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.

Joseph A. Mermis

JOSEPH A. MERMIS is one of the oldest native sons of Ellis County and represents one of the families that colonized a large portion of that county from Russia during the '70s and '8Os. He has grown steadily in influence and in business affairs and as president of the Farmers State Bank of Victoria and vice president of the Gorham State Bank. His home is at Gorham.

He was born at Victoria, Kansas, September 26, 1876. His parents, Anton and Elizabeth (Hoffman) Mermis, settled in Victoria August 2, 1876. They had come to the United States that same year from Southeastern Russia, near Saratov. Anton Mermis was a descendant of the Germans who came to Russia in the year 1766 on invitation from Czarina Catharine. Anton Mermis was born in Herzog, Russia, September 23, 1844, and was a farmer there until he came to Kansas. Not being content with the institutions and laws of Russia he determined to find a new home in the United States for himself and children. He homesteaded eighty acres in Ellis County and devoted his energies steadily to farming for thirty years. He acquired over 2,000 acres of land, indicative of the degree of success that followed his efforts as a farmer and stockman. Most of this property he has since divided among his children. In 1894 he moved his home to the vicinity of Gorham and since 1909 has lived retired in that town. He is a democrat and a member of the Catholic Church. His wife, Elizabeth Hoffman, was born in Graf, Russia, October 15, 1845. Their children are: Anton A., a farmer near Gorham; Peter, a farmer near Walker; Frank, also on a farm near Walker; Conrad A., whose farm is near Gorham; Joseph A.; Andrew, a farmer four miles northwest of Walker; John, a farmer 3 1/2 miles northwest of Walker; Fidelis, a farmer near Gorham; Catherine, wife of George Jacobs, whose home is 1 1/2 miles east of Gorham.

Joseph A. Mermis attended the parochial schools of Victoria and graduated from the Hays High School in 1895. He was given a very liberal education, attending for four years St. Fidelis College at Herman, Pennsylvania, and has a creditable record as a teacher in Ellis and Russell counties. For three years he was connected with the schools of Schoenshen and one year at Walker in Ellis County, and was four years a teacher in the Gorham public schools in Russell County.

In 1905 Mr. Mermis entered the grain business at Gorham and in February, 1906, took charge of the Gorham estate and had the active management of that large property until the estate was settled in 1912. With all his other interests he has continued farming since then and has a large place of 720 acres devoted to wheat and livestock, located just east of Gorham. He helped establish the Farmers State Bank of Victoria in April, 1908, and is its active president. Anthony Kuhn is vice president, and the cashier was the late A. A. Dreiling, who died in 1918. The bank has a capital of $25,000, with surplus and profits of $15,000. Mr. Mermis gives much of his time to his duty as vice president of the Gorham State Bank. He is a Catholic in religion and a democrat in politics.

In 1896, at Victoria, Kansas, Mr. Mermis married Miss Barbara Dreiling, daughter of Alois and Catherine (Rohleder) Dreiling, the latter still living in Victoria. Her late father was one of the early settlers in Ellis County, coming in 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Mermis have a very happy home and a brief record of the children born to them is as follows: Leo, born June 23, 1897, and died in his third year, August 18, 1900; Wilfrid, born April 11, 1899; Leo, second of the name, born October 18, 1900, died January 8, 1916, while a student of the Hays Catholic College; Albert, born June 15, 1902; Walter, born February 7, 1904; Ida, born February 8, 1906; Richard, born October 23, 1907; William, born December 25, 1908; Joseph, born February 7, 1910, died the same date; Margaret, born August 24, 1911; and Joseph, born March 23, 1915. The son Wilfrid is now attending school in Kansas City, Albert is a student in an automobile school and business college in Kansas City, Walter attends the Hays Catholic College, while Ida, Richard, William and Margaret are all in the parochial schools at Gorham.

Pages 2139-2140.