WILLIAM HENRY REDENBEAUGH

WILLIAM HENRY REDENBEAUGH. Now conducting one of the best equipped and most orderly dairy farms in Shawnee County, W. H Redenbeaugh was for many years an active railroad man, chiefly with the Santa Fe Company, and deserves mention as one of the early settlers of Shawnee County, where he has resided for forty-five years.

His birth occurred in Boone County, Indiana, March 2, 1865 His father, James F. Redenbaugh, was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, in 1847. The grandfather, Fred Redenbeaugh, was also a native of Indiana, where the family settled when Indiana was a territory. George Redenbeaugh served as a soldier in the War of 1812.

James F. Redenbeaugh was reared in Boone County, Indiana, followed his trade as carpenter there, but in 1871 set out for Kansas, bringing his family to Topeka and entering the service of the Santa Fe Railway Company as a carpenter. He continued as a railroad carpenter for twenty years, and on leaving the Santa Fe took up stone contracting, which he followed until his death. While not a church man, James F. Redenbeaugh had excellent moral character, was respected by all who knew him, and was a man of very tender heart and most gentle in the government of his family, for whom he provided well. He and his wife Rebecca Ann had seven children. Their names were Minerva; Catherine; William Henry; Amanda; David, deceased; Ida M.; Arthur; Everett, deceased.

When the Redenbeaugh family came to Kansas in 1871 they were members of an emigrant train that started from Indiana in covered wagons and crossed all the intervening country until they arrived at Topeka. Many interesting incidents occurred. While passing through parts of Illinois and Missouri the wagons at the night camp were usually placed in a circle, with the horses and cattle inside, in order to prevent raids from horse thieves who were then very active and notorious. The trip was not made without tragedy, since five or six of the party died and were laid to rest at the wayside.

William Henry Redenbeaugh recalls some incidents of that journey, since he was then six years of age. As soon as the family arrived in Topeka he was started in school at the old Quincy schoolhouse of North Topeka. With the rudiments of an education he became an apprentice at the trade of boilermaker in the Santa Fe shops. Later he took a position in the regular train service, being for thirteen years with the Santa Fe and four years with the Rock Island Railway. When he resigned he was a trained conductor, and in all the seventeen years there was never a demerit mark against him. This was truly a creditable record.

When he left railroading Mr. Redenbeaugh bought a farm two miles east of Topeka on the Sixth Street Road. There he has seventy-one acres, and has equipped it as a dairy farm. For that business he has every modern convenience and is handling the proposition very successfully. Both for business and recreation he and his family enjoy the conveniences of an automobile. While a very modest, unassuming man, Mr. Redenbeaugh always sets a good example, and his life illustrates what sobriety and industry can accomplish when sufficient purpose and determination are behind them.


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 October, 1997.
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