Alfred L. Sponsler, secretary of the Central Kansas Fair Association, and editor and publisher of the "Wholesaler," a journal devoted to commercial interests, was born in Mercer county, Illinois, April 30, 1860. The Sponsler family is of Pennsylvania-Dutch extraction, and the first American member of the family is supposed to have been a French army officer, who located near Philadelphia after the French and Indian war. Alfred's paternal grandfather, Lewis Sponsler, lived in Perry county, Pennsylvania, where he died at middle age. His son, also named Lewis, was born in the same county, Oct. 3, 1825, and in 1849 married Maria Wolfe, a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, born Sept. 12, 1827, daughter of Christian and Sarah (Stoner) Wolfe. She was of German descent on both sides of the family and her grandfather, Henry Wolfe, was a soldier in the Revolutionary army. In 1856 Mr. Sponsler and his four children went West and located in Mercer county, Illinois, where he purchased a farm and also worked some as a carpenter until 1881, when he retired from active life and moved to Aledo and spent the remainder of his life there, passing away April 4, 1893. There were seven children in the family, of whom Alfred was fifth in order of birth.
Alfred L. Sponsler spent his boyhood days on the farm, attended the district schools and afterward completed a course in Knox Academy, Galesburg, Ill. He then entered Knox College, but left at the end of his sophomore year to read law in the office of John C. Pepper, of Aledo, and was admitted to the bar in 1885. Immediately after being admitted to practice, Mr. Sponsler opened an office in Aledo, under the firm name of Pepper & Sponsler, which partnership continued until he came to the Sunflower state, in 1886. Mr. Sponsler located at Arlington, Reno county, intending to practice law, but became engaged in several real estate deals and drifted away from the practice of his profession. In the fall of 1889 he removed to Hutchinson and there, in partnership with his brother, John, began the "Hutchinson Times." The following year the "Times" and "Republican" were consolidated, and published as one organ until 1891, when the brothers bought the "Hutchinson News," which they issued until 1895, when they sold the paper, together with the bindery and job printing plant. For some years thereafter the Sponsler brothers were engaged in the grain business, buying and cribbing corn in various parts of the state, which they carried on for three years, under the firm name of E. L. Wolf & Company. They were engaged in other commercial enterprises until 1899, when Mr. Sponsler purchased his present 300-acre farm, west of Hutchinson, and engaged in breeding Short Horn cattle. He has always been an energetic man, willing to help promote any movement for the upbuilding of the city. He was one of the organizers of the Hutchinson Commercial Club; has always been a Republican, and was chairman of the Reno county delegation to the Topeka convention of 1894; was a delegate to the National Editor's Association at Asbury Park, in 1893; a delegate to the Trans-Mississippi Congress in 1894; has been a member of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for a number of years, and served two terms as its president.
In 1901 Mr. Sponsler was one of the promoters and organizers of the Central Kansas Fair Association, which started with less than $500, and now has assets that aggregate over $160,000. He was elected its first president, and for over seven years has been secretary. In the nine years the fair has been in existence dividends have been paid to the amount of $59,000, and in 1910 the premiums and awards amounted to $31,000. It is the largest fair held in a city the size of Hutchinson in the country, and is surrounded by one of the finest and greatest agricultural districts in the country, which liberally supports it. Mr. Sponsler is a regent of the State Agricultural College, one of the finest in the country, and for the last four years, in partnership with T. G. Armor, has published the "Wholesaler," a weekly commercial journal, with a wide circulation.
On Sept. 27, 1887, Mr. Sponsler married Minnie P., daughter of James L. and Nancy (Smith) Bentley, of Aledo, Ill. Mrs. Sponsler is of Scotch and English descent on both sides of the family. They have two children, Cora and Lewis, the former a student at Knox College, Galesburg, Ill., and the latter of the State Agricultural College. Mrs. Sponsler is active in club work, and served for two years as president of the Hutchinson Women's Club. Mr. Sponsler is a prominent citizen of the "Salt City," supports every movement for improvement and upbuilding of the community in which he resides, and is regarded as one of the public-spirited men of Reno county. He has membership in several fraternal orders.Pages 921-922 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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