Search billions of records on


It is always a grateful task to give the record of a well spent life, and in this brief sketch of one who was for many years an honored citizen of Troy, and prominent in the affairs of his county and state, the historian finds much to commend. As a journalist, a brave soldier of the Union army and a public officer, Colonel Tracy won distinction and honor, and as a man his memory will long he cherished in the hearts of his many friends and associates.

Colonel Tracy was born in Ralls county, Missouri, January 3, 1838, and was the son of Major Louis and Sally (Kragborn) Tracy, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. He was reared and educated in St. Joseph, Missouri, to which place his parents removed after their marriage. In his boyhood he learned the printer's trade in the office of the St. Joseph Gazette, then edited by General Eastin. Afterwards he was employed in the office of the St. Louis Republican and Democrat, and returning to St. Joseph, in 1859, he established the Free Democrat, which he successfully conducted, despite bitter partisan opposition, until the breaking out of the civil war.

In 1862 Mr. Tracy enlisted in Company A, First Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and on the organization of the company was commissioned second lieutenant. A short time afterwards he was transferred to Company I, of the same regiment, of which he was made first lieutenant. He took part in the battle of Corinth, and at Wilson Creek was severely wounded, being shot in the right lung; and carried the ball in his body until his death.

On account of his wound Colonel Tracy was obliged to resign his position and return home. He then settled in Troy, Kansas, and for a time was engaged in milling and in the mercantile business. In 1864 he was elected treasurer of Doniphan county, and was re-elected in 1866, discharging the responsible duties of his office faithfully and satisfactorily. In 1876 he again located in St. Joseph, and, in company with Colonel D. W. Wilder, purchased the St. Joseph Herald, and successfully managed the same until June, 1885, when he sold out his interest. In May, 1881, he was appointed by President Garfield postmaster at St. Joseph, which position he held until November, 1885.

On June 30, 1862, Colonel Tracy was united in marriage with Miss Virginia Melvin, of Lowell, Massachusetts, whom he met while she was on a visit to relatives in Doniphan county. Her parents were Daniel and Harriet (Gregg) Melvin, and her mother is still living, at the advanced age of ninety-eight years. She makes her home with Mrs. Tracy. Harriet Gregg was the daughter of Reuben and Rachel Gregg, and her father was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The Gregg family are of New Hampshire stock, the Tracys of Scotch origin. Mrs. Tracy was born and reared in Johnson, Vermont, and became a student in the same institution in which Admiral Dewey was educated. She is a woman of fine culture and intelligence, is well posted on all the questions of the day, and independent in thought and action. She is occupying the family homestead and is most pleasantly situated, being surrounded by many friends, and highly esteemed by all for her many womanly qualities. One child only was born to Colonel and Mrs. Tracy, Genevieve M., who is an accomplished musician, and has filled the position of musical director in two or three important companies which have visited the principal cities of the United States.

Colonel Tracy was a man of strong character, and as courageous and intrepid in expression in defense of what he considered right as he was in fighting his country's battles on the field. Referring to some line of action taken by his paper, the Herald, in a political campaign some time before his death, a contemporary paid him the following tribute: "Colonel F. M. Tracy has done more for the Republican party within the last eight years in northwest Missouri than any other man in it. He has spent more money, more labor, and more time in the interests of his party than the combined forces opposing him. Colonel Tracy is as brave a Republican as ever lived. He is honest and sincere in all that he does, champions the cause of right with all the fervency and zeal of his manhood, as well as the suppression of wrong. He is a man full of honest intentions and Christian principles."

After his retirement from public office Colonel Tracy led a quiet life, bravely and uncomplainingly enduring the sufferings of that dread disease, consumption, which was primarily caused by his wound and which resulted in his death on February 13, 1888. His remains were interred in the cemetery at Mount Olive, near Troy. At all times and under all circumstances he was loyal to truth and the right. As a soldier he displayed bravery, sagacity and true patriotism; as a public official his actions have been above reproach or criticism; and as a citizen he is an illustration of a high type of our American manhood.