MONROE DAVIS HERINGTON, the founder of the city of Herington, Kansas, was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, April 23, 1844, and is a son of David Herington. He removed to Iowa when ten years of age, and afterward spent thirteen years in Linn County, Missouri. At the close of the war he removed to Bloomington, Illinois, and in 1869 located on a farm. He afterward became proprietor of four meat-markets, and on selling out came to Kansas with about $16,000, which he invested in land. He was married June 17, 1880, to Mrs. Jane Parker, a widow, who by her first marriage had a daughter, Brucy. Mr. Herington had three children by a former marriage: Diana H., Alice and Monroe Davis.
On the 4th of March, 1881, Mr. Herington came to his present home and purchased two thousand acres of land at from $1.35 to $4 per acre. He also purchased fourteen hundred acres elsewhere, trading city property in Bloomington, Illinois, for his land. He then embarked in stock-raising, buying four hundred head of cattle, and he now handles about seven hundred head of cattle annually. In 1882 he purchased thirty-one thousand acres of land at $2.30 per acre in Dickinson and Morris Counties, mortgaging them for one-fourth the amount, but in 1884 and 1885 he sold at from $10 to $20 per acre, thus securing a handsome profit.
In 1883, Mr. Herington secured thirty thousand acres at 81.97 per acre, and at the expiration of sixty days had disposed of twenty thousand acres. A company was organized in Staunton, Virginia, and sent to the West a committee which purchased that amount at $5 per acre. This land was located in Stafford County, Kansas, south of Great Bend. On the thirty thousand acres an organized company made settlements and then sold to actual settlers. No railroad had been built to this part of the county at that time, but in 1886 the Missouri Pacific was built. Mr. Herington gave the road a four-mile right of way, eighty-one lots, and $1,000 in cash, and the township gave $6,000 in bonds. In 1887, the Rock Island Road was built, and to it Mr. Herington gave a half-interest in twelve hundred lots at this place, a half-interest in the same number in Latimer, the deed to seventy-one acres at Herington, where the depot shops now stand, and the right of way through the county from the main line.
In the city which bears his name Mr. Herington platted forty acres of land before any railroad was built, and in the early days gave lots to settlers who would locate there. There were two hundred and fifty residents before the railroad was constructed, and now the population amounts to about two thousand. He built and started a bank, and in 1887 built a hotel and opera house at a cost of $90,000. He has placed about $140,000 worth of buildings in the city. Every improvement has been aided by and promoted through his earnest efforts, and every house in the place is now occupied. The town is the division point for four branches of the Rock Island Railroad, running out in every direction. A round-house and repair shops have been built, and about ten miles of sidetracks. There is also a fine stone passenger depot. The city owns an electric-light plant, having both the arc and incandescent lights, and water-works have also been built. In 1884, Mr. Herington sold enough land to clear $40,000, after having a commission of $5,000, and he sold six hundred and eighty acres of land to M. R. Mosher, two miles south of Herington, to be converted into a fruit farm.
In politics Mr. Herington is a stalwart Republican, and in 1887 was elected the first Mayor of the city. It is just such a man as our subject who successfully founds a city. He is sagacious and far-sighted, possesses excellent business ability, is enterprising and progressive, methodical and reliable. He has suffered much loss, especially through assisting all who wished to establish business in Herington. He would put up a building for that purpose, back them in purchasing stock, and if the parties were without experience and would make injudicious investments and ultimately lose, the loss would come upon Mr. Herington. He has recently paid $60,000 in such security debts, but the enterprise and perseverance which have characterized his life will not fail him now. He is an enthusiastic, earnest worker, and Herington may well be proud of its honored founder. In manner he is a pleasant, genial man, and no one in Dickinson County has more friends than he.