Location: Oketo Kansas

Biography of J. Harry Barley

J. Harry Barley is proprietor and publisher of the Republican-Register, the oldest newspaper in Washington County, and still one of the most sucessful newspapers in the state. Mr. Barley is a young newspaper man, and prior to the purchase of the Republican-Register his experience was chiefly in education and banking. The Republican-Register is the direct and lineal descendant of the Western Observer, which was founded at Washington in March, 1869. Its publisher was Mark J. Kelly. Mr. Kelly had come to Washington through the influence of Col. Dave Ballard, who gave him a bonus of ten town lots to start a local newspaper. The first number of the Western Observer was published March 11, 1869. It was the first paper published in Washington County. It was issued from a hand press, and the sheet measured 7 by 9 inches. Its influence was by no means measured by its size. Mr. Kelly was a very fair and impartial editor and made his journal a medium of attracting many substantial people to this section of the state. His paper circulated through all parts of the East, and many of the best settlers in Washington County heard of the section through the Observer, May 21, 1870, the Observer was sold to George W. Shriner and James F. Tallman, its name being changed to the Magnet. August 25, 1870, Mark J. Kelly, the...

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Biography of Mathias M. Schmidt

Mathias M. Schmidt, who had spent his life since early childhood in Marshall County, Kansas, had had a very intense career as a teacher, banker, business man and public spirited citizen. He is now in the loan and insurance business at Home City in Marshall County. Mr. Schmidt is not only a practical business man but a scholar of exceptional erudition and had been well fitted for the leadership which he had taken in public affairs. Mr. Schmidt is of German descent and was born at Fort Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, July 8, 1876. His ancestors all lived in the Grand Dueby of Luxemburg, Germany. His great-grand-father was Pierre Schmidt, who served in the gallant armies under the great Napoleon, being a member of the Grand Guard and taking part in the famous charge at Waterloo. He spent his last years in this country and died in Ozaukee County. Mr. Schmidt’s grandfather was Michael Schmidt, a native of Luxemburg, Germany, who immigrated to America in 1851 with his family, became a farmer in Wisconsin, and died in Ozaukee County. Michael Schmidt, Jr., father of Mathias M., was a Kansas pioneer. He was born in Luxemburg, Germany, in 1837, and came to America at the age of fourteen. He grew up in Ozankee County, Wisconsin, married there, and while his early life was spent on a farm, soon after...

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Biography of Jesse H. Moore

Jesse H. Moore is the cashier of the Oketo State Bank. The Moore family had for many years been identified with banking and other affairs of Marshall County, and Mr. Moore’s father was the founder of the present bank, his mother is now its president, and this excellent Kansas woman had another special distinction as being one of the few women of the state to hold the office of mayor of a town. The Oketo State Bank’s history begins in 1889, when Z. H. Moore started it as a private bank. In 1900 it was reorganized under state charter. It is an institution of large resources and an effective factor in the financial affairs of the community. It had a capital of $10,000 and surplus of $25,000. The present officers are: Mrs. L. G. Moore, president; P. J. Eychaner, vice president; J. H. Moore, cashier; and Henry C. Waters, Jr., assistant cashier. Mr. Jesse H. Moore was born at Oketo, Kansas, August 20, 1884. He received his education in the public schools there, graduating from high school in 1900, and in 1907 he received his Bachelor degree from Baker University. While at Baker he was a member of the Kappa Sigma college fraternity. In the meantime he had become associated with his father in the banking business, at first as assistant cashier, and in 1908 was promoted to his...

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Biography of Ziba Hibbard Moore

The late Ziba Hibbard Moore was for many years a prominent figure in Marshall County, and died at Oketo December 19, 1916. He was born near Avondale in Chester County, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1845. He grew up in his native community, was married in Adams County, Pennsylvania, and in early life followed the trade of carpenter. In 1875 he went to the Indian reservation in Gage County, Nebraska, and was employed as a carpenter by the Indian Agency. In the fall of 1879 he removed to Oketo, Kansas, and was a merchant there until he established his bank in 1889. He was sole owner of the private bank and president after it was reorganized. His widow, a very capable business woman, had followed him in that office. Ziba H. Moore was a very strong advocate of republican prineiples. He served one term as mayor of Oketo. Both he and his wife were birthright Quakers, and in the absence of a Friends church at Oketo he gave his active support to the Methodist denomination. He was also affiliated with Oketo Lodge No. 25, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons. In 1905 he erected a modern home, perhaps the best in Oketo, now occupied by his widow. For a number of generations the Moore family lived and did their part in the life and affairs of Pennsylvania. David Moore, grandfather of the...

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Biography of Frank Levi Root

Frank Levi Root has lived in the vicinity of Oketo for thirty years. he had prospered in a degree sufficient to meet his sanguine expectations, and not only owned and controls a large body of rich farming land in Marshall County but is also actively identified with Oketo’s business affairs and its civic and community life. Mr. Root was born in Cedar County, Iowa, May 21, 1865. His father, Levi Root, born in Ohio July 9, 1832, grew up in his native state and when a young man moved to Iowa. He was married in Cedar County and had a large farm in that and Jones County. He was an expert foundryman by trade, and in 1867 he left Iowa and went to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and for ten years was employed in a foundry, returning to Iowa in 1877. For a year before his death he had visited his son in Oketo, and while returning to the home of his daughter Mrs. Ida. M. Belcher in Iowa he died at Ottumwa March 4, 1910. Politically he was a democrat, and was a member of the Masounic order. Levi Root married Eliza Cruise, who was born in Ohio January 24, 1842, and died in Cedar County, Iowa, September 20, 1906. They have three children: Ida, who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. wife of Byron Belcher, a farmer; Frank L.; and...

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