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


ployed by C. B. Ellis & Co., brokers, of San Francisco; Robert Henry, who is employed in Great Bend, and Josephine and Alice, who are living at home. Mr. Kerr has always taken a great interest in his children and they are all well educated and well known in this part of the state. Mr. Kerr now owns 720 acres of farm land in Barton County, all of which is being worked by renters. He also owns considerable town property in Great Bend and 180 acres of land in Texas. Mr. Kerr is the founder of the Church of Humanity, a society that is gaining many new members in all parts of the world. The membership roll contains representatives from forty states in this counttry as well as in Germany and England. Mr. Kerr is the publisher and editor of the monthly magazine called "The Truth About God and Life," which spreads the propaganda of the society to all parts of the civilized world. He is also the president of the society and devotes a great deal of his time to study and in the preparation of copy for the magazine. Some time ago he purchased the Morrison hotel building, which is one of the largest in the city of Great Bend, and it is his intention to found a school in the building to prepare students for taking up the work of spreading the beliefs of the society. Mr. Kerr is an enterprising and progressive citizen and is one of the really old timers of Barton County who have remained here through good and bad years and established a home and raised a family that is a credit to him and the community in which he lives.

Great Bend Hotel, Owned by W. H. Kerr


THE general appearance of "North Slope Farm," the name recently given to the home of Jacob A. Dirk's, thirteen and one-half miles west of Great Bend, has been greatly changed by the erection of a two story frame residence containing ten large airy rooms, and all other conveniences and accessories usually found in a modern up-to-date home. This building stands on an elevated position and well above ground, and seems to tower above its surroundings. It is enclosed by porches, north and south, and the sleeping apartments face in those directions. Ventilation and comfort have been the chief aims in its construction, and Mr. and Mrs. Dirks can congratulate themselves that they have secured these blessings. It is furnished in the most modern style, and will take rank with the best homes in the county. There is a good barn with mow and stall room for all hay and stock necessary on the farm, and a granary and other outbuildings. New trees, plants and shrubs will be set, and these will blend with the tastefully painted buildings and brighten the scene.

Jacob A. Dirks was born in Newton, Kansas, on April 8th, 1877, and attended the district schools of Barton County. He is the oldest son of Abraham H. and Nettie Dirks, and grew to manhood on the homestead one-


half mile west of his present home. He is one of the progressive farmers of the county, and his two hundred and forty acres of tillable land show that he is a model husbandman. His farm covers one hundred and sixty acres, and he owns an additional eighty, two miles west in Rush county. These twa tracts are cultivated by him personally, and his fields and granaries both show that he understands his business. On December 5th, 1900, Jacob A. Dirks and Miss Carrie Ratzlaff, of Harvey County, Kansas, were united in marriage, and four children bless them: Chester, 9; Harvey, 8; Daniel, 6, and Mae Leona, 2.


"Hillside Farm"

"HILLSIDE FARM," the country home of Benjamin H. Unruh, stands on a a gently sloping hillside thirteen miles west of Great Bend. The farm embraces three hundred and twenty acres of beautiful lying land, and the soil is very fertile. Mr. Unruh also owns one hundred and sixty acres in Pawnee County, and both tracts are in a high state of cultivation. The "Hillside Farm" is improved with a one story and a half frame containing nine rooms, and is furnished modernly. The barn is 32x60 and has stalls for fifteen horses and ten cows. There is a granary, model milk house, and other outbuildings, and some metal grain bins scattered about. The house is painted gray, the barn red, and these shades harmonize well with the green of the orchard leaves and the shade trees about the premises.

Benjamin H. Unruh was born in Central Russia on September 5th, 1864, and came to America with his parents, Hein and Katherine Unruh, when ten years of age. They arrived in Newton, Kansas, on December 24th, 1874, and little Benny spent his tenth Christmas in the new world. They finally settled at Pawnee Rock, but eventually entered a homestead three miles south of the farm here described. The father died in November, 1884, but the mother still resides on the homestead. Benjamin H. attended the public schools of his disirict and assisted his father and mother on the farm, and entered and proved up on a claim of a quarter section. On April 14th, 1899, he married Miss Anna Smith, of Harvey County, Kansas. They have five living children: Alvin, 10; Ruth, 8; Augusta, 6; Paul, 4, and Freida, 3.


