Biography of John Monroe Farnsworth

John Monroe Farnsworth, of Humboldt, is one of the prominent oil well contractors and oil producers in this section of Kansas and had operated on a very extensive scale both for others and for himself. He grew up in the atmosphere of the oil industry in the East, and had been a resident of Kansas for the past fifteen years.

He is of English ancestry and the family came out of England and were Colonial settlers in New York. His grandfather, John Farnsworth, was born in New York State, was a carpenter by trade, and early settled in what is now West Virginia. He died at Parkersburg in that state before John M. Famsworth was born.

John M. Farnsworth was born in Wood County, West Virginia, near Parkersburg, January 4, 1876. His father, Daniel Farnsworth, was born in the same locality in 1844, grew up and married there, and had spent practically all his life in some phase of the oil industry. He is an oil well driller, and for many years had operated in the volcano fields of West Virginia. His home is now at Eaton Station, West Virginia, Daniel Farnsworth saw some active service during the Civil war, enlisting in 1863 in the West Virginia Cavalry and serving until the close of the struggle. He is a Democrat and a member of the Baptist Church. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Cochran. She was born in Marion County, near Mannington, West Virginia, in 1849, and died at Eaton Springs in that state in 1896. They became the parents of a large family of children. Mollie is the wife of David Derr, of Eaton Station, West Virginia, Mr. Derr being a farmer and worker in the oil fields, and had also followed saw milling and threshing. Martha J., the second child, died in 1896, the wife of Mark Collins, who is a blacksmith and land owner near Claysville, West Virginia. Alfred Alonzo is in the railroad service, living at Clarksburg, West Virginia. Emnm married Moody Parish, a grocery merchant at Buckhannon, West Virginia The fifth in age of this family is John Monroe Farnsworth. Daniel N. is still unmarried and is associated with his fatber. Didama is the wife of Fred Slaughter, a minister of the United Brethren Church at Parkersburg, West Virginia. William is in the service of the United States navy and had seen many diverse parts of the world. Melissa is the wife of Mr. Hocker, an oil operator living near Mannington, West Virginia.

John Monroe Farnsworth had made his way in the world since an early age. He lived at home and attended school for a very brief period, and since the age of fourteen had been struggling in the world of events. He attended school near Walker’s Station and at Redlill Hill, West Virginia. On leaving school he found employment in the oil fields, and at some time or another had done nearly every line of work connected with that industry. He was in the West Virginia fields until he was nineteen, then went to Wood County, Ohio, and put in eleven years in that section of the oil district. In 1902 he came to Cherryvale, Kansas. As an oil driller he had charge of the Cherryvale Oil Company’s property for two years, and in 1904 he removed to Humboldt, which had since been his permanent home. For five years he had charge of the Big Gun Oil and Gas Company’s property, and also the properties of the Phoenix Oil and Gas Company and the Producers Oil Company. He resigned his position with these companies in 1909. In the meantime he had operated drilling outfits under his own management and direction, and during the past ten or fifteen years he had sunk a great many wells in the Mid-Contincnt ficld and is still keeping up that line of work. At times he had had as many as five strings of tools. Mr. Farnsworth owned valuable oil productions 5 1/2 miles southeast of Humboldt, and had already drilled in and sold sevoral leases in that vicinity.

In politics he is independent. He is affiliated with Cherryvale Lodge No. 989 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Farnsworth and family reside in a residence which he owned at 420 Sycamore Street in Humboldt, but they are moving to a large residence which he had just purchased and which was known as the Stoner’s property on Ninth Street.

In 1898 at Hammondsburg, Ohio, he married Miss Elma Jimison, daughter of Joshua and Nora (Beaty) Jimison. Her parents now reside at North Baltimore, Ohio, her father being a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Farnsworth have had three children: Cleo, born June 1, 1899, is now a freshman in the Humboldt High School; Harley died when five years of age; and Moarl was born February 3, 1905.

Hon. William Agnew Johnston,whose long and notable service on the Kansas Supreme Bench is known to all, had been a resident of Kansas since 1872.

He was born at Oxford, Ontario, Canada, July 24, 1848, a son of Mathew and Jane (Agnew) Johnston. His father, of Scotch-Irish stock, was born near Edinburgh, Scotland. A brother of Mathew at one time served as a judge of the Courts of Edinburgh. Jane Agnew was born in Belfast, Ireland.

Judge Johnston acquired his early education in the common schools and at the age of sixteen came to the United States and for a time was a student in an academy in Illinois. After that he taught school three years in Missouri and studied law in the intervals of this work. Admitted to the bar in 1872, he began practice at Minneapolis, Kansas, and continued actively in practice until his elevation to the bench.

In former years Judge Johnston took an active part in republican politics. He was a member of the House of Representatives in 1878 and was elected to the Senate in 1876. In 1879 he was appointed assistant United States attorney for Kansas, and from 1880 to 1884 served as attorney general of the state. This was during two terms, having been re-elected in 1882. Judge Johnston became an associate justice of the Supreme Court to fill the unexpired term of Judge Brewer. He was elected for a full term in 1888, and since then had been regularly re-elected at each six year interval. It is said that no one had ever contested an election with Judge Johnston since his first term, and in 1900 he was renominated by acclamation. On January 10, 1903, he became chief justice, and is now in his fifteenth consecutive year of service in that dignified office. Judge Johnston was married in 1875 to Luey Brown. Mrs. W. A. Johnston is one of Kansas’ most distinguished women.



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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