Biography of Franklin A. Jewell

Franklin A. Jewell. That distinctive ability of leadership in many affairs which had always been associated with the Jewell family in Crawford County had been a conspicuous possession of Franklin A. Jewell, who still lives at Arcadia, the old family seat.

The eldest son of the late Lewis R. Jewell, a founder of Arcadia, and grandson of Colonel Jewell, whose distinguished career as a Kansas pioneer and soldier had been sketched elsewhere, Franklin A. Jewell was born in a little log house on the neutral lands now part of Crawford County, near Arcadia June 30, 1867.

His early training in the public schools was supplemented in the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott, and during a portion of his early manhood he taught school. He was trained to farming, and also learned the printing trade at the case. For a time he edited and published the Arcadia News, a successor of the Reporter, which had been established by his father in 1882.

Mr. Jewell for many years had been one of the active republicans in Southeastern Kansas. A very complimentary vote was given him in 1896 as republican nominee for clerk of the District Court of Crawford County. He was defeated by the alliance between the democrats and the populists. In that campaign he received a larger vote than any gentleman on his party ticket in the county. In the primaries of August, 1916, he was nominated as a candidate for member of the Legislature from the Twentieth District, and was elected representative against the incumbent nominee who was a very popular and able socialist, and an influential democratic nominee. As a representative none can question his interest in and efforts for industrial legislation for the general good of his people. He advocated on the floor of the House that an Industrial Insurance and Pension Department should be established into which department every person of legal age should have to contribute and every industrial enterprise would have to pay into the fund a per cent of its wage scale, and then to show that the state was interested in and a party to this movement it would pay one-third the total sum paid into the fund. This fund would be supervised and handled by and surplus loaned out on good securities in the state by state officials. From this fund every aged person and disabled citizen of the state would be paid a pension from a fund he had helped to make and none would feel the pangs of or be on charity.

His greatest disappointment was in not getting the educational legislation he strove for his state. He introduced two bills looking to dividing the state into larger school districts or public school units which would comprise from 1 to 50 of the present school districts. There was to be elected a board of education of 3 to supervise the schools instead of from 3 to 150 as now, the object being to consolidate the country districts into graded schools and use transportation when best interests could be served. In this public school unit would be established a high school with sufficient course of study so that its graduates would be admitted to any and all the higher state institutions of learning. All schools of the unit were to be preparatory to the high school. The state to be laid out into these units by three men to each county appointed by the governor with the county superintendent of each county. Each school unit would receive its fund necessary for building, equipping and maintenance of school from a general county unit tax fund. Mr. Jewell believes in free school books, a school per capita tax against every person of the state over twenty-one years old, and a uniformity of dress, a modified form to suit the ages, of a military drill and athletic training, nurse training, normal training along with manual training and domestic science and last but not least a fifty weeks’ term of school, keep the minds in training from the kindergarten till school days are finished.

Mr. Jewell was president of the Arcadia Town Company, for a number of years and had been and is carrying on an extensive real estate business. He is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, having attained the thirty-second degree in April, 1905, is past master of his Masonic Lodge, and a member of fraternal insurance societies. Mr. Jewell had just been elected a member of the Commandery of the State of Kansas of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

For over eighteen years Mr. Jewell was postmaster at Arcadia. He served throughout McKinley’s and Roosevelt’s administrations, and also during the Taft administration, finally leaving the office in February, 1916.

His home is on Ohio Avenue. He also owned the Jewell Block which he built in 1908 and which is occupied by five stores and eleven offices on the second floor. It is one of the finest structures of its kind in the city. Mr. Jewell is interested in holdings of rich coal and farming lands and naturally would be greatly interested in the upbuilding of his country.

Mr. Jewell and a company of his friends tendered their services to Governor Budd of California for service in the Philippine Islands early in the Spanish-American war. Mr. Jewell received a telegram from the executive secretary of the governor expressing the appreciation of the administration for the patriotism manifested by him and his comrades, but as the quota of California volunteers who answered the call of the President had already been filled, the services of Mr. Jewell and his company could not be accepted at that time. Mr. Jewell had previously spent nearly three years in California.

Mr. Jewell is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Arcadia. On January 21, 1912, he married Miss Maude E. Taylor, a daughter of J. N. and Nora Ellen (Rolen) Taylor. Her parents reside in Arcadia, and are of the leading families of Kansas and Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Jewell have three children: William Howard, born March 9, 1913; Louis Franklin, born January 14, 1915, and Eugene Taylor, born November 30, 1916, and all three were christened on Christmas day in the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1916.

People requested Mr. Jewell to state his platform when he became a candidate for representative of the Twentieth District; Mr. Jewell sat down and in a few minutes drafted his platform as follows:

“So, our platform you would know, If its planks are strong and sound, And will stand the storm of critics, Hard they strike but to rebound?

Yes, ’twill hold all Adam’s race. Alpha and Omega stand, Binding we’re our brother’s keeper On our journey down the strand.

Intemp’rance, you’re the Devil’s spoil, Well we know and all do see That you’re a giant monster doomed By the human will decree.

There’s bright and glorious dawning, In justice then we’ll meet, Capital there will Labor see And each the other’s pardon seek.

That’s the day we’ll work to hasten, Strike at class and fashion hard, For these are those that keep men thinking, They’re of higher metal barred.

It’s the home, the church, the school, That we love above all mention, Knowing they the future mould Of the boys’ and girls’ intention.

So, teacher, preacher, lawyer, judge, Buckle on your armor strong, God’s eternal laws will test you In the battles ‘gainst the wrong.”



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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