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


Adams County, Illinois on October 10, 1861, and they have been the parents of eight children. Six are still living, as follows: Albert Lile, Pawnee Rock; Mrs. Ida Smith, Pawnee Rock; Wm. Henry Lile, near Pawnee Rock; Mrs. Sarah Gilbert, Pawnee Rock; Harry N. Lile, near Pawnee Rock and Mrs. Ada Gano, of Hutchinson, Kansas.

Mr. Lile is at this time a great believer in the wonderful productiveness of the soil of Barton County, but when be first came here he considered it of little agricultural value. Grass, trees or vegetation could hardly be coaxed to grow, and the soil was so hard that the rain would not penetrate the earth. His testimony is that cultivation made the seasons and the crops that afterward came, and that a great debt is due those who come first and persisted until the present conditions prevailed.



THE family of Thomas and Mary Malia Keenan, who located a homestead six miles southwest of Great Bend, are probably as well and favorably known as any in Barton County. They were the first to show their confidence in the soil by building the best country residence in the county—a two story frame with ten rooms—and otherwise improving a farm of five hundred and forty acres. This was built by Luther Frost, one of the first builders to locate in Great Bend, and stands today as a monument to his skill. Thomas Keenan, sr., was born in Ireland on February 1, 1834, and came to the United States in 1861, marrying Miss Mary Malia, of Lowell, Mass., in March, 1871. They first made their home in Massachusetts, but later moved to Utica, Mo. While in the last named state Mr. Keenan found work in the construction department of a railway and became proficient as a builder; and when he came to Barton County, Kansas, in the fall of 1872, he soon found employment with the Santa Fe system, which was then building westward through the state. He first held the position of conductor of a construction train running between Newton, Kansas, and the Colorado line; but later, in order to be near his family, took charge of a section between Great Bend and Dundee. He served this company for five years and then retired to his farm. He died on June 11, 1900, and Mrs. Mary Malia Keenan also died on April 30, 1910. They were the parents of ten children: John Keenan, who died July 23, 1888; James Keenan, of Grove, Arizona; Mrs. Ellen Nally, San Francisco, Calif.; Frank Keenan, Kansas City; Martin Keenan, near Heizer; Thomas B. Keenan, who died April 7, 1906; Miss Mary Keenan, Michael James Keenan, Miss Kathleen C. Keenan and William Patrick Keenan.

Since the death of the parents the estate has been divided and the home farm reduced to two hundred and forty acres. This has been named "Keenancroft," and is owned by Miss Mary, Miss Kathleen C., and William P. Keenan; the latter being in charge of the farm. The residence and surroundings have grown


more beautiful with the years, and the grove of forest trees is very inviting. A new barn 32x36 has just taken the place of one destroyed by fire, and some granaries, machine sheds, etc., built, which adds to the conveniences of the place. It is provided with all late day implements and the better grades of stock, and continues to hold its place among the best tilled farms of Barton County.


Farm Residence of Samuel C. Schultz

SAMUEL C. AND LIZZIE SCHULTZ, who have named their farm in Liberty township, four miles northwest of Dundee, and ten miles southwest of Great Bend, "Fairhaven," are among the younger generation of farmers in this county. Mr. Schultz is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Christian S. Schultz of Pawnee Rock township, and was born on July 12, 1876. The privations of his earlier years were such as to make him learn the value of money and the results to be obtained by hard work, and these two characteristics are stamped on every feature of his surroundings. He owns in fee simple one hundred and sixty acres of as fine farm land as there is in Barton County, and rents one hundred and forty adjoining. His farm, therefore, covers three hundred acres, and is in the highest possible state of cultivation. His residence is a two story frame containing ten large airy rooms. It is surrounded by numerous forest trees and a young orchard, and there are enough shrubs and plants within the paled yard to make the place very inviting. The barn, granaries, automobile garage, and various other outbuildings are all new, commodious and in fine condition, and make the farm present a very substantial and prosperous condition. Mr. Schultz also owns three acres near the town of Dundee and has just built thereon a good four room cottage for rent to a tenant.

