Charlie H. Riker

CHARLIE H. RIKER. At Gage's Park, on West Sixth Street Road, near Topeka, is situated one of the most beautiful suburban homes of this locality, that belonging to Charlie H. Riker, who for many years has been engaged in agricultural pursuits in Kansas. Mr. Riker was reared a farmer and is the son of a pioneer of 1870, since which time with the exception of several years spent in Ohio, he has been engaged in operations in different parts of the Sunflower State, and in each locality in which operations have been centered, he has not only made a success of his undertakings, but has established a reputation as a public-spirited and progressive citizen.

Charlie H. Riker was born in Logan County, Ohio, in 1866, and is a son of William J. and Susanna (Custenborder) Riker. He is connected with the Custenborder, Riker and Ferris families, all of which were early settlers of Ohio and at first settled near Cincinnati from whence their members went not only to various parts of the Buckeye State but to other parts of the country, where they became men and women of substance and worth and won success in the various occupations in which humankind may engage.

William J. Riker was born in Champaign County, Ohio, and as a young man, after securing a public school education, learned the trade of carpenter. This he followed successfully until the outbreak of the Civil war and the subsequent call for volunteers to preserve the Union, when he enlisted in the army of the North and became a private of Company G, Sixty-sixth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he served three years. He proved himself a brave soldier, always at his post of duty, and received his honorable discharge after establishing an excellent military record. Before the outbreak of the war he had married Susanna Custenborder, also born in Champaign County, and in 1870, with his wife and children, came to Kansas and took up a government claim near Hartford, in Coffey County. There he cleared a farm from the prairie and settled down to agricultural pursuits, in which he engaged during the remainder of his life. He passed safely through the droughts, the panics and the grasshopper plagues, and, being a man of ability and perseverance, succeeded in accumulating a satisfying property. He was known as a good citizen as well as an able agriculturist, and his death removed from his community one of its useful men. William and Susanna Riker were the parents of four daughters and two sons, namely: Nelson P., who is a resident of Elevation, Shawnee County, engaged in farming; Amy V., who is now Mrs. L. K. Apple, of Hartford, Lyon County, Kansas; Charlie H.; Anna Bell, deceased; Rachel; and Maud, who died in infancy.

Charlie H. Riker was four years of age when brought to Coffey County, Kansas, by his parents, and here he received his early education in the schools of the country adjacent to the City of Burlington. In 1879 he returned to Ohio, where he lived with a relative for three years and there completed his education, and then returned to Kansas and again became a member of the family household. When ready to enter upon his own career as a farmer, he began his operations in Coffey County, not far from the old homestead, but in 1889 moved to Shawnee County. In 1902 he purchased the old Antrim homestead which is situated four miles west of Elmont. That he conducted with success for four years, making many improvements, and in 1906 disposed of his interests there and came to Topeka, where he at once began preparation for the making of his present home. Buying a tract of ten acres of beautiful land near Gage's Park on West Sixth Street Road, he improved it as to lawns, orchards, shade trees, etc., and built a handsome, modern residence, making it one of the finest suburban homes near Topeka.

In 1888 Mr. Riker was united in marriage with Miss Effie D. Long, of Coffey County, Kansas, a member of a family from Ohio. Mrs. Riker's father, Dr. D. T. Long, had a somewhat unusual career. Reared a farmer, from his youth he had an ambition to enter the medical profession, and after overcoming many obstacles he persevered in his intention and when between thirty and forty years of age entered the Cincinnati Medical School, where he prepared for a higher course. Eventually he graduated from the medical department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, and received his cherished degree of Doctor of Medicine. He began the practice of his calling in Coffey County, and met with such success that he was encouraged to seek a wider field, which he found at Topeka. At the time of his death, in 1912, he was one of the leading physicians of the city and a man universally respected not alone in his profession but by the general public.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Riker are well known and highly esteemed in their community and their beautiful home is the scene of many social affairs. Mr. Riker has worthily maintained the record of the families from which he is descended, and is generally respected wherever known.


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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