Location: Saline County KS

Biography of Edwin Grant Betz

Edwin Grant Betz. The Arkansas City Business College is an institution in which the people of that community take special pride. Technical training for business is now a recognized necessity, and among the schools of Kansas that supply such technical training the Arkansas City Business College had in many respects a record of unexcelled competence and thoroughness. The proprietor of this school is Edwin Grant Betz, who had had a varied business experience but had given his chief time through his active life to commercial education. He comes of an old Dickinson County family, while Mrs. Betz, his wife, is of another prominent pioneer family in that section of Kansas. Mr. E. G. Betz was born at Chambersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, August 19, 1869. His paternal ancestors were Germans and his great-grandfather came from Germany and was an early settler in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Henry Betz, was born in Pennsylvania in 1795, spent his life as a farmer and died at St. Thomas in Franklin County in 1876. W. H. H. Betz, father of E. G. Betz, was born near St. Thomas in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1843 and is now living at Chapman in Dickinson County, Kansas. He grew up and married in Pennsylvania, became a farmer, and on March 15, 1877, arrived at Chapman, Kansas. He was one of the early settlers there, and bought a...

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Biography Of Alden C. Hillman, A. M.

Alden C. Hillman, A. M. One of the venerable educators of Kansas was Alden C. Hillman, of Salina, whose death occurred on the 24th of January, 1917. Mr. Hillman was the first man selected for a position in the faculty of the Kansas Wesleyan University. He began his work as an educator before the war, was very prominent in the State of Illinois in school work for many years, and for more than thirty years was a resident of Kansas. He was born May 23, 1832, at Charleston, New York, a son of Ezra and Permelia (Horton) Hillman. Both parents were born in the same state, and were married there in 1828. His father was born in 1806 and died in 1859, spending his life as a farmer in New York and being very active in religious and temperance work. The mother was born in 1810 and died in 1860. She was also a devout woman and closely identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church. These worthy people were the parents of six children, three sons and three daughters: Jane, now deceased; Alden C.; Daniel Watson, deceased; Mary Elizabeth, wife of George P. Schouten, a retired farmer at Sedgwick, Kansas; Marvin J., deceased; Sarah Amanda, wife of H. Sherman, of Lockport, New York. Alden C. Hillman grew up on his father’s farm in New York. At the age of sixteen...

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Biography of Daniel Wiegner

Daniel Wiegner is one of the veteran merchants and business men of Salina, went to that city more than thirty-five years ago, and while he is now retired from active merchandising he still looks after his extensive interests as a land owner in that section of the state. Mr. Wiegner is a native of Germany. He was born February 2, 1852, a son of Frederick and Catherine (Sipe) Wiegner. His early life in the old country was a combination of training in the common schools with practical vocational discipline that would fit him for a worthy place in life. He learned the baker’s trade, and was thoroughly experienced in that line when he came to America in 1880. The first two years he spent at Kansas City, Missouri, working as a journeyman baker, and on September 18, 1882, he arrived at Salina. After a few months of employment as a baker he opened a restaurant on his own account, and subsequently operated a bakery and confectionery store for three years. In 1887 Mr. Wiegner erected a two-story brick building in which he installed a stock of general merchandise, with the upper floor for his residence. As a merchant he continued actively and successfully until 1913. In the meantime his surplus capital was invested in farm and city property, and as a result of his good judgment he now had...

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Biography of Benjamin Lynn Wilson

Benjamin Lynn Wilson. A forceful factor in Salina’s commercial, civic, educational and religious life was the late Benjamin Lynn Wilson, one of that city’s pioneer merchants. He had gone to Salina when it was on the edge of civilized things in Kansas, and he did his big life work there and the generous prosperity that rewarded his efforts came from that community, to which he was stanchly loyal to the end of his life and which remembers him with fidelity and gratitude for the much good he did. The late Mr. Wilson was born at Bealsville, Ohio, January 13, 1845, and died at the close of a long and useful career at Salina, Kansas, January 15, 1917, at the age of seventy-two years and two days. He was a son of Elisha R. and Margaretta (Ratcliff) Wilson. His father was a native of Ohio and his mother was born in England. Among his early contemporaries in the business field at Salina Mr. Wilson possessed perhaps better than an ordinary education. Besides the common schools he had attended a normal school at Dayton, Ohio, and also had the advantage of a thorough course in the Bryant & Stratton Business College at Chicago. When he was a little past his twentieth birthday he enlisted on February 14, 1865, in Company G of the One Hundred Eighty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was...

