Biography from an article by Margaret Larzelere Rice in the “Kansas Chief,” Troy, Doniphan Co, KS, 22 Jan 1959.
Alfred Larzelere: A Kansas Pioneer.
Alfred Larzelere was a descendant of Nicholas Largilliere, (later changed to Larzelere) a French Huguenot, who settled on Long Island about 1656. He would have been the sixth Nicholas Larzelere on the family tree had not his older brother received the name of Nicholas two years before his birth.
Alfred Larzelere, second son of Nicholas and Mary Eastburn Larzelere, was born in Bucks County, Pa., Dec 3, 1811. His father died in 1815. An uncle Benjamin reared Alfred until he was sixteen years old. In 1827 Alfred came with his cousin Joseph, eldest son of Benjamin and Sarah Brown Larzelere, to Zanesville, Ohio. On February 6, 1834, he married Miss Margaret Weaver, a daughter of John Weaver, who operated an iron foundry in Zanesville, Ohio. To this union nine children were born.
A few years later his work as stonemason took him to Cincinnati, where he lived several years. In 1849 he received a contract from the War Department to build the Rifle Pits at Ft. Leavenworth, Kans. He and his family moved from Cincinnati to Ft. Leavenworth in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. In 1851 he moved to St. Joseph, Mo., then known as black Snake Hills. In 1851 he built the Corby Flour Mill on the 102 River. The brings were made and burned on the ground near the mill site (near the 102 bridge on U.S. Highway 36) and the timbers for the interior were hewn from the trees that grew on the river bank. A picture of this old landmark adorned the drop curtain of the Tootle Theater in St. Joseph for many years.
In 1854, after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, he staked out his claim of 160 a. three miles west of Wathena, Kansas, and erected a log cabin. On the 28th day of February, 1855, the Alfred Larzelere family crossed the Missouri on the ice in a covered wagon drawn by oxen and moved into their new home. That night snow blew thorough the chinks between the logs and sprinkled their beds.
Mr. Larzelere took an active part in the fight to make Kansas a free state. More than once he was obliged to flee from his cabin and hide in the timber in order to escape the prowling pro-slavery gang which sought to wreak vengeance against him. Alfred Larzelere, Benjamin H. Brock, Henderson Smallwood, John M. Tracy, Benjamin Harding, E. E. Campbell, and John F. Fee ere the foremost abolitionists of the time. On one occasion several of these men were arrested, charged with treason and force to go before Judge Lecompt. After a long, drawn-out trial that provoked much discussion over all this section of the country, they were finally acquitted.
Mr. Larzelere was president of the first Agricultural Society of Kansas (forerunner of the present State Horticultural Society). Other members [were] B. Harding, Stedman Hatch, Robert McNair, Constant Poirier. This society held only two meetings. During the Borer Warfare, the Agricultural Society’s records were taken from Topeka to Lawrence for safekeeping, but were destroyed when Quantril raided that settlement.
At one time during the Border Warfare, James H. Lane and other prominent Free State men of Kansas Territory met at the Larzelere cabin to discuss the feasibility of digging a ditch across the Elwood bend of the Missouri River, west of Elwood, thus diverting the Big Muddy away from Pro-Slavery St. Joseph, Mo., leaving that hot bed of slavery high and dry. Lack of funds and bull dozers probably kept these men from carrying out this plan.
Mr. Larzelere was a member of the Republican territorial convention in 1857, of the Leavenworth convention in 1858, and was elected to the legislature in October that year and was speaker of the house of representatives in 1859. In May 1859 he was a member of the Osawatomie convention that organized the Republican Party in Kansas and was chairman of the platform committee. Horace Greely spoke at this convention, Alfred’s son, George W. Larzelere, editor of the Wathena Reporter, was toastmaster at the banquet which followed the meeting. When Abraham Lincoln spoke in Troy and later in Atchinson, he with other Free State men were thee to hear him. Alfred received a strong vote for Lieutenant Governor in October 1859. In 1860 he was appointed to the Republican State Committee.
The pony express trail ran past the door of his cabin. His son Chas. Larzelere substituted for Johnny Fry on several occasions when Johnny did not want to carry the mail.
In 1861 he enlisted in the 10th Regiment Kansas Volunteers. In 1862 he was transferred to the Third Indian Regiment of which he was First Lieutenant and Regimental Quartermaster. He saw service in Missouri and Arkansas.
At the close of the war, he returned to his farm and his stone mason’s trade. The old brick school house, the colored school house, the old Catholic Church, later the City Hall and the brick residence, known as the Larzelere house (the home of Geo. W. Larzelere were some of the building he erected in Wathena. He built and named the Mt. Airy School House in District 74. He served for many years on the school board.
On June 7, 1877, he died suddenly of a heart attach in the old court house in Troy where he was attending a session of the County Board of which he was a member. He and his wife are buried in the Mt. Calvary cemetery west of Wathena.
[Alfred Larzelere was the son of Nicholas Larzelere V (1767-1815) and Mary Washburn; Nicholas Larzelere V was the son of Nicholas Larzelere IV (1743-1818) and Hannah Britain (1748-1802); Nicholas Larzelere IV was the son of Nicholas Larzelere III (cir 1718-1799) and Elisabeth Bissonett; Nicholas Larzelere III was the son of Nicholas Larzelere II (1695-1776) and Hester Lakerman (cir 1698-aft 1734); Nicholas Larzelere II was the son of Nicholas Larzelere I (1666-1699) and Françoise Billiou (1655-aft 1706); Nicholas Larzelere I was the son of Jacques Largilliere (cir 1645-bef 1687) and Marie Grançon (-bef 1693).
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