Decatur  County,   Kansas

BIOGRAPHIES


ALLEN, J. W.

J. W. Allen & Son, the pioneer merchants of the county, who began trade with a wagon load of staple goods in a rude "dugout," at the mouth of "Pawnee Draw" as early as 1873. A little later they bought out Van Wormer's small store at Oberlin. In '77 they merged both stores at Oberlin and built a sod salesroom and in '79 built a commodious frame store, which has since grown with their stocks and trade, until they now have a handsome 40x60 foot double store and a 40 foot warehouse, all finely equipped and stocked with the strongest and finest showing of general merchandise to be found in the Oberlin land district. They have made a good fortune in live stock, general trade, lands and pork packing, and are the most energetic, enterprising and successful mercantile house in this region. They carry from $12,000 to $16,000 stocks; have a yearly trade of $75,000; are driving a large business in grain, provisions and live stock, and with their ample means, the splendid energy and enterprise of Capt. J. W. Allen and the rare business gifts of his son Arthur, constitute a business house that would honor a city of 10,000 souls. Capt. Allen is a brave, driving, manly New Yorker, owns a handsome and well stocked ranch near town, and pronounces this the finest country under the sun. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BABCOCK, E. D.

E.D. Babcock, whose name was overlooked in connection with the county officers, holds the responsible position of clerk of the district court and leads the trade in hardness, saddlery and horse furnishing goods, both here and at Ludell. He came here from New York in '79, empty handed; has built up a prosperous business; owns a beautiful suburban farm; likes Decatur county and is one of its advancing men. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BARITEAU, J. W.

Dr. J. W. Bariteau, an alumnus of Long Island College Hospital, the pioneer physician of the county and one of the original town site owners, who settled here in '78, is county surveyor, and from early to late has been a strong worker for the development of Decataur County. Dr. Bariteau is one of the best physicians in this region; has been a long time U. S. examining surgeon; was on the ground and attended the victims of the Cheyenne massacre in 1879 and has borne an honorable and conspicuous part in the work of professional material and social pioneering through all this upper country. he is an intelligent genial and generous man of fine impuleses and is charmed with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BEBB, JAMES

James Bebb, the worthy efficient high sheriff of the county, also belongs to the agricultural ranks, has the fortune of an excellent "divide" farm and is a No. 1 citizen. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BENTON, HARWOOD OTIS

Harwood Otis Benton, president of the Oberlin National Bank, was born in Oberlin, Kansas, November 16, 1894, son of Otis Lincoln and Maude (Durkee) Benton.

Otis Lincoln Benton, a banker and politician, was born in Louisville, Kansas, July 31, 1866, and died at Kansas City, Missouri, June 10, 1921. Maude Durkee was born in Shelby, Illinois, June 30, 168, and is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Harwood Otis Benton was graduated from the Decatur County High School in 1913 and in 1917 was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts from Washburn. He was given an honorary Master's degree in 1922. Since 1921 he has been a trustee of Washburn College. He is a member of Phi Delta Theta, and in 1916 served as president of Beta Chapter.

Mr. Benton's marriage to Marguerite Thrapp was solemnized at Topeka, on January 2, 1922. She was born there on August 13, 1896, her family having come from Zanesville, Ohio. There are two children, Hardwood Otis, Jr., born October 4, 1922; and Barbara Maude, December 8, 1926.

In addition to his position as president of the Oberlin National Bank, Mr. Benton is a director of several other banks. He is a Republican.

From May, 1917, until June, 1919, Mr. Benton served in the United States Army, from February, 1918, until March, 1919, serving in France. He participated in four major offensives (one with the Fifth British Army) and held the ranks of second lieutenant, first lieutenant and captain of the infantry reserve. His last duty was with the 137th infantry. Mr. Benton was wounded in action three times, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Pershing and was cited in army orders by Petain. He was awarded the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre with bronze palm and the Order of Purple Heart. In 1920 Mr. Benton served as first commander of Oberlin Post No. 70 of the American Legion.

His other memberships include the First Presbyterian Church of Oberlin, the Young Men's Christian Association of which he is a state director, the Decatur County Bankers Association. He is scoutmaster of Troop 97 of the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president and in 1925, and the Rotary Club of which was president in 1930. His club is the Oberlin Country Club. His hobby is work. Residence: Oberlin. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, pages 97 & 98)

BORIN, C.

The Eye was started in 1883 by Geo. Hand and was last year purchased by Prof. C. Borin, who has long been in the newspaper field and is making a capital Republican paper. Both papers are generously patronized and are able and faithful exponents of the moral, social, material and political interests of Oberlin and Decatur county. Other journals were started in the old time, but they had their breif day and are now only remembered as incidents of early history. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BRADBURY, CHAS I.

Five miles below vallonia, and in one of the garden spots of the valley, is Chas. I. Bradbury's 320 acre "Riverside" stock farm. It has a full mile on the Sappa and Pawnee branch, has a fine body of large native timber and is mostly rich bottom land, improved with sod and log buildings and has finely watered and sheltered feed lots. Mr. Bradbury only cultivates a small tract, growing annually about 800 bushels of grain for feeding. He keeps a flock of 800 grade Merino sheep, a dozen good cattle and some horses, believes in stock farming and has a farm to be proud of, is one of the most genial and popular young farmers in the county and with his bright entertaining lady dispenses a generous hospitality. Mr. Bradbury came here from Wisconsin in '72 and is delighted with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BRADLEY, NOAH

Just above "Schoharie Rnach," and fifteen miles up the South Sappa from Oberlin, lies the widely known "Bassettville Ranch," a splendid body of land, 1,000 acres in extent, and owned by Noah Bradley and his sons, Reuben and Wm. M. bradley, who came here from Iowa in '79, with less than $1,000. This beautiful farm embraces 200 acres of rich bottoms, a mile of the Sappa and its accompanying woodlands, large sod buildings, strong wells, large and model young orchards and groves and 150 acres of land in cultivation, which last year produced 1,000 bushels of rye, 1,500 bushels of wheat, 150 bushels of barley, and 400 bushels of corn. The owners keep about forty good cattle and eight horses; annually feed a car load of pigs, never fail of good crops, get thirty bushels of rye and twenty to thirty-seven bushels of wheat to the acre, and last year threshed about 30,000 bushels of grain for their neighbors. They are capital workers and prime citizens, keep square abreast with the best life of the hour, are intelligent, live, advancing men, are delighted with the coutnry and in half a dozen years will have at "Bassettville ranch" and postoffice, personal and real estate worth $20,000. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

BURNETTE, W. A.

The late county treasurer, Mr. W. A. Burnette, carried the county exchequer for two terms with marked ability and is named to the writer as one of the most capable manly and popular gentlemen in the county. He hails from the land of the Hawkeyes, was one of the pioneer Board of County Commissioenrs; owns a handsome suburban farm; is essentially a representative man and likes the country beyond any other. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CAMPBELL, GEO.

