Biography of Hugh Carlin

Hugh Carlin. From their quiet firesided in their comfortable homes at Salina, Kansas, there are men now retired from active life who can recall without an effort of memory the days when this busy city was little more than an Indian camping ground and pioneer conditions existed for miles adjacent. The hardy men who have been the upbuilders of Saline County have known both stirring times and hardships. They have lived in dugouts, have pursued and killed game for sustenance and have suffered from the depredations and offenses of hostile Indians. In counting the years they do not seem so many since those pioneering days, and there are many who passed through them and can tell of their dangers and pleasures. One of the well known representatives of this class is found in Hugh Carlin, retired farmer and resident of Salina, who had spent forty-five years in Saline County.

Hugh Carlin was born at Bowmanville in Ontario, Canada, November 30, 1849. His parents were Hugh and Mary (Holland) Carlin. The father was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, where he learned the trade of a weaver. In 1847 he came to Canada, and during the remainder of his life followed agricultural pursuits. In 1871 he brought his family to Kansas and took up Government land in Saline County, being one of the first settlers. In 1882 he retired from active farm work and in 1887 he died at Salina. In 1839 he was married to Mary Holland, who was born in Ireland and died in Saline County in 1887. Her parents were James and Mary Holland. Mr. and Mrs. Carlin had a family of nine children, eight sons and one daughter, all of whom were carefully reared in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church: James, who is deceased; Samuel, who is a prominent citizen of Salina; Edward, who is a resident of Salina; Hugh; Daniel, who was killed in an accident on a railroad in 1887; John, who is deceased; Thomas W. and Anne, both of whom live at Salina; and Charles, who is deceased.

Hugh Carlin attended school in Canada and afterward assisted his father and in 1871 accompanied him to Saline County, Kansas. He secured a tract of Government land and in the course of time purchased other tracts until he became a large land owner. For many years his agricultural operations were on an extensive scale and very profitable. He gave much attention to raising swine, blooded cattle and fine horses, importing Clydesdales from Scotland. In this business he was associated under the firm name of Carlin Brothers from 1871 until 1911, when the firm was dissolved. Mr. Carlin retired to Salina in the latter year, but still retains the ownership of his original homestead seven miles south of Salina. He had some other interests and since 1906 had been a director of the Farmers National Bank.

On November 15, 1893, Mr. Carlin married, in Saline County, Miss Laura T. Agin, who was born in 1862 in Pennsylvania and is a daughter of William and Margaret (Carlin) Agin. The father of Mrs. Carlin died in Philadelphia in 1915. He was awarded a bronze medal of honor by the Pennsylvania State Legislature as one of the defenders of the capital, being one of the first to offer his services on April 13, 1861. Three of his children survive: Mrs. Carlin; John F., who is a resident of Gypsum, Kansas; and Margaret Stella, who resided with Mr. and Mrs. Carlin. They have three sons and two daughters: Mary A., born October 5, 1895; Helen M., born July 2, 1897; Hugh Holland, born July 9, 1899; thomas F., born October 13, 1902; and John E., born June 27, 1905. For some years prior to her marriage Mrs. Carlin was a very acceptable teacher in Saline County.

Mr. Carlin and family are members of the Roman Catholic Church. In politics he is a democrat, but he had never consented to hold public office. He is a member of the National Geographic Society; a member of the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association, holding certificate No. 92762; and of the Lincoln Farm Association, holding certificate No. 49506.

Samuel Carlin, older brother of Hugh Carlin and also one of Salina’s retired farmer residents, was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, March 14, 1843, in the Parish of Killen. In 1847 he crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Canada and attended school for four years at Bowmanville, in Ontario. He learned the carpenter’s trade there, including bridge building, and after he came to the United States in 1865 for two years was engaged in building bridges in Tennessee. In 1867 he came to Kansas and was engaged as one of the carpenters in the construction of old Fort Harker, and in 1868 he assisted in the building of Fort Dodge. Mr. Carlin was engaged by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1869 in its bridge building department, and he was made foreman of a district extending from Ellis, Kansas, to Las Animas, Colorado, and continued in this position for three years.

In 1876 Mr. Carlin retired from work of the above kind and turned his attention to livestock, forming a partnership with his brothers Hugh and Edward and operating under the firm name of Carlin Brothers. This firm bred blooded stock, cattle and horses, on a large scale. He continued his interest in this business until 1913, when he retired.

Mr. Carlin had been a prominent factor in the democratic party in this section for many years and in 1884 was his party’s candidate for representative from Saline County, being defeated by only seven votes. He is a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church. He is gifted with fine conversational powers and his stories of early days in Kansas possess much interest, combining as they do truth, romance and adventure.



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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