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.

Joseph C. Hart

JOSEPH C. HART. As senior member of the enterprising firm of Hart, Thorpe & Company, Joseph C. Hart, of Lakin, is intimately associated with the promotion of the business prosperity of this section of Kearny County, and as a public spirited and trustworthy citizen he has been active and influential in the public life of the county. A native of Tennessee, he was born in Jacksboro, Campell County, July 24, 1867, but spent his childhood days in the near-by Town of Caryville.

Dr. David Hart, Mr. Hart's father, was born in Campbell County, Tennessee, in 1814, on the farm on which his father had settled in that section of the state on moving to Tennessee from North Carolina, the grant which he received from the Government having contained several thousand acres. Doctor Hart was engaged in the practice of medicine during his active life, and was at all times intelligently interested in public affairs. He spent the later years of his life in Knoxville, dying at the advanced age of eighty-two years. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, but was not identified with any church. Doctor Hart married Eliza La Mar, who was born in East Tennessee, of French ancestry, a daughter of Charles La Mar, a farmer. She died in Campbell County, Tennessee, when but fifty-nine years old, in 1888, leaving three children, as follows: Richard H., engaged in railroad work, died in New Orleans, leaving a family; Joseph C.; and James T., of Denver, Colorado.

Acquiring his preliminary education in the public schools, Joseph C. Hart entered the University of Tennessee, intending to complete the course of study, but on the death of his mother left that institution. Subsequently taking up telegraphy on the Cincinnati Southern Railway, he was for two years an operator at Rockwood, Tennessee. Coming from there to Kansas in 1891, he entered the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad Company as agent and operator, being first stationed at Deerfield, Kearny County, and later at Pierceville and Lakin. Giving up that position, Mr. Hart spent five years as a partner with James Mullany in Lakin, and then he established himself as a dealer in lumber and hardware. He met with well deserved success in his business efforts, and later, in 1906, became head of the prosperous firm of Hart, Thorpe & Company, which bought the yard formerly belonging to Mosher & Armstrong.

Mr. Hart married first, in June, 1893, in Garden City, Kansas, Mary McNellis, who was born in Iowa, on the farm of her father, John McNellis. She died in 1901, leaving one son, Bert Hart, now county attorney of Kearny County. Mr. Hart married second, June 15, 1904, Mabel Pearl. She was born in Lakin, March 7, 1882, a daughter of Thomas Pearl, one of the early settlers of the place. One child has been born of this union, a daughter named Thelma.

In politics an active and influential member of the democratic party, Mr. Hart, although the county is normally republican, has served for four years as county clerk, devoting his time to the routine work of his office. In 1906 he was elected to the State Legislature, and in 1907 served under Speaker Simmons, being a member of the minority body of the House. He served on the committee of state affairs, and on a few minor committees. He supported both the anti-pass law and the two-cent fare law, both of which were enacted at a special session. He gave his support to Senator Harris for re-election, but Senator Curtis was chosen. Mr. Hart served on the committee to investigate the State Penitentiary and the Hutchinson Reformatory, agreeing with the majority report as given to the governor.

Fraternally Mr. Hart is a member and past master of Emerald Lodge No. 289, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; a member of Garden City Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; and of Dodge City Commandery, Knights Templars. He is prominent in the fraternity and has attended the Grand Lodge.