Barber County Kansas

Barber County Index, February 16, 1939.

W. C. "Billy" Millar, Well-Known Kansas Stockman, 72, Dies

Republican Leader and Former Barber County Representative Dies at Pratt

W. C. "Billy" Millar, 73, one of the state's oldest and most beloved stockmen, prominent Republican and former state representative from this county, died late Saturday at his home in Pratt, following a brief illness.

Mr. Millar, who was widely known in southwest Kansas, had been ill only since Tuesday. He had not been in the best of health, but had managed to carry on business until Tuesday when he became violently ill at his home.

No other stockman in Kansas has more friends that did "Billy" Millar. His name was a by-word at every livestock meeting and was friendly on the lips of everyone who spoke it. And it was said no other stockman handled more cattle in his lifetime than did the beloved Kiowa-Barber rancher.

And "Billy" was respected. He was a power not only in the livestock industry, but in Republican politics as well.

He served several terms in the state legislature, and served on the old public service commission between 1925 and 1929 under appointment of Gov. Ben Paulen. "Billy" was a big man in the legislature, back in the eventful days at the turn of the century. He served under the late Gov. W. E. Stanley, three years from Barber county and two years from Kiowa county.

About four years ago, the aging ranchman decided to sell all his ranch property and confine his activities to being a good stockholder in the Wichita Union Stock Yards company, in which he had extensive holdings.

He had been in the livestock business just about 60 of his fruitful 72 years. He came to Kansas from his native Illinois at the age of 12. He was born December 26, 1866. His parents took up residence at Lawrence, later going to Eureka where "Billy" received his education. There and at Lawrence he studied law. But the livestock industry held the most intrigue for the capable young man. He operated a farm near Eureka for some time.

He went west some 40 years ago and soon purchased the old Frank Rockefeller ranch, one of the largest and most productive pieces of property in Kansas. His holdings spread out until he had extensive properties in both Kiowa and Barber counties.

"Billy's" fortunes soared. He became one of the biggest cattle feeders in the Southwest. His prize herefords which he would bring from Texas as calves and fatten for a year; topped the livestock market. No one ever claimed he raised better Hereford cattle than did his old friend, "Billy Millar."

The now prominent young stockman went to the state legislature from Barber county in 1898. Three fruitful years he spent as that county's representative, under the governorship of W. E. Stanley. He then switched jurisdiction to Kiowa county and went to the state assembly from there. While in the legislature, he served on several powerful bodies, including the railroad commission, which at that time yielded a big stock in Kansas.

Among the big men with whom he did business as a rancher were Cap Birkett of Wichita and the late Dave Bean, both of whom were his partners at one time or another.

Funeral services for Mr. Millar were held Tuesday afternoon at Pratt and interment was in Pratt cemetery.


Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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