Emmett Ernest Rafter, was born near West Winfield, Herkimer county, New York, May 12, 1848, died in Holton, Kans., February 19, 1912. He was the sixth of eleven children: Mary A., wife of N. S. Dye, who died near Whiting, Kans., March 15, 1910; John, who died near West Winfield, N. Y., in 1850; James V., an attorney died in Mohawk, N. Y., April 24, 1907; Winnie, wife of Scott S. Gibson, Whiting, Kans.; Michael D. a teacher, died near Whiting, January 8, 1880; Emmett E., the subject of this review; Alice E., a former Jackson county teacher, died November 1, 1875; Mathew died in infancy; Ettie J., also a Jackson county teacher, died in Washington, D. C., June 5, 1888; John A., North Tonawanda, N. Y., and Giles S. principal examiner in the Patent Office, Washington, D. C. John Rafter and Winnie Connelly were natives of county Sligo, Ireland, where they were married in 1878. John Rafter died near Whiting, Kans., June 17, 1887, and his wife died there February 25, 1904. Their ancestors had for generations been employed on the Robert Jones estate. After the birth of their first child, realizing that is was not possible, in view of the economic conditions existing in Ireland, to realize the then almost inconceivable condition of owning their own home in that country, they joined the many emigrants to the Elysian of America, where an honest endeavor was rewarded by results almost beyond their dreams of hope. They landed in Quebec in 1840, and went to Schenectady, N. Y. where the father obtained employment on the construction of the Erie Canal until the next year, when they removed to Herkimer county where they remained until they followed their children, all of whom except James B., had gone, to the then far West, Kansas, in 1878. During their life in New York State, it was always the ambition of the parents that their children should receive an education, which was obtained by an earnest combined effort of all. All of the children attended the country schools, and afterward attended the academy at West Winfield, with the exception of the eldest daughter Nannie, who married at the age of seventeen. Upon the completion of the course at the academy at West Winfield, the others followed the vocation of teaching, seven of whom at different times were so employed in Jackson county, Kansas. Emmett Ernest Rafter was graduated from the West Winfield Academy in 1868. In 1869 he determined that better opportunities for success were to be had in the west. Following this determination he bought a ticket to Atchison, Kans., which was then considered the remote west. Arriving there in the fall of that year, he had enough money left from his savings to buy a ticket to Waterville, Kans., the then western terminus of the Central Branch Railway. Upon arriving at Muscotah, to him then an unheard of place, but liking its general appearance, he got off the train. Hearing of a new inland town by the name of Holton, without a railroad, but which was pictured to him by the denizens of Muscotah as a likely place, he took his pack and started for the town, which was to be his future home. Crossing over the unmarked prairie to the southwest, he met John A. Marshall, a farmer, and member of a school district who asked him if he could teach school. A bargain was made and on the following Monday morning, he started to teach, what was then known as the Burns school. During the winter he made arrangements to buy a farm with what money he had saved from teaching the school. Before the spring he had sold this farm, and with the advanced price had sufficient means to make a still larger payment on a farm which he bought in Straight Creek township, and where he lived until he removed to Holton. He farmed and "batched" that summer, taught school the next winter, in the Taylor district, northwest of his farm, where he became acquainted with Mary Alice Taylor, to whom he was afterward married, the daughter of the late Joseph W. Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor, of Goff, Kans., who had moved to this county from Indiana in 1862. November 30, 1871 he was married to Miss Taylor. They commenced housekeeping in the spring of 1872 on the home place. In the winter of '72-3 he taught the Carbon district school; of 1873-4 the Elliott district in Liberty township; of 1874-5 the same school in which he was first employed; in 1875-6 the Whiting school. The next spring, February 21, 1876, he rented the home farm and moved to Holton, and worked in the hardware store of Babbett & Company. In the year of 1876-7 he taught the Bateman district, north of Holton. In the spring of 1879, having been studying law for the last three years, he went into the law office of Case Broderick, which was the beginning of an association which continued until the day of his death. In the fall of 1879 he was the Democratic candidate for probate judge of Jackson county, but was unsuccessful, by reason of the fact, as he afterwards said, that the majority of the voters in Jackson county came from Carroll county, Ohio, the home of his friend and opponent, I. T. Price. The following fall, 1879, he was admitted to the bar of Jackson county, being associated with Case Broderick. In the fall of 1877, he was elected a justice