Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Benjamin H. Albertson

REV. BENJAMIN H. ALBERTSON. The work that has distinguished the thirty odd years of Rev. Mr. Albertson's residence in Kansas has been that combination of manual toil with judgment which produces the crops of the fields and provides thereby for the material needs of himself and family, and, furthermore, a devoted ministry in behalf of the Church of the Friends and the general welfare and uplift of humanity. He has been a farmer and minister in a number of different localities in this state, and is now pastor of the flourishing congregation of Friends at Liberal.

It is popularly supposed that the principal center of population of Quakers in America is Pennsylvania, but it is very close to the truth to claim that hardly one in four of the Quakers who are found in the states of Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, and other localities of the central west trace their origin except very remotely to any other state than the Carolinas. It was in Randolph County, North Carolina, that Benjamin H. Alberston was born August 14, 1846, and in that same rugged and semi-mountainous section his ancestors had lived and worshiped with the simple rites of their faith for generations. His grandfather, Pritchard Albertson, of Irish and Scotch stock, was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina, and also combined the ministry with farming. Some years before the war he moved to Indiana, whither so many of his faith and of like antipathy for slavery had preceded him. He died at Plainfield in that state when about eighty years of ago. The maiden name of his wife was Achsah Outland, also a Friend, who died at Plainfield, Indiana. The children of this worthy old Christian couple were: Mark, who died at Plainfleid, Indiana, after a life of singular devotion to the Church of the Friends; Phineas, whose history is noted in the next paragraph; Nathan, who conducted a blacksmith and repair shop at Plainfield, where he died; Rebecca, who died at Plainfield, unmarried; Elizabeth, who spent her life near Plainfield, the wife of Jesse Townsend.

Phineas Albertson was also a native of Western North Carolina, probably of Guilford County. He had a common school education, was an industrious and hard-working farmer and reasonably successful considering circumstances. An active sympathizer with the Union cause, he found himself in an unpleasant not to say dangerous situation when the Civil war came on, since most of his North Carolina neighbors were secessionists. Rather than endure citizenship in a seceded state he disposed of his farm and other property at almost an entire loss and moved with his family to the North, crossing the Ohio River at Cincinnati and joining his father's family near Plainfield, Indiana. There as best he could he resumed farming, and spent the rest of his years among his Quaker neighbors in that section of Indiana. He was a zealous Friend, and in national politics a republican and had the interest of a radical in prohibition. He was a man of sound wisdom, a faculty gained as much by logical thinking as by practical experience, and he was a prompt and useful adviser to many persons outside his home circle. Someone brought suit against him once over a frivolous cause, and though he had never read law he defended himself in court with a skill that would have done credit to an able attorney. He died at the age of seventy-nine survived by his wife, who passed away in the years of the present century at Haviland, Kansas. Her maiden name was Asenath Wilson, daughter of Isaac Wilson, who spent his life in North Carolina and was also a Friend. The children of Phineas Albertson and wife were: Benjamin H.; Isaac, who died in young manhood near Plainfield, Indiana; Jane, who married Elias Newlin and lives at Plainfield; Mary, who died at Bridgeport, Indiana, wife of Oliver Dillon; Amanda, wife of Thomas Kendall, of Haviland, Kansas; and Addie, who married Wilson Furnas and died at Bridgeport, Indiana.

From this recital of the family fortunes it will be seen that Benjamin H. Albertson was a boy of some fourteen or fifteen years when his parents exiled themselves from the North Carolina hills to the Plainfield community of Indiana. He was prepared for college when this move was made, and his education was finished in a Friends' school at Plainfield. One of the experiences of his early manhood was teaching, and earliest of all was farming, an art which he has successively learned in the climates of several states. In 1876, at the age of thirty, the sturdy Indiana farmer was ordained to the ministry of the Friends' Church at Plainfield, and from that time to the present he has continued the ministry, and to a large extent without any stated or expected renumeration. His first sermon was preached at Sugar Grove south of Plainfield. His text was: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." He preached at Bridgeport and other places around Plainfield, but did not accept a regular pastorate until he came to Kansas.

