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.

Mathias Dick

MATHIAS DICK. The career of Mathias Dick touches the business and community interests of Ellinwood at several of its most important points. He was one of the first agents and representatives of the Santa Fe Railroad at that point. For over thirty years he has been in business as a merchant, and is now head of the local telephone exchange.

Mr. Dick was born at Mequon, Wisconsin, October 16, 1851, son of Anton and Mary Sabilla (Uerlings) Dick. His parents were both born in Germany, his father near the River Rhine. Anton Dick came to the United States in 1849, after his marriage, and resumed the trade of mason at Mequon, Wisconsin, where he spent the rest of his days. Later he was a farmer, and he died in 1909, his widow surviving him and passing away at the age of eighty-seven. Anton Dick never acquired a fluent knowledge of the English language and had no part in American affairs beyond that of a quiet, industrious worker and citizen. He and his wife had twelve children, eleven reaching mature years. Those now living are: Katherine, wife of Nick Rausch, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Isabella, wife of Frank Komp, of Chicago; Theodore, of Chicago; Mathias and John, both of Ellinwood; Frank, whose home is in Michigan; and Theresa, wife of Nick Becker, of Ellinwood.

Mathias Dick attended the public schools of Wisconsin, also a commercial school, and first learned the trades of stone mason, brick layer and plasterer. He left those occupations at the age of twenty-two and subsequently learned the art of telegraphy. He came to Kansas for the express purpose of accepting the position of station agent and operator at Ellinwood, and was probably the second agent at the station. He arrived and took up his duties on January 1, 1876. For five years he was a local railway representative, and spent two years more with the Santa Fe at Albuquerque and Rincon, New Mexico. He then abandoned railroading and returned to Ellinwood to become a permanent citizen.

Here he engaged in the implement business and for a short time was associated with V. S. Musil under the firm name of Musil & Dick. After that he continued alone in business until 1907, when he sold out. In the meantime he had brought his trade to flourishing proportions, and the old business is still continued as the E. L. Smith Hardware Company. From merchandising Mr. Dick entered the telephone industry, installing the Ellinwood Exchange, and gradually building and extending rural and toll lines until his plant now has a large service over Barton County, the county lines totalling seventy miles. He is a member of the Kansas Independent Telephone Association. He also helped reorganize the Citizens State Bank of Ellinwood, but after a year disposed of his stock.

Barton County people as a whole probably know Mr. Dick best through his long and competent service as a member of the Board of County Commissioners. He retired from the board in January, 1915, after ten years of consecutive service representing the First District. Among his colleagues on the board at different times were Henry Merhof, C. L. Moses, Robert Merten, Jacob Zimmer, Thomas Brown, Sam Shattuck, Charles E. Dodge, Frank Wood, Pat Murphy and George Land. Outside of routine administration the work which was of greatest importance was the building of concrete bridges. In local annals Mr. Dick is called "father" of the concrete bridge system of the county. The use of concrete for that purpose was experimental when the first bridges and culberts[sic] were constructed in Barton County, but the experiment has since been extended to the permanent practice. Mr. Dick also served as the first city treasurer of Ellinwood, and gave six years to that office. He is a democrat in politics and was elected to office on that ticket. Mr. Dick owns a business block in Ellinwood, and also his comfortable home there.

At Ellinwood January 21, 1879, he married Miss Mary Kimpler, who was born in Illinois, being one of the several children of Peter and Theresa (Enenbach) Kimpler, who were natives of Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Dick have some very capable sons and daughters. Felix, the oldest, is a dealer in automobile accessories in Ellinwood, and married Effie Jackson; Leo, associated in business with his brother Felix, married Lillie Hartmetz; Alfred, who is in business with his father, married Winnie Demel and has a son, Wayne; Oliva, the wife of C. A. Krueger, of Ellinwood, has a daughter, Adrianna; Victor is the soldier representative of the family, serving with Company E of the One Hundred and Ninth Engineers in France; Mary, the youngest of the family, is connected with the Ellinwood Telephone Exchange.

Pages 2389-2390.