Transcribed from Biographical history of Barton County, Kansas. ; Illustrated. Published by Great Bend Tribune, Great Bend, KS : 1912. 318 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.

1912 Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas


left Russia for America this period would soon expired and they left rather than submit to the laws that would soon be forced upon them, the adoption of the Greek Catholic religion, and service in the Russian army.

The majority of those who settled here had lived in small communities or villages in Russia and were weavers, lumber sawers and farmers by trade. They had been supplied by companies stationed at a distance with the material and work, and had depended more on this means of subsitance than on that of agriculture. To govern such a village it had been found necessary to form themselves in a compact body with a responsible head, and that manner of organization was at first attempted here by the colony which settled one mile east of the present town of Dundee. There were fifteen families in this colony, and they entered the whole of section 16, under the homestead act, and bought the whole of section 9 from the Santa Fe railway Company on payments covering eleven years. Both sections were divided originally into twenty equal parts and this gave to each family a tract of thirty-two acres on each section; or sixty-four acres in all. On section 16 they built houses out of 4x6 lumber and there made their homes and gardens, and on section 9 they pitched their crops. The fifteen cottages formed a village, and near the center of this was built a stone school house, which also served as a church building. The ruler or head officer was called "the schultz," and for convenience he had his home near the school building, and his residence served as a council house. Abraham Seibert was the first pastor of this Mennonite congregation but he was not a resident of the villege, but lived with his parents about two miles southeast of the settlement, and now lives in Michigan. Those who made up the village are the families of Cornelius D. Unruh, (deceased), Cornelius Thomas, (deceased), Henry Seibert, (deceased), Christian C. Schultz, Mrs. Lizzie Rudiger, Andrew L. Unruh, Jacob Seibert, (deceased), Benjamin Unruh, (deceased), Andrew B. Unruh, first schultz, (deceased), Peter Unruh, Cornelius P. Unruh (deceased), Andrew A. Seibert, living in Marion County, Mrs. Susan Unruh, (deceased), Benjamin P. Smith and Peter H. Dirks. Henry B. Unruh also purchased his first home from this colony, but as he was not a resident until March, 1876, is not included in the original settlers. It will also be seen that the original intentions of the community were never carried out as the plans were for twenty families and only fifteen came under the agreement. The scheme was found impractical in this country after about three of four years trial and the various members became better acquainted with the freedom of the laws in America. As their holdings were independent of their village agreement they finally decided to become in fact free American citizens and one by one sold their first little homes and bought larger and better farms in other localities and are now classed among Barton County's most substantial and best citizens.

At that date there were other German-Russian settlers in this same and other localities in the county, and the Santa Fe system and other railways realized that they were of the proper make-up to make good citizens and provided emigration houses along their lines. There was one at nearly all depots for the accommodation of these new arrivals and in these they settled temporarily, lived while they provided permanent homes for their families. Where these houses were not yet built box cars were often put to use for temporary homes, and it was in a car on a siding in Pawnee Rock that Jacob P. Dirks, of "Mount Pleasant Hillside Farm" was born, and in an emigrant house at Newton, Kansas, that Jacob A. Dirks, of "North Slope Farm," first breathed the breath in free Kansas.


Buffalo Township

THE U. S. Census of 1870 found two people in what is now Barton County. These were undoubtedly John Reinecke and Henry Schultz who made settlement on the Walnut in April, 1870. Their locations were in section 10-19-14, about six miles northwest of Great Bend.

The only other settlers within the countys limits in 1870 were: W. C. Gibson, Gideon F. Mecklem and son, Henry Meyer, Wm. Jans, Rudreas Albrecht, Antone Wilkie, George Barry, N. Fields, C. F. Brining, A. Kellar, C. B. Worden, Mike Stanton, E. Warring. These men settled close together in what is now Buffalo and Walnut township. Their residences generally dugouts were from four to seven feet deep in the earth, covered with grass and earth. They were usually constructed in some secluded place near the creek bank where good drainage could be had, or in some side-hill, so that the roof or occasional smoke would not be noticed. It is said one might go the entire length of the creek and even pass within one hundred yards of these dugouts without being aware of their presence. There was one log house in 1870 built by Mr. Mecklem. It was built with loop holes and very small windows and designed as a means of defense against the Indians. The principal occupation of the settlers during the first years was the slaughter of buffaloes, the flesh of which during the cooler months was marketed


at Russell and Ellsworth, thirty and fifty miles distant respectively, but in the summer months aside from the flesh for eating the only available proceeds were from the hides which when dried sold at 50 to 90 cents each. A few plowed and tried to raise crops which were generally destroyed by the buffaloes. Henry Schultz succeeded in 1870 in raising six acres of corn, and two acres of oats.

