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



Farm Home of William Werhahn

AMONG the large planters and property owners of Barton County William Werhahn deservedly takes his place, and although not a native born Kansan he is so much a Barton County product that he remembers little prior to his boyhood here. He was born in the Province of Hanover, Germany, November 20th, 1875; came to America the spring of 1882 with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Werhahn of Great Bend, and they settled first near Grinnell, Iowa, on a farm. They also lived in Pouche and Marshall counties, Iowa, for about four years, and then came to Kansas, settling permanently in Pawnee Rock township, Barton County. William Werhahn was then but eleven years old. He attended the public schools of the district, chased rabbits, hunted game on the open prairie, broke bucking broncos and helped his father on the farm. His days were passed in the open and the Dutchman's son soon became a full fledged Kansas kid, with all his aims and desires. It is not wonderful then that he was early bitten by the "land-grabbing" microbe, and soon determined to own and farm his share of the face of the earth. When married and settled he bought a quarter section from his father; later he bought one hundred and sixty acres from Peter Dirks, and still later he rented two hundred and eighty acres adjoining, and today farms a total of six hundred acres. During the time he also acquired by purchase three hundred and twenty acres near Greensburg, Kiowa County, and three hundred and twenty near Offerle. These two last named tracts are improved and rented, and his total holdings in fee are nine hundred and sixty acres of as fine land as there is in the state. His residence is thirteen and one-half miles west of Great Bend, and the improvements are a two story white frame house, a 32x66x16 red frame barn, having stalls for eighteen horses and twenty cattle. Then there are other small buildings, sheds and numerous windmills, with a nice grove surrounding all.

William Werhahn and Miss Bertha Fleske, of Wausau, Wisconsin, were married on February 1st, 1905, and they have been blessed with three interesting children: Bertha, 6; Hilda, 4 and Martha, 3.


"GOLDEN GRAIN FARM," the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Drehle, is six miles west of Great Bend, and it has been properly named, because it was the intention of the owners to honor for all time the golden cereal that has made the name of Barton County famous wherever wheat produts are in use. This is the "banner county," and it is Mr. Drehle's intention to make his the "banner farm," and if one can judge from the character of cultivation the soil is getting this season his future crops will tax some of his neighbors to beat. He is a good and successful farmer, as his fields and granaries both

Farm Residence of Henry Drehle

prove, and when he has been a resident of the county for twenty-five years his history, if written then, will appear just as miraculous in a financial way as do some of the others at this date.

Henry Drehle was born on May 1, 1869, and has been a farmer all his life. His first venture at farming was in Carroll County, Mo., and he remained there until 1900, when he removed his family to Barton County, Kansas, and rented land for three years. In 1903 he bought the one hundred and sixty acres where he now resides, and that, and a quarter that is leased, make up the three hundred and twenty that is cultivated. The improvements consist of a modern one story frame cottage containing seven rooms, which is high above ground, enclosed by a neat fence in which there are a number of forest trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. The barn is 32x50, is well arranged, and accommodates large quantities of hay and has many stalls; and there is a granary and other necessary buildings, besides several windmills and a young orchard. These buildings are all new, beautifully painted, and from the roadway present a scene of comfort and thrift.

Henry Drehle and Miss Ellen Stork, of Carroll County, Mo., were married in February, 1896, and they have five very interesting living children, viz: Willie, 14; Katie, 12; George, 10; Annie, 6 and Charlie, 3.