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Biography of Peter Gregorius

Peter Gregorius, who died at Salina May 20, 1914, was one of Saline County’s best known business men and in many ways was a notable character. He was a veteran German soldier, and had occupied many places of distinction and honor in the German government during the reign of Kaiser William I, father of the present German Emperor. He was born October 15, 1844, in Prussia, a son of Peter Gregorius. He was liberally educated, had the training of a soldier, and for two years was with the Prussian armies in the war against France in 1870-71. He won several medals for his faithfulness and efficiency as a soldier, and was also an honored official under Kaiser William I. For several years he served as an official forester under the Kaiser’s government, and was many times a guest on state occasions in the emperor’s household, dining at his table. In 1880 he left Germany and came to America, locating in Saline County. He bought unimproved land eight miles east of Salina and improved it into a fine farm. He subsequently bought other tracts in different parts of the county and at one time owned two valuable farms, all of which he had improved under his personal supervision. In 1884 Peter Gregorius built the first and only flour mill at the Town of Assaria in Saline County, and he operated...

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Biography of Bernard Flesher

Bernard Flesher died at Leavenworth, April 12, 1909. He had been a resident of that city over half a century. In that time he became one of the best known men of Eastern Kansas. His reputation was based not only upon a remarkable business success as a merchant, but also upon his many acts of public spirited citizenship. Although of foreign birth he was in every sense a loyal American, a lover of American institutions, and of the greatness and power of the new world. He was a credit to his city and state. The amassing of wealth was only an incident in his career. He loved work for work’s sake, and was impelled by a genius for business and constructive enterprise which made him consider mere money making as one of the lesser aims of life. He was surpassed by none in liberality. He gave generously to charity and no worthy object ever solicited his support in vain. When he came to Kansas in 1856 he was a most unusual character among the early settlers. He was finely educated, had a cultured mind, was in close touch with the great things in literature and art, and could converse as an equal with some of the most polished minds of the age and yet he voluntarily chose to live in the rude frontier conditions that prevailed in Kansas sixty...

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Biography of Charles Elda Banker

Charles Elda Banker, city clerk of Salina, had been a resident of Saline County forty years, and his family is one of the best known in this section of the state. His father was the late John A. Banker, who was especially well known for his services as a landscape gardener in Saline County, and also had the distinction of establishing the first nursery in the county. John A. Banker was born near Germantown, Ohio, December 25, 1848. He followed farming for many years in Ohio, subsequently became a merchant at Germantown, but in 1877 brought his family to Kansas and bought a tract of raw land in Saline County five miles northwest of Salina. That land he developed largely as a nursery, and this nursery supplied the stock for many of the earliest orchards planted in this and surrounding counties. He also established a general store at the station on the Union Pacific Railway known as Trenton, and for a few years he served as station agent. He finally retired from active business in 1892 and spent his last years in Salina. As a landscape gardener he designed many of the most beautiful properties in that city and his services were greatly in demand throughout this section of the state. He served as park commissioner of Saline County for four years, and while in that office he laid...

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Biography of Orrin Howard Ford

Orrin Howard Ford is probate judge of Saline County. His election to that office shows the confidence the people of the county have in his probity, ability and conscientious devotion to his every public or private responsibility assigned to him. Mr. Ford had a very creditable record as a farmer in Saline County, was born in that county, and his record is consequently an open book to his many friends and political associates. He was born on a farm seven miles northeast of Salina, July 8, 1876, a son of Orrin James and Minerva (Armstrong) Ford. His father was born in Ohio October 31, 1835, and spent all his active career as a farmer except during the Civil war, when he was a teamster in the Union army. He was a Kansas pioneer, having come in 1864 and taking up a homestead on what was then the western frontier in Saline County. It was difficult to make a living by the simple pursuit of agriculture in those days. He raised some cattle, hunted buffalo, which had not yet been driven off the plains, and he endured all the hardships of pioneer life, living in a rude and simple dwelling and waiting patiently for the tide of civilization to catch up with him. On one of his excursions in a severe winter he had his feet frozen. He also proved...

