Medicine Lodge Cresset, March 2, 1900.
Alphabetical Listing of Barber County Profiles
Ellis, Fred R.
Hutcheson, Dr. R.C.
Jones, Street S.
Sparks, Dr. C.C.
Wisner, Dr. Henry
MEDICINE LODGE CRESSET - "Livestock Number" - March 2, 1900, pages 1-8 (KSHS Microfilm Reel #M 870)
Note: Where indicated, the microfilm itself has a photo of the individual or property; the photos are not available online. The following articles on this page are reproduced in their original order, which was not in alphabetical order.
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Men Who Have Taken a Prominent Part
in Developing the Stock Industry in Barber County:
The subject of this sketch is a fine example of a young man, breaking away from the allurements for ease and pleasure that lie in wait for those born to an inheritance of wealth, taking upon himself the responsibility of success or failure and making for himself a place in the affairs of men.
Mr. Gordon comes of good stock and the name itself is one to conjure by. He is the second son of Judge W.F. Gordon, who, for a period of 35 years, has held the position of president of the Liberty (Missouri) Savings Association and is one of the most highly honored and respected citizens of that state today.
Young Gordon was educated in the common schools of Missouri and the Wm. Jewell College. Later, with the intention of assuming a position in his father's bank, he completed a course of study in Spaulding's Commercial College. But there is a "time and tide in the affairs of men," that changes the whole course of their lives. Frank was in no way intended for the confinement of the counting room. He was not built that way, and when in the early eighties, the waves of the boom swept westward, it is not strange that he caught the fever of excitement and came to Kansas. He, however, did not permit himself to be carried away with the vague illusion that he could get something for nothing, but that in Kansas as elsewhere a man had to hustle for what he got. With wise foresight he decided to settle in Barber county and go into the cattle business. To that end he secured the ranch property he now owns and occupies one mile northeast of Lake City and stocked it with 350 head of the best Missouri native cows. Since that time, with all the fluctuations that have been so frequent in the stock market, he has been successful in his business, meeting with no material losses.
At the present time he has 3,300 acres of deeded land in the locality where he originally settled near Lake City on which he maintains two camps. In addition, he has purchased 2,320 acres of the best watered of the Old Comanche grazing lands and is still buying in the vicinity of Coldwater and Evansville; he also holds control of 3,100 acres of leased lands in the same location known as the Hartwell pasture.
His particular line in the stock business is preparing cattle for the feeder trade, that is, the dealers who feed grain. He is now handling something over 2,000 head, one thousand of them being three year old steers now fit for the feeder market.
Personally, Mr. Gordon is a man of diversified accomplishments and is equally at home in the best society, in business circles, in politics and the cow camp. A rough rider and a gentleman, Frank is a decided success in the business in which he is so largely interested and the chief industry of the community with whom he has cast his lot.
There is no one thing more encouraging to the future of the stock interests of Barber county, than the tendency towards the improvements of their herds by our local cattlemen, through the introduction of purer bred males for breeding purposes.
It costs very little, if any more, to grow a Herford, Galloway or Shorthorn steer than a Texas longhorn, while in value they are not even comparable. Perhaps there was no man in the county earlier to perceive and encourage this tendency than T.B. Stockstill, of Sharon township. Mr. Stockstill is nothing if not practical and he at once determined to give the movement an impetus by the force of his own example, and he was the first to introduce pure blooded red Shorthorn Durhams into use and favor in this county. Since that time he has devoted himself to the raising and care of thoroughbred cattle of this particular breed and made it a pronounced success. He now has one of the best, if not the best, herds in the state. At the head of this her of fifty cows and heifers is the registered red bull Double Ury 127664, whose sire and mother were brought direct from Cruickshank and imported to this country by Thos. H. Martin, of Kansas City, Mo. Double Ury was sired by Baron Ury 1180024, out of Butterfly 60th, sired by Prime Minister 94315, imported. His ancestry goes back to Diamond 205. Butterfly 60th was a grand-daughter of Imported Butterfly 43 by the famous Royal Duke of Gloster [sic].
In Mr. Stockstill's herd are: Imported cow Young Mary, got by Grand Victor 2nd; Imported Harriett by Scotch Minister 117294; Young Phyllis by Scotch Minister; Imported Goodness by Scotch Minister and Chesterford by Jusius 116099. This is but a brief summary of the blood and lineage of the stock from which he breeds, but it is sufficient to show that they are of the purest and bet. In addition to these, he has 12 head of the Brittany family by different sires.
He also breeds Poland China, Duroe Jersey Red Swine, registered, and easily disposes of the pigs at a satisfactory price.
Mr. Stockstill's farm and home is in the Sharon valley nine miles from Medicine Lodge and three miles from the village of Sharon, where he has lived for 21 years. His residence is a commodious farm house, his stock barns and out buildings are constructed to serve the particular purpose for which they were intended. He has a fine orchard bearing fruits of all varieties and all things about his farm are indicative of a wise foresight and personal attention. He is in the fullest sense of the term the architect of his own fortune and is said to be one of the wealthiest men in the county. But far above this stands his character for strict integrity and truthfulness which has never yet been questioned.
(See: "Sad Intelligence" (The Murder of Troy Stockstill), from the Medicine Lodge Cresset, 17 July 1879.)
