Location: Ellsworth County KS

Biography of William E. Schermerhorn

William E. Schermerhorn is a merchant at Wilson and for a man of thirty-five carrics some very heavy responsibilities. He is a native of Kansas and son of a pioneer whose career recalls some interesting events and developments in the far West. His father, E. D. Schermerhorn, is still living at Wilson, nearly seventy years of age. E. D. Schermerhorn was born near Troy, New York, in 1848. His ancestors were the Schermerhorn family of Holland established on Manhattan Island by three brothers in the time of Peter Stuyvesant. The name Schermerhorn is still found in local nomenclature in and around New York. When E. D. Schermerhorn was fifteen years of age he ran away from home and for many years lived close to the frontier of American enterprise and settlement. His first location was at White Pigeon in Southern Michigan, at that time a place of considerable importance. There he worked in a store and blacksmith shop, but in 1866 he came still further west and located at old Fort Ellsworth, now Kanopolis, Kansas. Here he found employment in the sutler’s store for Judge Osborne, and was soon given active management of the store. In 1869 he went with Colonel Foreytho as a blacksmith for the Government and assisted in establishing Fort Sill in the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. At old Fort Sill he had charge of all...

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Biography of Henry W. Weber

Henry W. Weber, cashier of the Farmers State Bank of Wilson, had worked and had lived in close touch with business and banking affairs since he was a young boy. Part of his early experience was as a farmer, and he is individually owner of a farm and had that invaluable asset of the country banker, a close knowledge and sympathy and understanding with farming interests and farmers. Mr. Weber was born near Dubuque in Russell County, Kansas, March 31, 1883. His father, Nicholas Weber, who still lives in that community, had long been a prominent man of affairs in Kansas. He was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1855 and left his native country when about eighteen years of age for America. He came here poor and with neither capital nor influential friends. For five years he worked at wages in Dubuque County, Iowa, and there gained his first real knowledge of merchandising. In 1878 Nicholas Weber arrived in Kansas and settled in Barton County, just over the line from Russell County. There he established a general mercantile store, also conducted farming on an extensive scale, being owner of 4,500 acres of farm lands at the present time. Prosperity had attended his efforts in every direction and he is an example of the man who had raised himself by sheer determinstion and industry to a place of secure success....

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Biography of John O. Adams, Hon.

Hon. John O. Adams. Of the men who in recent years have come to the forefront in the business and official life of Ottawa County, few have accomplished such great and substantial results within so short a period of time as had John O. Adams. A resident of Delphos since 1901, this energetic and capable young man had worked his way to a substantial place in business circles, while in official affairs he had been equally energetic and successful, and in the spring of 1917 was elected mayor of the city. His record as a merchant and as a public servant had been an honorable one, marked by distinctive schievement and straightforward acceptance of his opportunities and responsibilities. John O. Adams was born at Langley, Kansas, September 24, 1889, being a son of John R. and Mary C. (Sward) Adams, and a member of an old New England family which immigrated from England to Massachusetts during the era of the American colonies. John R. Adams was born in 1860, at Walpole, New Hampshire, where he was reared and received ordinary educational advantages. When he left his native state, in young manhood, he went to Zearing, Iowa, where for several years he followed the trade of earpenter, and in 1885 came to Kansas and settled at Langley, where he continued to follow that vocation. Subsequently he removed to Marquette, Kansas,...

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Biography of Silas R. Dague

Silas R. Dague. As president of the Dague Business College, in the City of Wichita, Mr. Dague has been the potent force in the development and upbuilding of one of the admirable and influential educational institutions of the Sunflower State, and the college of which he is the executive head is maintained at the highest modern standard, with the best of material facilities and with a corps of instructors who are notable for distinct efficiency in the work of the respective departments to which they are assigned. Mr. Dague was born in Will County, Illinois, on the 17th of February, 1884, but he has maintained his home in Kansas since early childhood, his parents having removed to this state in 1891, when they established their residence at Wilson, Ellsworth County. In the public schools at Wilson Silas R. Dague continued his studies until he had been graduated in the high school, and for two years thereafter, 1903-04, he was a student in Baker University, at Baldwin, this state. For several years thereafter he taught private schools in various cities in the Middle West, and he then, in consonance with his ambitious purpose, entered the Louisville Business College, in the metropolis of the State of Kentucky, where he completed a thorough course in bookkeeping and higher accounting. Thus effectively fortified, Mr. Dague then established his residence at Wichita, in 1914,...