CLARENCE E. HOLMES was born April 2, 1882, at Fredonia, Wilson County, Kansas, and is a son of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Holmes, who came to the Sunflower state from Iowa in 1877. Clarence lived in his native county for six years after which he went to Elk County with his parents. From there he went to Butler County and resided in the town of Douglas until 1908, during which year he came to Barton County and engaged in the drug business in Great Bend. The elder Holmes followed the business of

Holmes Drug Store

farming and cabinet making. After 1880, and previous to this date was in the drug business for thirty years. Clarence was educated in the grammar and high schools of the different counties in which he lived and in 1907 graduated from the pharmaceutical department of the Kansas university at Lawrence. Soon after graduation he successfully passed the examination and fulfilled the other requirements of the state board of pharmacy and is now a registered pharmacist. When Clarence was a boy he took a great interest in outdoor sports and became proficient as a baseball pitcher and after playing in amateur teams for some time, in 1903 he signed a contract and pitched professional ball on the Cedar Rapids club of the "Three I." league. He made an excellent record as a left handed twirler and quit the game only because he wanted to go into business for himself. He still takes a great interest in the national game and his store is headquarters for sporting goods and is popular with everybody who is in any way interested in sports.

Mr. Holmes was married in 1907 to Miss Daisy Hollenbeck of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and they are the parents of one child, a boy two years of age who bears his father's name and is known as Clarence Holmes, Jr. Mr. Holmes is one of the best known business men of Barton County and his store is a standard for all goods in the drug line. During the hot months the soda fountain maintained at the Holmes store is the mecca for those who want the best in the soft drink line. The prescription department is always in charge of Mr. Holmes or another registered pharmacist and this department is maintained on the highest standard.


THE history of Barton County, Kansas, would not be entirely complete without a short biography of John F. Lewis, who came here in 1873, when there was but a single row of houses around the square, and the cowboy element dominated the town.

Mr. Lewis was born in Holmes County, Ohio, August 9, 1842, wherefrom his family moved to DeWitt County, Illinois, in 1844, where he grew to manhood and in July, 1862, enlisted in Company G, 107th Infantry, Illinois Volunteers for service in the civil war. His father, Dr. B. S. Lewis, having recruited said company and was elected its captain and he, John F. Lewis, was made duty sergeant, afterwards promoted to first sargeant and again to second lieutenant. Mr. Lewis served with his regiment in the Kentucky, East Tennessee, under General Burnsides in its battles and seiges, thence in 1864 with Sherman in his march upon Atlanta, then in the campaign when Hood marched upon Nashville and the battles of Columbia, Duck River, Franklin and Nashville was fought, thence going with his corps to Fort Fisher, thence on up the coast in various engagements to the close of the war, in the capture of Johnson's army.

Soon after the close of the war Mr. Lewis was commissioned lieutenant in the Fourteenth regular infantry and was stationed on Governors Island, New York harbor, during the following summer, where he passed through the cholera epidemic and suffered an attack of that dread disease.

He joined his regiment in the spring of 1867, via the Isthmus of Panama and San Francisco and across the Yuma desert to Arizona. Very soon after reaching his command he was ordered on an expedition against the Apache Indians in command of Troop G, First U. S. cavalry, in the Chiricahua mountains, and encountered the Indians in force in the Guadaloupe canon near the present town of Douglas, Arizona, and went into action, capturing their stock, defeating them and killing a large number.

He was engaged in battle with the Indians on many other cccasions, one of which was notable, that of being surrounded and beseiged two days and nights in a mining corral, from which he successfully extricated his command with the captured stock, though he was constantly engaged until reinforcements arrived.

Mr. Lewis was promoted to first lieutenant of the Thirty-second infantry, and was afterwards transferred to the Twenty-first, became quartermaster at Camp Crittenden, at which post he constructed the post buildings the remains of which can be seen by any person traveling into Mexico over the Guaymas branch of the Santa Fe railroad. In 1871 Mr. Lewis enjoyed the opportunity offered by the government of accepting a year's pay upon the reduction of the army from forty-five to twenty-five regiments, arriving home in July, 1871, thus giving the government nearly tour years of continuous Indian service.

Mr. Lewis married Miss Frances M. Morton, at Corning, Adams County, Iowa, September 13, 1873, and immediately came to Kansas, locating a homestead and tree claim four miles north of Ellinwood, Kan.

During his stay on said land the movement of large herds of cattle from Texas northward gave great annoyance to the farmers in the destruction of crops. Mr. Lewis organized the farmers and made physical resistance to said encroachments to the end that said damages to crops ceased and resulted in the people of the county bringing out Mr. Lewis as a candidate for sheriff. However, the political trickery no less common those days than now, thwarted the wishes of the people and he was defeated.

Mr. Lewis has until late years ever inter-


ested himself in the public uplift of our town and county, pushing with enterprise and unselfishness any improvement that promised benefits to our town.