THE struggle and privations of earlier days on the farm in Barton County were still fresh in her memory when Mrs. Katie LeRoy was left a widow, in 1899, with six dependent boys, the oldest being about twelve. But she has proven that she was equal to the task of rearing them and managing her farms at the same time by the condition of both; for the boys are as fine, healthy and gentlemanly a bunch of youngsters as one meets any day, and the fields are in a high state of cultivation. It is true that some of these boys are young gentlemen now, and all are able to do a man's work on the place; but this was not always so, and the mind that controled them and the hand that guided deserves to be revered above all others. Women farmers are rare and deserve great praise when unhampered by other ties, but when we find one who has carried a double burden through to success we feel that all should worship at her shrine and say "well done." That she has made a great success is proven by the fact that she owns one hundred and sixty acres where she resides, eight miles west of Great Bend, and another tract of eighty acres one and one-half miles south and six and one-half miles west of the same city. Both of these tracts are improved and under cultivation, and the home farm has a large frame

Farm Home of Mrs. Katie LeRoy

residence, surrounded by a beautiful grove of forest trees, a large barn that will house the stock of the farm, and numerous other buildings that have their uses on a place like this. The sons, one and all, must follow the lead taken by their mother and must all be rustlers born, because the farm looks as well tilled as any of the adjoining fields, and we saw the very best span of young mules, bred and broken on this farm, that has been produced in the county in years.

Phillip O. LeRoy and Miss Katie Gell were married in Barton County, March 20th, 1896, and Mr. LeRoy died January 31st, 1899, and lies buried in the Lutheran cemetery, near the farm of George A. Geil in the western part of the county. Mrs. Katie LeRoy is the daughter of Jacob and Louise Geil, who came to Barton County in May, 1878, and settled in the western part of the county. She is the mother of six boys: Andrew, George, Harry, Jacob and Ray and Roy, the latter two being twins.


"THE Ideal Farm," the home of Herman and Augusta Neese Tammen, thirteen miles west of Great Bend, covers three hundred and twenty acres of the best farm land in Barton County. The soil was naturally rich, but after nineteen years of constant effort it has been brought to such a high state of improvement that it is now one of show places of the county. The chief feature to attract is a wall-like grove of locust and box eider which surround and cover five acres about the residence and effectually isolates it. But if you enter the driveway, beneath a bower of overhanging bows, a court and grass plot meets the view in the center. A one-story, eight room frame residence, setting high and balconied, stands to the right. On the left stands a 32x54 barn and an 18x5O shed and an 8,000 bushels capacity elevator and good Fairbanks scales. To the rear of these is the orchard. In front is the garage, chicken houses, dairy and other buildings. Cement walks lead to these, and the well kept lawn is relieved by plants and flowers. The deep shade and ever changing natural tints are relieved by the tastefully painted buildings and the flowering plants. An engine supplies water distributed through the house and other buildings, and an electric dynamo lights them and supplies the power to propel a separator, churns and washing machine. A 10 horse power engine is used to elevate the grain and to clean and grind the feed of the farm. The house is furnished both tastefully and elegantly and its hospitality is dispensed by a model housewife. In fact there is nothing cheap about the farm or premises and it is well named, "The Ideal Farm."

Herman Tammen was born September 2, 1875, in Hanover Province, Germany, and in

Farm Residence of Herman Tammen

1892, when 16 years of age, came to America and his education was acquired in the mother country, with a few terms in our public schools. His parents died when he was a small boy. He soon purchased two hundred and forty acres of land, and later a tract of eighty acres more and these make up the resident farm. Besides this he owns a section in Pawnee county, and a half section in Ford.

Herman Tammen and Miss Augusta Louisa Mary Neese were married on October 28, 1898, at the brides home in Rush County. They have been blessed with five lovely children: Minnie Christina Mary, 9; Harry Conrad, 8; Hilda Frances, 6; Rosa Louisa, 4, and Herman August, 2.


THE "Greenwood Farm," the country home of Chris and Mary Johnson, four and one-half miles west of Great Bend, is one of the best improved farms along the road on which the residence fronts. The house is one and one-half story frame containing ten rooms; and the barn is 32x42, and has mow and stable room for all animals bred and in service on the farm. Then there are other necessary outbuildings, windmills, an artificial lake, an orchard, and a fine grove of forest trees. This farm was not purchased until 1894, and has not been in cultivation as long as some others, but the improvements are all of a substantial character, and the cultivation of the fields stamps Mr. Johnson as a painstaking farmer and one sure to succeed in his chosen calling. The fencing is in a good condition and everything about the premises is neat and tidy.

