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.

Walter R. Riblett

Walter R. Riblett and wife (Grace G. Hurst) WALTER R. RIBLETT, of Gem, has spent all his life in the western states of Nebraska and Kansas. Much of his career has been devoted to farming and he is still in that class. Responding with all his exertions to the call for increased planting during 1918, Mr. Riblett operated 1,000 acres of Thomas County soil and shipped large quantities of grain and livestock to feed the allies, but more particularly he is a merchant, conducting a general merchandise store at Gem.

Mr. Riblett is of remote French ancestry. It was during Colonial times in America that the Ribletts came from France and settled in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, John Riblett, was born in Pennsylvania in 1806 and spent his life as a farmer. For many years his farm was in the hill and valley country around Conemaugh, Pennsylvania, where he died December 31, 1899, at the advanced age of ninety-two. He married Phoebe Ripple, who also spent her life in Pennsylvania.

Jacob Riblett, father of the Gem merchant, was born near Conemaugh, Pennsylvania, in 1837. In young manhood he moved to Ohio and settled at Wellsville. At the age of twenty-five he enlisted in Company D, 126th Ohio Infantry, and saw active service with the Union armies until the close of the war. He married in Ohio and spent his active career as a farmer. In 1871 he moved to the Nebraska frontier, settling at Rising City, and in 1897 retired from his farm and has since made his home at Lincoln, Nebraska. In politics he is a republican. The maiden name of his wife was Susanna Daugherty, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1841 and died at Gem, Kansas, in 1905. Their children were: H. J., who died at Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1912; Jacob, Jr., a hardware merchant at Gem, Kansas; J. T., who is superintendent of a gas and electric fixture company at Denver, Colorado; Millie Alberda, who died in infancy; Samuel H., who was a resident of Gem when he died at Victor, Colorado, in 1897; J. W., a farmer at Surprise, Nebraska; Katie, wife of E. A. Reeder, a merchant at Gem City; Jane, wife of C. B. Hemstrom, a farmer near Gem; David W., who died in infancy; Walter R., who is the tenth in this large family of children; and Olin, a farmer at Halford, Kansas.

Walter R. Riblett was born at Rising City, Nebraska, January 8, 1881, and received most of his education in the public schools of Gem, Kansas. At the age of eighteen he began teaching in Thomas County, and taught there five years and in Polk County, Nebraska, one year. During 1905-06, he was a student in the Lincoln Nebraska Business College and since that time a large part of his energies have been taken up with farming in Thomas County. In addition to his other interests he established, in 1910, a mercantile store at Gem, and has built up a trade that extends in a wide radius around that town. He also operates a creamery, which he started on a very small scale, shipping at first only two cans a week, but now sends out forty cans weekly. Mr. Riblett is a republican in politics and served several terms as clerk of Lacey Township in Thomas County. He is a member and trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is affiliated with St. Thomas Lodge No. 306, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Colby Camp No. 645, Modern Woodmen of America. Among other business interests he is treasurer of the Farmers Elevator at Gem.

April 3, 1910, at Gem, he married Miss Grace G. Hurst, daughter of J. W. and Ida (Morton) Hurst, who are retired farmers at Oberlin, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Riblett have two children: Elva, born April 7, 1911, and Floy, born August 31, 1912.