It will doubtless always be a question as to who was the first white settler In Brown County. Edward B. Cornellson, an honored and respected citizen of Reserve was certainly one of the first and there is certainly no man living in the county today who was here when Mr. Cornellson marked his claim on Walnut Creek. He first came to the county [i]n 1854, and marked his claim and then returned to Missouri for his family, returning the next spring when the actual settlement was made.
Mr. Cornelison, or uncle 'Ed" as every one calls him, was born in Madison County, Ky , Jan. 8th 1826. His grandfathers on both his father's and mother's side were soldiers in the Revolutionary war, the one serving in North Carolina, and the other In Delaware. Both emigrated to Kentucky after the war where the parents of Mr. Cornelison were born.
On Nov. 26, 1846, Mr. Cornelison was married in Madison County, Ky. to Miss Elizabeth A. Gillispie, also a native of the blue grass state, having been born near Richmond, May, 5th, 1830. They at once emigrated to Andrew County. Missouri, where they lived until 1855, when they moved to Brown County. They continued to live on their Brown County homestead until 1894 when they moved Into town of Reserve Here Mrs. Cornelison died Nov. 21, 1895 and was laid to rest In the Hart cemetery. She was held in high esteem by her neighbors and was greatly beloved by her family, to whom she had been a faithful wife and mother. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cornelison have been members of the Christian church for many years and Mr. Cornelison is the senior elder of the church. Four sons were born to Mr. und Mrs. Cornelison; John, Frank, a merchant at Reserve, Robert, who is in the grain business at Reserve, Henry, who died at the age of 23 years and William, who is engaged in the grocery business at Fairfield, Nebr. Mr. Cornelison has been a successful farmer and business man He has added to his original homestead until it has grown to 480 acres. It is mostly upland and Is in a high state of cultivation, well improved and with a good orchard. There is also a hundred acres of native timber on the place. In politics, Mr. Cornelison has always been a Democrat. He served a year as treasurer of Padonia township and was Justice of the peace for six years. In 1880, he was his party nominee for county commissioner and in 1884 for the legislature but his party was in a hopeless minority. He cared little for political honor but rather preferred to give his attention to his business affairs. It is nearly half a century now since he first saw Brown County and now surrounded by his friends and neighbors who honor and respect him, he can look back upon a well spent life for he has always been a valuable and useful member of the community.
Source: Annals of Brown County, Kansas, Harrington, 1905, p. 454
Submitted: Monica Schirmer Eshelman