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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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Hon. Walter E. Fagan, deceased, formerly judge of probate and superintendent of the State Reform School at Topeka, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, was born near Richmond, Indiana, July 14, 1859, and died at Topeka May 10, 1903. He was a son of Thomas and Isabel (Boyd) Fagan.

Mr. Fagan was educated in the Richmond, Indiana, schools and at the State Normal School at Terre Haute. He came to Topeka in 1880 and first engaged in teaching in Shawnee County and later was engaged as a teacher in the State Reform School. He continued with this institution in various capacities and finally became its superintendent. His administration was characterized by many reforms and needed changes in methods of government. He was ably assisted by his estimable wife, who served as matron during his incumbency.

In 1891 Mr. Fagan took up the study of the law and was admitted to the bar in 1893, and in 1894 was appointed auditor of Shawnee County by Judge Hazen. In 1900 he was first elected judge of probate and was subsequently re-elected, receiving a magnificent majority. His public services were all of such a character as to secure him the confidence and continued esteem of his fellow-citizens.

On February 1, 1883, Judge Fagan was married to Lillie A. Buck, of Topeka, who is a daughter of John F. and Ada L. (Davis) Buck. The father of Mrs. Fagan was a teacher and also a dental surgeon. He had been connected with the Reform School at Lancaster, Ohio, and at Mount Union, Ohio, was superintendent of the Children’s Home. He came to Topeka in 1882, to become the first superintendent of the State Reform School which had been established in this city six months previously. Dr. Buck lives retired in North Topeka. Judge Fagan is survived by his widow and one daughter, Norma Belle, aged five years.

Judge Fagan was very active in Republican politics and for a long time was a member of the Republican State Central Committee. He was prominent in Masonry and was also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Sons of Herman.

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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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