He organized the Great Bend Gas and Fuel Company and was instrumental more than any other citizen in sinking a deep well on section 13-19-13 in an effort to develop coal, gas or oil, reaching a depth of 1,365 feet, finding only salty artesian water that is still flowing out of the ground, and which is said to possess valuable medicinal properties. Soon after this he brought about a vote of $10,000 bonds in the city for the erection of a salt plant. However, the land boom, then at its apex, commenced to wane and promised monies from other sources failed to come and the venture came to nothing.

Mr. Lewis also organized by his energy the Great Bend Foundry Company, which constructed its buildings immediately south of the present grain office of the Walnut Creek Milling Company, which burned to the ground a few years ago.

Mr. Lewis occupies the office he then occupied twenty-six years ago, being a quiet and conservative real estate business, where he yet cheerfully caters to the occasional demand for information and events of the long, long ago in the early history of Kansas.


Judge E. C. Cole

ELRICK C. COLE was born in Burlington, Racine County, Wisconsin, October 21, 1856. He moved with his parents in 1863 to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he received a common school education, finishing the high school course. He studied law in the office of his father, Albert G. Cole. He was clerk of the circuit court of that county, and was admitted to the bar in December, 1878, and to the supreme court of Wisconsin in February, 1879. He moved to Great Bend, Kansas, in March, 1879, where he began the practice of law with his brother, Theodore C. Cole, under the firm name of Cole Brothers. He is the dean of the Barton County bar and one of the most prominent lawyers in Kansas. The firm was dissolved by the death of his brother in October ,1890. He was elected county attcrney of Barton County in 1886 and re-elected in 1888. He was elected a member of the legislature in 1894 and resigned in March 1895, after the close of the session to accept the appointment of judge of the Kansas court of appeals, which place he held until January, 1897, when he returned to the practice of law in Great Bend. On January 1, 1900, he formed a partnership with Wm. Osmond, which still continues. He was married November 22, 1880, to Miss Minnie O. Webb of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and they are the parents of one child, Frances, who is now Mrs. Eldon J. Lowe of Coffeyville, Kansas. He is a prominent member of the Masonic order and this year is deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, and deputy grand high priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Kansas. Judge Cole has gone through many of the hottest political campaigns in the state; during the past thirty years, and when he took an active part in the campaign his friends were glad and the enemy knew they were going to have a battle. On different occasions Mr. Cole overcame difficulties in winning an election that seemed almost impossible. He has been connected with some of the largest legal battles in the state and has always been found to be a hard working, conscientious attorney and counselor. He served the city of Great Bend as attorney a number of times and is one of Great Bend's substantial and enterprising citizens.


THE MOST important office in the city administration is now held by O. W. Dawson, who is serving his second term as the city's chief executive. Mr. Dawson was born in the state of Iowa in 1868 and came to Kansas with his parents in 1876. After completing his education he taught school for several years and was later connected with the Walnut Creek Milling Company in capacity of bookkeeper. For a number of years he was court reporter of the Twentieth judicial district and about ten years ago formed a part-

O. W. Dawson, Mayor of Great Bend

nership with Louis Zutavern in the real estate, loan and insurance business and they now have one of the leading offices in these lines in this part of the state. Under Mr. Dawson's administration the city of Great Bend has made long strides forward until today it is counted one of the most progressive and up-to-date cities in the state of Kansas. Mr. Dawson has proved himself a faithful and efficient public servant and he is untiring in his efforts to discharge the duties of his office in a way that will reflect credit. not only upon himself but upon the city as a whole. Mr. Dawson's office is located in the Citizen' National


Bank block at the corner of Forest avenue and Main street.

Mr. Dawson at this writing is a candidate for the office of congressman from the Seventh congressional district on the Republican ticket He is of the type of men who makes friends wherever he may go and if he is chosen to represent this district at the national capital the people can rest assured that their interests will be looked after as they should be.


