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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Cyrus Corning, one of the well-known business men of Topeka, whose able and independent political career for a number of years made him widely known, was born July 12, 1844, at Stockholm, St. Lawrence County, New York, and is a son of Russell and Sarah (White) Corning.

The father of Mr. Corning was born in New York and his mother in Vermont. The father, who was a farmer, moved with his family to Wisconsin in 1850 and came to Kansas in 1878, settling on a farm in Ness County where he died in 1882. His wife died seven years later. Both parents were interred at Plainfield, Wisconsin. They had five children: Henry, a mechanic and farmer at Florence, Colorado; Cyrus, of this sketch; Sidney A., a lawyer at Plainfield, Wisconsin; Lovina (Mrs. James Sharp), of Nebraska; and Charles S., a farmer living near Plainfield, Wisconsin.

Mr. Corning was educated at Allen’s Grove Academy, at Allen’s Grove, Wisconsin, Ripon College, at Ripon, and then attended Lawrence University at Appleton, acquitting himself so well that by the time he was 17 years old he was authorized to take charge of a district school. He continued to teach and became principal of the school at DePere, Brown County, and subsequently of the Appleton High School, remaining in the former connection for three and in the latter for two years. Failing health caused him to change his occupation and led him to make his first entrance into journalism. He started a paper called the Stockbridge Enterprise, which he conducted for about eight months, and then, in the spring of 1876, removed to Lawrence, Kansas, where he read law with Hon. George J. Barker, now postmaster there. In that same summer he was admitted to practice and he continued in practice for seven years. During this time his health again gave him trouble and caused his giving up his practice in the city and his removal to Ness County, where he was elected first county attorney. Two years later he came to Topeka.

Soon after, Mr. Corning became deeply interested in the reform movement and so convinced that his duty lay in the use of his voice and pen in furthering the day of its success, that he went to Osage County, which seemed a promising field, and started the Kansas Workman. This paper he conducted for 12 years in connection with a fair law practice. When the movement in which he was so interested became still more one of the issues of the day, Mr. Corning entered into the arena as a worker and speaker, but before long he found that the excitement and hardship of this work again threatened his health and again he was compelled to retire for a time. In 1884, however, he entered the field on an independent ticket and defeated the Lewelling party ticket by a majority of 35,000 votes. Mr. Corning has lived to see many of his prophesies come to pass and an encouraging number of the reforms, to which he has devoted the best energies of his life, adopted. He is a strong believer in State ownership of all trusts and corporations and, in times past, he has predicted, while lecturing on socialism, on the corner of Sixth and Kansas avenues, such laws as that enacted by the last Legislature giving the State the ownership of the oil business.

In 1904 Mr. Corning started a general job printing office at No. 833 Kansas avenue and continues interested in it. During the fall of 1901 he started a paper at Enterprise, an independent journal called the Enterprise Star, its policy leaning toward Populism. Since 1890 he has resided permanently at Topeka. Mr. Corning has had four noted public discussions: one with Senator Kelly, at McPherson, in 1888; the second with Joseph Ady, at Newton, in the same year; the third with Mr. Ady at Burlington; and twice in 1890 and 1891, with F. B. Dawes, Attorney General of the State.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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