Location: Butler County KS

Biography of James R. Mead

James R. Mead, one of the founders of Wichita and one of the noted pioneers of Kansas, was a Vermonter, born May 3, 1836, and at an early age showed his love for out-of-doors life. During his school days he read and dreamed of the Great American Desert, and in the fall of 1859 started for the plains. For four years he traded with the various Indian tribes in the present State of Kansas, hunted buffaloes and finally established a post on the Salina River, about twenty miles from its mouth. In 1861 he contracted his first marriage, and two years afterward the couple moved from the trading post to the settlement at Salina, then growing into a village. Later, he established a trading post at Towanda, farther west on the Whitewater River, and while residing there organized a great buffalo hunt which first made him acquainted with the charming country at the mouth of the Little Arkansas. There he established a branch trading post. During the Civil war the Confederates drove away the Wichita Indians who had occupied that locality, but Mr. Mead, as a Union agent, kept them in hand and loyal to the Federal cause. In 1864 he was elected to represent Butler County and the lower house, and in 1868 was sent to the State Senate by the district comprising the four counties of Morris,...

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Biography of Capt. William E. Payton

Capt. William E. Payton, editor and owner of the Colony Free Press, had been a live factor in Kansas journalism for a number of years. He is also prominent in Kansas military circles, having seen service in actual warfare during the Philippine insurrection, and is now captain of Machine Gun Company of the Third Kansas Infantry. Captain Payton is a native of Kansas, having been born on a farm in Butler County December 15, 1879. His parents were Benjamin F. and Sarah C. Payton, both natives of Indiana. His father served as a soldier in the Civil war. The family came to Kansas in the early ’70s and his father died in 1915. They were the parents of nine children, eight sons and one daughter, William E. being the seventh in age. Captain Payton was educated in the public schools of Butler County and grew up on his father’s farm. Before he attained his majority he enlisted in Company A of the Thirty-second Regiment, United States Volunteer Infantry, and spent two years as a soldier in the Philippines. He made a good record in the army and his interest in military affairs had been unabated to the present time. In 1905 Mr. Payton bought the Burns Oitizen at Burns in Marion County, edited and published it three years, and selling out acquired the Bulletin at Florene, Kansas, having charge...

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Biography of Fred W. Martin

A well known Wichita manufacturer and business man, Fred W. Martin possessed the qualities which enabled him to grow and adapt himself in proportion to his opportunities. As a youth he learned the tinner’s trade and also clerked in a bardware store. It was on that narrow footing that he began to build himself into the larger affairs of business. He is now treasurer and manager of the Martin Metal Manufacturing Company, one of the growing and flourishing industries of Wichita. Besides the interest that attaches to his own successful career, it is also a matter of note that Mr. Martin represents a pioneer family of Kansas. His grandfather, Henry Martin, came from Hull, Eagland, in 1856, and located at Eldorado, Kansas, when this was still a territory. He had the distinction of eondueting the first store at Eldorado. It was in Butler County, Kansas, that Fred W. Martin was born October 19, 1874. He learned his lessons in the public schools there and in the meantime gained his first qualifications and experience for business as clerk in his father’s hardware store at Leon in Butler County. He also mustered the tinner’s trade while there. From Leon he went to a clerkship in a hardware store at Coldwater, Kansas, and subsequently identified himself with the City of El Reno, Oklahoma, where he remained six years. In 1899 Mr. Martin...

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Biography of F. H. Penley

Fortunate is the community which had citizens with the substantial conservatism of practical business men and yet are forward looking in matters of new development and improvement. In the matter of towns and communities there is perhaps more truth in Ingalls’ statement that opportunity knocks but once at the door, than in its application to individuals. Recently the oil district of Southern Kansas was extended into Butler County. By the good sense and public spirit of several local citizens, prominent among whom is F. H. Penley, president of the First National Bank of Augusta, this sudden development of great natural wealth and resources was utilized to the distinct advantage of what had been merely a country village, and Augusta is now on a fair way to become one of the thriving centers of population and industry in the state. Mr. Penley represents a pioneer family in Butler County and he had been personally identified with the business and civic life of this section of Kansas for forty years. He came to Kansas when a boy. He was born in the State of Maine at Bethel in Oxford County in 1856. His parents, Charles Freeland and Abbie (Locke) Penley, were also natives of Maine. They came to Kansas in 1870, locating about two miles north of Augusta. Charles F. Penley took up a homestead claim and was engaged in farming...

