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.

Aaron L. Farmer

AARON L. FARMER. Though a comparative new comer to Rush County, where he has lived and followed with most gratifying success the business of farming near LaCrosse since 1907, Mr. Farmer knew much of Kansas in the early days. He is a native Nebraskan, having been born in Cass County February 15, 1862. His early boyhood was spent on a farm and his education came from the local public schools. When he was a youth he went with his parents to Kansas. His father took a homestead in Elk County, proved up and after remaining there two years moved to Montgomery County in May, 1877, when Aaron was fifteen years old. His father was for a number of years hotel proprietor at Elk City.

Mr. Farmer's grandfather was John Farmer, who served a period in the English army, and finally deserted and came to America. He arrived in time to join the American forces for service in the War of 1812. He made his home in Northern Vermont, where he died. John Farmer married a widow, Mrs. Claxton. She had two sons and two daughters left as her family after passing through a plague of cholera following her advent from the British Isles to America. John Farmer and wife had two sons: Thomas W. and Robert E. Thomas went out to Idaho during the rush for gold in the early '60s, but spent many years of his later life in Iowa and finally removed to Nebraska and died in Cass County.

Robert E. Farmer, father of Aaron L., was born in Vermont October 22, 1835, and grew up in the northern part of that state. Left an orphan, he acquired a fair education and was a student all his life. Leaving Vermont, he came West in 1857 and was a participant in the varied activities and events of the country west of the Missouri River. He did freighting across the plains to Denver and three different times drove oxen from Missouri River points to the far West. He subsequently became a pioneer in Nebraska, took up a homestead in Lancaster County, from there brought his family to Kansas, as already noted, and then returned to Nebraska and died at Hardington in Cedar County in April, 1905. His oldest son was the first white child born in Lancaster County, Nebraska. Robert Farmer was a man of more than ordinary genius and capabilities. He was active in local politics, could make a good speech, and though republican at first subsequently became independent. He supported W. J. Bryan when the latter made his first campaign for Congress. Robert Farmer was for forty years a Christian minister. He was ordained at Lincoln, Nebraska, and he filled pulpits wherever he was needed as a supply. He was twice married. His first wife, Elizabeth Sheffer, whom he married in Nebraska, was a daughter of William Sheffer, who came out from Pennsylvania and was a farmer and homesteader in Nebraska. Elizabeth Farmer died in Nebraska, leaving the following children: William A., who was the first white child born in Lancaster County and is now living in Cass County, Nebraska; Aaron L.; Leonard E., of Des Moines, Iowa; and Nelson C., of Harland, Montana. Robert Farmer married for his second wife Amy Coleman. They were married in Cass County, Nebraska, and her family had come out from Ohio, where she was born. She died in Nebraska in 1906. To this marriage were born the following children: Mary Elizabeth, who married Elias Gillian and lives in Purcell, Missouri; Alice J., wife of Sam Gillion, of Hardington, Nebraska; Robert E., of Purcell, Missouri; Charles L., of Phillips, South Dakota; Kate, wife of Alexander McGregor, of Great Sandy, Montana; and Mamie, who married Joseph Pete, of Kilkenny, Minnesota.

Aaron L. Farmer became of age while the family lived at Elk City, Kansas. In 1882 he cast his maiden vote for Governor John P. St. John. He began life as a farmer, and for two years during his youth he herded cattle in the Indian Territory. As a farmer he lived on rented land in Montgomery and Chautauqua counties, Kansas. He was first married while in Chautauqua County, and in August, 1889, returned to Nebraska. He took up farming near Ashland in that state and lived continuously on one farm for about nineteen years.

In 1907 Mr. Farmer moved his family and goods to Kansas, unloading at LaCrosse. He brought with him as live stock four horses, a dog and a pig. In Rush County he owned his first farm. He bought the north half of section 8, township 18, range 18, and moved into the two room house on the place. The farm had some minor improvements, but in 1908 he put up a splendid barn, 48 by 54 feet, with stalls for twenty head of horses and room for fifty tons of feed. He also gradually fenced his land, and from the fruits of his prosperity added to his holdings the southeast quarter of section 5. Wheat raising has been one of his main stand-bys as a farmer, and during his nine seasons in Rush County he has had only three unprofitable crops. The banner year was 1914, when from 420 acres he harvested 13,500 bushels of wheat. He does not depend altogether upon grain crops, but raises grade cattle, and sells his surplus to the local buyers.

Matters of citizenship and community interests have not been neglected by him during his residence in Rush County. He is now serving on the board of the Rush County High School. He has been treasurer of the LaCrosse Township board and treasurer of school district No. 35. Mr. Farmer is a republican, he and has family are members of the Christian Church, and he is one of the deacons in that demonination.[sic]

While living in Kansas as a young man Mr. Farmer married Miss Minnie Davis. Her father, J. B. Davis, entered the Union army from Illinois, and about 1878 came out to Kansas, locating in Chautauqua County, where the rest of his active life was spent. He enlisted in the army from Danville, Illinois, and was the only one of four soldier brothers to return from the war. Mrs. Farmer died in Nebraska August 16, 1899. She was the mother of three children: James Roy, a farmer near LaCrosse, married Olive Johnson and died April 14, 1917, leaving a son, Leroy Alfred; William Earl married Madge Burriss, and is a farmer near his parents; Minnie Elizabeth, of Chicago.

At Omaha, Nebraska, August 17, 1905, Mr. Farmer married Mrs. Mona S. Shatzell, who by her first marriage has a son, Arthur Shatzell, born May 11, 1901, and is in the Government service at Portsmouth, Virginia. Mrs. Farmer is a daughter of William J. and Mattie (Daugherty) Boothe. Her father came from Indiana to Bates County, Missouri, was a farmer there, and afterward joined a party of prospectors and was never afterward heard from. His children were: Charles P., now of Kansas City; Mrs. Farmer, who was born in Clay County, Indiana, May 12, 1878; and Mrs. Addie L. Sumner, who lives in California. By their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Farmer have three children: Amy L., Verna E. and Alice A.