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


Mile Timber and Twelve Mile Timber. A few days later while we were looking down the trail, G. N. Moses and myself were somewhat excited at seeing a black object coming towards us. We watched and patiently waited until it came near enough for us to recognize Judge Morton, dressed in a fine suit of black clothes, black hat, kid gloves and umbrella. The old timers eyed him as an antelope would a red flag. The judge was highly respected by our community. He was a good man for the times, and he helped many of the old timers over rough periods of frontier life. The first milch cow on the townsite was brought by W. H. Hartshorn, who led her behind his wagon more than 500 miles across the prairies. Louis Frey brought the first mule team. There was but one building between here and Atlanta at that time and that was T. Buckby's at Fort Zarah. The places of note were called ranches in those days.


Robert Merten

ONE of the men who came here in 1875 and has had a great deal to do with the farming and commercial life of Barton County, is Robert Merten. He was born in Elberfeldt, Germany, December 13, 1839. He came to America with his parents when he was eight years of age, the family first locating in Keokuk County, Iowa. Robert remained there until 1863 when he took up the occupation of freighting across the plains. He continued in this business until 1865, when he went to Denver and spent one summer, after which he returned to St. Joe, Mo. Then he went back to the old home place in Iowa and in 1875 came to Barton County and in the following year brought his family to the new country. He was married May 1, 1861, to Miss Maria Becker and they are the parents of six children as follows: Albert N., who is farming in this county in Clarence township; Annie, who is now Mrs. A. B. Willcutt and resides in Clarence township; Mary, who is now Mrs. H. J. Campbell, also resides in Clarence; Frank, resides on the old home place in this county; Edwin M., who lives in town and is in the farming business, and Susie, who is now Mrs. E. E. Bohl, and lives in Ottawa, Kansas. When Mr. Merten arrived in this county he bought railroad land and from time to time added to his holdings and now owns in this county 320 acres of land and also owns 700 acres in Pawnee and Rush counties. Mr. Merten is vice president of the Citizens National Bank of Great Bend and is a director of the Pawnee Rock and Hoisington State banks. Since his retirement from active farming he has occupied a fine residence at 2423 Forest avenue in Great Bend. Mr. Merten has held township offices and served as county commissioner for one year. He has always taken a leading part in the development of the county's resources and has been closely identified with its business and agricultural interests. All of his land in this county is being worked by renters and is in a high state of development.



Residence of Fred C. Ludwig

FRED C. LUDWIG was born in Germany, January 1, 1871, and came to America when he was fourteen years of age. He came to Barton County in 1886 and began the business of farming. He with his brother farms a half section of land in section 36, South Bend township. He also owns 640 acres of land in Texas. He was married in Kansas City in 1892, to Miss Annie Alt and they are the parents of two children: Eliza, 16 years of age and Rudolph, ten years of age, both of whom are students in the Barton County schools. Mr. Ludwig's home place is located in an ideal spot, the residence consisting of eight rooms in addition to closets, pantries, etc., is well built and neatly furnished. The barn is 34 by 40 and has a large loft where it is possible to store a good quantity of hay and grain. A small orchard is found on the home place and it contains nearly all varieties of fruits that are common to this section of the country. Mr. Ludwig is a farmer that believes in modern methods and his long residence in Barton County has given him the experience necessary to get the best results from his efforts in cultivating the soil. The home place is located about nine miles south and east of Great Bend and Mr. Ludwig is known as an enterprising and progressive citizen. He belongs to several German orders and is one of the best known men in the county.


WHAT little is known about Jim Gainsford is what such men as John Tilton and other old timers have been able to remember. Jim is chiefly noted as far as this country is concerned, for his having been marshal of Great Bend at a time when it required a great deal of nerve to control the lawless element. He was marshal during the years 1871-72-73, and was also deputy sheriff under G. N. Moses, and at one time held the office of deputy U. S. marshal. He had been a soldier in the civil war and after the war was over he came west, first to Abilene and from there to Great Bend. He was not the kind of a men who cared for farming so never took up a government claim, in fact he was never known to do a day's work, but preferred the job of an officer where he could exercise his authority and at times show his skill with a gun. He was a good marksman and had plenty of courage, although he was known too as being a big bluffer, and proud of dressing as a fierce frontiersman, with a belt of cartrldges about his waist and a whole battery of guns displayed about his body. Jim accompanied G. N. Moses on many of his trips after criminals and was never known to show the white feather. However he backed down one time for G. N. Moses. John Tilton tells the incident as follows: "In those days soldiers

