Running Out of Footprints: People

In Running Out of Footprints, you will meet…


Andrew Jackson Neff: farmer, legislator, brevetted Civil War General, newspaper publisher, boot and shoe salesman, father of seven…

Of all the battles fought during the course of the Civil War, the Battle of Chickamauga is of special significance to the Neff story because Andrew Jackson Neff fought in it. He was just one of 125,000 brave soldiers present those three days, one lower-ranking officer among hundreds, even thousands. His regiment was small and nearly invisible, swallowed up in battalions, brigades, divisions and corps. References to him by name are few and far between in regards to the particular role he played. Nevertheless, battles and wars are won by the contributions of countless nearly invisible acts of bravery by ordinary soldiers.

“It is safe to say the prosperity of a State can be judged by the way she deals out funds for educational purposes.”

Andrew Jackson Neff, publisher

The Maryville Times, 1884

Jay Holcomb Neff: lawyer, newspaper publisher, mayor of Kansas City…

“I have no higher ambition than to be mayor lf Kansas City. If I am elected, I shall turn over my private business to my brothers and shall be at my office 9 or 10 hours each day, more if necessary.” There were many front page newspaper articles in the weeks leading up to the election, and most of them had to do with the padding of registration rosters, and the arrest of some people who had been paid to register to vote more than once.

William Thorne Neff: Methodist minister…

My own father described him once as “wandering around eating nuts and berries.” Whether or not that was true is hard to say, as William left few clues as to who he was. He wasn’t a collector of things, he wasn’t a joiner, he wasn’t a criminal or a philanthropist. He didn’t own land, sit on any boards as a director, or do anything that left a paper trail, which was pretty amazing given a lifespan of nearly 100 years.

Frank Chaffee Neff, M.D.: Pediatrician, first Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Kansas University Medical Center…

In the opinion of one of his colleagues, Dr. Ralph Major, Dr. Neff was “a man of sterling character, an excellent teacher and universally liked. He had very strong convictions, particularly about unethical medical practices, and his obvious kindness of heart, sympathy and sincerity made him a great favorite.”

….and others

“Common Schools, the Hope of our Country”

(the motto on Cora Lloyd Neff’s teaching license)

State of Indiana, 1886