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


of the important towns of the county. He enjoys a wide acquaintance in all parts of the state of Kansas and is well known among the traveling fraternity. He is one of the really old timers who saw this county when it was struggling with the hard times and has seen it grow to its present high standing in the State of Kansas.

Rock Hotel, Pawnee Rock


FRANCiS T. BELT, who now lives in Topeka, Kansas, is one of the really old timers of Barton County, he having come here in 1878 from the State of Illinois. He took up the occupation of farming immediately upon his arrival and his home place is located in section 21, township 20, range 15, where he resided for a number of years and cultivated the land. He remained here until 1901 when he retired and took up his residence in Topeka where he now lives. He was married June 14, 1880, in Brussels, Illinois, to Miss Mary Jane Flanagan and they are the parents of four children: George F., 32 years of age, is in the real estate business in Kansas City; Charles T., 27 years ef age, is engaged in the farming business in Barton County; Nellie A., 26 years of age, resides in Topeka and Caroline, who died when she was one year of age. Mr. Belt is a prominent member of the G. A. R. and served his country in the civil war from February 28, 1862, until April 9, 1865. He was a member of the 5th Missouri Cavalry which for a time was actively engaged in the capacity of body guard to General Schofield, and saw much service in skirmishes in Missouri and Arkansas. Mr. Belt was born in St. Louis, Mo., July 23, 1842, and during his residence in Barton County was one of the most active in the upbuilding of the town and the development of the soil. Mr. Belt's family now owns 1,520 acres of land in this section of the state and are among the best known people who had a part in making Barton County one of the best in the State of Kansas. Mr. Belt says he held one public office while living in this county, that of justice of the peace but he resigned after a short time because he could not spare the time from his private affairs and when his first case was brought to him he acted as adviser and succeeded in settling the case of out of court. Mr. Belt is one of the few men who turned down a senatorial nomination in the Seventh congressional district of Kansas. He can relate many interesting incidents of the early days and is one of those men to whom this part of the state owes its present high state of cultivation and high standing as one of the most productive counties in the country.


IN writing up the history of Barton county the Pawnee Rock department would be incomplete without mention of P. H. Willis who is one of the best known men in Barton County. He was born October 23, 1845, In Hartford, Conn., and came to Barton County in 1876 and went through the hard times with which the early day settlers had to contend.


He took up a homestead near Pawnee Rock and farmed for ten years. He then moved to town and for the past twenty-five years has been closely identified with the upbuildiug of Pawnee Rock. He was married in 1866 to Miss Christina Wrisle of Glastonbury, Conn., and they are the parents of four children. Albert, 41 years of age, lives in Pawnee Rock, Nellie 38 years of age is now Mrs. Cal Reid of California, Earnest, 30 years of age, is in Pawnee Rock and Rosie, 28 years of age, is now Mrs. B. Rose of Anthony, Kansas. Mr. Willis is a veteran of the civil war and was a member of the 6th Connecticut, having been enlisted in Company B. He was in the service sixteen months and saw much active duty most of it being in skirmishes. Since his residence in Pawnee Rock he and his sons have been engaged in the painting business and by doing only first class work and using the best of material they have gained the confidence of the people and enjoy a large patronage. Mr. Willis owns a nice residence in the town of Pawnee Rock and is one of the town's most enterprising and progressive citizens and is one of those old timers who has seen this county grow from an almost barren waste to its present high standing among the best counties ot the State of Kansas.


Residence of Thomas Henry Morris

THOMAS HENRY MORRIS was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, February 16, 1860. He came to Barton County from his native state when he was twenty-three years of age, and took up the occupation of farming one and one-half miles west of Pawnee Rock. He has always been closely identified with the development of that part of the county and is one of those men who came to this section at a time when only the stout hearted and those who had faith in the future could remain and overcome the adverse conditions with which they had to contend. He was married in Pawnee Rock, July 25, 1883 to Miss Ella M. Williams and they are the parents of three children as follows: Mabel N., 26 years of age, is now Mrs. A. S. Gross, residing in Pawnee Rock; Beatrice, 23 years of age, is now Mrs. E. B. Duncan of Liberty, Mo., and Leland, 16 years of age, is living at home. Mr. Morris owns one of the nicest residences in Pawnee Rock, a beautifully surrounded home, with eight rooms in addition to bath, closets, pantries, etc. Mr. Morris' country place consists of 320 acres of good farm land which is being farmed by renters. He is also interested in the Farmers and Merchants Telephone Company, the Farmers Elevator Co., the Pawnee Rock State Bank and owns a large number of town lots. Although Mr. Morris has always had a large number of private interests to look after he has found time to take an active part in the affairs of his home community. He has been a member or the city council, served as a member of the school board and is known as an enterprising and progressive citizen. His home place in Pawnee Rock is located south of the depot and is surrounded by beautiful shade trees and neat well kept lawn and it is one of the pleasing sights that greets a stranger when arriving in Pawnee Rock.



