Location: McPherson County KS

Biography of Warren Knaus

Warren Knaus has two distinctions among the citizens of Kansas. For over thirty years he had been an editor and newspaper publisher at McPherson and is now one of the oldest newspaper men in continuous service in the state. His other claim to distinction is one more exclusive and recognized chiefly in scientific circles, but his work had brought him some of the rewards paid to scientific scholarship granted by bodies of world membership. He is one of the chief authorities in Kansas on entomology. A resident of Kansas since 1870, Mr. Knaus was twelve years of age when the family came from Indiana to this state. He was born February 24, 1858, near Liber in Jay County, Indiana. He was the youngest son of six children born to George and Isabel Knaus. The Knaus family originated in Germany, the first of the name coming to this country in 1742 and settling in Berks County, Pensylvania. Branches of the family also resided in Lancaster County, from which place Mr. Knaus’ grandfather moved to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, locating in the early part of the nineteenth century at Zoar, near Trenton. About 1840 George Knaus moved to Mercer County, Ohio, on the Indiana line. He married Isabel Scott and they made their home at Liber, near Portland, the county seat of Jay County, Indiana, and also near Fort Recovery in Mercer...

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Biography of Herman Bartels

Herman Bartels, the pioneer lumber merchant and president of the Bank of Inman, had been identified with McPherson County for over forty years. He is a veteran German soldier and fought with the armies of the empire in the Franco-Prussian war. He had a thorough technical and professional training in German schools, and was educated as an architect, but after coming to Kansas he applied his energies first to farming and later to constructive business affairs in Inman, and had been the chief business man of that town for many years. Mr. Bartels was born October 24, 1846, in the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany, a son of Ferdinand and Caroline (Sandvoff) Bartels, also natives of Germany. Mr. Bartels finished the regular common-school course in Germany, and at the age of eighteen completed a course at architecture at a Polytechnical College. His trade or profession he subsequently followed through journeyman’s experience in Germany, Switzerland and France until 1867. He was enrolled as a private in the Prussian army and gave three years of service. He was assigned to duty as a member of the Pioneer Corps, and his active military experience came during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, in which he was a petty officer. He was present during the sieges of Metz and Paris, and though all that experience as a soldier came more than forty-five years ago Mr....

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Biography of Cornelius Enns

Cornelius Enns founded an important industry in McPherson County and at his death left behind him a highly successful enterprise and the memory of an industrious, upright and thoroughly capable citizen. To no one class of people does Kansas owe more than to the Mennonites who came out of Southern Russia and applied their experience and methodical industry to the magnificent wheat fields of the Sunflower state. Cornelius Enns was a representative of that class of people. He was born in the Village of Landskrone, Taurida, in Southern Russia in 1839. His death occurred at Inman, Kansas, June 1, 1904, aged sixty-five years, seven months, eleven days. Both his father and grandfather were of German nationality and were pioneers in that section of Southern Russia and were among the most important men of the Village of Landskrone. The father for many years operated an old fashioned tread mill at Landskrone. The late Cornelius Enns learned the business of milling in his father’s establishment and soon became a competent miller. At the age of twenty-two he married and bought a windmill in the neighboring town of Gnadenfeld. A storm overturned the first mill, but he built it up better and stronger than before and in a more favorable situation. He soon acquired the full lot and interest of a villager and on being given the right of a voter became...

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Biography of Aron Dick, Jr.

Aron Dick, Jr., is editor and owner of the Inman Review at Inman, and had been continuously identified with that publication since early boyhood. He acquired most of his education in what had been called the greatest of universities, a printing office, and is not only a practical printer but a practical and thorough newspaper man. Mr. Dick was born February 9, 1885, on a farm in McPherson County, Kansas, five miles southeast of the Town of Inman. His parents were Aron and Anna (Kroeker) Dick. His parents were of that substantial stock of people, Mennonites in religion, who came out of Southern Russia and have done so much for the development of Kansas as a great wheat growing state. Aron Dick, Sr., who was of German parentage, was born in Russia August 20, 1835. In 1870 he immigrated to America, and was one of the pioneers of McPherson County. He bought a tract of new land in that section and was active as a farmer until 1889. In that year he sold his place and went to the new town of Inman, and took an important part in building up its local business and industries. He lived there until his death on November 11, 1913. He was one of the active and influential members of the Mennonite Church. Aron Dick, Sr., was married in Russia in 1869, the...