J. V. Brinkman
Mrs. J. V. Brinkman

IN THE MEMORY of the old timers of Barton County and Great Bend there are few men who are occupying as prominent a place as John V. Brinkman, the head of the Brinkman family which came to Barton from Ohio in 1874 at a time when this section of Kansas needed just such men as John Brinkman and his sons have proven to be. John V. Brinkman was born in January, 1841, near Bolivar, Ohio, on a farm. He was married November 19, 1863, to Miss Susan Liebold of that state and they were the parents of nine children as follows: Nora, Katie J., George, Charles V., Lillian, Ola, Mabel, Eloise and Louis. Mrs. Brinkman was born in Ohio in 1842 and died April 23, 1908, she having survived her husband by three years, he having passed away June 27, 1905. In 1874, the year following Mr. Brinkman's arrival in this county, he crganized the J. V. Brinkman & Co., bankers, private banking establishment with a capital of $10,000. It was while he was actively engaged in this business that he endeared himself to the people of this section of the state. He was a man who took a deep inerest in the welfare of his neighbors and the upbuilding of the community in which he lived. Many are the incidents known to his friends of which he would never speak regarding his charitable acts, and the aid he rendered those who were in need at a time when aid was hard to obtain. From the very beginning his business was a success and when he died after having lived a noble life the people of Baiton County mourned as they have seldom mourned the loss of a man. The bank which he established has grown until now it has a capital of $50,000, with deposits approximatmg half a million dollars. The officers of the bank are now: J. George Brinkman, president; Charles V. Brinkman, vice president, Frank Brinkman, cashier, and W. O. Vollmer, assistant cashier, and the same policies followed by the elder Brinkman are being carried out by the sons to the end that it will always stand as a material evidence of the business sagacity of its founder.

In 1877 Mr. Brinkman, together with E. C. Sooy, built a flour mill in the county on the banks of Walnut Creek east of Great Bend. It was the intention to utilize the water power furnished by Walnut creek, but it was learned within a year that just at the times when the power was needed there was not sufficient water in the creek to furnish the necessary power, and in 1878 the mill was moved to its present site, just south of the Santa Fe tracks on Main street in Great Bend. The mill as originally built was known as Three-Run French Burr with a capacity of 100 barrels per day. When the mill was erected on its present site, Dave Roberts was taken in as a

Charles V. Brinkman
Louis Brinkman

partner and was head miller until 1886, when the company was incorporated under the name of the Walnut Creek Milling Company, with the following officers: J. V. Brinkman, president;. E. C. Sooy, vice president; Dave Roberts, general manager. It was in 1886 that Nicholas Smith became identified with the company and after the death of J. V. Brinkman in 1905, Charles V. Brinkman became president and Nicholas Smith was made secretary and manager. Dave Roberts severed his connection with the mill in 1887 and now lives at Grand Junction, Colorado, where he is engaged in the milling business. The mill property consists of a square block of ground and the milling building is 80x180 feet in dimensions and is equipped with the latest and most improved milling machinery. Its main product, "Imperial" flour, is shipped to all parts of the country and is one of the chief reasons why Great Bend is called the Milling City, and this flour's quality maintains the city's reputation as a producer of all that is best in the line of flour quality. Charles V. Brinkman, the head of this milling business founded by his father, was born in Bolivar, Ohio, July 6, 1869, and came to Barton County with his parents in 1874. He attended the public schools of this section and also took a course at Washburn college of Topeka. Before going into the milling business he was connected with the J. V. Brinkman bank for four years. J. George Brinkman, who is president of the J. V. Brinkman Co., bankers, was born at Sandyville, Ohio, June 21, 1867. He was married November 8, 1894, to Miss Pauline Wilner of Kansas City, Kansas, and they are the parents of two children, Marion and John V. Nora is now Mrs. Fred Zutavern of Great Bend; Katie is now Mrs. Nicholas Smith, also of Great Bend; Ola is now Mrs. G. L. Chapman and resides in Great Bend; Eloise is now Mrs. N. A. White of Fremont, Michigan, while Lillian and Louis are residents of Great Bend, the latter being connected with the Walnut Creek Milling Company. Many who read this brief synopsis of the Brinkman family will recall the many kind deeds of John V. Brinkman and remember him as one of the men who made possible the development of Barton County's resources, and as a man who at all times found time to listen to the words of woe from less fortunate people who came to the new country without means to see them through the periods of hard times. He was a man whose friends were numbered by his acquaintances and he died happy in the thought that his life had not been a failure and knowing that he was leaving behind him a heritage of which any family might be proud.


WHEN work was begun on the railroad track now known as the Scott City branch of the A. T. & S. F. railroad, a demand was made for some smaller towns along the rightof-way northwest of the county seat in this county. This was in the 80s and Heizer is one of the towns established as a result of this demand. It was named after D. N. Heizer, a former resident of the county, and at one time owner of the land that is

Heizer Creamery

now taken up by the townsite of Heizer. The first store in the town was established by D. E. Freyberger, who later sold out to Reinicke & Sons. A creamery was established in the town of Heizer by Schwier and associates shortly after the town was laid out. This was operated for a few years, but in 1909 the building which had not been used for any purpose for some time was torn down and the material taken to Great Bend where it was reused. Heizer now has three elevators, two general merchandise stores, one hardware store, hotel, blacksmith shop, lumber yard and other business establishment. It has a population of about 100 and is a busy little town at most times.


