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 • Lyon County
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Charles Vernon Eskridge
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Birth: Jan. 20, 1833
Virginia, USA
Death: Jul. 15, 1900
Emporia
Lyon County
Kansas, USA

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas

HON. CHARLES V. ESKRIDGE, now editor and proprietor of the Emporia Republican, is and has been for many years one of the prominent men in the affairs of the State. Like others who have advanced to high position, his parents were people in straightened circumstances, depending upon their daily labor for subsistence. Their son, Charles V., was born In Virginia in 1833. The next year his parents emigrated to Ohio, and in 1838 to Lewiston, Fulton Co. Ill. where, in 1851, his mother died of pneumonia. His father still resides there. When about thirteen years of age, Charles, wishing to strike out for himself, and being satisfied that $2 in silver was sufficient capital upon which to venture his fortunes, ran away from home, his objective point being St. Louis. Having passed through a succession of boyish adventures, spending most of his succeeding six months as a cabin boy on a Mississippi steamboat, he returned to the parental roof, both richer and wiser. Shortly afterward he commenced to learn the "Art Preservative," and soon became proficient in the trade. He departed for Kansas in the spring of 1855, and arrived at a time when the country was yet in the throes of the border ruffian invasion of March 30th. Locating at Lawrence, he carried on an active correspondence with several papers in Illnois, working, also on the Herald of Freedom. Mr. Eskridge was furthermore a participant in the military operations in which Lawrence played so heroic a part. After a brief visit to Illinois in the winter of 1856, he located at Emporia, Kan., during the succeeding spring. That place was then a "paper" town. He became the agent of the Town Company, and he also acted as a clerk in a store. In the spring of 1858, when Emporia had thrown off its swaddling clothes, and the country had become more settled, a political organization was affected, with Mr. Eskridge as Clerk and Recorder. In 1859 he was appointed Probate Judge, and elected a member of the first State Legislature; re-elected in 1862, and in 1863 was appointed on the Governor's staff, with the rank of Colonel. In 1864 he was elected State Senator, and Lieutenant-Governor in 1868. As a presiding officer he made a most brilliant record, as is evidenced repeatedly by resolutions entered in the Senate Journal. In 1871 he was again elected a member of the Legislature, and in 1872 was placed before the people as a gubernatorial candidate. Though he did not obtain the nomination, he was the means of making the choice, as his influence undoubtedly formed the balance of power in the convention. Mr. Eskridge was President of the City Council of Emporia, in 1873-4, and in 1874 was again elected to the popular branch of the Legislature, and in 1878 was chosen a delegate to the Republican State Convention. Among other subjects of legislation in which he has taken a leading part are those in relation to the State Normal School which, through his efforts, was located in Emporia. He is the author of the law by which school districts may issue bonds to assist in the construction of schoolhouses. He was also the first to offer a proposition extending the right of franchise to the colored race. An amendment to the State Constitution, proposing to extend the elective franchise to women, was defeated mainly by his efforts. During his residence in Emporia for about ten years, Mr. Eskridge was engaged in the mercantile business, and also dealt extensively in real estate, and accumulated a handsome property. Besides the public measures previously mentioned in which Mr. Eskridge has been prominent, several of the laws encouraging railroad and internal improvements were drawn up and supported by him. Through his efforts the name of the county was changed from Breckinridge to Lyon. He has also been the foster father of measures which have greatly stimulated the agricultural and horticultural interests of the State. As an editor Mr. Eskridge is known throughout Kansas. He established The Republican and made it one of the best dailies in Kansas, a full account of which appears in the County History. The daily is a thirty-two column paper - receiving the full Associated Press dispatches, and is in every way metropolitan. The weekly is a thirty-six column paper. This establishment gives employment to thirty-five hands. The circulation of The Republican extends principally throughout the southern and southwestern portions of the State. Mr. Eskridge was married at Donaldson, Bond Co., Ill, in December, 1861 to Mary E. Dixon, of that place. They have four children - Mattie, Clara, Edward Walton, and Mary.

The Emporia Weekly Gazette, 19 Jul 1900, Friday

THE PASSING OF GOVERNOR ESKRIDGE

The most notable death that has occurred in Emporia for several years, occurred Sunday.

perhaps it is not exaggerating to say that no other man, with the exception of Senator Plumb, has been more thoroughly identified with this town, from the early '60's, until today, than Governor Eskridge. He has been a strong, active man, and until he took to his bed nine weeks ago, he was strong and active until the end.

His chief characteristic and that by which he will be remembered in this community, was his courage. He loved a fight, and in fighting he always got on what seemed to him the right side and stayed with it. He was not a compromiser in anything and yet he was always a fair enemy. He was tireless and indomitable and in the end, generally efficient when he fought.

In the legislature he fought for the Normal school and his fight won and today it stands as a monument to his courage.

He fought for railroads into Emporia and they came. He was progressive and enterprising and often paid dearly in dollars and cents out of his own pocket for his enterprise.

He established the Emporia Daily "Republican" at a time when business was booming, but he made a better paper than the people ever paid for and pocketed his loss gamely and without complaining.

He allied himself politically and financially with the fortunes of the First National bank and he remained a valiant friend and defender of Wm. Martindale until the hour of his death. But the shock that came with the failure of the bank, which meant financial reverses for Eskridge, was a severe shock and he never fully regained his poise.

His first job in this town was hauling rocks. He started a store, invested in real estate, built buildings, became a large property owner, amassed what in this country is called a fortune and saw it swept away from him almost in the twinkling of an eye. He was a man past 60 then; he left ample insurance, but he could not recover his fortune.

Yet Governor Eskridge's life in this community has been a force for good. He has reared a family of self-helpful and intelligent children who are respected in every circle. The Normal school is his monument, more enduring than tablets of brass or granite.

He has left an example of courage for the youth of this town and will always be remembered as a man who dared to contend for what he thought was right.

Everyone in town stands uncovered at the sad news of his tragic death and the sympathy of the entire town is with the family in their bereavement.
 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Mary E. Dixon Eskridge (1835 - 1925)*
 
 Children:
  Clara Eskridge*
  Mattie Eskridge Steel (1864 - 1917)*
  Edward Walter Eskridge (1871 - 1930)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery
Emporia
Lyon County
Kansas, USA
Plot: Section 12, Lot 34, Space 6
 
Created by: K - B
Record added: Oct 22, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 30782840
Charles Vernon Eskridge
Added by: K - B
 
Charles Vernon Eskridge
Added by: Becky Doan
 
Charles Vernon Eskridge
Added by: Mayflower Pilgrim 332
 
 
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RIP Charles :)
- Julie A (Eskridge) Taylor
 Added: Jul. 18, 2015

- Becky Doan
 Added: Jul. 18, 2015

- kellybean
 Added: Oct. 23, 2013
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