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.

Louis August Etzold

LOUIS AUGUST ETZOLD. Hardly any individual name means more to the old timers of Seward County than that of Louis August Etzold, one of the real pioneers of the county and especially distinguished by many years of valuable service in handling the county's affairs. He is still active, proprietor of a title and abstract business which he established more than a quarter of a century ago.

Louis A. Etzold was born at Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 4, 1857. His parents, Henry and Margaret (Weis) Etzold, emigrated from Dresden, Saxony, in 1843. In traveling to their destination at Fort Wayne they had to make use of the limited transportation facilities then in vogue and were passengers on a canal packet which threaded the Wabash and Erie Canal, the principal highway of transportation for the metropolis and county seat of Allen County, Indiana. Henry Etzold was for many years a successful shoe merchant at Fort Wayne, but finally retired from business and died in 1905, at the age of eighty-four. He acquired American citizenship and became an American in spirit as well as literally and his choice among the parties was republican. His wife was a native of Bavaria and died in 1903. Of their ten children those still living are: Millie, wife of W. E. Homburg, a St. Louis merchant; Clement T., of Independence, Kansas; Fred, a railroad man of Fort Wayne; Clara, widow of William Auman, living at Fort Wayne; and Louis A.

Louis A. Etzold was educated in the public schools of Fort Wayne until past fourteen years of age. His first regular employment was as a piano salesman, and he sold musical instruments for six years. He learned telegraphy, and went into practical railway work as a station agent. He finally resigned his position to engage in the stationery business at Fort Wayne. Four years brought him some measure of success but at the same time the confining occupation so wore down his health that he sold out and sought the pure air of Western Kansas.

In the fall of 1885, before Seward County was organized, he entered a quarter of section 22, township 31, range 31, and for two winters lived in a dugout, the popular and economical home of the pioneers. So far as his abilities permitted he was diligent in improving his rural surroundings. In June, 1886, he was joined by other settlers in the circulation of a petition asking the governor to organize Seward County. The governor responded favorably by appointing temporary county officers and declaring Fargo Springs the temporary county seat. In August of that year the first election for county officers was held. Mr. Etzold had the complete confidence and esteem of the early settlers, as is indicated by the fact that he was the first man elected to the office of probate judge. Springfield was at the same time chosen by the voters as the county seat, though the county seat problem was an oft recurring one and brought about much trouble and confusion in county politics until Liberal was finally given the honor. Mr. Etzold was re-elected probate judge and served a full term of two years, during which time he issued the first marriage license and performed the first marriage ceremony in Seward County.

In 1891 he was appointed deputy register of deeds, held that office two years, and in the fall of 1892 was elected clerk of the District Court. He was clerk until the fall of 1897, when he resigned and was elected county clerk. It was as county clerk that his abilities shone most conspicuously, and he was retained in that official dignity and responsibility for thirteen years. When he finally retired he had rounded out a service of twenty-two years as a county official.

In 1887 Judge Etzold opened the first book of abstracts in the county and this business has been continued by him ever since. His is not only the oldest but he has kept in constant touch with county records, and is regarded by the people of Seward County as a walking authority on real estate titles. He is also vice president of the First National Bank of Liberal, the pioneer bank of that city. He has built a good home for himself in Liberal and his investments extend to the farming lands of the county.

Judge Etzold is a republican and gave his presidential vote to General Garfield in 1880. He has stood for civic improvement and permanent development along progressive lines, has always borne himself with dignity and is held in the highest regard for his safe judgment and mature consideration of questions affecting public interests.

After a year or so of pioneering in Seward County Judge Etzold returned to Kansas City, Missouri, and on September 25, 1887, claimed Miss Mary N. Higgins as his bride. Mrs. Etzold was born in Delphos, Ohio, December 2, 1863, daughter of George L. and Selina Higgins, old residents of that section of Ohio. Her mother died there in 1886 and her father in 1890, and of their four children Mrs. Etzold is one of the two still living.

The children of Judge Etzold and wife are Mabel Louise, Clara Grace, Margaret Selina, Irene Antoinette and Mary Catherine. Mabel L. graduated from the Seward County High School and in 1912 from the Kansas Agricultural College with the degree Bachelor of Science and is now the wife of Harry M. Noel, a civil engineer at Concordia, Kansas. They have a son Louis Etzold Noel. The daughter Clara Grace also attended the local high school and the Kansas State Normal School, and after graduation became a teacher, but is now the wife of George D. Hall, of Fowler, Kansas. Margaret S. is a student in the Kansas Agricultural College and the two younger daughters are in high school.