Company "K" 2nd West Virginia Infantry

Submitted by John A. Jackson.

From History of Montgomery County, Kansas, By Its Own People
Published by L. Wallace Duncan, Iola, Kansas, 1903, Pg. 723-724:


Prominently identified with the business life of the city of Independence for three decades and connected with the governing body of the municipality over half of that period, Mr. T. C. Truman, proprietor of the city’s leading ice manufactory and cold storage plant, well represents a type of citizen whose hustling qualities have not only brought success to the individual, but prominence to the city as well.

The year 1871 found Mr. Truman on a virgin claim in Rutland Twp., where he for two years tried the virtues of a farmer’s life. This not being to his taste he sold out and moved to town, where, in partnership with John Hebrank, he began the manufacture of beer and carbonated drinks, later adding the ice factory and cold storage plant. The business has gown with the city and is now one of the most extensive in southern Kansas. Mr. Truman has always taken an active interest in the welfare of the city. Hie is at present a member of the common Council, his first connection with that body beginning in 1875, when he served continuously for eleven years. Again, in 1900, he became a member of that body, the date of his present incumbency. During these years the Council was called upon to make the public improvements necessary in the early growth of a municipality, and much of this important service was rendered by our subject. He is a valuable member at the present time as he knows the city “like a book” and can give the location and history of any public improvement.

Mr. Truman succeeded in getting a fair education before President Lincoln’s first call for troops. On the 29th of June, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Co. “K,” 2nd W. Va. Vol. Inf., in which he served until November of 1864, participating in may of the battles and skirmishes in and about the famous Shenandoah Valley. At this date, while at New Creek, he suffered capture, together with five hundred others. He was taken to Libby Prison and for four months experience the horrors of that noted institution, the date of his exchange being Feb., 1865. He, however, recovered rapidly from the rigors of prison life and in thirty days was again with his company at Fredricksburg. The assassination of the President caused his company to be detailed for service in the capture of Booth and his co-conspirators, and for several weeks our subject scoured the country about Washington. After participating in the Grand Review the regiment was ordered to Ft. Sedgwick, Col., to take part in disciplining the Indians who had given such trouble during the war. After a year of such service, he, with his regiment, was mustered out May 1st, 1866, his record for faithful service to his country being one of which he may well be proud.

On his return home Mr. Truman embarked in business as a member of the firm of Wells & Truman, lumber merchants, which continued successfully until 1868, when he came west to Kansas City. Here he continued in the manufacture of rough lumber until the date of his coming to Montgomery county.

Mr. Truman’s home life began November 28, 1867, the date of his marriage to Elizabeth Dewey. She died in 1883 in Independence at the age of forty years, leaving no children. He married his present wife December 14, 1886, in West Virginia, he maiden name having been Miss Columbia A. Burk. She is a lady of much good sense, an active member of the Presbyterian church, and a leader in the social and charitable work of that organization.

In the business life of the city he has been an important factor. He is a Director in the Commercial National Bank and a member of the Business Men’s Commercial Club. In the fraternities, Mr. Truman finds great delight, as he is a thorough believer in that idea. In Masonry he has passed through the Blue Lodge, Chapter, Commandery and Shrine, and is now Treasurer of St. Bernard Commandery. He became an Odd Fellow in April of 1872, and filled all the chairs through the Encampment. Our subject is also a helpful member of the Woodmen, Elks, G. A. R., and of the affiliated bodies known as the Order of the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs. In political matters Mr. Truman is a staunch Republican and is one of the wheel horses of the local organization.

Passing back into the family history and earlier life of our subject, his birth occurred in West Virginia, September 21, 1843. He is the son of Absalom and Serena (Diltz) Truman, the father a native of Calhoun county, Va., a farmer by occupation, and both he and his wife members of the M. E. church. They died with a year, both at 76 years of age. Their family consisted of five children—Elizabeth, Thomas C., Henry D., Almira, and Francis M.

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans,
Written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.
Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1998.

Thomas Coleman Truman

THOMAS COLEMAN TRUMAN. Among those sterling citizens who have been prominent and influential in connection with the civic and business affairs of Montgomery County and who are today to be designated as representative pioneers of the county a place must consistently be given to Mr. Truman, who has maintained his home at Independence, the county seat, for more than forty years and who is now living in well earned retirement - a man who has been in the most significant sense the architect of his own fortunes, as he became dependent upon his own resources when but twelve years of age.

