MICHAEL BUHRER is an "old timer" of Western Kansas and has been a resident of Stanton County since 1886. He has exemplified the permanent and persistent qualities of his Swiss ancestry, and is still living on the tract of land upon which he filed as a homestead more than thirty years ago. Little by little and bit by bit his possessions have increased, and though often contending with hardships and difficulties in early years has found this a good place in which a man of sturdy mold and honest character could make a living and provide all those things which an ambitious citizen desires.
Mr. Buhrer was born in Fulton County, Ohio, January 17, 1861. His father, Jacob Buhrer, was a native of Switzerland and saw some service in the regular army of Switzerland before coming to the United States when a young man. In Fulton County, Ohio, he married Catherine Theobold, who was born in the Province of Bavaria, Germany, July 25, 1832, and died January 12, 1914. She was three years of age when her parents came to the United States and located near Tipton, Ohio. She was a faithful Christian all her years. She married at the age of twenty-one. Their children were: Mrs. Philipine Beckwith, of Belpre, Kansas; Mrs. Caroline Hanmesser, of Chapman, Kansas; Michael; Jacob, of Pawnee County; Mrs. Annie Webb, of Larned; Mrs. Christina Rooney, of Morris, Colorado; Mrs. Lucy Hays, of Pawnee County, Kansas; and Valentine, of that county.
Michael Buhrer obtained his early education in the country schools of Fulton County, Ohio. While growing up on the farm he learned the use of carpenter tools, and being the oldest son it fell to his lot to work out for money and provide some of the necessities of living for the household. In 1878 he helped move the family out to Pawnee County, Kansas, bringing an emigrant car to Larned in January of that year and locating in the Pratt community south of Larned, where his parents spent their last years. Later Michael went back to his old native locality for a year, and while there he cast his first vote. With that exception his home has been in Kansas for forty years.
Mr. Buhrer was still unmarried when he arrived in Stanton County in 1886. He homesteaded the southwest quarter of section 1, township 27, range 41, and began there with the customary shelter of a half dugout, 10 by 12 feet, which was sufficient of a house for that day and time. About two years later, on April 11, 1888, in Hamilton County, he married Miss Elma Millsap. Her home was on the south side of Hamilton County, and she is a daughter of Irenius and Mary Catherine (Dennis) Millsap. Her father came to Kansas from Ringgold County, Iowa, where Mrs. Buhrer was born April 6, 1866. Her father was a native of Indiana and served as a member of the Home Guards in Iowa during the war. After coming to Western Kansas he proved up a homestead in Hamilton County and occupied it a number of years. He and his wife died near Collinsville, Oklahoma. Their children were: Nancy J., who first married Ed Churchill and is now married again and living in the State of Washington; Mrs. Buhrer; Ulysses Aden, of Collinsville, Oklahoma; Emma E., who died unmarried; Silas, who died in Oklahoma; Angie, wife of James Tapp, of Oolagah, Oklahoma; Nora Belle, who first married Mr. Walker and is now Mrs. Sanburn, of Wichita, Kansas; and Clemmie, wife of George McClain, of Missouri.
For several years Michael Buhrer made ends meet by working out for others in Stanton and Hamilton counties, working in the hayfields along the Arkansas River, and also threshing grain in Barton County while his wife held down the claim. When he married his wife owned three cows, and they with the span of mules and mare which he owned made up their stock. Those cows contributed the largest part of their living for some years. For several years Mr. Buhrer also conducted a feed barn on his farm for the service of the freighters who stopped there while hauling goods from Syracuse south. Gradually he got together a bunch of cattle and began grazing them on the open range, and has used the free range ever since. During the summer that Mr. Buhrer spent in Eastern Kansas threshing for four months his wife drew water from this 80-foot well with a rope and bucket, and by that laborious process she watered all the stock and also looked after the other work of the little ranch.
After his dugout Mr. Buhrer built a stone house, which he occupied several years, and finally erected his substantial frame dwelling of six rooms. He bought his land when it could be obtained cheaply, merely for the taxes and the owner's equity. For one quarter section he paid as low as $60, and for others the price was over $400 a quarter section. At the present time he owns almost six full quarter sections and cultivates about 260 acres, raising such rough feeds as maize, kaffir, cane, and to a limited extent field corn. As a stock man he handles the Galloway strain of cattle and occasionally has a surplus of hogs and horses. Recently he sold a load of hogs for 17 cents a pound, the highest price he ever received, and in the early days such livestock was hardly worth more than three or four cents a pound.
He has always manifested a commendable activity in matters of local and community welfare, has served both as a director and treasurer of school district No. 22, and during fourteen years of his life here filled the office of treasurer of Mitchell Township. He is a republican in politics, and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being a past noble grand of Johnson Lodge and a present member of Syracuse Lodge. To Mr. and Mrs. Buhrer were born the following children: Robert F., Clara, Leslie V., Columbus C., Michael, Jr., Minnie Catherine and Alice May, the last dying in infancy. Robert is now a rancher in Prowers County, Colorado. Clara married John Slabach and lives at Hutchinson, Kansas.
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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