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Stephen A. Holcomb has been a very active factor in the upbuilding of Powhattan and his labors have been very effective in promoting its interests along social, material, educational and moral lines. He was at one time extensively engaged in dealing in grain. lumber and coal, is the owner of considerable real estate and is carrying on his business interests with signal success.

A native of the Hawkeye state, he was born near Ottumwa, Wapello county, July 24, 1847, and is a son of Zephaniah Holcomb. The grandfather of our subject was Stephen Holcomb, who was a native of New England and of English descent. The family was representative in the early wars of the country and its members have always been noted for loyalty to the government. The father of our subject was reared upon a farm in the county of his nativity and acquired his education in the public schools. Emigrating westward he took up his abode in Wapello county, becoming one of the pioneer settlers. He there secured a government claim and began the development of a farm. He was married, in Van Buren county, Iowa, to Miss Rebecca Blackford, a native of Indiana and a daughter of John Blackford, whose birth occurred in Maryland. The parents of our subject resided in Iowa until 1864, when they came to Brown county, Kansas, establishing a home on the present site of Robinson; in fact the town was laid out on their farm. The father has followed agricultural pursuits throughout his entire life and is still living at the old homestead in Brown county. In politics he has been a stanch Republican ever since the organization of the party and in religious faith is a United Brethren. In his family were seven children, two sons and five daughters, namely Stephen A., of this review; Mrs. Anna Roup, of Robinson, Kansas; Mrs. Mary Wade, of Robinson; T. W., also living in Robinson; Mrs. Jane Parsons, of Lawrence, Kansas; Mrs. Laura Harnorse, of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Mrs. Maggie Wallace, of Robinson, Kansas.

Mr. Holcomb, of this review, was reared on the old home farm in Iowa and was early trained to habits of industry and economy, which have proved to him of great value in his business career. Lessons of honesty and reliability were also early instilled into his mind and have largely colored his later life. His intellectual development was directed in the public schools, where he acquired a fair English education. He is numbered among the soldier boys of the Civil war, for, when only sixteen years of age, he responded to his country's call for troops, enlisting in February, 1863, as a member of Company E, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, under the command of Captain J. B. Davids; later he was under the command of Captain J. P. Norris. The regiment made an excellent record for gallant service on the field and on scouting expeditions. Their work lay west of the Missouri river. For a time they were stationed on the wild plains of western Kansas, in order to suppress any uprising of hostile Indians, and later they were located at Fort Ellsworth, at Fort Laramie, Cottonwood Springs and Fort Riley. Mr. Holcomb was faithful to the post of duty, discharging every task allotted to him, and at the close of the war he was honorably discharged. He then returned to his father's home in Robinson, Brown county, and has since been actively identified with the business interests of this locality.

On the 29th of March, 1871, Mr. Holcomb was united in marriage to Miss Annie Richardson, a lady of intelligence and of good family, who is well-known as a most estimable woman. She was born in England, her parents being Joseph and Mary Richardson. Her father is now deceased, but her mother is still living. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Holcomb were eight children, six of whom survive: Samuel, a leading and prominent merchant of Powhattan, who is now numbered among the prominent business men of Brown county; George, of Sheridan county, Kansas; Daisy, William, Florence and Frank. They also lost two children: John, who died at the age of six years, and Cora, at the age of two. Mrs. Holcomb was called to her final rest December 7, 1898. She was to her husband a faithful companion and helpmeet, to her children a loving mother and to her neighbors a true friend. Thus her death occasioned sincere grief to those in their community.

Mr. Holcomb is now the owner of a valuable farm of one hundred and twenty acres adjacent to the town of Powhattan. Of this, forty acres have been laid out in town lots and thus its value increased. He has very extensive realty interests, including the ownership of a brick store 30x70 feet. This is one of the best buildings in the town. Mr. Holcomb also owns the hotel and six or eight other leading buildings, which have contributed to the material improvement of the place. He erected the elevator here and carried on an extensive trade as a dealer in grain, lumber and coal for nine years. Throughout his life Mr. Holcomb has been a Republican and has served as a justice of the peace. He is likewise a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and a member of the Congregational church, taking an active interest in all those measures pertaining to the improvement and welfare of the community, and his efforts have been very effective in securing public progress along material, intellectual, social and moral lines.