Biography of William J. Krehbiel
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William J. Krehbiel is editor and owner of The McPherson Daily and Weekly Republican, the pioneer newspaper of McPherson County. It was established as a weekly issue in 1872, the year that McPherson City was founded. In 1885 it took on a daily issue, and Mr. Krehbiel had been its proprietor and manager for the past twenty years.
Mr. Krehbiel had been a resident of Kansas since he was nine years of age, and was born at Denmark, Iowa, December 11, 1870. His parents were John J. and Anna (Leisy) Krehbiel. John J. Krehbiel was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, May 3, 1838, but when two years of age was taken to Lee County, Iowa. His father, Rev. John C. Krehbiel, a native of Germany, was a cabinet maker, farmer and sawmill man in Iowa, and was throughout his life active in the Mennonite Church, which he served as an elder and preacher. John J. Krehbiel grew up in Iowa, and at the age of twenty-six went to New York State, where he attended school a year. The Civil war was then in progress, and it being contrary to the teachings of his church to bear arms, he entered the employ of the Federal army in the quartermaster’s department as a wagon maker. He remained in the service until the close of the war. Following that he engaged in his trade and established a business at Denmark, Iowa, where he remained until 1879. In that year he made the removal to Kansas, establishing a carriage and wagon works at Newton, and enjoyed a successful business career until he retired in 1910, but still holds his residence at Newton. John J. Krehbiel is one of the founders of Bethel College at Newton, and for twenty years was one of its board of directors, being now an honorary member. He had always been an influential member of the Mennonite Church. He was also one of the organizers of the original Prohibition movement in Kansas, and in 1882 followed Governor John P. St. John out of the republican party.
He was married December 17, 1867, to Miss Anna Leisy. She was born in Bavaria, Germany, January 26, 1845, and in 1856 came to America with her parents, being forty days en route on an old fashioned sailing boat. She grew up in the faith of the Mennonite Church. There were seven children, five sons and two daughters, all living, namely: Edgar A., of Newton, Kansas; William J.; Marie, wife of H. E. Suderman, of Newton; Albert H. and Frederick A., both of Chicago; Linda, wife of Dr. R. S. Henry, of Newton; and Isaac R., of McPherson, Kansas.
William J. Krehbiel spent most of his early boyhood at Newton, Kansas. He was educated in the public schools of that city, at Bethel College in Newton, and in the University of Kansas in Lawrence. As a boy he spent some of his vacations working around a printing office, and had never long been away from the smell of printer’s ink. On leaving the University of Kansas he spent several months with Arthur Capper on the old North Topeka Mail. For three years he served as telegraph editor of the Topeka Capital.
Mr. Krehbiel bought the Newton Daily Republican in 1897. He was editor and owner of that publication for 1½ years, and in 1899 acquired the entire business of the McPherson Daily and Weekly Republican from its former owner, Samuel G. Mead, who had had the Republican for nineteen years. Under Mr. Krehbiel’s ownership the Republican and its plant had been thoroughly reorganized and modernized. It had modern presses, linotypes and all the facilities for high class work.
Mr. Krehbiel had served as a member of the city council and for two terms was mayor of McPherson. While he was mayor the city secured a modern sewerage system, and a free public library. He is a member of the Congregational Church and had served as its clerk since 1900. He is also a member of the city library board and active in every municipal undertaking.
On April 25; 1900, at Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Mr. Krehbiel married Miss Gussie Ruth. Mrs. Krehbiel was born August 2, 1874, at Summerfield, Illinois, daughter of J. E., and Christina (Risser) Ruth, the former a native of Bavaria and the latter of Illinois. Mrs. Krehbiel was educated at Bethel College in Newton. They are the parents of three children, two sons and one daughter: Kenneth, born July 24, 1903; Marion, born June 2, 1907; and Ruth, born June 17, 1910.