Attempts at cultivation were made more fully in 1871 since the Indians were not deemed troublesome any more. In this year some corn was raised but much of the crop was destroyed by the corn worm. Spring wheat was a failure and oats but little better.

Corn was then worth $1.00 to $1.50 per bushel but there was very little to sell. Since this time Buffalo township has grown in population until in 1912 it has a population of 467 and is one of the best townships in the county.

Great Bend Township

The first settlements in Great Bend township were made in 1871, the first settlers being E. J. Dodge and Sons, D. N. Heizer, A. C. Moses and sons, John Cook, E. W. Dewey, Nicholas Hausherr, S. P. Bissell, J. F. Tilton, G. N. Moses, James R. Bickerdyke, W. H. Odell and others. The earliest settlers located on the banks of Walnut creek which, of course, had the advantage of plenty of fuel, running water, shelter and promised a deeper and a richer soil than could be found in the surrounding country. The date and location of filing declaratory statements as copied from the records are as follows. These entries are all in township 19, range 13.

Name— Date Sec.
E. J. Dodge 6-23-71 10
David N. Heizer 5-23-71 22
Chas. E. Dodge 6-20-71 4
Amasa C. Moses 6-28-71 10
Arthur H. Moses 6-28-71 10
Thomas B. Morris 7-12-71 26
Ed. W. Dewey 7-19-71 4
N. Hausherr 8-10-71 10
Julius P. Bissell 8-18-71 10
J. F. Tilton 8 25-71 32
Name— Date Sec.
W. H. Odell 8-29-71 30
J. R. Bickerdyke 8 29-71 14
H. B. Bickerdyke 9- 3-71 32
G. N. Moses 9-14-71 30
Henry Schaffer 9-18-71 30
Warren Peck 9-22-71 14
Edwin P. Reynolds 12-16-71 14
S. S. Dennis 3----72 22
E. B. Cowgill 3----72 22
John Cook 4- 8-72 8

There were about thirty other filings made during the year 1871 by people who shortly afterwards abandoned their claims and moved.

The first settler in the township was D. N. Heizer, the second one being E. J. Dodge, who first came in May, 1871. He stopped at Heizer's ranch during the latter's absence, and went back to the Smoky and returned in June, taking out homestead papers on the twenty-third of the month, his being the first entry in the township. This township now has a population of 435 and adds greatly each year to the products of the county.

Lakin Township

On May 20, 1871, there were six different exploring parties on the Walnut, near the site of old Fort Zarah. Among those were D. N. Heizer, M. W. Halsey, Dr. Prescott and Captain Guffin. Most of these outfits went into camp Saturday, a few having been in camp for several days.

About September 20, 1871, a party of five from Atlanta, Rice County, came to look for claims in Lakin township, near where Ellinwood now stands. Considerable trouble was had in finding section corners, the settlers finally going to Fort Zarah reservation where they commenced running east, and continued as far as section 10, township 20, range 11 W. M. W. Halsey selected the first location, the southwest quarter of 32-19-11. Then followed locations by the following:

