Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Biographical Sketch of Miles Bristow

Miles Bristow was born in Jackson County, Indiana, June 2, 1836. His father was a native of Kentucky. His parents moved to Gallatin, Daviess County, Missouri, when he was about three years of age, where he remained until the death of his father in 1851. During the next three years he spent the greater part of his time with his brother on a farm, and in a tannery at Gallatin; then purchased land in Sheridan township, and for over four years was engaged in farming and teaching. In 1862 he was enrolled in Company E, Fifty-first Regiment Missouri Infantry, and served as second lieutenant until August, 1864, when he enlisted in Company. B, Forty-fourth Regiment Missouri Infantry, where he was soon promoted to his former position and served one year, when he returned home. In 1873 he was elected clerk of Sheridan Township, but resigned the office at the end of three years, and has since been engaged in teaching and farming. Mr. Bristow was married, February 27, 1859, to Miss Mary E. Loyd. She was born in Ray County, Missouri, October 8, 1836. Twelve children have been born to them, ten of whom are now living: John A. and Ida B., twins; William M., Mary E., Sarah E., Samuel L., James A., Thomas B., Edgar C. and Ernest...

Biography of Jesse White

A widely known and universally esteemed citizen of Riley County, a retired farmer living in great comfort in the pleasant Town of Riley, is Jesse White, an honored veteran of the Civil war. For almost sixty years his home had been in the Sunflower State and he had done his part in aiding in its agricultural, religious and educational progrees. He was born July 10, 1844, in Jackson County, Indiana. His parents were Jesse and Naney (Kinlon) White. From their native state, North Carolina, the parents of Jesse White removed to Indiaua in 1842, and thence to Kansas, arriving at Manhattan, May 14, 1857. They settled on Mill Creek, fifteen miles northwest of Manhattan, and on the farm then chosen spent the remainder of their days, the father dying in 1861, when aged sixty years, and the mother passing away in 1864, at the age of fifty-three years. Farming was the father’s occupation. He was an anti-slavery man but was a Jacksonian democrat. Both he and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were good, virtuous, worthy people; none better ever came to Riley County. To them were born children as follows: David R., who is deceased; Richard F., who died in Indiana; Ellen E. and Sarah A. are both deceased; Nehemiah, who died while a soldier in the Union army, a member of Company G, Eleventh Kansas Cavalry; Martha Jane, who died in childhood; Jesse; John C. and Martha Ann, both deceased; and Thomas, who is a farmer in Riley County. Jesse White was thirteen years of age when be accompanied his parents to Kansas, and...

Biography of Solomon Secrest

Sixty years have rolled away since Solomon Secrest, one of Riley County’s pioneer settlers and most respected citizens, first surveyed with wonder and admiration, the beautiful, peaceful valley of Fancy Creek, then sleeping quiet and praetically unknown within the enfolding hills. In November, 1856, with his brother Edward and Henry Shellenbaum, returning from a buffalo hunt on the Saline River, whither they had accompanied a band of Wyandotte Indians, journeyed up the Blue River in search of Henry Coundry, an old acquaintance, who had settled in the previous year near the mouth of Mill Creek. In their search they came into the fertile valley of Fancy Creek and all were so charmed with Nature’s beauty and lavishness here that they resolved to secure permanent homes here. All three subsequently became pioneer settlers in Riley County and prominent citizens and prosperous farmers. Solomon Secrest was born near Winterthur, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, December 30, 1834. His parents were John Ulrich and Regula (Fryhofer) Secrest. They had four children: Edward, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this work; Solomon; Esther C., who married P. Heller, is now deceased; and John Jacob, who died in 1861, when aged twenty-one years. In the fall of 1846 the parents came with their children to the United States and settled in Jackson County, Indiana, and the father carried on farming there until 1860, when he followed his sons, Edward and Solomon, to Riley County, Kansas. He died in Jackson Township, Riley County, in 1867, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife survived until 1890, dying when aged ninety-three years. Solomon Secrest grew to...

