John C. Fields. Among the worthy farmers of Fawn Creek Township, Montgomery County, whose industry, perseverance and good management have brought them into comfortable circumstances, is John C. Fields. Mr. Fields has been a resident of Montgomery County since 1870, in which year he took up a pre-emption claim in what was then the Cherokee Strip. He has steadily added to his holdings since that time, and is now one of the substantial men of his community, having a well-cultivated property of 650 acres, and being a director of the Tyro State Bank.
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Mr. Fields was born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, October 11, 1848, and is a son of John and Joanna (Wallace) Fields, and a member of a family the American progenitor of which came to this country from Germany in colonial times and settled in Pennsylvania. Robert Fields, the grandfather of John C., was born in the Keystone State, and passed his life in farming in Mifflin County, where he died prior to the birth of his grandson. On the maternal side, Mr. Fields’ grandfather was Robert Wallace, who was born at Belfast, Ireland, and as a young man came to America and settled in Pennsylvania, where during the remainder of his active career he was engaged in farming and stock raising. His death occurred about the year 1863. Mr. Wallace married a Miss Wilson, daughter of James Wilson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
John Fields, father of John C., was born in 1803, in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, was there reared and educated, and passed his life as a tiller of the soil. He met with a fair measure of success in his farming and stockraising enterprises, but his early death, in 1848, cut short what promised to be a successful career. He was a democrat in politics and an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Fields married Joanna Wallace, also a native of Mifflin County, who died there in 1864, at the age of fifty-eight years.
The only child of his parents, John C. Fields was educated in the public schools of his native county, and was reared on the home farm, where he remained until 1869, or until he had reached his majority. At that time he came to Kansas and settled in Brown County, as a pioneer, but in 1870 removed to the Cherokee Strip, taking up a preemption claim in Fawn Creek Township, Montgomery County. He experienced all the hardships incidental to life in a new country, passed through the grasshopper plague of 1871, and met with a number of other reverses, but through it all worked perseveringly and gradually added to his holdings as his finances would permit, and erected good buildings and installed improvements on his property. Thus he has become the owner of a farm of 650 acres, on which he has two oil wells now producing, although he gives the greater part of his attention to diversified farming and to the raising of graded stock, having a thoroughbred individual for his Shorthorns. He is known in business circles as a man of foresight and acumen, who is honorable and straightforward in his dealings and who, in succeeding himself, has aided others to honorable success. In addition to his residence at Tyro, Mr. Fields owns a valuable business property, and has also been interested as a stockholder in a number of oil companies. Mr. Fields is a director of the Tyro State Bank, one of the strong financial institutions of this part of the county, which was established in 1904 by R. L. Teegarden and other local men of substance. The present modern brick banking house was erected during that year, and stands on Main Street. The present officers of the bank are Joseph Lenhart, president; F. E. Dobson, vice president, and R. L. Teegarden, cashier, all of Tyro. The bank has a capital of $10,000, its surplus being $5,000 and its undivided profits $3,000. It has shown a gratifying growth since its inception and has an excellent reputation in banking circles of this part of the state, as well as possessing the confidence of the general public. Mr. Fields has done his share in placing this institution upon a sound foundation and in directing its policies along lines of safety and conservatism. He is a democrat in politics and stanchly supports the candidates of that party. His public service has been confined to his acting as a member of the school board, a position which he has held for many years, his friendliness to and interest in education making him a valuable member of the school body of his township. Mr. Fields is fraternally connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being past noble grand of Tyro Camp, No. 517.
Mr. Fields was married in 1874, in Montgomery County, Kansas, to Miss Rachel Ellis, daughter of C. T. and Mary Ellis, who reside on a farm one-half mile north of that operated by Mr. Fields. To this union there have been born the following children: Theodore, who is engaged in farming one and one-half miles west of the home place, one of his father’s farms in Caney Township; A. P., who lives three miles east of his father’s homestead and follows the oil fields; Elfa, unmarried, who is engaged in teaching in the country schools of Montgomery County and makes her home with her parents; and John and Frank, who are assisting their father in the cultivation of the home place.