Biography of Lewis D. Raynolds

Lewis D. Raynolds. One of the prosperous and prominent farmers of Jewell County, and a man who had been identified with various of the activities of life, Lewis D. Raynolds, of Mankato, is not of that type who had had fortune and prosperity thrust upon him by inheritance and, perhaps, increased it by careful management. His large property, his satisfying competency, his prominent connection with a number of enterprises, and his high and substantial standing as a citizen have been acquired by individual force of character, by industry, perseverance and intelligent effort, founded upon the strictest honor. Starting as a simple homesteader of land in Jewell County in 1873, he is now the owner of a large and valuable property and the repository of important interests, and no citizen in the community had a higher standing. Since 1893 he had been identified with the Spiritualists of this country and had attended six of the annual conventions of the National Spiritualists Association as delegate from the State Spiritualists Association, and during the past three years had been president of the state organization, with his headquarters at Kansas City.

Lewis D. Raynolds was born in Pike County, Ohio, September 24, 1847, a son of J. W. and Judith (Ruckman) Raynolds. The family of which he is a member originated in England and was founded in the American Colony of Virginia by one Jeffrey Raynolds, who immigrated to this country at an early day, leaving his native land at the time of the great London plague. George W. Raynolds, the grandfather of Lewis D. Raynolds, was born at Zanesville, Ohio, served in the War of 1812 under Gen. William H. Harrison, and fought the Indians, and subsequently became a merchant at Beavertown, Ohio. He passed his entire life in the Buckeye State and died in Pike County about the year 1847.

J. W. Raynolds was born in 1825, in Pike County, Ohio, and was there reared and educated. Five years after his marriage he removed to Marion County, Iowa, where he became a pioneer farmer, and in 1869 located near Belleville, Republic County, Kansas, in which community he homesteaded 160 acres of land. He continued to be engaged in successful agricultural operations during the remaining years of his life, and died on his farm in 1876. Mr. Raynolds was a sturdy abolitionist, a free state man and an adherent of the principles of the republican party. He represented the type of men who located on unimproved farms during the era of the state’s growth and development, and though his residence in Kansas was not of long duration, while he was here he contributed his share to the movements which made for progress. He was a faithful member of the United Brethren Church. Mrs. Raynolds was born in 1827, in Pike County, Ohio. She still survives, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Seymour of Mankato. Shortly after the death of her husband she became a Spiritualist and had been a devoted advocate of that faith ever since. There were six children in the family, as follows: Lewis D., of this notice; Mary E., who is the wife of Robert A. Wilson, a farmer of the Saskatchewan country in Canada; John, who died at the age of eight years; Sarah, who resided at Mankato and is the widow of the late Dr. D. R. Seymour, a physician and surgeon of this city; Isaac, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and Lincoln, who died when twenty-four years old.

Lewis D. Raynolds was educated in the public schools of Marion County, Iowa, and was reared on his father’s farm until he was eighteen years of age, at which time he entered the office of the register of deeds of Winterset, the county seat of Madison County, Iowa. There he did clerical work as deputy register of deeds for a few months, following which he began mail contracting in Iowa, a business which he followed for eight years with a measure of success. Coming to Kansas in 1873, he located in Jewell County as a homesteader of 160 acres of land located two miles east of Mankato, and this land he still owned, in addition to other farms in Jewell County and some 600 acres of the best oil lands to be found in Elk County. Mr. Raynolds continued to be engaged in cultivating his homestead until it was proved up, and in 1879 came to Mankato, where for two years he conducted a newspaper, the Jewell County Review. His next business experience was as proprietor of a drug store, which he owned for five years, and at the end of that period went to Montrose, Jewell County, and embarked in a lumber and general merchandise, livestock and grain business, with which he was identified for another half-decade. Going then to Chicago, he was the editor of the Chicago Express and the Chicago Sentinel, newspapers, for about five years, and in 1896 was the publisher of a well-known work, “The National Platforms and Political History of the United States,” which was received very favorably by the public and well treated by the press and contemporary reviews. Since that time he had issued a booklet, “Era of Science and Reason,” which had had a wide circulation. In 1902 he returned to Montrose, where he again engaged in shipping livestock and grain, along with a general merchandise and lumber business until 1909, and in the meantime also carried on extensive operations as a dealer in real estate. Since 1910 his connection with the Kansas State Spiritualists’ Association had occupied most of his time, and in 1914 he was made president of the organization, a position which he still retains. Since 1910 he had spent the greater part of his time at Kansas City, where he had his home, although he still retains interests at Mankato. Mr. Raynolds had seen numerous changes in this part of Kansas since the last buffalo slain in Jewell County was killed on his claim in 1873, and during the forty-four years of his residence here had taken an active part in many important movements. He had always maintained an independent stand in politics, and in 1892 was presidential elector of the peoples and democratic fusion party, which supported James B. Weaver for the presidency.

