Jacob Achenbach, a pioneer of Southern Kansas, who has been active in the affairs of Barber county for over a third of a century, is a native of Germany. He was born at Eppelheim, March 20, 1848, and is a son of John and Phillipenia (Stineacker) Achenbach, both natives of Germany. The Achenbach family immigrated to America in 1853, and located in Green county, Illinois, where the father was engaged in farming rented land, until 1865, when he removed to Christian county, Illinois, and followed farming during the remainder of his life. He died in 1898. His wife, Phillopenia Stineacker, died in 1906. They were the parents of six children, as follows: Peter; Jacob, the subject of this sketch; John, deceased; Philip; Henry, and Fred. Jacob Achenbach was reared on a farm, and educated in the public schools of Illinois. In 1882, he came to Kansas, locating on government land in Kingman county, where he followed farming and raised cattle for two years. He was very successful in this venture, and in 1884 removed to Barber county and bought 6,300 acres of prairie land of John Hardtner, in whose honor the present town of Hardtner was named. Mr. Achenbach immediately began to improve that land, and raised the first wheat that was grown in Barber county, west of Medicine river. He soon became an extensive wheat grower, raising about 500 acres annually, and for fifteen years, he averaged twenty-two bushels of wheat per acre. He still owns and operates this land, which is some of the finest improved land in Barber county. His two sons, August and Adolph, are associated with him in farming these vast acres. Mr. Achenbach was one of the extensive cattle men of Southern Kansas, and in the early days handled from 2,000 to 3,000 head of cattle each year, and is still one of the most extensive stock raisers in that section of the State. In 1887, he was instrumental in establishing the first postoffice at Hardtner, and was appointed the first postmaster of the town. At the same time, he opened a general store at that point where he has since conducted a mercantile business, and has also held the office of postmaster, to the present time. His store immediately became an important trading point for cattle men, and early settlers in that section. The town of Hardtner did not develop very rapidly, however, until the railroad was built from Kiowa in 1910. Mr. Achenbach was the principal promoter of this railroad, as well as the chief investor. The railroad, which is ten miles in length, was built at a cost of $16,000 per mile. It was chartered as the Kiowa, Hardtner & Pacific Railroad, and since its construction has been operated, under lease, by the Missouri Pacific System. One of the unusual things about the construction of this railroad, is that it was built without subsidy and free of indebtedness. Mr. Achenbach now owns and controls the majority of stock in this railroad company and to him is due the credit of giving this section of Barber county transportation facilities, which has contributed to building up of the prosperous little city of Hardtner, which now has all the advantages of the average town of its size to be found in the State. Mr. Achenbach was one of the organizers of the Hardtner State Bank, in 1910, and has held the office of vice-president of that institution since its organization. He built one of the first houses in the town, which is still his residence. Mr. Achenbach was married May 2, 1867, to Miss Elizabeth Rathgber, of Christian county, Illinois, a native of Germany, born March 4, 1848. To this union have been born two children: August, born August 25, 1868, married Flora Wilhite in 1896. She died in 1906, leaving three children, Ellina, Litha, and Esther. Adolph, the youngest son, born to Mr. and Mrs. Achenbach, was born April 6, 1876, and in 1906 married Anna Heiser, and they have two children, Leanhard and Howard. Mr. Achenbach is one of the pioneers of Southern Kansas, who has made good. He is one of the progressive citizens of Barber county and is ever ready with his time and money to co-operate with any worthy public enterprise.Pages 192-193 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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