Walter M. Reitzel

WALTER M. REITZEL, M. D. A native of Kansas and representing one of the pioneer families of Marshall County, Doctor Reitzel entered seriously upon the work of preparation for a career as a physician before he was at his majority, and now for many years has enjoyed a successful practice and a high standing in medical circles. His residence is at Kanopolis.

Doctor Reitzel was born at Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, November 27, 1878. He is of German stock, but the family has lived in America four or five generations. The Reitzels came out of Hamburg, Germany, and were colonial settlers in New York. Doctor Reitzel's grandfather, David Reitzel, was born in North Carolina in 1806, and subsequently went west and developed a homestead at Pecksburg, Indiana, where he died in 1892. He was twice married, his first wife being the grandmother of Doctor Reitzel and his second wife was a Miss Leitzman.

J. H. Reitzel, father of Doctor Reitzel, was born at Pecksburg, Indiana, May 23, 1843, and is still living at Waterville, Kansas, a hale and hearty man for all that he served as a gallant soldier in the Union army and for upwards of half a century has been a successful farmer in Kansas. He grew up and married at Pecksburg, Indiana, and in 1862 enlisted in Company C of the Seventieth Indiana Infantry. This was the regiment commanded by Benjamin Harrison, subsequently president of the United States. It was part of the Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps. J. H. Reitzel was in active service for nearly three years until mustered out in 1865. He did duty as a soldier in those magnificent campaigns when the back of the Confederacy was broken under the leadership of General Sherman. He fought at Lookout Mountain and in many of the battles of the Atlanta campaign, including Kenesaw Mountain, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek and others, and was also in Sherman's famous march to the sea.

Following the war he returned to Indiana, took up farming, but in 1870 moved to Waterville, Kansas, where as a pioneer he homesteaded 160 acres. That old homestead he still owns and also eighty acres, and uses this well developed farm for the staple crops of the locality and as a stock raiser. He is a republican, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has always been true to the faith in which he was reared, that of the Lutheran Church.

J. H. Reitzel married Emily A. Defabaugh, who was born in Ohio in 1847 and died at Waterville, Kansas in 1914. There were six children: E. O. Reitzel, a carpenter at Barnes; Minnie E., unmarried and living with her father; David A., a farmer living at Waterville; Charles A., also a farmer at Waterville; Doctor Reitzel; and Harry C., who lives on the home farm.

Doctor Reitzel attended the public schools of Waterville, graduating from high school in 1896. For a year he read medicine in the offices of Drs. W. W. and D. W. Campbell at Atchison. He then entered the Kansas City Medical College, now the medical department of Kansas University, and completed his course and was awarded the M. D. degree in 1900. Since then he has been in active general practice, but more and more has concentrated his services upon a specialty as an eye, ear, nose and throat physician. In 1916 he did considerable post-graduate work in the Chicago Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Infirmary.

His first location for practice was at Waterville, but in a short time he removed to Cleburne, Kansas, was there four years, at Wamego five years, and since 1910 has had his home and office in Kanopolis. His offices are in the Kline Block. Doctor Reitzel is a member of the Kansas State Medical Society, is secretary of the Central Kansas Medical Society and is also a member of the American Medical Association.

He is one of the directors of the Exchange State Bank at Kanopolis. He is an active member and trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has fraternal affiliations with Kanopolis Lodge No. 321, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and with Golden Belt Encampment No. 47 at Ellsworth, of which he is past chief patriarch.

In 1902, at Waterville, Doctor Reitzel married Miss Hannah M. Peterson, who was born in Morris County, Kansas. Her death occurred September 8, 1908. She was the mother of three children: Helen M., who died at the age of seventeen months; Merle E., born April 19, 1905; and John, born November 28, 1906. Doctor Reitzel married at Havensville May 3, 1911, Mrs. Bertha M. (Morgan) Randall. Her parents, E. T. and Aletia Morgan, continue to live at Havensville her father being a retired farmer. Mrs. Reitzel's first husband was William Randall, a farmer.


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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