Harvey Eckert, editor and owner of "The Tiller and Toiler," at Larned, is a native Kansan and one of the most successful newspaper men in southwestern Kansas. He was born at Halstead, June 2, 1874, and received his christian nameHarveyfrom the county of his birth. His father is Dr. Frederick Eckert, a Kansas pioneer and at the present time (1911) city engineer of Larned. Dr. Eckert was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, May 9, 1850. His parents were natives of Germany and sent him to the Fatherland to be educated in medicine at Heidelberg University. He later abandoned medicine, however, and took up civil engineering instead. Dr. Eckert married Miss Adda Steele, who was born in New York State, Oct. 25, 1855, of parents that also were natives of New York. Dr. Eckert and his wife came to Kansas in 1870 and located first at Sedgwick, but removed later to Newton, and still later to Halstead. At the last named place he conducted the first drug store in the town. In 1878 he removed to Comanche county, where he located on government land and where he later served as surveyor. In 1884 he and his family took up their residence at Kinsley, Kan., and he afterward became county surveyor of Edwards county. He now resides at Larned, where he is city engineer. To Dr. Eckert and his wife five children were borntwo sons and three daughtersas follows: Charles Sedgwick, born at Sedgwick, Kan., May 1, 1872, was the first child born in that town, and was named for his birthplace; Harvey, the subject of this review, was next in order of birth; Lena, born in Comanche county, in 1876; Tillie, born in Comanche county, in 1879, is now the wife of John Mitchell, a farmer and stockman at Halstead; and Dottie, born in Kinsley, in 1889, is now the wife of R. N. Mills, of Wichita, Kan.
Harvey Eckert, the immediate subject of this sketch, was not only named for the county of his birth, but also bears the distinction of having been the first child born in the town of Halstead. He received a public school education and at the age of seventeen entered a printing office at Kinsley to learn the printer's trade. At the end of the first nine months of his service he received the sum of twenty-five cents. Tenacity of purpose is one of Mr. Eckert's characteristics, however, and he continued at his trade until 1893. For the following two years he accompanied his father, who was surveying and camping in Oklahoma, but in 1895 he resumed his trade at Larned and worked there six months during the hard times of that year for three dollars per week. In the same year he removed to Kinsley, where he became manager of a paper, but in 1896, he returned to Larned and worked at his trade another year. "The Tiller and Toiler" had been established at Larned in 1892 as a Populist paper by W. P. Mahon, who died in 1896. Upon Mr. Mahon's death Charles Sedgwick Eckert, brother of Harvey, became manager of the paper, and in 1907 the two brothers bought it. In 1908 Harvey Eckert became sole owner and editor of the publication and has built up a strong weekly paper, Democratic in politics and of great influence both in party work and in pushing the progress and development of Larned and Pawnee county. In 1902 the "Eagle-Optic," established in 1878, was consolidated with the "Tiller and Toiler" and from that time until 1911 it was the official paper of Pawnee county.
On June 15, 1899, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Eckert and Miss Gertrude Davis, of Larned. Mrs. Eckert was born Dec. 10, 1880, in the old Indian Territory, near where now is located the town of Vinita, Okla. She was an orphan at the time of her marriage. To their union one son has been born, Frederick, born March 25, 1909. Fraternally, Mr. Eckert is a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mrs. Eckert is a member of the Episcopal church.Pages 1583-1584 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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