John E. Kibler. Though he did not have the opportunity to attend school regularly after he was thirteen years of age, John E. Kibler found ways and means to acquire a liberal education, and that education had not only sufficed for his own needs but had always made him one of the leading educators in Southeastern Kansas. Mr. Kibler is now county superintendent of schools of Chautauqua County and had been engaged in school work for a long period of years.
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He came to Kansas when a small boy, but was born in Fulton County, Illinois, June 11, 1863. His grandfather, Frederick Kibler, was a German farmer, and spent all his life in the old country. His father, Jacob Kibler, who was born near Stuttgart, Wuertemberg, Germany, in 1830, grew up on his father’s farm, and about 1851 emigrated to the United States, locating in Fulton County, Illinois. He farmed there a few years, and in 1867 brought his family to Osage County, Kansas, and was one of the pioneers in that section. The Indians had hardly left Osage County, and he pre-empted a claim near Scranton. About 1874 he moved his family to Chantauqua County, and was successfully engaged in farming there until his death in 1880. He was a member of the Lutheran Church.
Jacob Kibler married Mary Ellen French, who was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1843. Her parents came to the United States about 1858, while James Buchanan was president. She met and married Jacob Kibler in Fulton County, Illinois. She died in Chantauqua County, Kansas, in 1885. Her children were: John E.; Caroline, who died in 1877; Charles, a farmer in Chautanqua County; Mary, who lives at Hydro in Caddo County, Oklahoma, the widow of George Benscoter, who was a farmer; and Fred, who is in the livery business at Hydro, Oklahoma.
The regular schooling which John E. Kibler enjoyed as a boy was in Osage and Chantauqua counties. When he left home at the age of thirteen he began earning his own way as a laborer on farms. He continued in that occupation until the death of his father, and in 1881 at the age of eighteen he taught his first term of school in Chautaqua County. He had been a hard student all his life, had mustered many subjects that ordinarily are only taught in the curriculm of higher schools, and is likewise a man of wide experience in the world and in business affairs. Much of his work as an educator was done in the rural schools and it was his high ideals as a teacher and his manifest ability as an executive that caused him to be elected county superintendent in 1912. He was re-elected in 1914, and his present term expires in May, 1917. Mr. Kibler had under his supervision ninety schools in Chautauqua County, 135 teachers, and an enrollment of 3,700 scholars.
Besides his present office, Mr. Kibler served for four years as county surveyor of Chautauqua County. His knowledge of surveying was largely acquired by practical experience and home study. He had used exceptional judgment in managing his business affairs, and at the present time owned several farms aggregating 1,500 acres in Chautauqua County and had considerable city property.
Politically he is a republican. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is past noble grand of Sedan Lodge No. 141, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is past consul of Woodman Camp. He had long had membership in the Southeast Kansas and the Kansas State Teachers’ Association.
In 1890 in Anderson County, Kansas, Mr. Kibler married Miss Elizabeth Gregory, daughter of Asahel and Mary (Wandel) Gregory, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Kibler have taken great pains to give their own children the best of advantages at home and in school. These children, ten in number, are as follows: Inez is the wife of Mr. Scott, a farmer at Hydro, Oklahoma; J. Emunett, who had had some experience as a teacher is now employed by the Pipe Line Company at Sedan; Mary married Clarence Witt, who is an employe of the Prairie Pipe Line Company at Sedan; Letha, formerly the wife of Archie Parman, is living in Los Angeles, California; Acil lives at home and is a sophomore in the high school; Ray is also in the sophomore class in the Sedan High School; Bessie is in the eighth grade and Harry in the seventh grade of the public schools; and Jesse and Joseph are the youngest members of this large and interesting household.