The Bank of Oberln, founded in June 1880 by Geo. Campbell a wealthy and successful Beloit merchant and R. A. Marks, is the pioneer banking house of the land district and is managed with signal ability by Mr. Marks a clear sighted, sagacious business man, whose half dozen years residence here have given him a high estimate of the country and people. Mr. Marks is a capital financier and a bright well bred and genial man of the world and is named to the writer as one of the most spirited and liberal workers for the social and material advancement of the town. He is personally popular, keeps his flag at mast head; swears by Oberlin and Decatur county; is largely interested in town and country realty and from early to late has been a strong inspiring influential worker for every really valuable local enterprise. Mr. Marks hails from Canada and is one of the strongest men of the Oberlin land district. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CAMPBELL, W. T.

W. T. Campbell, a young Buckeye who came here last year and has invested in lands and sheep, gives some attention to the land business, has several valuable tracts for sale, is greatly pleased with the outlook and thinks this a splendid country for young men of moderate means or good working ability. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CASTER, DAN

Hon. Dan Caster's 400 acre "Pleasant Valley" stock farm lies three miles below town in the Sappa Valley and is mainly rich first and second bottoms, coursed by the creek and aboudning in admirable timber shelter for live stock. Mr. Caster has improved his royal farm with several miles of fence, extensive sod houses, stables and sheds, thrifty young orchards, vineyards and groves and last year raised 500 bushels of wheat, 2,000 bushels of rye and 800 bushels of corn, from 80 acres of ground, his wheat and rye averaging thirty bushels to the acre. He puts up 50 tons of hay and millet, keeps 50 high grade cattle and a few good horses, is a careful and thorough cultivator and from an investment of $1,000 in 1878 has made up a property worth at least $6,000. He is a level-headed West Virginian of high character and standing, is chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, one of the squarest men that ever crossed the Missouri River, has a big army of warm friends, swears by Decatur County, which has brought him health and competence and with his hospitable family lives in happy content on one of the finest farms in the valley. Mr. Caster stables all his stock and houses all his implements, is a liberal feeder of cattle and swine, never fails of good crops and is a model farmer. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CASTER, VINCENT R.

Vincent R. Caster, educator and farmer, was born in a log house in Meigs County, Ohio, January 25, 1873, son of Daniel and Margaret (Turner) Caster. The father born in Virginia, August 7, 1841, came to Kansas in 1878 as a homesteader at Oberlin. He kept his residence there until his death on August 14, 1914. A Democrat, he served two terms in the Kansas legislature. His wife, Margaret Turner, died in Nodaway County, Missouri, March 28, 1877.

Educated in public school until 1890, Vincent R. Caster was graduated from Oberlin High School in 1893, and taught 13 terms in the rural schools of Decatur County. Since reaching maturity he has farmed and spent two years in the implement business at Oberlin. Mr. Caster served 5 consecutive terms (10 years) in the state legislature, representing the 102nd district. He is now a member of the state highway commission, having been appointed by former Governor Woodring.
On June 28, 1894, he was married to Clara Idona Millera at Oberlin. She was born in Henry county, Iowa, September 7, 1872, and died at Oberlin, August 21, 1907. There are five children of this marriage, Elton E., born July 5, 1895, who married Beulah Tinsley; Emil L., October 21, 1896, who married Ann Dom, Frances, January 2, 1900, who married Lee Boettner; Margaret, January 2, 1900, who married Vern Hatch and Esther, May 4, 1902 who married Ned E. wiggins. Elton, a civil engineer, was graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1925. Emil is a geologist who was graduated from Golden College at Golden, Colorado in 1925.

On May 11, 1910, Mr. Caster was married to Ina May Ethridge, daughter of James E. and Avie (Lodge) Plotts. They have four children, Myron, born October 13, 1911, who married Anneta Gilbert; Leah, April 10, 1914; Dean H., February 21, 1917; and Lois, November 24, 1920.

Mr. Caster is a member of the Red Cross, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Parent Teachers Association. His religious affiliation is with Olive Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. He has always been deeply interested in the general welfare of his community and was one of the organizers and builders of his church, completed in 1903. In 1921 he helped to build a modern parsonage.

Among other things, Mr. Caster was an organizer and a tireless worker in the promotion of a telephone line, and helped sponsor the consolidation of School Districts No. 6 and No. 107, with District No. 1, in 1928. Residence: Oberlin. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, page 217)

CLARK, N. A.

N. A. Clark keeps a few good teams and has all hands full of business from December to January. Mr. Clark is an old homesteader here, is delighted with the country and is one of the most obliging men in the district, with which he is as familiar as the playgrounds of his boyhood. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

COARD, FRANK

Coard & Douglass have a large and lucrative trade in drugs, medincines, paints, oils, books, stationery and kindred goods; are a live business firm; own good town and country properties, and rank with the strong concerns of the town. Frank Coard is a genial Hawkeye, brim full of bright humor, and is universally popular. Frank Douglass hails from the land of the Badgers. Both are old timers here and are delighted with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

COLBY, FITCH

Fitch Colby has his O. K. livery finely stocked with saddle and carriage horses and under the supervision of that prince of stable managers and good fellows. Mr. edwin Isham is doing a splendid business in all departments. Mr. Colby is one of the solid men of the country; is highly esteemed by the community and thinks this country far preferable to his native Wisconsin. Ed. Isham worthily represents the Empire State and calls the Sappa Valley the garden of the west. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

COLBY, GEO.

Colby & Hunt are an able and eminently successful general merchandise firm, whose heavy stocks, solid means and credit conservative and safe business methods and extensive trade would be a credit to any community. Mr. Geo. Colby hails from Wisconsin, owns valuable real estate in town and country, has a general store in the new town of Colby and is financially as sound as bullion. Mr. Hunt is already well known to the reader as the county register of deeds. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

COLT, J. B.

The hardware trade is finely represented by J. B. Colt, who has been in trade here since '79. He carries large stocks of general hardware, stoves, tinware, and farm machinery in large and well arranged sale and warerooms, has a capital patronage, is one of the soundest and best business men in the county; owns the beautiful suburban "Long View" home and farm and a half interest in the local creamery; likes the country and is a strong representative man.

Mr. J. B. Colt's 160 acre "Longview" suburban farm and home on the hill just north of Oberlin is one of the most desirable properties in the county. It is entirely hedged in with Osage orange, is in a fine state of cultivation to mixed crops, and is improved with the finest farm home in the county, a young orchard, walnut groves, wells, cisterns and all the conveniences of a model home and though only three or four years ago a piece of wild school land, is to-day worth $6,000. Mr. Colt also owns a fine 160 acre timber claim and is one of the strongest men in the county. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

COLVIN, H. D.