Lewis Elevator Pawnee Rock

AMONG the old timers of Pawnee Rock and Barton County, none is better known than William M. Lewis who came to this part of the state in 1874. He was born at Morrison, Illinois, April 12, 1862, and came here with his parents when he was twelve years of age. His father located a homestead two miles west of Pawnee Rock and began the work of developing the soil. William attended school in this county and when he was twenty-one years of age began farming near Pawnee Rock. He farmed for six years and then accepted a position with the Santa Fe Railroad Company, and was with them for twelve years. One year of this time he was employed in Rice County and the remainder of the time was agent at Pawne Rock. In 1900 he left the railroad company's employ and established a grain elevator at Pawnee Rock which he has operated since that time. The elevator has a capacity of 10,000 bushels and when established was owned by the firm of Logan & Lewis, Mr. Lewis becoming sole owner in 1908. Mr. Lewis owns 260 acres of land in Pawnee County which is worked by his boy, a fine residence in Pawnee Rock which contains eight rooms in addition to closets, pantries, etc., a number of town lots and private interests. He has served the town as mayor, has been a member of the council, police judge and has been one of the most popular citizens of the town, always standing for its best interests and advancement. He was married in this county June 6, 1884 to Miss Della Hall and they are the parents of four children: Edna, 27 years of age, is now the wife of Dr. Button of Great Bend; Harry, 25 years of age, is in the postal service; Charles, 23 years of age, is farming on his father's land near Pawnee Rock and Ruth, 20 years of age, is living at home. Mr. Lewis is one of the men who came here at a time when the county was in its infancy as far as agriculture goes and has seen it grow from an almost barren waste to its present high state of cultivation.


WILLIAM T. WARNER was born in Ohio March 22, 1859 and came to Pawnee Rock when he was twenty-one years of age. This was in 1881 and since that time he has been one of the best known men in that part of Barton County. He first worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and for twenty-four years was foreman of the section in which Pawnee Rock is located. Mr. Warner was married in 1880 to Miss Martha Booze in Ohio and they are the parents of seven children: Bertha, 32 years of age is now Mrs. A. M. Thomas and lives in Colorado; Lena, 28 years of age is now Mrs. W. H. Franklin of Pawnee Rock; Eva, 26 years of age, is now Mrs. I. S. Brady residing two miles east of Pawnee Rock; Geo. L. is employed as traveling representative of the Merritt-Schwier Creamery Company; Everettt E., 20 years of age, is in the produce business in Pawnee Rock; Wm. J., Jr., 16 years of age and Herold, 13 years of age, are living at home with their parents. Last April Mr. Warner opened a modern meat market in Pawnee Rock and since the beginning it has enjoyed a good trade. He handles only the very best of fresh and salt meats and has his shop equipped for the proper handling and keeping of meats of all kinds. Mr. Warner owns a fine modern residence in Pawnee Rock. It consists of six rooms and is located on two acres of land. During Mr. Warner's residence in Pawnee Rock he has taken an active part in the affairs of the community and has held the office of mayor, has been a member of the city council and has also held township offices at different times. He is an enterprising and progressive citizen and enjoys a wide acquaintance in all parts of Pawnee Rock and Barton County.



STEPHEN J. WILLIAMS was born in Hawkins County, Tenn., October 17, 1850. He resided in his native state until 1866 when he moved to Iowa where he remained for ten years before coming to Kansas in 1878. His parents came here four years before his arrival and the Williams family is one of the best known in this part of the state. Mr. Williams bought railroad land three miles east of Pawnee Rock and at once began the development of the soil. For a number of years he lived on a rented farm and farmed it in addition to his own. Then he bought a half section north and east of Pawnee Rock and about five miles from his home place. He farmed for a number of years, and seven years ago moved to town and now lives in a nice residence in Pawnee Rock. He was married in August, 1867, to Miss Myra McDavid and they are the parents of eight children as follows: Margaret M., 36 years of age, is now Mrs. S. P. Hill of Pawnee Rock; Mary L., 34 years of age is now Mrs. G. E. Conkle of Colo.; Lydia C., 31 years of age is now Mrs. James A. Lowhorne of Wichita; Andrew E., 29 years of age is farming near Pawnee Rock; William E., 26 years of age lives in Pawnee Rock; John S., 23 years of age and Thelma, 16 years of age and Esther, 13 years of age, are also living in Pawnee Rock. Mr. Williams served his district as county commissioner for four years, has held township and school board offices and is one of the best known men in the county. He is one of the men who helped to make this county one of the best in the State of Kansas.


