Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

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

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built the beautiful modern house at a cost of two thousand five hundred dol-
lars, and which is one of the best farm residences in the township. He
took the greatest interest in his family and did everything possible for their
convenience and happiness. x\s a farmer and stockman he was recognized
as one of the successful and substantial men of the township and county. He
kept the best grade of hogs and the finest Aberdeen Angus cattle. He was
a feeder and a shipper of cattle and hogs and each year he placed many of
these animals on the market, receiving the highest market price. He placed
the buildings of his farm in the center of the tract, and from the farm home
they have the finest view- of the whole of the place. The farm buildings
are so arranged as to give the greatest degree of proficiency and economy of
time. He gave his stock the most careful attention and his farm was kept
in the highest state of cultivation. Mr. Wohler was a leader and not a fol-
lower in the management of a farm and the care of stock. He made his
life work a study, and was known as one of the most proficient men in his
line in the county.

On March 24, 1882, Theo Wohler was united in marriage to Sophia
Elstroth, the daughter of Henry and Marie (Elstroth) Elstroth, both of
whom were born in Germany and there received their education in the public
schools and were later married. Mrs. Wohler was born in Westphalia, Ger-



858 MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS.

many, on May 11. 1856. and there she received her education in the pnbHc
schools and grew to wonianhcjod. In i<S,Si she left the land of her nativity
and came to the Unitec' States, to he with friends in Marshall countv. It
was here that she met and married Theo Wohler, by whom she became the
mother of the following children : Ortwin, a successful farmer of Cottage
Hill township, Marshall county: Lillie, the wife of Ed Kaump, one of the
successful residents of Riley county, Kansas, and Frank Theo.

Frank Theo Wohler was born on July 16, 1890, and received his edu-
cation in the district schools of Cottage Hill township and grew to manhood
on the home farm, where as a lad he assisted his father with the work on
the farm, and Ijecame thoroughly conversant with the duties of the manage-
ment of a large estate and the care of stock. Today he is recognized as one
of the progressive young farmers and stockmen of the township, and in the
management of his mother's large farm he has demonstrated his ability to
do big things. Since the death of his father he has kept the farm in the
best condition and has maintained the upkeep of the excellent buildings on the
place. He does general farming and keeps a high grade of stock, some of
which is among the best in the county. He has always taken an active inter-
est in. the affairs of the township and is a firm believer in the progressive spirit
of the times.

The Wohler family are active members of the Evangelical church and
have long been prominent in the social life of the communitv where they live
and where they are held in the highest regard and esteem.



ABEL W. GIBSON.



Abel W. Gibson, one of Wells township's well-known and substantial
farmers and stockmen, a pioneer of Marshall county and the proprietor of
a well-kept farm of one hundred and forty-three acres in Wells township,
is a native of the Hoosier state, an honored veteran of the ¬ęCivil War from
that state, but has been a resident of this county since 1881. He was born
on a pioneer farm in Putnam county, Indiana, not far from the city of
Greencastle, October 11, 1841, a son of Castleton and Lucy (Wilson) Gib-
son, natives of Kentucky and early settlers in Indiana.

Castleton Gibson was born in 1820 and was little more than an infant
when his parents, Louis Gibson and wife, moved from Kentucky up into
Indiana in 1823 and settled in the then wilds of Putnam county, Louis



MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS. 859

Gibson, a Virginian and a member of an old Colonial family, the Gibsons
having settled in New York in Colonial days, was a soldier in the War of
18 12 and received a land warrant for his services during that war. Alex-
ander Wilson, father of Lucy Wilson, also was a soldier during that war
and received a land warrant, he and Louis Gibson exercising their warrant
rights by taking land side by side in Putnam county, Lidiana, where they
established their homes and where they spent the remainder of their lives.
Alexander Wilson's father, Michael Wilson, carried all kinds of seeds into
Putnam county and set out the first apple orchard in that 'section of the
Hoosier state. A few years ago Abel W. Gibson took a trip back to his old
home in Indiana and he found some of those original trees still standing
on the old home place and still bearing excellent fruit. On those two pioneer
farms, side by side, Castleton Gibson and Lucy Wilson grew up and were
married and there spent their lives, Castleton Gibson's death occurring in
1883. He was a cousin of General Gibson, of Civil War fame.

