John. L. Mowder, Sabetha, Kan., a prominent farmer and capitalist of Nemaha county, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Lycoming county, that state, Jan. 6, 1839. He is descended from stanch Scotch ancestry on the paternal side, and is of German descent on the maternal as his mother was born in Württemberg, Germany. His parents were Joseph and Judith (Straub) Mowder, the former a native of Pennsylvania and a nephew of the noted English economist and financier, Alexander McCullough. When Mr. Mowder was yet a boy he accompanied his parents from Pennsylvania to Illinois, locating near Havana, and becoming pioneers of Mason county. There he was reared on a farm and received but little schooling in his youth. But by diligent study he equipped himself for teaching and taught six terms of school, in all of which he demonstrated that he was a master of mathematics. In 1858 he crossed the plains with a wagon-train to Denver, Col., and on that trip he passed through the northeast portion of Kansas. He made another trip in 1859, and it was on that trip west that he filed on the quarter-section that is today his homestead. He spent the winter of 1859 on the Frazier river and in the spring he went to Denver, where he worked until about the 10th of July, when he started east through Kansas with a mule team. It was the year of the drought and on many days he traveled as many as forty miles before he could find water. However, he reached his land, proved up on his claim and returned to Illinois. On his return home he was elected sheriff of Mason county, Illinois, and after his term of office expired he was employed by the United States government to assist in a topographical survey of portions of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
In 1867 he was married to Miss Julia A. Shealy, who accompanied her parents to Illinois when she was a girl. In 1872 Mr. Mowder loaded his household effects into two wagons, hitched four mules to each wagon and started for Kansas. He arrived at the shack on his quarter-section April 30, 1872, and at once set to work to develop a home. He had left a fine farm, valued at several thousand dollars, in Illinois, all of which he had secured through his own individual efforts, as he began life empty handed. While Mr. Mowder's principal reason for locating in Kansas, when he did, was to find if possible, a locality in which he would regain his health, still he was quick to realize that this country possessed natural advantages, superior to many other sections of the country and his prophecy of its present-day development has been fully verified. During his long residence near Sabetha he has devoted most of his time and attention to farming and stock raising, in which vocations he has met with merited success. As time passed and he accumulated surplus funds, he not only loaned money to worthy applicants, who furnished acceptable security, but to many a poor young man starting in life, whose honesty alone was sufficient security for Mr. Mowder. He also assisted in organizing local banks, and at present is a stockholder and a director in the National Bank of Sabetha and a stockholder in the State Bank at Bern, Kan. He mastered the blacksmith's and wheelwright's trade when a boy under the eye of his father, who was skilled in each trade, and during his residence in Kansas he has always done his own blacksmithing. Mr. Mowder has always taken an active interest in national issues and especially in our monetary affairs. It was when the Greenback party was attracting attention that he began the scientific study of the money question, and ere he had exhausted his resources in the way of both American and European writers on the subject he had become convinced that the issue of all money by any government should be based upon the quantitative theory, wholly, and should bear a true relation to a nation's combined products, which are exchanged for the nation's money. Mr. Mowder has contributed many logically written articles on finance to the leading publications on monetary affairs and is regarded an authority on the subject. He has also made a special study of atmospheric conditions and can foretell the weather several days in advance. He is an interesting conversationalist and is frequently called upon to address public gatherings.
His marriage to Miss Julia A. Shealy, in 1867, was blessed with five children: Katie, Ethel, Jennie, Annie, and Maurice J., the latter, who is married and is residing on a part of the homestead, has two children: John L., and Florence. Politically Mr. Mowder may be classed as an independent. He has held various local offices and has served as trustee of his township several times. He began life a poor boy, but by dint of perseverance and industry he has accumulated a competence in an honest and honorable way. He ranks high as a citizen and as a friend of his poor but deserving neighbor.Pages 1063-1065 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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