Thomas Coleman Truman was born at Parkersburg, Wood County, West Virginia, on the 21st of September, 1844, and is a son of Absalom and Serena (Dils) Truman, both likewise natives of West Virginia and both born in the year 1812, at which time that commonwealth was still a part of the Old Dominion State of Virginia. Absalom Truman was born in what is now Calhoun County, West Virginia, and his wife was born in Wood County. He was a son of Thomas Truman, who emigrated to America from England and who became a farmer in what is now Caldwell County, West Virginia, where his death occurred. Absalom Truman devoted his entire active life to agricultural pursuits and was a resident of Wood County, West Virginia, at the time of his death, in 1888, his wife having passed away in the preceding year and both having been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the while he was found aligned as a staunch supporter of the principles of the democratic party. Of the children the eldest is Elizabeth, who resides at Independence, Kansas, and who is the widow of Henry Woodruff, her husband having been a prosperous farmer and merchant of Montgomery County; Thomas C., subject of this review, was the next child; Henry is a retired sand and coal merchant and resides at Moundsville, West Virginia; Elmira is the wife of Elihu Lanham and they reside at Parkersburg, West Virginia, as does also Francis Marion, who is the youngest of the children and who is there actively identified with the lumber business.

The early educational advantages of Thomas C. Truman were limited. He attended the common schools of his native state in an intermittent way and when but twelve years of age he began to shift for himself. About the close of the Civil war he became concerned with the lumber industry at Parkersburg, and in the spring of 1868, as a young man of twenty-three years, he came to Kansas and numbered himself among the pioneers of Wyandotte County, where he remained four years and where he was identified with farming and lumbering enterprise. He then removed to Montgomery County and took up a homestead claim of 160 acres, on which he lived until 1871, when he sold the property, after having reclaimed a considerable part of the land to cultivation and made various improvements on the property. After selling his farm Mr. Truman removed to Independence where he purchased a small brewery which had here been established. He sold this a short time later and thereafter he here conducted a prosperous wholesale and retail ice business until February, 1916, when he retired from active business. With the growth and civic expansion of Independence the ice business of Mr. Truman kept full pace, and eventually he controlled three ice plants, which turned out an adequate production of artificial ice and also made provision for cold storage. The last of these ice plants to be erected was the modern establishment built and equipped by the Cole Truman Ice & Cold Storage Company, and this plant, eligibly situated near the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks, has a capacity of fifty tons of ice. With a desire to meet fully the ever increasing demands placed upon his ice business Mr. Truman effected, in 1904, the organization and incorporation of the Cole Truman Ice & Cold Storage Company, and of this he was the president and general manager until the time of his retirement from active business. He has made judicious investments in local real estate, and in addition to his own home, at 201 North Second Street, he is the owner of three other improved residence properties in the city, as well as a tract of valuable land along the river and just at the edge of the city.

Mr. Truman has not only found in Kansas ample opportunities for the winning of large and worthy material prosperity but has also shown himself a loyal and progressive citizen. He is a republican in politics and while he has had no political ambition his civic loyalty caused him to give most effective service as a member of the City Council of Independence, an office of which he was the incumbent for a period of fourteen years. He is affiliated with the local blue lodge and chapter, as well as St. Bernard Commandery, Knights Templar, of the time-honored Masonic fraternity, and has further extended his affiliation to Abdullah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Leavenworth. In his home city he holds membership also in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and is a charter member of the Independence Lodge of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Until this juncture has been withheld record concerning the gallant service given by Mr. Truman as a Union soldier in the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted as a member of Company K, Second West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and he continued in active service for a number of months after the definite close of the war, being finally mustered out and given an honorable discharge in 1866, his service after the final surrender of Generals Lee and Johnston having been on the plains of the West. He participated in the memorable Valley campaign in Virginia, under General Sheridan, and was in the brigade commanded by General Milroy. At New Creek, West Virginia, he was captured by the enemy, and after he had been confined for a time in historic old Libby Prison his exchange was effected and he rejoined his regiment.

At Parkersburg, West Virginia, in 1867, Mr. Truman wedded Miss Elizabeth A. Dewey, and she died at Independence, Kansas, in 1883, leaving no children. In 1886 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Truman to Miss Columbia A. Burke, the marriage ceremony having been performed at Neodesha, Wilson County. Mrs. Truman's parents, William and Sarah Burke, long maintained their home at Parkersburg, West Virginia, her father having been a carpenter by trade, but having eventually engaged in the dry-goods business. Mrs. Truman died April 29, 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Truman had no children of their own but their adopted son, H. H. (Crane) Truman, is now successfully engaged in business at Independence, where he has a factory for the bottling of carbonated beverages, commonly designated as "soft drinks."