Eight miles above Oberlin on Colvin's branch of the South Sappa, is H. D. Colvin's 320 acre "Glen-Eden" stock ranch, a fine tract of high rolling prairie, superbly watered by strong, living springs and Colvin's Branch, which abounds in deep, clear pools, covered by dense elm groves nestling under the shadows of great ledges of cretaceous rock in the picturesque bluffs that half encircle the corrals. Mr. Colvin, whom the reader will remember as the chief clerk of the U. S. Land Office, at Oberlin, located this ranch, and had his home here during the Cheyenne massacre of '78, and with the aid of his heroic wife successfully defended his home against the attacks of the red devils who desolated the neighboring Sappa Valley with murder, rapine and fire. He keeps about eighty high grade cattle and a dozen horses on the ranch and out-lying range, grows corn and sorghum enough for his winter feed, and has in all respects one of the most attractive and valuable stock farms in the county. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CORTEIL, A. J.

A. J. Corteil, an enterprising New Yorker, is handling school and deeded lands and farms in Decatur, Sheridan, Graham, Norton and Thomas counties and offers his holdings on easy terms of payment. He is one of the livest land men in the kingdom and responds to calls either at Oberlin or Kenneth. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

CULP, J. E.

Deputy J. E. Culp one of the primest young Buckeyes that ever crossed the "Big Muddy." Mr. Culp has 480 acres of choice farm land and is associated with Mr. Hallowell in the book, news, confectionery, stationery and fancy goods trade in which they lead the town. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

DECKER, S. D.

His former law partner (L. G. Parker), Mr. S. D. Decker, has a new and valuable 320 acre farm a mile further out, which he is improving from a wilderness into one of the most desirable places in this region. He is a gentleman of excellent judgement and speaks in glowing terms of the future of Decatur County. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

DEETER, JESSE WARD

Jesse Ward Deeter, editor and publisher of the Norcatur Dispatch, was born in Pleasant Hill, Ohio, October 19, 1876 and for 45 years has resided in Kansas. His father, Cornelius Hoke Deeter, was born in Pennsylvania, May 18, 1841, descended from early German settlers in that state. He was a blacksmith, who served three years and twenty days as a corporal in the 11th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He came to Norton in 1887, taking a school claim. He died at Norcatur, June 18, 1901.

Sophronia Ward, wife of Cornelius Hoke Deeter, was born in Hocking County, Ohio, May 8, 1847 and died at Norcatur, May 13, 1909. She was a descendant of Nichols Beery of Bern, Switzerland, who came to Philadelphia on October 16, 1727. She was a second cousin of Wallace and Noah Beery, the famous screen actors.

Jesse Ward Deeter attended public school and since reaching maturity has been in the printing and publishing business, with the exception of a few years he was with the railroad and in the mercantile business. He has held minor political offices and has been an active worker in the Republican party for many years. He served six years as city treasurer, six years as a member of the city council and 15 years as a member of the school board.

On August 31, 1898, he was married to Lillian Edith Holsinger at Rockwell City, Kansas. She was born there on August 21, 1879, daughter of Simon R. and Caroline (Satterlee) Holsinger. To Mr. and Mrs. Deeter, the following children were born: Elsie Fern, April 1, 1899, who married Marion E. walker; Everett L., September 13, 1901, who married Margaret Riley; Maurice Glenn, January 20, 1905, who married Celia Mavity; and Mildred Irma, August 19, 1910 who married Ferris Macfee. Elsie is a school teacher in Kansas City. Everett Leo is an artist with an advertising firm in St. Louis. Maurice manages a moving picture theater at Norcatur.

Mr. Deeter has served as secretary of the Commercial Club and local educational and Chautauqua organizations for 16 years. He is a member of the Masons (Norcatur Lodge No. 317), the Modern Woodmen of America and the Methodist Episcopal Community Church. His hobbies are art and pioneer relics. Residence: Norcatur. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, pages 311-312)

DeWOLF, EMORY BURTON

Emory Burton DeWolf, editor and publisher of the Dresden Beacon, was born at Robinson, Kansas, April 8, 1877, son of Curtis N. and Eliza Jane (Crozier) DeWolf. The father was born at Bradford, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1847 and died at Weeping Water, Nebraska, February 13, 1895. His wife, Eliza, was born in Missouri, February 2, 1855.

On October 3, 1908, Mr. DeWolf was married to Dollie Myrtle Bates at Red Cloud, Nebraska. She was born at Cowles, Nebraksa, July 27, 1891.

Mr. DeWolf is a Democrat. He is fond of all sports, particularly football, fishing and duck hunting. Residence: Dresden. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, page 320)

DOUGLASS, FRANK

Coard & Douglass have a large and lucrative trade in drugs, medincines, paints, oils, books, stationery and kindred goods; are a live business firm; own good town and country properties, and rank with the strong concerns of the town. Frank Coard is a genial Hawkeye, brim full of bright humor, and is universally popular. Frank Douglass hails from the land of the Badgers. Both are old timers here and are delighted with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

DOUGLASS, HOP

Mr. "Hop" Douglass owns and runs a good sized livery concern and with a trifle less self consciousness and a much larger stock of public spirit, would make a somewhat useful citizen. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

EMAHIZER, J. C. & KEYS, GEO. W.

Keys & Emahizer, the former a Pennsylvanian and the latter from Illinois are a strong capable and successful land firm, whose holdings of deeded lands, farms, ranches, and school lands, reach out into all the neighboring counties; are also giving special attention to the location of government lands and other work before the United States Land office. They are young men of prime business gifts, have been several years in the county and like all the land firms above named, have a large and prosperous business. Mr. Geo. W. Keys has served the county as register of deeds, and Mr. J. C. Emahizer is largely interested in graded merino sheep. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

ERICKSON, NILS

NILS ERICKSON, farmer and dairyman, resides on his ranch four miles southwest of Mount Vernon. For generations his ancestors have been natives of Sweden, in which country he was born, near Ostersund, December 6, 1857, the son of Eric and Elizabeth (Nelson) Erickson. His father, born in 1840, is a farmer in his native country. His mother died in 1896. Mr. Erickson has one sister, Anna Westin, and two brothers, Peter and Lewis, all residents of Seattle, Washington. Northern Sweden, his home for the first twenty-one years, is a poor farming country, yielding only a bare living even with diligent labor. The many advantages to be enjoyed in the United States influenced him to make his home there in 1878. Locating in Oberlin, Kansas, he rented land for a time, but the severe drought that brought dismay to so many caused his efforts to be almost a complete failure. Discouraging it certainly was, but not disheartening to a man of his fine courage. Securing from his labor just enough money to purchase a ticket to the great Northwest, where man's success is not so dependent upon the oft times fickle rainfall, he came to Stanwood, Snohomish county, and at once began clearing land. The following spring, in 1891, he sent for his family, who had remained in Kansas, meeting them at Skagit City, near which he bought a piece of school land which became their home until in 1900 when they removed to their present farm. It was densely covered with heavy timber and the task of clearing and bringing it to its present state of cultivation has indeed been laborious, and has been accomplished entirely by his own untiring efforts. He has ten acres in fine condition, and all the rest in pasture land. 