In March, 1884, Rev. Mr. Alberston arrived in this state and pre-empted a claim at Haviland in Kiowa County. He proved this up by commuting it. His arrival was on Saturday, and the very day following he held services in his own little home, a house 10 by 13 feet. He organized the first congregation of Friends at Haviland, and they constructed a sod house as their meeting place, but until this was done both church and Sunday school services were continued in his own home on his claim. The old sod church was used many years, and since then the Friends have erected a splendid church home in Haviland.

Mr. Albertson was pastor in Kiowa County a number of years and was frequently employed in evangelistic and revival work through various counties of Central Kansas. He helped organize many congregations, and in three meetings held in Kiowa County one year over 100 persons were converted. Though this work necessitated absence from his farm, often at critical times, his entire compensation was the sum of $1, while his wife was presented with a turkey gobbler. On extending his work into the more western counties, Mr. Albertson became less and less sectarian and working directly for the spiritual regeneration of the people. On one or two occasions when his efforts brought about a revival of church interest so as to result in the organization of a new congregation, he lost none of his zeal because the majority of the people showed Methodist leanings and wanted a Methodist rather than a Friends Church. Among his regular pastorates have been those of Fowler, Kansas, San Diego, California, where he spent two years, Glendale Church in Kiowa County, and Liberal. He is interested in the Friends University at Wichita, and is one of the directors of the Biblical and Academic School at Haviland. Public education has had no stronger friend in Kansas than Mr. Albertsoa, and to it he has given both his money and influence.

It would not do to overlook the fact that Mr. Albertson is properly numbered among the successful farmers of Seward County. He has always kept in close touch with affairs of the soil even when his ministerial labors kept him out of the fields. His management of crops and land investments have secured him reasonable financial independence and thus enabled him to concentrate the more attention upon his church duties.

In politics he began voting as a republican, but after coming to Kansas he joined the populists and was elected to the Legislature on that ticket. After the dissolution of the populist organization he has exercised his franchise rather independently, and has supported several prohibition candidates for president. While he was in the Legislature most of his work and speaking was in behalf of prohibition. He introduced several local bills, some for the vacating of old townsites, but his leading address was upon prohibition laws and their effect upon the state, wherein he answered the speech of Representative Douglas of Wichita parading the virtues of the license system. Mr. Albertson has always felt it his duty to help elect men best fitted for public office. He is himself a man of splendid physique, weight 240, height six feet. He has a deep melodious voice, with resonant quality, and has the thought and logic behind his speech to make it effective.

Now that threescore and ten years have set their mark upon him, Mr. Albertson is inclined to take more and more cmofort[sic] in his home and family, and derives especial satisfaction in that three of his children have chosen the ministry and are already continuing the work which has demanded from him so many of his best years.

On November 11, 1869, in Hendricks County, Indiana. Mr. Albertson married Miss Anna Newlin. She was born in that county May 20, 1847, daughter of Joel and Mary (Osborn) Newlin. Her father was a native of Ohio, but spent his active life on a farm in Indiana. He was a devout Quaker. Joel Newlin died in 1912 and his wife about ten years earlier. Their children were: Mrs. Albertson; Addison, of Indianapolis; Elias, who died at Plainfield, Indiana; David, of California; Martha, wife of Charles Harvey, of Plainfield; and Calvin, of Hendricks County, Indiana.

Mr. and Mrs. Albertson are the parents of five children. Adelbert, the oldest, was educated in the Friends Academy at Haviland, and is now a farmer and minister in Seward County. He married Fannie Burns and has two children, Ila and Virgil. Elma, who finished her education in the Friends' School at Haviland, has been in pastoral work with the Friends Church until recently, when she assumed the role of evangelist. Cora, who was educated in the same schools as the others, is still an ardent student, though both a preacher and a housewife. She has proved a very effective minister of the Friends' Church, and has been called to remote fields for evangelistic service. By her marriage to James Isham, of Liberal, she is the mother of three bright children, Harold, Monte and Naomi J. The fourth member of the Albertson is Mary, wife of Elmer Hockett, of Haviland. The youngest is Maggie, wife of Edwin Thankhouser, a farmer in Seward County. They have a house full of children, named Ruth, Esther, Joel, John and Anna.

Pages 2231-2232.