My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
Named for a market center in Greece, Emporia, Kansas was founded in February of 1857 by Preston B. Plumb,
G. W. Brown. George B. Ditzler, Lyman Allen and Columbus Hornsby of what was then Breckenridge County
(1856) . Charles H. Withington is thought to be the oldest settler in the county, locating here in June of 1854.  
In 1855-56, mail was brought by the Santa Fe stage to Withington's, who had set up an office. Ira Hadley then
took the mail and distributed it by horseback to the settlers on the Cottonwood and Neosho. Emporia is the
county seat of Lyon county and contains a population of about 3,000 people (1871) and located on the prairie
near and between the Neosho and Cottonwood rivers, which provide fine water power for saw and grain mills.
The valleys about Emporia are famous for their well tilled farms and the town commands a very expensive
trade, owing to its advantageous position relative to the vast and rapidly growing region laying south and west.
The citizens also look with confidence for the speedy construction of another railroad from the direction of
Ottawa. Emporia is at the crossing of two established railroads, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe and the
Missouri Kansas & Texas. Many fine businesses are located here with churches and school houses. The city has
added to its fame by rigorously prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquor and the State Normal School is
located here and is doing quite well.
Edward and Sadie Engel came to Emporia , Kansas in the Summer of 1881 along with Sadie's brother,
Clifford L. Nichols and family. Clifford had just secured a position with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe as a
Dispatcher at Emporia in late 1880. Edward was an agent at Emporia for the Santa Fe until the summer of
1882, where he then took a position as an operator at
Halstead, Kansas. He was at Halstead until February 02,
1883 where he secured a
similar position with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad at Argentine, Kansas.
Living and working in Emporia, Kansas, Edward and Sadie became friends with the people in the community.
Below are two of the many people they became acquainted with from Emporia.
Jennie A. Wicks                                         Emporia, Kansas                                     February 26, 1882
Clifford Nichols was the dispatcher for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe at Emporia, Kansas starting in 1880. In
1881 he was promoted to Chief Dispatcher and Operator at Emporia, a position that would last until June of 1883.
In October of that same year,  Clifford transferred to Topeka, Kansas to become Trainmaster of the same road.
Lead by kindlier hand than ours, We journey through this earthly scene,
And should not in our weary hours, Turn to regret, what might have been.

Your true friend, Mrs. A. J. Wicks
Emporia, Kansas, February 26, 1882
Amanda Jane (Morford) Wicks was born, January 08, 1846 to Isaac M and Susan (Anderson) Morford in
Jefferson, Madison County, Ohio. The family moved to Grasshopper Falls, Jefferson County, Kansas sometime
after the Civil War. Amanda attended the Teachers College after high school and then attended Kansas State
Normal School in Emporia, graduating in 1868.
Amanda met
William Montgomery Wicks and they were married October 28, 1869. Of this union two children
were born in Emporia,
Jennie Alice, in 1870 and Willa Montgomery, in 1878. The family was  very prominent in
the city of Emporia, with the founding of the First National Bank and William being one of the
first merchants
in the city, later becoming Wicks and Frederick grocery. In 1872, William was elected as a councilman of the
third ward.
William Wicks fell ill in 1878 and was on his way to Colorado for heath reasons and died
May 18, 1878.
After William's death,
Amanda became a school teacher and was very active in Emporia. She moved back to
Grasshopper Falls in 1884, next door to her parents and taught school there until she returned to Emporia in
1890. After her retirement in 1894, she became the
City Librarian. Amanda Wicks and several other citizens
were the driving force in bringing the Carnegie Library to Emporia. Failing health forced her to move to
Montana, to live with her daughter,
Willa in 1910. She remained in Helena until her death on April 27, 1929.
She is buried next to her husband William in Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Emporia.
Jennie Alice Wicks was born November, 1870 to William Montgomery and Amanda Jane (Morford) Wicks in
Emporia, Lyon, Kansas.  She attended the public school system in Emporia and was an excellent student
perfect attendance in 1881, along with being named to the honor roll that same year by her teacher,
Miss Belle Carswell.  Jennie was very active in social events in and around Emporia and was also a dedicated
member of the
Methodist Church of Emporia. On July 01, 1886 she with friends Lulu Moulton, Laura Holderman,
William Clark and others, attended the annual Sunday school
convention in Ottawa, Kansas. That same month
she was elected
Treasurer of the Young People’s Society of the M.E. church. Jennie was an accomplished pianist
and vocalist, performing on many occasions to the delight of the citizens of Emporia. On
December 20, she
performed a piano solo to usher in the Christmas holiday and New Year for 1887.
To start off the New Year, Jennie was elected
Secretary of the First Methodist Sunday School program and
in February of the same year she attended a
party held by Emporia socialite, Mrs. J. Butler Hinkle at her
residence at 13 South Constitution Street.  On
January 02, 1888 she attended the Young Men’s Christian
Association open house. On
March 9th, she participated in a paper social held by the M. E. Church and was
treasurer of the Sunday school. On June 19, 1889, Jennie participated in the merchant’s carnival
hosted by the
W. C. T. U. In July she took a week trip to Independence, Missouri with Ed Rice to visit his
family and attend a church social. She performed for the
Emporia High School graduation commencement on
June 14, 1892 and was an active
member of the Emporia Musical Society.

Jennie married Edwin Tomson Rice on
July 26, 1892 in Emporia, Kansas. Their marriage produced five children,
Willa Ruth, Warren Cyrus, Mary, Elizabeth and Robert Montgomery.  After their marriage Edwin was employed
as a
bookkeeper but the call brought him back to be a full time minister in the Methodist church, following in his
father’s footsteps. The family moved to various locations including,
Independence, Joplin, Golden City, Pleasant
Hill and Webb City, Missouri and in Kansas, Hiawatha, Hartford, Emporia, Eureka, Topeka and Oswego.

Jennie Alice Wicks died December 03, 1929 in Oswego, Labette County, Kansas.  She was a former member of
Epworth League, Young Women’s Christian Association and the Oxford League of the Methodist church of
Emporia. Jennie was an
alumnus of Emporia High School graduating with honors, including valedictorian of her
graduating class on June 05, 1890. Jennie attended
Northwest University in Evanston, Illinois in 1891.
She was also a member of the
Ladies Aid Society of Hartford, Kansas.
Her husband Edwin died
February 02, 1946 in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.
Both are buried at Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Emporia, Kansas