(photo of barn & feed lot)
It is dollars to doughnuts that there is nowhere in Barber county a better located or better managed property than the stock and farm ranch of C.B. Currie, a mile distant from Medicine Lodge, in a northeasterly direction. It consists of three quarter sections, 480 acres of land, watered by two natural water courses, Elm and Spring creeks. When Mr. Currie settled there away back in 1872, the one desirable feature nature had not provided was a generous growth of timber. One would not think this if not told, for great trees, whose massive trunks might indicate the growth of a century, line the highway, and groves of cottonwoods are everywhere. They have all been planted by him, and have repaid him a hundred fold.
Mr. Currie confines himself exclusively to stock farming, using thoroughbred short horn males with native cows. At present his holdings are made up of 450 cows and 200 last spring's calves. He is also in the horse business to some extent and has a bunch of 60 head. Perhaps 40 of these are brood mares with the English Shire stallion, Black Prince, imported stock, at their head. For the increase he finds ready sale at home, very seldom disposing of any to foreign buyers.
He is all business and carries on his work with as much system as a banker. As we have said, his home farm consists of 480 acres, 140 acres of this watered by sub-irrigation from the seepage of the city water works canal, is in alfalfa that is harvested four times a year, yielding an average of one and a half tons per acre at a cutting. The remainder of his farm, with the exception of some ten acres of orchard, from which he gathers an abundance of fruit, is devoted to pasture and the growth of rough feed.
In addition to this property, he is the owner of 800 acres of land on Chikaskia Creek, Kingman county. Here is where he raises his corn and keeps his cows through the weaning season and winter.
He believes the profit in cattle is largely owing to the care that is given them and to that end he not only has capacious barns and stables on both ranches, but numerous corrals built of boards nailed up and down 6 or 8 feet high with watering places convenient in all of them.
He is one of the old timers in the west, crossing the Missouri before the railroads and coming to Barber county in the fateful year when the crime of ‘73 was committed.
Coming from New Hampshire, he inherited the thrift of his New England ancestors, and making it his motto "Pay as you go; if you can't pay, don't go," he has prospered and grown fat in the possession of worldly goods and the comforts of life that are the fruits of honest toil and wise investments.
J.P. HALL's Ranch
This excellent ranch is located on Little Mule Creek, 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge. It comprises about 4,000 acres. The summer pasture of 3,200 acres is two miles from the farm. A 320 acres pasture, separate from the big pasture, with 100 acres of alfalfa, furnishes fine winter feeding. The ranch is supplied with water by Mule Creek, three windmills and ten soft water springs. Mule Creek has running water the year round.
There are two dwelling houses on the ranch, and barns and corrals especially arranged for hauling horses and cattle. The ranch accommodates from 500 to 600 cattle. Mr. Hall has the ranch in a high state of improvement and his cattle are among the choice herds of the county.
Medicine Lodge Stock Farm
One of the most satisfactory ranches, in all its appointments, is Eli BENEDICT's Medicine Lodge Stock Farm a mile and a half west of town. It is better known, perhaps, as the Miller & Benedict ranch. Dr. E.P. Miller, of the firm being the well-known financial and tariff writer of New York. The farm is one of the most fertile in Kansas, and the Agricultural Department in Washington is now arranging to establish an experimental grass station on it.
Short-Horn cattle are bred on this farm, and it puts on the market every season some fine-looking members of this family of cattle.
Eli Benedict writes the Cresset in regard to the cattle business as follows: "God hates a quitter, and while we have been a little lame from a wire cut we will, if us cattle gentlemen can keep the wound healing, come down the home stretch a winner by the end of 1900 and with the grass station these old hills will blossom like a bull nettle."
His cattle feed upon a thousand hills will apply to J.R. Holmes of Aetna township. Mr. Holmes owns and controls 22,000 acres of land in that township. It is all fenced and, excepting a portion reserved for farming, is divided into two pastures. Mr. Holmes never has less than 2,000 cattle on his ranch, all high grade natives. He uses both thoroughbred Hereford and Short Horn bulls for breeding, and always has cattle of different classes for sale. He is probably the largest land owner in the county.
The biggest little man engaged in the stock business in Barber county is A.J. Hargis, who owns a ranch of 7,000 acres two and a half miles west of Lake City, This is a large body of land to be sure, but he has it, and all under fence. To our notion this part of Barber county is the best natural stock country to be found anywhere, and certainly Mr. Hargis' location is all that could be desired. With acres and acres of timber along the river, broad pasture lands for grazing, bluff lands for protection, tillable lands for growing winter feed, brooks and springs to furnish water at all times and seasons of the year, what more can be desired or needed?
Mr. Hargis himself is an old timer, and knows the cattle business as the schoolboy his ABCs. For twenty years he has studied its various phases, in production, breeds, feeds, market and development. At the present time, he has at his Lake township ranch feeding on roughness about 1500 head of cattle with 300 head on full feed, roughness and corn, near Hazelton. He is an energetic, active man of business, but genial and open in his association with his fellows. More than all these, he has an elegant and spacious home with suitable environments and his very interesting family leads a happy domestic life.