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Biography of John Bunyan Adams

John Bunyan Adams was born in Butler County, Kansas. That county had been his home all his life, and beginning there as a country school teacher and subsequently entering banking, he had achieved a reputation built up on constructive service that had made him widely known over the state as a legislator, banker and financier. He is a former president of the State Bankers’ Association, and for years had been a recognized leader in his part of the state in the republican party. His birth occurred on March 25, 1873, on his father’s farm near Potwin in Butler County. He is a son of Amos and Nancy M. (Cain) Adams. He traces his ancestry back in the paternal line to Joshua Adams, who came from England in 1660 and settled at Braintree, Massachusetts. In the successive generations there have been soldiers in every war, beginning with the French and Indian, and through the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and the family had also been represented worthily in the industries, professions and business affairs and as pioneers in the making of new commonwealths in Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Illinois and Kansas. Mr. Adams’ grandfather, William Adams, was born at Hagerstown, Maryland, 1801, and about 1840 he settled among the pioneers in Fulton County, Illinois. He was a substantial farmer, and a man of wide influence in his community. His brother Joseph Adams...

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Biography of L. S. Hall, M. D.

One of the first physicians to locate at the Town of Augusta in Butler County was Dr. L. S. Hall. That was nearly forty years ago. For a number of years Doctor Hall lived outside of Kansas, but the greater part of his professional career had been identified with a town that had since developed into a thriving city, the center of one of the greatest oil districts in Southern Kansas. Doctor Hall had done a great deal of good through his profession, and had lived a well rounded and complete life. His is an excellent ancestry. Doctor Hall was born at Spencer, New York, April 17, 1855. In the paternal line he is of Scotch-Irish descent, the Halls having come to New York state in Colonial times. His grandfather, Lewis Hall, was born on Long Island near New York City. He afterwards acquired a farm on the shores of Lake Cayuga, six miles from Ithaca, New York, and lived there until his death in 1861. His death was the result of an accident when his horse ran away. He had had a military training and served in the New York State Militia. His church was the Presbyterian. Lewis Hall married Miss Elizabeth Corey, a native of New York State. Doctor Hall’s father was H. S. Hall, who was born in Orange County, New York, in 1810. He spent...

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Biography of Frederick E. Dillenbeck, M. D.

Frederick E. Dillenbeck, M. D.,of El Dorado, had attained as much prominence in the fleld of medicine and surgery as others of his fantily have gained in the breeding and raising of some of the finest trotting horses known in Kansas or anywhere in the country. Doctor Dilleubeck, who had practiced medicine at El Dorado for twenty years, is local and dispensing surgeou for the Missouri Pacific and the Santa. Fe Railway companies, is consulting surgeon for the Rock Island Railroad Company, is medieal examiner for a number of old line life insurance companies, is a member of the County and State Medical societies, the American Medical Association, the Military Surgeous of the United States, the Clinical Congress of Surgeons of North America and the American Association of Railway Surgeous. He served two terms as coroner of Butler County, and had been county and city physician for several terms. He is not only a capable and painstaking physician with years of succossful practice to his credit, but is a genial and courteous gentleman whose kindly manners have won for him a host of friends in this section of Kansas. Doctor Dillenbeek was born near Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County, New York, April 4, 1867. He is a son of Charles B. and Helen (Visscher) Dillenbeck, Charles B. Dillenbeek is known fan and wide as proprietor of the “City Dairy...

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Biography of J. D. Melton

J. D. MELTON. The question of food supplies is one that agitates the whole human family, and is the first with which they have to grapple. Without doubt the well-appointed grocery establishment furnishes the best solution of feeding the masses, and in this connection due reference is made to that over which J. D. Melton presides and of which he is the proprietor. He was born in the neighborhood of Galena, Missouri, December 6, 1842, a son of Austin and Elsie (Haley) Melton, and grandson of Ansel Melton, who was one of the pioneers of Tennessee. In that State Austin Melton was born in 1805, and from that region he came to Polk County, Missouri, in 1834, and there made his home for some three or four years. He then came to Stone County and settled about one mile south of where Galena now stands, on 100 acres of Government land, which he entered. Oh this land he built a log house in which he lived until 1858, when he moved to the town of Galena. After the death of his wife there he moved to Laclede County and from that time until his death, which occurred in 1892, he resided on a farm about eight miles from Lebanon. All his life he was a Democrat and held a number of township offices. His wife, a Tennessean by birth,...