Jim Gainsford

were equipped with needle guns and none but government employees were supposed to carry them. Jim had been blustering about a great deal as a deputy marshal and had taken needle guns from many of the settlers and buffalo hunters, although it is doubtful if the government ever realized from them. George Moses and I, each bought a gun from the soldiers at Fort Dodge. Jim went up to George when he learned of this and told him he wanted that needle gun. George told him that we had those guns over there in our dugout and if he wanted them to come and get them, but he thought he would find a warm reception. It is needless to say Jim never came after those guns." As the county filled up and things became a little more civilized Jim moved westward where his wild spirit could have freer rein. He is now an old man, an inmate of the National Soldier's Home in California.


JOHN TILTON was born in Noble County, Ohio, May 28, 1841. He was married to Mrs. Adeline Eastey in Barton County, Kansas, November 26, 1872, and Mrs. Tilton is the mother of two children by a former marriage, their names being Frank H. Eastey and Estella Eastey, (now Mrs. Elmer H. Dean of Kansas City.) Mr. Tilton enlisted in the U. S. Army in September, 1861, as a private in Company G., 10th Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served in many important engagements during the war; among them may be mentioned the campaign against Vicksburg, Jonesboro, Evacuation of Atlanta and other important engagements. He was honorably discharged from service August 16, 1865. Mr. Tilton came west in 1867 and was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad Co., having had numerous contracts for grading and for furnishing timber for bridge work, etc. He went to Denver in 1869 and was employed in Gomer's Mills in Bijou Basin near that city. It was here that he met George Moses the first time. In March, 1870, he and George Moses bought two yoke of oxen and in company with Bill Leak, Joe Townley and W. H. White—better known as Heck White—started for Kansas following the U. P. right of way. They finally landed at Ellsworth after encountering a terrific storm near Cheyenne Wells. It was by the merest chance that they were not all frozen to death. They located claims near Ellsworth in the form of soldiers' homesteads and made some improvements, but threw them up and came to Barton County after hearing of the wonderful country near the big bend in the Arkansas. George came ahead to the new country while Tilton remained and looked after a big hay contract they had secured. John pre-empted the northeast quarter of 32 on the

J. F. Tilton

southwest outskirts of Great Bend while Geo. was to take the southwest quarter of section 28, which is now in the townsite of Great Bend. While John was on his way to Salina to file he was overtaken by George who told him not to file on the quarter originally picked for him as it had been decided to locate the town on it. George later filed on the northwest quarter of 32. This was in July or August of 1870. They hunted buffaloes until 1874, but John could not pay out on his preemptious, so he got Bill Leak to homestead who then gave John the north eighty acres of it as his share. John laid out the Ireland's addition to Great Bend in 1887. He was the first constable in the county and served Great Bend as city marshal. He hunted a great deal with George Moses and W. C. Gibson and can tell of some mighty interesting incidents. In 1871 he with George Moses, Jim Gilmore, Jim Travers and W. W. Winstead was hunting buffaloes on Bluff creek. He and George furnished the outfit, two yoke of oxen for which they had been offered $500. These were the same oxen that brought them from Colorado. They had but little more than started when a band of about fifty Indians came charging up about an hour after sundown, but when they saw that the hunting party was ready to fight they laid down their arms and became very docile. That night the hunters' oxen were stolen. They hunted for days but were unsuccessful. George Moses who was using Gilmore's horse came upon a party from east of Wichita who were camped on the Ninnescah and got them to go after the other boys who were marooned on Bluff creek. The party finally were reunited but the oxen were never found. A claim was later allowed by the government for the loss of the oxen. Mr. Tilton is one of the really old timers of the county who are still here and knows the early day history of Barton County and Great Bend.