On that pioneer farm in Putnam county, Indiana, Abel W. Gibson
grew to manhood, receiving his schooling in the local schools and proving
a valuable aid to his father in the labors of the farm. He was not twenty
years of age when the Civil War broke out, but in September of 1861, the
first year of the war, he enlisted his services in behalf of the Union and
went to the front as a member of Company B, Forty-third Regiment, Indiana
Volunteer Infantry, and with that command served for three years and ten
months, during which time he participated in many stirring engagements
and suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Rebels for ten months. The
Forty-third Indiana was commanded by Col. William E. McLain, of Terre
Haute, and Company B of that regiment was headed, successively, by Capt.
Marion Darnell, Capt. Marmaduke Darnell and Capt. William Yelton. Dur-
ing his service with that command Mr. Gibson was in many skirmishes on
the Mississippi river and participated in the battles at New Madrid, Island
No. 10, Ft. Pillow, the capture of Memphis, Helena, Arkansas, and Marks'
Mills, Arkansas, April 25, 1864. It was in the latter engagement that the
Forty-third Indiana was "smashed" and Mr. Gibson was there taken pris-
oner by the enemy, being sent to Tyler, Texas, where he was held for ten
months. He got out, however, before the war was closed, but upon seek-
ing to rejoin his regiment found it disbanded or destroyed and he was at
Indianapolis when the war ended, and there received his honorable dis-
charge on June 15, 1865.

Upon the completion of his military service, Abel W. Gibson decided
to try his fortunes in the then rapidly developing Northwest and in the fall



860 MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS.

of 1865 went to Iowa, settling in Decatur county, that state, where he took
a homestead and prepared to estabHsh a home, after awhile returning to his
old home in Indiana for a bride and after his marriage there in January,
1868, settled down on iiis homestead farm in Iowa, where he remained until
1881, when he disposed of his holdings there to advantage and came to
Kansas. Upon coming to this state Mr. Gibson located in Smith county,
but his experience there that year with the burning wdnds, which destroyed
all crops in that section of the state, discouraged him and he moved over
into Marshall county in 1882 and bought his present farm in Wells town-
ship, where he established his home and where he since has resided. Mr.
Gibson has an excellent farm of one hundred and forty-three acres and for
for the past twenty-hve years has given considerable attention to stock
raising, in addition to his general farming, and has done very well. During
the past ten years his attention has been particularly directed to the raising
of Here fords and he has been a successful producer along that line. He
has a fine herd of registered Herefords, the same now being headed by
"Woodrow," from the Drennen herd. Mr. Gibson disposes of his calves
each year at good prices, in 19 16 selling more than six hundred dollars w^orth
of such stock. He is a member of the American Hereford Association and
takes a warm interest in the affairs of that association.

On January 22, 1868, in Putnam county, Indiana, Abel W. Gibson was
united in marriage to Sarah C. Ellis, who was born in that county on May
9, 1845, a daughter of Adam and Caroline (Call) Ellis, natives of Ken-
tucky, who moved to Mississippi and thence to Indiana, in w4iich latter state
they established their home not far from the Gibson and the Wilson home-
steads. Mrs. Gibson died at her home in this county on May 30, 1894, leav-
ing two children, Alice, who is now housekeeper for her father, and Burt,
now living at Peyton, Colorado, who married Bessie Greenleaf and has
three children, Lucy, John and Joseph. Mr. Gibson is an independent Re-
publican and has rendered public service as a member of the school board
in his home district. He is an active member of Robert Hayes Post, Grand
Army of the Republic, at Blue Rapids, and in the affairs of that patriotic
organization has long taken a warm interest. He also is an active member
of the local Anti-Horsethief Association and is the only member of that
association that ever stole a horse ; Mr. Gibson often recalling with a chuckle
that during his days of soldiering he took a horse that did not belong to
him and stole away from the "Johnnies,'' but he salves his conscience by
the declaration that as soon as he had reached a point of safety from the



MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS. 86l

pursuing enemy he turned the animal loose. Despite the fact of his advanc-
ing years, Mr. Gibson is a hale and hearty old gentleman, vigorous and well
preserved, and retains the heartiest zest in living and a keen interest in
current affairs.



