ADELBERT D. BIXBY. Of the families that have proved their value to the citizenship of Pawnee County since pioneer times that of the late Adelbert D. Bixby requires more than passing mention. Mr. Bixby spent his active years in this county as a farmer and besides the development of a large tract of land and the rearing of a capable family of children he found time to serve the public welfare in various capacities.
Mr. Bixby was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, July 28, 1849, and his death occurred at his retired home in Larned April 14, 1915, in his sixty-sixth year. He was a true American in spirit and practice and also by ancestry that was identified with the early colonial epoch. He was descended from Joseph Bixby, who came to this country in 1636 and settled in Massachusetts, living at Boxford in Essex County. He was born in 1620, probably in Waldingfield, Suffolk, England, a son of George and Ann (Cole) Bixby. The heads of the various generations in America down to the late Adelbert D. Bixby are named as follows: Joseph Bixby, Benjamin, Nathan, Amos, Darius, Darius, Asa Darius and Adelbert D.
Grandfather Darius Bixby fought as a soldier of the Revolution. He married Rachel Smith. Darius Bixby, their son, married Lodema Mott, whose remote American ancestry was a White, one of the White family which came over in the Mayflower. In the Mott family were also Revolutionary soldiers, and thus the family of Adelbert Bixby is entitled to membership in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution through at least two direct soldier ancestors.
Asa Darius Bixby was born twenty miles from Bennington, Vermont, the scene of one of the greatest battles of the Revolution. He married Rebecca Prudence Squires. Their children were: John Darius, who spent his life as a farmer near Red Oak, Iowa; Mary Lodema, who died in Illinois the wife of Leroy Hawes; Adelbert D.; Martha E., who died unmarried; Lydia A., who married C. F. Depue and lives in Seattle, Washington; Charles S., who married Ella Clifford and lives at Fort Pierce, Florida.
In 1850, when Adelbert D. Bixby was an infant, his parents moved to Carroll County, Illinois, where he was reared and educated. He attended the public schools at Lanark and was brought up on a farm, his parents having a large estate at Lanark. On reaching his majority he took up farming as an independent vocation.
On May 29, 1870, at Otter Creek in Whiteside County, Illinois, Mr. Bixby married Miss Mary Ann Miller, who was born in New Jersey July 4, 1849. She had a brother, William, and a sister, Margaret, Mrs. Gibson, both of whom were in New York City when last heard of.
Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Bixby traveled by wagon and team out to Kansas. They had a few household goods and they located temporarily in Wilson County. After a year there they returned to Illinois.
When they came out as permanent settlers in 1877 they also made the journey by wagon across the country. These journeys were uneventful and in the last trip they were accompanied by a number of others seeking homes in the West. It was on the 12th day of October, 1877, that Mr. Bixby arrived at Pawnee Rock. The winter was spent near that village and in the spring he bought an old soldier's relinquishment and filed on it. It was the northwest quarter of section 26, township 20, range 16. Only five acres had been broken. There was no house and the first home of the Bixbys was a sod house of one room. The family, consisting of his wife and three children, moved into it when it had neither doors nor floors nor plastered walls. The inside was finished as occasion presented and the house was made clean and comfortable and with some additions served as a home many years. It was replaced by a frame building in 1890.
These improvements were acquired by what the family were able to make from the soil. In the earlier years they raised broom corn and stock and finally constituted upon wheat raising, which for many years has been the chief resource. In 1904 Mr. Bixby erected a country home of ten rooms, most of it modern, and well adapted to all the conveniences and comforts of the family. He also constructed a barn of sufficient size for all his needs and had granaries for 7,000 bushels of grain. He also attempted to raise orchard fruits but they seldom repaid his efforts and in time he ceased the attempt altogether.
There were disappointments and discouragements through poor crops and other vicissitudes of the frontier, but the family fortunately remained in Kansas rather than trying their luck elsewhere. Once Mr. Bixby threatened to leave and did seek a location in Iowa, where he hoped to exchange his Kansas lands for a small farm. He was unable to make the deal and when he returned to Kansas he was better satisfied. Occasionally conditions were such that he had to work away from home, in order to pay for seed wheat or for enough money to buy groceries or other supplies. One year an ox team was the only aid he had in plowing and cultivating, but with it be put in a crop of broom corn which yielded handsomely and it it said it was his first good crop in Kansas. Besides his homestead he bought a timber claim which he proved up, subsequently bought a quarter of the section in which his homestead lies, and still later other quarters until a splendid estate was under his individual title and was largely made productive and useful through his efforts.
Outside of farm and home he served his district schools as a trustee, was treasurer of the township, and was master of the local grange when he died. He belonged to no lodge, but was a sustaining member of the Baptist Church and at one time served it as deacon.
Mr. and Mrs. Bixby were the parents of five children. Miss Martha Lodema is a graduate of the Larned High School and for seven years successfully taught in the public schools of Pawnee County. The second child was Amos L. Milo G. of Larned, married Elsie P. Bradley, and their children are named Beatrice, Sibyl, Delbert and Paul. The son Asa died as a child. James Taylor, the youngest, is managing the old home farm in Pawnee County, and by his marriage to Grace Bowman has a daughter, Dorothy Ann.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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