THOMAS CROOKS. - As the years relentlessly mark the milestones on the pathway of time, the older generation slowly gives way to the new and gradually there passes from our midst the men who made our country what it is and who built up this western empire for the men of now. In every generation and in every community some few men leave an indelible imprint upon the history of that community and upon the memories of those who have known them by their ability to fight and win even against great odds, and by that kind of character which wins lasting friends because of that innate quality which people know as loyalty. Thomas Crooks, who passed into the great beyond on the 6th of March, 1902, was one of those. He was a resident of Quindaro township, Wyandotte county, Kansas, at the time of his demise and his widow and children now reside at Kansas City, Kansas.
A native of the fine old Buckeye state of the Union, Thomas Crooks was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, the date of his birth having been the 8th of September, 1831. He was a son of Henry and Catherine (Donley) Crooks, the father having been engaged in farming operations in Ohio. Reared to maturity on the old home farm in Ohio, Thomas Crooks early became associated with his father in the work and management of the estate and in his youth he received an excellent common-school educational training, and later attended the New Hagerstown Academy. Before attaining his majority he was engaged for a time in teaching school in Tuscarawas county, Ohio. At the age of twenty-four years he came to Kansas, where he farmed on a place belonging to Frank Cotter for a period of one year, at the expiration of which he purchased a tract of thirty-one acres of land from an Indian woman named Lucinda Forschithe, a sister of a man he had formerly worked for. This land was virgin wilderness and subsequently Mr. Crooks added to his original tract by buying a tract of nine acres from Jim Zane, another Indian, and twenty acres from James Hayden. A small portion of the new acreage was cleared and after clearing the remainder he erected a one-room log house, eighteen by twenty feet in lateral dimensions, later adding to it until he had a nine-room house, in which domicile he continued to reside until his death, on the 6th of March, 1902. With the passage of time he succeeded in improving his place, which he gradually raised to a high state of cultivation. He enlarged the original log house, covered it with siding and altogether made it so attractive that it became one of the picturesque places of the township. At the present time, in 1911, the Northwestern railroad and the Leavenworth Electric line both run through the Crooks estate, those roads taking up some six acres of the land. When the Civil war broke out Mr. Crooks enlisted in the Union army from Quindaro township; was made lieutenant and later captain, holding the latter rank when he was mustered out. In politics Mr. Crooks was an advocate of the cause of the Republican party and after coming to Kansas he was overseer of the poor for a number of years. He also served with the utmost efficiency as township trustee for some two terms and during practically the entire period of his residence in Quindaro township he was a member of the local school board. Prior to his death he was the owner of a farm of sixty acres and on the same devoted his entire time and attention to diversified agriculture and the raising of high-grade stock. He was a man of broad human sympathy and great kindliness of spirit, giving generous assistance to all individuals less fortunately situated in life than himself. As a citizen and man he was possessed of a wide circle of friends and at the time of his death his loss was uniformly mourned throughout this section of the county, where he was held in high esteem by all with whom he had come in contact. In his religious affiliations he was a devout member of the Congregational church, in which he was a member of the board of trustees for several years.
In Clay county, Missouri, on the 11th of April, 1867, Mr. Crooks was united in marriage to Miss Julia Farnsworth, who is a daughter of Isaac and Louisa (Tracy) Farnsworth, both of whom were reared in the commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Farnsworth migrated to Missouri from Wheeling, West Virginia, about the year 1854. The father died just before the family reached Clay county, Missouri, and there the widowed mother bought a tract of land and established a home for her children. She passed the closing years of her life in Kansas City, Missouri, where her death occurred in January, 1891, at the venerable age of eighty-one years. Mr. and Mrs. Crooks became the parents of six children, concerning whom the following brief data is here incorporated: Albon C. died at the age of two years, in 1870; Alva Claude died on the 28th of June, 1871, at the age of three months; Julietta died on the 13th of July, 1873, at the age of eight months; Clara Louise passed away in 1884, at the age of nine years; Lillie May, born on the 19th of January, 1878, remains at home with her widowed mother; as does also Adeline Inza, whose birth occurred on the 16th of August, 1880.
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