On February 13, 1898, when the prospects for crops were about the same as they had been for the past five years—total failures—Samuel C. Schultz and Miss Lizzie Unruh, of Lone Tree township, McPherson County, Kansas, were married, and the two went to farming for themselves. That they have succeeded is proven both by their surroundings and by the five handsome children of which they are the parents: Lena, 13; Clara, 12; Edward, 10; Lincoln, 8 and Ella, 7.



Farm Residence of Henry C. Schultz

WHEN Howard Paine, the poet-diplomat, wrote "Home, Sweet Home," he was exiled far from his native land and the comforts of home. Sick and near death he gave his soul to a song that is sung and cherished in all lands, and its influence is worldwide. Until recently this simple song was his only monument; but before it all nations bowed and by example made their homelife more endurable. When this song was written Kansas was a plain over which buffalo roamed; but when settlement came and good crops with it the home sentiment took root and today there is a strife between the resident farmers to see who can make their home the most attractive. Henry C. Schultz, of "Hillcrest Farm," five and one-half miles north of Pawnee Rock, has been most fortunate in his effort to beautify his hundred and sixty acres. His residence, a two story frame, with nine rooms and a basement, is perched on a hill that it may be seen from afar. It is painted white and enclosed by a fence, impaling plants, shrubs and flowers. The barn, granary, dairy and other buildings add to the effect and complete a picture of one of the most attractive residences in the county.

Henry C. Schultz was born on July 15th, 1877, in Pawnee Rock township, Barton County, and has lived close to nature all his life. He was educated in the public schools of his district and assisted his parents on their farm. On February 23rd, 1897, he was married to Miss Effie Dirks, of Barton County, and they have been blessed with three children: Lorena, 12: Dorris, 9 and Bert 6.

He purchased his farm on April 12, 1904, and began his improvements, and today has one of the choice tracts in his vicinity. The soil is very rich and productive, and when one looks over his fields it is easy to see that he is a painstaking farmer.


THE man who can pay 36 per cent interest on borrowed money, through a period of hard times and poor crop years is bound to come out on top. That sort of perseverance tells shortly and plainly how and why Andrew J. Deckert of "Plainview Farm," six miles north of Pawnee Rock and 15 miles southwest of the county seat has amassed the comfortable fortune that he possesses. Andrew J. Deckert was born January 13, 1865, in Russian-Poland, and while only a baby his father died. His mother married Peter H. Dirks and Andrew Deckert was eight years of age when he came to this county with his mother and step-father in the winter of 1863. The family located on the timber claim of 160

Farm Home of Andrew J. Deckert

acres on section 6, two and one-half miles northwest of Dundee, but now live ten miles southwest of Great Bend.

Andrew started out for himself when he became of age and on November 18, 1886 was married to Miss Susan Boese of Pawnee Rock township. Ten children were born to the union: Minnie who married Henry Jantzen and Anna who married Luis Jantzen, both of Pawnee County. The other children live at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Deckert started in 1886 with nothing and it wasn't long until they thought they had even less than that. They rented land at first and while crops were of varying yields managed to get along. Then is 1891 when he had saved $1,000, he bought a farm and made this as a payment on the same. There were four years of bad crops and he lost the entire payment. Undaunted he went ahead, paid 36 per cent interest on borrowed money and in 1896 paid out on a new contract which he had made for farm land. He now owns 320 acres of land in section 7, the home place, 160 acres over in section 8 and 160 acres in Pawnee County. The home place is one of the modernly improved farms of the county and is fixed up in the best of shape. The house is a one and a half story structure, containing 11 rooms, the upper story being arranged with dormer windows in the gables which give the house a good appearance and leaves plenty of room. There are large barns and other buildings and one of the chief buildings of interest on the farm is a large elevator, which houses 9,000 bushels of grain.


