Cyrus K. Holliday

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Cyrus K. Holliday (1826-1900)

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday (April 3, 1826 – March 29, 1900) was a prominent Kansas businessman who was part of the free-state movement during the period called Bleeding Kansas. Holliday was one of the founders of the city of Topeka, Kansas and was its first president.[1] He was also the founder of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.[2] He served in the Kansas Senate.[3] Holliday was president of the Merchants National Bank and also the Excelsior Coke and Gas Company, both of Topeka.[1] In 1890, he was the president of the Kansas State Historical Society.[1] In 2012, Holliday was inducted into the Kansas State Hall of Fame.[4]

Early career[change | change source]

Holliday was born near Carlisle, Pennsylvania on April 3, 1826.[5] His parents were David and Mary (Kennedy) Holliday.[5] Holliday attended public school and in 1852 graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.[5] He intended to become a lawyer but instead became a businessman.[6] Holliday made a considerable profit of $20,000 in a short-line railroad in Pennsylvania.

Career in Kansas[change | change source]

Political[change | change source]

In 1854, when Kansas Territory was opened up for settlement, he became one of the first settlers.[6] His wife, Mary Dillon Jones, remained behind in Pennsylvania until after the birth of their two children, Lillie and Charles.[6] Holliday settled first at Lawrence, Kansas and became active in the Free State movement.[7] Believing Kansas would become a free state, he and several business associates decided to establish the town of Topeka as the capital of the new state of Kansas.[7] He was Topeka's delegate to the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention in July 1859. That same year he was elected to the first of several terms as mayor of Topeka.[8] He helped found the Kansas Republican Party.[5] Holliday was a member of both the territorial and state legislatures.[5]

Railroad[change | change source]

He obtained a charter for a new railroad to run from Atchison, Kansas to the state capital at Topeka in 1859.[7] In 1863, Holliday decided to extend the railroad along the route of the Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe, New Mexico.[7] Once there he intended it to go all the way to the Pacific Ocean in California.[7] The name of the railroad was changed to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company (AT&SF).[7] A severe drought followed by the Civil War starting in 1861 prevented the railroad from making much progress.[9] The line was completed through Kansas by December 1872.[7] By 1880, the line was completed to Santa Fe.[7] The railroad experienced hardships in 1893 and almost had to declare bankruptcy. Holliday was able to refinance and reorganize the railroad. He remained president of AT&SF until his death on March 31, 1900.[7]

Military[change | change source]

In 1855, he supervised a regiment of Free-Staters in the Wakarusa War during the violent period known as Bleeding Kansas.[5] For this he was given the honorary title of colonel which he used for the rest of his life.[5] During the Civil War he served as the adjutant general of Kansas.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Cyrus Holliday". The Robinson Library. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "HOLLIDAY, CYRUS K. (1826-1900)". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. Jennie A. Chinn, The Kansas Journey (Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith, 2005), p. 147
  4. Samantha Foster (15 June 2012). "Second round inducted into Kansas Hall of Fame". cjonline.com. Morris Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[permanent dead link]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "Cyrus K. Holliday". kansaPedia. Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Cyrus K. Holliday,1826-1900". Territorial Kansas. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 "Cyrus K. Holliday". National Railroad Hall of Fame. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. "Cyrus K. Holliday, Topeka". Kansas Sampler Foundation. Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. Joseph W. Snell; Don W. Wilson (Summer 1968). "The Birth of The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad". The Kansas Collection. Retrieved 17 June 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Other websites[change | change source]