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Biography of Robert A. Lovitt

Robert A. Lovitt. As president of the Saline County Bar Association, Robert A. Lovitt’s professional status with his brethren may be judged, but his reputation in business, politics, social life and on the lecture platform extends all over the state. He had been a valued resident of Salina since August 5, 1876. Robert A. Lovitt was born in his father’s primitive log cabin in Muskingum County, Ohio, October 10, 1851. His parents were Evan J. and Leah (Stamats) Lovitt, he of English ancestry and she of German revolutionary stock. The father of Mr. Lovitt was born in New Jersey, was married in 1832 near Zanesville. Ohio, and died in 1888, aged eighty-nine years. The mother was born in Pennsylvania and died in 1895, aged ninety years. They were the parents of ten children, four of these surviving: Salina, who is the widow of S. J. Gilbert, of Pomona, California; Ruth E., who is the widow of Mr. McAlister, of Abingdon, Illinois; Alice, who is the wife of John Huston, of Blandinville, Illinois; and Robert A. Robert A. Lovitt had collegiate advantages in Abingdon College, at Abingdon, Illinois, graduating in 1868 with honors and as salutatorian of his class. Afterward he engaged in teaching school and continued several years, during which time he was superintendent of the schools of Blandinville, Illinois, Bethany, Missouri, and Bedford, Iowa. In the meanwhile he...

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Biography of Charles G. Anderson

Charles G. Anderson. Prosperity in capital letters and all its meanings belongs to Charles G. Anderson of Falun, Saline County. Every one in that section knows Mr. Anderson and he knows everybody. He had spent nearly fifty years there. He is a very successful farmer and stockman and is the type of man who does not keep all his success to himself. His father came to Saline County in pioneer times, accumulated a splendid estate, but though indebted to his father’s enterprise Charles G. Anderson had really earned all that he had and probably would have been equally prosperous if he had started without a cent from anybody. He had that quality of enterprise in him. Mr. Anderson was born at Smolan, Sweden, July 14, 1860, and came to America with his parents when he was a small boy of about eight years. He is a son of L. G. and Caroline G. (Olson) Anderson, both of whom deserve mention as early pioneers of Saline County. His father was born in Sweden January 6, 1807, and died at Falun, Kansas, January 15, 1911. He came to America in 1869, and acquired a tract of Government land in Falun Township. That land, with much more which came gradually into his ownership, he occupied and made fruitful until old age came upon him. He was one of the most active members...

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Biography of Nelse J. Ostenberg

Nelse J. Ostenberg. If there is any community in Kansas where rough and rugged aspects of life as known and experienced forty years ago have been smoothed out and softened into the outlines of prosperity it is in Saline County, particularly in those districts where the Swedish colonists have made a foothold and have expressed their natural virtues of thrift and industry in the thriving farms and institutions of home, church and schools. It is of one of the older settlers of the community around Smolan in Saline County that this brief article had to speak. A resident of Saline County forty years, Nelse J. Ostenberg had accumulated for himself prosperity as a farmer and stockman and had also done his share toward the upbuilding and welfare of the entire community. He was born in the Province of Smolan, Sweden, February 2, 1846, a son of Lars M. and Sophia (Ericson) Ostenberg. His parents were also well known in Saline County. His father was born in 1822 and died in Saline County in 1877. The mother was born in 1822 and spent her last years at Hominy, Oklahoma, where she died in 1911. They immigrated to America in 1869 and arrived in Saline County on the Kansas frontier in 1870, locating Government land in Saline County near the present Town of Smolan. Here Lars Ostenberg lived quietly and industriously...

