William R. Curry

WILLIAM R. CURRY. That American agriculture has not kept pace with other great American industries is due mainly, in the opinion of experts and students of the subject, to lack of intelligent organization. While the problems of American farming are now being attacked with an energy never before displayed, there is no question that one of the influences that have done most and will continue to do more to vitalize farming methods is the county agent's movement, which furnishes at least one of the principal instruments by which better co-operation can be supplied and the available sources of information more readily distributed in an agricultural community.

The position of farm agent for the Doniphan County Bureau is filled by William R. Curry, himself a young Kansan born and bred, a product of Kansas farm experience and a graduate of the State Agricultural College.

William Renwick Curry was born at Dunavant in Jefferson County, Kansas, January 24, 1886, and represents a family which through four generations have been identified with this state. Mr. Curry grew up on his father's farm in Jefferson County. attended the rural schools at Hickory Point and in 1902 graduated from the Winchester High School. Following his high school course he had three years of training on the home farm, and then for five years was a teacher, four years in the rural schools of his native county and one year as principal of the grade schools of Liberal, Kansas. During the vacations of his work he had attended the State Agricultural College at Manhattan and in 1914 graduated Bachelor of Science in the Agricultural Division. His elective studies had been carried in horticulture.

After leaving Manhattan he had the opportunity of putting much of his knowledge into practice during the year he spent on the home farm, and in 1915-16 was again teaching at Lewis, Kansas, and in 1916 became an instructor in the Chase County High School. He resigned that position March 2, 1917 to accept the duties of farm agent of the Doniphan County Bureau, with offices in the Court House at Troy.

Mr. Curry's great-grandfather, Samuel Curry, a native of Ireland, came to this country and first settled in South Carolina. He afterwards moved west to Bloomington, Indiana, where he followed farming, and late in life came to Winchester, Kansas, where he had some farming interests and where he spent the rest of his days.

William Renwick Curry, grandfather of the County Farm Agent, for whom he was named, was born at Bloomington, Indiana, and came out to Kansas in 1868. The following year he located in Jefferson County and was one of the early farmers of that section. He died at Winchester, Kansas, in October, 1911. His widow, whose maiden name was Mary Kerr, still lives at Winchester. She was also born at Bloomington, Indiana.

S. T. Curry, father of William R., was born at Bloomington, Indiana, in 1861, came to Kansas with his parents at the age of seven, and after the winter spent at Olathe moved to Jefferson County in the spring of 1869. He grew up on a farm there, was married near Winchester, and has made farming his practical vocation for nearly forty years. He is still living at the old home place at Doniphan in Jefferson County. He was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Winchester, and is of the old Scotch Covenanter stock. He married Fannie O'Neill who was born near Belfast in County Down Ireland in 1863. The oldest of their children is William R. Henry O'Neill who still lives with his parents and owns a farm in the same vicinity. David Earl, whose home is with his parents, is a senior in the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan. Lewis Allison is a Fellow of the University of Kansas and is taking the medical course, specializing in surgery. Harold Kerr has completed the common school course and is about to enter the Kansas State Agricultural College. Mary Elizabeth is still attending the public schools at home.

Mr. William R. Curry is an independent republican in politics and a member of the Presbyterian Church at Troy. He married November 25, 1915, at Hutchinson, Kansas, Miss Minnie Pence, daughter of C. E. and Lillian (Graham) Pence, who live at Dunavant, Kansas. To their marriage has been born one child Mary Lorene, on September 12, 1916.


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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