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Biography of George W. Vaughn

George W. Vaughn. Constructive enterprise in America had had its most notable triumphs in railroad building. In that field American ingenuity, indomitable energy and resourcefulness, have been displayed at their best. The history of railway building on this continent had many splendid names, and some of the greatest of them belong to Kansas. Not least among them was the late George W. Vaughn, or Major Vaughn, as he was more generally known, who died at Leavenworth February 3, 1916. He had a national reputation in engineering circles, and was a man, who, from the common walks of life, attained wide fame. He was born in Genesee County, New York, in the Town of Perry on November 24, 1829. It will not be inappropriate to recall the fact that at the time of his birth there was hardly a mile of railroad construction in the United States. His life spanned the entire period of railroad progress not only in America but practically in the world, since even in England Stephenson and his associates were only making experiments with locomotion by means of railroads. He was reared on a farm. His educational opportunities were confined to the public schools. This lack of schooling was more than equalized by an intellect of a superior order. He was particularly gifted in mechanics, not merely with the skilled operation in handling of tools, but...

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Biography of Edwin Ruthven Heath

Edwin Ruthven Heath, a prominent physician and specialist of Kansas City, Kansas, had a record among Kansas citizens that is unique. As a boy he knew the terrors, excitements and thrilling incidents of life in California following the discovery of gold in ’49. As a traveler both in North and South America he had contributed a part of the world’s knowledge of geography, peoples and science. He spent twelve years in South America, practiced medicine in remote construction camps and among wild and semi-barbarous tribes, and he helped build some of the pioneer railways of that continent. To as great a degree as it could be said of any one, Dr. Heath had lived the strenuous life. He had been a resident of Kansas since 1881, and here had given his chief attention to the practice of medicine. Dr. Heath was born at Janesville, Wisconsin, July 13, 1839. He is the only survivor of three children whose parents were James and Madelia McLean (Boyce) Heath. Both parents came from Vermont, and his father, James, was the youngest of nineteen children. Dr. Heath’s brother, Ivon D., was a successful farmer, was a friend of Dr. Root, surgeon of the Kansas Seventh Regiment in the Union Army, and Ivon was made hospital steward under Colonel Cloud and served in that capacity through the war. In 1848, during the historic gold rush...

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Hollinger, J. A. – Obituary

North Powder, Union County, Oregon J. A. Hollinger of North Powder, passed this life at St. Elizabeth hospital in Baker, Thursday, May 1. Deceased was 62 years of age and had been a resident of this vicinity for the past twelve years. The immediate surviving relatives are the widow and eight children, Mrs. Eva Lockwood of Florence, Oregon, Mrs. Elvina Pearson, Mrs. Violet Dougherty, Misses Nina, Iva and Josephine, Edgar in France, and Alfred Hollinger all of North Powder, and a mother and six brothers and two sisters of Kansas. Mr. Hollinger was born February 7, 1857, at Stone Tavern, Pa., and was married to Mary C. Hollinger at Wilson, Kansas, May 24, 1883. In 1907 he moved with his family to North Powder where he has resided since. North Powder News Saturday, May 10,...

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Biography of Rev. Dr. Michael M. Stolz

Rev. Dr. Michael M. Stolz. It would be impossible to do justice in a brief sketch to the life of this devoted follower of Christ and pioneer Methodist leader of Kansas. Doctor Stolz entered the ministry while the great Civil war was being fought. He served faithfully in Indiana and elsewhere, and for nearly forty years had been identified with the Kansas Conference. He is now retired from the active ministry, a resident of Salina, but though past eighty-one years of age still finds congenial employment as librarian of the Kansas Wesleyan University. He was born April 30, 1836, at New Berry, Pennsylvania, a son of William and Jane M. (Smith) Stolz. Both parents were natives of Pennsylvania and had nine children, six sons and three daughters: Michael M.; Alexander, deceased; William H.; David S., now a resident of Ellsworth, Kansas; Daniel S., living in Los Angeles, California; Joseph, of Los Angeles; Elizabeth M., of White Plains, New York, widow of Clinton Fish; Rebecca Jane, wife of George Leonard of Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Caroline, deceased. The common schools of Pennsylvania furnished Doctor Stolz his early education until he was eighteen years of age. He then entered the Dickson Seminary at Williamsport, where he spent two years. Coming west to Indiana in 1859, he entered the old Asbury University, now DePauw University, at Greencastle, Indiana. He was a student in...

