John M. Winter. Among the respected citizens of Manhattan, Kansas, no one stands higher than John Winter, a reliable business man and since May, 1914, postmaster of this city. He was born at Volkartshain Province Oberhessen, Grosherzogtum Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, February 27, 1854, and is a son of John B. and Elizabeth (Greb) Winter. His father belonged to the working class and, although industrious, had accumulated little means, so that, when John had completed his public school training, his future lay almost entirely in his own hands. As soon as possible he began to learn the carpenter trade, in the meanwhile finding employment as a worker in the great timber lands in his native country, in which he was engaged both before and after his marriage.
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The first break in the old German home circle was when Mr. Winter’s father and other members of the family, and relatives also of his wife, sailed for America and from the United States sent back reports of better business opportunities in their new home. It was then that Mr. Winter began to seriously entertain thoughts of also crossing the Atlantic. When his mind was about made up as to the advantages of such a course, his employers promoted him to a more remunerative position, evidently with the object of retaining his services. In some perplexity Mr. Winter turned to his estimable wife for the settlement of what was really a very important matter, no doubt previously having had proof of her good judgment. She decided favorably as to emigration and in 1884, Mr. Winter and his family and accompanied by his mother, landed at New York, the date being the 14th of June. From that city Mr. Winter went first to Philadelphia, but by August of the same year was established and employed at the carpenter trade, in the City of Manhattan, Kansas, which has been his chosen home ever since. For some years he confined himself to carpentering but gradually branched out into affiliated lines and in the course of time became a building contractor. As such he has built up a reputation for honesty and efficiency that he may well be proud of.
Mr. Winter was married in 1879 to Miss Catherine Doebert, who was born in Germany, and they have four children: Catherine, who is the wife of Charles E. Hawks, of Chanute, Kansas: Henry B., who is a prosperous architect at Manhattan; Caroline M., who is general delivery clerk in the postoffice at Manhattan; and Amelia Margaret, who is the wife of W. J. King, who is assistant highway engineer with the Kansas State Agricultural College.
Mr. Winter belongs to that class of men who in every community display public spirit and encourage progress. He has always been active, since locating here, in the affairs of the democratic party and in 1897 he was elected on the democratic ticket the first marshal of Manhattan, overcoming the normal republican majority because of his personal popularity. He rendered acceptable service during one year but declined to be a candidate for re-election. Subsequently he served for two years as a member of the city council, during which he was chairman of the finance and waterworks committees. His party loyalty, together with his high standing as a citizen exerted strong influence toward his appointment as postmaster of Manhattan, to which office he was appointed by President Wilson in May, 1914. It is universally admitted that Mr. Winter has fulfilled every demand as a public official. Under his administration of the affairs of the Manhattan postoffice, the service has been greatly improved and the business so increased that on July 1, 1916, Manhattan was placed among first class postoffices by Postmaster General Burleson.
Mr. Winter is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias and also to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, in the latter organization several times representing his lodge in the grand lodge of the state. He has secured financial independence by means of industry, calm judgment and wholesome living and is not only a representative citizen himself, but is at the head of one of Manhattan’s most respected families.