Chris Johnson was born on October 22nd, 1859, in Denmark, and came to America in 1878, when nineteen years of age. He first landed in New York and from there went into Illinois, where he secured work making tile to drain the low lands of several counties. His headquarters were in Champaigne County until March 12th, 1884, when he came to Barton County, Kansas. At first he rented the McBride farm, three miles west of Great Bend, and put in a crop and then on February 13th, 1885, married Miss Mary Hanson, of Jackson, Kansas. They have been blessed with five children: Herman O., 23; Gilbert M., 21; Vic-


tor D., 18; Alexander H., 11, and Mary Christina, 9.

The farm owned by Mr. Johnson covers one hundred and sixty acres and cost $1,500 in 1894, but he rents an adjoining quarter and cultivates three hundred and twenty acres. This makes a nice farm, and as he and his family are economical and good workers it is expected that they will be among the large future land owners of Barton County.

Farm Home of Chris Johnson


Henry Witte at the Age of Twenty-five

HENRY WITTE was born December 4th, 1842, in the Province of Hanover, Germany, and is in his sixty-ninth year. He emigrated to America in the spring of 1867, when twenty-four years of age; and located first in LaCrosse County, Wisconsin, where he was told of the great possibilities of the country being reclaimed from the desert in Kansas. He went, however, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in three or four years returned to Wisconsin where he remained until the spring of 1880, when he came to Barton County, Kansas. He was at first a renter of land in the neighborhood of his present home, two and one-hair miles south of Heizer, but finally purchased a half section of land from the Santa Fe railway company, paying five or six dollars per acre, in payments which run from three to eleven years. He was married on February 22, 1884, to Miss Sophia D. Meyer of LaCrosse County, Wisconsin, and of this union was born eight children. A few years since he separated from his wife and family, deeding to them the south eighty, and retaining the north half. He has since built a house, barn and other buildings on his portion and has it in a fine state of cultivation.

During his residence in Barton County he has passed through several disastrous years, but has been able to improve both the north and south halves of his original quarter in a substantial manner. Taking the circumstances into account Mr. Witte's success has been phenomenal, and could only have been possible on land as productive as that which he owns.



Farm Residence of Francis Spaniol

IT has always been a saying, "That the man who drinks from a Kansas stream will later return," and this trite proverb has proven true in the instance cf Frank Spaniol, who, in 1895, was a resident of Reno County for two seasons, but, on account of crop failures, returned to his former home in Illinois thoroughly disgusted with Kansas, and Kansas farming. He had, however, "drank of the stream," and after a nine years struggle with the Kansas microbe he returned to this state and has since made his home five miles west of Great Bend. As he is now well satisfied with conditions in his adopted state we give his history,

Francis (Frank) Spaniol was born August 27, 1870, on a farm in Livingston County, Illinois, and was educated in the public schools of that state. He grew to manhood there and became a successful farmer under the instruction of his father, and at his death inherited eighty acres of choice land near Flanagan, Illinois. This he still owns; has it in a high state of cultivation and rented to a tenant. In 1892 he was married and began farming this tract; but at the instance of his father he came to Reno County, Kansas in 1895 and attempted to make a home in this state. After two unsuccessful crop seasons he decided he had enough of this poverty stricken state and returned to his old home and farm. The next year after he left this state crop conditions changed for the better and the Kansas granaries would hardly hold the harvests. Then he saw his mistake and on April 1, 1906, came to Barton County and purchased the hundred and sixty acres on which he lives. This is in a high state of cultivation and is improved with a six room frame cottage, a good barn, granary and other out buildings. He rents an adjoining quarter and farms 320 acres. There is a young orchard and a nice grove of forest trees surrounding the home that attracts and screens the home from the roadway.

