Jeptha D. Vawter. In the task of giving credit to the men who made Kansas, it would be difficult to single out one who was more deserving of a place among those makers and builders than the late Jeptha D. Vawter of Shawnee County. He had much to do with the early history of that county, and what he accomplished, the ideals he lived for, and the influences that emanated from his life, are still vital and quickening.
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His was a long as well as a useful life. He was born in Todd County, Kentucky, July 18, 1809. By character and early training he was moulded after the manner of the pioneers, being courageous, industrious and optimistic.
About 1847 he moved to Tazewell County, Illinois, and from there in the spring of 1868 came to Kansas, establishing a home on the southwest quarter of section 33, which is in the southwest corner of Williamsport Township of Shawnee County. It was in that immediate locality that the rest of his years were spent. Mr. Vawter became an extensive dealer in cattle, and in that capacity his name was not known alone in Shawnee County, but in other counties and in other states. He prospered as a result of good judgment and foresight, and at one time owned many hundreds of acres of Kansas’ best land.
He was twice married. His first wife, Sarah M. Foster, bore him thirteen children, and the ten who reached maturity are: John W.; Benjamin F.; Henry C.; Lucinda C., who married Walter Hinman; Louisa E., who married Jesse McColm; Martha C., who married John Simpson; James E.; Harriet E., who married Lewis Mead; Sabrina C., who married Mahlon F. Stout; and William J. The mother of these children died December 18, 1883. For his second wife Mr. Vawter married Louisa K. Miller, by whom he became the father of one son named Clarence D.
For years Jeptha D. Vawter was a prominent and forceful character of his community. While he toiled and prospered he was not forgetful of the duties he owed to his home, the locality in which he lived, his state or his country. He lived to see his children established in homes of their own, happy and respected, and this fact afforded him much contentment when the evening shadows of his life were merging into the darkness of eternal earthly sleep. He was a devout Christian, and politically his actions were in accord with the republican party. At the time of his death on October 13, 1894, Jeptha D. Vawter had rounded out a career of a little more than eighty-five years.