ONE and one-half miles south of Heizer, Barton County, Kansas, is the one red[sic] and sixty acre tract of Fred Trauer, and it is as pretty a piece of tillable land as one would care to farm. It contains a small orchard and is planted with wheat and corn. He purchased the place in 1898, it formerly having been the homestead of A. M. Burt. It is nicely fenced and divided into fields, and is in a high state of cultivation; but the buildings are those purchased with the farm and are hardly as good as he would like and it is his intention to replace them with more modern structures at no distant day.

Fred Trauer twas born on November 1, 1866, in Holland, Germany, and his parents emigrated to the United States in 1868 and settled in Dearborn County, Indiana, and in 1878, when he was twelve years of age, they came to Barton County, Kansas. He was educated in the public schools and assisted his parents on the farm until he was a man in stature, and then he became a renter on his own account and farmed for several years; or


until 1898, when he bought the quarter section on which he lives. The period between 1893 to 1897, when he was struggling to make enough on the rented land to make a first payment on land he might purchase he recalls with many shakes of the head, because that was the saddest period of his entire life and his greatest struggle.

Fred Trauer and Miss Matilda Burgtorf were married on September 16, 1897, and they are the parents of six children, to-wit: Betta, 12; Louis, 11, Lena, 9; Albert, 6, Edna, 4 and Freddie, 2.

Mrs. Matilda Trailer is the third child of August and Caroline Burgtorf, who settled in the county, two and one-half miles south of Heizer, about 1872. They drove overland from Cape Geradeau County, Mo., and on the way fell in with the teams of E. L. Chapman, who was enroute with his family to make their home in this county. Mr. Burgtorf died in 1882, leaving a widow and six children who are still residents of the county.


To attempt the biography of William James Fee in the space at command would be impossible, because he has probably lived more in his allotted time than most of the resident farmers of Barton County. He was born June 16th, 1838, on a farm near Laurel, Clearmont County, Ohio, and in 1859, when twenty-one years of age, was attracted by the gold excitement in California, and decided that that was the shortest route to attain both fortune and fame among those with whom he had grown to manhood. An expedition was fitting out in Omaha, Nebraska, to cross the plains by ox teams via the Northern Platte route, and this he and his companions joined and consumed six weary months in the journey. The California-Oregon trail was conceded to be a favorable passway, but those who made the trip recount many hardships and the written history of that time proves that those who made the trip possessed stout hearts. In haying time Honey Lake Valley, California, was reached and Mr. Fee piled hay until fall and then took up placer mining for a company, and was launched in the business that he had crossed many weary miles to attempt, and his eyes at last feasted on the gold that had lured, and which has been the making and unmaking of man in all ages. A farm hand in Ohio received at that time $8 per month, and $2.50 a day mining seemed a fortune for a time, but as the golden microbe assumed dominion, and as he had learned during his experience how to do all classes of mining; prospect work was taken up with more or less favorable results. The year 1862 found him in Idaho, where he worked for others, prospected on his own account, owned a pack train which made regular trips out of Boise City; and at one time owned a flume in California that conducted water to the mines. His mining experience covered districts in California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and in the Black Hills in Dakota, during the excitement of 1875-6, and ended at Tombstone, Arizona, in 1886. During these years of search he was rewarded many times and had fortune within his grasp; but owing to many causes—the lack of sufficient capital being the greatest obstacle—he was forced to abandon them to the next claimant, who frequently made his fortune. One instance recalled sold for $100,000 after slight additional development, and there were others that promised as well. His labors were often in a country overrrun with hostile Indians, and where if their claims had any shadow of right in the eyes of the government at Washington the regular troops took the side of the Redman and the miner was at the mercy of both factions. The reward, however, while fought for in contests that tried the man, netted as much in dollars as could have been earned in a life time of peace on an Ohio farm, and Mr. Fee is now well satisfied to rest at ease on his Kansas acres and recount what he has passed through.