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Biography of Maj. James A. Melton

The intelligence and ability shown by Maj. Melton as a progressive tiller of the soil, and the interest he has taken in the advancement of measures for the good of Stone County, Missouri, caused him long since to be classed as one of the leading citizens of his section. All that he has achieved or gained has come as the result of his own efforts, and he deserves much credit for the determined way in which he faced and overcame many difficulties. In tracing his genealogy, we find that his ancestors came originally from England, settled in North Carolina, and the grandfather, Ansel Melton, who was a native of that State, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The latter moved his family to Cannon County, Tennessee, and settled near Sugar Tree Knob in 1810, being one of the very first settlers of that State. He lived to be nearly one hundred years old, and died on the farm where he had first settled. His wife, too, reached an extraordinary age, dying when one hundred and four years of age. The Melton family for the most part held membership in the Christian Church. The father of our subject, Austin Melton, was born in the Old North State, and was but five years of age when he moved with his parents to Cannon County, Tennessee There he grew to manhood...

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Biography of William F. Hill

William F. Hill is the dean of the newspaper profession in Pottawatomie County. The Becorder had been published consecutively at Westmoreland for thirty-two years, and Mr. Hill had been proprietor and publisher of the paper for more than a quarter of a century. When he first came to Kansas it was in the role of a teacher, and he was at one time principal of schools in Havensville, and Westmoreland of Pottawatomie County. He is of English ancestry, and his forebears came to Virginia in Colonial times. His grandfather, John R. Hill, was born in Ohio and spent his life as a farmer, living both in Ohio and Indiana. His death occurred near Goshen, Indiana, in 1856. Samuel Hill, father of the Westmoreland editor, was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832, and when a young man went to Indiana, where he married. In 1832 he became an early settler in Monroe County, Iowa, and in that county on April 10, 1856, his son William was born. A few months later the family removed to Ringgold County, Iowa, where Samuel Hill spent the rest of his sctive life as a farmer with the exception of a few years in Oklahoma. He died in Ringgold County in 1914. He was a republican and a very active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He also made a military record as a faithful soldier...

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Biography of Earl A. Nossaman

Earl A. Nossaman, secretary of the Monarch Cement Company at Humboldt, had lived in Kansas since early infancy, educated himself for the teaching profession, which he followed for a number of years, and was in the drug business before he accepted his present official position with the Monarch Cement Company. He went with this company while it was being reorganised, and as manager of the sales department had had much to do with its successful operations in recent years. His ancestry goes back to Hesse Cassel, Germany, where his great-grandfather was born. Coming to America, this ancestor settled in Pennsylvania. Mr. Nossaman’s grandfather, Lewis Nossaman, served with credit as a Union soldier during the American Civil war. For many years he lived on a farm in Harrison County, Missouri, came from there to Kingman County, Kansas, where he was a pioneer homesteader, and he died at Wellington, Kansas. Earl Adrian Nossaman was born in Harrison County, Missouri, February 18, 1879. His father is Warren Pierce Nossaman, who was born in Iowa in 1853, but when a boy went with his parenta to Harrison County, Missouri, where he grew up and married. He became a farmer, and in the fall of 1879 came to Kansas, first locating in McPherson County and in 1883 taking up a homestead of 160 acres in Kingman County. He developed that as a good farm,...

