Saturday, October 18, 2014

Iman Clair Wiatt (1901-1967)

From the 1958 Kansas Government Journal.

   The "Sunflower State" of Kansas yields another odd named public official in one Iman Clair Wiatt of Kearny County, and, like fellow Kansan Wentzle A. Stewart, obscurity again wins out. Despite being a prominent resident of Lakin, Kansas (not to mention being a four-term state representative), there are but three tiny biographical blurbs mentioning Mr. Wiatt anywhere online! The closest thing that comes to a biography is a death notice for him that was originally published in the Hutchinson News on the day following his death in 1967. The following lines on Mr. Wiatt have been piece-mealed together from any and all sources available.
   Iman Clair Wiatt was born in Bethany, Harrison County, Missouri on July 21, 1901, a son of Edward and Laura Myrtle Edson Wiatt. Bestowed the unusual names "Iman Clair" upon his birth, Wiatt removed with his family to Kearny County, Kansas in 1907 and married on his 22nd birthday in 1923 to Arla Agnus Stinchcomb (1901-1983). The couple would later have two children, Joan Wiatt Shaw (1924-2014) and Edward Ellsworth (born ca. 1933). Prior to serving in the legislature Wiatt was a farmer and "broom corn grower" in Lakin, Kansas and was also an organizer of the Kearny County Farm Bureau. A member of the Lakin Methodist Church, Wiatt was also affiliated with several civic and business organizations in Lakin, including that of Treasurer of the Southwest Kansas Royalty Association and President of the Lakin Rotary Club.
   A genealogical webpage describing Wiatt and his family notes that during the Second World War he was in charge of "scrap iron, machinery rationing, savings bonds and emergency production loan committees". Wiatt would later serve as director of the Kearny County Bank, and continued to serve in this capacity during his time in the legislature. Wiatt also held the post of Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Kearny, County, Kansas during the mid 1950s.
   Iman C. Wiatt won his first term in the Kansas House of Representatives in November 1956 and would be reelected as Kearny County's representative in 1958, 1960 and 1962. He would be unopposed for reelection in 1960 and during the previous year's session served as chairman of the house committee on irrigation. His final term in the state house concluded in January 1965 and he died two years later on June 22, 1967, one month short of 66th birthday. Wiatt's death notice in the June 23, 1967 Hutchinson News notes that he had passed away at his home in Lakin after having been ill for six months. He was survived by his wife and two children and was interred at the Lakin Cemetery.

From the Hutchinson News, June 23, 1967.

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