Samuel R. Dillinger

SAMUEL R. DILLINGER. One of the well known families of Clay County is that of Dillinger, which for many years has been active in the grain elevator business, and it has a worthy representative in Samuel R. Dillinger, who is manager of the Farmers Elevator Company at Bennington, Kansas. Mr. Dillinger was born in Des Moines County, Iowa, July 15, 1855, and is the elder of two sons born to his parents, who were Daniel and Nancy (Davis) Dillinger. His younger brother, Daniel Dillinger, came to Kansas in 1886 and is a prosperous farmer in Sherman County.

In tracing his ancestry back several generations Samuel R. Dillinger finds that his paternal grandfather, Daniel Dillinger, was born in 1789, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where his grandfather had established himself when he came from Germany. Daniel Dillinger followed agricultural pursuits in Westmoreland County and died there in 1845. On the maternal side the grandfather, John Davis, born in 1803, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, was a descendant of a Hessian soldier who settled in Pennsylvania during the War of the Revolution. John Davis came to the West in the early 50's and settled in Des Moines County, Iowa, where he became a farmer, having previously been a miller. He was married in Pennsylvania to Louisa Groover, and both died in Des Moines County.

Daniel Dillinger, father of Samuel R. Dillinger, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in 1829, and died in Des Moines County, Iowa, in 1857. He grew to manhood in his native place, where he followed farming and worked at the carpenter trade, and then came to Des Moines County, Iowa, where the rest of his life was spent. In politics he was a whig. He was married in Des Moines County to Nancy Davis, who survives and resides in Des Moines County. She was born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, in 1836. Her second marriage was to Christian Ziegler, who was born at Baden, Germany, in 1828, and died in Des Moines County in 1914. Mr. Ziegler came to the United States and to Iowa in 1854 and followed farming all his life. Four children were born to that marriage, as follows: David R., who is a resident of Burlington, Iowa, for the past thirty years has been a traveling representative of the same hardware house; William, who is a farmer resides in Des Moines County; Harriet, who married a Mr. Fourner, rcsides at Fayette, Idaho, where her husband has a nursery and fruit farm; and Lucy, who died in 1905.

Samuel R. Dillinger obtained his education in the public schools in Des Moines County and when twenty years old went to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and worked for two years on the farm of his uncle, Samuel Dillinger. After coming back to his native county he worked by the month for farmers for one year. In the spring of 1878 he went to Nebraska and for five years was engaged in farming in Clay County, then became a grain merchant and went into the stock business and continued his interests there until 1892, when he removed to Thomas County, Kansas. There farming engaged him for a time and for three years he worked for the Chicago Lumber & Coal Company and at the same time conducted an individual business. He continued there until 1900, when he moved to Luray, Kansas, where he became identified with the Midland Elevator Company and bought grain for two years. In 1902 he came to Bennington and went into the grain business here and is now manager of the Farmers Elevator Company, an important business enterprise of this section.

Mr. Dillinger married in 1880, in Clay County, Nebraska, Miss Melissa Belle Gallentine, who is a daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Ritner) Gallentine, both of whom are deceased. The father of Mrs. Dillinger was a substantial farmer in Clay County, Nebraska. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Dillinger, namely: Samuel R., who is manager of the Co-operative Grain Association, operates an elevator at Green, Kansas; Helen, who is the wife of M. F. Fritts, who for three years was connected with the bank of Paradise, Kansas, now resides at Luray; Nellie, who is the wife of W. E. Wing, a lumber dealer at Luray, Kansas; Otis W., who resides at Delphos, Kansas, is in the grain business for the Lord Milling Company; and Letha and Irene, both of whom reside at home.

In politics Mr. Dillinger is a democrat but is not very active in political circles. He has served for nine years on the school board as proof of his public usefulness. He belongs to Bennington Lodge No. 186, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, and to Bennington Camp, Modern Woodmen of America. With his family he has membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church.


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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