David Clark Offenbacker

HON. DAVID CLARK OFFENBACKER. It would be difficult to name an activity of the thriving community of Benedict, Kansas, that has not profited by the support and co-operation of Hon. David Clark Offenbacker. Primarily a business man, with varied and important interests, he has devoted a great part of his time to public service, the present being his third term as mayor of the city, and has also done more, perhaps, than any other man in the way of making public improvements. His business and official records are inseparably connected with the growth and development of the city and its interests.

David C. Offenbacker was born on a farm in Hancock County, Indiana, September 15, 1862, and is a son of Mark and Martha Ann (Waite) Offenbacker. The family, which dates back in America to Colonial times and numbers Revolutionary soldiers among its earlier members, originated in Offenbach, Germany, near Frankfort-on-Main. David L. Offenbacker, the grandfather of David C. Offenbacker, was born in 1810, in Virginia, and was the pioneer into Hancock County, Indiana, to which locality he went after his marrige to Sophia Crim, also a native of the Old Dominion. Both passed away on their Hancock County farm, the grandfather in 1889.

Mark Offenbacker was born in 1839, in Hancock County, Indiana, and was there reared and educated and, upon gaining his majority, engaged in agricultural pursuits, to which he had been reared. In 1882 he came to Kansas and September 5 of that year purchased a farm near Rest, in Wilson County, where he resided until his retirement, in 1912, at which time he went to Buffalo, Kansas. His death occurred at that place July 24, 1915. He was one of the steady, reliable and industrious men who assisted materially in developing this great agricultural country, and as a citizen did his full share in forwarding public-spirited movements. Mr. Offenbacker was a democrat, but confined his political activities principally to casting his vote. He belonged to the Baptist Church and as a fraternalist was identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Offenbacker married Martha Ann Waite, who was born April 17, 1841, in Hancock County, Indiana, but raised in Marion County, that State. She still survives her husband and makes her home at Buffalo, Kansas. There were seven children in the family, namely: David Clark; George E., who is a general workman and resides at Benedict, Kansas; Frank E., who is the proprietor of a livery business at Buffalo; Harry N., who is the proprietor of an automobile business at Buffalo; B. W., who engaged in farming in Wilson County, until his death in 1907; Miss Minnie Myrtle, who is unmarried and makes her home with her mother; and Charles A. who is carrying on operations on the homestead farm.

David Clark Offenbacker attended the public schools of Hancock County, Indiana, and Wilson County, Kansas, where he received the equivalent of a high school education, and remained on his father's farm until he was twenty-four years of age. At that time he commenced agricultural operations on his own account, and not long thereafter commenced to operate a thrasing machine. In this business he succeeded very well and made it a permanent part of his business activities, and during the thirty-four years that he has thus been engaged has carried on this work all over this part of the country. In the year 1896 Mr. Offenbacker came to Benedict, and from that year to the present has given only a part of his time to farming, as other interests have demanded more and more of his attention. From 1896 he began operating a sawmill at Benedict, in the winters and springs, and this business he carried on successfully for fourteen years, or until 1910, when he disposed of his interests therein. Another enterprise which has received his attention has been the grading of roads, a work in which, during the past ten years, he has graded with an engine upwards of 400 miles of highways in Kansas. He is the owner of a modern residence on Main Street and sixteen city lots.

A democrat in his political views, Mr. Offenbacker has for a number of years been prominent in the councils of his party and on numerous occasions has been called upon to serve in public office. He was a member of the Democratic State Committee in 1908, at the time of the nomination of Harris for governor, and worked energetically during the campaign in behalf of the candidate. In 1912 and again in 1914 he was a secretary and treasurer of the Wilson County Democratic Central Committee. In 1902 he was nominated by his party for the office of county clerk, and received the same honor in 1912, the latter time being defeated by barely 150 votes, although he carried his own township by 141 majority. He was a member of the school board for three years, served as city clerk and police judge, and as a member of the city council, and finally, in 1911, was elected mayor of Benedict, a position which he has occupied ever since, being now in his third term he has given the city good service in the chief executive's office and during his administrations numerous improvements have been made which have added to the city's welfare and prestige. Mayor Offenbacker was formerly a Presbyterian, but is now a member of the Christian Church. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Benedict Lodge No. 650, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being noble grand and secretary of his lodge, a representative to the Grand Lodge, and the recipient of Grand Lodge degrees; with Lone Elm Camp No. 3764, Modern Woodmen of America, of which he is past consul commander and served four years as commander; and the Rebekahs and Patriarchs Mllitant. Mrs. Offenbacker belongs to the Rebekahs and the Royal Neighbors.

In 1886 Mayor Offenbacker was married at Benedict, Kansas, to Miss Maggie Wilson, who died without issue in 1887. Mayor Offenbacker was again married, February 22, 1890, in Wilson County, Kansas, to Miss Dot G. Scott, daughter of Richard DeKalb and Narcissa (Graham) Scott, the former, a farmer, now deceased, and the latter a resident of Roper, Kansas. Four children have been born to Mayor and Mrs. Offenbacker: Blanche B., who resides at Kansas City, Missouri, married Neal Nagle, and has one child, David Michael, who is being reared by his grandfather; Percy G., who is a tool dresser and resides at Benedict, Kansas; Verna A., who died aged three years, four months; Avis Imogene, who is a freshman at the Benedict High School.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 29, 1998.

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