Francis Spaniol and Miss Lena Gerdson, of Livingston County, Illinois, were united in marrige on April 19, 1892, and this union has been blessed with two children: Katherine Mary, 18, Alfred Adam, 14. They are both at home and gladden "Fruit Farm," the name recently given their new Kansas home.


"GOLDEN CEREAL FARM," the home of Frederick Henry and Lizzie Wagner Wolf, is located five and one-half miles west from Great Bend, and is so named because the soil has been proven to be so well adapted to growing the "golden cereal" that has made the county so famous as a wheat grower. It contains four hundred acres of as fertile soil as there is in Buffalo township, or in fact in the whole of Kansas. It is improved with a story and a half frame residence with six large airy rooms; a large 40x80 barn, gran-

Farm Home of Frederick Henry Wolf

ary and other outbuildings, and these are so located that they show to the best advantage. The crops are corn, Kaffir corn, wheat, alfalfa and native grasses, and is adapted to growing these and other crops and the breeding of horses, mules, cattle, hogs and poultry. Stock and poultry are bred to a limited extent, but wheat—the staple crop of this section—is king of this farm and covers the major portion of the fields. Corn and wheat are the crops most grown in Illinois, where Mr. Wolf grew to manhood, and it was natural that he should attempt them here where they grow best of all crops, and with less labor than most. The fields, however, show the constant effort of an industrious husbandman, and the granaries that his labor has been rewarded.

Frederick H. Wolf was born on September 25th, 1869, in Madison County, Illinois, and was married to Miss Lizzie Wagner of Norborne, Carrolton County, Mo., on September 24th, 1893. They have one interesting child of ten, Tillie Annie Mary, who gladdens their hearts and brings sunshine to the home. They came to Barton County in the fall of 1901, bought the four hundred acres on which they reside, and are classed among the most substantial and most highly respected citizens of the county.


THE hundred and sixty acres, eight miles west of Great Bend, which is the farm of Thomas Butler Johnson, has been christened "Pleasant View Farm," because it lies in a spot that affords a fine view of the surrounding country. It was first the home of his parents, John W. and Rosanna Johnson, who in 1874 homesteaded eighty acres of this tract, and bought an addltional eighty. They came to Barton County, Kansas, in 1874 from Madison County, Iowa, when Thomas B. was but three years of age; and the father, John W. Johnson, was born in Indiana March 13, 1835, and died February 15th, 1902; and the mother, Rosanna Johnson, was born in Pennsylvania in 1836 and died November 4th, 1906. Both are buried in the Everett cemetery, eight miles west of Great Bend. They were survived by two children, viz: Franklin Henry and Thomas Butler Johnson. The interests of these heirs were purchased by Thomas B. Johnson, who is now the sole owner, and it appears to be a valuable property. It is well improved and in a high state of cultivation. The residence is a story and a half frame, with six airy rooms. The barn is large and will accommodate much hay and many farm animals; and there is a combined granary and buggy shed; other out buildings, windmills, etc.

Thomas Butler Johnson was born on January 19th, 1872, and was married to Miss Myrtle


Ivo Showers, of Grundy County, Mo., on November 22nd, 1899. They have been the parents of four children, two of whom are living: Lillie Belle 9, and Mabel Fern 7.

Mr. Johnson owns twenty lots in College Grove Addition to Great Bend and has other interests in the county.

