Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 823-825 transcribed by Ashley Rozell, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on March 12, 2001.


James M. Killmer

JAMES M. KILLMER. - The present able incumbent of the office of county commissioner of Wyandotte county, Kansas, is James M. Killmer, who, prior to his retirement in 1908, was engaged in the general merchandise business at Rosedale, Kansas, where he has been honored by his fellow citizens with election to various offices of trust and responsibility and where he has gained recognition as one of the ablest citizens of this section of the old Sunflower state. Mr. Killmer was a gallant and faithful soldier in the Civil war and during his life time he has been identified with a number of different occupations, in all of which he achieved noteworthy success.

A native of the fine old Keystone state of the Union, James M. Killmer was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, the date of his nativity being the 13th of October, 1845. He is a son of John and Catherine (Aarentz) Killmer, both of whom were born in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, the father in 1829 and the mother in 1831. The father was summoned to the life eternal in 1898, as was also his cherished and devoted wife, the former at the age of sixty-nine years and the latter aged sixty-seven years. Of the ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Killmer seven are living at the present time, in 1911, and of the number the subject of this review was the third in order of birth. John Killmer was a merchant in Pennsylvania as a young man and thence he removed west to Kentucky, in Fulton county, Indiana, in 1854, there passing the remainder of his active career in conjunction with the general mercantile business. He was an uncompromising advocate of the principles and policies of the Democratic party in his political convictions and during his life time was incumbent of a number of township offices. His religious faith was in harmony with the tenets of the German Reformed church, and he and his wife both lived exemplary lives and were highly respected by all with whom they came in contact.

As a youth James M. Killmer attended the public schools in Indiana, his first school having been a crude log structure, in which the seats consisted of slabs supported by wooden pegs. At the time of the inception of the Civil war he was fired with boyish enthusiasm to go to the front in defense of the Union cause, and with that object in view he enlisted, in 1864, in Company E, Eighty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, for a period of three years or during the war. He was mustered into the United States Army at Indianapolis and immediately thereafter proceeded forward to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was assigned to the Fourteenth Army Corps, under the command of General Thomas. He was one of the recruits to the Eighty-seventh Indiana Regiment, which he joined at Ringgold Station soon after participating in the campaign between Ringgold and Atlanta. He was present at the surrender of Atlanta and later was with Sherman on his memorable march from Atlanta to the sea. From the latter campaign he marched through Virginia over the battlefield at Richmond and from there through the wilderness to Washington, D. C., where he participated in the Grand Review. From the National Capital he was sent to Parkersburg, on the Ohio river, whence he was transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, where he received his honorable discharge and was mustered out of service. On the 25th of October, 1869, he came from his home in Indiana to Kansas City, Missouri, going thence to Topeka, Kansas, where he continued to maintain his home for the ensuing four years and where he was engaged in the work of his trade - that of stone mason. In 1869 he went to Danville, Illinois, where he remained for one year with his brother and whence he went to Topeka, Kansas, there entering the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, doing stone mason work. In 1880 he went to Pueblo, Colorado, where he was in the employ of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company, being engaged principally in steel construction work on that road. At this point, however, his health began to fail and upon the advice of his physician he returned to Kansas, locating at Great Bend, where he remained for a period of years, at the expiration of which he went into the gold mining country. Subsequently he went to Emporia, Kansas, being there at the time of the nomination of Glick for the office of governor of the state, in 1882. At the close of that convention Mr. Killmer decided to settle permanently at Rosedale, where he has resided continuously since 1882 and where he was long engaged in the general merchandise business, only retiring from active participation in mercantile affairs in 1908.

In his political affiliations Mr. Killmer is aligned as a stalwart in the ranks of the Democratic party, in the local councils of which he has long been an active and zealous worker. His first public office was that of city clerk of Rosedale, of which he was in tenure for the period of four years. He was then township trustee for three terms and later was mayor of the city of Rosedale for two years. In 1890 he was elected county commissioner and he was re-elected to that office again in 1908, being incumbent thereof at the present time. Mr. Killmer has acquitted himself with all of honor and distinction in discharging the duties connected with his various official positions and as a man of high principles and fair methods he commands the unalloyed confidence and esteem of all who know him. In the time honored Masonic order he is affiliated with Rosedale Lodge No. 333, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He is also a valued and appreciative member of Rosedale Lodge, No. 48, Ancient Order of United Workmen.

On the 1st of January, 1884, Mr. Killmer was united in marriage to Miss Mary Stadler, whose birth occurred in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and who is a daughter of Stephen and Mary Stadler, both of whom were natives of Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Stadler were united in marriage in the old Fatherland, whence they immigrated to America, locating in the vicinity of Philadelphia. He was an iron worker by trade and in his political proclivities was a stanch advocate of the cause of the Democratic party. In religious matters the Stadlers were devout communicants of the Roman Catholic church, in whose faith Mrs. Killmer was reared. Mr. and Mrs. Killmer have six children, whose names are here entered in respective order of birth: May, James A., Eva., Helen, John and Robert.



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