HOUCHIN & PALMER Ranch
Among the valuable properties in Barber county and adjacent to Medicine Lodge, is the ranch or stock farm of Houchin & Palmer embracing 3,000 acres of deed land, all enclosed by a three barbed wire fence stapled to black locust posts, procured in Arkansas for this especial purpose. Eight hundred acres of this land is fenced in the same manner, in separate fields and under a high state of cultivation.
The property, considered as a total, is watered by three streams of running water and numberless soft water springs that never run dry. It has 160 acres of natural meadow land producing the finest quality of hay, 200 acres of it is natural alfalfa soil, with water sufficiently near the surface to produce a crop independent of the employment of artificial means.
There are three sets of farm buildings, meaning a dwelling house and the ordinary out buildings of a farm, all of a substantial and durable character, located about one mile apart. These dwellings are leased by the tenants for two-thirds of the crops grown from the lands they cultivate. Each of these farms is separate from the main ranch, has an orchard, bearing the fruits common to the country, and all the environments that tend to make inviting and pleasant homes. There are also upon or contiguous to this property, three school houses where regular terms are taught for the benefit and convenience of the different neighborhoods.
As many as 850 head of cattle have been held on this ranch at one time, but perhaps an estimate of its capacity would be to say that for the year through, winter and summer, it will sustain in good condition about 500 head.
They keep none but the best grade of she stock, using pedigreed Durham males for breeding purposes.
At the present time, Mr. Palmer is contemplating a visit to England, of which he is a native, coming to American twenty years ago. He has sold his interest in the cattle, 500 head, to Mr. Houchin, and leased his half of the landed estate to G.W. Shaw & Co., Mr. Houchin being the company.
What will eventuate upon Mr. Palmer's return from the old country we cannot foretell, but as the standing of the herd is to be improved the coming season by the introduction of new blood, Mr. Houchin being now in Topeka where he goes to purchase males, we venture the prediction that when Mr. Palmer does return, he will bring with him animals from across the waters that will make your eyes snap, and improvements made in the ranch itself that will outrank anything we have yet known in Barber county, perhaps in Kansas. This is given out as an inference, however, though it can be relied upon as fact.
Messrs. Houchin and Palmer are up to date business men. Not venturesome plungers, but level headed and far seeing men who have been uniformly successful in their undertakings.
Their homes in Medicine Lodge are models of neatness that indicate the abodes of intelligence and comfort.
Their standing as men and citizens will not be questioned anywhere. May their days be long in the land, and prosperity wait upon their footsteps.
What One Man Can Do (Robert GROENDYCKE)
The experience of Robert Groendycke, of Nippewalla township, shows what one man can do in Barber county if he is endowed with a fair quantity of get-up-and-hustle. Mr. Groendycke owns 300 acres in the Medicine River valley, ten miles south of Medicine Lodge. The land lies on the slope and a year ago was practically unimproved. Mr. Groendycke last year built a new house, new barn, three miles of fencing, corrals, outbuildings, raised 2500 bushels of corn, 59 acres of kaffir corn, some other truck, and did all the work himself. In Iowa it would take four or five ordinary men to do what he did.
Mr. Groendycke keeps the post-office at Roundup for the accommodation of his neighbors, but he is perfectly willing to turn loose of the public teat if some one else will take hold.
Mr. Groendycke owns one of the best farms in Nippewalla township. He has not yet devoted very much attention to cattle raising, but expects to branch out in that line from now on. A few weeks ago he purchased a registered Galloway bull, and he expects to add about 50 cows in his herd. It was our intention to print in this edition a photograph of his place, but it got lost somewhere in the ______ [illegible].
Wherever you find a Scotchman [sic], under whatever circumstances, you will find an industrious, thrifty, conservative citizen, who abhors debt and pays as he goes. Consequently he is a man of independence and calls no man master.
We ran up against a man of this class the other day in the person of Hugh Rankin, county commissioner from the first district. He is a Scotchman [sic] by birth, who immigrated to Kansas from Pennsylvanian about fifteen years ago and located in Barber county. The obstacles to his success were manifold and for a time it was problematical as to what the outcome would be. But there was never yet lived a man who started out in life with an honest purpose and a determination to be somebody, that he did not succeed, and so it has been with Mr. Rankin, for while he is in very comfortable circumstances as you can easily find out by a visit to his home in Sharon township, where he owns a ranch of 1900 acres of land, stocked with perhaps a hundred head or more of well graded cattle and all the appurtenances for their protection and comfort.
Mr. Rankin, we should judge without asking, is a man of about forty years of age, but looks younger despite the rough usage of years on the frontier. He is alert, active and brim full of energy and has a dead cinch on the caudle appendage of prosperity.
The Sunflower Ranch (D.L. TAYLOR)
To the individual who for a period of twenty-five years has been exiled from forests, hills and running brooks, wrecked on a limitless ocean of prairie, with no rest for the eye and all their dread monotony, the natural beauties that environ D.L. Taylor's location are indescribable and only equaled by the natural adaptation of the place to the business in which he is engaged.
Mr. Taylor, himself, is a pronounced type of the old time cattleman now fast disappearing from off the range: open hearted, open handed, gracious and free in dispensing the hospitalities of his home. He is one of the old-timers of Colorado, making his home at Trinidad, engaged in the cattle business more years than we can remember. He has been on the average successful in his ventures and amassed something more than a moderate fortune.
