Biography of Thomas E. Trigg

Thomas E. Trigg. “A map of busy life” mused the poet Cowper more than a hundred years ago, over his newspaper. The description yet holds good, a century of existence only having widened its field and strengthened its power. With its modern perfected machinery for the garnering of news, and with its vivid portrayal of the world’s happenings, it is, indeed, a map of swiftly passing events, one that had become a necessary vitalizing element and an indispensable factor of every day living. How surely the development of a newspaper in a community marks the latter’s progress. A name well known in journalism in Kansas, is that of Trigg, and a worthy bearer of this honored name is found in the owner and proprietor of the Elgin Journal, Thomas E. Trigg, who had been identified with newspaper work for more than a quarter of a century.

Thomas E. Trigg was born at Albia, Iowa, September 15, 1862. His parents were William Allen and Mary Elizabeth (Ware) Trigg, the latter of whom died at Garnett, Kansas, in 1901. The paternal grandfather, Thomas E. Trigg, was born in Virginia, of remote Irish ancestry, in 1809, and died in Linn County, Kansas, in 1891. His people had been early and substantial settlers in Kentucky, and Trigg County, in that state, commemorates their importance. Prior to the Civil war, Thomas E. Trigg was a large planter and a slaveholder in Kentucky. From there, in 1871, he moved to Linn County, Kansas. His wife was a member of the Gohegan family, of Virginia, and she died before his removal to Kansas.

William Allen Trigg, father of Thomas E. Trigg, of Elgin, Kansas, was born in Kentucky, in 1838, and grew to manhood and was educated in his native state. From Kentucky he went to Albia, Monroe County, Iowa, and there engaged in teaching school for several years and then removed to Centerville, in the same state and took charge as superintendent of a woolen mill, remaining there for six years and then resumed school teaching in which he continued until 1878, when he located at La Cygns, in Linn County, Kansas. He spent one year there as a school teacher, and one year as a farmer and then was elected probate judge. This caused him to remove to Mound City to reside, and he remained on the bench for two terms of four years.

Judge Trigg then entered the newspaper field by purchasing the Linn County Clarion, which he ably edited for ten years and for some time after removing to Garnett still retained the ownership of the Clarion. After locating at Garnett he bought the Eagle, published there, and during his long connection with that journal built up an influential newspaper for that section of the state. He subsequently served one term in the State Legislature. In 1904 he retired from the newspaper business. In politics he had always been a republican. In religious faith he is a Methodist and both at Garnett and at his present home, Westphalia, Kansas, he had served in the lay offices of the church. Fraternally he is identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Odd Fellows. At Bonaparte, Iowa, he was married to Mary Elizabeth Ware, who was born in Ohio in 1843, and they became the parents of four children: Thomas E., Clarence J., who resided at Kansas City, Missouri, where he is clerk of the city courts; Fred C., who is a member of the editorial staff of the Kansas City (Missouri) Star and Times; and Anna Stewart, who is the wife of Lee P. Cayot, who is a general merchant at Westphalia, Kansas.

Thomas E. Trigg attended the public schools at Mound City, Kansas, and subsequently completed his sophomore year at Lane University, Lecompton, Kansas. In 1882 he became a railroad telegraph operator, for the Missouri Pacific system, and continued until 1888. At that time his father was interested in the Garnett Eagle and he went into the printing office and learned the business and continued with the Eagle until the property was sold in 1904, in which year he went to Cedar Vale and for the four succeeding years was foreman on the Cedar Vale Commercial. Mr. Trigg then decided to become the owner of his own journal and when the Chautauqua Globe came into the market in 1907, he purchased the paper and conducted it very creditably until 1909, when he sold that in order to move to Cedar Vale, where he purchased the Cedar Vale Commercial. This enterprise not proving entirely satisfactory, he disposed of the Commercial in 1910, and bought the Mirror, at Latham, in Butler County, Kansas, which, during his ownership of six years he developed into a paying property. In April, 1916, Mr. Trigg came to Elgin and founded his present admirable newspaper, the Elgin Journal. He had found here an appreciative public and is giving Chautauqua County a fine journal, well edited with all its departments up-to-date and practical. While its policy is republican in politics, its editor is not bigoted and is able to discuss questions of public concern from more than one standpoint.

Mr. Trigg was married at Kansas City, Kansas, in 1892, to Miss Ella B. Vincent, who was born in Macon County, Missouri, and was educated in the public schools of Bates County in that state. Her parents were Capt. A. B. and Nancy (White) Vincent. Captain Vincent was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1836, and died at Ottawa, Kansas, in May, 1912. He married Nancy C. White, who was born in June, 1838, in Macon County, Missouri, and died at Ottawa, Kansas, in December, 1911. As a young man Captain Vincent taught school in Ohio and in Missouri and after coming to Kansas was a farmer and dealer in livestock. At one time he was mayor of Foster, Missouri, and there served in numerous offices to which he was elected on the democratic ticket. He honorably secured his title, having enlisted for service in the Civil War in 1861 and remained in the army for four years, during which he was made captain of Company C, Fifty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

To Mr. and Mrs. Trigg one son was born, Thomas Clyde, on May 26, 1893. He was educated in the public schools of Latham, Kansas, and had completed a part of his high school course when he accepted an opportunity to visit Honolulu and make a trip up the Pacific coast, completing his far-journeying by going as far east overland as New York and back. At present he occupies the important office of assistant superintendent of a division of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, at Kansas City, Missouri. In March, 1916, he was married to Miss Pearl Whitmeyer.

Mr. Trigg is connected with numerous political and journalistic organizations, and fraternally is identified with Latham Lodge No. 401, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Elgin Chapter, and the Kansas Fraternal Citizens Association.



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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