JOHN G. GRAHAM.



John G. Graham, one of the well-known and most successful farmers
and stockmen of Richland township, Marshall county, was born in the state
of Illinois on October 19, 1868, and is the son of James Thomas and. Melissa
Jane (Gilchrist) Graham.

James Thomas and Melissa Jane Graham were born in Illinois and there
they received their education in the public schools and there grew to matur-
ity and were later married. After their marriage they continued to live in
Illinois until 1871, when they went to Iowa and located in Adair county,
where they remained for thirteen years, when they came to Kansas and
settled in Richland township, Marshall county. Here they established their
home on a farm, where Mr. Graham engaged in general farming and stock-
raising with much success for many years. He and his wife were among
the prominent people of the township and were held in the highest regard
and esteem. They always took the deepest interest in the affairs of the com-
munity. They made their home on the farm until a few years ago, when
they retired from the more active duties of life and moved to Summerfield,
where they have a beautiful home.

John G. Graham received his education in the common schools and
grew to manhood in Marshall county. At the age of sixteen years he
began working for himself as a farm hand, and when yet a young man, he
purchased eighty acres of land in Nebraska, where he engaged in farming
for a time, when he sold the place and in March, 1908, purchased his pres-
ent farm, which he has improved and developed into one of the best farms
in the township. On this farm of one hundred and sixty acres he is
engaged in general farming and stockraising and is recognized as one of
the substantial men of the township, and a successful breeder of high-grade
stock. His home, with its beautiful white house and barns, situated amid
a fine grove of evergreen trees, presents a most pleasing view. His farm,
with its well cultivated fields aglow with the golden grain and his pasture
with the herds of the finest cattle and the best of hogs, is evidence of thrift
and prosperity. Few farms in the district are better kept and few are main-
tained in better condition with outside buildings.



862 MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS.

John G. Graham has always taken an active interest in local affairs
and has had much to do with the growth and development of the township.
He is identified with the Republican party and in 19 14 was elected trustee
of his home township. He assumed the office with the confidence and
the respect of the entire community and he gave to his official duties the
same care and attention that he has ahvays given his own business. Be-
cause of his successful administration during the years for w4iich he was
chosen in 19 14, the voters returned him to office in the fall of 19 16, it being
evident that his services were appreciated and that his work was well done.
He is an active member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the
Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
As a lodge man he takes much interest in the work and is devoted to the
cause of the orders of which he is a member.

On March 23, 1892, John G. Graham was united in marriage to Clara
Conard, who^ was born in Pawnee county, Nebraska, on August 11, 1871,
and is the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Winter) Conard. Mr. and
Mrs. Conard were natives of the* state of Indiana, where they were edu-
cated in the public schools. They were later married, and soon thereafter
came to Nebraska, where they homesteaded land and engaged in general
farming and stock raising with success. They have ever been among the
highly respected people of their home community and are held in the
highest regard.

To John G. and Clara (Conard) Graham have been born the follow-
ing children : Ray W., Ava Eola, Iva Igetta, Thelma Elizabeth and Walter
Ivan. Ray W. w^as born on January 9, 1893, received his education in the
public schools and is now at home assisting his father with the work on the
farm; Ava Eola was born on June 19, 1895; Iva Igetta was born on Decem-
ber 13, 1896; Thelma Elizabeth was born on October 3, 1898, and Walter
Ivan was born on December 18, 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Graham are among
the prominent and highly respected people of the township, and have ever
taken a keen interest in the general development of the community. Their
home life is ideal and they take much interest in the welfare of their children.

James Thomas Graham, the father of John G. Graham, was born on
October 8, 1836, and the mother was born on October 7, 1842. They were
the parents of the following children: Alva E., A. R., W. M., H. W., John
G., L. W., J. T., Iva L., G. W. and Frank I. Alva E. was born on Decem-
ber 25, 1859, and is now a resident of Norton, Kansas; A. R. was born on
October 18, 1861, and is a well-known carpenter of Summerfield, Kansas;
W. M. was born on December 27, 1863; H. W. was born on March 14,



MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS. 863

1866, and now lives in the state of Washington: L. W., born on August 4,
1871, is a resident of the state of Nebraska; J. T. was born on June 16,
1874, and is also a resident of the state of Nebraska; Iva L. Howard was
born on December 13, 1876, and is now a resident of Oklahoma, where her
husband is a professor of schools and a minister; G. W., born on December
10, 1878, is now living at Denver, Colorado, and Frank I., who was born
on December 21, 1885, ^s now a successful farmer south of Home City,
Marshall county.

