Biography of Mrs. Phoebe (Read) Pinkerton

Mrs. Phoebe (Read) Pinkerton. With a dignified recognition of official responsibility and the poise and charm of an intellectual woman, Mrs. Phoebe (Read) Pinkerton, register of deeds for Clay County, impresses a visitor very favorably and in a section of country where interesting personalities are by no means lacking. Mrs. Pinkerton is widely known and is universally esteemed, and was brought to Clay Center by her parents in 1878.

Mrs. Pinkerton was born in the City of Manchester, England, and is a daughter of Rev. William and Margaret (Martin) Read. Both parents were born at Manchester, the father on February 7, 1834, and the mother on May 30, 1836, and both died in the United States, the father at Clay Center, Kansas, March 23, 1889, and the mother at Sedalia, Missouri, July 6, 1901. There were four children born to them, namely: Phoebe: Emma, who is the wife of Dr. T. S. Morrison, a dental surgeon practicing in Topeka, Kansas; Clara, who is the wife of J. H. Grayson, who is connected with the office force of the El Paso & South Western Railroad at Tucson, Arizona; and W. E., who is a painter and decorator at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Rev. William Read, father of Mrs. Pinkerton, was reared and attended school in the City of Manchester and there learned the carpenter’s trade. In 1864 he came to the United States with his family and worked at his trade in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, until 1877, when he came west to Northern Michigan, and in the following year came to Clay Center Kansas. In the meanwhile Mr. Read had pursued theologieal studies and at Kalamazoo, Michigan, was ordained a Baptist minister and before coming to Kansas preached in both Ohio and Michigan, later in this state, and for four years was paster of the Baptist Church at Clay Center, retiring then in order to return to England, called there as heir to a considerable estate. This enabled him, after coming back to Kansas, to live in great comfort and it was here that he invested his money in a comfortable residence and business properties and a farm three miles north of the town. He identified himself with the republican party, but the only public office he ever accepted was that of county coroner, in which he served two terms.

Phoebe Read was educated in the public schools, attending in Michigan and Ohio, and was graduated from the Pioneer (Ohio) High School. She then followed the profession of teaching until 1882, on October 1st of that year being united in marriage at Clay Center to Ernest Pinkerton, whose death on May 4, 1915, was lamented not only by a devoted family, but by a wide circle of attached friends and citizens generally in Clay County. Mr. Pinkertun was born at Dresden, Tennessee, December 7, 1858, came with his people to Kansas and attended the State Agricultural College at Manhattan. Later he was associated with his father, J. H. Pinkerton, in a real estate and loan business, the legal aspects particularly interesting him and he became an expert on abstracts. In his political views he was a republican. He was a man of settled religious convictions and a faithful member of the Christian Church. For a number of years he was identified fraternally with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America, belonging to the local bodies at Clay Center.

To Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton the following children were born: L. R., who is a resident of Emporia, Kansas, learned the printer’s trade in youth and at present is an organizer of lodges for the Loyal Order of Moose; Lettle, who was educated in Washburn College, making a special study of music, married Wilbur Neill, a shoe merchant at Clay Center, and they have one daughter, Wilberta; E. A., who learned the printor’s trade, is now owner and publisher of the Glasco Sun, at Glasco, Kansas; and Marguerite and Ernestine, both of whom reside with their mother. Miss Marguerite is a graduate of the State Normal School at Emporia and is a public school teacher at Clay Center. Miss Ernestine is yet a student in the Clay Center High School. The comfortable and attractive family residence at No. 403 Huntress Street, Clay Center, is Mrs. Pinkerton’s property. This had always been a hospitable, refined, cheery home.

Mrs. Pinkerton cherishes the old family records pertaining to her father’s family but many have beeu lost. She knows that her grandparents were William and Sarah Read, both natives of Manchester, England, where the grandmother was born in 1808 and died in 1878. The grandfather was a man of business importance, conducted an inn at Manchester, and died in 1864.


Biography, 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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