Name- Date. Location
Aaron Strong 10- 6-71 28-19-12
Aaron Burlison 10-14-71 32-19-11
Andrew McKinney 1-15-72 29-19-11
Wm. N. Halsey 1-19-72 32-19-11
Lee M. Colline 3-15-72 4-20-11
Thos. Corbett 3-21-72 20-19-11
Albert C. Corbett ......... Same
A. Merrifield 3-30-72 26-19-12
John H. Duncan 4- 9-72 18-19-11
Moses D. Fletcher 4-20-72 25-19-11
Edwin Sew and
James Saw
4-29-72 30-19-11
Benj. Halley 5-13-72 30-19-11
Eneas Pendergast -18-72 2-20-11
Geo. T. Gill 6- 3-72 14-19-11
Wm. W. Shannon 6- 5-72 26-19-11
Alex. Forsyth 7- 1-72 18-19-11
Jos. B. Howard 7-  -72 34-19-12
Nelson Davis 7-16-71 4-20-11
Geo. Towers 8-26-72 26-19-12
John C. Smith 10-11-72 22-19-12
Austin B. Lynch 10-..-72 26-19-11
David B. Whitten 11-15-72 24-19-12
Chas. Grant 2- 5-73 28-19-11
Grabil Landis 2-20-73 28-19-11
R. A. Avery 3-22-73 6-20-11
James Thompson 5- 1-73 10-19-11
Wm. H. Misner 5-10-73 14-19-12
Mahlon Ward 5-19-73 10-19-11
Geo. Bacon 5-19-73 24-19-11
Emil Kwamp 5-23-73 5-19-11
Thomas Blair and
Wm. Blair
6-16-73 4-19-11
Royal Harkness 6-28-73 34-19-11
Daniel Hodge 1- 2-73 34-19-11
Henry Strohmeyer 7-15-73 20-19-11
Sam S. Avery 7-32-73 34-19-12
Philander Reed 7- 5-73 8-19-11
Wallace C. Bay       73 8-19-11
Stephen A. Shilling 9-25-73 28-19-11
Otto C. Lebbin 11- 4-73 10-19-12
J. E. Robe 11- 5-73 14-19-11
O. M. Botson 11- 6-73 10-19-11
Wm. Joy 11-11-73 14-19-11
Mort. B. Fitts 11-15-73 22-19-12
Wilson E. Chalfent 11-30-73 26-19-11
Jas. E. Reaugh 11-26-73 8-20-11
David N. Howard 12- 4-73 22-19-12
Amos McDowell 12-19-73 14-19-11
John J. Maydole 1-17-74 22-19-12
W. L. Robbins 1-10-74 24-19-12
Robert Robe 1-22-74 22-19-12
John Salmon 3-26-74 26-19-12
Luman W. Storey 3- 4-74 4-19-11
Sam B. Hamon 3-14-74 12-19-12
Benj. H. Prescott 4-16-74 12-19-12
Jas. B. Patrick 7-23-74 28-19-12
John F. Lewis 9- 2-74 2-10-12
Bernard B. Smyth 9-..-74 28-19-12
Calvin A. Loomis 10-11-74 34-19-12
Thos. M. Bailey 10-20-74 30-19-11
Lakin township now has a population of
633 and with one or two exceptions has the
largest population of any of the townships in
the county. Very few of the old timers are
left, most of them having died or moved away.

Walnut Township

In this township some of the first settlements in the county were made. It was originally a part of Buffalo township. The first to take a filing in this terriotry was Rudreas Albright, he having made his entry November 26, 1870, on 32-18-15. This entry was followed by those of Alex Kellar, on section 24; Christian F. Brining, on section 30 and Narsene Graves on section 28. These filings were made during the month of December, 1870. Those who came during the following years were: Charles Roudebush, S. M. Basham, Martin Brining and Edwin C. Rest, all of whom arrived in 1872. Adam Krause came in 1873. The year 1874 saw Henry Halderman, Sylvester E. Demming, C. E. Dean, Leonard Krause, Daniel Leininger, Cyrus J. Fry and A. Kellar located in this township. In 1875 Joseph Zimmer, Anton Springer, Ambrose Baier, Johann Schneider, Josef Baier, Karl Kriessel, Francis Keast, Johan Zimmerman, Otto Burger and Henry Nordmann were added to the township's population. Walnut township now has a population of 693 and contains among its list of residents some of the most enterprising and successful farmers in the county.

Eureka Township

The first settler in Eureka township was Charles B. Worden, who located on township 18, range 14, in 1871. The next entries following were: George Barry, John Pascoe, John K. Humphrey and James Mecklem, who came in 1873. They were preceded by L. G. Mecklem, who arrived in 1872. In 1874 Elbert Warring, Wyland D. Robbins, Wm. Humphrey, Nathaniel White, David F. Spires, Benj. I. Dawson and Frank Patterson arrived and made locations. They were followed in 1875 by Aaron P. Jones, James C. Powers, Rhoda H. Keeney, James Hughes, Stephen Power, John Corrigan, M. M. Shields, John R. Harris, Richard Caxon, John Jones, John Lynch, Elizabeth Smith, Alexander Dennis and James W. Brown. Eureka township now has a population of 302.

