WILLIAM E. CARR. Among the settlers of the '80s in Meade County who came with modest capital, and possessions, but heavily freighted with hope and aglow with prospects of a new life in a new country, was William E. Carr, who dates his residence here from 1886. In the years of stress and trial that followed he lost most of his capital and had circumstances sufficiently discouraging to efface must of his hope, but he tenaciously clung to his determination to make a home, has survived and outlived the strenuous epoch of the past, and is one of the contented, prosperous and prominent citizens of Fowler today.
On the 9th of May, 1886, when he landed at Fowler, there was no railroad in this immediate vicinity. He had driven two teams as part of a caravan from Dodge City. His arrival at Dodge City was made as a passenger on the railroad. Accompanying him were his wife and one child, comprising his own family. At Dodge City he bought two teams as a means of further travel and also as the power required for farming. Coming with him was his wife's brother William Krisle, who became a settler and spent the rest of his days in this community. Mr. Carr bought a quarter section of land south of Fowler, and at that point his residence in Kansas began. He brought with him about $1,400, while his partner was modestly rich with $6,000. Mr. Carr's pioneer efforts at farming was the planting of thirty acres of sod corn in June. It yielded barely enough feed to supply his teams during the following winter.
He paid a rather high price for his land, $800, and he soon used up the rest of his surplus cash. As a matter of necessity he began freighting in 1887. His two teams were used in hauling goods from Dodge City to Fowler. He hauled provisions and feed for the grading outfits that were then constructing the dump for the Rock Island road. This continued until the railroad was put into operation at Fowler. Later Mr. Carr employed his services as a harvest hand, but soon found it possible to make his farm support him.
Mr. Carr had abundance of experience as a wheat grower. On the whole he found it a profitable crop. His best yield per acre was 26 bushels and his largest single threshing was 6,000 bushels. He sold wheat as cheap as 40 cents a bushel and again as high as $1.00 a bushel. He had given up wheat growing before the fancy war prices of 1916 and 1917.
Mr. Carr was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, August 3, 1855. His grandfather, John Carr, was a native of Virginia and served as a soldier in the War of 1812. Some time after the close of that war he moved his family to Robertson County, Tennessee, and spent his last years there. John Carr married Mary Evans. Their two children were Robert and Mary, the latter marrying John Randolph. Robert Carr, father of William E., was born in Virginia in 1810, in South Hampton County, and was seven years old when his parents removed to Tennessee. As a Tennessee farmer he devoted his land to such crops as corn, oats and tobacco. He died in 1882 and his wife in 1884. His wife bore the maiden name of Nellie Randolph. Her father, George Randolph, was a North Carolina man, but moved to Robertson County, Tennessee. The children of Robert Carr and wife were: Bettie, who married John Williams and died at Watonga, Oklahoma; Nancy, who married Sanders Covington and died in Tennessee; Mildred, who married John Bell and died at Nashville, Tennessee; Lucinda, who married Jack Sanders, of Robertson County; Louisa, who married Sowell Yates and now lives in the old home county of Tennessee; Lydia, who married James Yates, of Robertson County; William E.; and Lucy, who married Pleasant Babb, of Robertson County.
William E. Carr married in his native county of Tennessee on April 9, 1880, Emma Krisle, daughter of William Krisle. Mrs. Carr died May 9, 1886, and her death was the tragedy which marred the coming of the family to Kansas. She left an only son, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-seven. On April 12, 1893, Mr. Carr married Miss Cordelia Padgett, daughter of Joseph F. Padgett, who had come to Kansas in 1887 from Chariton County, Missouri. Mr. Padgett was born in Kentucky, but spent most of his early life in Orange County, Indiana. He married there Barbara Haga, a native of Indiana. Joseph Padgett spent most of his life as a farmer, though for a time he was a merchant in Missouri. He was a republican voter and was very active in the Christian Church, rearing his family in the same faith. He died at Wichita, Kansas, at the age of seventy-six. His wife died in Chariton County, Missouri. The Padgett children were: Mary, who died unmarried; Margaret, wife of J. E. Kincaid, of Los Angeles; Sarah, who married Robert Mitchell and died in Chariton County, Missouri; Lazarus; Joel D.; Hattie, wife of John Reiter, of Byron, Oklahoma; Mrs. Carr, who was born in Chariton County, Missouri, October 31, 1868; John T., of Keyser, Colorado; Oliver, of Meade County, Kansas; George W., of Los Angeles. Joseph F. Padgett married for his second wife Mrs. Jerusha Wolsey. They had two children: Mattie, wife of Rollin Ralston of Oklahoma, and William, of Montana.
In his early home in Meade County Mr. Carr spent some years and his younger children were born there. He acquired the ownership of a complete section of land, but finally sold three-quarters of it and moved his residence to Fowler. Later he developed a tract of land north of Fowler as an alfalfa proposition, and while he is not one of the large alfalfa growers he has found it a profitable business. Mr. Carr contributed to the growth of Fowler in the erection of his residence and a business house, and for two years was a grocery merchant of the village. He is also one of the stockholders of the Fowler State Bank.
His only official service was as a member of the school board of district No. 9 and also as its treasurer for a number of years. Politically he began voting for president when Grover Cleveland was a candidate and has supported the party nominees ever since, except one year when Mr. Weaver was the populist candidate. Mr. Carr is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his wife are active in the Christian Church.
Mrs. Carr completed her education in the Central Kansas Normal at Great Bend, and at the age of nineteen taught her first school in Meade County. She did school work there two years, and after finishing her course at the normal school took up teaching in Clark County. Her last school was the Randolph district in Meade County, and she left the work there to marry Mr. Carr. Mrs. Carr cast her first presidential vote in 1916 as a republican. Mr. and Mrs. Carr have two children: Nellie Olive and Joseph W. The daughter is a highly cultured young lady, took the highest honors of her class in the Fowler High School, and has completed a course in music in Bethany College at Lindsborg. The son Joseph is now a sophomore in the Fowler High School.
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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