Daniel J. Fair, a late pioneer resident of Sterling, Kan., and one of the most prominent and substantial citizens of Rice county, was born on a farm in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, Aug. 22, 1847. His youth was spent in the outdoor and health-giving life of the farm and his education was acquired in the district schools near his home. After the death of his father he removed to Wisconsin, where he had an elder brother. Having earned the necessary money for a three-months commercial course he attended a business college at Sparta, and shortly after graduating sought employment at different points along the Mississippi river. With a small capital saved from his wages he joined his brother, A. C. Fair, in a little retail lumber yard at Andalusia, Ill., below Rock Island. This was Mr. Fair's first experience in the lumber business and it was not an extensive one. In the spring of 1870 the brothers sold out their interests and removed to Texas, where they engaged in the cattle business for a short time. Later, for six months, they conducted a dry goods store at Lebanon, Collin county, Texas, but in 1872 Mr. Fair returned to Eau Claire, Wis. It was in June, 1872, that he came to Sterling, Kan., and while possessing at that time a capital of $1,700 he at first secured employment by the month with Edwards & Kinney, lumber dealers there. In the fall, however, being convinced of the brilliant future of that part of Kansas, he purchased the interest of Mr Kinney and the firm of Edwards & Fair was formed. This style of firm continued until 1878, when a brother of the senior member bought into the concern and it became Edwards Brothers & Fair. In 1884 this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Fair became sole owner. A branch yard had been established at Nickerson, and later he established branches at Burlingame, Partridge, Abbyville, Stafford and Hutchinson. He was also the principal holder of the interests of the Fair & Shaak Mercantile Company, with lumber yards and hardware stocks at Raymond and Sylvia. In all of those places he was well known and highly respected. Besides his lumber interests his holdings in farms and lands were also extensive. He was a broad minded man who never neglected his business interests and was a leader in the enterprises of every place where he had any dealings.
He was married to Miss Demia Walker, in 1874, from which union there were four sons: C. E. Fair, D. J. Fair, Jr., N. R. Fair and Wilber Fair, the last named having died when an infant. D. J. Fair and C. E. Fair, the two older brothers, succeeded their father in business and perpetuated his name by organizing the D. J. Fair Lumber Company (Incorporated), shortly after the death of Mr. Fair, Sr., on May 16, 1905. Under their management the business has grown to still larger proportions. D. J. Fair II was born in Sterling, Kan., on June 14, 1876, and after graduating from the high school at Sterling he finished a three-years preparatory course in the University of Kansas at Lawrence, following which he took a three-years course in law at the Chicago Kent Law School, Chicago, Ill. Upon completing one year of post-graduate work in that institution he received his degree of Bachelor of Laws on May 26, 1898. Returning home he later engaged in business in Sterling and is now the president and general manager of the D. J. Fair Lumber Company (Incorporated). On April 2, 1907, at the age of thirty-one years, Mr. Fair was chosen mayor of Sterling by the largest vote ever polled in that city. Nineteen years before his father won in a similar contest and served as mayor of Sterling one term. At the expiration of the junior Mr. Fair's first term he was reëlected by a still larger majority and had the distinction when first elected to that office of having been the youngest and the first native born mayor of Sterling. While still in his second term as mayor the people of Rice county chose him as their representative for the Seventy-ninth district in the state legislature as a "Progressive Republican," and during the session of the legislature of 1911 he was chairman of the committee on rules and a member of the judiciary and military committees, serving faithfully and well his constituents.
On Nov. 24, 1910, Mr. Fair was married to Miss Margaret Ebright and they took up their residence in the old home of Mr. Fair's parents. On Sept. 10, 1911, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Fair II and the name has been perpetuated by making the son D. J. Fair III. Mr. Fair is a Thirty-second degree Mason, holds membership in the Consistory at Wichita, Kan., and is also an Elk.Pages 1062-1063 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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