Harvey L. Songer

HARVEY L. SONGER is a native of Butler County, Kansas, has had a long and varied experience in business affairs, though he is still a young man, and is now filling with complete satisfaction to his constituency the office of clerk of the District Court, with home at El Dorado.

Mr. Songer was born in Butler County, October 19, 1881. His paternal ancestors came out of England, the immigrant ancestor in this country having been his great-grandfather, who located in Ohio. Mr. Songer's grandfather, George Songer, was born in Ohio April 25, 1824. During his infancy in 1826 his parents removed to Indiana, and he lived in that state in Fountain County until 1871, when he came out to Kansas and was a pioneer homesteader in Butler County. He spent his life as a farmer and died in the county at Rosalia in March, 1910. George Songer married Susanna Bonebrake, who died in Fountain County, Indiana. Of their children the only one now living is Louisa, whose home is at El Dorado. Her husband was E. Howe, a suceessful business man of this community.

M. L. Songer, father of Harvey L. was born in Fountain County, Indiana, May 15, 1852. He came to Kansas at the age of twenty, having been reared on a farm in Fountain County, Indiana. As one of the early settlers he homesteaded some land, but never proved it up. He sold his farm but continued to be a farmer until his death at Rosalia on January 7,1913. In politics he was closely affiliated with the greenback and populist movement in the '80s and '90s. He was a member of the United Brethren Church. He was married in Greenwood County, Kansas, to Miss Sophronia Goodnight. She was born in Shawnee County, Kansas, in March, 1862, was reared in Greenwood County, and is now living at Rosalia in Butler Country. Of her children Harvey L. is the oldest; Laura died in infancy; H. A. Songer is a farmer at Benton in Butler County; Orpha married J. M. Withrow, a railroad man living at Englewood, Kansas; Eva is the wife of Harry Dilts, a carpenter and contractor at Leon in Butler County; Frank is a member of the Class of 1917 in the El Dorado High School.

Harvey L. Songer grew up in Butler County, attended the public schools at Rosalia, and finished his education at the age of eighteen. After that he was a successful and popular teacher in the county for three years, and then put in a year as a practical farmer. Leaving the farm, he entered the mercantile business at Pontiac and was one of the well known merchants there for eight years. In 1912 Mr. Songer embarked in the wholesale hay business, having his warehouses and headquarters both at Pontiac and El Dorado. In August, 1913, he moved his home to El Dorado in order to afford his children better school advantages. He continued as a wholesale dealer until March, 1916, when he accepted the responsibilities of the office of assessor of El Dorado. In November, 1916, Mr. Songer was elected clerk of the District Court.

He is looked upon as one of the rising young men of Butler County, and has always shown an effciency and reliability in any trust that has been imposed upon him. He has a host of friends and his popularity is justly merited. Whileliving at Pontiac Mr. Songer served as postmaster for two years under Roosevelt and two years under Taft. He was also a member of the school board for six years. He has some farm interests in the county and owns his residence at 314 North Emporia Street. His offices are in the courthouse.

Mr. Songer is a republican, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a teacher in its Sunday school, and has fraternal affiliations with Patmos Lodge No. 97, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at El Dorado; El Dorado Lodge No. 74. Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is past noble grand; El Dorado Camp No. 647, Modern Woodmen of America; El Dorado Lodge No. 128 Ancient Order of United Workmen, and Imo Lodge No. 48, Knights of Pythias.

Mr. Songer is married and has a happy family and an ideal home. On April 19, 1903, he was married at Pontiac to Miss Jennie Bishop, a native of Kansas and a daughter of Elias and Charlotte (Childers) Bishop. Her mother is now deceased. Elias Bishop was one of the very early pioneersof Butler County, coming in 1868, at the age of sixteen. He still owns his homestead in Fairview Township, but is now retired from active farming and a resident of El Dorado. Mr. and Mrs. Songer have three children Carl Lyman, born January 25, 1904; Mabel Merle, born February 11, 1906; and Marvin Fletcher, born January 5, 1908.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Lorri Wray, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, October 21, 1999.

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