Biography of Austin Alexander Torrance

Austin Alexander Torrance. One of the newspapers of Coffey County, Kansas, that had a wide circulation and is deservedly well supported is the Lebo Star, published at Lebo, Kansas, by its founder and able editor, Austin Alexander Torrance. He is a newspaper man from the bottom up, that is he is a practical printer as well as a talented writer, a judicious exploiter of news and had a very clear and logical conception of what the public demands in its favorite journal. Mr. Torrance had been a resident of Kansas during the last thirty-three years and had had considerable newspaper experience.

Austin A. Torrance was born at Middleport in Meigs County, Ohio, August 21, 1877. His parents were Alexander C. and Margaret Ann (Pangburn) Torrance. His father was born in a pioneer log cabin on a farm in Meigs County, Ohio, October 14, 1838, and was a son of Jackson Torrance, who was born in Pennsylvania. Alexander C. Torrance served through the entire Civil war as a sergeant in Company I, Second West Virginia Cavalry, and was proud to have had General Sheridan and later General Custer as his commanders. His record was remarkable in that he was ever at the post of duty, never losing a single day, and returned home practically unharmed. He was a machinist by trade and after coming to Kansas in 1884 worked as a machinist and mechanical engineer until 1904. His death followed on February 10, 1905. He was a man of sterling character and was a deacon in the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Torrance was married in 1865 to Miss Margaret Ann Pangburn, who was born in the State of New York, March 24, 1844, a daughter of Doctor John and Anna (McDonald) Pangburn, who were natives of New York. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Torrance was a school teacher. She still survives and resided with a daughter at Jacksonville, Florida. Two sons and two daughters comprised the family. Mary, who was born in 1866, died in 1867; Mabel E., who was born March 20, 1870; James Howard, who was born January 27, 1875; and Austin Alexander.

Austin A. Torrance was seven years old when, he accompanied the rest of the family to Kansas and was educated in Barton County and was graduated from the Ellinwood High School in the class of 1896, having worked in the meanwhile in a printing office and afterward completed his knowledge of the trade. From boyhood his inclination had ever been in this direction and in 1898, when the opportunity was offered, he bought the Recorder, published at Reading in Lyon County, where he continued to issue and edit it until 1908, when he removed his plant to Lebo and here on May 1, 1908, he founded the Lebo Star. General readers of newspapers in this and other states can scarcely have failed to notice the many bright paragraphs quoted from this well edited journal. This mark of appreciation is not only flattering to Mr. Torrance but it is entirely just, for he is an exceedingly capable newspaper man. One of the features of interest appearing in every issue of the Star is the “Junk Column,” made up of clever, mildly satirical and amusing comments on people and events. Personally Mr. Torrance is a republican but the policy of his paper is independent. He served as city clerk for nine years while residing at Reading but at present gives his entire attention to his business. He had a well equipped plant and is prospering.

Mr. Torrance was married at Larned, Kansas, March 2, 1901, to Miss Nettie Belle Bryan, who was born at Reading, Kansas, July 12, 1880, and is a daughter of Harmanus A. and Bessie (Jones) Bryan. The father was born in Ohio and the mother, who is now deceased, in Wales. Mr. Torrance belongs to both the Masons and Odd Fellows.



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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