Independence Daily Reporter, Thursday, November 6, 1924, Pg. 1.
Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas
Transcribed by Maryann Johnson.


Pioneer Citizen Succumbs to Ills of Old Age
Deceased for Over a Half Century Was Prominently Identified With Affairs of City

T. C. Truman, pioneer citizen and active business man in this city for more than a half century, passed away this morning at 3 o’clock at his home in this city, aged 81 years, one month and 15 days.

He was born in Calhoun county, West Virginia, September 21, 1843. He is survived by one son, Harry of 304 North First street, whom Mr. and Mrs. Truman adopted when a babe, and one niece, Miss Emma Woodruff, who has made her home with the Truman family for years and who gave to Mr. Truman in his declining years all the care and attention of a loving daughter.

The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon from the Jackson Funeral home at 3 o’clock, under the auspices of the Odd Fellows lodge, of which he was for years a faithful member. Dr. Gehman, pastor of the Presbyterian church, will have charge of the religious services.

A Friendly Man

The news of the death of T. C. Truman will come with deep regret to that large circle of friends who have known him intimately for years. He was a man who took the bright view of life and he always carried with him a spirit of optimism that was contagious. It is doubtful if during the more than a half century he has lived here there is a friend who can recall the time that “Cole” Truman did not greet him with a smile and an encouraging word. Even after his steps had grown feeble with the weight of advancing years he still maintained that pleasant and jovial manner that made his presence always welcome.

A Distinctive Type

He was a distinctive type of the large hearted, liberal minded and progressive men, that located in this country in the early seventies. Coming here in 1871, he located on a claim in Rutland township, where for two years he followed the life of a farmer, devoting his attention largely to stock raising. Not finding the occupation entirely to his liking he came to this city and formed a partnership with John Hebrank in the manufacture of beverages and carbonated drinks. This partnership continued for many years, the company later adding an ice factory and the cold storage plant. A few years ago the business was sold, Mr. Hebrank retiring. Mr. Truman retained an interest in the business until a few years ago when he retired on account of age.

Believed in His Home Town

He always took an active interest in the welfare of the city. In 1875 he was selected as a member of the city council and for eleven years was retained in that position, because he rendered valuable service to the community. Again in 1900 he was called to the same place and during his service at that time many public improvements were found necessary for the promotion of the municipality. He was one of the active and progressive members of that body and did much towards making Independence the attractive city it is today. Few men were better informed as to the community’s needs, and he had the vision and the faith to build for the future.

Veteran of Civil War

In the trying times of his country in the sixties he volunteered his services and on June 29, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Co. K, 2nd, W. Va. Volunteer Infantry, and served until November, 1864, participating in many of the battles and skirmishes in and about the famous Shenandoah valley. While in this service he was captured with 500 other Union soldiers and taken to Libby prison, where for four months he suffered the tortures of that institution. On being released he recovered rapidly from the rigors of prison life and within thirty days was again with his company at Fredericksburg. Following the assassination of President Lincoln his company was detailed for duty in the capture of Booth and his co-conspirators. Following the grand review at the close of the war, his regiment was ordered to Ft. Sedwick, Colorado, to take part in disciplining the Indians who had caused much trouble during the war. After a year of this service he was mustered out May 1, 1966, having had over five years of active service. But few men contributed more in the way of patriotic duty to his country. It was a record of faithful service which marked his career in all the other relations of life.

Built Fine Home Here

Mr. Truman was married twice. He was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Dewey, November 28, 1867 in West Virginia. She died in this city in 1883. In December, 1886 he was united in marriage with Miss Columbia A. Burk, in West Virginia. She passed away several years ago.

During her lifetime Mrs. Truman was active in the social and religious life of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Truman erected a fine home at the corner of Myrtle and Second street. After Mrs. Truman’s death he sold this home to J. S. Revellette and returned to his pioneer home at 302 North First street, where he passed his last days.

Active in Fraternal Orders

Mr. Truman was always active in the fraternal organizations of the city until confined to his home by age. In Masonary he passed through the Blue Lodge, Chapter Commandery and Shrine. He was also an Odd Fellow and filled all the chairs through the encampment. Among other organizations in which he took part were the Elks, Woodmen, G. A. R., and the affiliated orders of the Masons and Odd Fellows. He was an active member of the Republican party his entire life in this city, but never a narrow partisan in politics or anything else, but a broad minded and independent man whose opinion carried weight with those who knew him best.

Mr. Truman left a deep impress on this community and his life was marked by a service beneficial to his hometown. Large hearted and liberal he freely gave of his time and means to all things he considered of importance, and never refused to help the less fortunate.