William F. Isely

WILLIAM F. ISELY is a native of Brown County, where his father was a pioneer farmer, and he himself followed farming on an extensive and successful scale for many years but is now living in Fairview of that county, where among varied other interests he is president of the Fairview State Bank. He is also the city's mayor.

Mr. Isely is of sterling Swiss stock. his grandfather, Christian Isely, was born in Switzerland, came to America after his marriage, and located near Winesberg in Holmes County, Ohio, where he engaged in farming and also in the manufacture of harvesting implements. His death occurred at Winesberg before his grandson, William F. Isely, was born. Christian Isely married Barbara Ozenberger, also a native of Switzerland. She died near Fairview, Kansas. Of their children two are still living: Christian, a retired farmer at Wichita, Kansas; and Barbara, who lives at Winesberg, Ohio, widow of Jacob Kendle, a farmer. Mr. William F. Isely was born on a farm three miles north of Fairview in Brown County, Kansas, July 13, 1873. His father, Henry Isely, who was born near Winesberg, Ohio, in September, 1841, grew up in that community, married there, and when a young man of twenty-one enlisted in the Sixty-seventh Ohio Infantry in 1862 and did his part as a brave and gallant soldier until the close of the Civil war. He was in all the battles in which his regiment participated, and just before the surrender at Appomattox he was wounded. Following the war he removed west to St. Joseph, Missouri, and for a time taught school. His settlement in Brown County was made in 1867. At that time, when most of the country was new and undeveloped, he located three miles north of Fairview and bought a farm of 240 acres. There he lived an independent and prosperous existence for many years, adding to his estate until at the time of his death he owned 480 acres, and discharging all the duties that come to a capable and public-spirited citizen. In politics he was a republican until 1876, and after the campaign of that year, in which Hayes was seated in the president's chair after a prolonged contest, he took to voting independently. For six years he served as county clerk of Brown County and was the representative of the county in the State Legislature in 1881-83. In church affairs he belonged to the Reformed Church and was long an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He died on his farm March 24, 1904. Henry Isely married Sophia Hochstetler, who was born in Holmes County, Ohio, and is now living at Fairview with her only son and child, William F. Isely.

The latter was reared on the farm in Brown County, attended the rural schools, and on coming to manhood he had been sufficiently trained by practice and experience to assume many of the burdens and responsibilities of the farm management from his father. He continued the active control of the fine farm until his father's death and is still its owner. In 1911 Mr. Isely moved into Fairview and from that point directs his varied business affairs as a banker and farmer. Besides the home place he owns a half section of land in Gray County in Western Kansas. His home is a modern and comfortable one on High Street. He also is interested in a business block on Maple Street.

In matters of politics Mr. Isely is an independent democrat. He was elected mayor of Fairview in April, 1913, and is now serving his third consecutive term in that office, and as an administrator of local affairs and a leader of public opinion he has done much for the community. He is a member and property trustee of the Reformed Church and is affiliated with Sabetha Lodge No. 160, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Casewell Consistory of the Thirty-second Degree Scottish Rite at Kansas City, the Abdallah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Leavenworth and is also past noble grand of Fairview Lodge No. 399, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and belongs to Fairview Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America and St. Joseph Lodge No. 40, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Mr. Isely married March 7, 1895, in Fairview, Miss Maud Jones, daughter of S. P. and Emma (Monroe) Jones. Her parents live near Kansas City, Kansas, where her father is a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Isely have one child, Beatrice, who was born May 27, 1899, and is a graduate of the Fairview High School.


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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