Satisfied that he could not "buck nature single-handed" in February, 1886, Wm. J. Fee, wife and son came to Barton County and purchased the right to a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, entered by one Hemmingway, seven miles west from Great Bend. This he afterward proved up in his own name, and later buying another quarter, he now owns and cultivates a half section. it is well improved and in a high state of cultivation.

William James Fee and Miss Elizabeth T. Haines, of New Richmond, Clearmont County, Ohio, were married in September, 1881, at Santa Fe New Mexico, and have one son, Charles Haines Fee, 27, who resides with them.


TO the old settler who blazed the way for the present generation the time seems short since they themselves were the principal actors in the tragic occurrences which transpired while building the foundation for the "Banner County" of the great State of Kansas; but a new people are fast taking their places as workers in the field that is so inviting and among these is Michael J. Keenan, the fifth son of Thomas and Mary Keenan,

Farm Residence of Michael James Keenan

who came to Barton County in 1871 and located three and one-half miles northeast of Dundee. He has christened his place "Alfalfadale" and it covers two hundred acres of the most fertile land of his locality and if one may judge by the appearance of his fields he learned industry and management from the teachings of the father. His house is a two story white frame building containing six rooms, neatly enclosed by a wire fence. There are a few stately trees and enough plants and shrubs on the grass plot to make it inviting. The barn is large and contains grain bins, hay loft and stalls for numerous horses and cattle, and there are several outbuildings. These buildings have all been recently erected and painted and present the appearance of a newly made home.

Michael J. Keenan was born on April 30, 1875, in Great Bend, Kansas, was educated in the public schools of the district, and grew to manhood on his father's farm in the neighborhood of his present home. He made two attempts at home making in Oklahoma previous to his purchase of the home described above, when the government was alloting lands in that territory. One was a claim near Cleo, Oklahoma and the other twenty miles northeast of Hobart, Oklahoma. The first of these was contested and lost by a suit in the courts, and the second was sold for a small sum because of its minor estimated value.

Michael J. Keenan and Miss Catherine Murphy, the eldest daughter of Patrick E. and Margaret Welch Murphy, of Barton County, were united in marriage on November 3, 1904, and they are the parents of four interesting children: Marguerite Mary, 6; Lorene and Norene (twins), and Mary Eileen, 1.


ONE of the neatest appearing of the many fine farm homes in Barton County is that of Arthur Leray Fish, located about seven and one-half miles northeast of Great Bend. Mr. Fish came to this county with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Fish when he was seven years of age. This was in 1878. He was born in Lee County, Illinois, June 13, 1871. He lived there until he was four years old when the family moved to Iowa and after spending three years in that state continued on westward and arrived in Barton County in 1877. The elder Mr. Fish located on school land on what is now Mr. Fish's home place in Lakin township. This place consists of 160 acres and it is apparent to the casual observer that Mr. Fish takes a great pride in his home as is evidenced by the neat arrangement of the buildings, orchard, shade trees, etc. Mr. Fish was married in Barton county in 1898 to Miss Marie Horton and they are the parents of two children:


Avis Laura, 12 years of age and Grace Ellen, four years of age. Both the children are being educated in the schools of the county. Mr. Fish is a member of the National Short Horn Breeders' Association and until recently made a specialty of breeding and raising Short Horn cattle. He still owns several head of this well known breed of animals and later on may again go into the business of breeding and raising them on a more extensive scale. The residence on the home place contains eight rooms with bath, closets, etc. The barn is well built and is 40 by 42 feet in dimensions. Mr. Fish is a typical citizen of Barton County who came here at a time when it required all kinds of faith in the future to stick to the land and develop it until it reached its present high state of cultivation.