Farm Home of Thomas Butler Johnson


THE life story of William Mull who owns a four hundred and eighty acre farm ten miles southwest of Great Bend, deserves a prominent place in the History of Barton County, because of the success he has made of life. He was born July 4, 1872, in Staunton, Illinois, his father's death occurring shortly after. His mother, Mrs. Louisa Mull, married Frederick Viehl and he came with them to Barton County, Kansas, arriving on September 10, 1878. His stepfather homesteaded eighty acres, but died on August 17, 1895, the mother also died in October, 1900. Their real and personal property was heavily mortgaged and was sold to pay their debts, and at twenty-three William Mull faced the world without credit or money. He had, however, in the fall of 1892, begun farming on rented land with a part of his step-father's mortgaged horses and implements, and to hold them for use paid interest as high as 18 per cent to 24 per cent. The period between 1893 and 1896 were disastrous and all was lost or paid out on debts; but in 1897 a crop was made and he purchased his first hundred and sixty acres, which is a part of his present farm. Later he bought three hundred and twenty acres adjoining and farms four hundred and eighty acres, the equal of any in the county. He has this improved with a two story frame residence containing eleven rooms; a very attractive barn 32x38, with large hay loft and stalls for sixteen horses; an elevator with capacity of 10,000 bushels, and sundry other outbuildings. He cultivates wheat and corn exclusively, and breeds only a limited number of horses, cattle and hogs for his own needs; but he makes every acre a productive one and the hard times of the '90's seems far back in the distance. It took, however, great will power and fortitude to pass that period, and he learned lessons then that will last for all time.

William Mull and Miss Anna Puttner, of Olmitz, Kansas, were married on November 10, 1895, and they have been blessed by five children: John Frederick, 15; Mary Louisa, 13; William Joseph, 9; Elmer, 5, and Lillie Josephine, 2.

William Mull is not old and the boys call him "Bill," and for this reason he loves "the whole Bill family." Sometimes he becomes reminiscent and tells things happening in the past. When we met him Bill Townsley was in his mind, and for fear that Bill might fail to mention the circumstance in his own biography, wants it known that Will Townsley worked for him in the harvest of 1897; and that the pay was 75 cents per day. He labored


faithfully for two days, but on the third quit at noon. Going to town he found his parents had left for Denver, and followed, but on arriving there he failed to make connection with the family purse and became stranded in a strange city. How he got home is the best treasured joke of Bill Mull's life, for a month after harvest Bill Townsley and a centenarian burro drew up in a ramshackle cart at the gate; collected $1.87-1/2 and departed for town. When "Bill" denies and "Bill" affirms, it is hard for a historian to record it as a positive fact. Ask "Bill."


Farm Home of Christian S. Schultz

THE life story of Christian S. Schultz, of "Upland Farm," six miles north of Pawnee Rock, stamps him as more enterprising and skilfull than the average immigrant from Poland, West Russia, who came with him in 1875, and settled the Menonite colony one mile east of Dundee. He was born on March 11, 1842, on a farm in Russia-Poland, attended school for about one month and at the age of fifteen left his home for South Russia. He worked for two years on a farm to accumulate enough to clothe himself for the next three years, and then apprenticed himself to a manufacturer and learned to be a blacksmith and wheelwright. This took three years and he worked for his board; but in 1862 he began drawing pay, and this was increased from time to time during the next twelve years with the factory, until he became one of their very best workmen and the best paid. During this time he built a carriage for the firm which took first prize in competition with the builders of other nations at the Worlds Fair held in St. Petersburg in 1871. In 1874 he came to America and worked for one year in a wagon factory in Latonia, Ohio, and in 1875 came to Barton County with neighbors from the section of his birth place and became a member of the settlement near Dundee. At that date he was thirty-three years of age and by strict economy had saved from his earnings, about $3,000, and with this he bought a quarter section for the use of the colony; built the best house in the settlement, and assisted others less fortunate to make their start in this new world. When this colony disbanded he purchased the hundred and sixty acres called "Upland Farm," and this he has improved with a large two story frame, with nine large rooms, a large barn and other outbuildings, and it is one of the best stocked and best cultivated tracts of the neighborhood. He also owns another quarter in Pawnee Rock township; a quarter in Liberty township and another near Greensburg, Kansas, a total of six hundred and forty acres.