A little more than three years ago he conceived the idea of building up a herd of fine cattle and came to Kansas to secure a suitable location: After a thorough exploration of the country he selected one on Elm Creek, near the Elm mills, ten miles northeast of Lake City and fifteen miles northwest of Medicine Lodge, as combining in the greatest degree the natural facilities of summer grazing, agricultural lands for growing winter feed, shelter and water, necessary for the successful prosecution of his enterprise. He is an enthusiast in his work and having selected the Herefords as his favorites, has spared no expense in procuring thoroughbred, registered stock as the foundation of his herd, making his selections from such famous breeders as Gudgel and Simpson, of Indianapolis, and the Cross Sunny Slope herd, paying fabulous sums for males and as high as $800 for females. At the head of his herd, which he has named the Sunflower herd, is young Pretorian No. 71,784, by Don Carlos No. 33,734, the World's Fair prize winner in 1893. He is the prototype of his sire. Wide enough on top to serve a dinner course for six, his great round body set on short neat legs, wide and thick in his front, indicating perfect heart action, he is a massive creation of strength and beauty. His progeny show the marks of their ancestry; among them are seven-months calves weighing 750 pounds and at nine months 900 pounds.
Mr. Taylor's home is in a modest but roomy and neatly furnished dwelling set against the hills and fronting 160 acres of forest through which Elm creek, which is here something of pretentious stream, finds its way. His barns, granary and corrals, newly built after the most approved methods, are some distance east near a location where it is his intention to erect a new residence the coming summer. To each of his stock stables and yards, water is piped from a spring having its rise in the hills half a mile away.
Mr. Taylor's enterprise is yet in its infancy, but it will grow. His herd of Herefords is of blood as pure and lineage as long as any in the state, and his ranch, when his contemplated improvements are finished, will have no equal for picturesque beauty and practical utility.
Scott RUBERT's Canyon Feed Lot
Scott Rubert's canyon feed lot is four miles north of Medicine Lodge. This feed lot has excited the admiration of every cattleman who has seen it. The coldest blizzard that blows will not disturb the comfort of the cattle under its sheltering and protecting cliffs. The photo was taken just after the heaviest snow storm this winter. While snow covers the surrounding country, none can be found within the canyon where the cattle eat their daily rations as if all the world was a winter resort.
Across the mouth of the canyon, Elm creek's lipid waters flow unceasingly, and the cattle can eat and drink to their fill without feeling the chilling blasts of the severest storms. Last winter was of unprecedented severity in this country, yet Mr. Rubert fed 350 cattle in this canyon without losing a single animal. At the home ranch, Mr. Rubert has about 700 acres, mostly agricultural land on which he raises feed for winter. A few miles east is his summer pasture of 2000 acres.
Mr. Rubert believes there is more money in a small bunch of cattle properly cared for than in large herds. He seems to keep only as many cattle as he can raise feed for.
A Day With Jerry SIMPSON
(photo of residence)
Jerry Simpson is no longer a member of congress, but it is not to be inferred from this that he is a "statesman out of a job," by any manner of means.
A visit to his stock ranch last week convinced the writer that with looking after his ranch and cattle through the day, and playing checkers with Mrs. Simpson in the evening, he has very little time to indulge in dreams of the past or visions of the future.
Mr. Simpson's farm or ranch, as it is styled in western parlance, is located on the Antelope Flats, six miles due east from Medicine Lodge. His home place comprises a half section or 320 acres of land, 230 of which is under cultivation. In addition to which he owns detached bodies of 880 acres, making his total belongings in landed estate 1200 acres. Aside from this he leases extensively of non-resident owners for pasturage.
Of course politics are to cut no figure in this article, but there can be no harm in our saying that whatever may be thought of Mr. Simpson as a public man, or the principles he espoused, no one conversant with the truth, but will concur with us in commending the good judgment with which he has invested whatever surplus earnings have come to him, the thrift, economy and industry he has exercised in building a home and surrounding it with those comforts so pleasing to contemplate, as one's own handiwork when the years wane, the strength of manhood fails and gives way to the weakness of old age.
There will be no denial of the fact that Mr. Simpson's estate is situated in one of the most favored localities of Barber county, combining to a greater extent than almost any other the advantages of a prolific soil, plentiful pasturage and an unfailing supply of running water.
Mr. Simpson has supplemented this with extensive corrals, through which a brook of spring water runs, cold in summer and seldom forming ice in winter, 300 feet of shedding, granaries, shelter for wagons and farm implements, a stable to accommodate 18 head of horses, costing $200, Jerry himself doing all the work with the exception of putting on the roof.
His residence is one of the Queen Ann style of architecture, a very handsome structure, which no one would ever dream of as having been built piece by piece, as he had time and means to construct it. But it is a fact and Mrs. Simpson told us that when they first moved there 13 years ago, they lived in a 10x14 room with a lean-to for a kitchen and that for a full year had to crawl through a window, or [a] place cut for one, to get from one room to the other, before she could get Jerry to put in a door. But all things come to an end. Now they have a very handsome home of nine rooms, including the bath room, supplied with hot and cold water. The inside furnishings and adornments are in excellent taste and elegantly arranged, for which we suspect Mrs. Simpson should have the credit. She is a very pleasant lady, exceedingly entertaining as a hostess. We are under particular obligations to her for giving us the cold storage room for our sleeping apartment, as a safeguard against our becoming inoculated with any of her husband's political heresies.