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Biography of Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson. Business achievement far above the ordinary and the influences of a character founded on the bedrock of integrity, were the fruits of the long and active years spent by the late Daniel Johnson at Lindsborg. At the time of his death Mr. Johnson had been for thirty-nine years a merchant at Lindsborg, and was the oldest business man of the city. He built up a splendid mercantile establishment known all over that section of Kansas and still a flourishing enterprise. He gave himself with the wholesouled devotion characteristic of him to church and to all the progressive affairs of his community. His was a long life, measured not so much in years as in the quality of accomplishment and experience. Daniel Johnson was born at Kronoborgs Län, Smolan, Sweden, September 29, 1843. His death came suddenly at his home in Lindsborg, April 13, 1911. At the time he was sixty-seven years, six months, sixteen days of age. He grew up and received his early education in his native land. In 1868, at the age of twenty-five, he came to America, spent a short time in Chicago, and from there went to Michigan. In Michigan he lived with C. Lindberg, who subsequently came to Lindsborg, Kansas. Mr. Johnson’s experiences in Michigan was as an employe of the Cleveland Mining Company. Through correspondence with Mr. Lindberg, who in the...

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Biography of Isaac Fenton Talbott

Isaac Fenton Talbott, of McPherson, is president of the Farmers Alliance Insurance Company, with headquarters in that city. He had been identified with this organization nearly thirty years. The Farmers Alliance Insurance Company is perhaps the largest and most notable of the co-operative financial enterprises that were the outgrowth of the economic unrest of the ’80s and early ’90s. The company was organized in 1887 on the co-operative plan. It writes both fire and tornado insurance, and is now one of the largest of the state’s financial institutions. It had insurance in force in every one of the 105 counties of the state and had agents and representatives in each county. As a mutual company it is one of the largest and had one of the best records shown in the annals of such companies in America. The company now had about $75,000,000 insurance in force and a membership of over 45,000. Its board of directors number fifteen. I. F. Talbott was born January 28, 1853, on a farm in Morgan County, Ohio. His parents, William and Margaret (Stubbs) Talbott, were also natives of Ohio. Mr. Talbott grew up on a farm, had the atmosphere of rural surroundings, and had always kept in close touch with rural interests. He was educated in the public schools of Morgan County and at a business college in Zanesville, Ohio. Before coming to...

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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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Bigraphy of Herbert A. Rowland

Herbert A. Rowland, of McPherson, is one of the most widely known civil engineers of Central Kansas. He had served nearly twenty years as county surveyor of McPherson County, is city engineer of McPherson City, but his work in laying out and supervising municipal improvements is not confined to one locality. He had been consulting engineer for half a dozen or more of the larger towns in that section of the state. Mr. Rowland belongs to the pioneer element of Kansas. He was born in a dugout on a claim in Saline County April 2, 1869. His parents were Joseph W. and Sarah Jane (Chamberlain) Rowland. His father, a son of William Rowland, a native of Washington County, Ohio, was also born in that county, October 28, 1840. He had just reached the years of manhood when the war broke out. He enlisted in Company I of the Sixty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served until the close of the struggle. He was in the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the South and the Army of the James, and among the many important battles in which he participated were Bull Run, Deep Bottom, Wilderness, Winchester and in the closing scenes at Appomattox. In all the risks and dangers he incurred he was wounded only once, and then slightly, and was never taken prisoner. He was promoted to sergeant....