WILLIAM H. BOWMAN was born February 27, 1847, near Annapolis, Crawford County, Illinois. He was raised on a farm and came to Barton County in October, 1873. He located on the southeast quarter of section 34, township 15, range 20, which adjoins the townsite of Pawnee Rock on the east. Since that time he has added to his holdings at different times until he and his sons now own, 2,200 acres of land in the vicinity of Pawnee Rock. Mr. Bowman was married April 26, 1868, in Illinois to Miss Cacepine Schammahorn, and they are the parents of six children as follows: W. Walter, 43 years of age, is farming in Pawnee County about two miles from Pawnee Rock; Richard H., 36 years of age, is farming near town; John E., 32 years of age, lives in Pawnee Rock and is now mayor of the town; Earl J., 30 years of age, lives in town as does Ross G., 28 years of age, and Ivy Grace, 21 years of age. Mr. Bowman has deeded a great deal of his land to his children who have the active management of their father's holdings. In 1878 he, together with his brother, Eli Bowman, and Aaron Garverick, built a flouring mill in Pawnee Rock and was in the milling and grain business, with the exception of one year, until 1887; he was elected as a member of the first city council of the city of Pawnee Rock and has served as a member of the school board. He now lives permanently in town and owns a modern six room residence, on north Main street and also owns other town property and is a stock holder and director in the Farmers' and Merchants' State Bank, and owns stock in the local Farmers' Elevator, the Farmers' Merchants' Telephone Co., and the Electric Light, Ice & Power Co. He has always taken an active interest in the progress of Pawnee Rock and vicinity and has had a great deal to do with the upbuilding of the town and the development of that section of the county. In addition to his Pawnee Rock holdings and farming interests in this county Mr. Bowman also has property in other states, but he always counts Kansas as his home and Pawnee Rock as his place of residence.


AMONG the first settlers of Barton County the name of Henry Smith Everitt, of "Evergreen Farm," eight miles west of Great Bend, should be enrolled, because he selected this for a residence place in September, 1874. He was born near Magnolia, Lasalle County, Illinois, on January 3, 1845, and until his eighteenth year assisted his father on the farm and attended the public schools of the neighborhood. In 1864 he enlisted for a term of three years as a private in Company H, 104th Illinois Infantry, and after a trying service of one year and six months was discharged at the termination of the civil war. During that time he passed through the Atlanta campaign and followed Sherman on his March to the Sea, and has preserved an interesting diary of the movements, marches, skirmishes and happenings of his command during several weeks of that period, and cherishes it as a sacred relic of the times. After his discharge he returned to his former home and resumed farming until coming to Barton County in 1874; when he bought three hundred and twenty acres from the Santa Fe Railway Company, and paid five dollars per acre, on eleven years' time. In 1909 he purchased an additional adjoining forty acres at $50 per acre and at this time owns and farms three hundred and sixty acres. The whole is improved and in a high

Home and Family of Henry S. Everitt

state of cultivation, and the residence, barn, and other buildings are ample for a farm of its size. Tree culture seems to have been an important feature when this place was first settled, and Mr. Everitt is now enjoying the fruits of his labor in a magnificent park which stirrounds the home.

In February, 1869, Henry S. Everitt and Miss Elizabeth Ann Lewis, both of La Salle County, Illinois, were united in marriage at the bride's home in that county. Six children were born, but only two survive. Three were taken in infancy, and a daughter, Elizabeth Rebecca, wife of David Ewing, on June 29, 1911. William Everitt, who married Miss Myrtle Lloyd, resides on the northeast quarter of the same section, and George Nathan Everitt, who married Miss Anna Christianson, resides in Comanche County, Kansas.

Mrs. Elizabeth A. Everitt, the mother and wife, departed this life on February 24, 1906, and is buried in the Everitt cemetery, near the residence.


THE country home of Andrew and Eva Florence Wallace Geil, "Westlawn Farm," takes its name from the beautiful park and lawn which surrounds the residence, a two story frame standing in the center, and is approached by pedestrians by a walkway bordered by sweet scented flowers, while rose bushes and ornamental plants and shrubs adorn the grass covered lawn. Two circuitous driveways enter from either side and wind their way to the rear, and there become roads extending into the farm. In the rear are the barns, granary, tool sheds and other buildings, and windmills fanning the air. Then the farm is seen with its golden wheat and oats; its green corn, and meadows of alfalfa and native grasses, where horses and cattle graze, calves and colts, gamble, and fat swine mosey about. The gray coat of the house and the carmine of the outbuildings contrasts so well with the foliage of the trees and growing crops that they lend animation and enliven the picture. But when one enters and finds all the comforts of a city home he is impressed with the culture and refinement of the inmates, and the success of their venture on a Kansas homestead.