of the peace, which office he held until 1879, at which time he was elected police judge of Holton, and held this office until 1882, when he was elected county attorney of Jackson county. He afterwards served as councilman of Holton until 1891, when he was elected mayor. In 1878 he started negotiating farm loans for farmers in Jackson county. He was by nature a practical business man, rather than devoted to the technicalities of law. His broad ideas of justice and straight forward method of, as he termed it, "striking straight from the shoulder," did not in the practice of law, give him his opportunity of making the progress he desired. As a judge he would always brush aside the small technical reasonings, and would often say, "Let's get to the meat of this case." While the partnership of Broderick & Rafter continued, uninterruptedly, until 1884, the farm loan business increased so rapidly that it became necessary for Mr. Rafter to give it his entire attention, and Mr. Broderick attended to the law business of the firm. In 1884, a partnership was formed with Robert G. Robinson, under the firm name of Rafter & Robinson, Case Broderick having at the time been appointed as federal judge of the territory of Idaho, by President Arthur to which place he removed with his family. Upon the return of Mr. Broderick to Kansas, in the fall of 1888, the firm became Broderick, Rafter & Robinson. In 1888 Mr. Rafter, in connection with John Q. Myers, Case Broderick, Robert G. Robinson and Alex Dunn, Jr., organized the State Bank of Holton of which institution he was vice-president, until 1896, when he transferred his interest, in the bank to Case Broderick. Mr. Broderick was elected to congress in 1890. His time now belonged to the public, and he withdrew from the firm of Broderick, Rafter & Robinson. Rafter & Robinson continued the business for a time when they dissolved. Mr. Rafter devoting his attention to the farm loans until 1902, when he took his son DeVere Rafter, a personal sketch of whom appears in this volume, into the partnership, under the name of E. E. Rafter & Co., which partnership continued until 1908, when the business of the company was incorporated, under the name of the Rafter Farm Mortgage Company, with F. E. Rafter as President, which position he held at the time of his death. Case Broderick was elected vice-president of the company and DeVere Rafter was secretary and treasurer. During the last few years of his life he did not engage actively in the business, but devoted his time, more to looking after his personal affairs. During the last two years of his life, he was not in the best of health, and the only vacation he had taken from his business in twenty-five years, was spent at Hot Springs, Ark., in company with his wife, Mr. Broderick and his daughters, Jennie and Frances. The relationship existing between Mr. Brodcrick and Mr. Rafter was more that of brothers, than simply business associates. They had both passed through the same experiences, in their early manhood, in a struggle for success, and both, equally, succeeded. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rafter: James Taylor Rafter, born on the farm in Straight Creek township, October 20, 1870, married Miss Emma Wolverton, December 30, 1896, to whom were born the following children: Mary Elizabeth, born January 1, 1898; Frances Evalyn, born April 16, 1899; Cora Wolverton, born June 29, 1900; Rachael Louise, born July 28, 1901 and Ernest Edson, born March 14, 1910. Evalyn Etta Rafter was born on the farm in Straight Creek township, August 2, 1874, married John C. Weedon, of Washington, D. C., April 12, 1898, to whom were born the following children: DeVere Rafter, born January 31, 1899; Frances Broderick, born June 19, 1900; John Catsby, born June 30, 1904; Ruth Evalyn, born November 8, 1907; James Edwin, born August 2, 1911. DeVere Rafter, a personal sketch of whom follows this article. Ruth Elizabeth Rafter, was born April 15, 1885, in Holton, Kans.; married Robert Judson Hurd, March 20, 1906 and they have one child, Ruth Elizabeth, born October 1, 1907. Mary Alice Rafter, the widow of Emmett E. Rafter and the above children and grandchildren survive him. Mr. Rafter lived a life of uprightness. His integrity was unquestioned. He was painstaking and accurate, daily, he transacted business of such a character that a mistake might have been construed as an intention to take an advantage, yet in all of his years of business he was proud of the fact, that he had never made an error in his work. His funeral was attended by friends and business associates of years. He led a life of usefulness to the community and assistance to his fellow man. He required, however, that all business be done in a businesslike way. A careless or neglectful man, either in a business transaction, or in an appointment, was to him an almost unpardonable offense. His memory of transactions, faces and what he read, were to him a characteristic pride. Fond of friends, he, however, chose a few, with whom he was especially intimate, and these to him were the beauties and benefits of life.Pages 123-126 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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