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Biography of Alfred Wheeler Jones

Alfred Wheeler Jones. April 19, 1867, was a date of considerable significance to Salina. On that day, the anniversary of the battle of Lexington at the beginning of the Revolutionary war, the first railway train over the Union Pacific tracks arrived in Salina. On that day was born the only son and child of one of Salina’s most prominent pioneer citizens. This son, Alfred Wheeler Jones, had made his life one of service in the educational field, and since retiring from school work he had busied himself with the management of his model farm near Salina. He also had the post of United States co-operative weather observer. His father, Horace L. Jones, was born at Williamsburg, Massachusetts, September 9, 1834, and died at Salina, Kansas, November 5, 1900. At the age of seventeen he had qualified as a teacher and for a few years was president of an academy on Long Island. He was one of many New Englanders who were thoroughly aroused after the passage of the notorious Kansas-Nebraska Bill in the early ’50s with the importance of making Kansas a free state. In 1855 he came to Kansas with a party of New Englanders, and thereafter was almost constantly associated with some phase of the Free State movement. He had the courage of his convictions, and in spite of threats and danger was resolute in performing his...

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Biography of Claus J. Sjogren

Claus J. Sjogren is not only one of the pioneers in the agricultural district of Saline County, but as much as any other citizen had had a part in the progress and upbuilding of that flourishing little Town of Smolan, a name that reflects and preserves the native district in Sweden from which many of the early colonists here came. Mr. Sjogren had at different times been a figure in the commercial life of Smolan, and is now well to do and influential though at one time he was dependent entirely upon his manual labor and had come to America practically penniless. He was born in the Province of Smolan, Sweden, August 9, 1845, a son of Carl and Anna (Johnson) Sjogren. He was 1½ years old when his mother died. He was the youngest in a family of six children. Claus J. Sjogren grew up in Sweden, and most of his early training there was in the nature of hard practical work. In 1868, at the age of twenty-three, he immigrated to the New World, and landed in this country with only 50 cents in money. In 1871 he sent money back to Sweden which enabled his father to come over, and his father spent his last years at Smolan, Kansas, where he died in 1892. For a time after coming to America Claus J. Sjogren lived in...

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Biography of William Thomas Montgomery

William Thomas Montgomery is one of the pioneer settlers of Saline County, Kansas, where he had lived for thirty-five years. It was in 1881 that Mr. Montgomery came to this district of Kansas. He had acquired a broad knowledge of farming in several more eastern states, and when he located in Kansas he bought land in Liberty Township of Saline County, and was an active farmer there for fourteen years. He then bought 240 acres in Walnut Township of the same county, and his energies have since been absorbed in the management of that fine estate. He had some of the choicest land in the county, and the improvements measure up to the best standard of agricultural equipment and progress in this section of the state. Mr. Montgomery was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 24, 1850, a son of William and Mary (Farlow) Montgomery. His parents were natives of Scotland and came to America in 1844. The father, who was a machinist by trade, died in Illinois in 1906, while his wife passed away in 1903. William T. Montgomery was the third in their family of nine children, four sons and five daughters. The two oldest died in infancy, as did also Catherine, the next younger sister of William T. Lucy was killed by a skyrocket on July 4, 1885. Jennie M. was killed when kicked by a horse...

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Biography of Theodore H. Terry

Theodore H. Terry. While his home for upwards of half a century had been in one of the quiet country towns of Saline County, the name of Theodore H. Terry is not unknown to the state at large. He had had the friendship and acquaintance of many prominent Kansans and his friendship and counsel have been valued and esteemed not only in his home town but elsewhere. Mr. Terry for many years was the genial village blacksmith of Bavaria, and had also become widely known as a breeder of Percheron horses and Spanish jacks. He is a native of the old Western Reserve of Ohio, where he was born October 16, 1852. His birthplace was a log house on a farm in Huron County. That house gains distinction as having been the third house built in Huron County, and it was also the birthplace of his father, Palmer E. Terry, who was born there October 3, 1830. Both the father and grandfather were millwrights by trade. The grandfather erected the first mill situated west of Cleveland, Ohio. Palmer E. Terry followed his trade for many years and died at Peoria, Illinois, in 1899. He was married in 1851 to Miss Sophia Rice, who was born at Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio, in 1832, a daughter of John Rice, also a native of the same place. Mrs. Palmer Terry died in...

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