William Henry Slavens, only child of Reuben and Martha Slavens, was born at Portland Mills, in Putnam county, Ind., Aug. 1, 1849, and grew to manhood in that county. He attended Asbury (now Dupaw) Univerity at Greencastle, Ind., during the years 1867 and 1868. He came to Kansas in 1869 and settled in Neosho Falls, then the county seat of Woodson county, and commenced the practice of law, and was admitted to the bar the same year. In 1871 and 1872 he published the Neosho Falls Advertiser, and ten years later was the editor of the Yates City News. He was elected county attorney of Woodson county in 1874, and at the close of his term of office moved to Allen county, and was there elected county attorney in 1878, but resigned before his term of office expired and moved to Yates Center. He was elected to the office of representative in the state legislature of 1884, and re-elected in 1886 and served with distinction in the regular sessions of 1885 and 1887 and in the special session of 1886.
Mr. Slavens received the solid vote of Woodson county for the Republican nomination for congress in the convention of 1888 that nominated the successor to Hon. Thos. Ryan. In 1892 he formed a law partnership with G.H. Lamb at Yates Center, which partnership continued until the fall of 1895, when Mr. Slavens moved to No. 227 West 11th St., Kansas City, Mo., where he died at 4:40 a.m. Friday, April 2, 1897, or heart failure.
Mr. Slavens was married to Miss mary Olive Jones, April 28, 1872, and to them were born two children, Jessie and Queen. The mother and children survive to mourn the loss of a kind, indulgent and loving husband and father. He was a member of the M.E. Church, and for many years been a prominent Mason and Odd Fellow. He also held membership in the Northwestern Legion of Honor, and the Knights and Ladies of Security, in each of the latter he carried $1,000 life insurance. Mr. Slavens was an able lawyer and had a wide range of experience in the practice of his profession. He practiced law at Neosho Falls, Defiance, Burlington, Humboldt, Iola, Yates Center, and Armourdale, and in each of these fields he was very successful.
"Billie," for by such name he was best known among his friends, was big-hearted, kind, genial, and generous, and "to know him was to love him." He had been in poor health for some time, but his death was unexpected and a great shock in his family and friends. There was no warning of the approach of death, just a few gasps for breath and the heart ceased to do its accustomed work and all was over. His last illness did not last to exceed 10 minutes.
His remains were brought to Yates Center and laid to rest beside his father and mother in the Yates Center cemetery, under the rites of the A.F.&A.M. At his special request, Elder G.H. Lamb, his former law partner, read the 22nd Chapter of Revelation and conducted brief religious services at the grave. His family will remain in Kansas City but they carry with them the love and sympathy of his many friends and neighbors in this county.
The Iola (Kansas) Register, April 16, 1897.