Biography of Henry McMillan

Henry McMillan. A truly useful and justly honored citizen of Kansas, widely known in business, politics and public affairs generally is Henry McMillan, formerly and for years a member of the Upper House of the State Leglslature and strongly mentioned in recent years for nomination for governor, and for four comsecutive terms mayor of his home city, Minneapolis. He came to Kansas in 1885, and few men under the same circumstances in the interval have accomplished more deflnite results or achieved more for their communities in the way of solid and substantial progress.

Henry McMillan was born at New Milford in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, August 27, 1856. His parents were Daniel and Sarah (Leach) McMillan, both of Revolutionary stock. On the paternal side, Daniel McMillan, the grandfather, was a man of military prowess during the days of the border warfare in the Mohawk Valley, and during the Revolutionary war belonged to a contingent on duty in Sehoharie Obunty, New York, On the maternal side, the Leaches and the Corbetts were early New England colonists, the latter coming from England prior to King Phillip’s war in 1675. Lawrence Leach, the maternal ancestor settler, landed at Salem, Massachusetts, June 29, 1629, and the family is yet prominent in New England. Hezekiah Leach, Sr., was the Revolutionary ancestor and died in 1823. It is related that while a pension was due him for his war service he never applied for it until 1818, when seventy-eight years old, and he lived but five years longer to enjoy it. His patriotic attitude might be contrasted with survivors of some wars in later years. He was a member of the Connectiout State Regulars. His home remained at Stonington, Connectient, until 1818, when the weight of years caused him to go to the home of his son, Capt. Hezekiah Leach, who was a prominent man of New Milford, Pennsylvania, and was the grandfather of Henry McMillan.

Daniel McMillan, father of Henry McMillan, was born in 1803, in Schoharie County, New York, and died at New Milford, Pennsylvania, in 1884. He was a farmer all his active life and always voted the solid democratic ticket. His parents had moved to Snsquehanna County, Pennsylvania, in his boyhood and that remained his home throughout life, and there he became a man of consequence and held many local offlces because of his good judgment and sterling integrity. He married Sarah Leach, who was born in Pennsylvania, in 1810, and died at New Milford in 1893. Of their family of ten children Henry was the youngest, the others being: Lucien, who was an accountant by profession, served in a Pennsylvania regiment in the Civil war, and died in New York City; Albert P., who came to Kansas in 1864, died at Wamego, this state, in February, 1917, having been a large contractor for the Union Pacific Railroad Company for many years; Daniel Frazier, who served two years in the Civil war, as a member of Company D, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, developed consumption and died shortly after his return to his home in New Milford; Lewis, who was a commercial traveler, died at New Milford; Angus, who died unmarried at Holden, Missouri, was a retired business man; Frank, who is a resident of Warsaw, New York, is a commercial traveler for a large mercantile establishment; Josephine, the wife of Col. John T. Bradley, a prominent attorney in Oklahoma, who served in the Civil war and later was a colonel in the Kansas National Guard; Harriet, deceased, was the widow of L. B. Smith, a pioneer business man of Wamego, Kansas; and Cornelia, the wife of A. S. Benedict, who is foreman of a fine leather goods manufacturing plant at Great Bend, Pennsylvania.

Henry McMillan attended the public schools of New Milford and in 1877 was graduated from Montrose Academy, Pennsylvania. For the next eight years he was connected in a business capacity with a mercantile house at Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, but in 1885 he came to Kansas and in association with his brother, A. P. McMillan, established a mercantile business in Minneapolis, Kansas. They continued together until 1890, when A. P. McMillan retired and in 1893 Henry McMillan sold his interest. In the meanwhile he had become otherwise interested, lands, cattle, wheat and corn all claiming his attention along modern business lines. At present Mr. McMillan owned a farm of 640 acres of rich bottom land situated 1 1/2 miles northwest of Bennington, Kansas; also 640 acres three miles north of Bennington; 100 acres, also bottom land, lying one mile northeast of Minneapolis; and in addition a handsome modern residence on Rothsay Avenue, Minneapolis, erected in 1900.

It is not possible to go far in considering Mr. McMillan’s career without commenting on his political activities and recalling the useful services he had rendered to the public. Beared in the democratic party, he had always adherred to its basie principles and had been the standard bearer of his party in many campaigns. He was twice elected to the State Senate from the thirty-first senatorial district and served from 1901 to 1903 and again from 1913 to 1915. His entire record reflects credit upon his district as well as himself, and his constituents with reluctance accepted his dictum when he determined to return to private life. During his first period in the Senate he served on many important committees, ineluding the ways and means and cities of the second class, and it was his bill that made railroad commissioners elective instead of appointive, which act was highly indorsed by the business interests of the state. On account of this popular measure Mr. McMillan was made president of the State Federation of Commereial Interests, comprising large milling, manufacturing and wholesale business interests in the state. He also introduced and championed a bill doing away with free passes and it may be added that Senstor McMillan was the only man in the State Legislature in 1901 and 1903 who did not travel on a pass.

In the sessions of 1913-1915 Mr. McMillan was chairman of the Railroads and Corporations Committee and served also on the following committees: Federal and state affairs, judicial apportionments, manufactures and industrial pursuits, state Lihrary and ways and means. He introduced the bill that was passed relative to co-operative business associations, and was instrumental in introducing and having passed numerous other bills in the interests of his constituents. In public regard he was associated with the most distinguished men in the state, and was drafted for the railroad commission on the same ticket as General Harris. Subsequently he was a candidate for the office of lieutenant governor on the ticket with J. T. Botkin, In the last state campaign Senator McMillan was prominently mentioned for nomination for governor, but he did not care to press his claims.

No less had Mr. McMillan been important in local circles. In 1905 certain conditions arose that resulted in his becoming the citizens’ candidate for mayor and he was elected to the office and was re-elected thrice afterward, serving as mayor of Minneapolis for four consecutive terms. His administration was productive of the greatest good, during this time public spirited enterprises being established that have been of inestimable beneflt to the city, notably the building of the new iron bridge over Solomon River and the acquiring of the City Park. Also during his official terms the admirable public utilities that have made Minneapolis one of the modern cities of the state were installed, this city now having a fine city waterworks plant and a system of sanitary sewers. He had given encouragement to the investment of capital in substantial business concerns in the county and is president of the Ottawa County Oil Company.

At Minneapolis, Kansas, in 1886, Mr. McMillan married Miss Mary Markley, who is a daughter of the late Israel and Mary (Link) Markley. Israel Markley was a large owner of real estate and did much to develop Ottawa County. He was the first settler on the townsite of Minneapolis and built the first flour mill. Senator and Mrs. McMillan have one daughter, Blanche, who was born May 3, 1901. The family be longs to Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, in which Senator McMillan had been a vestryman for many years.

Like many public men in these strenuons times, Senator McMillan had not given much attention to organisations or societics designed mainly for recreation, but he had long been deeply intereated in two old fraternal bodies, the Knights of Pythias and the Odd Fellows, and had been honored officially in both. In 1912 he was elected grand chancellor of the Knights of Pythias for the State of Kansas and served one term, during which time he succeeded through hard work in lifting a heavy indebtedness. He belongs to Rescue Lodge No. 224, of which he is past chancellor commander, as well as past grand chancellor of the state. He belongs to Minneapolis Lodge No. 97, Odd Fellows, and is past noble grand of the same, and is a member of the Committee of Appeals and Grievances of the grand lodge of the state. He prizes very highly the inherited privilege of belonging to the Sons of the American Revolution. He is, withal, a sound, practical man of affairs and is a vital factor in the Minneapolis Commercial Club.



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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