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W. R. Blanding. Among the prosperous business enterprises of Barnard, Kansas, none perhaps are more soundly established than is the Blanding Hardware Company, which was started by W. R. Blanding, the present secretary and treasurer, who is also vice president of the First National Bank of Barnard. He is a man of large business experience and in public esteem no citizen is considered more trustworthy.
W. R. Blanding was born in Kent County, near Lowell, Michigan, May 11, 1871. His ancestors came to the United States many generations ago from Germany and settled in New York, and in that state his grandfather was born in 1806. As a pioneer settler and prospective farmer he settled in Kent County, Michigan, in 1855, cleared up a substantial property and died there in 1878. His wife bore the maiden name of Smith.
A. H. Blanding, father of W. R. Blanding, was born in New York State in 1837, and died near Randall in Jewell County, Kansas, on his old homestead farm, July 25, 1910. He was a young man when he accompanied his parents to Michigan and six years afterward, in 1861, he enlisted for service in the Civil war in a Michigan regiment, a state that sent out troops that were notably valiant soldiers. At the battle of the Wilderness Mr. Blanding was captured by the Confederates and for nine months suffered imprisonment at Libby and Andersonville, the effects of which he was never able to overcome. He was a man of robustness, weighing 160 pounds when he was taken prisoner, but nine months later, when exchanged, his weight was but ninety pounds. In 1872 he came to Kansas and homesteaded 160 acres in Jewell County and spent the rest of his life on that property, which is now owned by his wife. He was a republican in politics and at times served in public office and once was county commissioner of Jewell County. He belonged to the Odd Fellows, and was a faithful member of the Christian Church.
In Kent County, Michigan, A. H. Blanding was married to Almetta Nash, who was born in that state March 18, 1848, and now resided at Randall, Kansas. They had the following children: Nina, who is the wife of J. H. Stauffer, a farmer near Randall, Kansas, and is vice president of the Blanding Hardware Company; M. I., who is a farmer near Formosa, Kansas; Phoebe, who is the wife of Christian Krough, a farmer in the State of Washington; W. R., of Barnard; I. A., who is a farmer near Formosa, Kansas; Fred, who is a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, resided at Lenora, Kansas; and Addie, the wife of John Flynn, a farmer near Randall, Kansas.
W. R. Blanding remained his father’s assistant on the home farm in Jewell County until he was eighteen years old, in the meanwhile attending the public schools, and then worked on other farms for one year before beginning to farm for himself, in which he was engaged until 1895. He then went to Custer County, Oklahoma. There he secured a homestead claim of 160 acres, which he still owned.
In 1902 Mr. Blanding returned to Kansas and soon afterward established his present hardware business on Main Street, Barnard, a business which is incorporated, the partners being W. R. and Fred Blanding and J. H. Stauffer, and they operate under the name of the Blanding Hardware Company, with Fred Blanding as president, J. H. Stauffer as vice president and W. R. Blanding, secretary and treasurer.
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At Mankato, Kansas, in 1890, Mr. Blanding married Miss Nora Getman, who is a daughter of L. A. and Mina (Bunnell) Getman, the latter of whom resided at Jewell City. The father of Mrs. Blanding came to Kansas in 1880 and engaged in farming until his death. Mr. and Mrs. Blanding have four children: R. L., who lives at Barnard, is connected with the Blanding Hardware Company; Nettie is the wife of Robert Wallace, who is a farmer living two miles east of Barnard; Albert is a farmer living ten miles northwest of Barnard; and Etta is a student in the Barnard High School. Mr. Blanding owned a handsome residence on White Street, together with his business house and a furniture store on Main Street. He had never been unduly active in politics, but is recognized as one of the city’s useful and public spirited citizens. For many years he had been identified with the Odd Fellows and belongs to Barnard Lodge No. 374, is past noble grand of the same, and belongs also to Barnard Council, Knights and Ladies of Security. The Blandings have always been supporters of school and church.