Life Sketches of Comanche-co. Pioneers ** Some of Their Struggles and Early-Day Experiences.
At left: C.F. Biddle
Since Comanche-co. first began to be settled, now nearly 40 years ago, the livestock industry has been one to which much attention has been given. Even prior to 1884, large herds of cattle were brought each year from the countries further southwest, and kept on pasture here until they were ready for market. For a number of years the Comanche Pool", a big cattle company, operated in this and Barber-cos. The cattle industry is still given a great deal of attention in the county, but the day of longhorns and of scrub cattle has long since passed and many fine herds of purebred stock may now be found.
Among men who have been prominently identified with ranch interests in this county is C. F. Biddle, now of Wichita, but who still owns an 11,000 acre ranch in this county. Mr. Biddle ia a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Williamsburg, that state on June 28, 1846. As a young man he attended the common schools, and later Chestnut Level Academy at Lancaster, Penn. When he was 17 years of age, or in the year 1863, he joined the Union army as a member of the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was with the Army of the Potomac and saw service principally with the brigade of Virginia volunteers.
In the spring of 1864, in Harrisburg, Penn., he was mustered out of the service. Soon after the close of the war he came west, settling in Dixon, Ill. He lived there until the spring of 1869, when he moved to Cherokee-co., Iowa. In the spring of 1885 he got into the cattle business in western Kansas, locating in Scott-co. The severe winter of 1886 almost depleted his herd, however. He says that he had only about a dozen head left after the blizzard. During the following three years, he began slowly to "get on his feet" again financially, but it still appeared to him that trying to raise cattle on the plains of Western Kansas was a little risky business, so in the fall of 1888 he concluded to locate in Comanche-co. He came here with 72 head of cattle, old and young, and began at once to build up a ranch about ten miles southeast of this city. He first bought 160 acres, and, in 1892 and 1893 added several quarter sections, so that it was not very long until he had blocked a ranch of over 10,000 acres of as good ranch land as can be found in the county. Mr. Biddle gave his personal attention to his ranch interests for nearly ten years, or until the year 1901 when he and Mrs. Biddle moved to Wichita, where they have since made their home. There is considerable good farming land included in Mr. Biddle's ranch. Frank Metzker, Philo Gregg and J. L. Alley have been looking after the cultivated portions of the ranch for a number of years past. R. D. Temple of Wichita now has a 5 year lease on Mr. Biddle's ranch land in this county.
At the general election in 1898, Mr. Biddle was elected as a member of the state legislature from this county and served two terms. He was elected as a republican and still adheres to that party. He served as deputy U. S. Marshal for the district of Kansas from 1901 to 1911, his home during the time being in Wichita. As an official he proved himself to be capable and trustworthy.
Mrs. Biddle, before her marriage to Mr. Biddle in 1884, was Mrs. Frances Emma Gregg. They continue to make occasional visits to their ranch in this county and to be interested in Comanche-co. affairs. They say that they have no idea if selling their ranch. For several years past, their summers have been spent among the Northern lakes, principally in Minnesota.
Lula Agnes (Metzker) Gregg, wife of Philo Gregg.
Photographs from the Collection of J.M. & Minerva Cline, printed from the original glass plate negatives by Russell Fay Cline.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article and image to this web site!
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