William P. Feder, of Great Bend, Kan., editor and owner of the "Barton County Democrat" and the "Kansas Workman," is a native of Wisconsin, and has spent nearly thirty years of an active business and professional career as a progressive Kansan. He was born Aug. 19, 1871, in Washington county, Wisconsin, a son of William A. and Josephine E. (Janssen) Feder. The father was born in Germany, July 18, 1845, and came to the United States with his parents in 1851, locating in Wisconsin. When the great internecine conflict began, William A Feder, though but a youth, espoused the cause of the Union and was enlisted as a private in Company C, First Wisconsin cavalry, with which he served one year. He was at that time discharged from further service on account of disabilities. He died, Dec. 10, 1892, in California. In September, 1870, at Grafton, Wis., William A. Feder and Josephine E. Janssen were united in marriage. She was born in Wisconsin in 1851 of parents that were natives of Germany. She and her husband were devout communicants of the Roman Catholic church. Of their union were born two sons: Judge William P. Feder, of this review, and Frank A. Feder, born July 20, 1883, at Ellinwood, Kan, but who now resides at Burkett, Neb.
Judge William P. Feder came to Kansas in 1883, with his parents, who located at Ellinwood, Barton county. There he completed a public school education, and at the age of sixteen, in 1887, became a clerk in the Ellinwood postoffice, where he remained three years. In 1890 he became editor and owner of the "Ellinwood Advocate," which he sold after publishing it one year. In 1892 he became baggageman for the Santa Fe railroad at Ellinwood and in the same year was promoted to the position of freight clerk at Great Bend. A year later he was made cashier for the Santa Fe at Great Bend and continued to serve in that capacity until 1897, when he resigned to enter the employ of the Walnut Creek Milling Company, as bookkeeper at Great Bend. In September, 1899, he resigned that position to enter the service of the Santa Fe, on its Colorado division, and was made cashier at Pueblo, Col., where he remained until April, 1900. Ill health demanded his resignation, and he then returned to Great Bend. In the fall of 1900 Judge Feder was the Democratic nominee for the office of probate judge of Barton county and was elected over his opponent by a majority of 719 votes. He was reëlected to the office and served in all two terms, or four years. He became part owner of the "Barton County Democrat," Jan. 1, 1903, and on March 1, of the same year, the "Democrat" absorbed the "Barton County Beacon." On March 1, 1904, he began the publication of the "Great Bend Rustler," a daily paper, and on July 1, 1906, he took over all the interest of his partner and became sole owner of the business. In 1906 he was the Democratic nominee for state printer. He discontinued the publication of the "Daily Rustler," Aug. 22, 1908, and thereafter gave his exclusive attention to the "Barton County Democrat," a carefully and ably edited weekly, which has been a strong power in support of the Democratic party policies. On May 1, 1909, the grand lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen elected judge Feder to edit and publish the "Kansas Workman," the official organ of that order and of the Degree of Honor, of which publications he still continues to have charge. In 1908 he was elected to represent Barton county in the state legislature, and was reëlected in 1910. His record there is one of great credit, both to himself and to his constituency, he having been the author of several bills looking to general municipal and educational reforms. He is author of the bill providing minimum term of seven months for all rural school districts and for providing aid for weak districts. To him belongs the credit also for the bill requiring railroads to provide electric headlights on engines. He also served as a member of the committee that drafted the workman's compensation act.
On Jan. 2, 1895, was celebrated the marriage of Judge Feder and Miss Mary Lee Dodge, a daughter of E. J. Dodge, of Great Bend. Mrs. Feder was born Dec. 29, 1869, in Wisconsin. Her parents are both deceased, her mother having passed away in 1890 and her father in 1910. Judge and Mrs. Feder have three children: William Russell, born Oct. 14, 1895; Winifred Marion, born July 12, 1898; and Florence Estella, born Aug. 14, 1905. Fraternally, Judge Feder is associated with the Sons of Veterans, of which order he was division commander from 1897 to 1898; he is a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as state treasurer of that order from 1906 to 1909; and he is also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is one of Great Bend's most enterprising and most esteemed citizens and his high standing has been attained through useful, honorable and upright living.Pages 109-111 from volume III, part 1 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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