John William Moser

JOHN WILLIAM MOSER has been a figure in the commercial life of Meriden, Kansas, for over thirty years. Besides his large mercantile enterprise and the ownership of considerable property Mr. Moser is active in various public and semi-public movements and enterprises of Jefferson County.

He was born March 3, 1857, in Georgia Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in which state his ancestors, the Mosers, have lived since Colonial times, locating there from Germany. His great-grandfather, Abraham Moser, was born in Pennsylvania in 1767 and spent his last years in Georgia Township of Fayette County, where he belonged with the pioneer stock. His wife, Catherine, was born in 1774. The grandfather, John Moser, was born in Georgia Township of Fayette County in 1809, spent his life as a farmer and died in the same locality in 1888, at the age of seventy-nine. He married Amy Sterling, who was born in German Township of Fayette County and spent her last years in Georgia Township. Her father, John Sterling, was born in England and was of straight English descent for generations. The Sterlings have been prominent both in England and America. John Sterling was a farmer in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and died in German Township.

Abraham Moser, father of John W. Moser, was a well known citizen of Jefferson County, Kansas, for many years. He was born in Georgia Township of Fayette County, November 4, 1833, grew up and married in that locality, and in early life became a merchant at Masontown, Fayette County. He came west in 1885 and with his son John W. established the present general mercantile business at Meriden. They erected two buildings, one 75 by 100 feet and the other 100 by 100 feet. The first contains two full stories, while the other is two stories for one half its depth. Abraham Moser continued active in business at Meriden until his death in 1905 He was a very strong and active democrat in politics and was a member and liberal supporter of the Church of the Brethren. He married Rachel Asenath Smith, who was born in Georgia Township of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in 1840 and is still living at Meriden with her son John W. The latter was her oldest child. The next in age, Sarah Melinda, died at Meriden, Kansas, in 1895, at the age of thirty-six, being the wife of John D. Lynch, who is now living retired in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Their son T. R. Lynch is a very popular citizen of Fayette County and as a republican in a democratic district was elected member of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1914. Lesley Wade Moser, the youngest child, was in a promising career as a merchant at Meriden when death overtook him in 1894, at the age of twenty-three.

John W. Moser received his early education in the public schools of Fayette County and Greene County, Pennsylvania. He also attended the Academy of Masontown, Pennsylvania, and at the age of twenty became associated with his father in business. He soon took charge of the store and ever since coming to Kansas has managed the business on Main Street, one of the largest general mercantile houses in Jefferson County. Besides the two Store buildings above mentioned he owns another store in the town and has two dwelling houses.

Mr. Moser served as a school director in Pennsylvania, is a member and deacon of the Church of the Brethren, and was for many years president and is now treasurer of the Cemetery Association of Meriden. The people of Meriden take great pride in their beautiful and well kept cemetery. Mr. Moser is a democrat.

He was married at Masontown, Pennsylvania, in 1881, to Miss Jennie Honsaker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Honsaker, both deceased. Her father was a carpenter. Mrs. Moser died April 17, 1916, the mother of three children. Abraham, the oldest, is now serving as deputy sheriff of Jefferson County, is a resident of Meriden, and is recruiting officer for the United States Army. In 1916 he was elected in a republican district on the democratic ticket to the Legislature. Paul, the second son, is now a student in the Kansas State University at Lawrence, but has his home at Meriden. Me married Inez McLucas. John, who assists his father in business at home, is a senior in the Meriden 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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