One year after his arrival in this country Christian S. Schultz and Miss Lena Rudiger,


of Russia-Poland, were married in Barton County, Kansas, and to them fourteen children were born, twelve of whom survive. They are: Samuel, C., Henry and Abram Schultz and Mrs. Lizzie Dirks, all of Pawnee Rock township; Mrs. Eva Base and Mary Richert, near Greensburg; Mrs. Minnie Boese, Dundee; Mrs. Susan Smith, Pawnee County; Miss Tena Schultz, a nurse in a hospital at Newton, and Peter, Lena and Martha Schultz, who reside at home.

Mrs. Lena Rudiger Schultz died on March 29, 1904, and lies buried in the Dundee cemetery, mourned by her husband and children and a large circle of neighbors and friends by whom she was loved and respected after many years of association in this new land.


HOME-MAKING has been the sentiment that has peopled the plains of Kansas and settled its towns and cities, and to this one sentiment is due the present prosperous condition of a great state. It has been fostered by a generous government and state; assisted by the great railway and the press, and today is the ruling passion in the breast of every true householder. It fired the ambition of the early pioneer and sustained his frail arm and weak body until he performed herculean feats in taming an unwilling soil until it gave up its treasures in blossoms and grain. The first has made the land worth living in and the last sustained life and provided a heritage for coming generations. It was this sentiment that induced Mr. and Mrs. John C. Bauer, three and one-half miles northeast of Pawnee Rock, to come to Barton County, Kansas, endure the privations of the pioneer days and hold steadfastly to this one sentiment when there appeared no hope of accomplishing their cherished dream. But pluck and energy prevailed and today they own one of the neatest homes in the entire county, and a half section of its best land.

John C. Bauer was born on November 16, 1837, in the Province of Bavaria, Germany, and in 1847 came to America with his parents, who remained in New York City for nine months and then permanently settled at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was educated in the public schools of that city, and learned the trade of boilermaker, and followed that trade. In some of the largest works of that city until January, 1878, when he came to Barton County. He at first bought eighty acres of railroad land and entered a timber claim of eighty acres; and then in 1885 bought an additional quarter section. On this he has built a neat cottage with six rooms; a good barn, granary and other outbuildings; planted trees and put the whole in the highest possible state of cultivation.

John C. Bauer was married on October 22, 1860, to Miss Margaret Bauer of Cincinnati, O., and they have four living children: John G. Bauer, Radium, Kansas; Mrs. Anna Shafer, Sterling, Kansas; Mrs. Lena Hartman, Morrel, Ohio and Robert L. Bauer of Pawnee Rock township.


AMONG the pioneer citizens of Barton County, John Lile, who lives two and one-half miles west of Dundee, may be classed, because it was on May 2, 1872, that he first settled in the county on a homestead entered in the neighborhood of his present home. At that period he says he was not favorably impressed with the locality as a farming locality; but as he was a young man then, and game was plentiful on the plains he considered it wise to set up a home. Buffalo, antelope and other wild game was in abundant and he at first made good wages by following the chase, and he killed and skinned buffalo for a number of years and sold the meat and hides. In this business he became acquainted with most of the old timers of the early days, but hunted most with Newt Smith, of Pawnee Rock, Judge Morton, (deceased,) and George Lile, a brother who died some years ago. They had great sport and often went as far west as Dodge City on their trips. By that means he was permitted to see that frontier town when it was passing through its toughest period, and if he would he could recount some thrilling encounters between some of the bad men of that day. When the buffalo got scarce he gave his time to farming with about the same result as others of his section; but after a number of bad crop years sold his homestead for a small price and has rented the land since farmed. At present he is a tenant of his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Gilbert, and at seventy-nine years of age is able to do most of the work. His wife is also well preserved and has been a true helpmeet during a life of exposure on the plains.

John Lile was born December 11, 1832, in Adams County, Illinois, and grew to manhood on a farm. He married Miss Evaline Duff, of

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