Clarence Township

T. S. Morton was the first settler in Clarence township and he located on section 14, in 1871. He first engaged in the cattle business but he soon gave it up for farming. Daniel Curry and E. M. Chapman located on section 14, in 1873. Julius Both settled on section 20 in 1872 and for the first few years after his arrival was one of the best known and most successful buffalo hunters in this part of the country.

In the same year John Bennet and L. S. Pursell settled on section 30. They were soon followed by T. J. Byrne. During the same year D. C. Stephens, G. S. Bennet and T.


F. Craig located on section 20, and by the fall of 1873-4 that part of the county was well settled and farming was in full swing. Two of the largest wheat growers in the county were added to Clarence's population in 1874. They were Robert Campbell and Joseph Patterson. Mr. Campbell located on section 14 while Mr. Patterson located on section 17. By 1876 there was no unoccupied land in the township and it had three good schools, the first having been built in 1874 on section 20, the second in 1875 on section 11 and the third on section 34 in 1876. The following names are found among those who settled in this township in the early days: W. A. Chapman, David Curry, David C. Stephens and W. H. Brown in 1873; Peter Schlim, Almon M. Button, Wesley E. Loomis, M. F. Campbell, Geo. S. Bement, Tammen C. Tammen and Isaac Goatley in 1874. During the year 1875 the following settled in Clarence township: Wm. Morris, Jas. K. Grier, Mahala Allison, John H. Rhodes and Thomas Irons. The township now has a population of 374 and contains within its borders rich, fertile and well cultivated agricultural land.

Comanche Township

Comanche township includes within its borders land that in the early days a great many thought was practically worthless but this was proved to be untrue by the results obtained after the soil had been cultivated. The first settler in Comanche was Joseph Plaisted, who located just across the river from Ellinwood in 1871. Among others who followed Mr. Plaisted's lead were Carl Herter, John Herter, Chas. B. Darr, Will H. Grant, John C. Proctor, David T. McIntyre, John Hamilton, J. S. Province, all of whom made good and made of this township one of the best and most productive in the county. It now has a population of 688.

South Bend Township

The settlement of South Bend township was begun in 1872, the first person to locate government land being Samuel Maher, Matthew Schmitz, Henry F. Schriddle and A. J. Buckland. They were followed in 1873 by W. H. H. Keeney, J. M. Albright, Hallis Chaffee, H. H. Kidder, Theo. Dahm, James Barke and Peter Lefevre. Those who located in this part of the county in 1874 were: T. C. Coker, T. Vancil, Fred Dahm, Daniel Shuhl, Richard S. Atkins, George Denna, James G. Dawson, Wm. Torrey, Richard L. Howell and Edwin C. Renkin. In 1875, A. C. Sowle, Canton D. Alford, Hiram Brownell, Ira D. Brougher, Wm. Hood and C. J. Mackenroth made entries on land in this township. It has always added its share to the production of the county and now has a population of 422.

Pawnee Rock Township

The first settlement was made in this township when the Kentucky colony, consisting of twenty persons arrived. In the party were T. C. Polk, John W. Smith and George M. Jackson, who was the leader of the colony. Mr. Jackson first located near Ellinwood but at a meeting which was attended by all the members of the colony it was decided that the land in Pawnee Rock township was the best to be found in the county. Accordingly it was decided that they would take up their land there. On March 23, 1872, a celebration was held in honor of their arrival at the historic pile of stone known as Pawnee Rock. In addition to those already named the following were among the first settlers in this township: Will. C. Hatter, Dennis Logan, S. P. Leitner and D. M. Sutherland. In 1874 the following were added to the township's population: W. M. Jenks, F. J. Jason, Charles C. Lewis, Eli, Wm. H. and Hiram Bowman, Robert J. Smith, Aaron F. Miller, Joseph Hanon, John W. Graves, John Ren, Isaiah Pelsor and J. F. Pearce. This township now has a population of 356.

