Biography of T. W. Truskett

T. W. Truskett. The real estate brokerage business established by Thomas W. Truskett, in 1908, had gone hand in hand with the development of Caney since its inception and undoubtedly had contributed largely toward the advantageous disposal of property and the honorable and satisfactory placing of loans, as any concern of the kind in Montgomery County. Mr. Truskett is one of Caney’s substantial citizens; his success is self-made and in its scope and usefulness directs attention to qualities of perseverance, business integrity and ability and high regard for the welfare of the community.

Mr. Truskett was born in Monroe County, Ohio, March 28, 1852, a son of Thomas W. and Elizabeth (Williams) Truskett. His paternal grandfather was a native of England who on coming to the United States located in the State of Maryland and there passed the remainder of his life, while on his mother’s side his grandfather Betts was a German emigrant to Pennsylvania. Thomas W. Truskett the older, was born in Maryland in 1823, and was reared and educated in his native state, from whence, as a young man, he went to Monroe County, Ohio. There he became a pioneer farmer, married, and established a home, and continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1859, when he removed to Cooper County, Missouri, again becoming a pioneer. In 1862 he enlisted in the First Regiment, Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, for service during the Civil war, and joined the command of Gen. John Seaton, with which he participated in a number of the most important engagements of the war, including the battles of Shiloh, Helena and Fort Donelson, and the siege of Vicksburg. He was taken prisoner by Shelby’s men near Springfield, Missouri, but was shortly thereafter exchanged and rejoined his regiment, with which he fought until the close of the struggle. He established an excellent record for bravery and fidelity, and when honorably discharged and mustered out of the service, at Omaha, Nebraska, returned to his Missouri home. Mr. Truskett continued to be engaged in farming in Cooper, Morgan and Moniteau Counties, Missouri, until 1870, and in that year went to Vernon County, where he made his home and carried on his agricultural activities until 1890. In that year he located in Washington County, Oklahoma, settling on a farm ten miles south of Caney, Kansas, consisting of 100 acres, where he was living at the time of his death, in 1896. He was laid to rest in the cemetery at Caney. Mr. Truskett was a republican and a faithful member of the Christian Church. He was married in 1841, in Ohio, to Miss Elizabeth Williams, who was born September 1, 1820, at Crabapple Orchard, Pennsylvania, and was a schoolmate of the great statesman and politician, James G. Blaine, at one time a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Mrs. Truskett died at Caney, Kansas, in September, 1894, having been the mother of eight children, as follows: John O., born in 1843, enlisted in 1862 in the First Nebraska Infantry, was discharged for disability, recuperated and re-enlisted in the Second Kansas Cavalry, took part in many engagements, was again discharged because of disability toward the close of the Civil war, returned to Missouri and engaged in farming, and died in Nevada, that state, in 1885; James H., born in 1845, who is engaged in farming on Hog Shooter Creek, Washington County, Oklahoma; Joseph I., born in 1847, who is engaged in farming at Mulberry, Kansas; A. A., born in 1851, is now retired and resided at Montverde, Lake County, Florida; Mary E., who died at the age of seventeen years; Thomas W., of this notice; H. A., born in 1855, was a farmer and grain and lumber merchant, founder of the Home National Bank of Caney and one of this city’s most prominent citizens, and died in 1906; and Harriet M., who married first Jacob Russell, a barber, now deceased, and now the wife of John Wyatt, a retired farmer of Independence, Kansas.

Thomas W. Truskett received his education in the public schools of Missouri, and was reared as a farmer, remaining on the homestead until he was twenty years of age. When he started upon his career, however, it was as a school teacher, and for five years was engaged in teaching in Missouri and Kansas. He first came to this state in 1873, when he took charge of a school at Godfrey, in which vicinity he remained two years. In 1875 he engaged in farming along the Drywood Creek, twelve miles south of Fort Scott, where he remained for five years, then removing to near Elgin, Kansas, where he farmed for three years. About this time Mr. Truskott’s wife died, and for a period thereafter he did not have a settled home, although he was engaged for a time in the shoe business at both Independence, Kansas, and Joplin, Missouri. From the latter point Mr. Truskett went to Washington County, Indian Territory, and engaged in farming and the cattle business for twelve years, and in 1891 came to Caney, which city had since been his home and the scene of his successful operations.

On first coming to this city, Mr. Truskett engaged in business as the proprietor of a livery barn, but after two years thus spent turned his attention to mercantile lines, and founded what had since become the leading store in its line in the city, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Spring Street. There he successfully handled general dry goods and groceries and through good management and honorable dealing built up a prosperous establishment. In 1908 Mr. Truskett disposed of the business to his nephew, W. O. Truskett, although he still owned the building. He had since devoted his attention to the real estate brokerage business, handling properties in Colorado, Old Mexico, Florida and Montgomery County, Kansas. He is the owner of five residences at Caney, these being among the finest in the city, two smaller residences, and his own handsome home at the corner of Sixth and Main streets, four of Caney’s business buildings, and 966 acres of valuable land in Old Mexico. He also had various other interests, prominent among which may be mentioned his flourishing feed business, which had also been built up under his personal direction.

Mr. Truskett was formerly a republican in his political views, but is now an independent democrat. He served one term as mayor of Caney, during which time he displayed abilities that won him the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens. On another occasion he was a candidate for a place in the Kansas State Assembly, but was in a district which had a republican majority of 800 and met defeat with the rest of the democratic ticket. Mr. Truskett is an active member of the Christian Church and generously supports its movements. He is well known in fraternal circles, and was the first past president of the state organization of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and at the time of his retirement from his official position was presented with a handsome watch charm as a memento and appreciation of the services he rendered that organization.

Mr. Truskett was first married June 5, 1876, to Mrs. M. J. Gepford, the widow of Silas Gepford. She died November 20, 1880, leaving three children: Metta May, born November 20, 1877, died in Texas, married L. L. Peterson, who now resided at Caney and manages the feed store in partnership with Mr. Truskett, and had four children: Orin, a graduate of the Caney High School, class of 1915, and now attending the Manhattan State Normal School, Jennie and Dora who are attending the Caney High School, and Charles, a student in the graded schools; Harvey A., born March 26, 1879, who died in infancy; and Harriet E., born October 10, 1880, and now the wife of Dr. C. E. Wyatt, a practicing dentist of Independence, Kansas. Mr. Truskett was again married February 13, 1887, to Miss Theodosia V. Ross, of Missouri, who died April 22, 1904, leaving two children: Benjamin O., born October 31, 1888, who had graduated from a school of embalming and is now associated in business with his father; and Beatrice, born January 16, 1901, who is attending the public schools. Mr. Truskett was married the third time March 15, 1908, to Miss Bertha Berger, a native of Belgium, and they have one daughter: Cleo Lenora, born September 13, 1910.


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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