Jesse Wilson Hiatt.The semi-centenary of Kansas's statehood concludes an epoch in her history wherein were developed men, who from the standpoint of constructive, initiative and executive talent, rank with the most forceful in the annals of her sister commonwealths. Among her citizens who have realized a large and substantial success is numbered he whose name initiates this article. A pioneer resident of Cowley county, where he located in 1871, he has been of potential influence in the various phases of her development and is today her most extensive stockman and one of her largest land owners. The city of Winfield, of which he became a resident in 1902, has benefited through his public spirit and enterprise in the laying out and improving of Hiatt Park, one of the most delightfully situated and best equipped amusement parks in the state. He is a native of North Carolina, born April 2, 1850, near Dobson, Surrey county, the son of Charles W. and Amanda M. (Huff) Hiatt. His ancestors, both paternal and maternal, were among the early settlers of America, having come from England prior to the war of the Revolution. John Hiatt, paternal grandfather of Jesse W., was a native of North Carolina, a carpenter by trade, and who became a resident of Appanoose county, Iowa, where he took up land and engaged in farming. Charles W. Hiatt, his son, and father of Jesse W., was born and reared in North Carolina, later removed with his family to Iowa, where he became a farmer. He located in Cowley county, Kansas, in 1873, was one of her pioneer farmers and a man of influence. On retiring from active life he became a resident of Wellington, where he died on Jan. 12, 1907, aged eighty years. He was a lifelong Republican, and though a Southerner, refused to join the Confederate forces. In early life he married Amanda M. Huff, born in North Carolina. She lived to the ripe age of eighty-four. She and her husband were active and influential workers in the faith of the Seventh Day Adventists
Jesse W. Hiatt received such an education as was possible in the country schools of his time, was reared on his father's farm in Iowa and, until his majority, assisted in its labor. In 1871 he came to Kansas, which the after years proved was the land of opportunity. At first he was a farm laborer. By frugality he was able to purchase an ox team and to contract breaking prairie land and hauling logs. In 1871 he took up a homestead, at what is now Grand Summit, and which he improved and added to by purchase until the Hiatt ranch, comprising 10,000 acres, represented in part the result of his industry, thrift and business acumen, during a period of thirty years. From the farm laborer of 1871 he had become, in 1900, one of Cowley county's largest land owners as well as one of the leading stockmen of the state. In 1902 he left the ranch and became a resident of Winfield, his present home, where he engaged in real estate business on an extensive scale. He has dealt in large tracts of farm and grazing lands in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Old Mexico, owned by himself and others and in this calling he has been successful. He has traveled extensively in connection with this business, covering during the year 1910 over 48,000 miles. His present land holdings consist of some 15,000 acres, about 5,000 of which are in Old Mexico. He is still one of the large cattle grazers of Cowley county, averaging 1,600 head each year. During the winter of 1910-11 he began parking a tract of eighty acres lying along the Walnut river, about one mile from the business center of Winfield, covered with a fine natural forest, having several natural springs, four of which are medicinal and with the river affording boating and bathing, nature had done much to attract the pleasure seeker. Within its boundaries is the most extensive natural cave in the state, about one-half mile in length. Improvements costing over $25,000 have been made to this natural playground, including a modern bath house, refreshment pavilion, skating rink, boat livery and a sidewheel pleasure steamboat. The parknamed Hiatt's Parkwas opened May 5, 1911, and its first season has proved the venture a success and has afforded to the citizens of Winfield and vicinity many hours of comfort and pleasure. Mr. Hiatt has been a lifelong Republican and has for many years taken an active part in local and county affairs. Essentially a business man, he has had neither time nor inclination for office. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America.
On Aug. 26, 1875, Mr. Hiatt married Miss Mary J. Brock, daughter of Holland L. Brock, a retired farmer and resident of Stillwater, Okla. He is a veteran of the Civil war, having served three years as a member of the Ninety-seventh Illinois infantry. Mrs. Hiatt was born in Jasper county, Illinois, in November, 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Hiatt are the parents of nine children, all of whom are living, viz.: Lewis L., born June 11, 1876, a prominent farmer and stockman of Grand Summit, Kan.; Nora A., born Jan. 29, 1878, at home; Cora E., born Oct. 8, 1879, wife of Rev. Elmer L. Neff, a clergyman of Austin, Tex.; Carrie M., born Sept. 19, 1881, at home; Stella J., born Jan. 6, 1883, wife of Samuel H. Ellott, a prominent stockman of Wilmot, Kan.; Bert E., born Aug. 21, 1884, manager of the Marion (Kan.) Telephone Company; Alma B., born Jan. 21, 1889, wife of William E. Rentfro, a ranchman of Arlee, Mont.; Lulu B., born Jan. 6, 1891, a member of the class of 1912, Union College, Lincoln, Neb.; and Jesse B., born Dec. 20, 1892, a student at the Edison Draughting School, Schenectady, N. Y. Mrs. Hiatt is a woman of strong character, a believer in the home and family, and a Seventh Day Adventist in belief and membership.
Mr. Hiatt is a strong type of virile, active American. He has realized a large and substantial success through his own well directed efforts and by methods clean, able and honest. His ideals have been high and he has won the esteem which comes through honorable living. The town residence of the family, one of the most beautiful homes in Winfield, formerly owned by the late George W. Miller, founder of "101 Ranch," was purchased by Mr. Hiatt on locating in the city, and in it is extended many gracious hospitalities.Pages 1502-1504 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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