William Bender

WILLIAM BENDER came with his parents to Kansas over thirty years ago, helped the family get established, and then took up agriculture as an independent career, in which he has been so liberally prospered that he has now practically given up the active superintendence of his extensive land holdings and lives retired in the City of Ellsworth.

Mr. Bender is a native of Germany, where he was born August 19, 1869. His father, also William Bender, was born in that country in 1846, grew up and married there, acquired the trade of shoemaker, but also did farming. He was in two of the German wars, that against Austria in 1866 and later in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. In 1881 he brought his family to the United States, first locating at Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was employed in the railroad shops. In 1883 he came to Black Wolf, Kansas. The Benders were then people in rather humble circumstances, and the father gained a livelihood by working as a farm hand. In March, 1884, he took the opportunity to secure a relinquishment on eighty acres in Lincoln Township of Ellsworth County, and he improved that land and made it his home until 1905, when he retired into the City of Ellsworth and died there in 1907. He found the opportunities of his life in Kansas and in about twenty years he was rewarded with the ownership of 1,840 acres of Kansas land. Politically he was a democrat and was an active member of the German Lutheran Church. William Bender, Sr., married Caroline Schies, who was born in Germany in 1848 and died at Ellsworth, Kansas, June 1, 1917. They had a rather large family, eight children in all, William being the oldest. Eliza is the wife of Frank Stevens, a night watchman in a department store at Los Angeles, California. Bertha married John Stoltz, a stock farmer and owner of a feed store at Baldwin Park, California; Emil, who became a farmer, died at Monument, Kansas, at the age of thirty-two. Charles lives at Azusa, California, where he is a general workman. Freda is the wife of Henry Mehl, a farmer in Ellsworth County. Annie married Fred Mehl, another Ellsworth County farmer. Adolph, the youngest of the family, has a good farm in Ellsworth County.

William Bender was twelve years of age when brought to America. He had received his early instruction in the German schools and was also a pupil in the public schools of Terre Haute, Indiana. After coming to Kansas he did his part in helping his father raise stock and cultivate the fields and was a factor in the home circle until twenty-nine. Since then he has been independently engaged in a growing business as a farmer. In 1917 he retired from his farm to occupy a good home in Ellsworth, just opposite the courthouse. Mr. Bender still owns two fine farms, one of them of 480 acres 5 1/2 miles southwest of Ellsworth, and the other of a similar extent in Thomas County, Kansas.

Mr. Bender has been frequently called to offices that indicate the confidence of his fellow citizens in his judgment. He served as both clerk and trustee of Lincoln Township. He is a republican and a member of the German Lutheran Church. He married in Ellsworth County in 1899 Miss Lena Katzenmeier, daughter of Joseph and Magdela Katzenmeier. Her mother is still living at Ellsworth and her father, now deceased, was one of the pioneer farmers in Ellsworth County. Mr. and Mrs. Bender have children named Lena, William, Louis, Louise and Elmer. Lena is a student in the Ellsworth High School while the others are in the grammar school.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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