Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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year; Arnott. a minister of the Baptist church, who married Grace Loomis,
of Chicago, and is now" preaching at Iron Mountain, Michigan ; Ellis, who
married Bessie Banks and now lives at Whiting, this state, and Lome, at


Gustav A. Witt, one of Murray township's best-known and most pro-
gressive farmers and the proprietor of one of the best-improved farms in
that township, is a native of Germany, but has been a resident of this country
since he was three years of age, and of Marshall county since 1893. He
was born in Germany on August 5, 1869, son of John A. and Augusta
Witt, natives of the Fatherland, who came to the United States with their
family in 1873 and settled on a farm in Richardson county, Nebraska, where
they established a home and there remained until 1908, then moving to
Falls City. Augusta Witt died on February i, 1916, she then being seventy-
two years, four months and twenty-six days old. They were the parents
of ten children, six of whom are still living. Of these the subject of


this sketch is the eldest, the others being as follow : Agnes, who married
George Mathews and lives in Nebraska ; Henry, also of Nebraska ; Frank,
who continues to live on the old home place in Richardson county, Nebras-
ka; Mrs. Bertha Myers, of Nebraska, and Ida, who lives in her father's
home. The father died on March i6, 191 7, seventy-nine years six months
and twenty-nine days old.

As noted above, Gustav A. Witt was but little more than three years
of age when his parents came to this country and settled on a farm in Ne-
braska, and on that pioneer farm he grew to manhood, receiving his school-
ing in the neighboring schools. He retains distinct childhood recollections
of the Indians, who still were numerous in that part of the country and
bands of whom often would stop and camp on his father's farm. During his
boyhood he spent much time herding cattle on the open range and he grew
up with a thorough familiarity of conditions on the plains. He remained
on the home farm, a valued assistant to his father in the labors of develop-
ing and improving the same, until 1893, when he came down into Kansas
and bought the quarter section on which he is now living in section 22 of
Murrav towmship. this county, and proceeded to develop the same. Upon
his marriage in 1895 he established his home there and has ever since
resided on that farm, he and his family now being very pleasantly and very
comfortably situated. Mr. Witt is possessed of progressive ideas regarding
agriculture and now has one of the best-improved farms in that township.
In 19 10 he built a modern eight-room house and in that same year also built
a fine new barn, thirty-six by forty feet. The other buildings on this admir-
able farm plant are in keeping with the same and the place is equipped with
numerous modern appliances and conveniences for the most profitable and
expeditious farming. The place has quite a bit of natural timber on it, a
very attractive feature of the landscape thereabout. Mr. Witt has given
considerable attention to the breeding of Poland China hogs and the pro-
ducts of his pens have won first prizes at the stock shows at Axtell. He
also has a fine herd of Shorthorn cattle and has done very well in his farm-
ing operations. Mr. Witt is a Democrat and has ever given a good citizen's
attention to local political affairs, but has never been a seeker after public'

In 1895 Gustav A. W^itt was united in marriage to Sophia Hubner, who
also was born in Germany and who left her native land when a child with
her parents, the famHy coming to this country and settling in Richardson
county, Nebraska, where she grew to young womanhood and where she
married Mr. Witt. To this union four children have been born, Ella, Nor-


man, Dayton (deceased) and Wilson. Mr. and Mrs. Witt are members of
the Presbyterian church and take a proper interest in the various beneficences
of the same, as well as in tiie general social activities of the community in
which thev live, ever helpful factors in promoting such movements as are
desii^ned to advance the common welfare thereabout.


John F. McKee, one of the prominent and well-known and successful
farmers of Elm Creek township, Marshall county, where he owns one hun-
dred and sixty acres of splendid land, and is successfully engaged in general
farming and stock-raising, was born in the Dominion of Canada, on Febru-
ary 24, 1843, ^"d is the son of William and Mary McKee.

