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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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John McNulty Clugston, deceased, for many years one of the most prominent business men and citizens of Topeka, was engaged in the insurance business. He met with remarkable success in this line and at the time of his death was prominently known over the State of Kansas.

Mr. Clugston was born at Mansfield, Ohio, February 23, 1842, and was one of six children born to Matthew and Margaret (McNulty) Clugston. He was reared in his native State and there received a good educational training, leaving school to enlist in the service of his country. In June, 1861, when a young man of 18 years, he enlisted in Company G, 23rd Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., and served throughout the Civil War, being honorably discharged at its close. In 1870 Mr. Clugston left Ohio for the West and, after making a thorough investigation of many counties and cities in Kansas, located permanently in Topeka in July of that year. On July 28, 1870, there appeared in the Times, a paper published at his old home in Ohio, a letter from him descriptive of his trip and prophetic of the future greatness of Kansas, the adaptability of different localities for different enterprises being shown with remarkable foresight. The following extract from his letter reveals Topeka as it was at that time: “Leaving Lawrence, well impressed, I took a train for Topeka, located 27 miles west of Lawrence on the Kansas River, and like Lawrence is built up on the north and south sides of the river. North Topeka claims 800 inhabitants—railroad depots being located there. South Topeka lies back from the river on a rise of ground high and dry. Topeka has 7,000 inhabitants. Kansas avenue, running south from the river, being the main business street of the city, and lighted by gas, presents a fine appearance in the evening—fine buildings are being put up this season; the Tefft House is undergoing repairs, also an addition of 80 feet is being attached and the main building is being raised to its fourth story. An Opera House is being built and many large store rooms, ranging from 60 to 125 feet deep. Rents are high and business good. The east wing of the State Capitol is completed at a cost of half a million dollars and built of Junction City limestone. Business buildings here are mostly of limestone and brick fronts. Topeka has the State Capitol and is the county-seat of Shawnee County. The city is divided into three wards, and they are now erecting a ward school building at a cost of $50,000; the city is settled mostly by York State, Ohio and Indiana people, society good and attention paid to strangers. Topeka has two railroads as follows: Kansas Pacific finished west to Kit Carson, about 200 miles east of Denver City and some 500 miles west of Kansas City. The other road is the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, running south of Topeka to Burlingame and graded to Emporia, which will be running to that point in July.”

Upon locating in Topeka, Mr. Clugston engaged in the grocery business, which he conducted with success for a few years. He then embarked in the insurance business, establishing a very extensive business which he continued until his death on August 10, 1887. He was president of the Cook and Clugston Coal Company during its life in Kansas. Having acquired much valuable real estate, he zealously strove to beautify the city in whose future welfare he manifested always a keen interest. He secured the beautiful tract, of six acres, known as “Brooks’ Pasture” on the west side of Topeka, selecting six of Topeka’s representative citizens for neighbors and designed what is now the most beautiful residence block in Topeka and known as “Governor’s Square.” Then with faith in the beauty of the city he selected with patience, securing lot after lot, the corner of 10th and Topeka avenues, one block west of Capitol Square, and beautified it with many well-chosen trees, on which is now the residence called “The Virginia,” the home of Mrs. Clugston and her only son, John McNulty Clugston, Jr.

On December 10, 1879, Jonn M. Clugston was united in marriage with Alice Colcher, a daughter of Mathias and Martha Jane (Davis) Colcher. Mrs. Clugston’s father was a native of Ohio and there followed with great success the vocation of architect. Being reared in a Presbyterian family, Mr. Clugston was loyal to the church of his father and contributed liberally to its support. A courteous gentleman, a progressive business man and a loyal citizen, he had many friends.

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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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