More than forty years have passed since Alfred Chill came to Doniphan county. He dates his arrival from 1859 and has therefore been a witness of the progress and development of the commonwealth since territorial days. Great changes have been wrought in this part of the world and the work of civilization has been carried steadily forward, advocated by such progressive and public-spirited citizens as the one whose name introduces this review. When the country called for troops to aid in the preservation of the Union he responded and at all times has been equally eager to aid in the movements calculated to prove of general benefit.
Mr. Chill is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred in Marion county, near Indianapolis, on the 21St of September, 1833. His parents were Zebulon and Mary (Shearer) Chill. The father died when our subject was only two years of age, leaving a widow and two children. Mrs. Chill was born in Indiana, but was of Pennsylvania German parentage. She survived her husband only three years and three months and thus the two sons were left alone. The younger, Zebulon, served as a member of the Tenth Kansas Infantry during the civil war and is now a resident of Chautauqua county, Kansas.
Alfred Chill was only two years and three months old when his mother died, at which time he went to make his home with his grandparents, near Agency City, Iowa. Five years later they became residents of Calhoun county, Illinois, where, after attaining his majority, Mr. Chill was married, in 1855, to Miss Fanny Fielder. In the spring of 1858 he and his wife removed to Iowa and in the following winter came to Doniphan county, Kansas, where he has since made his home. He purchased a few acres of land along the Missouri river and there, after the war, conducted a sawmill for a number of years. He has also operated a threshing machine for many years and has thus been actively connected with the industrial interests of his adopted state. After the outbreak of the civil war, however, he put aside his business cares and enlisted on the 12th of October, 1861, as a member of Company I, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, which made for itself a most honorable record during the war of the Rebellion, -- a record no less creditable than that of the Twentieth Kansas during the Spanish-American war. They traveled twelve thousand miles, not including the distance covered by steamboat and cars, and participated in thirty-six skirmishes and battles. Mr. Chill remained at the front until hostilities had ceased, after which he received an honorable discharge at Fort Leavenworth, on the 29th of September, 1865. He was under command of Captain J. M. Anthony and Colonel C. R. Jenson and with the regiment was first under fire at Little Blue in 1860. With the forces of General Rosecrans he participated in the siege of Corinth and the two-days battle of Shiloh. Subsequently he marched with the regiment into Tennessee and when Grant fortified Vicksburg in order to hold the forces of Johnston in check the Seventh Kansas Cavalry was marched to the rear of the mines near the river. During the last year of his service Mr. Chill was under command of General Smith and the regiment took an active part in the military movements in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. He was in the two-days battle at Corinth, Mississippi, October 3 and 4, 1862, and at Coffeeville, Mississippi, in January, 1863, and two days at Tupelo, same state, in 1864. During the latter part of the year 1864 they were ordered west on account of the uprising of the Indians on the plains and participated in border warfare under General Dodge. Mr. Chill bore the hardships of war uncomplainingly, willing to aid in defense of his country to the best of his ability.
On receiving his discharge he returned to his home and family in Doniphan county. As stated above he was married to Miss Fannie Fielder, whose birth occurred near Bloomington, Indiana, and she was a daughter of William Fielder. They had seven children, namely: Mrs. Sarah C. Shustee, of Missouri; Thomas; Zebulon; Edward, who is living in Missouri; Frank, a resident of Stuart, Iowa; Lilly May, who is living in Wathena; and Laura, wife of Joseph Lieber, of San Francisco, California. Mrs. Chill died in February, 1887, and Mr. Chill was afterward married to Mrs. Maria A. Holton, of Chicago. She is a native of Vermont and was the widow of Wesson Holton.
Mr. Chill has been a Republican in politics since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, at which time he voted in Colonel T. P. Herrick's hat in the state of Tennessee while in the army. He has served his fellow townsmen as a township clerk and trustee and in his competent discharge of his duties has manifested his fidelity to public trust. In Grand Army circles he is quite prominent and is now serving as the commander of Nathan Price Post, No. 283, a position which he has filled for three years. He has been Grand Army inspector of Doniphan county for a year and he enjoys the highest regard of his comrades, maintaining the pleasant relationship which was formed so many years ago through his association with the military organizations. He and his family are members of the Methodist church and take a very active part in its work, being zealous in promoting its welfare and upbuilding. Such in brief is the history of one who has made an honorable record as a citizen, business man and public official, and whose name is inscribed on the roll of the pioneer settlers of Doniphan county.