William H. Cheney

WILLIAM H. CHENEY. To trace the founding of the Cheney family in America one must go far back in colonial history, back almost to the days when a friendly sovereign presented the present State of Maryland to Lord Baltimore. But a few years later the Cheneys, of English and French descent, came also and received from Lord Baltimore grants of land on which they lived for many years. These lands were in Washington County, which was the family home as far back as the great-grandfather of William H. Cheney, who is one of the representative men of Vesper, Kansas, and one of the largest landowners in Lincoln County.

William H. Cheney was born in Washington County, Maryland, October 12, 1854. His parents were William B. and Sarah F. (Baechtel) Cheney and the grandfather, Robert Cheney, were born in Washington County and died there in early manhood. He married a Miss Newcomer, a native also of Washington County, and two children survived him: William B. and Prudence. The latter died at Hagerstown, Maryland, the wife of John Kausler, who was cashier of a bank there for forty years. After the death of her first husband, Mrs Robert Cheney married Anthony Wayne Lewis, so named after his kinsman, the brave Gen. Anthony Wayne of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Lewis was born in Washington County in l810, and died at Hagerstown in 1878, having been a farmer all his life. Six children were born to this marriage, namely: George S., who was a pioneer in Kansas and died in 1912, a retired farmer in Lincoln County; A. W., who died in this County in 1909, was also a pioneer farmer; R. B., who died on his farm near Vesper, Kansas, at the age of thirty-five years; Elizabeth, who lives in Washington County, Maryland, is the widow of Nicholas Brumbaugh, who died on his farm there; Mollie, who became the wife of Jacob D. Middlekauff and the mother of W. Bruce Middlekauff; and Sallie, who is the wife of Samuel Byers, a retired farmer of Winchester, Virginia.

William B. Cheney was born on the old family homestead in Washington County, Maryland, April 4, 1828, and died at Vesper, Kansas, in January, 1897. In October, 1871, he came to Vespar, Kansas, where he was one of the earliest settlers, and bought a homestead claim of eighty acres, situated inside the railroad limits, and it was on that original farm that his life closed, years later. At that time he had 800 acres, all valuable land which he had honestly accumulated, for he was a man of business ability. In every way he was a man of high character and on many occasions he was elected to township offices on the democratic ticket. In the old home neighborhood in Washington County he was married to Sarah F. Baechtel, who was born in Washington County, June 16, 1830, and died at Vesper, Kansas, in July, 1898. They had the following children: Robert B., who is a farmer in Lincoln County, Kansas; Fannie, who is the wife of J. W. Shrader, a farmer in Lincoln County; William H.; Samuel, who is a farmer in this county; Charles, who is a farmer in Russell County, Kansas, and lives near Luray; Ettie, who is the wife of O. W. Sibert, a farmer in Lincoln County; Sallie, who is the wife. of J. E. Yost, a farmer in Lincoln County; Shelby B., who is a partner of his brother William H. in their extensive farm industries; Lillie, who is the wife of Wayne Brumbaugh, a farmer residing at Vesper, and Maude, who is the wife of Allen Mong, a farmer in Trego County, Kansas.

William H. Cheney spent his life until the spring of 1872 in Washington County, Maryland, and obtained his education there. His father preceded him to this state by six months, but afterward they were associated together until the father's death. Mr. Cheney then came into possession of the homestead and since that time has kept on adding to his acreage until he now owns 1,600 acres. While he carries on general farming, diversifying his crops, he devotes a large acreage to pasture, as is necessary, because Mr. Cheney is one of the big stockmen of this County, raising horses and cattle and Duroc hogs, all thoroughbred. In addition to his large business interests here he is a director in the Vesper State Bank and is also a director in the Farmers Elevator Company of Vesper. Politically he is a democrat and is serving as clerk of Grant Township and also of the school board. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of Sylvan Lodge No. 156, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Salina Consistory No. 3, Salina, Kansas. Mr. Cheney is not married.


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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