William and Mary McKee were also natives of Canada and there they
received their education in the public schools and were later married. They
were of Scotch-Irish descent, their forefathers having come from the north
of Ireland to Canada in an early day. The family were members of the
Baptist church and were always most active in the religious life of the com-
munity. William and Mary ]\IcKee, after their marriage, established their
home in the land of their nativity, where they continued to reside until 1869,
when they decided to come to the United States. On their arrival in this
country they located in Kansas, where they homesteaded a farm in Center
township, Marshall county, which they developed and improved and there
they continued to live, until the time of their deaths. They were held in the
highest regard in the community in which they lived, and where they had
much to do with the moral and the social life of the township. They were
the parents of the following children: Robert, Anna, Margaret, John F.,
Samuel J., William George, Frank and Harry. Robert, Anna, and Frank
are now deceased. Margaret Fitzgerald is a resident of Beatrice, Xebrasl^a.
where her husband is one of the well-known men of the district; Samuel J.
and Harry are successful farmers of Center township, Marshall county, and
William George, is one of the prominent men of Marysville.

John F. McKee received his education in the schools of Canada, there
grew to manhood and engaged in general farming. In 1867 he was united
in marriage to Sarah Jannes Chalmers, who was born and reared in Canada.
j\Ir. and Mrs. McKee. after their marriage, established their home in the
land where they were born and there they continued to live, until 1871. when


they came to Kansas, where they homesteaded eighty acres of land and pur-
chased three hundred and twenty acres in Center township. Here - Mr.
McKee made many vakiable improvements and engaged in general farming
and stock raising until 1881, when he returned to the old home in Canada,
on account of the health of his wife. Much of his land in Marshall county
he purchased at six dollars and fifty cents per acre and sold for eight-fifty
per acre. He traded one of his farms for a farm in Canada, on which he
and his wife lived after their return to the land of their nativity. The health
of Mrs. McKee did not improve to any great extent, after her removal to
her native land, and her death occurred in 1886. She and Mr. McKee were
the parents of two children, Laura and Hattie. Laura is the wife' of Morley
P. Robinson and Hattie is the wife of Frank Newson, well-known and suc-
cessful farmers and stockmen of Blue Rapids township. Mrs. McKee was a
woman universally beloved by the entire community in which she lived, and
where she was held in the highest regard.

After the death of his wife, Mr. McKee continued to live on his farm
in Canada, until 1892, when he returned to Kansas and again established his
home in Marshall county. He purchased the farm in Elm Creek township,
which he now owns, which is one of the most excellent farms of the county,
on which is located the "Big Spring," which is the head of Elm Creek. This
farm he has developed and improved and here he is known as one of the
successful and substantial farmers of the township.

In 1888, before his return to Kansas, Mr. McKee was united in mar-
riage to Rose Stanton, who was born in Canada in i860, and is the daughter
of James and Mary Stanton, who are natives of England. Her parents were
educated in their native country and there they grew to manhood and wom-
anhood and were married. They later came to Canada, where they became
prosperous and well-known residents of the district in which they located.

To John F. and Rose (Stanton) McKee has been born one child, Frank,
who died at the age of two years. Mr. and Mrs. McKee are active members
of the Baptist church and have long been active in all church work. They
are prominent in the social and the religious life of the community in which
they live and where they are held in such high regard and esteem. They
have ever taken an active interest in all the affairs of the district, that would
tend to the betterment of the educational and social conditions. They are
people of high ideals and their influence is greatly felt in the development of
the home district. Their personal cjualities have won for them many friends
throughout the county.

Politically, Mr. McKee is identified with the Republican party and has


for many years been interested in the civic life of the township and the
county. He has served for many years as a justice of the peace and has
rendered vahiable ser\ice to the community. He has in no sense been a
seeker after office. l)ut has rendered valuable service as an adviser in public
matters. He and his wife are prominent members of the Knights and Ladies
of Security.


