August H. Meseke, the president of the Alta Vista State bank and one of the leading real estate and insurance dealers of the city, was born in Wabaunsee county in 1879. His parents were Herman and Caroline (Wolgast) Meseke. His father was born in Germany in 1833; received a good common school education and then learned the blacksmith's trade from his father. He was ambitious and having heard that he could do better in the United States than in the Fatherland emigrated when he was twenty-five years of age. Soon after arriving in this country he joined the large German settlement in Wisconsin, in 1857, but heard of good, cheap land to be had in Kansas and in 1859 came to Wabaunsee county, just at the time when Kansas needed every sturdy son to help her admission to the Union as a free state. Within a short time he took up land and later added to his first holding until he had some 1,460 ares, one of the largest farms in the locality. He made every improvement upon the place, was thrifty and accumulated a comfortable fortune before his death, which occurred in 1896. Mrs. Meseke still lives at Alta Vista. Her father also was a blacksmith, but none of the children seemed to care for that vocation. There were nine children in the Meseke family, seven of whom are still living: Herman F., a farmer in Wabaunsee county; William C. A., cashier of the Alta Vista State Bank; Caroline, wife of George Miller, a farmer who lives south of Alma; Otto F., who resides in Alta Vista; Emma, wife of Pete Holman, a blacksmith of Alta Vista; August H.; and Minnie, wife of Frank Grunewald.
August H. was raised on his father's farm, grew up healthy and resourceful, as are nearly all boys reared in a comparatively new country. He attended the district school winters and worked at home in the summer time until his thirteenth year; then his father, who wished all his children to have a good education, which is the best weapon for the battle of modern life, sent August to the common school and then the Normal University at Salina, where he remained for two years. During that time he specialized and graduated in the commercial course of the institution. Some time before he had determined upon a business career, and soon entered the Alma State Bank, which a few years later was reorganized as the Alma National Bank. At first Mr. Meseke worked as bookkeeper, but from this position he was advanced to assistant cashier and filled that office for nine years. During this time he began to plan for a bank at Alta Vista. He interested some of the substantial citizens in the scheme, which was carried out; the Alta Vista State Bank was organized and Mr. Meseke appointed cashier, while still assistant cashier of the Alma National Bank. Subequently his brother William was elected cashier of the Alta Vista State Bank and still retains that position. In 1904 Mr. Meseke resigned his position with the Alma National Bank and removed to Alta Vista, where he opened a real estate office. He deals extensively in farm loans and insurance, which has grown to a large and lucrative business. In 1905 he was elected president of the Alta Vista State Bank and since that time has been a most efficient executive for the banking house. He is a very busy man, but enjoys all branches of his business, and is never so happy as when surrounded by an immense amount of papers and business that call for his personal supervision. In politics he is a Democrat and is one of his party's supporters, but has never had time to hold office. In 1904 he married Lillian, the daughter of Frank C. Simon, of Alma, and one son, Leroy, aged six, has been born to the union. Mr. Meseke stands high in the community and owes his present prominent position to himself alone, for he began at the bottom of the ladder in the banking business and has advanced from one position of trust to another, by his own efforts, for which great credit is due him.Pages 140-141 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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