CHRISTIAN KOOPMAN was born in Germany in 1845, and came to America when he was twenty years of age. He located first in Indiana where he remained for fifteen years and where he was married to Miss Minnie Panne in 1880. They are the parents of seven children. They came to Barton County in 1880 and Mr. Koopman at once took up the business of farming. He died May 15, 1900, and was survived by his wife and all the children. The children are as follows: George, 31 years of age, is now engaged in the plumbing and fitting business and is a member of the firm of Koopman & Fankhauser of Great Bend; Emma, 29 years of age is now Mrs. George L. Lucas; William, 28 years; Carl, 25 years; Edward, 22 years; Leo, 19 and Lillian 16 years, are all living on the home place east of Great Bend. The estate consists of 240 acres of land in Great Bend township about two and a half miles east of Great Bend, and a quarter section of land in Stafford County. The home place is being farmed by the four younger boys and they maintain the home place in a most productive manner. The residence consists of eight rooms. In addition to the closets, etc., and the barn is 56 by 42 feet in dimensions. Mrs. Koopman also owns 127 acres two miles north of the home place and a quarter section three miles north of the home place. Mr. and Mrs. Koopman came to Barton County at a time when the land needed development and it required a great deal of hard work to bring the soil to a state of productiveness where farming could be done at a profit. Mr. Koopman succeeded however and he was known and liked by the people of the county who came here in the 80's and withstood the hardships that were necessary in making a home. The Koopman family is one of the best known in the county and Mr. Koopman's name will always occupy a prominent place in the history of the county of Barton.


THOMPSON OAKLEY COLE was born in Wakefield, England, March 6, 1844. He came to America with his parents in 1850 when he was eight years of age. They first located in Ohio where Mr. Cole remained until 1872 during which year he came to Barton County. During the Civil War Mr. Cole was a member of Company K., 96th Ohio. Among the important engagements in which Mr. Cole took an active part are the battles of Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, near Mobile Bay. These engagements took place when Farragaut and his followers were forcing their way up the big river. Upon Mr. Cole's arrival in Kansas he immediately took up the occupation of merchandising and since that time has had a great deal to do with the development of the soil and the upbuilding of the county. For fifteen years he owned and managed a grocery store in Great Bend and then bought land which now comprises his home place and consists of one-half of section 12 and one-half of section 7 in Great Bend township. He was married in Great Bend in 1874 to Miss Jane Hull and they are the parents of two children as follows: Herbert Lee, 33 years of age, who resides at home; Claude, 29 years of age, is a practicing dentist in Iola, Kansas. Mr. Cole survived his first wife and in 1884 was married to Miss Agnes Hess and to this union there was born one child, Agnes, who is now 18 years of age and resides at home. Mr. Cole is a member of the Great Bend lodge of Elks. On the home place is found a neat well built residence consisting of five rooms, a barn that is 30 by 60 feet in dimensions, granaries and all other necessary outbuildings. Mr. Cole is one of the best known men in the county and has always been found with the progressive element in furthering the interests of the county.



Farm Residence of John Boese

AMONG the younger farmers of Barton County none is better known for their progressive methods and enterprise shown in the cultivation of the soil, than the subject of this sketch, Rudolph Ludwig Boese. He was born September 7, 1887. His parents were John and Julia Boese who came to America from Poland-Russia. His father first settled in Ohio and after remaining there two years came to Barton County where Rudolph was born. His mother first settled in Pennsylvania and came to Kansas in same year as her husband. He has one brother, Frank, and three sisters, Martha, Grace and Louise. He was married in April, 1909, to Miss Emma Rudiger and they now reside on a farm consisting of 200 acres, a short distance south of Dundee. They also own a quarter section in Pawnee County. The home place where they now reside is owned by Mr. Boese's father Mr. Boese has a fine equipment of machinery and good live stock and his principal crop has been wheat. He learned the best farming methods from his father who came here when it required the best of farming to produce anything like a crop, but by persistent effort he managed to improve his land and make it most productive. On the place where they now reside there is a well built ten room house, a fine barn 32 by 60 feet and all the necessary outbuildings including an automobile garage. The barn is well built and contains stall room for a large number of animals and the loft permits storing a large quantity of hay. Mr. Boese gives personal attention to the supervision of his farm and has one of the best improved and most highly cultivated places in that section of the county. He is an enterprising and progressive young man and being a product of this county takes a great interest in any undertaking that he thinks is for the benefit of the community and the betterment of the county.