The firm of E. R. Moses Mercantile Company is an evolution of the firms of Burton & Johnson, Burton, Odell & Moses, Burton, Moses & Brother and C. N. & E. R. Moses. The first named firm came here from Argonia, Kansas, and bought out the store of Mr. Morphy who owned a stock of hardware in a building on the north side of the square on lot 18, block 20. This was in 1874 and in the following year Mr. Johnson sold his interest to Odell and Moses, the firm name being changed to Burton, Odell & Moses. This firm was composed of E. W. Burton, W. H. Odell, Geo. N. Moses. In April, 1877, E. R. Moses bought out Mr. Odell and the firm name became Burton, Moses and Brother. In 1881 Mr. Burton retired and the firm became G. N. & E. R. Moses. In 1900 George N. sold his interest in the business to E. R. Moses and since that time the business has been run under the name of E. R. Moses Mercantile Company. This firm is the result of many ups and downs with the latter in the minority and the men who helped in building up the business had to contend with all the hardships and trials incident to all pioneer firms in a new country. This business was built up in a part of the Great American Desert where sand and wind, grasshoppers, and crop failures prevailed in the early seventies. The life of the business was as uncertain as the crops and when the crops were continued failures the different lines of business were a continual nightmare and many of them finally changed hands or petered out. All have gone when this business was started in 1874 as have also many who came afterwards. It is hard to think of those brave fellows who worked early and late, hard and earnestly and left too soon to reap where they had sown, having grown tired of waiting in vain for good crops and better times that never came. In those days class distinction played no part in the work of upbullding and everybody aided in making things as pleasant as possible for his neighbors. The senior members of the firms that ran the E. R. Moses Mercantile Company business before this time have all passed away. Mr. Burton died in 1886, Mr. Odell a few years later, Geo. N. Moses in 1911. The business carried on by the E. R. Moses Mercantile Co. is a department store and one of the largest in the west and carries everything in the the general merchandise line from a pin to a piano, and supplies everything that is needed by the people of this county from the cradle to the grave. The principal lines are hardware, stoves, tin, copper, granite, nickle and aluminum ware, dishes, novelties, watches, clocks, jewelry, silver and cut glass ware, kodaks, furniture, carpets, curtains, trunks and valises, sewing machines, pianos and organs, and smaller musical instruments, farm implements and machinery, wagons, buggies, pumps, windmills, tinning, plumbing and heating, paints, oils, glass, undertaking and embalming. They say it takes three classes of people to settle a country, the pioneer, the tenderfoot and the sticker. There are many more chances than this in a business life. In the hardware and implement line we count the following names that have come and gone: A. W. Gray, Dodge & Co., William Friend, John Frank, Brinkman and Gwinn, Balm and Balm, Sterrit and Co., J. A. Sterrit, Charles Culver, Hulme, Patterson, Kern and Co., Cook and Panning, S. P. Bell, F. H. Miller and Fred Hemker and several transient ones who are coming and going all the time. In 1880 the firm of Burton, Moses & Brother opened a branch store in Gunnison, Colorado. Mr. E. W. Burton and G. N. Moses took charge of this store and E. R. Moses ran the Great Bend store. Two years later the partnership of Burton, Moses & Brother ceased, Mr. Burton taking the Gunnison store and C. N. and E. R. Moses the Great Bend store. In 1891 G. N. Moses and E. R. Moses opened two branch stores; one at Hoisington and one at Claflin Mr. D. J. Lewis was put in as manager of the Hoisington branch and Mr. John A. Barth as a manager of the Claflin store. These stores were developed into large department stores. In 1901 Mr. E. R. Moses sold the Claflin store to Barth and Herthel on account of engaging in the banking business and not wanting the care of it. Having organized the Citizens National Bank of Great Bend and later on the Pawnee Rock State Bank and the Peoples State Bank of Hoisington, all of which he is president of. The store at Hoisington has been increased from time to time until it is one of the most complete stores in the state of Kansas. Carrying goods in addition to what they carry in Great Bend, boots, shoes, hats, caps, gents' furnishing goods, and they also manufacture harness. It has a frontage of 150 feet with a building 125 by 100 feet, two stories with a nice plate glass front. For two years G. N. and E. R. Moses were engaged in the real estate business with W. M. Gunnell, but when G. N. retired from business E. R. Moses having enough to attend to, sold his interest with G. N. Moses to W. M. Gunnell. This business was a success. When Mr. Gunnell died the firm of Dawson & Zutavern bought the business and made it a much greater success. The Great Bend store occupies two rooms on Main street 50 by 140 feet, two stories and a basement, another building on Williams street 300 by 100 feet. E. R. Moses believes if anybody wants to make a success of his business he must stick to it, hug it closer and watch it more when times are hard and after a number of years he can take it easier, but he must stick to it for there is nothing he can do so well as to keep busy watching his business grow as long as he lives. He also believes


