THOMAS JEFFERSON CRIST, an industrious, enterprising and well-to-do ranchman of Hamilton County, living near Hatton, has accumulated a fine property since coming to Western Kansas, his well-kept farm, with its substantial buildings, making manifest to the most casual observer the thrift and care of the proprietor, and proving conclusively that he has a thorough understanding of his business. His home environment is a real decoration of the unbroken landscape, his residence, his flowers and his trees bearing evidence of the labor, care and good taste of the real home builders abiding there. A son of Jefferson Crist, he was born September 6, 1865, in Clay County, Indiana, of pioneer stock.
Nicholas Crist, Mr. Crist's grandfather, migrated from Kentucky to Indiana, settling as a pioneer farmer in Clay County. To him and his wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Biggs, ten children were born, as follows: Nicholas, Henry, Jake, Thompson, Chesley, Mrs. America Liston, Mrs. Nancy Buskirk, Mrs. Rachel Stutzman, Mrs. Cummings, and Jefferson.
Jefferson Crist settled permanently in Clay County, Indiana, where he was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death in 1871, at the age of thirty-eight years. The maiden name of his wife was Eunice Goble. She was born in 1834, being a daughter of Daniel and Eunice (Pound) Goble, who moved from Kentucky to Indiana, locating on a farm. Daniel Goble was a tiller of the soil, and a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. His immediate ancestors served as soldiers in the Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Crist were the parents of seven children, as follows: Miranda, who married Preston Stout and died in Sullivan County, Indiana; John D., of Clay County; Rebecca married William J. Heady, and resides in Sullivan County, Indiana; Sarah, wife of Henry Purcell, of Clay County, Indiana; Thomas Jefferson, of this notice; Joseph C., also of Clay County; and William A., who died in Oklahoma, leaving children who are now living in Olympia, Washington. Mrs. Jefferson Crist now lives in Clay County, Indiana.
Reared on a farm in his native county, Thomas Jefferson Crist had but meagre opportunities for acquiring an education, his help being needed on the home farm. In his youthful days he made his pioneer trip to Kansas, coming by wagon with a boy companion, and stayed a few months. He then returned to Indiana, but two years later, responding to the lure of the West, he came again to this state, but instead of locating in Harper County, as on the previous trip, he took up a claim in Stanton County. At the end of a year he paid the Government for the land, taking out a patent. While there Mr. Crist worked as a farm hand for $15 a month, and because his employer left the county he left too, being unable to find another job in that locality.
In 1903 he came again to Kansas, traveling by rail to Syracuse, and bringing with him his family, some bedding, the family wardrobe, and a few dollars in money, his sole worldly assets. He worked at whatever he could find to do until the spring of 1904, when he moved to a quarter section of land, in section 22, township 26, range 42. In 1906 he entered a homestead claim on the northwest quarter of section 23, township 26, range 42, and immediately began the development of Sunny Slope Ranch, his present home. He first lived in a half dug-out, with dirt walls, and from this humble beginning he has passed through many changes, the house that he now occupies being a credit to him and an ornament to the neighborhood.
Mr. Crist began seeking water as soon as he was well located, and through his present system of irrigation has grown beautiful shade trees; has a productive orchard of fine-flavored peach and cherry trees, and raises as choice garden truck as if gentle rains were a weekly occurrence. Starting in the cattle business by purchasing two cows, Mr. Crist subsequently picked up a calf now and then, and as his finances permitted added to his stock, having now a fine herd of Galloway cattle, fifty Percheron horses, and some splendid Duroc Jersey hogs. When he embarked in business weaning calves were worth from $8 to $10 apiece, and cows but $20, a striking contrast with the 1917 prices, when calves of the same age sold from $30 to $35 each, and good cows easily commanded $65 a head.
Mr. Crist married in September, 1890, Mary E. Marshall, and of their union four children were born, namely: Bulus F., wife of John Schmidt, of Prowers County, Colorado, has one son, Frank; Thalus J., deceased; Nova Z., a student in the Syracuse High School; and Naomi. Mr. Crist married for his second wife, in Clay County, Indiana, February 28, 1902, Maggie Barrick, and they are the parents of two children, Paul and Basil. Mrs. Crist was born in Clay County, Indiana, a daughter of Andrew and Sena (Nixon) Barrick, farmers, and natives of Clay County. Mr. and Mrs. Barrick reared nine children, namely: Mrs. Crist, born July 6, 1879; Emery, of Houston, Texas; Mary E., who died in Indiana; Nellie; wife of Noah Bridges, of Jasonville, Indiana; Edna married Forrest Gilbert, of Greene County, Indiana; Oliver, living in Greene County, also; Frederick, deceased; and Marshall and Dewey, of Greene County, Indiana.
Politically Mr. Grist is identified with the democratic party, and soon after coming to the county was made director of school district No. 26. He was later elected county commissioner, succeeding Commissioner Huller, the other members of the board having been Jake Watson, S. S. Clapp, and Harry Crittenden. The county at that time was more than $100,000 in debt, one half of which that board paid off. The only steel or permanent bridge in the county when Mr. Crist accepted the office of commissioner was that crossing the Arkansas at Syracuse. Now there are several concrete bridges, and the Santa Fe trail, which has been taken over as a county road, is being improved; also a north and south road is being built, or rather placed in good condition. It will therefore be seen that public improvements have not lagged since Mr. Crist, who is now serving his second term as commissioner, has been in office. He is also president of the Bear Creek Telephone Company, and of the Farmers Local Union. He is a member and clerk of the Providence Church.
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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