Joseph L. Strickler. In reviewing the lives of the business men of Cherryvale, especially in regard to the establishment and growth of the oil industry, it who have taken part in this work have been those who have brought with them from other parts of the state and country reputations for honorable dealing, and capability for accomplishment of purpose. Associated with the oil industry of this part of the state is the name of Joseph L. Strickler, who came to Cherryvale in 1902 and is now probably the largest independent producer in this locality. Mr. Strickler has been identified with the oil business practically since he started upon his career and has had experience in various fields. He was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, December 19, 1872, and is a son of William Baker and Mary (Foutz) Strickler.
The Strickler family is of German origin and was founded in America previous to the Revolution, the American progenitor settling in the colony of Virginia. John Strickler, the grandfather of Joseph L., was born in 1808, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and was a marble cutter by trade, but on going as a pioneer to Fairfield County, Ohio, took up farming as his vocation and homesteaded 160 acres. He also built the old half-way house between Lancaster and Pleasantville, which he conducted for many years, and there continued to reside during the remainder of his life. He was equally successful at his trade, as the proprietor of his tavern and as a farmer, and was a man of some influence in his community, and rounded out a full and useful life, dying in 1887, at the age of eighty-eight years. Mr. Strickler was a stanch democrat. His children were as follows: Lew, who followed the trade of marble cutter and died at the old family place in Fairfield County, and who fought as a soldier for three years during the Civil war; John, also a marble cutter, who saw three years of service in the Civil war as a Union soldier and died at Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio; Ad, a marble cutter by trade, who retired in his latter years and died at Bremen, Fairfield County, Ohio; Dan, who is a retired contractor and builder of Franklin County, Ohio; Job, who is a retired carpenter of Nelsonville, Hocking County, Ohio; Joe, who was a blacksmith and died at Rushville, Fairfield County; and Katie, who died at Basil, Fairfield County, in 1908, as the wife of Henry Swarner, a retired farmer.
William Baker Strickler, who now resides on his farm one mile north of Cherryvale, was born May 29, 1842, in Fairfield County, Ohio, on his father’s farm. He was reared thereon, and like several of his brothers early adopted the trade of their father, that of marble cutting, which he followed for a number of years. This brought him into contact with men engaged in large construction jobs, and he gradually developed into a contractor and for many years was well known in handling heavy stone work for county bridges, etc., in Ohio. In 1911, feeling the effect of advancing years, he decided upon a partial retirement and at that time came to Kansas and purchased the small farm upon which he now has his home. He is still bale and hearty and is a familiar figure on the streets of Cherryvale, where he has made numerous friends. Mr. Strickler is a republican of the “stand pat” variety, and a member of the Christian Church, in the work of which he was active during his younger days, having served as deacon. He took some prominent part in public affairs while in Ohio, having been postmaster at Rinville for a number of years and also running the first mail route out of Corning, Ohio. For the past fifty years he has been a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1862 Mr. Strickler answered his country’s call for volunteers, joining Company I, One hundred and Twenty-Sixth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war. Attached to the Army of the Potomac, the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth took part in some of the hardest-fought engagements of the entire struggle, including the battles of the Wilderness, Shiloh, Lookout Mountain and Gettysburg. Although he received a wound at the Wilderness, Mr. Strickler never lost a trick of duty by being compelled to go to the hospital, and his entire service was characterized by a brave and faithful discharge of duty. He married Miss Mary Foutz, who was born in April, 1847, in Licking County, Ohio, and they became the parents of the following children: Bertha, a graduate of the Corning High School, who married Dan E. Ten Eyeick, a florist of Crawford County, Ohio, and the owner of five large greenhouses; Sedda, a graduate of the Corning High School, who taught school until her marriage to C. D. Hemery, a sheep raiser of Woolton, Wyoming; Joseph L., of this notice; Walter, master mechanic and foreman in the railroad shops at Crestline, Ohio; and Cora, a graduate of the Corning High School, who taught school for several years, and died at Osawatomie, Kansas, in 1916, as the wife of J. A. Rogers, an oil well driller now residing at Cherryvale.
Joseph L. Strickler received his education in the public schools of Corning, Ohio, but at the age of fifteen years gave up his studies to enter upon his career. His first position was that of collector for J. G. Stallsmith, of Corning, in whose employ he remained three years, and at the end of that time secured an introduction to the business which he was destined to make his life work. His start was a tool dresser and later he began drilling wells, both oil and gas, following the various fields through Ohio, West Virginia and New York. In 1899 he became a contractor in drilling wells and after running tools in Ohio, came to Parsons in the same year. Subsequently, he ran tools, drilling wells for gas at Humboldt, Burlington, Iola, and many other towns, and in 1902 came to Cherryvale, which has since been the center of his operations. He has been drilling ever since, all over Montgomery, Labette, Wilson and Neosho counties, in Kansas, as well as in the Oklahoma fields, as a contractor, and personally has sixteen oil producing wells in Montgomery and Labette counties, making 400 barrels per day, the largest production in this section. On one lease he pumps a 250 barrel tank every day. This is all Mr. Strickler’s own production, and he has no companies with whom he has to divide his profits. In addition to his oil interests, Mr. Strickler has devoted his fine business talents to the development of several important enterprises in other lines of endeavor, and at the present time is president of the Cherryvale Iron Works and of the San Antonio Packing Box Company, of San Antonio, Texas.
Politically, Mr. Strickler is a republican, and he supports his party stanchly, but has not found time from his business cares to enter actively into politics or public life. He is prominent in Masonry, having attained to the thirty-second degree, and belongs to Cherryvale Lodge No. 137, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Cherryvale Chapter No. 86, Royal Arch Masons; Saint Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, of Independence; Fort Scott Consistory No. 4, Royal and Select Masters; and Abdullah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Leavenworth, of which he is a life member. He is also a life member of Cherryvale Lodge No. 989, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and belongs to the Cherryvale Commercial Club.
In 1900, at Burlington, Kansas, Mr. Strickler was married to Miss Anna Marcella (“Tot”) Huddleson, daughter of Robert J. and Anna Huddleson, the latter of whom resides with her daughter and son-in-law. Mr. Huddleson, who was a stationary engineer by vocation and a pioneer of Burlington, died at Cherryvale in 1908. Mr. and Mrs. Strickler have two children: Russell, born January 26, 1906; and Nellie, born July 14, 1909, both attending public school. The family home is situated at No. 331 West Third Street.