Thursday, May 31, 2012

Byron H. Tillotson

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Byron H. Tillotson, a leading real estate dealer of Olathe, Kan., is a native of Indiana, born in Elkhart, October 28, 1850. He is a son of  Charles and Eliza Ann (Frink) Tillotson, the former a native of New York and the latter of Ohio, born in Sandusky. The father was left an orphan when a child and was reared to manhood by an uncle who resided in Toledo, Ohio. He learned the tinner's trade in early life and became an expert workman. When a young man he went to Elkhart, Ind., where he was married and in 1852 removed with his family to Henry county, Illinois, locating at Kewanee where he conducted a tin shop. His wife died there in 1855, and in 1859 he came to Shawnee, Kan., with his children, and in i860 located at Olathe. They made the trip by rail from Kewanee to Quincy, Ill., and then down the Mississippi river as far as Hannibal, Mo., by steamboat, and from there to St. Joseph by rail, and then came down the Missouri river by boat to Kansas City.

When they reached Kansas City they stopped at the old Gillis House on the levee. Kansas City at that time was a mere boat landing. The father opened a tin shop on the north side of the square in Olathe where the Olathe Hotel now stands, in a two-story frame building which was blown away by a cyclone in 1866. He then erected a stone building on the same corner, the walls of which are still standing and now a part of the Olathe Hotel. Here he conducted a hardware store and tin shop until 1870 when the business district seemed to center on the south side of the square and he moved into a store which stood on the present site of Collard & Norris' drug store. In 1876 he went to Graham county and took a homestead, and shortly after the town of Melbrook was built on his farm. The county seat was located there. He prospered and was the owner of seven buildings, and just as everything seemed to be progressing satisfactorily the town was visited by a cyclone and completely destroyed and blown away.

However, he remained in that county until his death, in 1901, at the age of seventy-three. Byron H. Tillotson has one sister, Alice F., unmarried, who resides in Chicago.  Mr. Tillotson was educated in the public schools of Illinois and Kansas and attended a private school in Olathe, which was conducted by Prof. W. W. Deverell in the old Masonic building on North Cherry Street.  He learned the tinner's trade with his father at odd times and when nineteen years old went to northern Missouri where he taught school and clerked in a store about a year and a half. He then went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, and worked at his trade there for a time, and later worked at Green River, Wyo. In 1871 he returned to Johnson county and engaged in the hardware and tinning business at Gardner. Four years later he removed to Olathe and engaged in the general mercantile business near the Frisco depot. After being thus engaged for a year he built a store building where the Masonic Temple now stands and conducted a hardware store and tinshop there for ten years. In 1887 ne ell gaged in the real estate and general insurance business, to which he has devoted his time since and has met with success.

Mr. Tillotson was married, December 31, 1874, at Gardner, to Miss Margaret C. Enyart, a native of Center Prairie, Bureau county, Illinois, who came to Kansas with her parents in 1866. To Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson have been born eight children, seven of whom are living, as follows: Mabel C, married Will J. Stewart, Russell, Kan.; Charles C, electrical engineer, Butte, Mont.; Clarence B., real estate dealer, Los Angeles, Cal. ; Frank H., photographer, Wilcox, Ariz. ; Margaret C, teacher, Olathe ; Elroy E., student, and Mary L., student. Air. Tillotson has served two terms as justice of the peace. He is a member of the Court of Honor and has been secretary of his lodge fifteen years. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

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