Biography of Edward Secrest

While his hundreds of well wishers and admiring friends in Riley County speak— as they often do—of Mr. Edward Seerest, they seldom use his full name, but a term of more significance and affection–simply “Uncle Ed.” In a country where titles of nobility are forbidden, there is more of genuine honor and esteem accompanying these words than are signified in the more august titles so prevalent in the undemocratic comtries across the sea. There have been several enechal events in the career of this honored pioneer settler of Riley County. The first came when he was fourteen years of age. At that time he was the oldest of four children–Edward, Solomon. Esther C. and Jacob–included in the little household of John Ulrich and Regula (Fryhofer) Secrest who were thrifty and honest residents and freeholders of Canton Zurich, Switzerland, dwelling near the Town of Winterthur. John Ulrich Secrest was a weaver of linen. The son Edward up to that time had attended somewhat regularly the public schools of his native land. In the winter evenings and at other times the family had again and again disenssed the advantages and opportunities of the wonderful country of America. These discussions had become more and more deflnite. and at the time just mentioned the family were on the point of undertaking the great adventure of immigrating to the New World. Edward Secrest had been born April 21, 1833, and it was in 1846 that the little family set sail from Havre, France, and after a sea vovage of seven weeks landed in New Orleans. From that southern seaport a steamboat took them up...

Biography of Charles Wesley Peter

Charles Wesley Peter. A valuable, well conducted farm is that owned by Charles Wesley Peter, one of the substantial and respected citizens of Jackson Township, Riley County, a property largely developed through his own efforts and handsomely improved. Mr. Peter has been a resident of Kansas for forty-four years. Charles Wesley Peter was born November 16, 1850, in Jackson County, Indiana. His parents were Jonas and Barbara (Bruenner) Peter, who were born in Switzerland. They were married in the United States and then settled in Jackson County, Indiana, where the mother died after the birth of four children: Susan, Mary, Charles Wesley and William F., the only survivor being Charles Wesley. Jonas Peter contracted a second marriage, with Barbara Rachel Littican, and they had three children: Eliza, Emma and George, the first named being deceased. Jonas Peter was a successful farmer in Jackson County, Indiana, where he died in 1868, at the age of fifty-three years. In 1859 he had visited Kansas and bought 500 acres of land in Fancy Creek Valley, a part of which is included in the present farm of Charles Wesley Peter. Ten years after his father had purchased the Riley County land, the late William F. Peter, of whom a biography appears in this work, came to Kansas and located on the property, and in 1872 Charles Wesley followed. The two brothers united in developing the lands and lived together in a primitive cabin until 1879, when Charles Wesley erected his comfortable frame residence. In 1880 Charles Wesley Peter was married to Miss Amelia Knostman, who is a daughter of William Knostman. William Knostman...

Biography of Henry Shellenbaum

Henry Shellenbaum was one of the most prominent pioneers of Riley County. He and others of his relationship were among the first to occupy and develop that beautiful tract of Kansas known as the Fancy Creek Valley. His energy helped transform a portion of the virgin landscape into fertile fields, but even more important than his material success was the sterling character of his manhood, and he passed on many of his virtues to his children and other descendants who are now active in the present generation of Kansas. Henry Shellenbaum was born at Zurich, Canton Winterthur, Switzerland, October 1, 1833. He came to the United States with his parents and brothers and sisters at the age of twenty-one. His father died and was buried at sea. The widowed mother and her children located at Seymour, Indiana. In 1856 Henry Shellenbaum with two other natives of Switzerland, Edward and Solomon Secrist, journeyed from Jackson County, Indiana to Kansas. Kansas was a territory and a hotbed of the critical troubles growing out of the free state movement. In November of that year the trio in quest of land joined a band of Indians on a hunting expedition through East and Central Kansas. Their purpose in joining the Indians was the better to explore and discover a suitable and favorable location. Thus as it happened they came upon the beautiful valley of Fancy Creek. After viewing it they were not long in making up their minds to establish permanent homes. Henry Shellenbaum acquired a homestead in the Fancy Creek Valley. In connection with this homestead there is an interesting story told....

Biography of William F. Peter, Hon.

Hon. William F. Peter. In recalling the representative men of Riley County, who, during life, were earnest and useful, faithful and efficient and so left an impress on the history of their time that is honorable and creditable, the late William F. Peter is called forcibly to mind. Forty-seven years of his life were spent in Kansas and to her interests he was devoted heart and soul, working personally and in public office to further her progress. William F. Peter, twice elected a member of the State Legislature of Kansas, was born in Jackson County, Indiana, January 28, 1854, and died in Riley County, Kansas, March 2, 1916. He was a son of Jonas and Barbara (Bruenner) Peter, who were natives of Switzerland. They came as young people to the United States and were married in Jackson County, Indiana, where both subsequently died, the father at the age of fifty-three years, and the mother after the birth of four children, the only survivor being Charles Wesley Peter, a sketch of whom appears in this work. Reared on his father’s farm in Indiana and educated in the public schools of Jackson County, William F. Peter remained a resident of his native place until 1869. Ten years earlier, or in 1859, his father had purchased 500 acres of land in Fancy Creek Valley, in Riley County, Kansas, as an investment. In 1869 William F. Peter came westward and being pleased with the property and seeing evidences that careful cultivation would make it one of the most valuable in this section, decided to locate permanently here and in 1872 he was joined...