The family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Simpson and their son Lester, a young man of twenty-two, who in features favors his mother, and with the help of a hired hand does the heavy work of the farm. Mr. Simpson himself is somewhat afflicted with dyspepsia and will be as long as he retains his appetite for mince pie.
For this winter, Mr. Simpson is holding a herd of 350 head of grade Herefords and Shorthorns. About 250 of them are cows which he grazes through the day, feeding Kaffir corn night and morning. The remaining 100 are calves and held at the corrals and given the same feed, a ration of Indian corn being given to the younger ones. They are all in excellent condition and will bring a pot of money when put upon the market. At least we hope so.
(photo of farm)
Some men are born to fortune, which when properly defined means that they are born into the possession of certain faculties for the successful accomplishment of certain things in which education and training play but a secondary, if any, part.
We discovered a man of this character not very long ago, living out on Antelope Flats about five miles east of Medicine Lodge, in the dwelling we elsewhere reproduce in photograph for fuller identification of locality and as evidence that this is not a tale of fiction but a very matter of fact relation of occurrences that go to prove the truth of our premises at the head of this article.
It is now something over 15 years that Samuel Stewart left his home in Biggsville, Henderson county, Illinois and came to Kansas, for the betterment of his fortunes. After looking over the northern part of the state without finding what he sought, he came south and finally pitched his tent on the quarter-section where he now lives. After using a portion of his capital, $3,000, in stocking his farm and making needed improvements, he began the investment of the surplus and the gains from the farm in buying stock and the acquirement of more land. His integrity and keen business foresight soon attracted attention in financial circles and money was freely proffered him for such investments as his judgment dictated. To show that the financial judgments of the banks were not in error, we have only to state the fact that for the last thirteen years, his dealings with banking institutions has ranged from $100,000 to $500,000 a year, the vouchers for which he holds to verify the statement. He has of course made money for the banks, but at the same time he has not entirely neglected his own interests, as the following statement will show: Beginning with 160 acres of land, a capital of perhaps $2,000, he now owns 2,240 acres of deeded land as good as the sun shines on and commands a stock range of 6,000 acres. His stock herd, or the number he winters, does not vary much from 500 head, his principal business being in buying and selling through the summer and fall. In this department he handles anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 head as the opportunity offers. This winter he is holding over 400 individual and 500 in which another party is interested.
Mr. Stewart also owns valuable real estate in Medicine Lodge, has a bunch of 40 horses and mules and a herd of swine. Of course he has the necessary barns, sheds and corrals. Water in any quantity is procurable at a depth of 20 feet anywhere on his premises. He has a five acre orchard of bearing apples, peach, apricot and cherry trees. His home, while unpretentious, is built to stay, with plenty of room for the needs of his family, consisting of himself, wife and six children, four sons and two daughters. Mr. Stewart is only 41 years old and looks even younger. While not educated in the schools, he is a close student of current events, has a practical knowledge of affairs which combined with good home sense, is of more real good value than the core of books. Mrs. Stewart was a Miss Thompson, one of an Ohio family, prominent in education and religious work and is a niece of David Rankin of Tarkio, Mo., said to be the most extensive farmer and stock feeder in the world.
She is a most estimable woman and has been an important factor in the success achieved by her husband.
Street S. JONES
(photo of home)
Not the grit of passion that fires the heart of an army on the field of battle when the bugles lead the charge and the drums are in the van, but the quiet every day courage that without cheer and without surety of success holds a man to his work, each day growing stronger as greater the obstacles that confront and oppose his progress to the goal he has set as the end of his journey through the weary years. The grit of the common unrecognized people who [have] won the victories that county most for civilization and progress.
It is now a quarter of a century since one of this class, and they are as plentiful as pebbles on the beach, a down east yankee by the name of Jones found his way into this part of Kansas and went to work for R.L. Carter by the month. He was a young man of correct habits, faithful and industrious, so that he not only won the confidence of his employer, but the affection of his daughter and they were married. Glad in their new found happiness they went cheerfully to work to civilize the land and build a home. Fifty miles from a market, with only a pair of old yellow mules, Mr. Jones tilled the fields, while with few conveniences Mrs. Jones looked after her household duties. Together they toiled and fought back the obstacles and scourges incident to the settlement of all new countries. "Saxon grit has conquered all." At their beautiful home five or six miles from Lake City, surrounded by fruits and flowers and forest trees their own hands have planted: where gurgling springs break from the bluffs, with 800 acres of deeded farm and grazing lands, 500 head of high-grade cattle, 200 hogs, granaries, stables, barns a mill for grinding feed, all built in approved modern style for convenience and good looks, they would seem to have all that [a] heart can wish of this world's goods with many years before them to enjoy it in. We should perhaps add that Mr. Jones keeps a herd of 45 fine horses with a standard bred Hambletonian stallion at their head. The foregoing is not a fancy picture, but a very imperfect sketch of what is being accomplished by scores and scores of Mr. Jones' in Kansas and in Barber county.
Among the more successful stockmen in the county is J.W. DeGeer, whose ranch is in Deerhead township.
