Nathan Brobst

NATHAN BROBST, who died May 3, 1910, was one of the sterling pioneer farmers of Shawnee County, Kansas. In a lifetime of nearly seventy years he had experiences that identified him closely with many of the interesting phases of the history of the Middle West.

He was born in Mahoning County, Ohio, on a farm November 13, 1840, one of ten children, two of whom died in infancy and two of whom still survive. Their parents, Henry and Susan (Fullwieler) Brobst, were born in Pennsylvania, but moved to Ohio and took their part in the activities of the wilderness, where they developed a farm and where they spent the rest of their days.

Nathan Brobst grew up with only such advantages as were supplied by the common subscription schools of the time, and in fact gained his best education by travel, observation and experience, and by much reading. He was a great reader, and was really a student all his years. He was not a soldier in the Civil war, but one of his cousins was killed during that struggle. Following his schooling Nathan Brobst became apprenticed to the stonemason's trade, and followed that for a number of years in connection with farming.

A number of years before becoming a permanent settler of Kansas, he drove a six-mule team to Salt Lake City, and saw and experienced nearly every phase of wild western life of that time. He was a prospector for gold, was in the mining regions of Montana, and from there came down the Missouri River in boats, and on returning east had many interesting experiences to relate of his adventures in the Far West with Indians and wild animals.

On February 14, 1866, he married Mary Yager. Mrs. Brobst is still living on the old homestead. Her parents were Daniel and Elizabeth (Carnes) Yager, both natives of Pennsylvania, and one of her maternal ancestors came from Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Brobst had four children: Alice, now Mrs. Edward E. Bundy; Emery, a farmer; Irvin of Auburn, Kansas; and Celia, Mrs. W. D. Davis, living on the old homestead with Mrs. Brobst.

In February, 1876, Mr. Brobst and family came to Topeka, and soon afterwards located on 160 acres of land. He improved those acres and gradually added to his estate until at one time he owned 580 acres. Mrs. Brobst now has 500 acres comprising one of the best country estates in the vicinity of Topeka. Forty years ago when he came to Kansas Mr. Brobst undertook the heavy labor of breaking up the land and also had to build houses and fences and make every other improvement necessary to convert a tract of wild land into a comfortable home.

He exemplified the best traits of good citizenship and of a high upright character. It was his industry and honesty that brought him prosperity without envy from his neighbors. A democrat, he aspired to no offices, was always modest and retiring, and yet his public spirit could be counted upon to assist in any community improvement. He was a member of the Grange, and belonged to the Lutheran Church, and was a conscientious Christian all his life, while Mrs. Brobst is an active member of the German Reformed Church. As a man of splendid judgment, fortified with extensive reading, the advice of Mr. Brobst was widely sought and in every sphere and relationship of a long life he lived worthily and well.


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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