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.

H. Wallace Dorsett

H. WALLACE DORSETT. It is doubtful if any citizen of Ford County has had a more uniformly successful career than H. Wallace Dorsett, of Spearville. His friends say that in all the years he has been here he has never touched any matter in a business way which has not responded quickly to his judgment and energy with successful results. He has been a man of large affairs, of broad sympathies and public spirit, and his standing in the community was well evidenced when he was chosen a member of the Ford County War Council in 1917. He has always been active in every enterprise for the betterment of city, county and state.

Mr. Dorsett was born in Schuyler County, Illinois, in December, 1861. The Dorsett family in America is rather restricted in members, and all the present members are descended from an ancestor who came out of Dorcestershire, England, and was an early settler in the United States. Mr. Dorsett is a son of William D. Dorsett, who was born in North Carolina but when quite young moved to Schuyler County, Illinois. He developed large interests as a farmer there, and died in 1897, at the age of sixty-seven. He married Elizabeth A. Pendleton. She was born in Kentucky July 11, 1832, and was a small child when the Pendleton family left Kentucky and made their journey to a new home, traveling by horseback in 1835 to Illinois. Her father, Edwin Pendleton, married a Miss Sprague. William D. Dorsett and wife had six children: Mattie, wife of U. S. Cole, a retired merchant at Los Angeles; Mrs. Harriet E. Brown, of Schuyler County, Illinois, wife of a farmer and stock raiser; Joshua E., who lives at Mariana, Arkansas, and is a contractor in stone, cement and brick; Ellis B., a retired capitalist at Quincy, Illinois; H. Wallace; and Alvin DeWitt, who lives in Chicago and is in the publishing business.

H. Wallace Dorsett grew up on his father's Illinois farm, attended the common schools and finished the eighth grade. About the time he reached his majority he took a course in the Gem City Business College at Quincy. In November, 1884, he cast his first ballot for Blaine and Logan, the republican presidential and vice presidential candidates for that year, and on the day after election he left Schuyler County for Kansas. A few days later he was at Spearville, and here he took a pre-emption and some Osage Indian land near Ford City. Mr. Dorsett remained with his claim, working and improving, until he had a title. He came to Kansas with only about $225 in actual capital, and he became well acquainted by personal experience with the hardships and vicissitudes of life in this section. For a time he worked as a common section hand on the Santa Fe and also as a common laborer on the Eureka Canal, which was then being constructed through the county but was subsequently abandoned. Mr. Dorsett's home on his claim was very much like that of other pioneers, consisting of a half dugout, boarded up on the sides and roofed over with boards.

However, his talents have been best expressed through avenues of business rather than as an agriculturist. After a few years he entered the drug business at Spearville with Doctor Crumbine as partner. This firm continued for six years, and then Mr. Dorsett bought the doctor's interest and gradually expanded his store into a general mercantile enterprise. Mr. Dorsett had an active career as a merchant for seventeen years and as a banker for thirteen years. His mercantile enterprise was always more or less a side line to his larger interests in the buying and selling of lands, live stock and other properties. He is a genius as a trader and has seldom turned down any opportunity to make an honest trade. Mr. Dorsett has the distinction of shipping to market several car loads of the fattest cattle ever sent out of Ford County. In his thirty-three years of business record he has never entered into anything that has not proved successful. His success can be attributed to an unusual combination of good business judgment and personal integrity. In 1902 Mr. Dorsett became president of the Ford County State Bank, and while he sold his controlling interest in 1915 he is still the largest individual stockholder and is still president. At the present time he is largely busied with closing out his large land holdings and in looking after his other private affairs.

Mr. Dorsett lives in one of the good and substantial modern homes of Ford County, a large ten room house surrounded with ample and well improved grounds. It is Mr. Dorsett's opinion, based on long experience, that the same opportunity is now open to persons who are qualified to take advantage of it as was true when he first came West. Failures now as always, in his judgment, are due to poor management rather than to the country and to material conditions.

After coming to Kansas Mr. Dorsett married, September 17, 1889, Miss Carrie Nichol. She was born February 14, 1864, a daughter of L. W. and Almira Nichol, who were pioneer settlers of Ford County from Wisconsin. Mrs. Dorsett has a sister and brother, Stella and Henry. Mr. and Mrs. Dorsett are the parents of four children: Henry G., who died at the age of three years; Marion, who is now in her second year in the Fairmount Seminary for Girls at Washington; and Charlotte and Blanche, both students of the Spearville High School.

In politics Mr. Dorsett has generally affiliated with the republican party, though occasionally voting independently. He has been too busy with other affairs to find time for office holding, though the local welfare has always been an object of his zealous support. He is a charter member of Spearville Lodge No. 354 of the Ancient Order of United Workmen was a trustee for a number of years and is now an elder of the Presbyterian Church.