A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


W. H. Braden

William H. Braden, county commissioner of Crawford county and the past fifteen years engaged in the livery business in Pittsburg, is one of the county's old and prominent pioneer settlers. When he located in Crawford county nearly thirty-five years ago the bare prairies had hardly a fence and offered free range for cattle from one end to the other. Furthermore, the great mineral resources of the county had not even been opened up, much less developed, and the thriving cities of Pittsburg and Girard were not yet in existence. It is clear, therefore, that in locating a farm, improving it with hedges and fences and buildings and cultivating the soil, Mr. Braden bore an important part in the early agricultural and industrial history of Crawford county, and both for this and for the worthy efforts he has devoted to the public welfare and official management of township and county affairs fully deserves the high esteem in which he is held from one corner of the county to the other.

Mr. Braden was born in Richland county, Ohio, in 1844, a son of Samuel and Susan (Bidinger) Braden. His father was a native of Pennsylvania and a farmer. He moved to Richland county, Ohio, and later to Noble county, Indiana, where he died in 1899, when over ninety years of age. His wife, who was of a Pennsylvania Dutch family, died in 1852.

Mr. Braden was quite young when the family moved to Noble county, Indiana, and there he received most of his education. In 1862 he enlisted at Ligonier, that county, in an independent cavalry regiment, the First Indiana Cavalry, the volunteers furnishing their own horses. His troop was assigned to duty in Missouri, and was at Pilot Knob and Iron Mountain. His first engagement was at Fredericktown, the next at Cottonplant, and then was in skirmishes as they made their way south into Arkansas. His troop was General Steele's escort when Little Rock was taken. Later, at Pine Bluff, he was in the fiercest fight of his experience, when Price and Marmaduke attacked the Union troops at that place. He also participated in the battle at Helena, Arkansas, and subsequently did service in Tennessee and Mississippi. He was honorably discharged at Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas, in 1865, at the close of the war.

After the war Mr. Braden settled in McLean county, Illinois, and went to farming. From here, in 1869, he moved to Kansas and located in Crawford county. He bought land four miles west of the present city of Girard, and practically had to make the farm, as only a slight amount of work had been done on the place. He broke the ground by himself, and also set out the hedges, besides effecting the innumerable other improvements which made the farm a beautiful and productive piece of property. He lived there until 1878, when he was called by the voters to take the office of sheriff of the county, in which position he served two years. He was again elected to the office in 1882 and re-elected in 1884, so that he served altogether six years, or three terms. Following his official career he took his wife to Utah for the benefit of her health, and on his return embarked in the livery business in Pittsburg, which enterprise he still continues. He is a successful business man, and in all the relations of his busy career has acquitted himself most creditably.

Mr. Braden has for a number of years been prominent in the councils of the Republican party. He was elected county commissioner in 1898, and was again elected in 1901, being now in his fifth year of that office. He is a good, careful, conscientious public official, and one in whom the people have a great deal of confidence. He affiliates with the Masonic order, being a member of the commandery at this place, and is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Braden is one of the directors of the First National Bank of Pittsburg. He is president of the Old Soldiers' Reunion and president of the Lincoln Park Association. While he was living in McLean county, Illinois, Mr. Braden married Miss Wealthy Elizabeth Lott, and they have two children, Samuel Burr and William Orr.