Mr. Erickson was married in Kansas, January 10, 1890, to Miss Carrie Wineburg, an acquaintance who was born in his native parish in Sweden, and came to the United States in 1878. Her parents were likewise natives of Sweden, her father following farming. Mr. and Mrs. Erickson have seven children: Sophia, William, Ellen, Jennie, Alice, Allrick and Harris, who attend the Swedish Baptist church, of which the parents are members. Mr. Erickson is a member of the Republican party. He has filled the office of road supervisor, and for a number of years was clerk and school director in his district, known as the Harmony district, which is recognized as one of the very best in this part of the county. He is a patron of the Mount Vernon creamery, to which he sends the milk from eight cows. By industry and wise management he has won for himself and family, under adverse conditions, a home and a place in his community, and to-day is recognized as a worthy citizen, holding the esteem of all who know him. (An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, Inter-State Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1906. Submitted by M.K.Krogman)

FISH, MR.

Adjoining "Riverside" on the east is "Avondale," the home and 2,000 acre stock farm of Metcalf & Fish, the foremost cattle men in the county. Full 80 per cent of this splendid estate is valley and slope land, lying four miles along the Sappa and Spring brooks and finely wooded with heavy elm, ash, hackberry, box elder and kindred woods. It is improved with a handsome house, good sheds, stables and corrals and superb water works, fed by splendid springs and has about ten miles of wire fence. The owners grow and feed upon the farm 2,000 bushels of corn and 300 tons of hay, millet and cane, and have the place stocked with about 300 high grade cattle, which are bred to pur Shorthorn sires. They came here from Maine in 1878 with only $2,000 and by sagacious, well directed management, splendid working ability and irrepressible energy, have built up a personal and real property worth from $25,000 to $30,000. They are young men of rare executive gifts and high ambition, have an estate fit for a baron, are charmed with the country and with Mrs. Metcalf, who is a sister of Mr. Fish, dispense a gracious and bounteous hospitality. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

FRASIER, W. A.

W. A. Frasier leads the furniture upholstery and undertaking business of this whole upper country, with large and complete stocks of everything in the line from a baby carriage to an elegant parlor suite. He came here from Wisconsin in '78 with little means but a big stock of business sagacity and from a humble beginning has built up the finest furniture trade of the upper Republican Valley, his two houses here and at Atwood supplying the entire Oberlin land district. Mr. Frasier owns valuable city property and has several tracts of farm land; stands high socially and financially; keeps a good bank account; is a born merchant; has a most genial social nature; is delighted with the country and is one of the coming men of his county. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HALLOWELL, W. A.

W. A. Hallowell, the city postmaster, is a genial young Hawkeye, who in all the better qualities of the official and gentleman is the peer of any man in the Republican valley. He owns a model 320 acre farm near town and is personally liked by everybody. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HAND, GEO.

The Eye was started in 1883 by Geo. Hand and was last year purchased by Prof. C. Borin, who has long been in the newspaper field and is making a capital Republican paper. Both papers are generously patronized and are able and faithful exponents of the moral, social, material and political interests of Oberlin and Decatur county. Other journals were started in the old time, but they had their breif day and are now only remembered as incidents of early history. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HARDESTY, HENRY OSMOND

Henry Osmond Hardesty, physician and surgeon was born on a farm near Frankfort, Indiana, September 10, 1869, son of George Daugherty and Mary Avis (Bennett) Hardesty. The father, a farmer, was born in Marion, Indiana, January 3, 1842 and died at Kensington, April 1, 1894. He homesteaded in Smith County on February 15, 1880. The parents were of Revolutionary stock. Mary Avis, his wife, was born in Lebanon, Indiana, March 19,1 848 and died at Kensington, April 29, 1919.

Dr. Hardesty attended public school in Indiana and Kansas, and on March 22, 1900, was awarded his medical degree from Kansas Medical College at Topeka which merged with the University of Kansas in 1913. Before his admission to practice he was a pharmacist and owned a store at Reamsville. Since that time he has been in active practice for the past thirty one years at Jennings.

His marriage to Elsie Jane Reith was solemnized in Smith County, September 8, 1891. She was born at Old Wine, Iowa, April 26, 1868, daughter of John and Caroline (Robinson) Reith and is of German descent. There are four children, Charles E., born July 26, 1892, who married Lucy Fullen and is a salesman; Jesse L., May 12, 1899, who is a salesman also; John H., November 18, 1901; who married Jessie Farris and is a pharmacist; and Florence M., May 2, 1904 a laboratory technician. She was married to Dr. F. Willis Almond.

Dr. Hardesty was one of the four organizers of the Decatur-Norton County Medical Society and is a member also of the American and Kansas State Medical Associations. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion and Jennings Lodge No. 360 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. During the World War he held the rank of first lieutenant in the Medical Corps, serving at Fort Riley, Kansas, Camp Joseph E. Johnson at Jacksonville, Florida, and overseas, serving about six months at Lux, Savina. Residence: Jennings. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, pages 479-480)

HAYWARD, JOHN

Five miles further down the Sappa is the 480 acre "Vallonia Stock Farm" of John Hayward, an enterprising and intelligent Englishman, who came here from Michigan in 1880 with a large family and about $2,500. The farm is finely watered by the Sappa has a good belt of native timber, and is a solid body of bottom land, improved with wire fence and buildings and a young orchard. Mr. Hayward grows about 1,500 bushels of wheat, rye and corn, keeps from forty to sixty head of high grade cattle, and half a dozen horses and mules; believes in mixed farming, is a careful, thrifty, painstaking and progressive farmer and in common with his hospitable family has a high opinion of this country and could not be brought out for less than $8,000. He has a choice farm, which in his old Kalamazoo County would command $100 per acre; is an influential worker for schools, society and advanced husbandry, was on the first Board of County Commissioners and is one of its prime, representative and manly men. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HEITMAN, J. F.

J. F. Heitman, a wide awake young German from Kentucky, has located nearly 100 good German families in the south part of the county, where he owns a valuable 640 acre farm. He is on the sure road to fortune and is one of the representative young men of the county. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HENSHAW, FRED L.

The Newspapers of Oberlin are creditable alike to the city and their publishers. The Herald was founded in 1879 by J. C. Humphrey and is now an influential Democratic journal, most admirably conducted by Fred. L. Henshaw, an old type and one of the best printers "in the kingdom." (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HITCHCOCK, J. B.

The Hitchcock House, built last autumn by J. B. Hitchcock, is an excellent home-like-house, whose master and mistress are widely known and respected pioneers. Mr. Hitchcock came here from Iowa in '78 and located a portion of the town site when only Capt. Allen and John Roslehaver were here to keep him company. He was one of the commissioners for the organization of Decatur County and its second treasurer has taken a strong hand in every good local enterprise, and is one of the bright, intelligent, progressive and representative men of the county. Mr. Hitchcock owns a valuable addition to the city and some choice suburban lands and believes this one of the most inviting regions on the green earth. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HODGE, GEO. F.