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Biography of Gustav A. Nyquist

Gustav A. Nyquist, now county attorney of McPherson County, had won the honors of his profession in many hard fought legal combats since he was admitted to practice ten years ago, and is one of the ablest and most influential citizens in this section of the state. Mr. Nyquist is a native Kansan. His early life was one of comparative lack of opportunity and struggle against adverse circumstances. He fought the good fight and had gained such a position as men of honorable ambition most desire. His birth occurred in a dugout on a claim in Ellsworth County, Kansas, September 5, 1874. His parents were Nels M. and Christina (Anderson) Nyquist. His father, who was born in Sweden May 1, 1840, had been both a farmer and carpenter. In 1872 he came alone to America, bringing no capital to speak of, and made his start in life on a Government homestead in Ellsworth County. In that one location he performed a part of labor and industry which brought its sure reward in after years, and he died February 21, 1881. He was a life-long member of the Lutheran Church and was a charter member of the church at Marquette, Kansas. While establishing a home in Western Kansas he endured all the hardships and privations of a pioneer. He lived in a dugout until he could replace that with a...

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Biography of Gideon R. Wolfe

Gideon R. Wolfe has one of the longest records of public service of any county officer in Kansas. For practically a quarter of a century he had been county surveyor of Ellsworth County. Mr. Wolfe is a man of thorough technical training and experience and is a pioneer in Western Kansas. He was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, April 29, 1829, and undoubtedly he is also entitled to distinction as one of the oldest men still active in public service. He was eighty-eight years of age at his last birthday. He comes of English stock, the Wolfes having located in Pennsylvania in colonial times. His father, George Wolfe, was born in Center County, Pennsylvania, in 1789, the year that George Washington was inaugurated President of the United States. His death occurred in Center County in 1857. He spent all his life there as a hard working and plain and substantial farmer. In politics he was identified with the whig party. He was a very active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife, Elizabeth, was born in Center County and died there in 1872. They had three children: William, who died in Center County, where he had been manager in stores; Gideon R.; and Charles, who died at Philadelphia soon after his enlistment for service in the Civil war. Gideon R. Wolfe grew up and received such advantages as...

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Biography of George M. Hoffman

George M. Hoffman, president of the Citizens State Bank of Little River, came to Kansas in territorial times and is one of the oldest residents of the state. His life had been as varied in its activities and experiences as it had been long, and perhaps no individual had contributed more to the real advancement and upbuilding of the Town of Little River than Mr. Hoffman. His birth occurred in Franklin County, Indiana, February 7, 1843, and he is of German ancestry in the paternal line and his paternal grandfather was a German soldier in the magnificent army of Napoleon during the Russian campaign which ended so disastrously after the march to Moscow. His father, Henry Hoffman, was born in Baden, Germany, in 1790, grew up and married in that country, followed agriculture and in 1840 brought his family to the United States and settled on a farm in Franklin County, Indiana, where he died in 1865. After coming to America he never made any definite choice of political parties and usually voted independently. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He married in the old country Maria Hornberger, who was born in Baden in 1810. She died in Franklin County, Indiana, in 1875. They had only three children, George M. being the youngest. Katrina, the oldest, married Ed Pape and they live retired at Keokuk, Iowa....

