The Stahl family had been identified with Kansas history since 1856, from territorial times. It is a family remarkable in several ways. The Stahls have been people of tremendous physical energy and not less notable for their splendid moral character and the presence of such a family is a source of benefit to any community or state.
The founder of the family in this state was Michael Stahl, who died soon after coming to Topeka in 1856. He left his widow, and children named Anna, now Mrs. Smith of Highland Park; Belle, who died in 1902 in Gridley, Kansas; Levina, Mrs. Young of Missouri; Jane, Mrs. Mangold of Oklahoma; Jerome; and Frank, who is a noted Kansas Civil war veteran and later famous as a scout and soldier in the Indian wars, reference to whom is made on other pages of this sketch.
When reference is made to noted Kansas women, the name of Mrs. Michael Stahl should not be forgotten. Losing her husband soon after they had come to a farm in Kansas, she proved her resourcefulness in this time of trial and tribulation. He not only looked after the management of the domestic economy of the home, but also became a practical farmer, and made such a success of it that she reared her family and provided well for them. She was not merely a supervisor of the work of the farm, but she took her place in the field. She possessed both business ability and a physical strength such as few men could surpass. It is recalled that she could take a three bushel sack of wheat, weighing 180 pounds, from the ground and throw it over her shoulder with ease. No man in the neighborhood could perform as much strenuous labor as Mrs. Stahl. It is related that she one time hired a man to go with her into a stone quarry. At the end of several days it was found that she had quarried twice as much as her fellow worker. The man then quit, declaring that he would be willing to undergo the prospect of eternal future torment rather than be compelled to work beside a woman who could perform twice as much labor as he could. Her physical strength was by no means her only virtue. She was exceedingly kind hearted, liberal and charitable, and was both admired and beloved in her community. She lived to the advanced age of eighty-three years. About a year before her death she felt that she should be baptized and was accordingly immersed in Six Mile Creek.
Another member of this family was the late Jerome Stahl. He was born in Ohio in 1845, and was about eleven years of age when his parents located at Auburn in Shawnee County, Kansas. Though only fifteen years of age when the war broke out, he soon afterward joined a Kansas regiment. While with that command he was captured, and the first three days and nights his captors made him travel without food, and all the water he got was what he could dip up with his hands as the prisoners dashed through streams. He was soon released from captivity, and later he joined the Kansas regiment commanded by his brother Col. Frank Stahl, who made a notable record as a Kansas soldier and as an Indian fighter on the Western plains.
Jerome Stahl died April 22, 1915. He should be remembered as a good man, a good father, and a good citizen. He was always interested in athletics and outdoor life, was a republican in politics, and a member of the Christian Church. An instance recalled concerning him shows the strength of character which apparently belongs to all the Stahl family. He was a total abstainer so far as liquor was concerned, but for many years he used tobacco. He often told how he awoke from sleep at midnight New Year’s Eve in 1901 and made a vow that he would never use tobacco again, and such was his strength of will that he never did.
At the age of twenty-three Jerome Stahl married Miss Laura Johnstone of Auburn, Kansas. Seven children were born to them, four sons and three daughters: William Frank, Ralph R., Grace, Pearl, Myrtle, Leland and Elmer Guy. Frank, who owne the old homestead in Douglass County is a retired farmer. Ralph, who followed farming-near Auburn, went to Portland, Oregon, in 1900, took up contracting, and later joined the Portland police force and lost his life while on duty. The daughter Grace is now Mrs. Caldwell, her husband being an old and honored employe of the W. A. L. Thompson Hardware Company of Topeka, and Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell reside at 1161 Wayne Avenue in Topeka and have twin sons and one daughter. Pearl, who went to California in 1904, was married in that state to William Lawrence, a hotel proprietor at San Diego, and they have a son six years of age. Myrtle is the wife of William Gibson, a farmer at Auburn, and their only danghter Naomi died in 1911. Leland, who deserves especial credit becanse of the success he had made in spite of a meager education, is assistant superintendent of the Telephone and Telegraph of the Illinois Central Railway Company at Memphis, Tennessee, and is married and had two daughters.
Mr. Elmer Guy Stahl was born in Douglas County, Kansas, December 4, 1889, but had lived in Topeka since early youth. He attended the public schools of that city, and is also a graduate with the Bachelor of Science degree from the Kansas State Agricultural College. While in college he became prominent in athletics, and was placed by the experts on the All Kansas Football Team. In 1913 he coached the Topeka High School football team. Since 1913 Mr. Stahl had been superintendent of the Topeka City Light plant and is one of the efficient workers and public spirited citizens of the capital. Also in 1913 he married Miss Naomi Anderson, daughter of Mr. R. L. Anderson, a well known old Topeka citizen.