John Leland Buck.A publication of this nature exercises its most important function where it takes cognizance of the life and labors of those citizens who have been of material value in the advancement and development of the commonwealth. Mr. Buck is best known to the citizens of central Kansas through his connection with the banking interests of Harvey county, where he has resided since early boyhood and in the commercial and social life, of which he has been a potent, though unostentatious factor. He has large and varied capitalistic interests and is one of the distinctively representative men of his section. John Leland Buck is a native of Illinois and was born in Auburn, Sangamon county, May 1, 1863, son of Franklin L. and Sarah M. (Curtis) Buck. His ancestors, paternal and maternal, were among the early settlers of America, and numbered among them are men who achieved distinction in the frontier life of those early daysin the French and Indian war and the war for Independenceand who have filled many positions of usefulness in the town, state and nation. Ebenezer Buck and his son, Ebenezer, great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather of John L. Buck, were soldiers in the Continental line in the war of the Revolution. John Buck, grandfather of John L., was a native of Massachusetts and was born in Lanesboro, in 1797. He and two brothers, one of whom was Chester Buck, were pioneer settlers of Lewis county, New York. In 1854 John Buck, accompanied by his family, migrated to Illinois by way of the great lakes and eventually located in Sangamon county, where he purchased a tract of land comprising 720 acres. Upon completion of the Chicago & Alton railroad eighty acres of this tract was platted by Mr. Buck and he became the founder of the town of New Auburn, which now (1911) has a population of some 3,000. He made a donation of building sites to several churches and the Masonic order and a public park to the city. He became a successful business man and one of the prominent citizens of his county, being active in its political, religious and social life. His death occurred in Auburn, in 1880, in his eighty-third year. Franklin L. Buck, son of John and father of John L., was born in Lowville, Lewis county, New York, Aug. 29, 1828. He received such education as the schools of his native county afforded and his early years were spent in the employ of his father. In 1851, when twenty-three years of age, he married, at Booneville, N. Y., Miss Sarah M. Curtiss, daughter of Henry Curtiss, a native of Lanesboro, Mass, who married a Miss Lyman. He was one of the early settlers of Lewis county, New York, where he experienced the vicissitudes and endured the labors incident to the pioneer life of that time. In 1854, Franklin L. Buck, with his wife, accompanied his father to Illinois and became associated with him in his land investments in Sangamon county. In this venture they were successful and the association continued until 1877, when the pioneer spirit of his forbears caused him at the age of forty-nine, to again take up the work of developing a new country. In June of that year he purchased a quarter-section of land in Sedgwick township, Harvey county, Kansas, and in September brought his family to the new home. Harvey county was in its infancy and his land was unbroken prairie and without improvements. After fourteen years of cultivation under his skilfull supervision, during which time suitable buildings were erected, he disposed of this property at $35 an acre, at that time a top price for this section of Kansas. He was a man of lofty integrity, strong intellectual powers, and an influential and highly respected citizen. He died in Sedgwick May 25, 1908, and his wife passed away June 26, 1911. They were the parents of two childrena son and a daughter. The latter, Louie C., married Carlton C. Sawyer of Sedgwick, Kan.
John Leland Buck acquired his education in the public schools of Sangamon county, Illinois, and Harvey county, Kansas. In 1879, when sixteen years of age, he initiated his commercial career by securing employment as a clerk in the general store of Hall & Willey of Sedgwick, where he remained until the fall of 1880, when he returned to his native state, Illinois, and spent the winter of 1880-81 in attending school. In the summer of 1881 he returned to Sedgwick and entered the banking office of T. R. Hazard. In 1884 Mr. Hazard disposed of the bank and Mr. Buck remained with the successor for a short time, but resigned to become cashier for J. M. Massey, a general merchant. Ill health necessitated his spending the winter of 1884-85 in Florida and New Orleans. He returned to Sedgwick much improved in health but did not resume business until 1886, when he became bookkeeper for the Sedgwick City Bank and shortly afterward its cashier. In 1894, on the organization of the Sedgwick State Bank, of which he was a promoter, he became cashier of the institution, continuing in that capacity until February, 1906, when he resigned to accept the position of general agent of the Aetna Life Insurance Company of Hartford, Conn., for the State of South Dakota, with headquarters at Sioux Falls. In 1908 he returned to Kansas and became interested as a stockholder in the Kansas State Bank of Newton and was elected its cashier. This position he resigned Jan. 1, 1911, in order to give his entire attention to his large personal interests in Illinois, Colorado, South Dakota and Kansas. To the banking fraternity Mr. Buck is known as an able and discriminating financier and one who invariably succeeded in bringing the administrative policy of the institution with which he was connected up to the point of highest efficiency. He is a stockholder in various financial and commercial enterprises. He is the one of three owners of a 1,500-acre ranch near Hot Springs, S. D., and one of the potential forces in the Hot Springs Live Stock & Irrigation Company. He still owns a portion of the original purchase of his grandfather adjoining Auburn, Ill., which was bought for $10 per acre and has sold for as much as $800 an acre. Essentially a business man he has neither time nor inclination for office, although he never neglects in the least his civic duties and obligations. A Republican, he has served as a delegate in both the county and Congressional conventions of his party. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias, and is a past chancellor commander in the last named order.
On June 4, 1891, Mr. Buck married Miss Anna L. Johnson, daughter of the late Gilbert and Helen (Kent) Johnson of East Wallingford, Vt. Mrs. Buck is a woman of broad culture and refinement, an accomplished musician, both as a vocalist and as an instrumental performer, and is popular in the social circles of Newton, in which she is a leader. Her sister, Alice M., is the wife of Mack P. Cretcher, editor of the "Sedgwick Pantagraph," and a brother, D. D. Johnson, is a retail druggist in Sedgwick. In Mr. Buck's home is an heirloom which is highly prized in the Buck familya silver cream pitcher, made in England about 1600. It bears the engraved or stamped initials of ten generations, the first two not dated and the last eight running from 1679 to that of its present owner, J. L. Buck, 1902. The sugar bowl mate to this pitcher is owned by a distant relative. Mr. Buck is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his commercial affairs and conscientious in all things. His personal successes have been the result of unflagging energy, a keen knowledge of men and things and the ability to judge the propitious moment and avail himself of it.Pages 1269-1270 from volume III, part 2 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 December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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