The county superintendent of schools, Mr. Geo. F. Hodge, is on his second term of this responsible office, and has done a capital work for popular education in Decatur County. Mr. Hodge owns a beautiful farm on the waters of the Upper Sappa; has a good, strong following; is delighted with the country, and is one of the sterling men of the county. He came here '79; represents the great State of Illinois and is a popular official. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HUMPHREY, J. C.

The Newspapers of Oberlin are creditable alike to the city and their publishers. The Herald was founded in 1879 by J. C. Humphrey and is now an influential Democratic journal, most admirably conducted by Fred. L. Henshaw, an old type and one of the best printers "in the kingdom." (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

HUNT, F. A.

Mr. F. A. Hunt, the popular register of deeds, has complete abstracts of all the real estate titles in the county, and gives carefula ttention to the perfection of titles and payment of taxes for non-residents. He owns a thousand acres of valuable farm lands, is a member of the mercantile firm of Colby & Hunt, is on his second term of the registry of deeds, has made a handsome property here in the last five years, and is one of the strong representative and growing men of the county. Mr. Hunt is a New Yorker; came here from Michigan in 1880; is one of the best business men in the county, and holds this to be one of the finest regions in America. (also mentioned under the Geo. Colby bio above) (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

ISHAM, ED.

Fitch Colby has his O. K. livery finely stocked with saddle and carriage horses and under the supervision of that prince of stable managers and good fellows. Mr. edwin Isham is doing a splendid business in all departments. Mr. Colby is one of the solid men of the country; is highly esteemed by the community and thinks this country far preferable to his native Wisconsin. Ed. Isham worthily represents the Empire State and calls the Sappa Valley the garden of the west.

Three miles above Glen-Eden, on the South Sappa, is ed. Isham's 320 acre Schoharie Ranch, another of those rich and handsome valley places that are fast growing into commanding value. It embraces half a mile of creek and a fine belt of timber; 120 acres of bottom land, log buildings and corrals, a lime kiln and many other natural and artifical advantages and will be stocked with horses by Mr. Isham, who is a natural horseman and one of the best in the kingdom. He came here in '79 from New York with only his empty hands, thinks this the boss country and could not be bought out for $3,000. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

JOHNSON, MR.

Mr. Johnson has recently purchased about 6,000 acres of choice school and deeded lands in Decatur and the neighboring counties and has faith enough in the country to improve and stock a good share of them. He is a careful, sagacious buyer and seller, offers his holdings on liberal terms, is delighted with the country for its beauty, health, soil, grasses, water and agricultural possibilities, and believes it has a grand future. Mr. Johnson is a clear sighted, intelligent man of the world, familiar with the West and knows where to invest his ample capital. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

KELLOGG, IRA

Ira Kellogg, the county treasurer, is also a worthy officer and most estimable citizen, whose half-dozen years residence in the county gives him a high opinion of the country and the people. He is a prosperous farmer and builder, and a careful, deliberate manly man of capital local standing. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

KEYS, GEO. W. & J. C. EMAHIZER

Keys & Emahizer, the former a Pennsylvanian and the latter from Illinois are a strong capable and successful land firm, whose holdings of deeded lands, farms, ranches, and school lands, reach out into all the neighboring counties; are also giving special attention to the location of government lands and other work before the United States Land office. They are young men of prime business gifts, have been several years in the county and like all the land firms above named, have a large and prosperous business. Mr. Geo. W. Keys has served the county as register of deeds, and Mr. J. C. Emahizer is largely interested in graded merino sheep. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

KINDIG, R. O.

Mr. R. O. Kindig the cashier of the bank is one of the influential representative young men of the city of which he is the popular mayor. He leads the excellent local ? is a strong worker in religious and social circles has several hundred acres of valuable neighboring farm lands, among which is the handsome suburbuan "Fairmont" farm of 210 acres and from an investment of $300 in 1879 has acquired properties in town and country that are fast growing into a fortune. Mr. Kindig is also one of the county school examiners and a most excellent and public spirited gentelman; is greatly esteemed by his townsmen and believes this country far richer in opportunity than his native, Ohio. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

MARKS, R. A.

The Bank of Oberln, founded in June 1880 by Geo. Campbell a wealthy and successful Beloit merchant and R. A. Marks, is the pioneer banking house of the land district and is managed with signal ability by Mr. Marks a clear sighted, sagacious business man, whose half dozen years residence here have given him a high estimate of the country and people. Mr. Marks is a capital financier and a bright well bred and genial man of the world and is named to the writer as one of the most spirited and liberal workers for the social and material advancement of the town. He is personally popular, keeps his flag at mast head; swears by Oberlin and Decatur county; is largely interested in town and country realty and from early to late has been a strong inspiring influential worker for every really valuable local enterprise. Mr. Marks hails from Canada and is one of the strongest men of the Oberlin land district. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

McELROY, MR.

Mr. McElroy, late attorney for Phillips County, and one of the ablest lawyers in this region has recently settled here and is I believe associated with Gilmore & Simpson in the management of their land business before the U. S. Land Office. All of the above - named men and firms are actively engaged in the land business and will be pleased to answer correspondence concerning this county and land district. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

McGEE, LOYD RAY

Loyd Ray McGee, son of James Fenton and Mary Susan (Payne) McGee, was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, October 2, 1889. His father a steam engineer salesman and farmer was born in Monmouth, Illinois, May 20, 1865. He is of Scotch-Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch descent. Mary Susan Payne was born in Davenport, Iowa, December 11, 1865 and is of Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry.

Loyd Ray McGee attended public school in Oskaloosa, until 1906, and until 1918 engaged in farming. His parents came to Kansas in 1906 locating in Decatur County. The summer of 1918 he operated a garage at Dresden, Kansas, which he sold, anticipating service in the World War; however, he was not called into service. The six months following he was in the service of the Burlington Railroad at Sheridan, Wyoming. In 1919 he became an agent for the Sinclair Refining Company, which position he still holds. He has among his possessions a certificate of merit from the Sinclair Company for a 10 year period. He is also proprietor of the Airline Service Station at Oberlin, Kansas. He is a Democrat.

On April 16, 1915 he was married to Jessie Ruth Wimer at Dresden, Kansas. She was born in Jefferson County, Nebraska, near Mahaska, Kansas, June 12, 1894, daughter of Eli M. and Mattie E. (Smith) Wimer. She is a niece of the Reverend Doliver C. Smith, bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Clarksburg, West Virginia. She is a member of the Order of Eastern Star (chaplain). Mrs. McGee has been especially active in her church, was president of the Ladies Aid, and taught in Sunday School. She is also a member of the Mothers Club. Her hobby is her home, family and flowers. Mr. and Mrs. McGee have one daughter, Marjorie Fern, born October 27, 1919. They had one son, born March 31, 1914 who died April 1, 1914.

