Biography of William Sherman Timmons

William Sherman Timmons. One of the highly respected residents and leading business men of Riley, Kansas, is William Sherman Timmons, owner of a lumber yard and dealing also in coal and grain. He belongs to old American stock, his ancestors for generations having resided in one or other of the great states of the Union. There is present in almost every individual, be his station in life what it may, a latent pride of ancestry and a pleasure in being able to trace a clear line far back in the silence of the past. Sometimes men and women offer fortunes to have such a record established. Not so, however, need Mr. Timmons concern himself for he can trace, on both paternal and maternal lines, an honorable genealogical line that connects with the country’s early settlement.

William Sherman Timmons was born December 20, 1866, in Saline County, Missouri. His parents were George and Matilda (Baker) Timmons, his paternal grandparents were S. R. and Rachel (Hanshaw) Timmons, and his great-grandparents were Ananias and Ellen (Roten) Timmons. The family doubtless originated in Germany but before the Revolutionary war had settled in Maryland and there Ananias Timmons was born and from there in early manhood went to Ohio and finally settled permanently on a farm in Ross County, married Ellen Roten and they both lived to the age of eighty years. They were among the early settlers there and reared a creditable family, one son S. R., becoming the grandfather of William S. Timmons of Riley.

S. R. Timmons was born in Ross County, Ohio, and passed his life there. In early manhood he married Rachel Hanshaw, who was born in North Carolina but was reared in Ohio, where her parents, Martin and Sarah Hanshaw, were very early settlers and substantial people. S. R. Timmons and wife lived on their farm in Ross County and there he died in 1874 but his widow survived into extreme old age. They had a family of three sons and three daughters, of which George Timmons was the first born.

George Timmons was a native of Ross County, Ohio, born November 30, 1836, came to Kansas in 1878, and died at Clifton, Kansas, in 1911, beloved and respected by all who knew him. He attended the district schools in Ross County and assisted his father on the home farm. He married Matilda Baker, who was born in Jackson County, Ohio, September 23, 1836. Her parents were Josiah and Emma (Schooly) Baker, who were born, reared and married in Jackson County, Ohio. They lived there until 1865, when they removed to Saline County, Missouri. Mrs. Timmons was the first-born of their five children. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Timmons were Rev. Joseph and Mary (Hankins) Baker, natives of Kentucky, and of German ancestry. Rev. Joseph Baker was a farmer and also was a minister of the Christian Church. He served as a soldier during the Mexican war. Both he and wife lived into old age. Soon after their marriage, George Timmons and wife, about 1865, removed from Ohio to Missouri and settled in Saline County. They resided near Marshall, Missouri, for thirteen years, but in the fall of 1878 removed to Clay County, Kansas, and settled on a farm in Mulberry Township, four miles south of Clifton. In the course of time Mr. Timmons acquired a large body of land, carried on extensive operations as a farmer and stockman and not only became one of the county’s capitalists, but a prominent man in public affairs. In 1895 he retired from active farm life and established his home in Clifton, of which city he subsequently became mayor and also served in minor offices. Throughout life, after it formation, he was a member of the republican party. During the Civil war he was a strong supporter of the Union cause, sending a substitute, voluntarily, because a physical disability prevented his serving as a soldier in the ranks himself. Although he accumulated wealth, at death leaving an estate worth not less than $75,000, it had been secured through honorable methods, fairness and justice ever marking his dealings with others. He was widely known and because of his many admirable qualities, was sincerely respected and esteemed. He is survived by his widow and his nine children: Josiah, Emma E., Mary A., Welcome C., William Sherman, Arvina J., Rachel Ota, Daisy H. and Sarah M., all of whom have domestic circles of their own.

William Sherman Timmons was reared on his father’s farm and attended the public schools. He continued to follow farming until 1905, when he removed from the old homestead in Clay County and came to Riley, having purchased a lumber yard here, which he has operated ever since. In addition to dealing in lumber, Mr. Timmons operates a coal yard and also a grain elevator, being one of the busy men of Riley. He is an active and loyal republican but has never sought political honors for himself.

In 1890 Mr. Timmons was married to Miss Maggie Gillespie, and they have four living children: Lewis, Birdie, George and Eva.



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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