In 1867 Mr. Raynolds was married in Marion County, Iowa, to Miss Tabitha Moon, and they had four children: Dr. Elmer L., of whom more later; Clara E., who is the wife of Wayne Clark, a farmer of Mankato, and they have three daughters, Amy, Ethel and Mildred, all taking high rank among the teachers of the county; William L., of whom a review follows later in this article; and May, who is the wife of a physician and surgeon, Dr. Sanford Wells, of Kansas City, Missouri, and is herself a practitioner of medicine and surgery. They have one daughter, Dorothy, born July 29, 1907. Mr. Raynolds was again married, wedding Miss Melva Van Dyke, who died in 1908, at Montrose, and they had one daughter, Lillian, who was born September 28, 1905, and is now attending the public school in the seventh grade.

Dr. Elmer L. Raynolds,elder son of Lewis D. Raynolds and the second oldest physician in point of practice at Mankato, had made rapid strides in his profession since opening his office here in 1901, being now numbered among the leading physicians and surgeons of the county. He was born at Chariton, Iowa, August 27, 1868, and secured his early education in the public schools of Mankato, following which he attended the Western Normal College at Shenandoah, Iowa, from which he was graduated in 1888. Subsequently he was a student in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for nearly two years, and he had attended three medical colleges at Kansas City, Missouri. In 1901 he was graduated from the Eclectic Medical College, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Since that time he had done post-graduate work at Kansas City on several occasions, and still continues to be a close and careful student of his profession, keeping fully abreast of its various and continued advancements. In 1901 Doctor Raynolds began the work of his calling at Mankato and since that time had built up a large, important and lucrative practice, his present offices being on Commercial Street. He owned his own residence on High Street, as well as much farming property in Jewell County, and is variously connected with business affairs. His standing in his profession is attested by the fact that he is secretary of the Jewell County Medical Society and that his fellow practitioners recognize in him a man who had the highest regard for the ethics and responsibilities of the medical profession, and he holds membership also in the Kansas State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Independent in politics, he had not taken a very prominent part in public affairs, but had served his county in the capacity of health officer. As a fraternalist Doctor Raynolds belongs to Mankato Lodge No. 87, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Jewell Chapter No. 85, Royal Arch Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Knights of the Maccabees, in all of which he is deservedly popular.

In 1893, at Mankato, Kansas, Doctor Raynolds was united in marriage with Miss Jessie L. Forbes, daughter of D. C. and Nellie J. (Bentley) Forbes, both of whom are deceased. Mr. Forbes, who was a tailor by vocation, was a pioneer of Jewell County, coming in the early ’80s, and previous to that time had been one of the earliest white residents of Thomas County. He died in 1901, at Mankato. Doctor and Mrs. Raynolds are the parents of two children: Lewis C., born December 4, 1894, is now a farmer and stockman of Mankato. He is a graduate of the Mankato High School. Helen J. was born May 5, 1902.

William L. Raynolds,younger son of Lewis D. Raynolds, is one of the prominent members of the Mankato bar and a man widely and favorably known in important business matters of the city. His career had been one in which he had been identified with various lines of endeavor, and in each direction he had achieved success, his talents being of an extremely versatile character. Mr. Raynolds was born at Indianola, Iowa, January 31, 1873, and his early education was acquired at Mankato in the public schools, being graduated from the high school here. From Mankato he went to Shenandoah, Iowa, where he also received public school instruction, and on his return to Mankato was for two years identified with mercantile affairs. Feeling the need of further preparation, he entered the Western Normal College at Lineoln, Nebraska, from the business department of which institution he was graduated in 1892, in which year he went to Stockton, Kansas, where for one year he was associated in a drug business with his brother, Dr. Elmer L. Raynolds. In the fall of 1893 Mr. Raynolds went to Chicago, and there had experience in newspaper work associated with his father on the Chicago Express and the Chicago Sentinel, remaining in that city until 1903. In the meantime, in 1899, he entered the Illinois College of Law, and was graduated with his degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1902, and was admitted to the bar in the spring of 1903.

In 1902 Mr. Raynolds began the practice of law in the office of Scroggs & Otto, attorneys in the Marquette Building, Chicago, but in May, 1903, after his admission to the bar, returned to Mankato, where he had since had a general civil and criminal practice which had steadily gained in importance and volume. For a time he devoted himself entirely and unreservedly to the practice of his calling, but as he gradually became more and more interested in the real estate and loan business he gave it more of his time and this is now his principal business here, although he is still accounted one of the leading members of the Mankato legal fraternity. His offices are on Commercial Street, while his home is in the suburbs of Mankato, on South Street, in addition to which he owned extensive farming interests in Jewell County, and also in Nebraska and Colorado. In political affairs Mr. Raynolds is an independent democrat. He is an active member of the Christian Church and is at present serving as treasurer thereof.

Mr. Raynolds was married November 12, 1896, at Cozad, Nebraska, to Miss Nora Dillon, daughter of George D. and Lucy (Hoyer) Dillon, the former of whom, a farmer, is now deceased, while the latter survives and makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Raynolds. Mr. and Mrs. Raynolds have three children: Ruth, born November 17, 1899, a graduate, 1917, of the Mankato High School; LeRoy, born April 13, 1905, who is attending the public school as a student in the eighth grade; and Robert, who was born October 20, 1909.



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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