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


Henry A. Johnsmeyer

HENRY A. JOHNSMEYER. One of the worthiest families to receive attention in the annals of Riley County is that of Johnsmeyer, which has been identified with the early settlement, the development, and the civic and community life there for more than half a century. Henry A. Johnsmeyer was born soon after the family came to Kansas, and he has himself prospered to a degree where his extensive landed estate and his large business affairs constitute him one of Riley County's notable men.

His father was the late C. A. Johnsmeyer, who died on his farm in Jackson Township of Riley County in 1911. He was born near Wehrendorf in the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany, September 13, 1840. Reared and educated in his native country, at the close of four years of service in the Sixth Hanoverian Infantry he emigrated in 1865 to America. Of all the various nationalities of the great German Empire that have come to America none has surpassed in virile power and sturdy industry the Hanoverians.

On arriving in New York City C. A. Johnsmeyer was employed for two months in a grocery store as a clerk. His aim was to identify himself with the western country, and on leaving New York City he journeyed by way of one of the early railroads through the Middle West as far as Kansas City. From there a boat took him up the river to Leavenworth and a wagon was his mode of conveyance to Randolph in Riley County. Afterward he invested his modest capital in 160 acres of land in Jackson Township. That was the nucleus of the splendid homestead on which he lived the rest of his life. Only a few improvements had been made on the land and he practically transformed it by industry and thrift into the splendid farm which it now is. It is considered one of the best of the many fine farms in the Blue River Valley. His material accumulations grew out of his broadening enterprise as a farmer and stock raiser, and he was also an influential and highly respected citizen. To his original 160 acres he added until he was the owner of farm lands not only in Riley but in Washington County, though much the greater part was in the former county.

In December, 1865, soon after coming to Kansas, C. A. Johnsmeyer married Miss Anna Bohne. They were married in Jackson Township. Mrs. Johnsmeyer is still living, occupying the old homestead in that township. She too was a native of Hanover, Germany. A brief record of her ten children is as follows: Henry A.; Louisa, widow of Albert Harrisberger, living at Randolph, Kansas; Louis W., a lumberman at Randolph; John F., of Leonardville; Herman H., of Tampa, Kansas; Edward C. of Riley; Amanda, wife of Fred Richter, a Riley County farmer; Carl, of Randolph, on old homestead; Nellie, wife of August Richter of Randolph; and Alma, wife of Reuben Axelton of Randolph. Both parents were reared and were always faithful to the German Evangelical Church. C. A. Johnsmeyer was a republican in politics, and though he never aspired to political office and held only a few minor township positions, he was a man of decided prominence in local affairs. Throughout his long career he was known as a reliable, liberal minded and public spirited citizen.

It was on a farm near Randolph, Kansas, that Henry A. Johnsmeyer was born. He was the oldest of the ten children, and he naturally assumed responsibilities in advance of his years, and bore a sturdy share of the farm work at home until he was twenty-two. He attended the country schools and having acquired the art of farming in all its details, when he started for himself it was on a place in Washington County, Kansas. He was a farmer in that locality until 1903, when returning to Riley County he acquired a farm in the Mill Creek Valley of Grant Township. Ten years later he came to his present home west of the Town of Riley. Mr. Johnsmeyer has for three decades helped to grow the staple crops of Kansas, and has also done an extensive business as a stock raiser and breeder. He is now one of the largest land owners of Riley County. Though a man of ample means he and his family still choose to reside in the country, and they have one of the most beautiful homes in the county, a frame building constructed largely by Mr. Johnsmeyer's own skill and work. This home is less than a mile west of the Town of Riley.

Among other interests he is president of the Farmers State Bank of Riley. He is a stanch republican and he and his family are members of the German Evangelical Church. In 1890 he married Miss Mary Harrisberger, who was born in Center Township in Riley County. Her father, F. Harrisberger, was one of Riley County's early settlers. Two daughters have been born to their marriage: Vera L. and Nora E. Vera is now teaching school and Nora will soon graduate in music.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1990-1991 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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