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Samuel H. Waddle is now the oldest original settler in his locality of Saline County. He went there more than fifty years ago. He knew Central Kansas when it was an almost unlimited stretch of prairie. The buffalo and the Indians were still here and the frontier civilization was a straggling line of homestead shacks and habitations, putting up a bold front against the domain of the wilderness. He suffered those privations due to searcity of crops, isolation from large towns and settlements, and he experienced the prairie fires, the long continued drought, the grasshoppers and every other plague and hardship so frequently recounted in these pages.
Mr. Waddle was a young man, only a short time previously having been released from the army, when he came to Kansas. He had grown to a hearty old age in this state, and his exertions have made him financially independent. He is one of the leading farmers and stock raisers in the vicinity of Solomon.
Mr. Waddle was born November 22, 1844, in a log house on a farm in Des Moines County, Iowa. His parents were William and Sarah (Braden) Waddle. William Waddle was born in Fayette County, Ohio, in 1809 and died at Topeka, Kansas, October 4, 1889. He came to Kansas in 1866, at the same time as his son Samuel, and acquired a tract of government land in Saline County nine miles southwest of Solomon. He improved that claim and lived there the rest of his active years. In 1834 William Waddle married Miss Braden, who was born in Fayette County, Ohio, in 1816. She died February 27, 1881. To their marriage were born four children, two sons and two daughters: Mary Elizabeth, born December 20, 1835, and died in 1879; John, born August 10, 1838, and died in 1840; Catherine, born September 15, 1840, and died January 9, 1888.
The youngest of the children, Samuel H. Waddle, is also the only one now living. He spent his early life on his father’s farm in Des Moines County, Iowa. He attended the public schools and benefited from the meager equipment and currienculum. He was not yet a man in years when the Civil war broke out, and in May, 1864, at the age of nineteen, he enlisted as a private in Company G of the Forty-fifth Iowa Infantry. He served with that regiment until the close of the war, less than a year later. He was attached to the Army of the Tennessee and his principal work was guard duty in protecting railroads and other government property. He was never wounded but on account of illness was confined for two weeks in an army hospital.
In 1866 Mr. Waddle came to Kansas with his parents, making the journey across country with wagons and teams. He took up a tract of government land adjoining the claim of his father, and, as already stated, he is the only one of the original settlers in that section who are still living there. He improved his land, accumulated a nucleus of stock, and for many years his efforts have been rewarded with prosperity. He is still living on the estate nine miles southwest of Solomon.
On April 4, 1872, after he had battled with conditions in Kansas for six years and could look ahead to a brighter future, Mr. Waddle married Miss Carrie E. Kelley. Mrs. Waddle was born in Canada September 28, 1844. They were together on life’s journey for nearly half a century. Mrs. Waddle died August 28, 1911. Her parents, Edward and Mary Kelley, were natives of Canada, and had come to Kansas in 1871, being pioneer settlers in Dickinson County. Mr. Waddle had seven children, five sons and two daughters, noted briefly as follows: William Edward, born February 18, 1873, and died August 8, 1911; Cora, born April 25, 1874; James Hervey, born October 16, 1876, and died April 8, 1913; Edna Kate, born October 17, 1878; Charles Clifford, born August 5, 1879, and died July 4, 1912; Arthur Samuel, born October 5, 1880; and Albert Henry, born February 28, 1883.
Mr. Waddle had always interested himself in those matters which pertain to the community in which he lives, and had been especially interested in his old army comrades. He is a member of Bridge Post No. 131, Grand Army of the Republie, and is past commander of the post.