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Biographical Sketch
J. A. Symns
Doniphan County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

Gold Bar

J. A. Symns.

Sunny Slope farm is one of the most desirable country seats in Doniphan county.  It is pleasantly located in Wayne township, near the town of Brenner, and comprises one thousand four hundred and twenty-five acres of land.  It became the property of J. A. Symns in 1875, and since that time he has carried on the work of cultivation and improvement until he is today the owner of one of the model farms of the community.

In 1890 he erected thereon a beautiful residence, at a cost of six thousand dollars.  This is one of the finest homes in the county, and in keeping therewith are substantial barns and commodious outbuildings, furnishing shelter to grain and stock.  The owner is extensively engaged in the raising of cattle, and his business interests are so ably conducted that a good income naturally rewards his labors.  The beautiful home, well tilled fields and substantial improvements of the Sunny Slope farm are an indication of the careful supervision of the owner, who is accounted one of the most practical and progressive agriculturists of northeastern Kansas.

He has been a resident of this section of the state since October, 1865, and those who have known him longest are among his best friends, a fact which indicates an honorable career.  Mr. Symns is a native of West Virginia, his birth having occurred in Monroe county, on the 22nd of January, 1839.  He is of Scotch-Irish lineage and traces his ancestry back to Ireland.  His father, John Symns, was born on the Emerald Isle, and after crossing the Atlantic married Elizabeth Peters, a native of Peterstown, West Virginia, which place was named in honor of the family of which she was a representative.

Her father, Christian Peters, was a West Virginia planter.  John Symns also owned a plantation in that state, although by trade he was a carpenter and wheelwright.  In politics he was a Whig and had great admiration for Henry Clay and the policy advocated by that statesman.  He belonged to the Presbyterian Church, and died at the age of eighty-five years, on the old family homestead.  His wife, also a consistent Christian and a member of the church, passed away at the age of ninety-seven years.  In the family of this worthy couple were eight children, five sons and three daughters: Mrs. Catherine Lucas, deceased; George W., who has departed this life; Mrs. Margaret Shumate, who also has passed away; William P.; A. B., a wholesale merchant of Atchison; Joe; Samuel, who runs the old farm in West Virginia; and Mary E., who has been called to her final rest.

Upon his father's farm J. A. Symns spent his boyhood days, the primitive district schools of the neighborhood affording him his educational privileges.  In early life he followed farming, and when the civil war broke out he put aside all personal considerations and fought in defense of his lived southland, in accordance with the training which he had known and honored from boyhood.  He served for three years and ten months.  He participated in the battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, and on one occasion his horse was shot under him, but he was not wounded.

After the war Mr. Symns engaged in clerking for A. B. Symns, a wholesale grocer, and in 1869 came to Doniphan county, where six years later he purchased his present farm, Sunny Slope.  He has since devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits, with what result may be ascertained from a glance at the attractive home.

He was married on the 20th of May, 1869, in Doniphan county, to Miss Mary C. Shanks, a lady of refinement and culture and a daughter of F. A. Shanks, for some years a resident of St. Joseph, Missouri.  Mr.and Mrs. Symns have had five children, namely: John, whose home is at Beloit, Kansas; C. M., at home; Gertrude, who is a student in Bethany College, of Missouri; and Nellie, who is yet with her parents.  Mrs. Symns is a member of the Baptist Church.

Mr. Symns is a supporter of the Democratic party, and is recognized as a leader in the ranks of his locality and does all in his power to promote the growth and insure the success of Democratic principles.  As a citizen he is loyal to what he believes to be for the public good, and in business life his honesty has gained him widespread confidence.

  Gold Bar

Last update: Saturday, January 17, 2004 15:38:16

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