Jerry B. Fields.The State of Kansas numbers among her inhabitants representatives of almost every nation on the globe, but perhaps no one of her citizens can claim a more varied ancestry than does Jerry B. Fields, of Alma, as his ancestors were of English and German birth. He was born in Ohio, in 1861, son of Joseph and Martha (Johnson) Fields. His father was born in the same state, in 1831, son of Jeremiah Fields, who came to Kansas in the early '60s. Martha Johnson is a daughter of James E. Johnson, who came to Wabaunsee county, in 1855, soon after the Territory was thrown open to white settlement, and lived there until his death, in 1895. In 1865 Joseph Fields emigrated from Ohio and bought land in Wabaunsee county. His father had been a farmer in Ohio and there the boy was reared, educated, and learned the practical side of life in the country. Soon after the Civil war he joined that great army of settlers who poured into Kansas from the North and East. The first quarter-section he homesteaded was gradually added to, as he prospered, until he owned 1,600 acres of the finest arable land in the county. He was a remarkably shrewd business man, grasped each opportunity, and being thrifty and a hard worker amassed a considerable fortune. Sometime before his death he sold most of his land and retired to Topeka, to enjoy the sunset years in rest. He passed away on Feb. 21, 1906, and is survived by his wife.
Jerry B. Fields was reared on the farm in Wabaunsee county, attended the common schools, and grew to manhood in a healthy environment. His father was anxious that he should have the educational advantages of which he had been deprived, and sent the boy to Washburn College, Topeka, where he completed a five-years course with credit. After graduating he secured a position in the office of the county treasurer of Wabaunsee county. While in college he had conceived the idea of an independent business career, and in 1889 began to deal in real estate and insurance. He became a notary and has had considerable work to do in that line. Although he does not live in the country, he was reared there and has never given up his farm interests, and raises live stock upon an extensive scale. From year to year his business has broadened out, but it is conducted on the same general lines as at first. Mr. Fields has been county assessor, but has never cared to take an active part in political life, leaving it to practical politicians. He belongs to the progressive branch of the Republican party and is liberal in contributions during campaigns. He is a Scottish Rite Mason, having taken the degrees from the Blue Lodge to the Scottish Rite. He holds his Masonic membership in Alma Lodge, No. 161; Kaw Valley Chapter, No. 53, at Wamego, Kan.; Crypt of Zabud Council, No. 4, at Topeka, Kan., and Unity Chapter of Knights of Rose Croix, No. 1, at Topeka. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Maccabees, and the Eastern Star.
In 1891 Mr. Fields married Olive A., daughter of William T. De Armond, of Wabaunsee county. This family came to Kansas in 1864, located first in Riley county and later removed to Wabaunsee county, where Mr. and Mrs. Fields met and were married. In 1908 Mr. Fields invested in twenty acres of fine fruit and truck land at Fresno, Tex., eleven miles south of Houston. He at once set out orange and fig groves and his fig grove is now bearing. He visits his groves twice each year, and has encouraged about twenty-five others to locate there.Pages 581-582 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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