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Joseph D. Sexsmith
The subject of this sketch, J. D. Sexsmith, is one of Cloud county's
sixty-niners who took up a homestead and began farm life on an
uncultivated Kansas prairie with a yoke of wild Texas steers. He was an
unmarried man at that time and only improved his claim enough to hold it
and engaged in teaching school on the frontier. He was the pioneer teacher
in the "Rice" district and in this seat of learning, constructed of sod
and boards, Mr. Sexsmith imparted knowledge to about one dozen rising
young Kansans and received a salary of twenty-five dollars per month.
His father, Matthew Sexsmith, a farmer of Delaware county, New York, the
place of our subject's nativity, was also an early settler in Kansas. He
filed on government land in Cloud county and lived there until his death
in 1886. His mother before her marriage was Mary Douglas. She died in
1852, when Mr. Sexsmith was but six years old, and left six other
children. Mr. Sexsmith acquired his rudimental education in the common
schools of New York, followed by an academic course in Andes Collegiate
Institute of Andes, New York, graduating from this institution, took a
regent's examination and was granted a diploma. He was practically reared
on a farm and followed that occupation until 1864, when he enlisted at the
youthful age of eighteen years in Company T, One Hundred and Forty-fourth
New York Volunteers.
This regiment changed the position of their troops from Virginia to the
Department of the South and operated under the command of General
Gillmore. During Sherman's march to the sea his regiment occupied the
attention at the other end of the route. The One Hundred and Forty-fourth
was the first Union regiment in the city of Charleston, but Mr. Sexsmith
was prevented from being there, owing to a wound he received in a charge
on James Island and was disabled for two months. He joined the forces at
Hilton Head, South Carolina, where they remained until discharged. When
they were mustered out at Elmira, New York, Mr. Sexsmith returned to his
home and resumed his farming pursuits until coming to Kansas in 1869.
||By 1876 he had improved his
homestead to the extent of concluding he could afford a wife, and
believing it was not best for man to live alone, he was united with
Miss Emma Lamb, in the bonds of matrimony. Her father, T. C. Lamb,
came from Missouri, where she was born, and settled in Shirley
township. He was also an engineer, and saw mill man. After having
put his land under a high state of cultivation, Mr. Sexsmith sold it
in 1882 and moved into Clyde, where he was engaged in various
pursuits, chief among which was an interest in the manufacture of
pottery. In 1884 he was elected clerk of the court of Cloud county.
At the expiration of his term in this office he embarked in the real
estate and insurance business. In 1899 he was elected city clerk of
Concordia and was re-elected each succeeding year until 1901, when
he retired and engaged again in the real estate and insurance
To Mr. and Mrs. Sexsmith four children have been born, viz: Daniel J,
court stenographer at Enid, Oklahoma; Matthew T.; associate editor of the
Concordia Press; Charlotte Gertrude, a successful Cloud county teacher,
and Leonard D., a student of the Concordia High school.
Mr. Sexsmith is a Republican politically and takes an active part in all
legislative affairs. He cast his first vote for President Grant in 1868.
Mr. Sexsmith takes an active interest in everything pertaining to the
Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member and past post commander of W.
T. Sherman Post, of Concordia.
Source: Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas:
biographies of representative citizens; published 1903, 915 pgs.
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