Location: Ottawa Kansas

Biography of William R. Smith

One of the fine buildings bordering the State Capitol grounds at Topeka is the Kansas State Printing plant. That is the official headquarters of William R. Smith, state printer, and also secretary of the State Printing Commission and chairman of the School Book Commission of the state. Doubtless any citizen, and particularly a printer, would deem it an honor to be at the head of an establishment which experts pronounce to be the equal in mechanical equipment and operating effieiency of any commercial printing establishment in the country. When Mr. Smith went into office on July 1, 1915, he brought with him a ripe experience, including an extensive service in all the grades of the printing business, years of editorial and newspaper publishing work, and perhaps best of all an inheritance and training in the progressive Kansas spirit. When the advancement of the welfare of the state is concerned, W. R. Smith can always be found in the ranks of the workers and usually among the leaders. The influence for good he has exercised as an editor in various sections of the state can hardly be overestimated. While his life has been distinctive in more than one particular, he is in every sense a typical Kansan. He was born at the old land office and capital, Lecompton, March 21, 1872. His grandparents, William L. and America C. (Barton) Smith...

Read More

Biography of Peter P. Elder

Peter P. Elder, deceased, ex-lieutenant governor of Kansas, and for many years a resident of Ottawa, was one of the most notable characters of Kansas and one of the select few who gave it a unique and substantial standing among the western states of the Union. He was a native of Maine, born in Somerset County, September 30, 1823; was of North-of-Ireland ancestry and Revolutionary stock. Mr. Elder spent the first thirty-four years of his life in his native county, getting an education and teaching school. He became an ardent abolitionist early in life, and in 1857 located in Franklin County, Kansas, prepared to do his part in defending his principles and possessions. First taking up a claim near Ohio City he commenced farming, immediately joined the Kansas militia, and in 1861 President Lincoln appointed him agent for the Osage and Seneca Indians at Fort Scott. In that position he rendered valuable service to the Union by keeping the Indians to its support, and when he resigned the agency he returned to Franklin County and located at Ottawa, which had been recently platted. In the late ’60s Mr. Elder erected the first substantial residence at Ottawa, and also established the banking firm of P. P. Elder & Company. It continued a successful business until the organization of its successor, in 1871–the First National Bank of Ottawa, of which Mr....

Read More

Biography of Carey J. Wilson

Carey J. Wilson is superintendent of insurance for the State of Kansas. His is one of the busiest offices at the State Capitol and practically every minute of his official time is taken up either with the broader policies of the state insurance department or with the immense amount of details pertaining to the ability of companies to meet solvency requirements, as well as the general conduct of business within the state. To this office Mr. Wilson brought years of practical experience in the insurance field. He had been solely identified with insurance since he left college. Though a native of North Carolina, Carey Josephus Wilson had lived in Kansas since early infancy. He was born at Burnsville in the Old North State February 21, 1868. In 1870 his parents, George Washington and Elizabeth (Erwin) Wilson came to Kansas, settling in Brown County. They now reside at Ottawa, Kansas. His father is a Baptist minister and during the Civil war served as chaplain in the Confederate army. Carey J. Wilson grew up in the country around Powhattan, attended country schools, the academic department of Ottawa University and the Liberal Arts Course of the University of Kansas, graduating from the State University with the degree Bachelor of Arts in 1899. His early experiences were those of a Kansas farm boy, and in the intervals of acquiring a liberal education he...

Read More

Slave Narrative of Clayton Holbert

Interviewer: Leta Gray Person Interviewed: Clayton Holbert Location: Ottawa, Kansas Place of Birth: Linn County, Tennessee Age: 86 THE AMERICAN GUIDE TOPEKA, KANSAS EX SLAVE STORY OTTAWA, KANSAS BY: Leta Gray (interviewer) “My name is Clayton Holbert, and I am an ex slave. I am eighty-six years old. I was born and raised in Linn County, Tennessee. My master’s name was Pleasant “Ples” Holbert. My master had a fairly large plantation; he had, I imagine, around one hundred slaves.” “I was working the fields during the wind-up of the Civil War. They always had a man in the field to teach the small boys to work, and I was one of the boys. I was learning to plant corn, etc. My father, brother and uncle went to war on the Union side.” “We raised corn, barley, and cotton, and produced all of our living on the plantation. There was no such thing as going to town to buy things. All of our clothing was homespun, our socks were knitted, and everything. We had our looms, and made our own suits, we also had reels, and we carved, spun, and knitted. We always wore yarn socks for winter, which we made. It didn’t get cold, in the winter in Tennessee, just a little frost was all. We fixed all of our cotton and wool ourselves.” “For our meat we used...

