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Albert C. Ramsey, now living retired at De Graff, is one of the pioneers of Butler County and had a retrospect over past years and conditions in that section of the state covering fully thirty-five years. He was one of the big men in the cattle industry of Southern Kansas and the associations of the name with livestock and ranching are still continued by his sons.
Mr. Ramsey had the intelligence, the thrift and the enterprise which are typical virtues of the Scotch-Irish people. His parents were born in the North of Ireland, coming to this country in early days, and while able to provide for their family of children they were in moderate financial circumstances. Into their home Albert C. Ramsey was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, June 7, 1837. A few years later his father died. The widowed mother then went to Guernsey County, Ohio, and there Albert C. Ramsey laid the foundation of his business career.
An opportunity came to him for employment with a fur trader. He remained with the trader a year. Though his salary was only $100, he managed to save $80 out of this sum. The value of the experience could not be measured alone by his salary. With his keen and close habits of observation he did not allow a single detail of the fur business to escape him. He and his brother next opened a general merchandise store at Belle Center, Ohio, and an important part of that trade was in fur. It was Mr. Ramsey’s duty to ride through the wilderness of Western Ohio and Eastern Indiana, buying furs from the hunters and the trappers and establishing agencies. For thirteen years he did a large and profitable business, leaving his brother to look after the personal management of the store. They also bought and sold grain, feed, wool and other commodities.
After selling his interests in Ohio Mr. Ramsey came to Kansas. He arrived in this state in 1882, and spent a year in Topeka. The several thousand dollars of capital he brought with him to Kansas he eventually invested in Butler County, where with four associates he organized the Buckeye Land and Cattle Company. This company acquired something like 7,000 acres of land, the greater part in Lincoln Township, but also extending into Sycamore and Chelsea townships. It cost from $3 to $8 an acre and was part of an endless stretch of prairie in the plains country of the great West.
Few homes or ranch houses appeared anywhere along the horizon. Mr. Ramsey in those early days when he desired to go anywhere would always follow the needle of the compass and would strike directly over the land unimpeded by fences and the right angles of modern highways. In fact roads were almost unknown, except a trail here and there across the prairies and the streams were seldom bridged. It had been one of the prime satisfactions of his Kansas experience to witness the remarkable transformation made in this country in thirty-five years.
The primary object of the company which he assisted in organizing was to pasture Texas cattle. The cattle were brought up from Texas and were held on the pastures of the company’s Kansas ranch until ready for market. The cost of pasturage ranged from $1.25 to $2 per head for the season, beginning about the middle of April and ending in the middle of October. At first the company did a large and profitable business. Then came hard times upon the cattle industry, and other changes made it advisable for the discontinuation of the company as an organized unit.
After that Mr. Ramsey operated in cattle alone, and though he had some misfortunes he was on the whole prosperous and is properly considered one of the highly successful men of Butler County. He is now retired from business, having divided much of his property among his sons, who are conducting stock ranching on a large scale. The Ramsey ranch consists of twelve sections in Lincoln Township and is one of the largest undivided ranches remaining in Butler County. Quite recently Mr. Albert C. Ramsey had acquired a section of land in Franklin County. This is in a rich and fertile section and is devoted to corn, wheat and clover crops.
Mr. Ramsey had had a long and active career and his experiences cover more than half a century. He was a member of the National Guard of Ohio when the war broke out, and his regiment was called into active service in 1864. He served as quartermaster of the One Hundred and Thirty-second Ohio Infantry and spent most of his time on guard duty, although he was a participant in half a dozen or more skirmishes. At the close of the war he was mustered out with the rank of lieutenant.
Mr. Ramsey was one of the charter members of Belle Center Lodge of Masons in Ohio, having joined that fraternity over fifty years ago. He had since attained the Royal Arch Chapter degree and is a member of the Oriental Commandery of Knights Templar at Kansas City, the Ararat Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Kansas City and is a life member of the Scottish Rite Consistory at Cincinnati. Mr. Ramsey is an independent republican. Very little of his time had been given to party politics, though he had endeavored to vote with reason and conviction. He served a number of terms as township trustee and had never failed to respond to enterprises involving the local welfare.
Mr. Ramsey married Miss Margaret Clark, a native of Ohio. They became the parents of seven children, five sons and two daughters. Mary Adelaide is the wife of Howard H. Patrick, of Kansas City, Missouri. Margaret, the second daughter, is the wife of J. E. Chastian, of Kansas City, Missouri. Henry Clark Ramsey lives in Kansas City, Missouri. George A. Ramsey is a resident of De Graff. G. Leroy Ramsey had his home at El Dorado. W. G. Ramsey lives at South De Graff, and Robert H. is also a stockman and resident of El Dorado.
Mr. Ramsey had been a liberal contributor to the building and maintenance of churches and is now one of the trustees of the Presbyterian Church at De Graff. Mrs. Ramsey when she first came to Kansas opened a Sunday school and thus laid the foundation for the first Presbyterian Church at De Graff. She had throughout been one of the most prominent leaders in the church of that community and later years have seen no decline in her interest and activity. Mrs. Ramsey is of old Presbyterian stock through both her father and mother, and the Clarks were leaders in that denomination for generations. Her grandfather was a Presbyterian minister.