Death claimed the life of one of Comanche county's pioneer ranchers, Jacob Kurz, who passed away in the Comanche County Hospital Monday of this week at the age of 88 years. He had been in failing health for several years.
Funeral services were held in the Methodist church in this city Thursday afternoon, May 17, at 2:30 o'clock and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. Donald A. Keesler.
A mixed quartet composed of Mrs. Martin Zerby, Mrs. Ferrel Guizlo, Rev. Bill Diaz and Wallace White sang "When the Roll Is Called up Yonder" and "Shall We Gather at the River?" with George Wolf as organist.
Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery. The active pallbearers were Winston Williams, Victor Allderdice, Lovedren Hall, John McMoran, Charley Jackson and J. W. Brewer. The honorary pallbearers were Win Sunderland, Charles Allderdice, Dr. R. A. Shelley, Joe Darroch, Dan Jackson, Ray McMoran, Otha Landess, Horace Rich, Geo. H. Helton and Eyman Phebus.
Jacob Kurz was born in Green Bay, Wis., November 2, 1862, and passed away in the Comanche County Hospital May 14, 1951, at the age of 88 years, 6 months and 12 days.
He grew to manhood in Green Bay and when he was about 21, he went to Warren, Minn., to find a location. After two summers there, his brother, Joe Kurz went to Medicine Lodge, Kans., to see about filing a claim.
The following spring - in 1885 - Mr. Kurz came to Comanche county, Kansas, to file an adjoining claim in the southeastern part of the county and which homestead has continued to be a part of the 8,000 acre Kurz ranch in Rumsey township, where he spent the most of his life, except for a few years in railroad construction.
Mr. Kurz worked for some time helping build the new Santa Fe railway line from Kiowa, Kans., through the Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state, and down into Texas. About 1890 he also helped replace the narrow gauge railroad from Salt Lake City to Ogden, Utah, with standard gauge track; also working on the railroad construction in Montana and Idaho.
It was while working in Ogden, Utah, that he was called back to Kansas by the illness of his brother, Joe. He than began farming and acquiring cattle in this county meanwhile living for five years in a dugout which he built.
Mr. Kurz built one of the first two room frame residences in the county and settled down to make a general living by farming, which did not pay, so he turned to raising cattle.
On November 2, 1892, he was united in marriage with Miss Rosa Deubler in a sod house on Salt Fork Creek.
In 1893, when the Cherokee Strip opened, most of Mr. Kurz' neighbors left for better land, but because of his few head of cattle, he decided to stay. As he prospered he bought more land and raised more cattle and also increased his farming activities. Starting with calico cattle, he then raised Red Durhams and some Galloways, but he finally turned all his efforts to raising Herefords, having one of the county's best range herds of around 600 high grade cows when he retired.
In 1907, Mr. Kurz was a passenger on the ill-fated vessel, Columbia, on a voyage from San Francisco, Calif., to Portland, Ore., in which 100 passengers perished, among them his eldest daughter, Clara, and son, Charles.
About 1915 Mr. Kurz bought his present home in Coldwater and moved his family to town, but he continued to operate his ranch. A few years after the marriage of his daughter, Mable, to Fred L. Parker, they formed a partnership, which continued in operation until 1947. His cow herd was sold and the children leased the ranch.
Mr. Kurz had been in ill health for a number of years, although he continued to get around until the last 12 days of his life. He was public spirited and erected a modern brick business property on Main street in Coldwater, besides several dwelling houses and kept up his farm property - one of the finest cattle ranches in southwestern Kansas.
Mr. Kurz is survived by his wife, Rosa, and three daughters - Mrs. Mable Parker, Mrs. Rosa Oller and Mrs. Ethel Swaim; one brother, Vincent Kurz, of Ladysmith, Wis.; five grandchildren and three great grandchildren, all of Coldwater, several nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
Preceding him in death were his three children, Charles Jacob, Clara, and infant daughter, his parents, three sisters and five brothers.
Mr. Kurz was a good kind and loving husband, father and neighbor and will be greatly missed by all. He was of the old school or rugged pioneers whose word was as good as their bond, whose honesty was never questions and who was never known to have an enemy. The passing of Jacob Kurz brings to a close the life of one of Comanche county's finest citizens.
MR. AND MRS. JACOB KURZ
Born November 2, 1862, Mr. Kurz moved from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to stake a claim in Comanche County in 1885. His wife, Rosa, was born March 20, 1874, and came from Warsaw, Illinois, at the age of 13, and lived on a claim with her mother. The couple were married on November 2, 1892 in a sod house on Salt Fork Creek and later built the first frame house in Comanche County.
Before his marriage, Mr. Kurz worked as a railroad construction worker, helping build a new Santa Fe line from Kiowa, Kansas, through the Indian territory of Oklahoma and also worked on railroads in Montana and Idaho. He tried general farming for awhile but decided it didn't pay so turned to raising cattle.
When the Cherokee Strip opened in 1893, the Kurz' neighbors left for "greener pastures", but Mr. Kurz, who had a few head of cattle, decided he could not better himself by pulling stakes. Gradually he bought more land and cattle.
On retirement, Mr. Kurz turned active management of his ranch and farms over to his sons-in-law Fred Parker, Ernest Oller and John Swaim. He also owned extensive holdings in the city of Coldwater.
Mr. Kurz passed away in 1951 at the age of 88. Mrs. Kurz will have been a patient in the Comanche County Hospital four years this November. She is 85 years of age.
The Kurz family consists of three daughters, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
THIS PAGE SPONSORED BY THE THREE CHILDREN
ROSE OLLER, ETHEL MAE SWAIM, MABLE PARKER
From Diamond Jubilee Historical Program, page 57, published 1959.
(Webmaster's note: The Dodge City Globe, in 1877, commented on the frame house built by Cap Pepperd on his Comanche County ranch.)
KURZ - Born January 18, 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kurz, a daughter. -- The Western Star, December 28, 1900.
For an account of the ship wreck of the steamer Columbia, which was hit and sunk by the lumber ship San Paulo in 1907, and of Jacob Kurz's attempts to save his children, see: http://www.genjourney.com/Kurz/KurzPhilippPage.htm
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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