Biography of Samuel A. Byarlay

Samuel A. Byarlay. So quickly do great events in the world’s history succeed each other, that perchance some may be lost sight of, but it is not possible for any American to forget the dangers that attended pioneering, following the close of the Civil war, on the western frontiers, nor the heroism displayed by volunteer soldiers in defending the peaceful settlers by driving off the savage foe. Among the prominent residents of May Day, Riley County, is a veteran of the Indian campaign of 1868-9, in the person of Samuel A. Byarlay, merchant and postmaster at this point.

Samuel A. Byarlay was born in Jackson County, Indiana, September 15, 1848, and is a son of John M. and Millicent (Bundy) Byarlay. His father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Indiana, in which latter state both were reared, the father from the age of nine years. In 1860, John M. Byarlay left Indiana with his family for Riley County, Kansas. It was his hope and intention to thus provide more comfortably for his large family than he could do in Indiana. The family reached Kansas on the 4th of July, 1860, and the father soon afterward bought a small farm in the Fancy Creek Valley. He was a well educated man and taught one of the first rural schools in this county, holding the sessions in his own house. For some time he served as township trustee. His death occurred in 1872 when his age was fifty-four years. The mother survived many years, her death occurring at Clay Center, when seventy-nine years old. Of their ten children three are living.

Samuel A. Byarlay was not quite twelve years old when his parents settled in Riley County and here he attended school and grew to manhood, giving his father assistance on the home farm. In 1868-9 he served as a member of the Nineteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry under Generals Custer and Sheridan in the memorable campaign against the Indians on the border, and his recollections of those brave and gallant commanders are very interesting. In that campaign, on account of its danger from a treacherous foe, every soldier was a hero and no one gave a better account of himself than did Samuel A. Byarlay.

In 1878  Mr. Byarlay embarked in a mercantile business at May Day, which he has conducted ever since and for many years he has been postmaster of the village. In politics he is a republican but this fact has not disturbed him in official position.

In 1872 Mr. Byarlay was married to Miss Carrie Gridley, and they have four children: Guy H., Mabel Fern, Mina H. and Linn C. Mr. Byarlay is a member of the United Brethren Church.



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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