Settlement was begun in this township early in 1872. Among those who selected claims were the following: In 1872, Wm. Hartshorn, Ed. Tyler, Luther Frost, John McMullin, Evan Thornberg, Nelson H. Richie, Willis M. Howerton, Henry Fruit, Eliza Hartshorn, Wm. H. McGreevey, John H. Doel, Joshua Lyle. In 1873, Charles B. Rose, Andrew J. Acton, George N. Welch, Oscar O. Hartshorn, Wm. H. Quincup, Frank Sheldon, Thomas Keenan, and in 1874, Sample S. Sanford, John Lyle and Lorenzo Leach. That portion of the township known as Washburn precinct was settled in 1874 by A. C. Barnes, Wm. Hayes, Vincent Coale, Samuel H. Mitchell, Chas. B. Morgan, Robert M. Shields, Wm. Dunn and Wm. R. Julian. This township now has a population of 387.


Logan Township

This township was originally a part of Lakin township and the first settlements were made within its borders in 1872. During that year, and in 1873, the following took up their residence in this part of the county: Richard Yielding, Henry Galloway, W. D. Fairbairn, Wm. Landman, Thos. F. Mahan and John L. Barngrover. In 1874 a number of new settlers were added to the township's population. Among those who came after 1873 were: Geo. W. McClimans, Chas. C. O'Bleness, Geo. M. O'Bleness, Joseph Ozenberger, Benj. F. Moore, James B. Montgomery, Stephen Branch, Myron H. Young, Christopher Bock, Edward H. Grizzle, Aaron W. Ward, Joseph N. Ward, Frank Nichols, Joseph Lunz, A. Barngrover and Theo. F. Harris. This was one of the first townships in the county in which the railroad land was all bought by the settlers and all the government land was taken up. It now has a population of 370.

Homestead Township

J. H. Burnham was the first settler in Homestead township and he, with his father-in-law, A. Baker, settled in 1873. During the summer and autumn of that year, F. A. Speece and family, S. P. Coan, O. Belsyle, J. M. Hughes, F. M. Phillips, S??uhn and E. D. Campbell arrived and made locations. Some of these were frightened away by the grasshopper scare of 1874. The hoppers retarded the settlement of this part of the county and and it was some time before the bad impression was changed to one of confidence. Since the early days this township has come to the front and is now one of the most important ones of the county and has a population of 699.

Fairview Township

This township is located in the northwest corner of the county and the first to make settlement within its borders were: James and John Johnson, Henry McCorkle, James Cox, Oliver A. Martin, M. V. B. Hedrick and J. J. W. Sutcliff, all of whom arrived in 1877.

Beaver Township

The first settlement in Beaver township was made in 1876 and among those who located during this year may be mentioned: Abraham R., John and George H. Dressler, John H. Beard and Robert S. Bruce. In 1877 John M. Rearick, Miranda Fothergill, John F. Dale, James and L. H. F. Brinson and John and Thomas Bryant took up locations in this township. It now has a population of 318.

Union and Wheatland Townships

The first settlements in the townships of Union and Wheatland were made in 1877. In that year Union had three resident families, but within a little more than a year there were fifty-seven voters within its borders. Wheatland enjoyed about the same kind of a growth. The first settlers in Union township were: Joseph Weatherby, Daniel R. Wyatt and John Dundas, who came in 1876. They were followed by Jacob, Michael ., and Martin J. Sessler, James H. Butler, Anna S. Verbeck, Benj. and Oliver P. Dunning, Benj. H. and Wright F. Downing, Geo. M. Gillet, Stanley F. Prindle, Jerome B. Huntley, P. B. Leigh, James Welty, J. Wonsetler and Richard Wehr who came in 1877.

Among the first to arrive in Wheatland township were: Washington Spencer, James Gaibraith and Wm. B. Mitchell, who come in 1875. During the following year the following located in Wheatland: George W. Watson, Francis Millard, Dr. Norman Baker, Howard N. Fordham, Rial R., Henry J., and John Whipple, Geo. C. Gray, Silas S. Wilkerson, Israel D. Spencer, James E. Savage, George Kell, Richard Kittle, John W. Beaman and Charles Hall. The township of Wheatland now has a population of 443 while Union has 347.

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