Mr. McGee is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he was trustee for about 10 years. At the present time he is a treasurer of the building committee. He is a member of the chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, of which he was a director in 1924-25, the National Geographic Society, the Oberlin County Club, the Red Cross, the Odd Fellows (past noble grand, 1923) and the Masons (Mountain Slope No. 186, Royal Arch, Commandery at Atwood), the Order of Eastern Star (Oberlin Chapter No. 106) and the Rebekahs. He has served on the city council since 1928. Mr. McGee enjoys golf and baseball as well as hunting and fishing. Residence: Oberlin. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, page 766)

METCALF, GEO. A.

The Decatur County Bank opeed last January by Geo. A. Metcalf is another strong well managed banking house, with Mr. Metcalf's ample means and well known business ability and priority are sure to popularize. Mr. Metcalf came here in 1878 and made a handsome property in land and live stock dealings and went into the banking business with the further backing of some strong friends. He is one of the squarest and most popular men in the county; has a high opinion of the country and is one of the strong growing men of his region. Both banks are well entrenched in the popular confidence and besides a large and growing business in loans, discounts, exchange, and deposits, are building up a large business in real estate loans for Eastern capitalists. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

METCALF, MR.

Adjoining "Riverside" on the east is "Avondale," the home and 2,000 acre stock farm of Metcalf & Fish, the foremost cattle men in the county. Full 80 per cent of this splendid estate is valley and slope land, lying four miles along the Sappa and Spring brooks and finely wooded with heavy elm, ash, hackberry, box elder and kindred woods. It is improved with a handsome house, good sheds, stables and corrals and superb water works, fed by splendid springs and has about ten miles of wire fence. The owners grow and feed upon the farm 2,000 bushels of corn and 300 tons of hay, millet and cane, and have the place stocked with about 300 high grade cattle, which are bred to pur Shorthorn sires. They came here from Maine in 1878 with only $2,000 and by sagacious, well directed management, splendid working ability and irrepressible energy, have built up a personal and real property worth from $25,000 to $30,000. They are young men of rare executive gifts and high ambition, have an estate fit for a baron, are charmed with the country and with Mrs. Metcalf, who is a sister of Mr. Fish, dispense a gracious and bounteous hospitality. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

MILLEN, IVA MYRTLE

Iva Myrtle Millen, was born near Knoxville, Iowa, February 7, 1871, daughter of John Hay Hardin and Sarah Margaret (Taylor) Millen. She has resided in Kansas since the fall of 1883.

Her father, a native of the State of Illinois, born May 14, 1847 came to Kansas in 1883 settling in Republican County and in 1886 took a homestead in Cook Township in Decatur County. He died at Oberlin, June 27, 1922.

Sarah Margaret Taylor was born near Virden, Illinois, August 6, 1849 and died at Oberlin, January 11, 1916. She was a devoted homemaker and an active worker in her church and Sunday School. Her great grandparents, who resided in Paris immigrated to America as French Huguenot refugees.

Iva Myrtle Millen attended public and high school in Decatur County and in May 1891 was graduated from the latter in Elwood, Nebraska. From 1893 until 1905 she engaged in type setting on the Oberlin Herald and the Oberlin Times.

The following year Miss Millen edited and published the Norcatur Register and in the fall of 1907 began setting type for the Smithville Herald at Smithville, Missouri. At that time she fell on an icy pavement, breaking her hip and for five years was confined to a wheel chair. From the fall of 1913 until the fall of 1915 she edited and published the Selden Observer at Selden, Kansas.

A Republican Miss Millen was elected clerk of the district court of Decatur County in 1916 and held that office continuously with no opposition from either political party until 1932. She is the second official in any county of Kansas to remain so long in continuous service. Upon leaving her office she received a statement from the auditing company which reflects the high type manner in which she conducted the affairs of her office over the 16 year period.

She is a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, the Epworth League (holder of all offices), the Red Cross and the Royal Neighbors of America. Her club is the J. C. C. Club of Oberlin. (Illustriana Kansas, by Sara Mullin Baldwin & Robert Morton Baldwin, 1933, pages 791-793)

MILLER, GEO. M.

Adjoining Mr. Caster and just across the stream is Geo. M. Miller's 480 acre "Brookbank" stock ranch, another model valley farm, drained by two miles of the Sappa abounding in fine native groves and improved with a log house, sod stable, wire fence and some young groves and orchards. Mr. Miller came here from Ohio in '73 with the pioneers and from an investment of $3,000 has accumulated a property worth $9,000. He grows 1,200 bushels of rye and wheat and 1,000 bushels of corn; puts up fifty tons of hay and cane, keeps thirty head of high grade cattle and some good horses and pigs, belongs to the company of No. 1 farmers, and like his friend Caster is one of the royal men of the county and is delighted with this country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

MILLS, MR.

Tracy & Mills lead the general blacksmithing and repairing business of the city and county with a strong and growing patronage and the best mechanical skill in this region. Mr. J. D. Tracy of this firm is a royal Buckeye; owns the model 480 acre "Sunnymead" farm in the Sappa Valley; has made a good fortune here since '79; is in love with the country and is respected by everyone. Mr. Mills is a new comer and much pleased with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

MOSHER, D. C.

D. C. Mosher represents the great lumber firm of Howell Bros., with heavy stocks of lumber and building materials, in which they are driving an immense trade. Mr. Mosher is an old timer here and a No. 1 business man of decided public spirit. He represents a house whose Kansas yards are almost as thick as leaves in Valambrosia; owns a fine 320 acre farm and predicts a splendid future for Oberlin and Decatur County. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

PARKER, L. G.

Mr. L. G. Parker's 800 acre "Clermont" cattle ranch and home two miles east of Oberlin on Clearwater branch is a choice stock farm, admirably watered by deep clear pools of living water and improved with five miles of wire fence, well and windmill, a comfortable home, stable and granary and is devoted to the grazing of the 120 high grade cattle and the cultivation of corn, millet and sorghum for winter feed. Mr. Parker came in '78 with about $600 and has now personal and real estate well worth $9,000. He gives special attention to law and real estate and the ranch is largely managed by Mrs. Parker, who is proving a most competent business manager. Mr. Parker is one of the foremost men of the county; takes a warm working interest in progressive agriculture and holds this to be the coming country.(Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

PHELPS, W. H.

My old and valued friend, W. H. Phelps, the popular clerk of Furnas County, Neb., has about 25,000 acres of the choicest deeded lands in Norton, Decatur, Sheridan and Graham Counties, which he is selling in quarter sections or lage blocks on easy terms of payment. Mr. Phelps resides at Beaver City, neb., where he also has large landed interests and where he is held in high esteem for his exceptionally fine business gifts and sterling manhood. He hails from Ohio, has been very successful in this country and pronounces it one of the finest regions in the West. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

PRATT, A. C.