that too many changes are liable to cause failure. E. R. Moses, Jr., looks after the mercantile business at the present time while E. R., sr., advises with him. He is a young man who has made good by close application and constantly sticking to it, backed by a good education and right living. He knows what it is as he has passed through every department and has learned every detail. He is pleasant, whole-souled, kind and generous and well liked by all who know him.

The E. R. Moses Mer. Co. is an incorporatcd firm. The officers are E. R. Moses, sr., pres., E. R. Moses, Jr., vice-pres, W. W. Nimocks, secretary, D. J. Lewis, treasurer. Mr. Nimocks sold his interest to Mr. E. R. Moses, jr., who was made vice-president and secretary.

E. R. Moses Mercantile Co., Hoisington, Kansas


(Illustration on page 198.)

In the fall of 1891, G. N. Moses, E. R. Moses and D. J. Lewis bought the little two story 25x70 frame building, and the hardware business it contained, of Alex. Dennis. The next year they added a two story building of steel 50x100 and filled it with good new goods. Almost each year since they have added new buildings and equipment until now the store has a frontage of 125 feet of modern plate glass show windows and the building contains over 25,000 square feet of floor space, and over fifteen men are employed the year round.

In May, 1905, this store, with the one at Great Bend, were incorporated, and the name changed from Hoisington Hardware and Implement Co., to the E. R. Moses Mercantile Co. The management of the store has been in charge of Mr. D. J. Lewis since its founding, and the firm has always been ready to aid and assist in Hoisington's growth and development. They have full confidence in Hoisington and her people and see nothing but a bright future for the town.

Mr. Lewis was born in Wales, coming to America when a young man, first working in Pennsylvania, where he followed his trade of contractor and builder. From there he went to Cleveland, Ohio, then to Wisconsin and Illinois, and finally came to Kansas in the 70s. He farmed and contracted in Rice County and later in Barton, until taking up the management of the business at its beginning.

The business began with hardware and this department has always been kept up in first class shape. One of the most complete and best arranged paint stocks in the state is a part of the department.

The jewelry department has charge of the Missouri Pacific Railway watch inspection for Hoisington to Pueblo and carries a fine stock of railroad watches, diamonds, cut glass, fine china and silver. A fully equipped optical department, in charge of a graduate optician is a feature of the department.

The shoe and furnishing department is fully stocked and the very best lines of goods produced in the country are well represented in the stock.

The furniture department contains a complete stock of house furnishings of all kinds and the finest equipped and stocked undertaking rooms in Kansas west of Kansas City on the Missouri Pacific.

The heating and plumbing department is in charge of thoroughly efficient mechanics, and their strongest bid for new work is the satisfied customers they have worked for in times past.

The harness department make all kinds of harness and leather work, and is in charge of a first class harness maker. A large stock of harness, nets, collars, whips, etc., is carried.

The implement department carries a big display of farm implements and wagons, windmills, fencing, scales, gas engines, buggies and cream separators.

The store's policy has been liberal and progressive, and ever abreast of the times. No worthy man ever asked credit or help, without receiving it, and the great busines the store does year after year shows that it nerits the confidence of the people.