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Biography of William L. Nesmith

William L. Nesmith is one of the Kansas pioneers. He had lived in this state more than forty years, having come here in 1874 with his young wife and their wagon trip from Iowa was in the nature of a honeymoon journey. For a great many years William Nesmith was actively engaged in merchandising and in other affairs at Wilson, and is now a resident of Salina and a member of the grocery house of Nesmith & Son. His public spirit as a citizen and his generous contributions to educational institutions and moral movements have been on a par with his notable business success. His birth occurred April 24, 1852, in a log house on a farm in Van Buren County, Iowa. His parents were Joseph T. and Jane (Truscott) Nesmith, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of England. His father was born September 1, 1823, and spent his life as a farmer. For many years he lived in Ellsworth County, Kansas, and died at Wilson in this state December 1, 1898. He was an active member of the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1845, in Van Buren County, Iowa, he married Miss Truscott, who was born in 1829 in England, and came to America in 1836 with her parents, Stephen and Ann (Benny) Truscott, who lived to be past ninety years of age. Both the Nesmith...

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Biography of Daniel B. Cowie

Daniel B. Cowie. In an article on other pages of this publication will be found some account of the salt industry in Kansas and some mention of the more prominent mines and companies. One of the most striking figures in the development of the salt industry in Kansas was the late James Cowie, Sr., and the above named is a son of that salt pioneer and is now general superintendent of the Independent Salt Company at Kanopolis. The Cowie family are Scotch people, and in Scotland they were also identified with mining. The grandfather of Daniel was George Cowie, who spent his life in Scotland and was a successful coal contractor. James Cowie, Sr., was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1839. He grew up and married there and from an early age was a coal miner. Prior to his coming to America he was general manager for one of the largest coal companies in Scotland, having supervision over ten diffierent coal properties. On coming to the United States in 1884 he entered the employ of the H. C. Frick Coal Company at Connellsville, Pennsylvania. James Cowie, Sr., came to Kanopolis, Kansas, in 1889. The credit is given him for originating the salt mining industry of Kansas and he was known in the press and to the general public as the “salt king.” As manager of the Royal Salt Company...

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Biography of George Alvin Wilson

George Alvin Wilson, present sheriff of Lincoln County, is one of the strong, fearless and independent men developed by life on the plains and in contact with the ranching business. Mr. Wilson had spent many years as a practical stockman and so far as his official duties permit he still gives active superintendence to his farm in Lincoln County. Mr. Wilson was born in this county March 10, 1877. His people were among the early settlers. A number of generations back the Wilsons claimed German ancestry, but the family was established in New York in colonial days and subsequently were pioneers in the state of Illinois. J. H. Wilson, father of Sheriff Wilson, was born near Allerton, Iowa, in 1849. He grew up and married in his native state, and in 1873 joined the pioneers of Ellsworth County, Kansas. His father, Isaac Wilson, came at the same time and was a man of prominence in Ellsworth County and the town of Wilson and the community known as Wilson Flats was named for him. The Town of Wilson was originally known as Bosland, and the name was changed to Wilson in 1878. Grandfather Isaac Wilson homesteaded land there and developed a very valuable and productive farm at Wilson Flats. Isaac Wilson was a veteran of the Civil war, having served four years in an Iowa regiment of infantry. J. H....

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Biography of Charles W. Fielder

Charles W. Fielder, vice president of the Wilson State Bank, is a comparative newcomer in Kansas, but brought with him a large experience as a banker and business man from the northwestern states. Mr. Fielder was born at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 20, 1879. His father, Rev. William Fielder, was born at Hemil Hempstead, in the County of Herts, England, in 1853. He prepared for a career as a Methodist minister. He had come to America in 1868, living at first at Queenstown, Prince Edward Island, later in New Brunswick, and in 1877 was sent as a missionary of the Methodist Church to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He gathered about him the people of his faith, founded a church, and afterwards preached at various churches in South Dakota, also at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and for five years was president of the Fort Worth University of the Methodist Church at Fort Worth, Texas. For two years he served as vice chancellor of the Methodist Episcopal University at Guthrie, Oklahoma, and since 1913 had been president of the Snead Seminary at Boaz, Alabama. Politically he is a republican. Rev. Mr. Fielder married Susan A. Dobson, who was born at Minonk, Illinois, in 1855, and died at Cherryvale, Kansas, in 1892. She was the mother of two children: Charles W. and Susan A. The latter is the wife of Earl Ripley, a...

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