The home place of Andrew Geil contains two hundred and forty acres and is in a high state of cultivation. The soil is good and it produces good crops. The buildings, implements and stock on the farm are all in good condition and prove that the controlling spirit has his soul in his work. He both farms and breeds stock, and has designed his farm with this end in view. He also owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres near Rozel, Pawnee County, which is occupied by a tenant.

Andrew Geil was born in Keokuk County, Iowa, on February 2nd, 1860, and came to Barton County, Kansas, in 1878, accompanied by his parents, Jacob and Louise Geil, who made their home on Walnut creek in Clarence township. He at first assisted his parents in their farm work, then was a renter and later purchased land. He was married on September 28, 1888, to Miss Eva Florence Wallace, formerly of near Bedford, Iowa, and they are the parents of ten interesting children. They are all at home with their parents.

Home of Andrew Geil


Residence of William Otte and Family

THE home of William Otte is located one and one-fourth miles south of Heizer and the farm covers two hundred and sixty acres of choice farming lands. It was originally high, rolling prairie, but has been transformed into one of the most habitable places in Barton County. The house, barn and other improvements are all modern and attractive, and there is sufficient timber to light the landscape with green. The growing crops prove the soil to be fertile and in a high state of cultivation, and that the ruling spirit is a past master of agriculture.

William Otte was born in Hanover, Germany, September 3rd, 1848, and came to America in 1868, when he was twenty years of age, and settled first in Rock County, Wisconsin. He remained there four years and then went to Cedar County, Iowa, where he remained until he came to Barton County in 1878. He

Early Home of William Otte

bought school land in this county and also took a homestead, a part of which is now included in the home place, which comprises 260 acres of land. He also owns 100 acres four miles northeast of Heizer, 400 acres in Ness County and some town lots in Heizer. Mr. Otte married Mrs. Alvina Jackal November 7, 1880, and they are the parents of seven children: William, George, Henry, Warner, Anna Frederick, Bertha, all of whom are residents of the county. Mrs. Otte was born December 16th, 1860, in Germany and is a kind mother and faithful housewife.


Home of Boyd Evers

THE Evers home, four miles northwest of the court house in Great Bend is one of the most inviting in the county. The grass plot in front of the house, the trees and plants growing in the yard and the paint on the house and other buildings harmonize so well that it is a relief to the eye as one approaches this model home. Much taste is dis-


played within the Evers home. Mr. Evers is a successful farmer and his wife is a model housekeeper. The order and harmony extend to all parts of the farm. The fence rows are guiltless of weeds and the ground is free from litter and idle farm machinery. This seems to be a place with room for everything and everthing in its place. The soil which is naturally quite rich has been properly fertilized and cultivated and is in splendid condition after twenty-seven years of continuous cultivation. It was in March, 1884, that Mr. Evers homesteaded the eighty acres where his home place is located. It has been seven years since he purchased 160 additional acres at a price of $3,500. He bought this land on credit and paid for it with the crops he raised in the following three years. The price of land has advanced so rapidly during this time that this quarter could be sold at any time for $16,000. This price has been refused by Mr. Evers because he could not get another quarter equally as good for that money. This is the story that is true of many quarters in that neighborhood. Mr. and Mrs. Evers are both natives of Indiana, having been bcrn, reared, educated and married in or near Rockville in that state. This probably accounts for their success in Kansas, because a Hoosier is not to be outdone no matter where he may be transplanted. They are the parents of five children. Otis married Miss Maud Barker; Kirby Evers who married Miss Lillie Essmiller; Alice is now the wife of Frank Westman and Mabel who resides at home. It will be seen from this that all the children are residing in this county.


