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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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Richard Binns, one of the leading business men of Rossville, Shawnee County, and for the past 20 years justice of the peace, was born in 1834 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and is a son of William and Ruth (Gibson) Binns.

David Binns, grandfather of our subject, was born in England and there followed the brewing business, which he continued after settling in Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Society of Friends and thus was led to abandon his brewery, it being against the tenets of the Quaker faith to manufacture spirituous liquors. William Binns accompanied his parents to America when eight years old. He married Ruth Gibson who was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, and they both lived to be about 70 years of age. In 1844 they moved to Eastern Ohio, settling in Harrison County.

Our subject lived in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and then in Harrison County, Ohio, until 21 years of age, having attended school in the latter county and learned the carpenter’s trade. He then went to Richmond, Indiana, and there worked at his trade until 1870, when he came to Topeka. In March, 1871, he settled at Rossville, where he engaged in a hardware business for six years, and has continued to follow contracting and building until the present time. He has carried out a number of very important contracts, one of these being the first government building which was erected on the Pottawattomie reservation, which cost $4,000. In his earlier years he also taught school, and for the past 20 years has administered the law as a magistrate at Rossville, to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.

In 1855, in Indiana, Mr. Binns married Elma H. Hill, who is a daughter of Harmon and Mary (Henley) Hill, and they had six children, namely: Mary, wife of Elias J. Burton, deceased in 1876; William A., a resident of Los Angeles, California, married first to Anna Esson, and second, to Anna Higgins; Horace M., deceased, who left four children, Grace E., Nellie, Ethel and Charles, who reside with their mother at Rossville; Frank N., residing in Los Angeles, California, who married Anna Mary Wilt and has one daughter; Anna Laura, who married Charles Smiley and died leaving two children, Ruth and Ray; and John B., who died when 27 years of age. Politically, Mr. Binns is a stanch Republican. He has been a Mason and an Odd Fellow for many years. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

The Hill family is an old established one of Indiana, of English extraction. Mrs. Binns’ grandfather, Benjamin Hill, was born in North Carolina, June 22, 1770, and married Mary Jessup. In 1802 he moved to Virginia and in the fall of 1806 he moved with his family to Indiana, settling in the unbroken forest about three miles east of Richmond, entering five quarter-sections of land. Pioneer privations and hardships of all kinds were endured by the family and his first wife soon succumbed to them. He then married Martha Cox, who was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, November 28, 1779, and became a resident of Indiana in 1807. They had five children: Benjamin, Harmon, Rebecca, Ezra and Enos. Mr. Hill was an extensive farmer and he also built the flour and saw mill east of Richmond which was known as Hill’s Mill. He died February 9, 1829, aged 59 years and his widow died January 25, 1867, aged 88 years.

Harmon Hill was born in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1811 and died in 1877. When he was 15 years old he worked in the old mill which remained in the Hill family until it was burned down in 1870. Later he became a farmer. He married Mary Henley, who was born in 1813 in Indiana, and they settled on the old Hill homestead in 1831. They had five children: Rebecca, Samuel, Martha Ann, Elma H. and John Henley.

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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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