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Biography of Ross Homer Rhoads

Ross Homer Rhoads is agent for the Santa Fe Railroad Company at Arkansas City. He had been a railroad man for a number of years, and it was his efficiency and his ability that led to his promotion to one of the most important posts along the Santa Fe system in Kansas. Mr. Rhoads had spent most of his life in Kansas but was born at Somerset, Pennsylvania, April 9, 1883. His grandfather, Samuel A. Rhoads, was a native of Germany and came from there to Pennsylvania. He had ten children: Sarah, deceased; Adaline, single; Etta, deceased; Philip, deceased; Susan, deceased; Hiram, the father of Ross H.; Emma, Jane and Clara, all unmarried; and Frank, a farmer of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. All the unmarried daughters are living on the home place in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Hiram K. Rhoads, the father, was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 1858, grew up and married there, and during his active career followed the vocation of farming. In 1887 he came to Kansas, spending one year as a farmer in Morris County and then removing to McPherson County, where he continued actively as a farmer until 1902. For a number of years he lived retired in the City of McPherson, but since 1914 had had his home at Prairie City, Oregon. He is a republican and a member of the German Brethren Church. Hiram...

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Biography of Charles Hedinger, M. D.

Charles Hedinger, M. D., of Canton, McPherson County, is a character unique in the great Sunflower State of Kansas. Others have grown old under the bright skies and in the wholesome and invigorating climate of Kansas’ prairies, but so far as known none had reached the age of ninety-five still active in work and had passed through such a varied range of experience, meeting hazard and danger with equanimity, and getting all possible out of life at every hour of existence. Much had been said and written in recent years concerning the decadence of the modern man and his comparative usefulness in the scheme of industrial and commercial life after the age of forty. In spite of the numerous conspicuous exceptions that belief had become almost a creed in some sections. But Doctor Hedinger had carried on his life work and usefulness for almost half a century beyond the normal middle age. He had actually proved that the last of life is that for which the first was made. Much had been written of Doctor Hedinger in recent years, and one of America’s leading weekly periodicals, the Outlook, recently referred to him in the following paragraphs: “Out in Kansas today Dr. Charles Hedinger, at the age of ninety-five, performs all of the arduous duties of a country practice, turning out at midnight to drive a score of miles, though...

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Biography of Jeremiah L. Seitz

Jeremiah L. Seitz is one of the pioneers of McPherson County. He came to Kansas a short time after the close of the Civil war, in which he had served as one of the youngest volunteers on the Union side. As a homesteader, farmer, public official and business man he had played a worthy and influential role in McPherson County since pioneer days. He is still active and had a good business as a collecting agent and auctioneer. Mr. Seitz was born April 16, 1847, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, son of Jacob and Barbara (Shellebarger) Seitz. His parents were natives of Germany and came to America when quite young. His father came over in 1831. The father was born in 1812 and the mother in 1814. They were married at Decatur, Illinois, in 1839. Jacob Seitz, who followed the business of merchant tailor, permanently located at Decatur in 1857, and lived there half a century, until his death, October 14, 1907. The mother died at Decatur September 20, 1876. There were five children, four sons and one daughter. John, the oldest, born in 1840, was a private soldier in Company B of the Eighth Illinois Infantry and was killed in battle at Fort Donelson in 1862. David W., the second in age, was born in May, 1842, and is now a veterinary surgeon and stock man at Bement, Illinois. Daniel,...

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Biography of Alexander Carraway Spilman

Alexander Carraway Spilman, living at McPherson at the age of eighty, is one of the few survivors of the true pioneer epoch of Kansas. The range of his experience seems remarkable even for a man of his age. He was in Kansas as a witness and newspaper correspondent of the factional turbulence of territorial days. He is a civil engineer by profession and was a member of the United States surveying party which surveyed Kansas west of the sixth principal meridian in 1858. It is probable that he is the only living pioneer or the oldest settler west of that meridian in Kansas. He knew the country when it was an absolute wilderness, a vast expanse of prairie and buffalo grass roamed over by the wild Indians and the buffalo. He fought as a soldier in the Civil war. He was one of the original company that founded the Town of Salina, and had been almost equally prominent in McPherson since that city came into existence. Captain Spilman was born at Yazoo City, Mississippi, October 5, 1837, a son of Dr. James F. and Margaret (Carraway) Spilman. His paternal grandfather Spilman, whose name was Benjamin, was born in Virginia. Dr. James F. Spilman, one of a family of eleven children, five sons and six daughters, was born in Kentucky in 1788 and died at Bunker Hill, Illinois, in 1870....

