Biography of Nathan L. Hollowell

Nathan L. Hollowell is grand keeper of records and seals for the Knights of Pythias of the State of Kansas. He had his offices in the Husted Building at Kansas City, Kansas, and had been a resident of that city for several years. The office is an elective one and for an annual term. Mr. Hollowell became grand keeper May 15, 1910, and had been re-elected every year since then. He had long been prominent in the Knights of Pythias order and became active in the fraternity while living in Indiana. In that state he was a member of the Grand Lodge and came to know some of the foremost members of the order in Indiana. On coming to Kansas he was admitted to the Grand Lodge, and in 1887 was elected to the office of grand master at arms, and in 1888 advanced to grand prelate. In 1889 he became grand vice chancellor and in 1890 grand chancellor. In 1898 he was chosen supreme representative of the Supreme Lodge, and that dignity he enjoyed until 1906.

Mr. Hollowell is an old timer of Kansas, and for many years was closely identified with the business and political life of Kingman County. He was born in the small town of New London, Indiana, September 4, 1853, but during infancy his parents removed to Kokomo, Indiana. His people were all Quakers. Two brothers of the name, Jonathan and William, came out of England to America after the Revolutionary war. William settled in Massachusetts and Jonathan in North Carolina. Both branches of the family now have numerous representatives in various states. The Hollowells are still in North Carolina, and a remarkable coincidence is that William Hollowell holds the same office in the Grand Lodge of the Knights of Pythias in North Carolina as Nathan L. does in Kansas. Though they were Quakers, some of the family fought as soldiers in the Mexican war, and an older brother of Nathan, named Charles, was a private during the latter part of the Civil war. He is still living at Kokomo, Indiana.

Nathan L. Hollowell was one of the eight children, all now living but one, born to Joseph E. and Deborah (Dixon) Hollowell. His father was born in North Carolina and his mother in Indiana. The father came with his parents to Indiana and they settled on an Indian reservation. Joseph Hollowell became a merchant, but before the war was a packer and tanner. For a number of years he conducted a store at Kokomo. Finally, owing to ill health, he moved out to Kansas in 1878, locating in Wichita, but was not active in business after coming to this state. He died while on a visit to his old home in Indiana in 1884. His widow is still living and makes her home in Chicago. Though ninety-seven years of age she retains most of her faculties and passes her hours largely with needlework. She lives with her son, Edgar, the youngest of the family, and now secretary of the Arms Palace Horse Car Company.

Nathan L. Hollowell grew up in Kokomo, Indiana, attended the common schools there, and his higher education was acquired in some of the staid old Quaker institutions of Indiana. He attended the Spiceland Academy in Henry County and Earlham College at Richmond, Indiana, the oldest and best known Quaker college in the Middle West. He graduated in 1876 and soon afterwards took up the profession of pharmacist and became a registered pharmacist in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

Acting on the advice of his father he came out to Western Kansas in 1880 and located in Kingman, where, through the influence of a friend, he secured work in a drug store. Kingman at the time had only 100 inhabitants. He operated a drug store and was one of the pioneer men in business and also in politics. After the county was organized he served on the first board of elections, and at that time the county had only two precincts. He helped build the first frame house on the south side of the river at Kingman, and he himself took up a homestead claim five miles from town and lived in a sod house while proving up and breaking the sod with ox teams. He served as assistant postmaster under Garfield and Arthur. Kingman had no railroads at the time and mail and people were transported by way of stage from Hutchinson to Medicine Lodge. He spent four years as assistant postmaster, and in the meantime continued in the drug business. For four years he served as under sheriff and for two years was in the district clerk’s office. He was very active in early day republican politics in Western Kansas and for many years served as delegate to congressional and state conventions. From 1891 to 1894 Mr. Hollowell was receiver of the First National Bank of Coldwater, Kansas, and was then appointed by Governor Morrill as assistant superintendent of the Hutchinson State Reformatory. He filled that office from 1894 to 1898 and for one year was acting superintendent. Having removed to Hutchinson in the meantime Mr. Hollowell engaged in the plumbing business there, and succeeded in developing a large enterprise. He established a branch at Wichita, and was a chief factor in developing the R. O. Rodolf Plumbing Supply Company, of which concern he was secretary. He prosecuted his business affairs with such success that he was able to retire and sell out in 1909.

On June 5, 1890, Mr. Hollowell married Miss Minnie Cooley of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They have one son, Alvin Cooley, who took a course in electrical engineering at the University of Kansas and is now storekeeper for the water and light department of Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr. Hollowell had filled all the chairs in the local lodge of Knights of Pythias, and had his local membership at Warwick Lodge No. 44 at Wichita. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Modern Woodmen of America and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. During his life in Western Kansas he gave an earnest support to churches and schools, and for four years was a member of the Wichita Board of Education. Mrs. Hollowell is active in the work of the Episcopal Church and had given much of her time to charity and church causes.



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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