Farm and Home of J. P. Dirks

FIFTEEN and a half miles southwest of Great Bend and six and a half miles northwest of Pawnee Rock, in Pawnee Rock township, one of the finest wheat producing sections in the world, is one of the pretty farms in a pretty country. It is the property of Jacob P. Dlrks, the eldest son of Susan and Peter H. Dirks. Born February 12, 1875, and educated in the public schools, he early took to farming for himself. He was married on February 23, 1898 to Miss Lizzie C. Schultz of Clarence township. They are the parents of three children: Maggie, twelve years of age, Elmer Jacob, ten years and Pearl Lena, five years of age. They bought the land they live on, 160 acres, and on it have a one and a half story frame residence with eight rooms and basement. A good barn, granaries, chicken houses, etc., are found on the place and it is one of the well improved farms of the neighborhood. The family is a popular one and merits its standing in the community. He rents and farms two hundred acres of land. Mr. Dirk's birth will long be remembered by those who came to this country with his parents because it is said they occupied a box car on a siding in Pawnee Rock at the time of his birth, and that he first saw the light in such surroundings. From that fact it was then argued that he would be a great traveler and never settle down to a peaceful life, but he has and is one of the most contented in his community and rarely rides in anything faster than an automobile.



GEORGE BAUER who lives four miles northeast of Pawnee Rock was born February 14, 1841, in the Province of Bavaria, Germany, and came to the United States with his parents in 1852. They at first made their home near Cincinnati, Ohio, where they settled permanently. He was educated in the public schools and found employment there until August, 1861, and then enlisted as a private in Company B, 25th Ohio Volunteers, and served four years, being discharged at Atlanta, Georgia, while on the March to the Sea under General Sherman. He was wounded in the left hip in the battle of Chickamauga and was in the battle at Mill Springs, where General Zollacoffer was killed, also at Perryville, Kentucky, and numerous other smaller engagements and skirmishes. He was in the division and corps commanded by Gen. Thomas and the brigade commanded by General Cook, and as they were fighters of note it is evident that this soldiering experience was no child's play although Mr. Bauer is inclined least boastful than many. George Bauer came to Barton County, Kansas, in the spring of 1876 and being an ex-soldier, entered a homestead of 160 acres. This he proved up and at a later period bought an additional eighty on the same section which makes a farm of 240 acres. It is in a high state of cultivation and improved with a one story frame cottage, containing nine rooms. A good barn, granary and other outbuildings are also found on the place. Tree culture seems to be a thankless task in this neighborhood and attempts in this line have heretofore been of no avail, but Mr. Bauer still hopes that his efforts will be crowned with success and that he may in time enclose his premises with a park. George Bauer was married to Miss Maggie Stump of Cowley county, Kansas, April 12, 1874. She died on August 26, 1905. Mr. Bauer has three living children as follows: Mrs. Ada Shorpy who lives with her father and cares for his home. Mrs. Emma Lamb of Pawnee county and Miss Laura Bauer residing in Larned, Kansas.


Early Home of Paul Francis and Melissa Ann Schneck

THE subjects of this sketch, Paul Francis and Melissa Ann Schneck, were members of the first party of emigrants to arrive on the townsite of Great Bend, and they possibly erected the first house. This little frame structure is shown as the "L" in the picture of their residence taken in 1871, and it first stood on a lot in the town. It has, however, quite a history, as it has made several journeys between the village and their homestead before becoming a part of its permanent structure. These first settlers suffered many hardships and were persecuted continuously by bands of roving Indians, and those who attempted to work the land on claims only a short distance from the town experienced great fear. For this reascn, Mr. Schneck for a long time kept a truck that conformed to the size of his little shack, and the rumor of a massacre in another part of Western Kansas often drove the family and their house on wheels back to the settlement. The mules which brought this party from Illinois were the main dependence of the family, and when not engaged breaking and cultivating the land helped to haul the material to build the present court house, the old Southern Hotel and the first Santa Fe depot. Mr. Schneck was lured by the game so plentiful at that period and made his pleasure a source of profit by

Present Home of Melissa Ann Schneck

hunting buffalo, deer, antelope, prairie chickens, etc., and selling the meat and pelts. He often made trips extending over weeks, leaving his wife as the protector of the home and little ones, and this she remembers as one of her greatest trials; for it was during an absence of this kind that the death of little William Francis occurred on January 4th, 1872. He was encased in a coffin made by a willing carpenter and laid to rest by loving neighbors.

Paul Francis Schneck served during the civil war as a private in Co. H, 2nd Illinois artillery. He died in Great Bend, Kansas, February 26th 1911, and was laid to rest in the cemetery at Great Bend by sorrowing but loving friends. He was a noble comrade, faithful soldier and pathfinder and his goad deeds redeem his few faults.

Melissa Ann Fowler Schneck was born October 27, 1842, on a canal boat on the Millionville river, Ohio, and is the daughter of William and Mary Fowler of Perryburg, Ohio. The father was a miller and owner of a canal boat, but both parents died before Melissa was six years of age and she grew to womanhood in the home of an aunt at Florence, Michigan.

Harvesting Scene On the Schneck Farm
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