Benjamin E. Schlax, one of Franklin township's well-known and sub-
stantial young farmers and the proprietor of a well-kept farm of one hun-
dred and sixty acres in section 24 of that tow-nship, is a native son of Mar-
shall county and has lived here all his life. He was born in Marysville, the
county seat, August 17, 1883, son of John and Mary (Scherer) Schlax, the
former a native of Germany and the latter of the state of Wisconsin, who
were among the early and influential settlers of Marshall county and the
latter of whom is still living at Marysville, an honored and respected pioneer.
They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom the subject of this
sketch was the tenth in order of birth and all of whom are living save three.
♦ John Schlax was born in Germany on March 28, 1830, and was early
trained to the trade of w^agon-maker, in wdiich he became very proficient.
As a young man he came to this country and was married in Wisconsin. In
1867 he came to Kansas and settled at Marysville, there opening the first
wagon-making shop in that city and for years was engaged there in making
wagons. The superior quality of the product of the Schlax shops is attested
by the fact that quite a number of the w^agons Mr. Schlax made are still in
use in this and adjoining counties and are still doing excellent service. The
Schlax shop was situated on the site now occupied by the city hall at Marys-
ville and for years w-as one of the leading industries of the county seat. In
1872 John Schlax homesteaded a tract of eighty acres in Center towmship,
machine-made wagons by that time having reduced the demand for the pro-
duct of his shop to the point that it no longer w^as profitable to operate the
same, and presently established his home on that farm, gradually increasing
his land holdings to two hundred and forty acres, and' there he spent the rest
of his life, his death occurring in 1915. His widow, who was born in Wis-
consin on November 29, 1840, is now living in Marysville, the growth of
which town she has witnessed from the days of its hamlet period of exist-
ence, when it was but little more than a stage stop on the old overland trail.




1 fVff TCfFVv'



Benjamin E. Schlax was reared on the homestead farm in Center town-
ship and received his schoohng in the district in the neighborhood of his
home. He remained at home until he had attained his majority, when he
rented a tract of land from William McKee _and began farming on his own
account, making his home on that farm, after his marriage in 1906, until
1910, when he bought the quarter section of land in section 24 of Franklin
township, on which he now lives, and where he ever since has made his home,
he and his wife now being very comfortably situated there. -Since taking
possession of that farm Mr. Schlax has built a new house and barn and now
has a very attractive place. He has set out an acre of orchard to supplement
his grove and has brought his farm up to a high state of productivity.

In 1906 Benjamin E. Schlax was united in marriage to Regina Peter-
son, who was born in Sweden on August 8, 1881, and was but an infant when
her parents, Nels and Regina Peterson, came to this country in that same
year and settled in Center township, this county. Nels Peterson is now liv-
ing in Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Schlax have a very pleasant home and take
a proper part in the general social activities of the communitv. In his
political views Mr. Schlax is "independent."


Alvah Hedge, one of the pioneers of Marshall county and the pro-
prietor of a well-kept and profitably cultivated farm of a quarter of a sec-
tion in section 10 of Center township, is a native of the old Hoosier state,
but has been a resident of Kansas since 1878 and of the place on which he
now lives since 1884, having settled there the year following his marriage
in 1883, having bought the place in 1880. He was born on a farm in Black-
ford county, in the eastern part of Indiana, August 21, 1854, a son of Abner
and Charlotte ( Castelline ) Hedge, natives of the state of New York, whose
}ast days were spent in this county, where they had settled in pioneer days.

In February, 1878, the Hedge family came to Kansas from Indiana and
settled in Marshall county, locating in Center township. In 1883 Abner
Hedge bought half of section 10 in that township and about the same time
rented the farm at the county infirmary and was working the latter at the
time of his death not long afterward, in March, 1884. He was born in
1827 and was thus fifty-seven years of age at the time of his death. The
family then moved to the Charles Keller place in Center township and devel-


oped the same. Mrs. Hedge, whose death occurred in November, 1901, was
born ill 1831 and was thus seventy years of age at the tune of her death.
Abner Hedge and wife were the parents of four children, those Ijesides the
subject of this sketch being Alorgan, who is in the lumber business at Oketo;
Ira, who is now living at Grass Range, Montana, and Mrs. Mary Warren,
I't Joplin. Missouri,

Alvah Hedge was twent\-three years of age when he came from
Indiana to Marshall county with his parents in the early spring of 1878 and
he early took his part in the pioneer life of this then sparsely settled region.
In 1880 he bought a f|uarter of a section of land in section 10 of Center
town.ship. and in 1884, the year after his marriage, established his home
there and has ever since lived there, with the exception of about ten months
spent at Oketo. Upon establishing himself on his private farm Mr. Hedge
built a house eighteen by thirty-five, one and one-half stories, containing
three rooms on the first fioor and two on the upper floor. He now has a
comfortable home of nine rooms and his farm buildings are in keeping with
the same, the farm plant being up-to-date and well kept. In addition to his
general farming Mr. Hedge has given considerable attention to the raising
of live stock and has done very well. He is a Democrat and has served as
clerk of Center township.

