Charles Engler

CHARLES ENGLER. In the passing away of the old pioneers of Shawnee County, Kansas loses many of her worthiest citizens, many whose names should be perpetuated in the most enduring annals of this section. They were the pathfinders, the leaders who first dared dangers that still, for years afterward, menaced the life and prosperity of settlers from east of the Mississippi. Such a pioneer was the late Charles Engler of Topeka Township, Shawnee County, who, at one time, owned more than 1,000 acres of fine land in this part of the state.

Charles Engler was born in Germany, and it was largely to escape the compulsory military duty of his native land that he came to America. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing vessel that required fifty-three days to make the voyage. He was young, robust and industrious and easily found employment in the United States and after reaching Franklin, Indiana, secured a place on a farm and remained there for the next eleven years. Those were days when wages had not been inflated and his salary of $11 per month was deemed sufficient. That it enabled him to not only live but save money he had the satisfaction of proving later on.

In 1857 Mr. Engler came to Kansas. For a time he worked at odd jobs in and around Topeka, which was then a comparatively small place. He secured work from the town in hauling rock for the building of the old courthouse and bought some property situated at Fifth and Fillmore streets. He also was employed on the farm of the late John Farnesworth. In 1858, the year following his arrival in Kansas, he paid $300 in gold for a government patent to 160 acres of raw land on section 35, Topeka Township, Shawnee County, seven miles southwest of Topeka, but did not move on the place until 1880.

Mr. Engler represented the better class of German immigrants of his day but in his own land he had not belonged to a capitalistic family but had been well schooled in industry and economy. These necessary attributes of success he put into execution in Kansas and in worldly accessions he was thereby more successful than many of her native sons. Mr. Engler kept adding to his original purchase of land until he owned well over 1,000 acres and during his active years proved that he was a capable farmer and successful raiser of stock.

In 1872 Charles Engler was united in marriage with Rosa Vascalda, who was born in Belgium, of French ancestry. Her people were among the early settlers of this county, her father having camped at first on the present site of the New England Building, Topeka, when the number of the inhabitants of the settlement scarcely reached 100. To Charles Engler and wife seven children were born: Frederick, William T., Emma (Mrs. W. W. Sampson), Mary (Mrs. B. F. E. Marsh), Carl S. and Charles S., twins, Eva and Arthur C. Charles S. died in the opening of promising manhood and Eva died in young womanhood.

Mr. and Mrs. Engler became well known and universally respected in their neighborhood. Their great ambition was to teach their children to be honest, industrious and God-fearing, and they lived to see their hopes and prayers answered. Mr. Engler was a fitting illustration of industry, integrity and fidelity to every trust rewarded. He began life a poor boy and the success that came to him in the land of his adoption was wholly through his own exertions. As a man and citizen his character was unimpeachable. His death occurred in 1901.


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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