George N. Moses.In the passing of George N. Moses, Sept. 10, 1911, Great Bend lost one of its best known pioneers and most influential citizens. Mr. Moses came to Barton county in the early '70s, prior to its organization as a county, and for over forty years was an active worker in promoting the upbuilding and improvement of the county and its county seat, Great Bend. His career was replete with the deeds of a full, useful, honorable life, and he passed away rich in the esteem of his fellowmen. He was born in Olean, Cattaraugus county, New York, April 15, 1844, a son of Anson G. Moses and his wife, nee Miss Mary Ann Bohn. The father, who was a mason by trade, spent the most of his business career as a contractor in Philadelphia, New York, and other Eastern points, and did considerable contracting for the New York & Lake Erie railroad while that road was in course of construction. He removed to Rockford, Ill., in 1855, but died at the age of sixty-five, while visiting in New York. His wife survived him a number of years, her death occurring when seventy-nine years of age. Of their union were born fourteen children, all of whom reached maturity except two. They are: Louisa, Lucinda, Francis, Adeline, Reuben H. (who died in early childhood), Anson, Reuben H. (the second of that name), Theodore, Mary, George N., Emma, Laura, Charles, and Edward.
George N. Moses was a student in the public schools until seventeen years of age, and in 1861, with youthful ardor and patriotism, he enlisted in Company I, Fifteenth Illinois infantry, to support the cause of the Union in the great conflict then just opening. He was in active service until wounded, near Memphis, Tenn., at which time the forefinger of his right hand was shot away. Disabled at that time for further military service, he was discharged, but in 1864 reënlisted and became first sergeant of his company, serving with that rank until the close of the war. He served as a member of the police force, at Sedalia, Mo., for a time after the war, and also served as a United States marshal in New Mexico and Arizona. Later, he made his way to Leavenworth, Kan., where he joined a company en route to Arizona. From April, 1867, until 1871, he was a miner in Colorado and a scout and Indian fighter in Kansas. He marked the Texas cattle trail to Great Bend, when Abilene was abandoned, and it remained there four years before it was changed to Dodge City. He traversed every part of southwestern Kansas, while scouting and hunting buffaloes, which then were still very numerous, and it was while thus engaged that he became acquainted, at Saline, Kan., with Luther Morris, of Quincy, Ill., well known as a promoter and builder of towns. Acting as a guide, Mr. Moses accompanied Mr. Morris, and together they arrived on the site of what is now the city of Great Bend. They located on Walnut creek, near a spring, and established a town site on section 34. Mr. Moses secured a quarter section of land, where the town is now located, and built a foundation for a building, but later a combination of the railroad and land site companies was made, and as the new company considered the quarter-section held by Mr. Moses to be the most desirable for the new town site, he disposed of his land to the company and took another quarter-section farther west. The Quincy Townsite Company had erected, on the original quarter-section purchased from Mr. Moses, first a shed built by Lewis Fry, and then followed other buildings, including a hotel, a store, and a dance hall. Among the first settlers were Mr. O'Dell, P. Sneck and F. L. Stone, the last named having been proprietor of the first store, which occupied a part of the new hotel. This was the beginning of what is now the thriving and progressive city of Great Bend. Mr. Moses secured the northwest quarter of section 32, now owned by D. W. Heiser, and there, in 1872, he planted a grove of shade trees which today is the finest in Barton county. Assisted by Samuel Hefty and J. F. Tilton, he made a hole for a dugout and put on a log on which to pile the brush, but never completed the work, though he slept in the hole for a long time. When it rained he had to sit up, but the free, out-door life seemed to be healthful, in spite of the exposure incident to the pioneer life. Later, Mr. Moses erected on this land a comfortable house, which he enlarged in 1886, and which is still standing. Afterward Mr. Moses purchased, improved, and then sold different properties. Among the number owned at the time of his death was one of the finest farms in the county, about 1,000 acres, located near Hoisington and equipped with all modern improvements, etc. From the time of his arrival in Barton county until his death, Mr. Moses was actively identified in different ways with the development of the county and its industries. He served as the first sheriff of Barton county, from 1871 to 1875, when the cattle trade was on there, and he was one of the best known peace officers in the West. He acquired extensive holdings of farm lands in Barton county and was a progressive agriculturist. In Great Bend he was identified with different commercial enterprises. Together with his brother, Edward R. Moses, he established the largest hardware store there, to which were later added other lines of goods and thus gradually was developed a fine department store, which is still conducted by Edward R. Moses. He also owned the ice plant at Great Bend, and at the time of his death was a large stockholder and director in three different banks in Barton county. He was a man of splendid business acumen and executive ability, and to his sound judgment was largely due the success of many of the commercial interests of his city. The public confidence in him as a substantial business man made him very influential in inducing other men of capital to locate in Great Bend, thus promoting the greater commercial activity of that city. He was one of the prime movers and was financially interested in the Lake Koen irrigation and navigation project, the aim of which was to improve the land in that section and also to make the lake one of the finest bodies of water in central Kansas, thus providing Great Bend with a beautiful pleasure resort.
Mr. Moses married Miss Ida A. Mitchell, a native of Quincy, Ill., daughter of Richard and Milda Pound, natives of Illinois. The father's people were natives of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the mother's of Kentucky. The father died when Mrs. Moses was a child and the mother resides with Mrs. Moses at Great Bend. Three adopted childrenMorris, Susie, and Lucilereceived from Mr. and Mrs. Moses the love and care of a parental home. Morris was educated in the State University at Lawrence, Kan. He is now (1911) twenty-three years of age and resides at home. Susie was educated in music at Lindsborg Musical Conservatory, and is the wife of Dr. C. M. Cole, of Iola, Kan. Lucile is a girl of ten years.
Fraternally, Mr. Moses was a member of the Masonic order, in which he had taken all the degrees of the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, and he had served as master and in other offices. he was a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Great Bend and served fourteen years as noble grand of his lodge. He was also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Fraternal Aid Association, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Grand Army of the Republic. He and his wife were charter members of the Congregational church at Great Bend and were active workers therein from the time of its organization. Mrs. Moses is now the only charter member of the church residing in Great Bend. She is a member of the Eastern Star, the Daughters of Rebekah, and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic. She is a woman of exceptional culture and rare ability, and her coöperation has been a strong factor in the marked success of her husband. Besides having been the first sheriff of Barton county, Mr. Moses also served as a county commissioner, as a member of the city council, and as mayor of Great Bend. He was well known all over western Kansas, and in the city which he helped to found none stood higher in esteem and honor.Pages 107-109 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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