IT WAS back in the early 80s when C. B. Worden and other residents of his township realized the necessity for a town where they located Albert, which is on the Scott City branch of the Santa Fe railway, seventeen miles northwest of Great Bend. Albert, like other towns in that section of the county, never had a boom, but a short time after it was laid out it served the pur pose for which it was intended and offered the people of that section of the county a trading point and it was not long until nearly all lines of retail business were represented. The first store was started by Charles Hayes who later sold out. Albert now has a bank, four elevators, hotel, livery and feed stable, two general merchandise stores and a population of about 170. It was near the townsite.


OLMITZ was laid out and began in growth in 1885 and is the trading point for an Austrian settlement that surrounds it. When Peter Brack and his brothers and mother came to this section of the state they were accompanied by a number of natives of Austria and for several years after their arrival it was only by the greatest economy and by dint of hard work that they succeeded in bringing the soil in that section to a state of productiveness that would yield them a profit for their efforts. Olmitz is located on the Missouri Pacific railroad, 10 miles west of Hoisington. It has at the present time three general stores, three elevators, a bank, hotel, hardware stores, and establishments that represent other lines of business. The first store was started by Peter Brack, who later sold out and within a few years started the bank that bears his name. C. M. Kreiser established a store in 1885 and later sold out to Sig Jacoby, who is still in business. Olmitz has some nice residences and enjoys the trade from a large territory.


of Albert that C. B. Worden and Mr. Roudebush planted the first crop of corn which, after making a good start, was eaten by the buffaloes that were so plentiful in this section of the county at that time. Albert is a supply point for a rich territory which takes in some of the richest agricultural land in Barton County.


IN THE history of Barton County there is no family that has taken a more active part in its making than that of Edward Judson Dodge. He was born at Breedshlll, near Hannibal, in Oswego County, New York, November 25, 1822. He came with his parents to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1836. Here he went to school and lived his boyhood years. It was in Kenosha that he met Miss Elizabeth Possen whom he married December 31, 1846. They were the parents of eight children as follows: Charles E., Wallace H., Don D., Giles B., Lizzie, Jennie, Mary and Maggie. In 1871 the call of the west became too strong for Mr. Dodge to withstand and he came to Barton County, Kansas, in that year and at once took an active part in the development of the county's resources. He located on a homestead about four miles north of Great Bend where he built an abode that consisted of a dugout on the bank of Walnut creek. Here the family resided for a number of years and were among the best known and most highly respected of the early settlers of this part of the state. Mr. Dodge came here alone but was joined by his family after he had secured a location and made arrangements for the making of a home. He farmed for a number of years and finally retired and moved to Great Bend where he took up his residence. Mr. Dodge was a blacksmith by trade and followed this line of business until a short time before his death which occurred October 16, 1910, after he had reached the age of 87 years, 10 months and 27 days. Mr. Dodge's first wife died November 1, 1889. In June he was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Wells, who still re sides in this county. The Dodge family always took an active part in the public affairs of the county and Charles E. was register of deeds for seven terms, administering the affairs of this office for fourteen years. At the end of his seventh term he gave up politics and since that time has been engaged in the abstract business. He has also served on the school board a number of years and upon his arrival in this cuntry he first followed the occupation of school teacher. Wallace Dodge is one of the best known real estate men in this section of the state and has offices in Great Bend. Don also lives in Great Bend and is a retired farmer; Giles is a painter and paperhanger and is actively engaged in this line of work in Barton County; Jennie is now Mrs. Ingersoll of Claflin; Mary is now Mrs. W. P. Feder, her husband being the editor of the Barton County Democrat; Lizzie is now Mrs. George Spencer of Great Bend and Maggie is now Mrs. Jones of Hollywood, Calif. The head of the Dodge family came to this county when the buffaloes were stlil roaming the prairies in this part of the country and he enjoyed the distinction of having built the first bridge to span Walnut creek north of the town of Great Bend. We print herewith a picture of the Dodge home on Walnut creek and from this picture one can get an idea of how the people lived in those days and see the conditions with which the early settlers had to contend. Mr. Dodge's death came as a great shock to the community where he had scores of friends which were made and kept by his kindness and many manly qualities.

Dugout Home of E. J. Dodge
Previous Section | Transcriber's Index: A-B, C-F, G-K, L-N, O-S, T-Z | Next Section