Among the noteworthy upland farms of the county is the 480 acre "Highland Park," stock and grain farm of A. C. Pratt, a beautiful and productive tract, six miles west of Oberlin, on the high divide near the head of "Hazzard Draw." It is a new farm improved with sod buildings, well and windmill, young orchard and grove, and is devoted to live stock and corn, wheat, rye, sorghum and millet, which yield generous crops. Mr. Pratt is a live, thorough farmer, keeps eighty high grade cattle and twenty-five ponies, and well bred American mares and fillies; breeds the latter to a fine Norman stallion kept for his own service and is putting the farm in fine order. He came here last year from the North Loup country in nebraska, for a milder climate; has invested $1,000 and could not be bought out for less than $7,500. Mr. Pratt is a believer in prime stock and in all his farm operations is square up with the times. He is a generous patron of fairs, schools and everything that is progressive; is enterprising, manly and hospitable; stands high with his neighbors, is a valuable acquisition to the farm interests of the county and joins his good lady in pronouncing Decatur County one of the finest regions under the sun. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

REASONER, ROBERT A.

The county clerkship is honored by the services of Robert A. Reasoner, than whom there is not a more faithful, devoted, competent and popular clerical officer in this or any other county in Kansas. Mr. Reasoner came here from Iowa in 1879 settled and proved up on one of the finest homesteads in the county, and is universally esteemed for his sterling character, good judgment and fine executive qualities. He swears by the new land of h is adoption and like most of them is here to stay. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

REYNOLDS, C. C.

C. C. Reynolds, a live and ambitious young Hoosier, who came here in '79, has a good list of deeded lands, farms and government claims and is one of the most enterprising and efficient land men in the county. He is also deputy circuit clerk of Thomas County and in company with J. R. Van Cleve, has lately opened an office at Colby, the new county seat of Thomas County where they are locating a large number of new settlers on the finest government lands in Kansas. they are both fine business men and stand high in the community. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

RODEHAVER, S. J. MRS.

The Hotels of the city, though inadequate to the growing demands of the ever-increasing traveling public, are well conducted, hospitable and comfortable. The Oberlin House is owned and managed by Mrs. S. J. Rodehaver, a most hospitable and entertaining lady, whose social and business gifts have made her house seem more like a pleasant home than a public hostelry. She came here with the founders of the town and has a large circle of warm friends. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

ROGERS, H. MITT

H. Mitt Rogers, a young Massachusetts man of capital business qualities and most agreeable social ways, has been long enough in Oberlin to pay a high compliment to the country and people and belongs to a goodly company of prime young business men. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

SMITH, FRANK

Frank Smith, successor to the old pioneer house of Knowles & Smith, carries heavy stocks of heavy and shelf hardware, stoves, tinware and farm implements; has a branch store at Atwood; is one of the most popular, genial and enterprising merchants in this region; is driving a capital trade; has a good sized army of strong friends, hails from the old Bay state, and like all the rest of them swears by the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

SMITH, WALTER ASHTON

Among the able and successful business men of Topeka, Walter Ashton Smith occupies a foremost place, for years being financially and officially connected with large enterprises in Shawnee and Decatur counties. As the vice president and treasurer of the Farm Mortgage Company, Mr. Smith is interested and influential in one of the larges corporations of its kind in the state.

Walter Ashton Smith was born at Monroeville, Huron County, Ohio, February 16, 1864, and is a son of Welding E. and Charlotte (Ashton) Smith. Welding E. Smith was born at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which city he attended the public schools until eighteen years of age when he became an apprentice to the machinist's trade. He was a natural mechanic and possessed inventive genius and after removal to Ohio went into the business of manufacturing farm implements, having secured patents on a number of his inventions. When the Civil War broke out he gave financial aid to the Union but was prevented from becoming a soldier because of the loss of his left eye, the sight of which had been destroyed by a fragment of flying steel in his foundry. He continued in the manufacturing business until his death although during his later years confined himself to the manufacture of felloes for use on the rims of wagon and buggy wheels. He was an industrious, temperate, moral man, respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He married Charlotte Ashton of English ancestry. She was born in Ohio, September 19, 1837 and still resides near the old homestead of her father, Thomas Ashton, who was one of the pioneers of Huron County. By trade he was a stone mason and built one of the first brick houses in that section of Ohio.

Walter Ashton Smith was educated in the public schools and after completing the high school course at Monroeville, taught school for one year in Huron County in the meanwhile making plans for the future that included the securing of western lands through Government grants. He was scarcely twenty years of age when he joined his older brother, Frank D. Smith and proceeded to Nebraska, June 4, 1884. After considerable looking around they decided no land in that section suited their purposes and came then to Kansas and located in Decatur county. There Frank D. Smith pre-empted a claim and Walter Ashton Smith entered the contest for a quarter section. After that preliminary he returned to Nebraska and taught school for six months a Hastings.

Returning to Decatur County he taught school for a year when he was able to prove up on his pre-empted claim, June, 1886, afterwards locating at Oberlin, Kansas, the county seat where he remained for a quarter of a century.
At Oberlin, Mr. Smith made a good impression and soon secured a position in the office of the registrar of deeds utilizing his salary to pay for a course in the normal school. Subsequently he was made deputy registrar of deeds for Decatur County, an office he filled for three years. During this time a set of abstract books was compiled and later a half interest in the books and business was bought by Otis L. Benton, a banker of Oberlin. In 1902 the Decatur County Abstract Company was organized and incorporated with Otis Benton as president and Walter Ashton Smith as vice president and manager. They continued to conduct this with success until it was absorbed and replaced by the Benton & Smith Investment Company, with a capital of $50,000, controlling the only complete set of abstract books in the county and enlarging the farm loan and investment business. This investment company continued in business until about 1908, the capital stock was increased to $100,000 by the actual earnings of the concern, the entire interests of the same being the sole property of Mr. Benton and Mr. Smith. In 1910 Mr. Smith sold his interest in the company, which, at that time had a surplus of $40,000. He did not remain out of active business very long, however, for in April, 1912, in partnership with J. P. Slaughter, he organized the Farm Mortgage Company, with a capital of $100,000, Mr. Slaughter being president and Mr. Smith vice president and treasurer. Since its inception this enterprise has been prosperous.

On May 10, 1893, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Julia E. McGrew, of Eureka, Kansas, and they have three children, a son, Marion Ashton, who was born January 27, 1897, is a student in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan, Kansas; and two daughters, Lucile Evelyn and Corinne Alice, both of whom are at school. In March, 1911, Mr. Smith moved to Topeka and bought a residence in Potwin. This removal because of Topeka's excellent educational and church advantages, being made in the interests of his children. The family is interested in church affairs and many phases of the pleasant social life of the capital and a wide circle of congenial friends has been found. A short time prior to his departure from Oberlin, Mr. Smith built and gave to the Episcopal Society there a very beautiful church edifice - made of Coffeyville vitrified paving blocks - as a memento to his mother (a stanch Episcopalian), and as a thank offering to a benevolent Providence. (A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, by William Elsey Connelley, Volume IV, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, New, York, 1918, page 1705)

STREET, W. D.