On April 8, 1883, Alvah Hedge was united in marriage to Ida Nelm,
who was born in Xew York state on March 27, 1862, daughter of Edwin
and Margaret (Meredith) Xelm, natives of England, who came to this
country in 1857, after their marriage, and settled in New York state, where
thev made their home until 1864. ^vhen they moved to Illinois and there
resided until 1869, in which year they came to Kansas and settled in Marshall
county, Mr. Nelm homesteading a tract of land one mile south of the Hedge
place in Center township. There Edwin Nelm spent his last days, one of
Marshall county's substantial pioneer farmers, his death occurring in 1902.
He was born in 1825. His widow, who was born on February 5, 1834, is
still living, making her home now with her children. These children, besides
Mrs. Hedge, are as follow : Mrs. Emma Helverin, of Beattie ; Mrs. Sarah
Wise, also of Beattie; Mrs. Addie Hedge, of Hoxie; George, of Center town-
ship ; Mrs. Lizzie Hedge, of Grass Range, Montana ; Reuben, of Center
township; Fred, of Wells township, and Mrs. Maggie Huf, of Home. Mr.
and Mrs. Hedge have two children, Edith, w-ho married Dane Dexter, of
Center township, and has one child, Arwayne, and Mabel, at home. The
Hedges are members of the Winifred Baptist church and ever have taken a


proper part in church work and in the other good works of the community
in which they Hve. Mr. Hedge is a member of the local lodge of the Ancient
Order of United Workmen and Mrs. Hedge is a member of the Degree of


The late Henry Weaver, for years one of the best-known and most
progressive farmers and stockmen of Guittard township, the proprietor of a
fine farm in the Beattie neighborhood and one of the real pioneers of Mar-
shall county, was a native of the great Empire state, but had been a resident
of Marshall county since he was ten years of age and had thus witnessed
the development of this county from pioneer days. He was born on a farm
near Batavia, in Genesee county. New York, October 6, 1859, son of Nich-
olas and Susan (Toney) Weaver, the former a native of Switzerland and
the latter 'of Erance, who became pioneers of this county and both of whom
are now deceased.

Nicholas Weaver was born at Roupeswell. in the Canton of Berne,
Switzerland, October 18, 18 18, and in 1852 came to the United States, set-
tling near Batavia, New York, Avhere he lived until 1867. when he moved
West and settled on a farm in DeKalb county, Illinois, where he lived until
May 2^, 1869, when he started with his family for Kansas, arriving in due
time in Marshall county, where he established his home and where he spent
the remainder of his active life, one of the most active and influential
pioneer citizens of this county. Some time before his death Nicholas Weaver
retired from the active labors of the farm and moved to Waterloo, Oregon,
where his last days were spent, his death occurring there on May 31, 1907.
His widow survived him for seven years, her death occurring near Batavia,
New York, on January 31, 1914, she then being ninety years of age. She
was born at bidden, France, in 1825. To Nicholas Weaver and wife six
children were born, three of whom are still living, namely: Thomas Weaver,
of Lebanon, Oregon; IMrs. Alice Hotchkiss, of Apalachin. Tioga county,
New York, and Charles Weaver, of Princeton. Idaho.

