way. He had helped in building up the city, having assisted in the building of at least forty residences through loans. Mr. Abbott belongs to the Commercial Club and is fraternally affiliated with Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; and Chanute Lodge No. 385, Order of the Eastern Star. He also helds membership in Chanute Post, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he is past commander, having been commander for three years, and is an ex-member of the Fraternal Aid Union, his policies in that society having matured.

Mr. Abbott was married March 8, 1868, at Knox, Stark County, Indiana, to Miss Sarah Jane Loring, daughter of John and Nancy (Cain) Loring, farming people who are now both deceased. To this union there have been born two children: Jessie, a graduate of the Chanute High School and of the Quincy (Illinois) Business College, who taught school and was a bookkeeper for several years before her marriage to Thomas Randolph Jones, and died in 1913, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where Mr. Jones is engaged in the lumber business; and Francis Marion, Jr., a graduate of the State Normal School, at Emporia, Kansas, who resided at Dallas, Texas, and is engaged in the automobile business.



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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