Upon a well developed farm in Mission township resides John Baxter, who is numbered among the enterprising, practical and progressive agriculturists of his community. His birth occurred in Schuyler county, Illinois, on the 23rd of June, 1867. His father, James Henry Baxter, now deceased, was born near Carrollton, in Carroll county, Ohio, February 24, 1843. He was a son of John Baxter, also a native of the Buckeye state and a representative of an old New England family. He married Miss Ellen Moore, whose birth occurred in Ireland and who came to America with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Moore, when three years of age. She was reared and. educated in Ohio. The Moores were of an old Scotch-Irish family of Protestant faith. John and Ellen Baxter had a family of ten children, namely: Mary, deceased, wife of W. J. Moore, who was once a prominent resident of Mission township, Brown county, but now resides in Texas; Andrew, a resident of Atchison county, Kansas; J. Henry, father of our subject; Thomas T., a prominent citizen of Mission township, Brown county; Mrs. Sarah J. Wood, of Kansas City; Mrs. Catherine James, of Ohio; Mrs. Maggie Hackenbury, of Schuyler county, Illinois; Mrs. Hattie Dorset, of Sumner county, Kansas; Mrs. Emma Henderson, who is living in southeastern Kansas; Belle, wife of Rev. H. Mail, a Methodist minister now living in Colorado.
In 1854 John Baxter and his family left their Ohio home and took up their abode in Schuyler county, Illinois, where they lived for many years. In 1873 the father came to Kansas and in Mission township purchased a farm upon which he resided until 1892, when he sold that property to his son Thomas and removed to Grasshopper township, Atchison county. He is now eighty-three years of age but is still strong and enjoying good health. Politically he is a Republican and socially, a Mason, being an active advocate of the lodge. His wife died in April, 1897, at the age of eighty-one years. She was a member of the Methodist church and an earnest Christian lady.
James Henry Baxter, the father of our subject, was a lad of eleven years when his parents removed to Schuyler county, Illinois. He attended the public schools and assisted his father in the work of the home farm through the period of his youth. In 1860 he responded to the country's call for aid, enlisting with the First Illinois Regulars and later joined the Twelfth Kansas Infantry at Kansas City. He was a brave soldier, true to the cause which he espoused and during his service he had several narrow escapes from death. At one time a bullet was shot through his hat; but he was never wounded and in safety returned to his home in Schuyler county, Illinois. There he was married on the 20th of September, 186o, to Miss Sarah M. Clothier, who was born, reared and educated in Lewis county, West Virginia. Her father now resides at Alma, Waubansee county, Kansas, at the age of ninety years. In 1868 Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baxter came to Kansas, settling on the farm now owned by our subject. The land was then in its primitive condition and Brown county was sparsely settled. Mr. Baxter, however, began the work of improving his property and there carried on agricultural pursuits until 1883, when he removed to Willis and embarked in the hardware and implement business in partnership with John Goodwin. His death occurred the following year, 1884, when he had attained the age of forty-one years. With the exception of the short period of his connection with mercantile interests in Willis, he made farming his life work. In politics he was a stanch Republican who believed most firmly in the principles of the party. Of fine personal appearance, he was about six feet in height and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds, He was genial in manner, honorable in all business dealings and won the confidence and good will of all those with whom he came in contact. His death was deeply and widely mourned. His widow survived him only three years, passing away in 1887, when in her forty-fourth year. She was a member of the Methodist church and was a consistent and zealous Christian woman. This worthy couple were the parents of five children, namely: John, of this review; Charles, who is the principal of schools of Willis; Effie, who died at the age of sixteen years; Leonard, who is living in this township; and Gertrude, wife of E. L. Dodge, also of Mission township, Brown county.
John Baxter, the subject of this review, was the eldest child and was an infant at the time of the removal of the family to Kansas. He pursued his education in the public schools and aided his father in the work of the farm, performing such tasks as usually fall to the lot of the eldest son. He was early trained to habits of industry and economy and these have proved to him of great benefit in his later career. He was for three years a farmer in Sumner county, Kansas. Today he owns one hundred acres of rich and arable land in Mission township, two miles southeast of Willis. His farm is carefully cultivated and well stocked and the residence is a modern one, in fact all of the improvements on the place, together with its neat and thrifty appearance indicate the careful supervision of the owner who is a progressive agriculturist.
On October 17, 1889, in Wellington, Sumner county, Mr. Baxter was united in marriage with Miss Nell Hedrick, who was born, reared and educated in Adams county, Illinois. Her father, Solomon Hedrick, was a native of North Carolina and served as a soldier in the war of the Rebellion. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Eveline Buffington, is a native of Illinois. Mrs. Baxter was the youngest of eleven children, the others being Lavina, James, John, Joseph, George, Mary Ellen, Isaac, deceased, William, Elizabeth and Walter. Three children grace the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, namely: Pearl May, James Henry and Lena. In politics Mr. Baxter is a stanch Republican thus following in the political footsteps of his father and grandfather. His wife is a member of the Methodist church. Both are highly esteemed people whose circle of friends and acquaintances is extensive as they enjoy the hospitality of the best homes in this locality and in the history of northeastern Kansas they well deserve mention.