Sherman Mertz

SHERMAN MERTZ. A little more than a quarter of a century ago Sherman Mertz was working as a farm hand in Kansas. He had that quality in him which would not permit him to remain long dependent on an employer's service, and with a very modest capital and perhaps on borrowed money he began farming for himself. Today Mr. Mertz is rated as one of the most successful and substantial citizens of Wabaunsee, where he is both a farmer and a large property owner.

Mr. Mertz was born in Des Moines County, Iowa, near the City of Burlington, October 9, 1865. His people were among the pioneers in that section of Iowa. His grandfather, Opal Mertz, was born in Germany in 1787, and when quite an old man, in 1851, he brought his family to the United States. After a brief stay in Pennsylvania he moved out to Western Iowa and later to where the city of Burlington now stands. He was a farmer by occupation, and died at Burlington, Iowa, in 1873. In his early years he served as a member of the Germany army.

Barnhart Mertz, father of Sherman, was born in Baden, Germany, in 1835, and was sixteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to America. Some of his early years were spent at Burlington, Iowa, and he helped cut the timber away from what is now Jefferson Street in that city. Besides his enterprise as a farmer he engaged in the butcher and cattle business and on the whole his career was a very successful one. In 1900 he retired from business and afterward lived with his children in Kansas and died at Wabaunsee in 1912. He was a democrat in politics and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Barnhart Mertz married Mary Kiser, also a native of Germany. She died at Kossuth, Iowa, in 1870. A record of the children is as follows: Alfred, a merchant at Indianapolis, Indiana; Mary Etta, wife of H. W. Montgomery, a farmer near Wichita, Kansas; Crawford, a general worker living at Topeka, Kansas; and Sherman.

Sherman Mertz grew up in Des Moines County, Iowa, and received his education in the rural schools. At the age of twent-two he left home and for a year or so worked on Iowa farms. He first came to Kansas in 1888, spent a summer on a farm in Ellsworth County, and during the winter and next summer worked at monthly wages on a farm near Manhattan, Kansas. He then returned to his father's home in Iowa, but in 1890 was back in Kansas, married here in March and took his bride to a rented farm at Eureka Creek for one year. He farmed a couple of years at Wabaunsee, and he and his wife having been thrifty and saving of their means he was able to buy a place near Wabaunsee on Deep Creek. Three years later he sold that property, bought a farm at Eureka Lake, which he occupied one year, and traded that for a place in Nemaha County; but after one month sold out. While Mr. Mertz made a number of changes in his earlier career, they were all for his advantage, and it was in 1898 that he became permanently located on his present farm. This is close to the Town of Wabaunsee, where he owns 160 acres and also a string of town lots aggregating ten acres. Besides his homestead he has a much larger farm of 700 acres at Deep Creek, 2 1/2 miles north of Wabaunsee. Mr. Mertz owns a store building and dwelling in Wabaunsee and a house and lot in Manhattan. In matter of appointment and furnishing there are few finer country residences in this section of Kansas than Mr. Mertz's farm home. His house and all the out buildings are modern, and his home is supplied with furnace, hot water, bathing facilities, an individual light and sewer plant and practically everything that characterizes an up-to-date city home. All of this is indicative of his splendid success as a farmer, which has been the source of his abundant means.

Mr. Mertz is a public spirited citizen, has been a member of the school board at Wabaunsee twelve years, was formerly secretary of Wabaunsee Township, is a member and trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a regular voter in the republican party.

On March 6, 1890, at Manhattan, he married Miss Mary B. Thaierer, daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Bentz) Thaierer, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Mertz have a family of six children. Margaret, the oldest, is the wife of Lee Patterson, a telegraph operator living at McFarland, Kansas. Sherman Jacob, the second son, is now serving in the new National Army of America. Mary Inez is the wife of Alvin E. Garanson, who operates the upper farm of Mr. Mertz at Deep Creek. The younger children, all at home, are Harold A. and Lawrence E., both of whom supply their efforts to the management of the farm under their father; and Helen.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Johna Logan, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, January 25, 2000.

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