Read More

Biography of Herbert O. Caster

Herbert O. Caster, who, on February 2, 1914, qualified as attorney for the State Public Utilities Commission, and is now a resident of Topeka, had lived in Kansas for thirty-eight years, and is well known over the state, but particularly in his home County of Decatur, where before his admission to the bar he made a fine record for himself as an educator and an energetic factor in other affairs of public importance. When the Caster family came to Kansas in 1878 they took up a homestead in Decatur County. At that time the county was a sparsely settled regiMeigon, and there was not a single frame house within its borders. Like everyone else there the Caster family lived in a home constructed partly of sod and partly a dug-out. The old-timers of Kansas recall the hardships of the first settlers, of their incessant warfare with drought and blizzards, crop failures, and atarvation prices for such prodnce as could be aetually spared in excess of home consumption. All these discouragements the family of Herbert O. Caster erperienced. His parents were Dan and Jane (Turner) Caster. Dan Caster was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and took an active part in local affairs in Decatur County, serving as chairman of the board of county commissioners, and in 1891 and in 1893 being elected to represent his county in the...

Read More

Biographical Sketch of Joel K. Goodin

Joel K. Goodin, an early lawyer and legislator and a free-state leader, was born at Somerset, Perry County, Ohio, February 24, 1824. He received an academic education, after which he took up the study of law. Early in 1854 he was admitted to the bar in his native state and the following June located upon the Wakarusa River in what is now Douglas County, Kansas. Mr. Goodin was a delegate to the Big Springs convention; was clerk of the lower house of the Topeka Legislature until it was dispersed by Colonel Sumner; was secretary of the council in the free-state Legislature of 1858, and the same year began the practice of law in Douglas County, but soon afterward removed to Ottawa. In 1866 he was elected to represent Franklin County in the Legislature, and was re-elected in 1867. While a member of the House he assisted in organizing the State School for the Deaf at Olathe. Mr. Goodin died at Ottawa on December 9,...

Read More

Biography of Horatio W. Gates

Horatio W. Gates is one of the oldest and best known undertakers and embalmers in the State of Kansas. He had been in business for many years at Rossdale, his present location being 29 Southwest Boulevard. He had not been alone in that profession, and it is noteworthy that Mrs. Gates was the first woman to receive an embalmer’s license in either Kansas or Missouri, and while many women have in recent years taken up the profession she was one of the real pioneers. Mr. Gates was born August 2, 1849, at Mansfield, Ohio, but had been a resident of Kansas since 1870. He first came to the state in 1867, but only remained about a year. He was the youngest of eight children of Jacob and Ann Maria (Bell) Gates. His mother was a sister of Dr. S. B. Bell, one of the founders of Rosedale and whose name is perinanently linked with the history of Kansas because of the magnificent gift he made to the state in the form of a hospital and school of medicine. Jacob Gates was born in 1801, and both he and his wife were natives of New Jersey. His father was a Revolutionary soldier and lost a leg during the struggls. Jacob Gates removed to Ohio in early days. In New Jersey he had operated a textile mill. An older brother had...