E. R. MOSES, Sr.


THE subject of this sketch, Mr. E. R. Moses, has had a more varied life than falls to most people. He was born in Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York. At an early age his parents moved to Pechonica, Ill., where he lived until eleven years of age, when they moved to Sedalia, Mo. Here he graduated from the common schools and was admitted to practice law in the courts of Missouri. In 1873 he went to California overland with three other young men, camping out for a few months for their health, notwithstanding it was very dangerous at times with the Indians, there being no railroads built at this time south. For a while they despaired of all hope of ever arriving in California because of the Indian outbreaks. He arrived in San Diego, California, December, 1873, and for three years made his home in California, Oregon and Washington. In 1876 he went east to attend the Centennial at Philadelphia, and from there he came to Great Bend, having visited this place in 1873. He came back to Great Bend to go into business with the firm of Burton, Odell & Moses. He bought an interest in this firm, Mr. Odell retiring. Then G. N. and E. R. Moses bought out Mr. Burton in 1881. In 1900 Mr. Moses bought out his brother G. N. Moses who wished to retire from business. Since then the business has been conducted under the name of the E. R. Moses Mercantile Co. Mr. Moses has given the greater part of his life in building up this business and has today stores in Great Bend and Hoisington, that are second to none in the State of Kansas. In 1901 he, with others started the Citizens National Bank of Great Bend which is one of the most progressive and solid institutions in the state. The year after he started, with others the Pawnee Rock Bank, and the year following started The Peoples State Bank of Hoisington. All of the banks are prosperous and not a dollar's worth of stock is for sale in either one of them.

In 1879 Mr. Moses married Miss Retta I. Newel of Ottumwa, Iowa, who at this time was visiting her sister, Mrs. G. W. Nimocks. To this union were born two children, Mr. Edward R. Moses, Jr., who is manager of the Mercantile business, and Miss Grace Moses, who married Mr. Chas. Lee of Salina, Kansas, and now lives there.

Mr. Moses has been quite successful and has often been asked why he did not move to Chicago, Kansas City or some other large city. He has always given the reason that he liked to live in the city and state where he made his money, and that he was too old to start in a new business. That he wanted to work as long as he lived, and he could work best in the business he had started in and worked up from the very beginning. Mr. Moses is a loyal Kansan and like his wife likes the sunshine and the climate of Kansas, and would prefer to live in the country that had less rain than in one that had all rain and no health.

Residence of E. R. Moses, Sr.


E. R. Moses, Jr.

MR. E. R. MOSES, JR., is a Kansas product. He was born in Great Bend, Kansas, and has lived here all his life, save the time he spent at the State University and the Musical Institute of Warren, Ohio. He was a member of the Phi Delt Fraternity and boarded there while attending the State University at Lawrence. He is a graduate of the Great Bend High School and State University of Law of Lawrence. He passed a creditable examination before the supreme court to practice in the State of Kansas. Alter considering whether to practice law or to go into business with his father, he chose the latter and is now vice-president, secretary and general manager of the E. R. Moses Mercantile Co., of Great Bend and Hoisington. He has worked himself up from every department to this position in order that he might understand how to make it a greater success, which he is doing. He puts most of his time into this business. He is also director af the Citizens National Bank of Great Bend, Kansas, Pawnee Rock State Bank of Pawnee Rock, Kansas, and of the Peoples State Bank of Hoisington, Kansas.

In 1908 he married Miss Jessie Isabel of Iowa. They have two girls, one eighteen months old and the other three years old. He is nicely located in one of the nicest homes in Great Bend, Kansas. He is a thorough Kansan and nothing is too good for the city, county or state in which he lives. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity, Elks and the Business Men's Club.

He is a young man that does things. Not waiting for them to turn up. He goes to work and turns them up himself. He is courteous, frank and open, which makes him a friend to everyone.



Citizens National Bank

The Citizens National Bank of Great Bend, Kansas, was organized March the 11th, 1901, with the following directors: E. R. Moses, Robt. Merten, G. N. Moses, John Sterett, M. F. Sowards, and Jos. Troilett. The officers were E. R. Moses, president; Robert Merten, vice-president; R. H. Moses, cashier and F. A. Moses, assistant cashier.

The bank started business in the room occupied by the J. V. Brinkman Banking Co., for many years located back of the Allen Drug Store. They remained here until December, 1906, when they moved into their beautiful and capacious quarters, which has the very latest of modern furniture and fixtures, with ladies' waiting room, directors room, safety vaults and everything to make it the very latest ot modern banks.

