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.

David W. Sipes

DAVID W. SIPES. To tell all that David W. Sipes has witnessed and participated in during the last forty years would comprise a rather complete and full history of Morton County. He knew that district as a vast cattle range, has seen the range split up into homesteads and modern stock ranches, and has done his own modest and successful part largely as a stock farmer.

Mr. Sipes was born in Wayne County, Iowa, January 21, 1875, and was eleven years of age when his parents came into Morton County in the fall of 1886. His father, Lawson W. Sipes, was a native of Indiana, probably of Harrison County, spent his early years there and then went to Iowa, and married in Wayne County. He had only a country school education and began life poor, dependent upon his own hands for a living. When David was two years of age his parents moved to Kansas, locating in McPherson County, near Canton, where his father spent a number of years very successfully as a farmer. He finally decided to go farther west and enter land in the public domain, and coming to Morton County homesteaded ten miles north of Richfield, in which locality David W. Sipes grew to manhood. Lawson Sipes brought with him from McPherson County a good bunch of cattle, proved up his homestead, and during the next seven years placed his chief emphasis upon stock raising. Ranches in Morton County were then but few in number and the range was wide and rich in grass. The three leading cattlemen of that day were the Beaty Brothers, at Point of Rock, James W. McClain, on the Cimarron River below the Beatys, and T. B. Porter, still further below McClain. All these cattlemen and their outfits have long since disappeared from this region. In 1893 Lawson Sipes returned to Eastern Kansas, and spent his last years as a farmer near Arlington in Reno County. He was never active in politics, though a democratic voter, was a member of the Masonic order and the Methodist Church. He died in 1897, when about seventy years of age. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Conley. Her father, William Conley, came from Baltimore, Maryland, to Iowa, and was a farmer along the line of Wayne and Monroe counties until his death. Mrs. Lawson Sipes now lives with her son David at the age of seventy-four. Her children were: Annie, wife of T. A. Holmes of Keener, Arkansas; Louisa, who married C. E. Oaks and died in Morton County; Mary, who became the wife of O. P. Koplin of Portland, Oregon; Ira, a resident of Portland, Oregon; Newton, a machinist at Raymond, Washington; Laura, wife of E. M. Pray of Oilfield, California; David W.; Addie, wife of William I. Nawl, of Jett, Oklahoma; Paul, a gold miner in Alaska; Hiram, a rancher in Morton County; and Ernest, also of Morton County.

David W. Sipes had a limited education in McPherson County and in Morton County, and practically grew up on the ranch and range. At the age of eighteen he began working for wages with the Beaty Brothers and also for Jim McClain and the "O X Cattle Company" of Colorado. For the latter outfit he made two trips from Las Animas, Colorado, to the far northwest, driving with other cowboys from 3,000 to 3,500 head of cattle to the grassy plains of Montana. He continued working for wages until he was about twenty-two years of age. His savings he invested in cattle, and finally had accumulated fifty head of calves. With these he returned to the family homestead which he still owns. In that locality he established his ranch headquarters, filed on a homestead, the northwest quarter of section 29, township 31, range 42, and erected a frame house for his home. There he continned to reside until he removed to Elkhart. Mr. Sipes occupied his time with breeding mixed grade cattle, and also graduated into the buying, dealing and shipping departments of the business. More recently he has further specialized in the livestock industry, handling cows at Elkhart.

From his activities he created a ranch of fourteen quarter sections, six of which he still owns. His present pasture comprises eight sections under fence, largely leased lands. His original cattle brand was "WO" but as a result of selling and scattering so much of this brand over the country he changed to the "cross-F" on the left shoulder. More and more in recent years the settlers have encroached upon the grass and range, and as a result Mr. Sipes sold out his cattle. For several years he handled horses and mules on his pastures, and while these proved profitable they did not produce as good results as cattle. In May, 1916, he located in Elkhart, where besides his livestock interests he has an office for the real estate and loan business. He has never married.

Public affairs have claimed a good share of his attention. In 1896 he cast his first presidential vote for Mr. Bryan and has always voted with the democrats. In 1908 he was elected sheriff of Morton County, succeeding Sheriff A. J. Harmon. During his one term nothing exciting marked his administration and at the end of two years he retired from office. For a number of years he was treasurer of school district No. 12. At Pretty Prairie, Kansas, Mr. Sipes joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is past noble grand of Richfield Lodge. He was reared a Methodist but is not now a member of any denomination.