August Soller. With all the wealth of opportunity America presents to young men of ambition it required exceptional ability, long perseverance and character to attain such an enviable position as August Soller now enjoys as a banker and business man at Washington. Even a brief outline of his career is an object lesson in American achievement.
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He was born in Switzerland, August 27, 1857. Left an orphan at an early age, having only the bare fundamentals of an education, he determined to come to America. As a boy he worked in factories and in other lines of employment and finally secured the means which enabled him to cross the ocean. In the year 1880 he arrived in New York and came direct to Washington County, Kansas.
He had little or no knowledge of the English language and was dependent upon his own exertions and resources. For serveral summers he worked out at daily or monthly wages, and attended school in winter. At the end of three years he not only finished his school course but was given a certificate as a teacher. After that he continued in school for two more winter terms.
Mr. Soller served one year as deputy county clerk of Washington County, and from 1887 to 1890 served as cashier of the Linn Exchange State Bank, under C. W. Snyder, president. The next three years he was deputy county treasurer under R. Vincent. He was then elected to the office of county clerk, and filled that position three terms, six years. His election on the republican ticket was a splendid tribute to his personal integrity and his popularity. It was the time when the populists were very strong throughout Kansas and only the stronger men on the republican or democratic tickets were electod. After leaving the county office Mr. Soller entered the loan and real estate business as representative for Bartlett Brothers of St. Joseph, Missouri. He had already become interested in banking, having become a director of the Washington National Bank in 1904, and was secretary of the board. On October 13, 1909, he bought a controlling interest in this bank and has since served as its chief executive. August Soller is also a stockholder of the Farmers State Bank of this city.
The Washington National Bank was established in 1884 under a national charter. It had been conservatively managed, and its resources have always been equal to every demand. A report of its condition made in June, 1917, shows a capital of $25,000.00, surplus and undivided profits of $25,820.00, circulation, $25,000, and deposits $285,677,88. The other officers of the Washington National Bank associated with Mr. Soller are George H. Thiele, vice president; E. A. Ward, vice president; A. W. Soller, his son, casbier; Lillian Bischoff, assistant cashier, and Adolph Hanni, bookkeeper.
Mr. Soller had membership in the Kansas and American Bankers’ associations, and is today rated among the business men of first importance in his section of the state. Besides his home on B Street, he owned an interest in the old building of the Washington National Bank on Main Street and also had a farm of 200 acres three miles west of Morrowville in Washington County. He is a republican, a member of Frontier Lodge No. 104, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; secretary of Tyrian Chapter No. 59, Royal Arch Masons; is treasurer and past noble grand of Washington Lodge No. 76, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and a member of Linn Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. August Soller and his son, Albert W., have also for many years been members of the Kansas State Historical Society.
Mr. Soller is married and had a splendid family of sons and daughters. He married at Linn, Kansas, in 1888, Miss Ida Meyer. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyer, live on their farm four miles south of Washington. Seven children have been born to their union. Albert W., the oldest, a graduate of the Oshkosh Commercial College of Wisconsin, is cashier of the Washington National Bank. He married Helen Morgan, of Salina, Kansas. Walter A., now engaged in the insurance business at Washington, is a partner with his father in the real estate and loan business and makes his home with his parents. He is a graduate of the Lexington Military Academy at Lexington, Missouri, and now a soldier at Camp Funston, Kansas. Lester E. is a student in the Washington High School. Dena A., the oldest of the daughters, is a graduats of the Kansas State University and now a teacher in the Greenleaf High School. Bernice B. married Alvin T. Coith, who graduated in the architectural course from the State Agricultural College at Manhattan, and is now a teacher of manual training in the Dodge City, Kansas, High School. The two youngest daughters, Winona Faith, and Margaret Ida, are still members of the family circle.