Edwin Grant Betz

EDWIN GRANT BETZ. The Arkansas City Business College is an institution in which the people of that community take special pride. Technical training for business is now a recognized necessity, and among the schools of Kansas that supply such technical training the Arkansas City Business College has in many respects a record of unexcelled competence and thoroughness. The proprietor of this school is Edwin Grant Betz, who has had a varied business experience but has given his chief time through his active life to commercial education. He comes of an old Dickinson County family, while Mrs. Betz, his wife, is of another prominent pioneer family in that section of Kansas.

Mr. E. G. Betz was born at Chambersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, August 19, 1869. His paternal ancestors were Germans and his great-grandfather came from Germany and was an early settler in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Henry Betz, was born in Pennsylvania in 1795, spent his life as a farmer and died at St. Thomas in Franklin County in 1876.

W. H. H. Betz, father of E. G. Betz, was born near St. Thomas in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1843 and is now living at Chapman in Dickinson County, Kansas. He grew up and married in Pennsylvania, became a farmer, and on March 15, 1877, arrived at Chapman, Kansas. He was one of the early settlers there, and bought a farm three miles south and two miles east of Chapman and is still owner of 360 acres in that county and considerable city property. He is a republican and has long been closely identified with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in which he served as deacon many years. He was a useful soldier in the Civil war, serving three months in the Union army. He married Miss Sarah Catherine Diehl, who was a descendant of the Read family of Virginia, an old colonial family. She was born at Marion in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1846. Their children were: Clara, wife of Thomas Taylor, a farmer at Pearl, Kansas; Ida, wife of E. J. Earle, who resides on the home farm in Dickinson County and owns another farm in Geary County eight miles southeast of Chapman; Edwin G., who is the third in the family; Michael Diehl, proprietor of a moving picture house on Union Avenue in Los Angeles, California; Bert R., who is an educator and for the past fourteen years has been principal of the Union School at Fort Totten, North Dakota, Allison R., who is also in the Government service, living near Fort Totten, North Dakota, and has also been a preacher there; Pearl, wife of Ira Kougle, a successful contractor at Chapman, Kansas; Roy, who lives in Chapman and owns a farm six miles south of that town; Samuel and George, twins, who died in infancy at Marion, Pennsylvania.

E. G. Betz was eight years of age when brought to Kansas and he received most of his early education in the rural schools near Chapman. He graduated from the Chapman High School in 1892, had one term in the Salina Normal University, two terms in Campbell's Normal University at Holton, and then returned to Dickinson County and became a farmer for three years. His interests were not in the farm, however, and after pursuing an art course he did copy work for five years and was connected with the International Correspondence School until 1891. During 1892-94 Mr. Betz was engaged in mining at Galena, Kansas. He then became identified with the business college at Pittsburg, Kansas, managed it for one year, and for another year was manager of the business college at Coffeyville. Removing to Independence, Mr. Betz bought the business college and conducted it for three years. He has been a resident of Arkansas City since the fall of 1911, when he bought the Arkansas City Business College. He is its manager and proprietor. This school was established in 1910 by McMahon and Tighe. The school is situated in the Hamilton-Collinson Building on South Summit Street and occupies the entire second floor. Mr. Betz as a capable and experienced commercial educator could not fail to bring the standards and equipment of the school up to the highest point of excellence. He has a staff of three assistant instructors, and at times two others are employed, and the school now enrolls 150 students in the different courses.

Mr. Betz is a republican, and is an active member of the United Presbyterian Church, having served as clerk of the session. He is affiliated with Arkansas City Lodge No. 116, Knights of Pythias, and with Council No. 141 of the Knights and Ladies of Security.

On December 31, 1891, at Chapman, Kansas, Mr. Betz and Miss Katherine A. Loy were united in marriage. Mrs. Betz was born near Freeport, Illinois, December 25, 1872, but has lived in Kansas since she was eight years of age. She attended the public schools of Chapman and the high school there, and during her married life has found her work and interests in her husband's business activities and also in various lines of social effort. She is a worker in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and other women's organizations and is a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Betz has an interesting American genealogy. The Loy family was established in Pennsylvania in early colonial days and her paternal ancestors were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Her great-grandfather, George Loy, donated the land on which the town of Loysville in Perry County was founded, and that village has served to perpetuate his name in local history. Her grandfather, William Loy, was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1816, spent his life as a farmer there and died in 1888. He married Kate Dunkleberger, who was born in Perry County in 1818 and died in 1893. They were the parents of twelve children, seven of whom died in infancy or when children, and the other five were: Jane, who lives in Perry County, Pennsylvania, widow of Solomon Reeder, who was a farmer; Susan married David Wentzel, a merchant at Ellsburg, Pennsylvania, and both are now deceased; the third was John Loy, father of Mrs. Betz; Kate died in Perry County, Pennsylvania, after her marriage to Nathaniel Dunkleberger, who still lives on the old homestead in Perry County; and Michael, who died on his farm in Perry County.

John Loy, father of Mrs. Betz, was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1840. He grew up and married there, took up farming as his vocation, afterwards moved out to Illinois and was a farmer near Freeport four years, then returning to his native state and county, where he remained five years. On his next journey westward he came to the vicinity of Chapman, Kansas, arriving in the spring of 1880 and buying a section of land in Dickinson County. He was more than ordinarily successful as a farmer and business man, and was one of the esteemed residents of Chapman when he died in 1887. Though a democrat, he voted for Lincoln during war time. He was one of the pillars in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in any community where he lived.

John Loy married Matilda Reapsome. She was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1842 and is now living at Chapman, Kansas. Her grandfather Reapsome was a native of Germany, ran away from home at the age of fourteen, and came to America. While in Pennsylvania he attracted the favor and good will of a Mr. Piper of Perry County. Piper had taken up a large tract of Government land, including several thousand acres, and for some reason did not wish this land to revert to any of his relatives. In order to make assurance doubly sure he contracted to sell the several thousand acres to Mr. Reapsome for the nominal consideration of one dollar. Thus this generation of the Reapsome family became substantially provided in the way of landed possessions. Daniel Reapsome, father of Matilda Reapsome, was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1806 and died there in 1886. He spent his life as a farmer and at one time served in the Pennsylvania militia. He married Katherine Bistline, who died in Perry County in 1846. They had only three children: John, who became a Union soldier and died from illness during the war; Katherine, who married John Rice, and both died in Perry County, Mr. Rice having owned considerable property and having been a man of studious tastes and pursuits; and Mrs. Matilda (Reapsome) Loy.

Mr. and Mrs. John Loy had a family of ten children, a brief record being as follows: W. F. Loy, a contractor and builder in Los Angeles, California; Daniel E., twin brother of W. F., a stockman living at Chapman, Kansas; James O., who lives on the old Loy farm at Chapman and is also a successful stock raiser; Mrs. Betz was the fourth in age; Ida, wife of E. W. Kapp, a successful business man and proprietor of a feed and fuel yard in Los Angeles; Maud V., who has never married and has devoted herself rather successfully to business, being now proprietor of a modern general store at Chapman, and owner of a fine home in that town; Bertha, wife of Jacob Engler, a stockman at Chapman; Bessie, wife of Emery Diehl, a farmer at Chapman; David, who is associated with his brother in the contracting business at Los Angeles; and Charles, a farmer and stockman at Chapman.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Anthony Wolsey, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.

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