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Below is a family biography included in History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott, published by Iola Register, 1901.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Man’s success is not reckoned entirely from the amount of real and personal property which he has acquired, as he is also judged by the use he makes of his wealth and the manner in which it has been gained. These three elements enter into the judgment which the public passes upon every citizen, and in the case of Mr. Shannon the judgment which has been given is a very favorable one. He is held in the highest regard by all who know him for his career has ever been in harmony with sterling principles, and his public and private career are alike above reproach. He is now residing in the town of Vernon, which is a monument to his enterprise and progressive spirit, for he was its founder.

A native of Wyth County, Virginia, he was born July 7, 1849, and is a son of Thomas and Matilda (Brown) Shannon, both natives of the Old Dominion, the latter born in Wyth County. Thos. Shannon was a merchant and farmer who carried on agricultural pursuits on an extensive scale, but his farm lay in that region over which the contending armies in the Civil war passed, and the place was left in ruins. Selling the land, he was forced to take his pay in Confederate money, which became worthless, and he thus lost the earnings of many years. In 1865 he removed his family to Attica, Fountain County, Indiana, arriving there with only money enough to purchase a cow. He had been one of the leading influential citizens of the community in which he resided in the South. For many years he served as justice of the peace and as chief justice of the board of justices, he had to attend all the courts of the county and officiate therein. After removing to Indiana he lived in Fountain County for eight years and, in 1873 came to Kansas, and passed his remaining years with his son Joseph on the farm, now partially the town site of Vernon. Here he died in 1874, at the age of 58 years, his wife passing away in 1883, at the age of seventy-three. They were the parents of five children, three of whom yet survive, namely: Joseph, George and Mrs. Mary Bates, the last two named now living in Anacortes, Washington.

Joseph N. Shannon was the third member of the family. He attended the common schools and later pursued a high school course in Attica, Indiana, after which he engaged in teaching school for two years. He then came to Kansas with his parents and purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land from the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad Company. He still owns this valuable property. For two years after his arrival in Woodson County he engaged in teaching school, and then returned to Indiana for his bride. There on the 10th of January, 1876, he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah M. Claypool, of Fountain County. Through the five succeeding years he was identified with the educational interests of this county and then entered into partnership with A. Van Slike, under the firm name of Van Slike & Shannon, dealers in hardware in Yates Center. For four years they successfully carried on business and then Mr. Shannon returned to the farm. In 1886 he laid off the town of Vernon and embarked in general merchandising, building up a large trade which necessitates his carrying an extensive stock of goods. His patronage has steadily increased, and his sales bring to him a very gratifying income. He also began dealing in hay and the two lines of business bring him in thirty-five thousand dollars annually. In addition he owns sixteen hundred and twenty acres of land near Vernon, of which he has about two hundred and fifty acres under cultivation, while the remainder is pasture and meadow land. He handles large numbers of cattle, horses and mules, buying, feeding and shipping, and this forms an important branch of his business. Mr. Shannon’s labors have not only proven of great benefit to himself but have been of value to the farming community around Vernon, furnishing a market for produce and stock. He has won the distinction of being what the public calls “a self-made man.” He came to Kansas with little capital and with an invalid father and mother to support, but with undaunted courage he undertook the task and has found that industry and determination can successfully cope with an adverse fate and in the end gather the rich treasures of success.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Shannon has been blessed with six children, as follows: Myra E., wife of William H. Roberts, of Perry, Oklahoma: Arthur C., Thomas W., who is operating his father’s farm; Nelson C., who is clerking in his father’s store; Mary E. and Harold E., at home. Al though he has led a very busy life, Mr. Shannon has always found time to devote to the higher, holier duties of life affecting the welfare of man. Long a faithful member in the Methodist Episcopal church, he has been particularly active in Sunday school work, realizing the importance of training the young. He has therefore taken a deep interest in establishing and conducting Sunday schools throughout the county, organizing many schools at one time making Woodson County the banner county in this respect in Kansas. He was influential in organizing the Methodist Episcopal church in Vernon, and the house of worship was erected largely with funds which he provided for the purpose. In his political views he is a Republican. The measure of his work in the world cannot be estimated until his influence had ceased to be felt in the lives of those with whom he has come in contact, but it is well known that he has been a potent factor in business, and in the material prosperity of the county, and that his labors have been a source of inspiration and encouragement to many in the line of moral progress.

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This family biography is one of 204 biographies included in History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott, published by Iola Register, 1901, Iola, Kansas.  For the complete description, click here: Woodson County, Kansas History and Genealogy

View additional Woodson County, Kansas family biographies here: Woodson County, Kansas

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