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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Sawyer S. Clapp

SAWYER S. CLAPP. An important understanding of early and later conditions in Western Kansas can be obtained through a review of the experiences and activities of Sawyer S. Clapp, now a citizen of Syracuse and a resident of this section of Kansas nearly thirty years.

Mr. Clapp arrived in Kansas in 1889, making his first stop in Kearny County, near Kendall. There he filed on the northeast quarter of section 32, township 25, range 38. His early activities were those of a Kansas farmer. Unmarried at the time, he was well equipped to make a stand in the face of difficult conditions which drove so many of the pioneers out of the country. His early home was a dugout of a single room, and he acquired his land by purchasing the relinquishment of a homesteader. As a farmer he raised feed for his stock, at first for cattle and later for sheep. He developed his quarter section and still owns it with numerous additions. In that locality he made his home until March, 1895, and while there was chosen treasurer of the township.

His next move was to the vicinity of Kendall, where he bought a tract of land in section 31, township 24, range 38. A part of this land he seeded to alfalfa and later acquired another tract and spent about six years as an alfalfa farmer. His next move in 1900 brought him within the limits of Hamilton County, to section 22, township 24, range 39. Here he became owner by purchase of 258 acres and subsequently added to it 271 acres. This land he developed as a sheep, cattle and horse ranch. The ranch is three miles west of Kendall. In improving it he built. a stone house 34 by 44 feet, a most substantial dwelling, and comfortable in both winter and summer. Other improvements came from time to time and added convenience and value to the farm and Mr. Clapp remained there as a farmer for seven years. For his next residence he came to Syracuse, and has improved a small tract of land within the corporation limits. While directing his various lines of enterprise from his town home he has also been a factor in community affairs of Syracuse.

For a number of years his staple products in Kansas have been broom corn, Belgium horses, graded White Face cattle and grade Rambouillet sheep. This sheep is a long and fine wool animal with good body and bone, yielding a fleece from eight to twenty pounds. In his experience with sheep Mr. Clapp has sold wool as cheap as 8 1/2 cents a pound, and the largest price was 49 cents a pound for unwashed wool. From personal experience he is competent to speak on almost every phase of the wool and sheep growing business in Western Kansas. There was a time years ago when Coteswold lambs at weaning time were worth only $1.50 apiece and when fine ewes brought only $3 a head. The same lambs in 1917 were worth $10 each and the same ewes $15. A carload of wethers in the early '90s left his pasture at $2.75 a 100 and the same brand of sheep in the fall of 1917 brought $14 a 100.

Mr. Clapp is now a member of the Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, serving his second term. He succeeded Commissioner Buller in the office. Besides the general routine business the chief affairs to occupy the board have been the taking over of the Big Trail as a county road, the establishing of a north and south road through the county seat as a county highway, and also the clearing up of most of the public debt. There have also been constructed several strong and lasting cement bridges throughout the county. Politically Mr. Clapp was reared in a republican home but is now a democrat and cast his first presidential vote for Samuel J. Tilden, the "Sage of Grammercy Park." He has never missed a presidential vote in the past forty years. He is a member of no secret fraternity or church, but his wife was reared in and is a member of the Presbyterian faith.

Mr. Clapp came to Kansas from Illinois, where his youthful years were spent and where he grew up and received an education in the local schools. He was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, March 17, 1854. His grandfather, Samuel Clapp, spent his life in St. Lawrence County as a farmer, and by his marriage to Miss Brooks had five children: Sawyer, Nelson, Orrin, Henry, and Mary, who married Hosea Bicknell. Nelson B. Clapp, father of Sawyer S., was born near Rutland, Vermont, in 1820 and moved to New York and then to Illinois prior to the Civil war and in the fall of 1855 located in Livingston County, that state, where he spent the rest of his days. He married Arvilla Converse and they became the parents of three children, Elijah S., of Kendall, Kansas; Mrs. Mary E. Lowden, of Kankakee, Illinois, and Sawyer.

Sawyer S. Clapp married at Garden City, Kansas, August 24, 1892, Mrs. Agnes Weatherly. She was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, daughter of Andrew and Margaret (Corday) Kinghorn. The Kinghorn family came to America in 1856, locating at Montreal, Canada, where her father followed the trade of brass molder and later was in the same occupation at Toronto, Canada, where he died in October, 1876, in his fifty-ninth year. His wife died at Montreal in 1860. The Kinghorn children were: David, who died in Toronto; Mrs. Clapp, born April 15, 1854; Margaret, born in August, 1857, married William McNiven, of Chicago; and Mrs. Elijah S. Clapp, of Hamilton County, who was born January 1, 1860. Mrs. Clapp's children are by her first marriage, and as follows: Mrs. Agnes Spencer, deceased; Mrs. Grace Ogilvie, of Hamilton County, Kansas; Ora, wife of Ike Clore; and Mrs. Paul Johnson.


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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
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