It is located on the corner formerly occupied by the Allen Drug Store, which the bank bought at this time.

The officers are the same as before with the addition of Edward Opie as assistant cashler and Hylas Butler book-keeper and stenographer. The directors at the present time are E. R. Moses, sr., Robt. M. Merten, Edward Merten, O. W. Damson and E. R. Moses, Jr.

The bank has been prosperous from the very start, which is credited to the progress and energetic ways in which it has been run. Today it stands as one of the most solid institutions in Western Kansas. It is a great believer in grasping hold of everything and anything that is good for the people's interest. They not only believe that it is absolutely necessary to treat every man, woman and child courteously and kindly and look after their interest with fidelity and zeal but to protect their money just as far as they can get means to do so. For this reason they insure in one of the best insurance companies in the United States.

Every dollar deposited in their bank is insured against loss of any kind and from any source. The people can rest assured that their money is secure in this bank in hard and panicy times as well as good times.

The officers of this bank started the Pawnee Rock State Bank of Pawnee Rock, Kansas, and the People State Bank of Hoisington, Kansas, and have ever since been connected with it. They are promoters in everything that benefits the community in which they live. They stand up first, last and always for Great Bend, Barton County and the State of Kansas. The depositors of this bank are not confined to this community in which they are located but they have depositors in several states of the Union. They are members of the State Bankers' Association and the American Bankers' Association. Some officer attends each one of these associations each year, in order that they might keep up with the times. It would do one good to visit this bank and see how nicely it is equipped for business. They do not take a back seat to any bank in the State of Kansas in this way.




MR. BANTA was born in Great Bend, Barton County, Kansas, January 23rd, 1887, and has studied music since the age of 8. His first musical studies were given him by his mother at the piano. Not satisfied with the piano, his longing for something more to his temperament was cleared upon the hearing of an artist violinist and from that time on this instrument has claimed his attention. He is an artist pupil of Signor Guido Parisi of the Royal Conservatory of Music, at Milan, Italy, and taught the two years prior to his return to his home, at the residence of Judge D. A. Banta of this city, in the Strassberger Conservatories of Music at St. Louis, as assistant to Signor Parisi. He was a favorite of this great teacher, who wished to take him to Europe for study, and even wished to will his $3,000 Gagliano Violin to him. Signor Parisi said of him:

"Mr. Dan Worth Banta has been a pupil of mine for the last four years. He is a good performer and teacher, having appeared in concerts here in St. Louis, and taught the violin as assistant teacher in the Strassberger Conservatories.

Dir. Violin Dept. Strassberger,
Cons. St. Louis."

Mr. Banta was a pupil of Richard Poppen, one of the greatest harmony teachers who have come to this country, and under whom he received his knowledge of Musical Theory, Composition and Harmony. He was a pupil, also, of "Hugo Oik" a great pupil of "Joachim," and Concert-Meister of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and of "Rose Reichard' who is, with Maud Powell, one of the greatest of our few great lady violinists in America, and who was a favorite pupil of "Isaye," the greatest living violinist, and of Marteau, the great French master.

In speaking of Mr. Banta, Miss Reichard said: "Dan Worth Banta is a violinist of ability, and a young man of high ideals. During his study with me, he made rapid progress, proving himself a student of talent and intelligence. Possessing good technique and artistic temperament, together with an attractive personality and stage presence, he is assured of success.

I am very glad to recommend him to the music loving public.

Dir. Violin Dept, of
Drake Cons. Des. Moines, Ia.

Has played with the St. Louis Symphony orchestra, and has directed his own orchestra the last four years, and holds graduate, postgraduate and artist medals and diplomas, with the medal of honor from the Strasaberger Cons., under Parisi.

He has a growing class of bright pupils in Great Bend, and is developing an orchestra of a class above the average.

He has had numerous calls for his services, both as a teacher, and as a performer, but has decided to carry on his work here until September, 1913.

This will benefit all who wish to study the violin, and harmony, under an artist, for this length of time, here, as it is taught by European teachers.

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