Mr. DeGeer was born near Toronto, Canada, in 1843. Entered Hillsdale College at Hillsdale, Michigan, at the age of 20, where he remained four years. After leaving this well-known institution of learning he adopted the profession of teacher, teaching for a number of years in Michigan and Missouri. He came to Barber county with very little means, in the summer of 1883, proved up a claim, on which he still resides, and to which he has added from time to time until he now owns 2340 acres and has under control 6000 acres, fenced and cross-fenced into pastures and fields for the convenient handling of stock and raising feed.
This tract of land is admirably adapted to grazing live stock, being covered with buffalo, bunch and all other native grasses in about the right proportions to furnish excellent grazing at all seasons of the year. It is watered by numerous springs, Roller Canyon and Big Mule creek furnishing an abundant supply of water at all times. There is also plenty of timber for shade shelter, fencing, fuel, etc., and an abundance of land for raising feed.
Mr. DeGeer devotes a good deal of attention to raising sheep, keeping on hand usually from twelve hundred to eighteen hundred of these little money-makers. In addition to his high grade flock he has a flock of registered Black Tops and Rambouillets that will compare favorably with the best to be found anywhere, and from which he sells breeding animals in goodly numbers to go to all parts of the west.
The cattle on this ranch are not in great number, but are of splendid quality, consisting of registered and high grade Short Horns. None but the best registered sires obtainable have been used for the past twelve years and frequent additions of registered females have been made from the best herds in eastern Kansas. The herd is now headed by the pure Cruickshank bull, Sunflower Boy, 127,337. This bull was got by Vandal, 121,419, and his dam was the Secret cow Sunflower, both bred by Col. W.A. Harris of Linwood. The herd now numbers about 90 head. The three-year-old steers sold from this ranch last season averaged 1241 pounds and brought the top price. They were sold off grass, never having eaten any grain.
Mr. DeGeer says he has never regretted coming to Barber county. He believes it the healthiest place on earth and possessed of advantages that with a reasonable amount of industry and business practice will enable any one to live, educate their children, and improve their financial condition.
Mr. DeGeer has demonstrated beyond question that sheep and cattle raising can be combined with profit in Barber county. He is probably not situated more favorably than many ranchmen of the county, but he has handled the two intelligently.
Mr. DeGeer has for sale every season a number of thoroughbred bulls and rams.
One of the most conservative and successful stock men that we have encountered in Barber county is Mr. O. Mills of Lake City township. He is level headed, and while he has been in the cattle business all his life - twenty-three years in Barber county - he has never allowed himself to be lured into any wild cat speculation by which so many men have been ruined, but has made it a rule of his business life to cut his garment according to the cloth, to live within his means and never enter into any deal he could not clearly see his way out of. The result has been that he is now independent and in a condition where no financial panic or slump in the market can affect him. Tonk Mills, as his friends call him, believes in good stock. He holds over an average herd of 500 head, has seven male Herefords for which he paid over $1400, and in 1898 sold $2500 worth of bull calves for breeding purposes. Mr. Mills' ranch comprises something over 2000 acres and he resides in a beautiful and comfortable home in Lake City.
Some other businessmen of Barber County
(photo of residence)
It is now fifteen years ago that G.G. Shigley found his way to Lake City, then a town of mighty expectations of future metropolitan grandeur and business prosperity.
Reuben Lake was the enthusiastic promoter and it was in his store that young Shigley began his business career as a clerk. He was a lad of quick perception, honest, faithful, with an ambition to be a factor in business affairs and of course secured the confidence of his employer. When later Mr. Lake sold out, young Shigley stayed on, rendering his new employer the same conscientious service he had given Mr. Lake.
At the end of seven years he had an opportunity to buy out the grocery department of the store and with a capital of $178 he started business for himself in a room 25x25. It was a small beginning, but his industry, tact and universal good nature won him customers and as his trade increased he enlarged his rooms, careful, however, not to go beyond his means in buying, beyond his capacity to pay out. Later he purchased the stock of a rival dealer, adding dry good and general merchandise to his business.
He has been successful from the start and now occupies a brick built store room with a twenty-five foot front by one hundred feet deep, with two separate store rooms for heavy goods, where you can find any conceivable article of merchandise. In Kansas City this would not be such a tremendous affair but in a town of 189 inhabitants, it is different.
Besides this, Mr. Shigley carries an average stock of not less than $6,000, discounts all of his bills and a close invoice would probably show him $10,000 ahead, clear of all his obligations, if he has any such thing as obligations.
Mr. Shigley is at his best so far as years are counted and usually is a most congenial gentleman. Merchandise can be purchased at his shops at competing prices or lower than in the railroad towns and a customer always gets what he buys.
He takes an interest in public affairs, is always ready to chip in to help out any public or charitable enterprise and is an all around good citizen. He is a republican in politics and for eleven years postmaster at Lake, without regard to the color of the administration at Washington.
He is happy in the possession of a wife and daughter, a pleasant home and so far as we can see is at peace with all the world as he certainly ought to be. May he live long and prosper abundantly.
The man who never worries is the man that wins and enjoys his winnings.