Upon coming to this county Nicholas Weaver and family drove through
from Illinois in company with the families of John Balderson and John
Kellv, and for a time after their arrival here lived in their covered wagon,
until thev could get settled and erect a small house. A year or two later
their house was destroyed by fire, together with their clothes, household


goods, three hundred dollars in currency and their family records, a very
serious loss to the pioneer family. The farm that Nicholas Weaver home-
stead in what afterward came to be known as Balderson township was
presenth- developed in excellent shape and Mr. Weaver came to be recog-
nized as one of the substantial and influential farmers of that part of the

As noted above, Henry Weaver was about ten years of age when he
came to this count}- with his parents and he grew to manhood on the home-
stead farm in Balderson township, completing his schooling in the pioneer
schools of that district. As a boy he herded cattle on the open range, over
the verv land that he afterward came to own, and he witnessed the begin-
ning of the town of Beattie. in the neighborhood of his home, which town
sprang up following the coming of the railroad. He carried the mail from
Beattie to Guittard postoffice, four miles north, and from boyhood his life
was marked by habits of industry and thrift. After his marriage in 1885
he established his home on the farm in Guittard township, where he spent
the rest of his life, and in time came to be the owner of two hundred and
sixtv-six acres of land, all of which was highly developed and profitably cul-
tivated. Mr. Weaver built a modern house on his place and he and his
family- were verv comfortably situated. In addition to his general farming
he had for years paid considerable attention to the raising of a good grade
of live stock and had done very well in his operations. He was a Republi-
can and ever took an earnest interest in local civic affairs and for eighteen
years served as treasurer of the local school board in district No. 112.
Though reared in the Lutheran faith, at the age of forty-five years Mr.
Weaver affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal church and w^as a member
of that church at the time of his death. He was a member of the Masonic
fraternity and of the Ancient Order of United ^^'orkmen and in the affairs
of both these organizations took a warm interest. Henry Weaver died at
his home in Guittard township on August 22, 19 16, and his death was widely
mourned throughout the Beattie neighborhood, for he had earned and had
long enjoyed the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends. His interest
in the development of local industrial conditions was displayed on all proper
occasions and he v.'as a valued shareholder in the Farmers' Union Elevator
Company at Beattie and in the Farmers' Mutual Telephone Company, in the
affairs of both of which concerns he took an active interest. Following the
death of Mr. Weaver a local newspaper had the following comment regard-
ing his personal character: "He was industrious, a capable manager, a


a thoroughly good citizen in every way. a kind and indulgent husband and
father, and his death brings deep sorrow and regret to his family and

On February 4. 1885, at Beattie, Henry Weaver was united in marriage
to Cora E. G. Totten, w^ho was born on a pioneer farm near Beattie on
December 25, 1869, daughter of Joseph and Susan (Postin) Totten, who
were among the earliest settlers of Guittard township, and to this union four
children were born, namely: Joseph Nicholas, on November 7, 1886, who
died January i, 1887; Roland S., who was born in Balderson township on
March 10, 1891, was graduated from the Beattie high school and is an
undergraduate of the Kansas State University at Lawrence, married Clara
Scholtz and has one child, a daughter, Gwendolyne Joy, born on October 17,
1915; Wallace Henry, who was born at Kendrick, Idaho, June i, 1893,
during the period of one year in which the Weavers made their home at that
place, was graduated from the township schools and had one year at the
Beattie high school, and Gladys V., who was born on the home place near
Beattie on December 10, 1897. and graduated from the Beattie high school
in 1916.

Mrs. Cora Weaver is the last-born of the twelve children born to her
parents, Joseph and Susan (Postin) Totten, the others being Elizabeth
Thorn, Emeroy Jones, John L., Florence Sharp, Henry T., Eliza Newton,
Frank H., Nora Pauley, William J., and Charles Joseph and Sarah Madora,
both deceased. Joseph Totten was born at Blanford, Massachusetts, March
22, 1825. His father was born in Rhode Island in March, 1795, and spent
most of his early life in his native state, where he married Miriam Carpen-
penter, who was born on January 4. 1804, later moving to Massachusetts,
whence, in 1828, Joseph Totten then being but three years of age, they
moved to Albany, New York, where they lived for eight years, at the end
which time they moved to New Orleans. Louisiana, but at the end of a year
spent there returned North and settled in Rock Island county, Illinois, where
Joseph Totten grew to manhood. The elder Totten later moved to Iowa,
where he died in 1864. His widow later came to this country, where her last
days were spent, her death occurring at the home of her son, H. T. Totten,
in 1878, she then being seventy-seven years of age.

Joseph Totten completed his schooling in the schools of Rock Island
county, Illinois, and there engaged in farming, later moving to Iowa, in

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 76 of 104)