Frank Thomann, a pioneer of Marshall county, who has been a factor in the material development of that section of the State since his boyhood, came to Marshall county with his parents when he was about ten years of age. Frank Thomann was born in the Province of Alsace, France, March 27, 1847, and is a son of Jacques and Victoria (Bishop) Thomann, both natives of the same place, and of Swiss descent. The father was a civil engineer in his native land, following that vocation there until 1856, when the family immigrated to America, landing in New York in August of that year, and immediately went to Philadelphia, Pa., where they remained until March 27, 1857, when they started west. They came as far as Pittsburgh, Pa., by rail, and from there took a river boat and came as far as St. Joseph, Mo., by water. Here they bought a yoke of cattle and a wagon, and in company with George Guittard, a brother-in-law, started on the long trip to Marshall county, Kansas. There were few settlers along the trail, and on the entire trip from the Missouri river, they saw, perhaps, less than a half dozen houses. June 4, 1857, they arrived at the place which they proposed to make their future home, locating on the creek about four miles north of where Beattie now stands. Here they preëmpted land, and lived in a tent, and proceeded to build a more substantial residence, which consisted of a log house of the pioneer type. They were the first settlers in this immediate section, which was then considered the frontier of the unsettled plains. Large game was plentiful, such as deer, antelope and turkeys, but there were no buffaloes here then. However, there were large herds of them a short distance west of the Blue river. There were also many Indians near this vicinity, but they gave no trouble, with the exception of an occasional Indian scare now and then, which was a regular incident of pioneer life. These were the days of the overland stage coach, and the pony express, and many pioneer institutions which have long since disappeared. George Guittard, who came with the Thomann family, opened a stage station shortly after coming here, which was located on the California stage line, and known as Guittard station. Mr. Guittard was one of the first county commissioner of Marshall county. Jaques Thomann followed surveying to some extent after coming to Kansas, doing some of the early surveying in the country, among which was a road from Atchison to the Nebraska line. He was the first county surveyor of Marshall county, but his career was brought to a close while he was still a comparatively young man. He died May 9, 1864. Frank Thomann was educated in the schools of his native land up to the time that the family came to this country, after which he attended such schools as the new country provided, until his father's death, when he remained at home to help care for his mother. At that time he, and an older half-brother, Joseph Thomann, worked the home farm and were very successful in farming and stock raising. He remained on the farm until 1884, when he sold out to his half-brother, and removed to Beattie, and engaged in the grain business with Brunswig & Company at Beattie. He was also one of the organizers of the Bank of Beattie, and at that time one of the heaviest investors in that institution. He remained at Beattie five years, or until 1889. At this time the town of Summerfield was just starting, and he decided to cast his lot with the new town. He and August Wuester formed a partnership, and engaged in the drug business in Summerfield, under the firm name of Wuester & Thomann. This partnership continued until 1894, when a part of the town was destroyed by fire, which swept away their store. Mr. Thomann rebuilt and engaged in business alone then, doing business under the name of Thomann & Company, and continued for several years. In addition to the drug business, he was also in the grain business and prospered in that. In 1892 he built a large elevator at Summerfield, known as the Brunswig Elevator. They also built elevators at Bookwalter, Axtell, Mina and Summit. He was also extensively interested in the Summerfield Hardware & Implement Company, and was manager of this enterprise for ten years. He has disposed of his interest in this business, and also the drug store, and is now devoting his attention to the grain business and his banking interests. The State Bank of Summerfield was organized about the time that he came to Summerfield and he immediately bought a large block of stock in that institution, and has been its president since 1889, the year of its organization, and since that time he has been active in directing the policy of the bank, which has had a prosperous business, and is one of the substantial banks of Northern Kansas. Mr. Thomann was married March 10, 1883, to Miss Charlotte, daughter of Abraham and Margaret (Bauer) Wuester, both natives of Germany. They came to Kansas with the Thomann family, and settled on adjoining farms in Marshall county, but returned to St. Joseph, Mo., remaining until 1860, when they again came to Marshall county, and made their future home here. The father was a successful farmer, and died in September, 1913, at a ripe old age, and his wife departed this life in November, 1911, at the advanced age of eighty. Mrs. Thomann was born and reared in Marshall county. To Mr. and Mrs. Thomann have been born four children: James A., deceased; Charles Wilber, married Maud Jones and resides at Frankfort; Warren Frank, married Nina Kelley, resides at Frankfort, and Frank Charles, a student at Kansas University, Lawrence, Kan. While Mr. Thomann has been and still is active in the commercial and industrial life of his county, he has found time to take an active interest in the public and political affairs of Marshall county. He is a Democrat, and although interested in the welfare of his party and the promotion of its principles, he has never sought office. However, as a matter of public interest, he has served on the school board of Summerfield, and at one time was appointed fish and game warden of Marshall county, and served as mayor of Summerfield one term. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight TempIer and a member of the Mystic Shrine. He also belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and he and Mrs. Thomann are members of the Knights and Ladies of Security.Pages 552-553 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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