One of Beeler's most famous pioneer settlers was George Washington Carver, who journeyed by wagon from Highland, Kansas to Eden Township in Ness Countv with J.F. Beeler.
In August 1886, Carver established a claim on the SE ¾ of 4-19- 26 approximately l½ miles south of present day Beeler. He maintained a small conservatory of plants and flowers and a geological collection; as well as working for George H. Steeley on his ranch and doing odd jobs in town.
While trying to prove up his claim he broke out seventeen acres, all of which were plowed, and planted rice, corn, Indian corn and garden produce. Also, he planted forest trees, mulberry, plum and apricot fruit trees and shrubbery. He made all these necessary improvements with a spade, hoe and corn planter, but no domestic animals.
In early 1888, after successive years of drought, Carver obtained a $300.00 loan from George A. Borthwick, Vice-President of the Bank of Ness City, stating he wanted to further his education. In June of that year Carver left the area, and on January 1, 1891 he deeded his claim over to Fred C. Borthwick for one dollar and other valuable considerations.
Shortly after his death in 1943, there was a movement by the Ness County Historical Society to erect a monument marking the site of his homestead. After many years of fund raising, a stone marking was dedicated in his honor on Sunday, October 11, 1953. This marker simply states:
Dedicated to the memory of
George Washington Carver
who rose from slavery to fame
and gave to our country an
Ness County is proud to honor
him and claim him as a prioneer
This stone marks the northeast
corner of the homestead on which
he filed in 1886
Erected by friends and the
Ness County Historical Society
This site was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on November 23, 1977 by the Kansas State Historical Society.
In the late 1950's, a highway marker was erected on K-96 highway just west of Beeler by the Kansas Historical Society and the State Highway Commission. This marker pays homage to the inventor and humanitarian and directs travelers to the "Homestead of a Genius".
Photo by Rex Borthwick, Beeler, KS
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