Read More

Biography of Frank Sigel Dietrich

The day of the lawyer who depended upon inspiration, and whose chief preparation for forensic victory was the acquisition of alcoholic stimulants, is past. The lawyer of today depends not alone upon inspiration, but also upon hard work in preparing his cases for trial, and upon their careful presentation and handling in the courts. Usually he has to convince hard-headed business men of the merits of his case, which involves nothing of sentiment or of sensationalism and much of pecuniary interest and of commercial right and wrong, pure and simple. He goes before a judge and jury cool, collected, alert, bristling with business, equipped with a thorough knowledge of principles and decisions applicable to his case, ready for emergencies, and with the persuasive oratory of reason and precedent clearly expressed and logically arrayed, but having little need for mere theatrical display. Thus equipped, thus discharging his duty to his client, to the court, and to himself, he wins upon the law and the evidence, ably interpreting the one and bringing out the full force of the other. Such a modern, successful lawyer is the subject of this sketch, concerning whose life we have gathered the following facts. Frank Sigel Dietrich was born near Ottawa, Kansas, January 23, 1863, and came of German ancestry. Both his father and his mother were born near Frankfort, in Germany, where they spent the...

Read More

Biographical Sketch of William E. Stich

William E. Stich. The largest general insurance office in Independence is owned and managed by William E. Stich. Mr. Stich is a brother of the late A. C. Stich, whose career as a business man and eitizen of Montgomery County had been described on other pages, where many of the detalls of the family history will be found. William E. Stich was born in Hanover, Germany, February 16, 1850. His parents came to this country in 1857 and located at Kalamazoo, Michigan. His early education was received in the schools there, and in the meantime he learned to be a cabinet maker under his father, who was a master of that trade. At the age of seventeen, on leaving school, he began working in an organ factory, and remained there about six years. He then became connected with the musical merchandise house of R. D. Bulloch of Jackson, Michigan, and was manager of their store at Saginaw for nine years. In 1883 Mr. Stich came to Kansas and bought his brother’s interest in a store at Paola. This was a general merchandise store and as its proprietor he conducted it for twenty-one years. Then in 1904 he moved to Ottawa, Kansas, and for a year was in the ice business. After a year’s intermission, he came to Independence in 1906, and had since been in the insurance business. His...

Read More

Biographical Sketch of Herbert Hickman

Herbert Hickman is editor and owner of The Florence Bulletin, and had proved himself a very diligent and enterprising young newspaper man, coming up from the ranks of an apprenticeship as a printer. He was born in Las Animas, Colorado, December 6, 1893, a son of George W. and Maggie H. (Brown) Hickman, both of whom died when he was a small boy. His father was a native of Missouri and his mother of West Virginia. Herbert had a twin brother, Harvey Cecil, who died at the age of five years, and the youngest child, Warren Milton, was born in 1895 and died in 1902. After the death of his parents Herbert Hickman lived with his maternal grandparents at Colony, Kansas. His mother’s father was Rufus M. Brown, one of the early settlers at Colony. He served in the Union army as a member of Company G, First Regiment, Ohio Heavy Artillery Volunteers, and was long active in Grand Army circles in Kansas, His death occurred in Colony in 1911. In the home of his grandparents Herbert Hickman had good advantages, attending the public schools and spending three years working in the printing office of the Frce Press at Colony. He also continued his apprenticeship one year in Ottawa, Kansas. On March 2, 1914, he came to Florence as foreman of The Bulletin, and on May 1, 1917, bought...

Read More

Biography of Camden L. Bloom

C. L. Bloom. One of the most picturesque careers in the mid-continent oil and gas fields has been that of Camden L. Bloom of Independence. By an unusual capacity for hard labor and by a foresight seasoned by long and active experience he made one large fortune, which was swept away in the panic of 1907. With a few dollars realized by mortgaging his home, he made a new start, and today his operations and holdings would constitute another modest fortune at least. His life began in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1868. His people, the Blooms, came from Germany to Pennsylvania about the time of the Revolution. His father was A. W. Bloom, who was long and prominently known in Kansas and died at Independence August 24, 1909. He was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, in 1837, and in that state he followed farming, though his chief business for a number of years centered in the rafting of extensive quantities of hemlock and white pine down the Susquehanna River. In 1877 he moved his family to Fulton County, Indiana, and three years later to Bollinger County, Missouri. In 1884 he made his next step toward the West, settling in Linn County, Kansas, and thereafter confining his attention entirely to farming. From Linn County he moved to Miami County, Kansas, and from there to Independence, where he lived retired...

