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.

Edward D. Isern

EDWARD D. ISERN. In the commercial history of Ellinwood hardly any man has figured more usefully and more continuously over a period of many years than Edward D. Isern, junior partner in the Stephan & Isern Mercantile Company.

Mr. Isern was a very young man when he came to Kansas. He was born at New Bremen, Ohio, December 23, 1868. His parents located in that section of Northern Ohio about eighty years ago, and were Frederick and Marie (Heman) Isern, both natives of Germany. His father spent his active life as a farmer at New Bremen and died there in Decemebr,[sic] 1889, at the age of seventy-three. The widowed mother survived until October, 1915. They had five sons and three daughters, seven still living, and those to become identified with Kansas were: Adolph, who died at Ellinwood and left children; Ernest S., a retired farmer of Ellinwood; John C., a farmer near Ellinwood; Mrs. Henry Ziegenbusch of Ellinwood; and Edward D.

After finishing his education in the New Bremen High School Edward D. Isern qualified as a school teacher, and made a successful record of five years of work as a teacher in the schools of Auglaize County, Ohio. While teaching then as now was not a highly paid profession, he saved something from his earnings, and that modest capital he brought with him to Ellinwood, Kansas, on April 10, 1890. For the first two years he was bookkeeper and general utility man with the firm of Edwards and Fair, retail lumber merchants. During that time he acclimated himself to the country, and with Fred Stephan as a partner entered business for himself. This partnership and agreeable associations have continued uninterruptedly over a quarter of a century. They first did business as general merchants in a store 25 by 80 feet. At first they sold goods only for cash, but after two years established an approved credit system. Their business has grown and prospered from year to year and their splendid stock of merchandise is now housed and sold in a building 50 by 140 feet. They also have a branch store at Alden, 55 by 80 feet, three times the size of their pioneer store building.

Mr. Isern is a director of the Peoples State Bank of Ellinwood and was one of its organizers. He has served on the town council and as mayor of Ellinwood and during his time as mayor one of the Diesel oil engines was installed in the local plant for pumping water and making electric current for the town. Mr. Isern erected his own home in Ellinwood, and has also contributed toward the material growth by a business house and other building construction.

In politics he is a democrat, and his presidential voting record is clear throughout, including his first ballot for Grover Cleveland, three votes for Mr. Bryan, one for Judge Parker, and two for Mr. Wilson. Mr. Isern is a Lutheran but was confirmed in the Reformed Church, to which his parents belonged.

In Barton County, July 25, 1900, Mr. Isern married Miss Lyda Mellies. Her father, Henry Mellies, one of the earliest settlers of Barton County, located on a farm four miles northeast of Ellinwood, and since retiring has resided in Ellinwood. He was living in Missouri at the time of the Civil war and served as a Union soldier. Mrs. Isern was one of two sons and six daughters in her parents' family. Mr. and Mrs. Isern have three children: Milton, Edward and Dorothy. Milton is now a senior in the Ellinwood High School.

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