Biography of J. B. Sewell

Postmaster and for many years a merchant at Bolton, J. B. Sewell had lived in Montgomery County forty-five years, and is one of the men of sterling citizenship who have contributed on every hand to progress and prosperity in this seetion of the state.

He is descended from a family of Sewells that in colonial times located in Maine at the Town of Sewell. Later a branch moved south to North Carolina, and Mr. Sewell’s grandfather, William D. Sewell, was born in that state in 1783. He afterwards moved over the mountains into Tennessee, located on a farm there, and was a local preacher of the Baptist denomination, and beginning at the age of twenty presched to a single congregation in Overton County for more than fifty years. He died in Tennessee in 1878, when near a hundred years of age. His wife Susan was born in North Carolina in 1788 and died in Overton County, Tennessee, in 1878.

It was in Overton County, Tennessee, near Livingston that J. B. Sewell was born June 11, 1854. His father, J. G. Sewell, was born in the same state December 6, 1829, grew up and married there and in 1871 set out with his family, crossed the country and on the 16th day of July arrived in Independence. About ten miles from that city but in Montgomery County he secured a claim of 160 acres, and that land, subsequently well improved, is part of his estate and is situated about a mile and a half south of Bolton. J. G. Sewell died in Montgomery County December 29, 1882. He was a Democrat, acrved on the school board, was a deacon in the Baptist Church, and for many years was a loyal Mason affiliating with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Aneient, Free and Accepted Masons. He and five brothers participated in the Civil war on the Confederate side. Every one of them was wounded, but none killed. J. G. Sewell served three years under Captain McGinnis and Colonel Forrest, and was in many of the important cngagements, including Shiloh and was wounded at Murfreesboro. J. G. Sewell married Catherine Ann Maybury, who was born in Tennessee June 22, 1834, and died in Montgomery County, Kansas November 29, 1915, when nearly eighty years of age. Her oldeat child, Martha Jane, died at the age of sixteen. The second child and oldest son is J. B. Sewell. W. C. Sewell, a twin brother of J. B., is a retired farmer living in Independence. A. C. Sewell is given more extended mention in later paragraphs.

J. B. Sewell grew up on his father’s Tennessee farm, was seventeen when he came to Kansas, and remained with his father in Montgomery County until he was twenty-two. In the meantime he had married and on leaving the old home he took up farming for himself in Montgomery County. In March, 1888, having sold his farm, he opened a stock of general merchandise at Bolton, and for some years also conducted a grain and stock business. He now gives his attention entirely to merchandising, had a well stocked general store, and since the administration of President Taft had been postmaster of Bolton. He had been prospered as he deserves, and is one of the well-to-do and influential citizeas of Montgomery County. His residence at Bolton is surrounded by four acres of ground, and he also had a third interest in his father’s old homestead.

Politically he had kept an independent attitude. He was once a candidate for sheriff and once a candidate for representative on the populist ticket. His principal service had been rendered to his home county and community. He had served as a member of the township board of trustees and had frequently been elected to the school board. He is a member and elder of the Christian Church, and fraternally is a past noble grand of Lodge No. 69, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and a member of Camp No. 649, Modern Woodmen of America, and of the A. H. T. A.

When only nineteen years of age, in 1873 in Montgomery County, Mr. Sewell married Miss Mary M. James, a daughter of J. L. and Martha Ann James. Her mother is now deceased. The father lived with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hudson during the latter part of his life. He was a farmer all his active career. Mr. and Mrs. Sewell have a fine family of ten children: Everett Wayman, who died at the age of three weeks; Henry Seymour, who is in the grocery business at Independence; Etta, who died in 1905 at Bolton, married W. B. Scott, who is an oil operator at Independence; Lloyd lives on the homestead farm; Mattie May is the wife of F. A. Lynch, living on a farm three miles northwest of Bolton; Minnie married Walter Bates, who is in the lumber business at Iola; Gertrude is the wife of George Mills, a stock buyer and farmer living at Independence; Gracie Ann married Earl Dematt, who works for the Prairie Oil & Gas Company, and lives in Independence, Kansas; Lillie married W. H. Adams, who works in the oil fields and lives at Independence; Ethel is now a senior in the Montgomery County High School.


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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