Scott Buck, who runs a drug store, sells hardware and farm implements, buggies, wagons, etc., in Lake City, is that kind of man, and the only one we have met in our journeys through Barber county. Scott began his business career in Lake City as a clerk in his father's store in the year 1886. In 1891 his father resigned business and the son became the successor. Since that time he has managed the business with such carefulness, and with a regard to its equities, that he has captured the patronage of all buyers of his goods in Lake and the region of country lying roundabout.
A person may easily get into an argument with Mr. Buck on politics, religion, or as to when the twentieth century begins, but if he expects to move him from the pedestal of good nature, get him rattled by any vociferous demonstrations he is off his base and sure to come out loser.
In addition to his mercantile interests Mr. Buck has large real estate interests adjacent to Lake City, comprising 1680 acres of land, 240 of which belongs to his brother Frank, 400 to himself individually and 960 acres to the Buck estate. In regard to the natural location there is probably no better stock ranch for the subsistence of a limited herd of cattle in Barber county. It has excellent pasturage, a sufficient acreage of arable, fertile land to produce winter feed, is watered by springs and a stream of ever running water that flows the entire length of the tract, while the bluff and canyons afford natural shelter from cold and transient storms. Mr. Buck is a shrewd business manager, wears no blinders and takes a good long look ahead before he enters into any new speculation. He is straight forward, upright and a man it will do to tie to under all circumstances.
Louis Bissantz, whose advertisement appears in this number of the Cresset, is the principal merchant in Sun City. He lived in Wichita for a time, came to Sun five years ago where he purchased the merchandise stock and fixtures of Frank Whitaker and with a cash capital of only $200 embarked in business on his own account. Since that time with a natural adaptation to trade, a strict attention to business and the practice of a wise economy in expenditures, has gradually attracted patronage, until he now carries an average stock of $3,300 in general merchandise and has increased his sales to something over $6,000 a year, which with light expenses in operating his business affords him a very handsome margin and profit. Mr. Bissantz is of a liberal disposition, public spirited as a citizen and popular with his patrons. With a wife and quartet of children, two boys and two daughters, he is happy in his home life with no occasion to borrow trouble, a disposition that to so many make life a burden.
ELLIS & ELLIS (C.W. & Fred R.)
Whose card appears in the Cresset, are practicing lawyers in Medicine Lodge, with their office on Main street over the Citizens State Bank.
C.W. Ellis, the senior member of the firm, came to Kansas in 1870 and opened an office in Hutchinson. In 1872 he came to Medicine Lodge, opened an office here and at the same time filed on a homestead about a mile west of town. Later he proved it up and it is now his home where he lives in a very handsome residence and has made of the old claim a cultivated and well improved farm.
As a lawyer, Mr. Ellis is a man of recognized ability, in evidence of which we recite the fact that he received the appointment of judge of this judicial district and at the close of the term was re-elected to succeed himself. The junior member is Fred R. Ellis, a clear headed young man 26 years of age. He received his education in Kansas, graduated at the Kansas University Law School, and was admitted to practice three years ago and if we are any judge of a man's profile he has a promising career open before him. This firm enjoys a good practice and has been employed in some of the most important cases in our district court.
Uncle Milt CLEMENTS
One of the oldest settlers we have discovered in our rambles through Barber county is Uncle Milt Clements, of Sun City. He is a native of Illinois, served through the war of rebellion, came to Barber county and settled on Mulberry creek in 1872 and is living on the same section of land today. He has served one term as county commissioner, seven terms as deputy sheriff and was door keeper of the senate during Lewelling's administration.
Mr. Clements is one of the survivors of the blizzard that swept over the western part of the state in January, 1875, one of the most furious and longest continued winter storms of which there is any record. It was the year the Indians had their war paint on. The militia had been called out for the protection of the settlers on the border, and a stockade had been built at Sun City and garrisoned. Mr. Clements was at that time a sergeant in the state militia and with a squad of three men was on his way from Hutchinson when they were overtaken by the storm. Two of the party, Bartlett and Walker, were frozen to death, while Reuben Marshall and Mr. Clements were so badly frozen that they had to have their feet amputated and Mr. Clements is now using artificial feet, though one would hardly notice the fact. The ordeal was a severe one and the suffering was great. The best thing possible was done, however, and the government at Washington prevailed upon through the influence of Judge S.R. Peters to place his name on the military rolls with a pension of $72. A thrilling story might be written of Mr. Clements' experience and some day we may make the attempt.
(See David F. Edmond's account of this blizzard)
Among the young men of Medicine Lodge engaged in business, James Dobbs may probably be classed as one of the most progressive and successful.
It is now some fourteen years since Mr. Dobbs, then a young man of twenty, decided to seek his fortunes in Kansas, located in Medicine Lodge and established himself in the grain and seed business. Without capital, his beginning was small and the prospect not so roseate as it otherwise might have been, but he had youth, strength, and ambition that served him well and it was not long before his push, energy and square dealing made him friends and attracted custom[ers]. He prospered from the first and soon found himself master of the situation, doing a profitable business.
In 1894, he decided to expand and in conjunction with Arthur Shaw, embarked in the stock business, the firm handling in the neighborhood of four thousand head of cattle per annum, made money. Last fall, however, Mr. Dobbs came to the conclusion that the time was approaching when from the extension of the stock business and the increasing number of dealers engaging in it, it would soon cease to be profitable, or yield an income in proportion to the capital invested and the labor required. Acting upon this belief, he sold his interest to his partner, Mr. Shaw, and has since been and is now engaged in the coal trade.
