Barber County Kansas
Among the more successful stockmen in the county is J.W. DeGeer, whose ranch is in Deerhead township.
Mr. DeGeer was born near Toronto, Canada, in 1843. Entered Hillsdale College at Hillsdale, Michigan, at the age of 20, where he remained four years. After leaving this well-known institution of learning he adopted the profession of teacher, teaching for a number of years in Michigan and Missouri. He came to Barber county with very little means, in the summer of 1883, proved up a claim, on which he still resides, and to which he has added from time to time until he now owns 2340 acres and has under control 6000 acres, fenced and cross-fenced into pastures and fields for the convenient handling of stock and raising feed.
This tract of land is admirably adapted to grazing live stock, being covered with buffalo, bunch and all other native grasses in about the right proportions to furnish excellent grazing at all seasons of the year. It is watered by numerous springs, Roller Canyon and Big Mule creek furnishing an abundant supply of water at all times. There is also plenty of timber for shade shelter, fencing, fuel, etc., and an abundance of land for raising feed.
Mr. DeGeer devotes a good deal of attention to raising sheep, keeping on hand usually from twelve hundred to eighteen hundred of these little money-makers. In addition to his high grade flock he has a flock of registered Black Tops and Rambouillets that will compare favorably with the best to be found anywhere, and from which he sells breeding animals in goodly numbers to go to all parts of the west.
The cattle on this ranch are not in great number, but are of splendid quality, consisting of registered and high grade Short Horns. None but the best registered sires obtainable have been used for the past twelve years and frequent additions of registered females have been made from the best herds in eastern Kansas. The herd is now headed by the pure Cruickshank bull, Sunflower Boy, 127,337. This bull was got by Vandal, 121,419, and his dam was the Secret cow Sunflower, both bred by Col. W.A. Harris of Linwood. The herd now numbers about 90 head. The three-year-old steers sold from this ranch last season averaged 1241 pounds and brought the top price. They were sold off grass, never having eaten any grain.
Mr. DeGeer says he has never regretted coming to Barber county. He believes it the healthiest place on earth and possessed of advantages that with a reasonable amount of industry and business practice will enable any one to live, educate their children, and improve their financial condition.
Mr. DeGeer has demonstrated beyond question that sheep and cattle raising can be combined with profit in Barber county. He is probably not situated more favorably than many ranchmen of the county, but he has handled the two intelligently.
Mr. DeGeer has for sale every season a number of thoroughbred bulls and rams.
Obituary: Lyman W. DeGeer, brother of J.W. DeGeer.
Thanks to Ellen (Knowles) Bisson for finding, transcribing and contributing the above Medicine Lodge Cresset article to this web site!
It is one of a series of articles published together on 2 March 1900 under the title of Barber County Profiles: Men Who Have Taken a Prominent Part in Developing the Stock Industry in Barber County.