Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Richard M. Church

RICHARD M. CHURCH. As the county seat, Dighton is a very important point in Lane County, its many advantages attracting a most desirable class of citizens as permanent residents. One of the representative business men of this city is Richard M. Church, who is also county treasurer of Lane County, a man of substance and responsibility who has spent the greater part of his life in this state. In fact Mr. Church escaped by but four years being a native of Kansas. His birth took place in Warren County, Illinois, February 23, 1862, and he was brought to Kansas in 1866. He is of English ancestry, and his parents were Munson M. and Charity (Clark) Church.

Munson M. Church was born in the State of New York, his mother belonging to the old Warren family of some renown. He was one of a family of eleven children and was young when his parents moved to near Laporte, Indiana, where his father was a farmer during life, and at death he was interred at Crown Point in that state. The Church family is notable because of its longevity. To his marriage with Charity Clark, his first wife, six children were born, namely: Lydia, who is the wife of Rev. G. O. Thomas, of Lansing, Michigan; Byron L., who is a farmer in Lane County, Kansas; Milton E., who lives in New York; Mary E., who is the wife of Charles H. Chase, of Lansing, Michigan; Emma, deceased; and Richard M. The mother of these children died in the infancy of their youngest son. The father moved from Illinois to Michigan and subsequently came to Kansas but ultimately returned to Michigan. In vigorous life he followed farming as a vocation, but for many years has been retired from activity. Despite his advanced age he preserves an interest in kindred and surroundings and is carefully provided for by his children.

Richard M. Church lost his mother so early in life that he has only a dim recollection of her loving presence. He was taken to the home of his maternal grandparents, Miles Wheeler and wife, who moved to Kansas in 1866, settling in Crawford County, where they resided for eight years. They were worthy people and provided a home for their grandson of which he has many pleasant memories, while he gave them affectionate and dutiful care as long as they survived.

Richard M. Church went to Calhoun County, Michigan, and lived with his father, but it was in Ellsworth County, Kansas, that he obtained his common school education and grew to manhood. He was twenty-three years of age when he left there and began life for himself on a ranch in Ness County. In the meanwhile he preempted land in Nevada Township and proved up and remained there for five years, engaging in farming. During this period his home was one of the type called "soddy" in local parlance, a more or less wind protected board cabin of one room, with a sod roof and earth floor. In many of these have been born and nurtured men who have become great in state and nation. When Mr. Church left his claim he rented land near Hollyrood in Ellsworth County, on which he remained as a farmer for nine years, being fairly successful, and then moved into the town and for the next four years busied himself as a dealer and shipper of livestock to the Kansas City markets.

In 1903 Mr. Church came to Lane County and became a resident of Alamota, going into the grain, coal, flour and feed business, building up a substantial trade and becoming widely known and popular, this popularity being very apparent when in 1913 he was elected with a flattering majority to the office of county treasurer of Lane County. Following this election he came to reside at Dighton, where he is well known in the grain business and is manager of the Farmers Elevator Company also. In politics he is a republican and has never missed casting his presidential vote since his first one, in 1884, when he supported Hon. James G. Blaine.

In May, 1886, Mr. Church was married to Miss Stella Jewett, who was born in Calhoun County, Michigan. Her parents were Simon H. and Sarah (Wetmore) Jewett. They came from Calhoun County to Kansas in 1888 and Mr. Jewett followed farming here during the rest of his life. Mrs. Church is the next youngest of Mr. and Mrs. Jewett's family, the others being: Mrs. Della Center, of Mitchell County Kansas; Mrs. Ida Meserole, of Olivet, Michigan; Mrs. Libbie Long, of Wichita, Kansas; Edward H., of Wichita; and Mrs. Katie Wood, of Lee Center, Michigan.

Mr. and Mrs. Church have three children: Claudia, who married Edgar A. Lamb, of Dighton, Kansas, and they have two children, Morine and Lois; Leo J., who is a farmer operating near Dighton, married Alma Durr and they have one son, Winston; and Richard S., who is at home. For many years Mr. Church has been identified with the Masonic fraternity and is past master of Barney Lodge No. 279, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Dighton.