JACOB BLACKBURN DEAN. The entire independent career of Jacob Blackburn Dean has been passed in Morton County, where, classed among the early settlers, he has worked his way from modest circumstances to substantial prosperity and a position among the leading ranchman of this section. His advent into Kansas occurred March 5, 1886, when the family came by rail to Syracuse, being headed by Mr. Dean's father, George W. Dean, from Wayne County, Iowa. There, at Corydon, Jacob Blackburn Dean was born October 12, 1870, and his education, commenced in the public schools of his native place, was completed in public schools of Richfield, Kansas. He has in later years served as a member of the board of directors in school district No. 12. His father entered as his homestead the northwest quarter of section 9, township 31, range 41, just north of Richfield, and there the family home was maintained until J. Blackburn Dean was of age. The senior Dean lived for a time at Syracuse, where he purchased a farm and conducted it for three years, when he disposed of it and returned to Morton County and resumed his farming and stockraising here. He was also in the Star Route mail service from Syracuse to Richfield for a period.
George W. Dean was born at Mount Ephraim, Ohio, December 22, 1834, and about 1840 accompanied his parents to Iowa, where he resided in Van Buren and Wayne counties until coming to Kansas. His father was William Dean, of English birth, who married Eliza J. Smith, and they are buried in Wayne County, Iowa. The old parents were farming people, although William Dean was by trade a shoemaker. Their children were: George W.; Lizzie, who married Starkey Bracewell and resides in Southern California; Jacob, who met his death while serving in an Iowa volunteer regiment during the Civil war; Francina and Fannie, twins, the former of whom married Lewis Hammock and died in McPherson County, Kansas, while the latter is the wife of Perry Hill, of Cherokee County, this state; Maggie, who was first the wife of Houston Moore, but died at Renfro, Oklahoma, as Mrs. M. E. McCart; Janie, who married Hiram Van Pelt, of Mitchell County, Kansas; and Isaac N., who is a farmer in Missouri.
George W. Dean secured a common school education and as a young man was engaged in teaching school in Iowa. The Civil war came on to interrupt his activities in this direction, and he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-Third Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Kinsman being his first regimental commander. Mr. Dean, who was orderly sergeant of his company, took part in the battles of Duvall's Bluff, Champion Hill and Big Black and the siege of Vicksburg, and was detailed with others to take 3,500 Confederate prisoners north, and later his regiment was sent down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and across the Gulf of Mexico to Texas, where at Fort Esparanza he was mustered out of the service and honorably discharged. He was neither wounded nor captured during his three years service. After the war he joined the Grand Army of the Republic and attended numerous encampments, state and national. Mr. Dean's political history was somewhat diversified, for he voted for Ben Butler for president, for General Garfield, for Mr. Bryan, for Colonel Roosevelt and for Mr. Wilson. He was treasurer of Wayne County, Iowa, for two terms and in Kansas was on the board of his school district. His religious faith was that of the Methodist Church.
George W. Dean was married in Wayne County, Iowa, to Serephina Moore, daughter of Samuel Moore, a farmer and ante-bellum settler of Iowa. Mrs. Dean died in 1872, having been the mother of the following children: George W., who died at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, as a soldier during the Spanish-American war; Elnora, who married W. D. Ritchey and died at Caldwell, Kansas; Sam M., of Baca County, Colorado; J. Blackburn, of this notice: Serephina, who married Will Olinger for her first husband, but is now Mrs. Lawson Whitehead, of Baca County, Colorado. George W. Dean for his second wife married Martha M. Shipley, who died at Dodge City, Kansas, having borne her husband the following children: Jesse, of Baca County, Colorado; Mary Nettie, who is Mrs. James Davis, of Syracuse, Kansas; Mabel, the wife of Jesse Morgan, of Morton County; Oliver Perry, of this county; Colonel Kinsman, of Baca County, Colorado; Harry Simpson, also of that county; Leona Maud, the wife of Herschel Kreigh, of Los Angeles, California; and James Alva, of Baca County, Colorado. The father of these children died August 7, 1916, and is buried by the side of his wife, Martha M., at Syracuse, Kansas.
J. Blackburn Dean, who is everywhere among his friends known as "Bun," continued as a part of the parental establishment until he had passed his majority, and when twenty-one years of age took a homestead northwest of Richfield, where he lived in a little shanty, 12 by 20 feet while proving up, and while complying with the law in the acquirement of a deed worked out for what living his claim failed to produce.
Part of the time was spent working on the range, making a couple of trips to Montana with trail herds for Ox's and Union Beef Company, and working on the "roundup" for Beatty Brothers O O outfit and C C C's. He was in Oklahoma territory at the time the Sac and Fox country was opened up, also when the Cherokee Strip was opened, made the race from Orlando, but was prevented from filing because of his Kansas rights already exercised.
The report of gold discoveries in the Yukon country caused him to seek Alaska, and he sailed from Seattle to Juneau, found work with a quartz mining company, and returned home again in seven months.
He finally sold his homestead for $55 and then settled in his present locality, section 31, township 31, range 43. He has improved this property from the raw prairie and the house which shelters him and his family was built of buildings moved out from Richfield and added to at various times. Money was decidedly scarce with Mr. Dean when he came here, but he was better off than some of the settlers, owning a team and being associated with his father in the ownership of a bunch of cows. To supplement his farm earnings he hauled posts from the cedar breaks of Colorado, freighted a little from Syracuse, and on the claim endeavored to grow feed for his stock. A few years after they came to this locality Mr. Dean and his father bought fifteen quarter-sections of land at $30 a quarter, a county sale of delinquent tax lands, most of which now forms the Dean ranch. Later Mr. Dean and brother Sam M. developed the present Dean ranch of about thirty quarters lying astride the Kansas line, improving the property in 1908 with one of the largest barns in Morton County, built of cement blocks, a structure 32 by 100 feet, 14 feet ceiling with mow capacity of 100 tons of feed. For several years they bred Aberdeen-Angus cattle of the grades but subsequently changed the blood to White Face and Shorthorns. Their experience with cattle has justified their opinion that they have been the salvation of the settler here. The ranch is still owned by Dean Brothers.
Mr. Dean was county commissioner for the third district for eight years, being first elected in 1908 and leaving office in 1916. He served with Commissioners Ira Milburn, William E. Moore, John McGuire and Gilbert Mangels. The work of most importance while he was on the board was a suit to recover fees from the ex-clerk of the District Court which belongs to the county and which suit was a partial success. The murder of Sheriff Moore caused the board to take official notice of the act and hire a lawyer to prosecute the case against the murderer, with the results of convictions against five people.
Mr. Dean was married at Syracuse, Kansas, February 28, 1910, to Lydia Anna Watson, who was born in Butler County, Kansas, November 12, 1877, a daughter of Jacob M. and Olive (Chenoweth) Watson. Mr. Watson, who was a school teacher and farmer, came from Ohio to Butler County, Kansas, In the early '70s. He was one of the organizers of the present town of Leon, Mrs. Dean being the first baby resident. Mr. and Mrs. Watson had three other children, Thomas D., Charley J. and Nelle V. The family moved to Morton County, Kansas, in March, 1887, and later across the line into Baca County, Colorado. Several years previous to her marriage Mrs. Dean taught in the rural and graded schools of Kansas and Colorado. Mr. and Mrs. Dean have one child, a son, Jacob Bertram, who was born at Coolidge, Kansas, December 24, 1910.
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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