Biography of William H.Tyler

William H. Tyler. When, in 1914, William H. Tyler, was elected county treasurer of Wilson County, it was the first time in sixteen years that a democrat had been chosen for this office. During his term of office Mr. Tyler had given an excellent account of himself as guardian of the people’s money, but it is only natural that he should be possessed of financial ability, as much of his career had been passed in positions where he had been engaged in handling the monetary affairs of community and individual. His official record measures up to that which he had established personally as a sound, reliable and progressive citizen.

Mr. Tyler was born at Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, February 28, 1858, a son of Theodore and Sarah (Kennedy) Tyler. He comes of the same stock that produced President Tyler, and belongs to a family that came from England to the Colony of Virginia prior to the War of the Revolution. John W. Tyler, the grandfather of William H. Tyler, was born in 1808, at Lexington, Kentucky, and about the year 1835 removed with his family to Decatur, Illinois, where he settled on a farm. He was one of the noted pioneers of Macon County, where he became an acknowledged leader among the people, taught in the first school in that county, and was the first preacher in Macon, spreading the faith of the Campbellite Church. His death occurred at Decatur, in 1888, when he had reached the age of eighty years. John W. Tyler was first married to Elvira Oxley, a native of Kentucky, who died in Macon County, Illinois, and they became the parents of three children: Theodore; Nancy Jane, who is the widow of Rufus Housley, who was a painter and farmer, and resided in Macon County, Illinois; and John W., a harness maker, who now resided at Indianapolis, Indiana, and is over eighty years of age. John W. Tyler was married the second time to Sarah Rooney, who was born in Kentucky and died at Decatur, Illinois, and they became the parents of the following children: B. B., who is a noted Christian preacher and resided at Denver, Colorado; Sue, of Decatur, who is the widow of Hugh Oder, a former attorney of that city; James and B. S., who are deceased; J. Z., who is a Christian minister at Cleveland, Ohio; Mary, of Decatur, who if the wife of J. A. Merryweather, who is one of the most prominent citizens of Decatur and president of the Decatur National Bank of that city; Betty, a resident of Denver, Colorado, and widow of Steven Cook, a former jeweler; Charles H., who was formerly a pharmacist and now in the real estate business at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Miss Alice, unmarried, who is public librarian at Cleveland, Ohio.

Theodore M. Tyler, the father of Willam H. Tyler, was born in 1834, at Lexington, Kentucky, and was still an infant when taken by his parents to Decatur, Illinois, where the rest of his life was passed, his death occurring July 14, 1868. He was reared on the homestead in Macon County and secured a public school education, and as a youth learned the trades of carpenter and cabinet maker, which he followed throughout his life in connection with farming ventures. He died while still in the prime of life, before his plans for a successful career had fully materialized, but had accumulated a property that kept his family from want. Mr. Tyler was a democrat in politics, and a member of the Christian Church, in which he served as a deacon. He married Miss Sarah Kennedy, who was born in 1832, in Garrett County, Kentucky, and died in Wilson County, Kansas, in October, 1912. They became the parents of seven children: Samuel, who died in infancy; Elvira, who died aged two years; William H.; Martha, who died at the age of six years; Jennie, who is the wife of Jerry Myers and resided on their farm near Lafontaine, Kansas; Charles, who died at the age of three years; and T. M., who is manager of a factory at Indianapolis, Indiana.

William H. Tyler was educated in the rural schools of Macon County, Illinois, and the high school at Decatur, and remained on his mother’s farm until 1886, when he came to Fredonia, Kansas, to accept a position in a railroad surveyor’s office, work at which he was engaged for one year. He then turned his attention to the work at which he had been reared, farming, and for thirteen years tilled the soil of Wilson County, at the end of that time beginning his experience as a banker. For one year he acted as bookkeeper in the State Bank of Fredonia, and then bought a farm in Duck Creek Township, and became cashier of the Lafontaine State Bank, with which he continued to be connected for six years and eight months. He was a director in the Fredonia State Bank and in the Lafontaine State Bank, and still had extensive business interests, being a stockholder in the Kansas Life Insurance Company and in the Automatic Bookkeeping Registry Company, of Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Tyler still owned his 120 acre farm in Duck Creek Township, a handsomely improved property and some of the most productive land in the county.

Mr. Tyler had long been prominent in democratic politics. As early as 1897 he was elected a member of the board of township trustees of Fall River Township, and held a like position in Duck Creek Township in 1905 and 1906. In 1914 he was elected county treasurer of Wilson County, although the democratic party had been unsuccessful with their candidates for this office for sixteen years previous. Mr. Tyler had proved an excellent official, capable, willing, courteous and progressive, faithful in the discharge of his duties, and carefully conserving the interests and moneys of the people. He was re-elected to the office in November, 1916, the only democrat elected in the county, and his friends believe that his record entitles him to the honor. Mr. Tyler is a member of the Christian Church and a deacon therein. He is well known fraternally, belonging to Twin Mound Lodge No. 57, Knights of Pythias, of Fredonia; Lafontaine Lodge of Odd Fellows and Lafontaine Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, and likewise holds membership in the Homesteaders. His offices are in the courthouse at Fredonia.

On July 4, 1915, Mr. Tyler was united in marriage with Mrs. Minnie B. (Estes) White, daughter of James and Sarah Estes, the former, a farmer, now deceased, and the latter a resident of Greencastle, Indiana. Mrs. Tyler comes from an English family which early settled in Colonial Virginia, from which state they removed to Kentucky, where, in 1838, was born Mrs. Tyler’s father, James Estes. He was reared and married in Kentucky, and subsequently moved to near Cleveland, Ohio, later went to Indiana, and in 1882 came to Kansas, where he continued to be engaged in farming during the remainder of his life, and died at Altoona, in 1883. He was independent in politics, and was a member of the Christian Church and a deacon. He and Mrs. Estes, who is a native of Kentucky, became the parents of eight children, as follows: Margaret, who is the wife of William Williamson, and resided near Greencastle, Indiana, on a farm; John, who is retired, and resided in the same community; Fannie, who is the wife of William Gentry, also a farmer near that city; James, who is a resident of Iowa; Sherman, who was an ex-soldier of the United States army and shortly after being mustered out of the service died at Garden City, Kansas, in 1910; Minnie B., the wife of Mr. Tyler; William, who is connected with the United States Mail service and resided in Western Kansas; and Joseph, who is a barber and resided at Fredonia.

Mrs. Tyler was born near the City of Cleveland, Ohio, and secured her education in the public schools of Indiana and Kansas, to which latter state she came with her parents in 1882. She is prominent in the work of the Christian Church, of which she had long been a member, and is also one of the popular members of the Homesteaders.



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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