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Biography of Ed J. Dunfee

Ed J. Dunfee. One of the most difficult of the officers under the Kansas form of government is that of county sheriff. The discharge of the duties of this position calls for the incumbent to possess qualities of personal courage, tempered with diplomacy and tact, executive capacity, and no small amount of detective ability. To successfully serve in this office in a manner that wins the admiration of the community to such a degree that re-election is secured without opposition is something unusual, but this had been the experience of Ed J. Dunfee, sheriff of Allen County, now serving his second term. Sheriff Dunfee had been a life long resident of Kansas, and had been acting in an official capacity since 1911. His public record is one characterized by faithful attention to the duties which have devolved upon him. Ed J. Dunfee was born at Fredonia, Wilson County, Kansas, June 19, 1874, and is a son of John W. and Emma (Joyce) Dunfee. He comes of sound Irish stock on both sides of the family, and it is probable that the first Dunfee of this branch to come to the United States from Erin was the grandfather of Sheriff Dunfee, who settled first in Pennsylvania and later removed to Ohio. Bishop Joyce, of Kansas, is a brother of Sheriff Dunfee’s mother. John W. Dunfee was born in 1847, in...

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Biography of John Gardner Shelden

John Gardner Shelden, of El Dorado, had made himself a man of success and influential leadership in spite of handicaps and obvious disadvantages. In his early life he was a farmer and school teacher, lost a leg in the railroad service, continued to fight the good fight regardless of physical conditions and in recent years had become one of the leading oil and gas operators in this section of the state. There are many sound reasons why the name Shelden rings honorable and true in Butler County. It is good sound Ameriean stock, of the pioneer type. The story of the trials and sufferings of Mr. Shelden’s mother is one that can not be too often repeated. Another son of the family was the late Alvah Shelden, who came to rank as one of Kansas’ foremost newspaper men in ability and influence and the results of whose career will always be impressed upon Butler County’s history. The life of John Gardner Shelden began with his birth at Helena in one of the southern counties of Texas, May 27, 1858. His parents were Benjamin and Louisa (Vaught) Shelden. His father was of Pennsylvania-Dutch descent. He was a man of Union sentiments in a district of slave holders, and because of his independence of views he was shot and killed in his own dooryard by a Southern sympathizer. That tragedy came...

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Biography of David C. Stahlman

David C. Stahlman, M. D.The kind of energy, resource and large-mindedness required of the man who would succsed in any of the learned professions in these days of strennous effort seem to be an integral part of the equipment of Dr. David C. Stahlman, a medical and surgical practitioner, who with the exception of two years had been engaged in the practice of his honored calling at Potwin, Butler County, since 1900. The recipient of a patronage that is as remnnerative financially as it is satisfying intellectually, Doctor Stahlman is an enthusiastic and careful thinker, and notwithstanding his well known caution and respect for tradition is not afraid of untrod paths or of independent individual effort. Doctor Stahlman was born January 10, 1867, in Steuben County, Indiana, and is a son of Ernest and Rachel (Handley) Stahlman. His father was born in 1819, on the Rhine River, Germany, and was twenty years of age when he immigrated to the United States, first locating in the State of Pennsylvania and later removing to Steuben County, Indiana, where he became a pioneer farmer. He passed the remaining years of his life in agrienltural pursuits in the Hoosier State, and died in Steuben County June 7, 1871. He was politically a republican, and his religious faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By his first wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth...

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Biography of John D. Burton

John D. Burton. Like many of his contemporaries in the field of journalism in Southeastern Kansas, John D. Burton, proprietor and editor of the Potwin Ledger, began his career at the case. His entire life had been devoted to newspaper work, as compositor, editor and owner of publications in various parts of the country, but principally in Kansas, where he had resided and labored since the fall of 1878. While his present publication was founded only recently, it had already gained a wide circulation and promises to become an organ of influence in public matters under Mr. Burton’s wise and experienced direction. John D. Burton was born at Springfield, Illinois, July 1, 1857, and is a son of David A. and Elizabeth (Tarr) Burton. He comes of a family which, originating in England, was founded in North Carolina by three brothers, William, Thomas and Allen Burton, the last named of whom, his great-grandfather, became a pioneer farmer of Indiana and died in the vicinity of Terre Haute. Allen H. Burton, son of the immigrant, and grandfather of John D. Burton, was born at Charlotte Court House, North Carolina, and was there reared, educated and married. Subsequently he went to Indiana, but later became a pioneer into Williamson County, Illinois, where he condueted a blacksmith shop until his death. He married Cynthia Boyle, a native of Ireland. David A. Burton, father of John D., was...

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