Barnes, George Washington – Obituary

George Washington Barnes was born Feb 13, 1843 in Jackson County, Indiana and died July 18, 1913 at the home of his son in law, Frank Redman, of Paradise, at the age of 70 years, 5 months and 5 days. He served in the U. S. Army during the Civil War having enlisted in 1863. He was honorably discharged and crossed the Plains in the fall of 1865, settleing at Cove, Oregon. During the next five years he followed freighting his route being from Umatilla Landing to Silver City, Idaho. In 1881 he was united in marriage to Mary L. Lloid. Two daughter were born to this union. He is survived by his wife, one daughter, Mrs. Jessie M. Cole, and seven grand children. Mr Barnes is the last of his father’s family to pass away. In 1888 he moved with his family to Paradise, Oregon where he proved up on a homestead. The remainder of his days were spent in the vicinity of Paradise. While hauling ties in 1889, he met with an accident which dislocated his hip and left him a cripple the rest of his life. In 1896 he united with the Christian Church where he retained his membership to the time of his death. For 48 years he has been a pioneer of this part of Oregon. Another member of the Grand Army of the Republic has passed to his final roll call. His service and devotion to his God, his country, his family and his friends have endeared him to all who knew him and as a husband, father and neighbor, he will be...

Biography of Otto Philip Byers

Otto Philip Byers. Something less than forty years ago Otto Philip Byers was a railroad section hand in Kansas. He was a boy in years, and he grew to mature manhood in the close and orderly discipline of the railroad man’s life, in close touch with working men and working conditions. That he had risen to mature manhood in the close and orderly discipline sponsibility is a tribute both to his personal aggressiveness and also to the fundamental character which he probably inherited from a long line of fighting and industrious American ancestors. His later day distinction among Kansas business men is as the chief builder and now the president of the Anthony and Northern Railroad. Mr. Byers was born at Tampico, Indiana, May 2, 1863, while his father was in the Union army. His father was Jasper J. Byers, who was born in Darke County, Ohio, May 18, 1834. He grew up in his native county, when a young man went to Quincy, Indiana, was married there September 19, 1860, and in that community took up the profession of physician and surgeon. In 1859 he graduated from the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical College. The best years of his life were spent as an able and hard working country physician. In 1862 he removed to Tampico, Indiana, and continued practice there until his death on September 19, 1888. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army, and through nearly four years was under the command of General Sherman, participating in all the engagements of his regiment and was through several notable campaigns, including the march to the sea. He held...

Biography of Samuel A. Byarlay

Samuel A. Byarlay. So quickly do great events in the world’s history succeed each other, that perchance some may be lost sight of, but it is not possible for any American to forget the dangers that attended pioneering, following the close of the Civil war, on the western frontiers, nor the heroism displayed by volunteer soldiers in defending the peaceful settlers by driving off the savage foe. Among the prominent residents of May Day, Riley County, is a veteran of the Indian campaign of 1868-9, in the person of Samuel A. Byarlay, merchant and postmaster at this point. Samuel A. Byarlay was born in Jackson County, Indiana, September 15, 1848, and is a son of John M. and Millicent (Bundy) Byarlay. His father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Indiana, in which latter state both were reared, the father from the age of nine years. In 1860, John M. Byarlay left Indiana with his family for Riley County, Kansas. It was his hope and intention to thus provide more comfortably for his large family than he could do in Indiana. The family reached Kansas on the 4th of July, 1860, and the father soon afterward bought a small farm in the Fancy Creek Valley. He was a well educated man and taught one of the first rural schools in this county, holding the sessions in his own house. For some time he served as township trustee. His death occurred in 1872 when his age was fifty-four years. The mother survived many years, her death occurring at Clay Center, when seventy-nine years old. Of their ten children three...

Pin It on Pinterest