Hon. W. D. Street's 160 acre "Green Valley" stock farm near Oberlin, is a handsome tract, embracing 100 acres of Sappa bottom land, half a mile of the creek and a charming plateau of sixty acres overlooking the beautiful Sappa Valley and the city of Oberlin. This farm, which is improved with a typical sod house, is the homestead of Mr. Street, the founder of the Oberlin Herald and now the editor and publisher of the Kenneth Sentinel and though but slightly improved and little cultivated, is one of the most desirable suburban places about Oberlin. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

STEEVER, N. G.

N. G. Steever, and estimable Massachusetts man who came in '78 and took a handsome 160 acre claim near town, has ever since been driving a good business in contracting and building. He began with nothing, recovered his lost health, has a $3,500 property and all the work he can handle; reports a building boom in town and country; is a manly and public spirited man and thinks this the banner country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

STRONG, N. W.

Judge N. W. Strong, the probage judge of the county is a faithful officer and one of the squarest men in the county. He represents the grand old Peninsular state; owns a fine, well cultivated 480 acre farm; is one of the best variety farmers in the county; likes the country and stands high with everybody. Judge Strong came with only his empty hands and has now personal and real estate worth $5,000. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

TRACY, J. D.

Tracy & Mills lead the general blacksmithing and repairing business of the city and county with a strong and growing patronage and the best mechanical skill in this region. Mr. J. D. Tracy of this firm is a royal Buckeye; owns the model 480 acre "Sunnymead" farm in the Sappa Valley; has made a good fortune here since '79; is in love with the country and is respected by everyone. Mr. Mills is a new comer and much pleased with the country.

J. D. Tracy's 480 acre "Hawkeye Farm" lies in the Sappa Valley, just above the forks, and is mainly rich bottoms, as fair and fertile as the Sciota Valley. He raises heavy crops of corn, cane, rye and garden vegetables; keeps forty cattle, a few horses and pigs, has good sod buildings, is gradually improving his farm with orchards, groves and fences and will soon have one of the model farms of the county. Mr. Tracy came from Iowa in '79, with only $100 and now owns this fine landed property, runs the leading plow factory and repair shops of Oberlin, ranks with the best and foremost men of his region, and could not be induced to leave the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

ULRICH, HENRY

Eight miles southeast of Bassettville, in the midst of the beautiful and productive Hawkeye district, is Henry Ulrich's 320 acre "Keystone" farm, a choice body of high prairie, embracing fifty acres of cultivated land, a thrifty young orchard, a bacherlor's home, and other minor improvements. Mr. Ulrich came here in '79, with less than 410 and has made his way by thrifty habits to the ownership of a model upland farm, which in his native pennsylvania, would readily command $150 per acre. He grows from 400 to 500 bushels of wheat and rye, keeps a few cattle and a good team, is gradually stocking his farm and is one of the most reliable and honorable young men in the county, has high appreciation for the country and five years hence will have personal and real estate worth $5,000. He represents the sober, steady, patient qualities of the typical Pennsylvanian, which in this country are as sure to bring fortune as the years are sure to come and go. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

VANDIVER, M. F.

Mr. M. F. Vandiver, whose 480 acre farm and home at Sheridan on the South Solomon river, is a general resort for land lookers, gives special attention to locating homesteaders and pre-emptors and has located hundreds of settlers in the last two years. He is one of the livest rustlers in the land business, is universally popular and from a $7 investment in '78, has made up a personal and landed property well worth $4,000. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

WIGGINS, VAN B.

Four miles lower down the Sappa, in the midst of an exceedingly rich farm district, is Hon. Van B. Wiggins' 1,000 acre "Walnut Park" farm, an exceptionally fine tract of farm and grazaing land, mostly lying in the bottoms of the Sappa, by which it is admirably watered. It embraces two miles of running water, forty acres of fine native timber and well sheltered and watered feed lots and is improved with several miles of wire fence, a sod house, log stables and sheds, a frame granary and 700 young fruit trees and vines, and is devoted to grain, live stock and dairying. Mr. Wiggins grows about 1,800 bushels of corn, wheat and rye and rarely fails of good crops. He keeps 100 high grade cattle, a dozen good horses and a full yard of pigs; runs a butter dairy of twenty-four cows and sells the product in Denver for 25 cents per pound, and is confident that this is to become the most productive grain region in Kansas. His faith is well attested by deep, thorough culture, fine patches of clover, timothy, blue, orchard and evergreen grasses, careful fruit culture and a yard of choice Poland pigs. Mr. Wiggins, who wirthily represents his county in the state legislature is a son of the old Granite State, is familiar with most of the Western states and territories; came here in '74 with less than $300 and has now an estate well worth $12,000. He is a positive, aggressive, liberal-minded and intelligent man of great enterprise and prime judgment, owns one of the best farms in this region, and with his most estimable and hospitable family pays the country a high compliment. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

WILSON, JOHN L.

A mile down "Hazard Draw" from "Highland Park," is "Wilson's Ranch," a handsome tract of 1,440 acres, owned by John L. Wilson and his sons, John T., W. T., James H., and Elmore S. Wilson. The ranch lies mainly on the high table lands and is coursed by a clear brook fed by strong springs, flowing out from the shadows of grand century elms; is improved with sod buildings, fine young orchards, and vineyards and natural rock corrals, opening out on deep, clear pools; has half a dozen miles of wire fence and produced good crops of corn, wheat, rye, sorghum, millet, etc. It is stocked with eighty head of high grade cattle and a good string of horses, both of which will be increased to the full grazing capacity of the farm and is one of the best stock ranches in the county. Mr. Wilson who is an old time friend of the writer, and one of the squarest and manliest men in this country, came here with his sons in 1880 from Nebraska, with thirty head of cattle, two teams and less than $500 in money, and has now personal and real estate richly worth $6,500. He runs a modest country store, is vice-president of the Decatur County Fair Association, enjoys high standing with his neighbors, is fair-minded and hospitable to a fault and with his wide-awake and thrifty sons, is on the sure road to fortune. They are greatly pleased with the country. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

WITHAM, J. H.

J. H. Witham, an enterprising and thrifty young Buckeye, has a fine 400 acre farm at the forks of the Sappa, three miles above Oberlin. It is all valley land, finely watered and devoted to cattle raising. mr. Witham keeps seventy good cows and heifers grows good crops of corn and sorghum, puts up 100 tons of hay and is steadily but surely growing into fortune. He came here with little means, is one of the most successful men in the county and thinks Decatur County beats Ohio for soil, climate and stock raising. (Handbook of Decatur County, Kansas, by C. S. Burch Publishing Company, between 1880 & 1890)

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