Biography of Robert M. Todd

Robert M. Todd is an old timer of Halstead, had lived there more or less continuously for the past forty-three years, and during the greater part of that time followed his trade as a carpenter and builder. He is now manager of the Farmers Elevator Company and had been very much in public affairs, having filled the offices of mayor and postmaster among others.

Mr. Todd is an Ohio man by birth, having been born in Warren County, January 27, 1851. He is in either the fifth or sixth generation of the family in America. The Todds are Scotch-Irish people and settled in Pennsylvania in colonial times. His grandfather, John Todd, was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved to Ohio in 1825, was a farmer all his life and died in Warren County of that state. He married Miss Snodgrass.

John S. Todd, father of Robert M., was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1803 and about the time he reached his majority, in 1824, in the absence of railroads and other means of transportation, walked all the way from Central Pennsylvania across the mountains to Warren County, Ohio. He settled there as a pioneer, and for many years conducted a general country store. His death occurred at Franklin in Warren County in 1875. He grew up a whig in politics and when the republican organization supplanted it in 1856 he supported its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont. John S. Todd was an active member and supporter of the old-school Presbyterian Church, and served as an elder in the organization. During the Civil war he was on the United States Sanitary Commission. John S. Todd married Nancy B. Robinson, who was born in Warren County, Ohio, in 1813, of a very early family there, and died at Franklin in 1876, having spent all her years in one county. They had a large family of children, of whom Robert M. was the sixth. The oldest, William, died in childhood. Theophilus L., the second, enlisted in the Ninety-third Ohio Infantry in 1862, saw considerable active service, and was in a skirmish just before the battle of Chickamauga. Then, on account of chronic diarrhea, he was sent to a hospital, and died in 1864. The daughter, Mary E., married Joseph Garizues, a farmer, and both of them died at Trenton, Illinois. Agnes J., now living at Greenville, Illinois, married Asa Murford, a farmer who died at Greenville. John C. was a teacher and principal of schools and died at Mason, Ohio. James S. is a veteran of the telegraph service, having put in forty-three years with the Western Union Telegraph Company and is now on the retired pension list, living at Middletown, Ohio. Thomas N. is a Presbyterian minister located at Scioto, Indiana. Anna B., the ninth and youngest of the family, lives at Dayton, Ohio, widow of Rolla Moody, who was a manufacturer and wholesale dealer in plumbing supplies.

In his native County of Warren, Robert M. Todd grew up, and besides the country schools he attended the Southwestern Normal College, under the celebrated educator Professor Holbrook, at Lebanon, Ohio. At the early age of fifteen he became self supporting, working out on farms, and spent seven years as a farm labored and renter at Trenton in Southern Illinois.

Mr. Todd came to Kansas in 1874, locating at Halstead, and for thirty years was an active carpenter. However, during that time, from 1880 to 1886, he was on construction work for the Santa Fe Railway Company, largely in New Mexico. Returning to Halstead, he continued following his trade until 1904, when he became manager of the Farmers Elevator Company. He had been the active executive head of this institution for the past thirteen years and his business ability and personal popularity have had much to do with the success of the concern. The elevator and offices are along the Santa Fe tracks in Halstead.

In 1912 Mr. Todd built a modern residence at the corner of Fifth and Pine streets. For years he had been noted as one of the progressive and public spirited citizens of Halstead, served many years in the city council, for three terms of one year each was mayor of the city, had been trustee of Halstead Township, was for seven years a member of the board of county commissioners and for four years served as postmaster. He was appointed to that office toward the close of Cleveland’s second administration, and most of his service was in the McKinley time. Mr. Todd is an active democrat. He is past master of Hartford Lodge No. 46, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, had several times filled the office of venerable consul in Halstead Camp No. 1114, Modern Woodmen of America, and is a member of Halstead Council of the Kansas Fraternal Citizens.

In 1877, at Trenton, Illinois, Mr. Todd married Miss Sarah J. Craig, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Little) Craig. Her father was an Illinois farmer and both parents are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Todd have three children, all now well established as workers and home makers. Margaret E., the oldest and the only daughter, is the wife of A. E. Hege, who is connected with the Housser-Garrison Dry Goods Company of Wichita, the city of their residence. Arnold C. is a graduate of the Kansas City Law School with the class of 1916 and is now making a promising start as a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri. Walter L. is a graduate of Emporia College and is now teaching at Centralia, Kansas.



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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