John S. Stover. During an unusually busy life many important interests have claimed the attention of John S. Stover, one of Lincoln’s representative and substantial citizens, these including financial, agricultural, mercantile and political, and few men are better known in Lincoln County or more generally trusted and esteemed. He comes of old Pennsylvania stock and in that state the name of Stover is yet well and honorably represented.
John S. Stover was born at Boalsburg, Center County, Pennsylvania, September 29, 1870. His parents were David and Elvina (Sechler) Stover. David Stover was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1838, and was a son of Jacob Stover, who spent his life in that locality and died at Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, in advanced age. David Stover grew to manhood on his father’s farm and contentedly followed the peaceful pursuits of agriculture until the outbreak of the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted and served all through the war as a member of the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the greater part of his service being with the Army of the Potomac, and he participated in such battles as Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, and in the engagement at Poe River received a gunshot wound in the arm. He was a brave soldier and did his full duty. After the war closed he returned to his home near Boalsburg and resumed farming and later worked for several years in a foundry at Oak Hall. But farming was his chosen vocation and in 1878 he came to Kansas with the intention of securing a homestead and secured 160 acres in Lincoln County, situated twenty miles southeast of Lincoln. He lived on that property until 1890, when he moved to near Beverly, Kansas, where he bought and conducted a farm until 1900, when he retired from active business. His death occurred during a visit to his son John S., then residing at Blairstown, Missouri, in 1910. He was a well informed man and always interested in public affairs. For many years he was a staunch republican but later united with the organization named the populist party. He married Elvina Sechler, who was born at Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, in 1851, and died in 1893, near Beverly, Kansas. Six children were born to them, namely: John S.; Charles E., who is a contractor and builder at Lucas, Kansas; Robert, who is a farmer near Beverly; Mary, who is the wife of Frank Cludas, a farmer near Buhl, Idaho; Luther, who is a farmer near Beverly; and Richard, who is a resident of Salina, Kansas.
John S. Stover attended the rural schools during boyhood and remained on the home farm until he was twenty-one years old, and then spent three years as a student in the Kansas Christian College at Lincoln. Two years of school teaching followed and in the fall of 1897 he was elected county clerk of Lincoln County and entered upon his duties in January, 1898, and after serving one term of two years was re-elected and served a term of three years. In 1904 Mr. Stover organized the Farmers National Bank of Lincoln and was cashier of the same until 1906.
In that year Mr. Stover went to Finney County, Kansas, and for two years followed farming near Garden City, when he traded that farm for one that suited him better near Blairstown, Missouri, and after farming for two years, organized the Farmers State Bank at Blairstown, of which he was the cashier for one year. In January, 1911, he sold his banking interests at Blairstown and also his farm, and after returning to Lincoln was cashier of the Farmers National Bank here until August, 1916, when he resigned. After retiring from the financial field Mr. Stover again went into business, purchasing the garage and automobile interests of R. E. Curtis on Main Street, and practically does all the business in this line in the city. He had fine display quarters, his floor space being 50×120 feet, and he is the agent here for the Ford automobiles. He owned a fine residence in the city and one of the most valuable farms in Lincoln County, consisting of 640 acres situated one mile east and five miles north of the city limits.
Mr. Stover was married in 1900, at Weaubleau, Missouri, to Miss Ada Whitaker, who is a daughter of Simeon and Louisa (Ernst) Whitaker, residents of Luray, Kansas, where the father owned a nearby farm. Mr. and Mrs. Stover have three children: Harry, Helen and Roland, all of whom are attending the public schools of Lincoln and enjoying other advantages. Mr. Stover and his family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a trustee.
In his political affiliation Mr. Stover had always been a democrat and a faithful party worker. In addition to serving as county clerk, as previously noted, for five years Mr. Stover served as treasurer of Elk Horn Township and also for some time was city treasurer of Lincoln. He is identified with several fraternal organizations, is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of Ellsworth Chapter and is past master of Lincoln Lodge No. 154, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He belongs also to Lincoln Camp No. 3457, Modern Woodmen of America, and to Lincoln Lodge No. 206, Ancient Order of United Workmen.