Riley Lake, a well-known citizen of Barber county and chairman of the board of county commissioners, is a native of Illinois. He was born on a farm in Adams county, July 20, 1862, and is a son of Reuben and Mary H. (Beal) Lake. Reuben Lake is a native of Canada and was born December 6, 1839. His parents, James and Irene Lake were also natives of Canada. The family came to the United States in 1858, locating in Adams county, Illinois, where the mother died in 1858, and the father in 1864. Reuben Lake served in Company E, Fiftieth Regiment, Illinois infantry, during the Civil war, and in 1865, came to Kansas and located at Erie where he built the first livery barn in the town which was one of the old landmarks of that locality, until it was destroyed by fire in 1910. Mr. Lake was engaged in the livery business there five years, and in 1870, went to the Osage mission, where he operated a saw mill three years. In 1873, he went west, locating in Barber county, which was not organized at that time, but was organized during that year, and Mr. Lake was appointed the first sheriff by Governor Osborn, and was elected to that office at the first regular election. He took an active part in the early affairs of the county, and won the reputation of being one of the fearless and efficient officers of the frontier. Later he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners, and served as chairman of that body a number of years. In 1878, he opened a general store at Lake City, a town named in his honor. He also served as postmaster at that place until 1890. Mr. Lake did an extensive business in this frontier town, and his principal customers were cattlemen and he became well-known throughout the west. He is still engaged in business at Lake City, and has a branch store at Sun City. He has always been active in furthering the best interest of Barber county, and is one of the most successful business men of that section. He has accumulated a large amount of land, and now owns over four thousand acres. Reuben Lake and Mary H. Beal were married at Quincy, Ill., July 4, 1861, and to this union were born six children, two of whom are living, as follows: Riley, the subject of this sketch; Irene, married F. H. Goodwin, stockman, Medford, Okla. Riley Lake, whose name introduces this review was about three years old when his parents came to Kansas. He was educated in the public schools, and when a boy assisted his father in the store. At the age of twenty he engaged in the stock business on an extensive scale. He bought cattle and horses in Texas, and drove them north into Kansas where he sold them. From 1885, to 1892, he was a star route mail contractor and had a number of government mail contracts, throughout old Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, and conducted a number of stage lines in this connection. He was well known and became a familiar character throughout the Southwest. During recent years he has been engaged in the stock business in Barber county, in which he has been very successful. He has a fine farm of over three hundred acres of valuable alfalfa land in the Medicine river valley, near Lake City. He takes an active part in local politics and is a staunch Democrat. In 1900, he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners of Barber county, and has been chairman for thirteen years. Under his administration of the affairs of the county, the county indebtedness has been reduced over three hundred thousand dollars. He believes that, "public office is a public trust," and has endeavored to carry out that policy. Mr. Lake was married June 17, 1895, to Miss Pearl M. Tuckett, a native of Illinois, born October 14, 1875. To Mr. and Mrs. Lake have been born three children: Russell B., born July 12, 1896; Dan G., born August 15, 1898, and Inet, born August 23, 1900. Mr. Lake is a Thirty-second Degree Knights Templar Mason, and is well and favorably known in Southern Kansas.Pages X294-295 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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