James Delgert Waters, financier and one of the leading business men of Bonner Springs, was born near Leavenworth, Kan., Nov. 25, 1860. His father, Aaron P. Waters, was a native of Ohio, and married Elizabeth Stroup of Illinois. They came to Kansas in 1858, locating near Leavenworth, where Mr. Waters engaged in farming. Ten years later he removed to Wyandotte county and took up 200 acres of land, near Bonner Springs, then called Tiblow. Eleven children were born of this union: Thomas lives at Lacey, Okla., where he keeps a store and also runs a farm; Richard J. settled at Waterville, Ore., in 1885, and is a farmer and fruit grower; Sarah is deceased; James Delgert is the next in order of birth; Charles is engaged in farming and stock raising at Kingfisher, Okla.; Alice is the wife of Clinton Hamilton of Aledo, Ill.; William H. is a farmer in Woods county, Okla.; Elizabeth J. is the wife of Dr. Frank Lyons of Spokane, Wash.; Lillie May is the wife of W. H. Frederick of Bonner Springs; and two children died in infancy. Mrs. Waters died in 1874 and two years later the father, Richard, James, Charles, Alice, William, Elizabeth and Lillie started by wagon for Washington Territory, in the spring. They had reached Cheyenne, Wyo., when the father was taken ill with mountain fever and died after a short illness. Elizabeth returned to Tiblow and made her home with Col. John J. Baker, and Lillie was taken into the home of Robert Jaggard. After burying his father James D. began to work for a man named C. Charlton, who owned a freighting outfit of six teams of twenty oxen, which required five drivers or "bull whackers," a foreman, cook and herder. This outfit was engaged in freighting flour and rice from Cheyenne to Deadwood, in the Black Hills. That part of the country was still inhabited by Indians and at night the wagons were drawn up in the form of a corral, so as to be a fortification in case of attack by Indians. After reaching Deadwood, which took some time, as the train made only about ten miles a day, the outfit returned to Sidney, Neb., which was the end of the railroad at that time, for another load of supplies, and then went to Hat Creek, 160 miles north of Cheyenne, for winter camp. In the winter of 1876-77 Mr. Charlton sold his freighting outfit to Heck Brothers, who were cattle men of Wyoming and owned a ranch at Hat Creek. Mr. Waters entered their employ and worked as a cowboy until 1883. He was sent to Oregon to buy cattle for his employers, but finding the price too high did not do so. On his return they determined to send him to Texas for the same purpose, but his uncle, Jacob Stroup, who lived at the mouth of the Payette river, in Idaho, persuaded Mr. Waters to enter land at the mouth of the Payette river, which he did. This land was only one mile from the present town of Payette. With other settlers of the region he organized an irrigation company, which waters the valley around the town and also the Snake river valley on the Idaho side of the Weiser river. After making final proof on his land he sold it to Henry Irwin for $4,700, and took Irwin's note for the amount. Mr. Waters then entered the employ of Mr. North, manager of the Clover Valley Cattle Company of Evanston, Wyo., as foreman. With fifteen cowboys he drove 3,000 head of cattle from Idaho, south through unexplored country without trails, to the Humboldt river, in Nevada. In 1886 he left the Clover Valley Cattle Company to take charge of a ranch for the Western Live Stock Company, 145 miles north of Cheyenne, on the Running Water river. On the way he visited Ogden, Salt Lake City, Pueblo and Denver. His supply of money ran low, and in Cheyenne he met Mr. Irwin, who paid up his note with interest, which amounted to $6,000. Mr. Waters worked for the live stock company until 1889, when he returned to his old home in Kansas.
On April 24, 1890, Mr. Waters married Rose M., daughter of Dr. Doherty of Bonner Springs. Of this union three children were born: Robert, born June 22, 1901; Charles, born March 20, 1903, and Jane Elizabeth, born June 12, 1905. When the Cherokee strip was opened, in 1903, Mr. Waters secured a claim seven miles west of Enid, Okla., proved it up by 1905, and bought 160 acres adjoining it. He sold the 320 acres for $6,000 and then returned to Bonner Springs and entered the mercantile business. In 1900 he organized the Farmers' State Bank of Bonner Springs, with a capital of $5,000, and became its cashier. Within three years the stock was increased to $12,500, and in 1908 to $25,000, and declared a dividend of sixty per cent., which was issued in stock to the stockholders. The bank is now under the state guarantee law and has a surplus of $3,000. Mr. Waters is treasurer of the Kaw Valley Telephone & Electric Light Company, which furnishes electricity to Bonner Springs, and he was one of the organizers of the Wyandotte County Telephone Company, being secretary and treasurer of the concern. This company owns the exchange at Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, which are run in connection with several other lines. He organized the Bonner Springs Oil & Gas Company, which supplies the town with natural gas, and is still the manager of the company, though it was sold to the Portland Cement Company, in 1906. He was treasurer of the Portland Cement Company, but resigned in 1909. He is a director of the Lake Forrest Club of Bonner Springs; is a member of the Masonic fraternity, being a Thirty-second degree Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, and he also belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In politics he is a Democrat and was state committeeman from Wyandotte county when Colonel Harris ran for governor. He is one of the large property owners of Bonner Springs and owns farms and large tracts of land in the vicinity.Pages 1520-1522 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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