ED T. BOLES, of Stevens County, is one of the men around whom gather most of the associations and experiences which comprise the history of this region. He came to manhood here, homesteaded when land could be had for the taking, has kept his own affairs growing and prospering, and without presuming to hold the destinies of the country in his hand has responded cheerfully to the obligations of community welfare.
He was born near Mattoon, Coles County, Illinois, December 17, 1871, and is a son of the late Thomas T. Boles, whom everyone in Stevens and Seward counties names with respect and honor, and a brief outline of whose career appears on other pages. The Boles family came to Stevens County in the spring of 1887, and since then except for three years Ed T. Boles has been continuously a factor and resident here. The family first settled near the postoffice of Voorhees. Ed Boles acquired his education in Illinois, attending school only four weeks in Kansas.
About the time he reached his majority he entered a homestead, now a part of the Parker ranch and farm in Stevens County, proved it up and farmed the land seven years. His first shelter there was a frame house 12 by 16 feet, and some addition was made to its size and comforts before he sold. In those early years he made his chief profits by raising watermelons, not for the fruit but for the seed. It was a famous country for melons, and Western Kansas was the source of much of the seed distributed by the leading seedsmen of the country. Mr. Boles shipped his seed to a number of the well known seed houses of the East, and seed grown on the Boles farm were planted in probably every state east of the Mississippi.
From Stevens County, after selling his homestead, he moved to Pratt County, and on a farm near Hopewell resumed melon growing for the seed. He harvested 9,000 pounds of seed from forty acres, but after three years of farming higher-priced lands he came to the conclusion that crops there were no improvement over those raised in Stevens County, so he sold out and returned.
This time he bought a raw tract of land in section 2, township 35, range 36, and has brought it to its present high state of improvement and culture under his own supervision and labor. A brief trial of seed-raising convinced him that subtle changes in climate or other reasons had impaired the vitality of seed and caused him to abandon that industry and concentrate on wheat. Since then Mr. Boles has kept himself continuously in the ranks of flour producers. He has harvested some kind of crop every year, his highest yield being twenty bushels to the acre, and his nearest total failure coming in 1917 with from two to six bushels to the acre.
While the country was still open Mr. Boles handled stock for a number of years, and that supplemented his crops as a steady resource. He usually sold his stock from the open range. Among the leading improvements of his country seat are a good residence of seven rooms, barn 16x40 feet, granary holding 4,000 bushels, and milk house with separator and other facilities. In the meantime his land holdings have grown to six quarter sections, all fenced, while 720 acres are under plow and most of it in some crop every season.
His longest service to the community has been on the board of School District No. 5, where he still serves. Formerly he was also township trustee two years and clerk. He began voting as a populist, supported that party as long as it had any vitality, balloted for Mr. Bryan in 1896 and since then has been a democrat. He and his family are members of the Friends Church. The Friends were the only denomination to support a church in Stevens County for a long period of years. The first church edifice was an old schoolhouse bought by subscription, moved to a new site and remodeled for church purposes. Besides his farm Mr. Boles is a stockholder in the Equity Grain, Lumber and Elevator enterprise at Tyrone.
On March 13, 1892, Mr. Boles married Miss Katie M. Hockett. Her father, Rev. Thomas Hockett, is widely known over this region as a pioneer minister of the Friends Church, but is also a homesteader and farmer and still a resident here. He was born in Henry County, Iowa, in 1851, son of Francis Hockett, a native of Ohio. He married Ellen Hayworth, daughter of Reece Hayworth, from Indiana, where she was born. Mrs. Boles was born October 5, 1872, and her brothers and sisters are: Clinton, a[sic] Strathmore, California; Carrie, wife of Victor Little, of Wichita; Cora, who married Fred Lamb of Stafford County; Albert, who died of snakebite, married Sarah Swofford and left two children; Miss Laura, living in California; Arthur, of Macksville, Kansas; Florence, wife of Jesse Maricle, of Liberal; Bess, of Prairie City, Oregon, and wife of Marril Morris; Lawrence, of Stafford County, Kansas.
Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Boles: Clarence, Lloyd, Eva L., Ernest P. and Chester A. Clarence, who farms on the family estate, married Myrtle Gardner. Lloyd, a farmer in the same community, married Ethel Gardner.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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