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Biography of Harvey Elmer Bruce

Harvey Elmer Bruce is one of Kansas’ successful newspaper men, being owner and editor of The Marquette Tribune, which he acquired some years ago and which he had made an influential organ of public opinion in McPherson and adjoining counties of the state. Mr. Bruce was born on a farm in Logan County, Ohio, March 12, 1865, but had lived in McPherson County, Kansas, since early boyhood. He was a successful schoolman in this state before he enrolled in the ranks of newspaper men. His parents were Henry Clay and Louise Jane (Abel) Bruce. His father was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1838, and was reared in Ohio. He brought his family out to Kansas in November, 1878. He is now living retired at Marquette. He spent his active career as a miller and farmer. His wife was born in Logan County, Ohio, February 1, 1847, and died at McPherson, Kansas, January 8, 1887. They were married June 1, 1864, near Huntsville, Ohio, and their children were six in number, three sons and three daughters, namely: Harvey E.; Maude, who was born November 24, 1867, and died December 5, 1873; Frank Aubrey, born August 17, 1869, now living at Roy, New Mexico; Byrnina C., born July 31, 1873, now the wife of D. W. Hull, a farmer near McPherson, Kansas; Wynne D., born February 1, 1877, now...

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Biography of Sven Birger Sandzen

Sven Birger Sandzen. A writer in the American Magazine of Art in February, 1917, paid a deserved compliment to Lindsborg as a city of art and culture better known and appreciated by the outside world than many industrial communities of greater population and wealth. This writer said: “Lindsborg had today the largest number of practicing artists in proportion to its population of any city in this country. By artists, however, is not meant merely painters, sculptors and architects, but also musicians. The musical festivals held in this city of the plains have become celebrated for their quality and musically are welcome events–occasions of national pride. They are attended by people from all over the state of Kansas and from other adjacent states–more than seven thousand a day. It is said at that time the annual exhibition of paintings is held, and though music makes the stronger appeal, the pictures do not go unheeded.” In the fall of 1894 there came to this distinctively artistic community of Kansas Sven Birger Sandzen, to accept a position in Bethany College. With the exception of two trips to Europe he had been there ever since and had been accomplishing a great pioneer work. In the college he is professor of Romance Languages and Aesthetics, and is also dean of the School of Fine Arts. Mr. Sandzen was born at Blidsberg, Sweden, February 5,...

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Biography of Carl Otto Lincoln

Carl Otto Lincoln, a native of Lindsborg and son of one of the founders and developers of the city and community, is a highly educated gentleman and is now manager and editor of the Lindsborg News and Record. He is one of the stockholders and officials in the Bethany Publishing Company, which publishes the News and Record and also the Posten and various college magazines and papers. The News and Record is an independent journal, and was first founded in 1881 as the Smokey Valley News. In 1887 the name was changed to Lindsborg News, published by the Bethany Publishing Company, and in 1912 was consolidated with the Lindsborg Record, which was founded in 1896. Mr. Lincoln was born at Lindsborg August 8, 1886, a son of Andrew and Anna C. (Johnson) Lincoln. His father was born April 29, 1842, in the Province of Vermland, Sweden, a son of John and Maria (Olsdotter) Lindgren. Andrew Lincoln came to America in 1869. About that time he took up a tract of Government land on Saline Creek six miles north of the present Town of Lindsborg. He was on the ground at the beginning, was among the first of the Swedish colonists in this section of Kansas, and though at the time of his settlement he was a single man and without money or influence his name had since become associated...

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