John Conard, the father of Airs. John G. Graham, was born in 1845
and was for many years one of the successful farmers and stockmen of
Nebraska, is now a resident of Howell county, Missouri, where he moved
in 1893. Elizabeth Conard, the wife of John Conard, was born in 1842 and
died on October 13, 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Conard were the parents of the
following children : Joseph, Clara, Jessie, Myrtle and Ray. Joseph is a
successful farmer of Richland township, and near neighbor of Mr. and Mrs.
Graham ; Jessie Graham is a resident of Nebraska, where her husband is
successfully engaged in farming; Myrtle Evans is a resident of Missouri,
where Mr. Evans is engaged in overseeing an experimental station in the
state of Missouri, and Rav is now deceased.



GEORGE MILLER.



George Miller, one of Wells township's well-known and progressive
farmers and stock breeders and the proprietor of a fine farm of three hun-
dred and forty acres in that township, is a native of^ the state of Illinois,
but has lived in Marshall county since the days of his childhood, having
come here with his parents from Illinois back in pioneer days. He was
born in Madison county, Illinois, September 3, 1866, son of Charles and
Belle (Trevor) Miller, natives of that state, who left Illinois with their
family in October, 1871, and came to Kansas, settling three miles north of
Blue Rapids, in this county, among the very earliest settlers in that part of
the county.

Upon coming to Marshall county Charles Miller pre-empted an eighty-
acre tract of land at the point above indicated, three miles north of Blue
Rapids, established his home there and has ever since resided on that pioneer
farm, being now in the eightieth year of his age. He and his wife are
the parents of nine children, those besides the subject of this sketch being



864 MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS.

as follow: Mrs. Fannie Howes, livin<^ in the neighboring county of Ne-
maha ; Mrs. Lillie Neuman, of Marysville ; Mrs. Celia McNew, also of this
county; Mrs. Cordelia Buck, of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Florence
Morris, also of Los Angeles; William L., of Osborne county, this state;
Melissa, who is at home with her parents, and Maud Christianson, living
near Bremen, Kansas.

George Miller was just past five years of age when his parents moved
from Illinois to this county and he grew to manhood on the home farm
north of Blue Rapids, receiving his schooling in the neighborhood schools
and proving a valualjle aid in the labors of developing and improving the
farm. In 1886, at the age of twenty years, Mr. Miller married and began
farming on his own account, he and his wife making their first home in
Wells township. A year later he rented the Scully place west of Marys-
ville, and there made his home for thirteen years, or until 1899, when he
bought his present farm in Wells township and has since made his home
there, he and his family being very comfortably and very pleasantly situ-
ated. Mr. Miller has a farm of three hundred and forty acres and has one
of the best farm plants in that part of the county. He is progressive in his
operations, his farming being carried on in accordance with modern meth-
ods, and he is doing very well. In addition to his general farming, Mr.
Miller gives considerable attention to the raising of pure-bred Hereford
stock and now has about thirty-five head of registered Herefords, his herd
being headed by "Woodrow," his strain being the same as that of his neigh-
bor, A. W. Gibson, a veteran breeder of Herefords. Mr. Miller disposes of
his stock at private sale and gets good prices for the same, in the year 1916
having disposed of two thousand dollars' worth of thoroughbred cattle. He
is a member of the American Hereford Breeders' Association and keeps
fully alive to the developments in the live-stock business.

In 1886 George Miller was united in marriage to Emma Goodwin, who
was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, March 20, 1865, daughter of
Judge Jervis and Carrie (Cornell) Goodwin, natives, respectively, of Eng-
land and Ontario, who moved from the latter place to Wisconsin and four
years later, in 1878, came to Kansas and settled on a farm in Wells town-
ship, this county. Judge Jervis Goodwin early became one of the most
active and influential men in Marshall county and was widely and favor-
ably known throughout this part of the state. In 1888 he was elected judge
of probate for Marshall county and served for eight years in that important
office. Judge Goodwin died in September, 1897. His wife had long pre-



MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS. 865

ceded him to the grave, her death having occurred in 1879, the year after
she came to Marshall county.

