Edward C. Kassebaum. On the highest point of bottom land between Kansas City, Missouri, and Manhattan, Kansas, is located the forty acre farm belonging to Edward C. Kassebaum, who carries on general farming, but who, perhaps, is more widely known as a grower of water melons, a field in which he has attained something more than a local reputation. This farm is situated in Menoken Township, Shawnee County, and has been brought to a high state of cultivation under the practical and intelligent efforts of Mr. Kassebaum, who has been a resident of this locality all his life and who is accounted one of the most progressive agriculturists of his township.
Mr. Kassebaum was born on a farm near Rossville, Shawnee County, February 24, 1872, the fifth of the eight children of Henry Augustus and Mary L. (Probst) Kassebaum, who were both of German parentage. Henry Augustus Kassebaum came with his parents from Bremen, Germany, when he was seven years of age and located at Cincinnati, Ohio, where the family resided for a time, and where they became friends of the Probst family. Mrs. Kassebaum was born at Cincinnati. Later the two families moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, and the children there were reared, attending first a local school and later a German school at Cincinnati. They were married in 1859 and moved to Dillsburg, Indiana, where Mr. Kassebaum operated a general merchandise store and through good business ability acquired a modest capital. Having the interests of his children at heart, and desiring to rear them in the free air of the country, Mr. Kassebaum sold his store in 1871, and, coming to Kansas, purchased 840 acres of land on the hills of Shawnee County, where he became a successful stock raiser and wheat grower. Later, he added to this land until he had 1,400 acres, which property was divided among his children in 1912. As others were forced to do, he passed through the plague of the grasshoppers and the drought, but was a man of perseverance and persistence, and did not allow himself to be discouraged or to be turned back from his goal. His children attended school 1½ miles from the homestead, walking to and from the school in all kinds of weather, and during the summer terms assisted their father in the work of the home place. Mr. Kassebaum was a republican, but never desired to hold public office. He was a booster of his community’s interests and a hard worker in all uplift matters, and was a popular member of the Rossville Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. When he died, March 6, 1914, his community lost a good and helpful citizen.
Edward C. Kassebaum received his education in the public schools and was brought up as a farmer, receiving excellent instruction from his father in all branches of agricultural work. He was married March 17, 1897, to Miss Chettie James, daughter of Squire E. T. James, a sketch of whose career will be found on another page of this work. They have one daughter, Beatrice, who is a student in the schools of Topeka.
At the time of his marriage, Mr. Kassebaum purchased eighty acres of good land not far from his father’s place, and resided thereon until he moved to his present forty-acre property, located not far from Menoken, in one of the most fertile spots in Northwest Shawnee County. While general farming has occupied his attention to a large degree, he has, of late years, been particularly interested in watermelon culture, a subject of which he has made an exhaustive study, and in this direction is one of the leaders of his county. His farm has been improved with handsome and substantial buildings, and its equipment is modern in every respect. In politics Mr. Kassebaum is a democrat. He has always been public-spirited, assisting in all matters that have promised to benefit his community, and while he has never sought nor cared for office has served as a member of the school board of Silver Lake Township. Fraternally, Mr. Kassebaum is a well known Mason, belonging to Silver Lake Blue Lodge, and the York Rite and Shrine at Topeka. He and Mrs. Kassebaum are members of the Rossville Presbyterian Church, in the work of which they have taken an active part.