ORRIS ALBERT BROWN was born near Des Moines, Iowa, July 12, 1866. He came to Kansas in 1872 and is now residing on his home place about ten miles southeast of Great Bend where he owns three quarter sections of land in section 31, Comanche township. He was married in Russell County, Kansas, in 1887, to Miss Elizabeth Scharpf. They are the parents of five children as follows: Henry Frederick, 21 years; Elias Edward, 23 years; Viola Eldora, 13 years; Annie May, 10 years; Albert, 3 years. Henry and Albert are employed in the mercantile business in Great Bend, while the remainder of the children are studying in the schools of the county. The home place is well improved and in addition to it Mr. Brown superintends the farming of the three quarters he owns in Comanche township. The residence consists of 8 roms besides closets, pantries, etc. The barn is large and commodious and has stall room for a large number of horses and a loft

Farm Residence of Orris Albert Brown

that will permit the storing of a large quantity of hay. A small, well kept orchard adds greatly to the beauty of the surroundings of the home place. Mr. Brown came to Barton county at a time when only those who had faith in the future could withstand the conditions found here and remain. He remained however and by consistent effort together with using modern farming methods in the cultivation of the soil has succeeded in bringing his part of the county to a high state of cultivation and development. He had a large part in the work of reclaiming the section of the county south of the river from a barren waste and making of it one of the most desirable in the county of Barton.

Farm Residence of George Washington Tucker


GEORGE WASHINGTON TUCKER was born February 3, 1860, in Southern Indiana and came to Barton County twenty-six years ago at a time when the outlook for the future was anything but bright. However, Mr. Tucker could see the wonderful possibilities of Barton County and decided to cast his lot with the other old timers who by their faith in the future and hard, consistent effort succeeded in building a home and developing the land to a state where it would produce crops in paying quantities. Mr. Tucker owns 240 acres of land seven miles south of Great Bend and a section of land in Gray County. He was married February 2, 1888 to Miss Mattie M. Schaeffer whose father built the first house in the city of Great Bend. They are the parents of four children all of whom are at home. They are as follows: Delbert Lee, 23 years; Elsie May, 18 years; Clifford M., 13 years; Ruby M., six years. Mr. Tucker came here at a time when many of the old timers were getting ready to leave but after he had purchased the land which is now his home place he decided that the future would turn out as it has if the proper effort was made with scientific farming methods. That Mr. Tucker's judgment was good is evidenced by the high state of cultivation found on the land in that section of the county. He has had a great deal to do with the development of the resources of this county and is one of that body of men whose staying qualities in the face of difficulties made it possible to make a rich agricultural section out of what was in the early eighties almost a barren waste. Mr. Tucker is an enterprising and progressive citizen and knows a great deal about the history of Barton county and the people who came here in the early days to establish homes.


Farm Scene On August Mausolf's Farm

ONE of the really old timers of Clarence township and one of the best known men in Barton County is August Mausolf, son of John and Amelia Mausolf who located in Rush County in 1879. August Mausolf was born in West Prussia, November 20, 1868. He came with his parents to Jersey City, New Jersey, when he was four years of age. His parents remained there seven years and then came to Rush County, locating on a home stead that is two and a half miles west of August's present home. Mr. Mausolf took up his residence on this quarter which is located fourteen miles northwest of Great Bend in 1892. In 1898 he married Miss Henrietta Scheilfelheim and they now have one bright boy, Walter, aged 6 years. Mr. Mausolf has always been an enterprising and progressive citizen and in addition to the quarter on which he lives he owns eighty eighty acres of land

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