Ole Erickson Ladd, now deceased, was a prominent pioneer and highly respected citizen of Greenwood county. He was a native of Norway, born November 15, 1839, a son of Erick and Karen Ladd. He came to America with his parents in 1851, being then twelve years of age. The family located in Stoughton, Dane county, Wisconsin, where his parents resided until their deaths.
In the spring of 1857, when Ole E. Ladd was about eighteen years of age, he came to Kansas City, Mo., where he was employed as stage driver for nearly two years, between Kansas City and Leavenworth. This was before the railroad was built between those points. In the fall of 1858 he, accompanied by A. Erickson and others, drove to Greenwood county with an ox team, their wagon being the first then known to have crossed the east branch of Fall river. Here, in the broad fertile valley lying between the east and west branches of Fall river, they located on Government land, about seven miles northwest of the present town of Eureka, which is the county seat of Greenwood county. They were, therefore, two of the first permanent settlers in Greenwood county. Amund Erickson located his claim near the claim of Ole E. Ladd.
In the year 1860 Ole E. Ladd returned to Kansas City and on March 13 was married to Miss Cecilia Erickson, a sister of Amund Erickson and Erick Erickson, and a daughter of Eric and Gertrude Erickson, both natives of Norway, where Mrs. Ladd was born, July 28, 1836. After their marriage they removed to their homestead in Greenwood county, where he engaged in farming and stock raising, in which business he was very successful.
The year of the drought, 1860, they suffered many privations; added to this the daily fear of being attacked by hostile Indians and the many alarmsmany of which were falseof Indians coming, caused many hurried gatherings and forming of scouting parties, of which Mr. Ladd was always a member. During these first few years he did much freighting from Topeka, Burlington and Emporia. He lived with his family in the log cabin until the years 1868-69, when he built the present home, this being the first frame house built northwest of Eureka. In later years he conducted business on a large scale, and was one of the big cattlemen and land owners of Greenwood county. He was a good business man, and was successful from the beginning, and amassed a comfortable fortune. He always took a prominent part in the public affairs of his county, and was always a strong advocate of good schools. His political views were Republican, but he never aspired to hold public office. The extent of his interest in politics was for the public good rather than for private gain. He was an active member of the Lutheran church, and his fraternal affiliations were with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was liberal to a fault and many friends can attest to his generosity and hospitality. He delighted in travel and after middle life made two visits to his Fatherland, and one trip to Liverpool, England, with a shipment of cattle.
To Mr. and Mrs. Ladd were born twelve children, eight of whom grew to manhood and womanhood, five daughters and three sons, four having died in infancy, three daughters and one son. The children of this marriage are as follows: Karen C. Ladd, born December 19, 1861, a graduate of the State Normal School at Emporia, Kan., in the class of 1882, now the wife of Gilbert Bitler, a prominent stockman and banker of Eureka. Mr. Bitler is a native of Ohio, and was born April 26, 1860. Mr. and Mrs. Bitler have four children: Samuel Ladd Bitler, born October 28, 1883; Olen George, born March 16, 1888; Vashti Cecillea, born April 25, 1890, and Gilbert Edwin, born July 12, 1892. The sons are associated with their father in the cattle business in Greenwood county, and Vashti Cecillea, their only daughter, a talented elocutionist, is a graduate and post-graduate of Emerson College of Oratory, Boston, Mass., who is now engaged as a reader in the employ of an entertainment bureau of Boston. Only one of Mr. and Mrs. Bitler's children are married, Olen G., who married Florence Frymire, February 15, 1910, and they have one daughter, born July 5, 1912, named Karen Dean, who has the honor of not only having the name of her two grandmothers, but Karen, the name of her great-great-grandmother.
The other children of Mr. and Mrs. Ladd are: Elena M., born November 3, 1863, now the wife of Sherman B. Dray, of Peoria, Ill. They have a daughter and son. The daughter, Mary Cecille, now Mrs. H. A. Jurgens, of Minneapolis, Minn., educated in music and is a musician of note, and the son, Moses Ladd Dray, an artist, who makes illustrating and cartooning a specialty.
Louisa Jane, born December 30, 1866, married James W. Teter, a wealthy farmer and stockman, of Eldorado, Kan., is now deceased, leaving two children, Gladys Louise and James Ladd Teter. The former is a graduate of Eureka High School, and a student of music, and the latter a student in the Eldorado schools.
Edwin Nelson Ladd, the oldest son, was born July 27, 1868, married Miss Della Worley, and is extensively engaged in farming, and is now serving his second term as sheriff of Greenwood county.
Charles Christian Ladd was born September 7, 1871, married Miss Flora Sample, and they have four children: Ole Elwin, John Elmer, Claude Albert and Lilian.
Mr. Charles Ladd is a merchant, owning one of the finest grocery houses in Eureka, and also does extensive farming near Eureka.
The youngest son, Louis Albert Ladd, was born November 25, 1876, does farming extensively, and is also a stockman and cattle feeder. He married Miss Carrie Nystol, and they have two children, Louise Alberta and Lambert Nystol. He now owns and lives at the old Ladd homestead, seven miles northwest of Eureka.
Saidee Olivetta Ladd was born March 20, 1882, married George Culver, a farmer of Greenwood county, and lives near Eureka. They own large land interests.
Maidee Adele Ladd was born May 4, 1884, is not married and resides with her aged mother in Eureka.
Mr. and Mrs. Ole E. Ladd are numbered among the very few who had the good fortune to spend fifty years of life together. On March 13, 1910, they celebrated their golden wedding, and hundreds of friends showered congratulations upon them on this, their fiftieth anniversary.
The Ladd family, with the exception of Mrs. Dray, all live in and near Eureka, and rank among the prominent pioneers of the State, and are well and favorably known.Pages 548-550 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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