DANIEL E. BONDURANT is one of the busiest men of Ness City. His activities extend to grain buying, farming, and public affairs, and he has witnessed practically every phase of the development in this section of Western Kansas down to date.
He was born April 16, 1862, near Portsmouth in Scioto County, Ohio. In the paternal line he is of French ancestry. His grandfather Bondurant was a merchant and farmer near California in Pike County, Ohio, and he married a German woman, Polly Post, who afterwards came out to Kansas and proved up a claim in High Point Township in Ness County. She finally returned to Ohio, and at her death was buried in the California cemetery beside her husband.
Benton P. Bondurant, father of Daniel E., was born in Pike County, Ohio, in 1838, and was reared in the old iron furnace district of Southern Ohio. He occasionally hauled pig iron for the furnaces, drove cattle for farmers, and for a time was in the lumber business. During the war he was a member of the Ohio Home Guard, and several times filled the office of justice of the peace. Politically he was a republican and religiously a member of the United Brethren Church.
On October 11, 1881, the Bondurant family arrived in Ness County. Daniel E. was then about nineteen years of age. His father took government land in High Point Township, secured a patent to it, but placed there only temporary or pioneer improvements. After a few years he left the farm and engaged in the feed business at Ness City. In that business he was succeeded by his son Daniel. Benton P. Bondurant died at Ness City in 1893.
The Bondurant family during their early days in Kansas experienced all the vicissitudes and hardships of existence. They made the journey by rail as far as Larned, and a hired vehicle brought them into Ness County. Benton P. Bondurant and wife had just enough money to reach their destination and purchase a few cows. In order to eke out a scanty existence their sons took turns of working out for others a month at a time. In this way they secured the use of a yoke of oxen to break up the land of their homestead. Occasionally two of the sons went further east where farm work was more plentiful and their wages served to keep the family in provisions until the crop could be made. Those sons also were employed in the sugar mills at Sterling, Kansas. For the first few years little was raised on the old claim except broom corn. Mr. Daniel Bondurant had some experiences of those early days, and when the railroad was built through Ness County he was a team driver and, as he phrases it, "he skinned sod" for the railroad grade.
Benton P. Bondurant married Lydia S. Meade. Her father, Ezra Meade, at one time lived in Pike County and later in Scioto County, Ohio, and was a farmer. Mrs. Benton Bondurant was born in 1832 and passed away in Ness City August 20, 1917. Her children were: Daniel E.; John A., a farmer in High Point Township; William H., who was formerly postmaster of Ness City; Thomas, a business man at Ness City; George, who lives at Ness City and is a grain buyer at Bazine; and Frances, wife of Guy McCoy, of Craigs, Missouri.
Daniel E. Bondurant acquired a limited schooling, partly in Ohio and partly in Kansas. His school days were interrupted by the necessities of labor on the home farm. For a term or so he attended a school in Hodgeman County five or six miles away. He walked the entire distance, and a number of times had to contend with the severe blizzards of Western Kansas. Afterwards the Bondurant and two or three other families organized district No. 2 in Ness County, and put up a sod house which was employed a few months each year for a school conducted on the subscription plan.
In 1888 Mr. Daniel Bondurant engaged in the feed business in Ness City, and from that he has expanded into the grain and cattle business, and this forms an important factor in his varied enterprise. After his marriage he located on a claim his wife had filed upon just east of Ness City, and there he began stock raising on an extensive scale. Together they developed a farm of more than 1,100 acres, with 600 acres of it under cultivation and devoted chiefly to the crop of wheat. On leaving the stock business Mr. Bondurant gave most of his energies to wheat raising. He also entered the elevator business, and owns an elevator in Ness City and one at Hansom. Even before buying an elevator he had handled wheat and other grain as a shipper. Mr. Bondurant now owns considerable property in Ness City, and built one of the comfortable residences of the town.
In 1884 he cast his first vote in Ness County and supported James G. Blaine for president. Later, during the populist era, he became republican candidate for the office of sheriff, and it indicates his high business standing and personal popularity that he was elected in the face of populistic domination, being the only man on his ticket to weather the storm. He succeeded Sheriff Shaffer and served one term. The county was then as now quite peaceable and little work of a criminal nature had to be done. More than anything else he was employed in executing foreclosures. Mr. Bondurant has also served as a member of the city council of Ness City. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
In Ness County in December, 1893, he married Miss Ollie Teater. Her father, L. M. Teater, came to Ness County in 1886, settling at Bazine, where for a time he supported his family by working on the railroad. Later he bought a farm there, but retired from that and died in Ness City in 1915. L. M. Teater was born in Iowa, of Kentucky parentage, and served as a Union soldier during the Civil war, being one of the youngest men in the Northern army. The children in the Teater family were: Frank, living in Iowa; Nellie, wife of William H. Bondurant, of Ness City; Clara, of Ness City; Thursa Kelley, living at Twin Falls, Idaho; and Mary, wife of Sam Beardslee, of Ness City.
Mrs. Bondurant has spent her life in Western Kansas largely, and before her marriage she taught five terms of school. She received most of her education in the Bazine locality of Ness County, and taught her first term of school when she was quite young. Later she filed on a relinquishment that Mr. Bondurant secured, and she taught school in that district just before marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Bondurant have the following children: Chester, a graduate of the Ness City High School, abandoned his studies in the Kansas Agricultural College to apply for the officers' training camp, but was rejected on account of physical disability, He then went to Mayo Brothers Hospital for treatment and upon his return home re-entered college at Manhattan for training for eventual army service. Fayne, who has finished the course of the Ness City High School, has a normal training certificate, and has taught one year in Ness County, and is a graduate of the Agricultural College with the class of June, 1918. Reita is a student in the Kansas Agricultural College.
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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