Biography of Oliver Quincy Claflin

Oliver Quincy Claflin is a prominent young lawyer at Kansas City, Kansas, and is now serving as United States commissioner of the First Kansas District. Mr. Claflin is devoted to the law, is not an office seeker, and his appointment to his present position was based entirely upon merit and exceptional qualifications.

Mr. Claflin was born at Chanute, Kansas, July 4, 1882, the only child of Otis Quincy and Mary J. (Blair) Claflin. His father was born in Massachusetts and his mother in Canada, the latter going to Massachusetts and living there at the time of her marriage. Oliver Q. Claflin is in the ninth generation of the Claflin family in America. It is an old and distinguished name in New England, and men of the name fought in the Indian wars, in the Revolution and the War of 1812, while Mr. Claflin’s father was a Union soldier in the Civil war.

The American genealogy goes back to Robert Claflin, who landed at Wenham, Massachusetts, November 4, 1661. He saw active service against the Indians under Sir Edmund Andros. He died in 1690. Daniel Claflin, of the second generation, was born January 25, 1674, at Wenham, Massachusetts, was a tanner by trade, moved to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and died at Framingham, in the old Bay State, in March, 1775, when more than a century old. His son Daniel, of the third generation, was born at Wenham, Massachusetts, February 19, 1702, and died in 1760. The next generation is represented by Cornelius Claflin, who was born at Hopkinton, Massachusetts, March 13, 1733. He was a soldier in both the French and Indian and the Revolutionary wars. He took part in the expedition against Crown Point in 1756 as a member of Aaron Fox’s Company and Col. Ebenezer Nichols’ regiment. On April 24, 1775, he enlisted in Colonel Nixon’s regiment, fought at the battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, and was promoted to first lieutenant in Capt. Richard Fisk’s company, Col. Samuel Bullard’s Fifth Middlesex Regiment. In January, 1778, he served as a lieutenant in Captain Moulton’s company, Col. Thomas Pain’s regiment. The death of this old soldier occurred at Framingham, Massachusetts, July 25, 1818. His son Asa was born at Framingham in 1769 and died there January 14, 1817. Ebenezer Claflin, of the sixth generation, was born in Framingham, January 8, 1802, and died at Ashland, Massachusetts, in February, 1863.

Otis Quincy Claflin was born in Ashland, Massachusetts, February 29, 1848, a son of Eben and Mary (Chickering) Claflin. His maternal grandfather, Hartshorn Chickering, served in the War of 1812. Oliver Q. Claflin was married to M. J. Blair at Framingham, Massachusetts, April 3, 1872.

He was only thirteen years of age when the war broke out between the states, but on February 25, 1864, at the age of sixteen, he enlisted from the Town of Southborough, Massachusetts, and became a member of the Third Massachusetts Cavalry. He saw much hard and active service both in the far South and in the eastern part of the battleground. In the Army of the Gulf he was a participant in the battles of Bayou Teche, Fort Bisland, Irish Bend, and subsequently his command was mounted and equipped and designated as the Forty-first Mounted Rifles. He fought at Plains Store and Port Hudson, Louisiana; later at Thibadeaux or Hernando, Chickaloo Station, Brashear City, Donaldsonville or Locks Plantation, Sabine Crossroads, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Cane River, Alexandria, Mansura, Bayou de Glaizear, Yellow Bayou, Calhoun Station, Louisiana. Afterwards he was transferred to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, where he became part of the fighting army of General Grant in the Army of the Potomac. He was in the battles of Opequan or Winchester, Berryville, Fisher’s Hill, Woodstock, Luray, Waynesboro, Newmarket, Darbytown Road, Cedar Creek and a number of minor engagements. He took part in the grand review at Washington on May 24, 1865, and on the 4th of June was sent out by way of St. Louis to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and thence to Fort Kearney, Nebraska. On August 24th his command was directed to proceed to Julesburg, Colorado, but on arriving at Cottonwood Springs its return was ordered. They reached Fort Kearney on the 1st of September, afterwards moved to Fort Leavenworth and from there Mr. Claflin returned by rail to Boston, Massachusetts. On going back East the Third Massachusetts went by rail through a portion of Canada, and that was perhaps the only incident during the Civil war when American soldiers entered the British possessions. The Third Massachusetts covered more than 15,000 miles of marching and railroad journeying during the war, and its record throughout was such that every member may justly take pride in having been a part of this gallant campaign. The regiment arrived at Gallop’s Island, in Massachusetts, October 8th, and three days later Otis Q. Claflin was granted his discharge. He had entered as a private and was afterwards promoted to hospital steward.

At the expiration of his term of service he had been granted his honorable discharge at Leavenworth, Kansas, on September 28, 1865. In April, 1866, he enlisted at Boston, Massachusetts, in Battery E of the Fifth United States Light Artillery as quartermaster sergeant to serve three years. He was acting quartermaster sergeant of the post of Pensacola Florida, a greater part of the time. At the end of his three-years’ term he was honorably discharged at Fort Independence, in Boston Harbor, in April, 1869.

Otis Q. Claflin had learned the business of druggist in Massachusetts. He had a common school and high school education, and he first saw Kansas while in the army. He was attracted by the opportunities of this state, and in 1871 brought his family out to Kinsley, in Edwards County, then a small town on the frontier. Here he took up and proved a claim, and selling it removed to Emporia and from there to Chanute, where he spent several years in the drug business. He also lived two years at Kiowa and two years at Ottawa, Kansas, and having in the meantime recognized the exceptional advantages around Kansas City he moved to Armourdale in 1887. Mr. Claflin was engaged in the drug business at Kansas City, Kansas, for about twenty-eight years and until 1915. His name is especially identified with the growth and development of that part of Kansas City, Kansas, originally Armourdale. He was one of the organizers of the Home State Bank there and acquired much city property, and had done much to improve and develop it. He is now living retired and concerned only with his private interests. Otis Q. Claflin is a republican who had done much practical service for his party. He was formerly a member of the state central committee from Wyandotte County, was chairman of the police board of Kansas City, Kansas, and for a number of years a county commissioner, being chairman of the board four years. He is a member of the Scottish Rite bodies of Masonry, and of Ransom Post No. 303, Department of Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic. His wife is very active in the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Oliver Quincy Claflin grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and being an only child had generous opportunities and privileges both at home and in school. He was graduated from the Kansas City High School and also attended the Kansas City (Missouri) High School and then entered the University of Kansas, where he completed his literary and law course in 1905. Admitted to the bar in the same year, his profession had since absorbed his energies and time to the exclusion of practically everything else. While he had liberal assistance from his father in school, he also worked during vacations, and from early boyhood his ambition was firmly set upon a legal career. After his admission to the bar he was for one year with T. A. Pollock and then for three years with the firm of McFadden & Morris. Since the death of Mr. Morris the firm had been McFadden & Claflin, and they handle a large general practice as attorneys and counselors. Mr. Claflin was appointed to the office of United States commissioner by Judge Pollock in 1912. He is a republican, a member of the County and State Bar associations, and in 1916 was president of the Wyandotte County Bar Association. Fraternally he is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of the Elks and Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Claflin was married August 25, 1909, to Miss Dora Monahan. Her father, P. J. Monahan, now deceased, was for many years a gardener. Mr. and Mrs. Claflin have one child, Oliver Quincy, Jr.



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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