He has not, however, lost faith in the stock business or in Barber county as a cattle country, and he is now engaged in fitting up a ranch property that he owns on the Medicine River, about three miles east of the Lodge, where he will range and feed from three hundred to four hundred improved cattle. The location is an exceptionally fine one for the purpose and with the improvements contemplated will make one of the best in the county.
Mr. Dobbs' home on Kansas Avenue east is one of the handsomest and best kept in the city. Personally he is one of the most agreeable and pleasant of the many nice people it has been our good fortune to meet during our sojourn in Medicine Lodge and Barber county. All things taken together, he may be considered a very fortunate man. Young in years, robust in health, with the foundation for a reasonable fortune securely laid, the future has much in store for him.
Dr. C.C. SPARKS
The subject of this sketch was almost raised in Barber county. When quite young he turned his attention to dentistry, and in April 1896, he passed the examination of the State Board of Dental Examiners, having one of the highest grades that ever passed that board. He attended two courses of lectures at the Western Dental College at Kansas City, Missouri. His dental office over Fair's store, Medicine Lodge, is [a] model of neatness, equipped with the most improved dental furniture and instruments. The number of patients who visit his office indicate that his work is satisfactory. He has had three students - Alpha Updegraff, at Pretty Prairie, W.H. Sparks at Pratt and S.V. Luallen at Alva, Oklahoma. Two of them passed a creditable examination before the Kansas Dental Board, and the other before the Oklahoma Board of Examiners.
Dr. Sparks is a closet student, and can always be found at his office during office hours.
Dr. R.C. HUTCHESON
In the little town of Coats just over the line in Pratt county, a modest little sign points the way to the office of Dr. R.C. Hutcheson, physician and surgeon. If you enter and find the doctor in, and the chances are two to one you will not, for he is a very busy man, you will meet a middle-sized, ruddy faced man apparently about thirty years of age, but who in reality is up in the forties and he has now been in practice at his present location for the past fifteen years. While living in Pratt county is only a geographical line that denies him citizenship in Barber county where he has a large and growing practice and in whose development and progress he takes an active interest. He is the kind of man who is always ready to take stock in any commendable enterprise and that is why he chips in to help out the Cresset with its extra edition, while he advertises himself and his practice on the side.
The doctor is throughly educated in his profession, a graduate of pharmacy, medicine, dentistry and is a skillful practitioner. He is also a successful business man, has a snug little property of his own and shekels laid by for a rainy day. The doctor is all right.
Edward Youmans, everybody knows him as Uncle Ed, but in deference to his years, he is now 64, we call him Edward, is a product of New Jersey, the land of trusts and kissing bugs, who came to Kansas in 1857, settled in Osawatomie, then a far west frontier town, and engaged in the merchandise business. As the frontier moved so did Uncle Ed. He was acute, wide awake, kept pace with the movement of events, and wherever the frontier was, there was he, with his stock of merchandise, from Osawatomie to Medicine Lodge, where he pitched his tent and opened up business in 1877, just 20 years later, and here he remains today, doing business at the same old stand, one of the few survivors of the halcyon days when no door locks were needed, drinks were two for a quarter and all other things in proportion. When no man, cowman or cowboy, was refused credit, or called for change when he paid a bill. He has often sold from $1,600 to $2,500 worth a day, his average for a year being anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000. While at the same time he gave away thousands of dollars to people in hard luck, who had to live some way. Riding the wheel of fortune, he has been sometimes on top, at others under, until at present he is comfortably situated, doing a fair business, with one of the loveliest homes in the city, one of the very few left of the "old timers" who wear their hearts upon their sleeves and do not know the meaning of littleness and trickery.
(Also see: Obituary: Edward Youmans, Barber County Index, August 19, 1903.)
Miss Mary BEST
The most extensive stock raiser among the women of Barber county, and the state perhaps, is Miss Mary Best of Medicine Lodge, whose beautiful home is just one mile west of the city. She came from England to this country about ten years ago and purchased the place where she now resides with her mother and brother. She has added to her landed possessions until she now owns and controls about 3,000 acres, 700 of which [are] in cultivation. She is dealing extensively in stock and handles from 2,000 to 3,000 head of cattle annually.
Miss Best has a contract to supply the Agricultural Department with improved sorghum cane seed, furnishing the past year the entire amount distributed by the department through congressmen and senators.
Miss Best finds time from her duties on the farm to take an active part in social and club affairs.
The WISNER Ranch
Dr. Henry Wisner has one of the model ranches in Barber county. It is located in Sharon township, where Sand Creek runs out of the bluffs north of Sharon. A considerably portion of the ranch is meadow land, and Dr. Wisner rarely fails to harvest a large crop of hay. The ranch is well improved, has a large comfortable house where Dr. and Mrs. Wisner make their home, good barns, granaries and corrals, and houses for his tenants and employees.
The Doctor handles a great many cattle every year besides those raised on the ranch. There are not many better watered ranches in the county.
Thanks to Ellen (Knowles) Bisson for finding, transcribing and contributing the above article to this web site!
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