Transcribed from 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


Desire Debacker

Photo of D. Debacker DESIRE DEBACKER. The greatest sources of productive wealth along the Kaw River are the market gardens and fruit orchards. This is an industry which has developed to high proportions in Kansas, and as everyone knows is a business where hard work, careful management, and thorough planning are prerequisites of success. Perhaps no family has made a better record in this field and has shown more of these essentials than that of Debacker, one of whose representatives is named above.

The Debackers are Belgian people. Desire Debacker was born near Brussels in Belgium in 1874. His father was the late John B. Debacker, who was born in the same district of Belgium in 1851. He grew up there, married, and was connected with a woolen goods manufacturing concern. When the children were still small his wife died, and leaving the young people with their maternal grandfather John B. Debacker set out for America. Coming to Kansas he homesteaded in Kingman County, seven miles east of the City of Kingman. A little later his family followed him, and after seven years spent in Kingman County he moved to Rosedale in Wyandotte County, and then three years later to Shawnee County, where the Debackers have since had their home and the scene of their activities. John B. Debacker died at the old place in this county in 1904 at the age of fifty-three. His wife's father, Antone Glibert, had charge of the young children for a time and brought them to Kingman County, Kansas. Antone Glibert lived to the advanced age of eighty-seven and died at the home of one of his sons in the State of Washington, much loved and lamented by the Debacker family. John B. Debacker after the death of his wife had to be both father and mother to his children, and not only did his duty by them but provided them well in material substance and was a highly esteemed citizen.

Desire Debacker came to America and joined his father's family when a child. He spent his early youth partly in Kingman County and partly in Wyandotte County, and took up the real work of his life in Shawnee County. He has developed one of the most extensive market gardens and fruit orchards in the county, and has made a specialty of apples. His orchards have produced as high as 10,000 bushels in a single season. The crop above all others for which the Kaw River valley is famous is potatoes, and Mr. Debacker has raised as high as 5,000 bushels of sweet potatoes in a single season. He has shipped produce to every northern state from Minnesota to the lakes, and one of his crops is spinach, of which he shipped 4,000 bushels during one season, that establishing the record of any one grower in the state.

Mr. Debacker married November 18, 1906, Margaret Corcoran, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and they have four children: John B., Catherine, Alvin and Sidney. One son named Martin Edmond died in infancy.


Transcribed from volume 4, page 1814 of 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; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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