Arthur Larkin, deceased, one of the honored pioneers of this great commonwealth, served faithfully and long in the West. He was one of the founders of the city of Ellsworth, and one of its most active and prominent builders. Mr. Larkin was born in Dublin, Ireland, August 20, 1832. When a mere lad of sixteen he landed in New York, a poor boy, determined to make his fortune in the new world. He landed in this country in 1848, and for a few months remained in New York, when he went to Fort Clark, Texas, and enlisted in the United States service in the Mexican war, in Captain Ford’s company of Texas Rangers, and at the close of that war he enlisted in the regular army service until 1861, when he was honorably discharged on account of disability at Fort Leavenworth. He was first sergeant of his company at the time. After leaving the army he engaged in freighting by team to Denver, Col., but in the fall of 1866 gave that up to open a restaurant in Junction City, Kan., at the same time freighting to Salina. In 1867 he located at Ellsworth and soon built the Larkinf[sic] House, the first hotel, which was one of the first buildings in the town. It was burned in 1869, and in 1872 Mr. Larkin erected the White House, which he operated until 1905. He also built the American House in 1878, known today as the Baker House, and the Rogers House. Mr. Larkin was one of the pioneer merchants of Ellsworth, opening a general store there in 1868; subsequently he established branch stores at Lincoln Center and Little River. All his life Mr. Larkin was imbued with the spirit of progress, and was one of the few men who had the courage of his convictions to carry out projects that seemed ahead of his time. An example of this spirit was his erection of the first flour mill at Ellsworth and the first elevator. In 1876 he erected the first fine store building on Douglas avenue. This was a two-story stone structure, where he conducted a mercantile business until 1895. His sons subsequently carried on business operations there under the firm name of Larkins’ Sons. Several other good pieces of business property were owned by Mr. Larkin, who operated his home farm of 200 acres south of the town; a 480-acre tract near Frederick and a 720-acre ranch southeast of Ellsworth. For many years he was a breeder of Hereford cattle and an extensive feeder. He kept a fine training stable for the high-bred driving horses which he raised, which had a wide reputation. In 1885 Mr. Larkin erected a large and elegant home on a raise of ground south of Ellsworth overlooking the town. It was fitted out with all modern conveniences, with private water plant, gas well, lighting and heating systems. In addition to the beautiful stone house there is a fine barn on the premises with every convenience for horses and automobiles. Mr. Larkin’s time was not devoted entirely to personal affairs, as he served as county commissioner and county treasurer of Ellsworth county. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and contributed liberally to the Catholic church, of which he was a member.
In 1861 Mr. Larkin was married, at Fort Leavenworth, to Alice Beard, who was a native of Indiana. On November 4, 1911, Mr. Larkin passed away, being survived by his wife and two sons: Francis Larkin, born June 3, 1875, the manager of the American Woodwork Manufacturing Company, of Evansville, Ind., and Charles Larkin, who is the active manager of the estate. Arthur Larkin, the eldest son, born February 28, 1871, died in 1910. He married Miss Rose Pressney, and they had three children: Alice Verlin, born January 26, 1900, a student at Mt. Carmel Academy, Wichita; Lawrence Pressney and Arthur 3d at home. Thomas, Mary Ann, Edward and Hubert, children of Arthur Larkin and Alice Beard, all died in childhood. During his life Mr. Larkin built up a name for honesty, fair dealing and integrity, gaining for himself a place of honor and confidence in the minds and hearts of his friends. In the early days of frontier life he became the fast friend of William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, and they had agreed that whenever one of them died, the survivor was to attend the funuarl[sic] of his friend, but Mr. Cody could not be located at the time Mr. Larkin was laid away, and the fact was deeply regretted.