Read More

Harker, Harry – Obituary

Ottumwa Courier – June 15, 1946 Harry Harker, 59, of 223 north Marion St., died at 1:40 a.m. today [June 15, 1946] at the home of his brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Swanson. The son of Alonzo and Laura Harker, he was born at Ottawa, KS, Nov. 15, 1887. He was a member of Ottumwa Lodge, #16, A. F. & A.M. Mrs. Swanson survives. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Lester Jay funeral home, conducted by the Rev. B. Frank Hasty, pastor of the First Baptist Church. Burial will be made in Ottumwa Cemetery. Contributed by: Shelli...

Read More

Biography of Henry Clay Dale, Prof.

Prof. Henry Clay Dale. No person in a community wields a greater influence in the molding and shaping of character than does the school teacher. The capable, conscientious instructor stands nearer to the hearts of his charges than does any other persons. On entering the schoolroom the child’s mind is as plastic clay and is as readily made to take shape in the hands of the skilled educator. Therefore his great responsibility, and therefore the honored position which he holds in the community when his duties are faithfully discharged. Of the educators of Columbus, Kansas, Prof. Henry Clay Dale is one of the leaders. He had devoted his entire career to his profession, in the ranks of which he had steadily advanced until at this time he is principal of the Cherokee County High School. Professor Dale was born on a farm in Jasper County, Missouri, August 30, 1882, and is a son of Henry Clay and Emma J. (Barker) Dale. The founder of the Dale family in America was Sir Thomas Dale, first governor of Virginia, and a prominent citizen during colonial days. The great-grandfather of Professor Dale was Elijah P. Dale, a son of George Dale. He was the father of Robert J. Dale, who was for many years engaged in farming but who lived retired for several years before his death, which occurred at Carthage, Missouri....

Read More

Biography of Frank A. Bardwell

Frank A. Bardwell. A large majority of the men who are engaged in working the oil fields of Kansas have been devoting their energies to this line of work all of their lives, whether as employes, employers, contractors, drillers or producers. They have had the experience from early youth and it is but natural that they should meet with success in their undertakings granted that opportunities are the same. But there is another class among the men who are making this one of the great industries, this being formed of the men who had their training in other fields of business endeavor, and who have had their own problems to work out and their commercial battles to fight with men who by reason of their experience were better equipped. In the cases where these men have won, their success is more than creditable. In the latter class of Kansas producers is found Frank A. Bardwell, of Chanute, whose uniformly successful career had invaded various avenues of business life. Mr. Bardwell was born at Ottawa, the county seat of LaSalle County, Illinois, August 11, 1870, and is a son of A. G. and Mary (Drake) Bardwell, and is of English descent, the family having come to America from England previous to the American Revolution and settled in New York. His grandfather was a native of Pennsylvania, who carried on the...

Read More

Biography of Frank E. Bodley

Frank E. Bodley. The men upon whose shoulders rest the responsibility for prosperity and advancement along every line of commercial and industrial activity are the captains of industry and finance who are in command of the armies which are fighting to preserve the nation’s standing among the countries of the earth, as well as against those foes to established currency and methods of transacting business. Without them and their sound, conservative policies, the country would be at the mercy of every irresponsible, unscrupulous speculator or visionary idealist. As is but natural, the financiers of the country’s great cities are the ones called upon principally to bear the greatest amount of this responsibility, but the smaller communities contribute their share according to their size and progressive spirit, and throughout the State of Kansas there are found communities whose citizens are serving faithfully and well in the financial ranks. Among these at Chanute in Neosho County is found F. E. Bodley, president of the Peoples-Home State Bank of Chanute and a well and favorably known banker whose operations have been extensive and important and whose reputation rests upon many years of upright and honorable dealing. Mr. Bodley was born April 24, 1859, at Princeton, Illinois, son of O. J. and Amelia (Uhler) Bodley. In 1889 he became interested in banking, at Quenemo, Osage County, where he remained for years as president...

Read More


Free Genealogy Archives

It takes a village to grow a family tree!
Genealogy Update - Keeping you up-to-date!
101 Best Websites 2016

Pin It on Pinterest