To George and Emma (Goodwin) Miller seven children have been
born, namely: Mrs. Edna Cook, of Ness county, this state; Earl, who is
farming in Blue Rapids township, this county, and Bessie, Vern G., Hazel,
Charles and Everett, who are at home with their parents. The Millers have
a very pleasant home and take a proper part in the general social activities
of their home neighborhood. Mr. Miller is a Democrat. Fraternally, he is
affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America. He also is a member of
the Anti-Horsethief Association.



ANTHONY CHARLES PECENKA.

Anthony Charles Pecenka, one of the best-known and most substantial
farmers of the Bremen neighborhood in this county, former trustee of
Logan towniship, former clerk of that same township and formerly and for
years a well-known and influential school teacher in this county and in the
neighboring county of Washington, is a native of the state of Iowa, but
has been a resident of this county since the days of his boyhood, his parents
having settled here back in pioneer days. He was born at Cedar Rapids,
in Linn county, Iowa, December 6. 1863, son of John and Anna (Flidr)
Pecenka, Bohemians, who came to this country after their marriage, set-
tling in Iowa, but later came to Kansas and settled in this county, where
their last days were spent, earnest pioneers of this region.

John Pecenka was born in the village of Ridky u Litomysle, in the dis-
trict of Chrudim. kingdom of Bohemia (Cechy), June 14, 1825, and his
wife, Anna Flidr, whose ancestors were of the Svobodnik, or freemen, was
born in the village of Osyk, in that same district, October 31, 1830. They
were married in their native land and afterward came to this country, locat-
ing at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they remained until 1869, when they came
to Kansas and settled on a farm in the then Marysville, now Logan, town-
ship, Marshall county, where they established their home and where they
spent the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Pecenka dying there on January 5,
1897, and Mr. Pecenka, November 17, 1902. They were the parents of
nine children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the sixth in order of
birth, the others being as follow: John, of Bremen, this county; Joseph,

(55)



866 MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS.

whose present address is unknown to his family; Frank A., of Condee,
South Dakota; Mrs. Anna Sedlacek, of Bremen, this county; Waclav, of
Seattle, Washington; Mrs. Mary Pejsa. of Hanover, this state; Milos A.',
of Bremen, and Mrs. Emilie Sedlacek, also of Bremen.

Having been but a lad when his parents came to this county from
Iowa, Anthony C. Pecenka was reared im the home farm here and grew
up familiar with pioneer conditions, even in the days of his youth becom-
ing a practical farmer. He earl\- became imbued with the desire for a
higher education and upon completing the course in the district schools
entered the Atchison Institute at the age of twenty, in 1884, and after a
short course there and at the St. Benedict College of Atchison, Kansas, in
1885, began teaching the home school and was thus engaged during the
following winter. He then took a further course of instruction in 1887-89
at the Campbell University of Holton, Kansas, and in i8g8 was graduated
from the junior scientific course at the Modern Normal College at Marys-
ville. Meanwhile Mr. Pecenka had been continuing to teach school, farm-
ing during the summers, and after his marriage in 1890 rented a farm and
established his home; continuing for some time after his marriage to teach,
his teaching experience including schools in this county and in the neigh-
boring county of Washington, but finally finding it difficult to give his
proper attention to both of these vocations, gave up teaching and has since
confined his efforts to farming and stock raising and has done very well,
being now the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres on rural
route No. 2, out of Bremen, and the possessor of one of the pleasantest
and most comfortable homes in that community, he and his family being
delightfully situated. Mr. Pecenka takes an active interest in the general
business affairs of his home community and is a stockholder in the Farmers'
Elevator Company at Hanover and a stockholder in the Farmers' Educa-
tional Co-operative Union of America, in the affairs of both of which
organizations he takes a warm interest. Politically, Mr. Pecenka is a Dem-
ocrat, though inclining to independence of party on local issues, reserving
his right to vote for the men best qualified for the offices sought, and in
1895 was elected clerk of Logan township, a position he held for four
years. In 1902 he was elected trustee of that township and held that office



Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 85 of 104)