Biographical Sketch of A. J. Abbott

Abijah J. Abbott was born on a farm near West Milton, Ohio on Aug 14, 1842. He moved from Ohio to West Branch, Iowa during his early youth with his parents where he grew to manhood. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1864 and taught school for a profession. He taught in West Branch, Muscatine, Iowa City, and Glenwood, Iowa.

He was married to Ruth Barrington in West Branch, Iowa on June 8, 1865.

They moved from Glenwood Iowa to Newton, Kansas in 1873 with their family which then consisted of two sons and a daughter, George, Alice, and Clarence. He resumed teaching for a livelihood in the City Schools and there began the study of law under J. W. Day and S. R. Peters. He was admitted to the bar but moved to Barclay Kansas where he purchased a farm and attempted its improvement while again teaching the village school.

The land turned out to be of poor quality and after struggling for several years with adverse farming conditions he decided to engage in a legal career and formed a connection with Jas. Smith and attorney living in Sterling Kansas, and shortly afterwards in 1879 moved his family to Sterling where he engaged in the active practice of law. He was shortly elected Prosecuting attorney for Rice County, and obliged to move again to the County Seat, Lyons, Kansas. Kansas was then going through the throes of the enforcement of the prohibition law, and he threw his whole force into the prosecution of the liquor dealers and soon the wrath of the secret dealers in liquor was centered upon him. His life was threatened on numerous occasions by members of the liquor ring until his wife prevailed upon him to move again to Garden City, Kans. after two terms of turmoil and threats from the liquor gangsters.

It was his plan to take up a homestead and engage in market gardening under the apparent fruitful and fertile land under irrigation from the Arkansas River.

Here he began the cultivation of the soil under benign and peaceful skies, but soon his reputation as a vigorous and successful prosecutor and successful lawyer followed him and he was prevailed upon by numerous persons having legal troubles to come to their aid. So he was finally obliged to open an office and leave the farm to his sons who were then coming upon the stage of action.

He soon was obliged to take a partner as his legal practice became heavy.

After a few years of successful practice of the law at Garden City, he was appointed by the Governor of the state to the judgeship of the 27th Judicial District, a newly created Judicial District composed of the newly organized counties of southwestern Kansas. It was then that the county seat wars were breaking out and the troubles between the cattle interests and the land settlers were at their height. The boom in real estate soon reached its height. It was not uncommon for poor men to become rich in a short time. Towns sprang up over the prairies and assumed the heirs of cities.

All too soon the tide turned with the decline of irrigation from the Arkansas River, since Colorado had begun to use the waters until there was nothing left for the extensive ditch system of Western Kansas and farming again was a losing business, and Judge Abbott soon found it necessary and heavy burden to use his salary as Judge for the maintenance of his farm.

After filling his appointed term and two elective terms Judge Abbott decided to retire and seek a more lucrative field for his legal talents, as his family was necessarily expensive and the schooling had become an additional problem, so he moved to Trinidad Colo. to engage in the private practice of the law at the conclusion of his second elective term as Judge.

In this new field he became at once a leader in his profession and was engaged in many of the important legal cases of that celebrated coal and cattle center.

Upon the appointment of his son as District Attorney at Santa Fe New Mexico he removed to that center of activity to form a partnership with his son and again was soon a leader in his legal profession and was soon appointed U. S. Attorney for the Pueblo Indians which position brought him in contact with the interests and rights of a people who aroused his deepest sympathy and greatest effort in their behalf.

He labored incessantly and spent the declining years of his life in the enchanted land of the Pueblos, seeking for Justice and the upholding of the law, God and man both of, when he retired.

He died on the 24th day of May 1929 at Santa Fe, New Mexico.


[Note: I do not know the source of this biography. -- B. B. A.]