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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...

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