CHARLES M. DILLMAN, who came into Gray County in April, 1885, endured many of the vicissitudes of the home maker and homesteader here, has had a long continuous record of public service, including his present incumbency as postmaster of Cimarron.
Though most of his life has been spent in the Mississippi Valley Mr. Dillman was born at Fincastle, Botetourt County, Virginia, May 25, 1859. His grandfather, Daniel Dillman, was a Pennsylvania Dutchman, moved from his native state into Virginia, was a farmer but never owned any slaves. He lived to be about ninety-three years of age. Among his children were Daniel, David, Mrs. Ann Barnett and Anthony K.
Anthony K. Dillman, father of Charles M., was born in Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1818, and for a number of years had a farm and was also manager of the county poor farm there. When the war came on he was too old for the Confederate army, though he served as a Home Guard. About 1869, when Charles M. was ten years of age, he went to Missouri and finally came out to Kansas and passed away at Cimarron in April, 1900, at the age of eighty-two. He married Margaret Smiley, who died in 1865. Her father was a collier at an iron furnace in Virginia. The children of Anthony K. Dillman and wife were: Paris, who died leaving no children; Frank, who died at Caplinger Mills, Missouri; Charles M.; Lucy, who married William Cox, of Montana; Fannie, wife of J. G. Jannaway, of Caplinger Mills, Missouri; Sallie, who lives in Missouri; Jennie, wife of Willam Newman of Dighton, Kansas.
Charles M. Dillman grew up in Cedar County, Missouri. His activity in affairs and successful accomplishment seem the more noteworthy in view of the fact that he gained his education almost entirely by his individual efforts and by mastering the various subjects as he had need for them. He left public schools when he was still struggling with the difficulties of the second reader. His career seems to demonstrate the truth of the old maxim that where there is a will there is a way. As a young man in Missouri he spent fourteen years farming and working at the carpenter trade. As there was opportunity he gave close study to proper business forms, correct letter writing, and also the law and picked up a wide and handy knowledge of that profession, which subsequently served him well when he was called to a position usually held only by a licensed attorney.
Mr. Dillman came to Kansas in February, 1884, at the age of twenty-five. His first settlement was at Sawyer in Pratt County, where he proved up a part of the townsite. Disposing of his interests there he moved farther out toward the frontier and in April, 1885, established himself in Gray County, which was then unorganized and was one of the townships of Ford County. While in Pratt County he had exercised his pre-emption right, but he still had the privilege of homesteading and that was his first act in the county. He took for a claim the southeast quarter of section 3, township 28, range 28, and the day after filing moved on to it and took possession. Here he built a small frame house, the only one between Cimarron and Cripple Creek, a distance of twenty-five miles. When the conditions are recalled he certainly showed a great deal of courage and pioneer enterprise in his decision to make a farm. His claim was in the midst of an immense pasture containing from 16,000 to 17,000 acres, and his shanty was the only one within the entire area. Hers he began breaking sod, having an equipment of a span of mules and three horses, and from his crop raised on the sod secured enough to feed his stock the following winter. That winter was memorable in all Kansas because of the great blizzard. Thousands of the old Longhorn cattle on the pasture surrounding him perished. Mr. Dillman has always regretted that he did not save some of the fine heads and horns, since relics of the old Texas type of Longhorns are now rare and hard to get. This particular herd was the property of Barton Brothers, one of whom is still living in Gray County. When the Longhorns started a stampede they would make the earth tremble in a way that no one who ever witnessed it could forget.
Mr. Dillman spent thirteen years on his farm, and as he looks back it seems that he was getting a little poorer every year. The years 1896-97 were especially hard upon all the settlers. The Dillman family had the staples to keep body together, but it was absolutely impossible to indulge in any taste for additional clothing or style. For nearly seven years Mr. Dillman wore the same dress suit. Overalls were especially popular and in good taste everywhere. During those thirteen years Mr. Dillman accumulated some sixty horses, some cattle and ample tools to farm with, and owed no man a debt which he could not pay.
From this farm he was called to the office of county clerk. He succeeded Charles Tabb in the office and he found official life a very trying experience. However, he stuck to his job and remained chief functionary in the clerk's office for seven years. From that he was called to still further duties in the county in the office of county attorney. He filled that place one term of two years. In the meantime the county was settling up rapidly, many new people were coming in, and altogether his official term was filled with complexities and arduous duties. In all his official experience Mr. Dillman has been backed by a degree of popularity such as few men in his section of the country have enjoyed. He has also shown great ability as a political campaigner, and this was evidenced by the fact that he was elected on the democratic ticket whereas the normal political complexion of the county was about two republicans to one democrat.
After leaving the county attorney's office Mr. Dillman served four years as county commissioner. As a commissioner he was a tenacious advocate of good roads and the board succeeded in putting through some permanent roads that are a credit to this administration. While county commissioner Mr. Dillman was engaged in the grain business at Cimarron as manager of the Co-operative Elevator for a year. Failing health caused him to give up that employment but after a year spent in recuperating in Colorado he became fully restored. He was next in the feed and produce business at Cimarron and in August, 1916, he accepted his present post of responsibility as postmaster, succeeding Wilford B. Flaugher. Mr. Dillman is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and he and his wife are active members of the Christian Church.
In Gray County, Kansas, February 13, 1887, after locating on his claim, Mr. Dillman married Ellen Rains. She was also from Cedar County, Missouri, and a daughter of Isaac and Mary (Williams) Rains, her father a native of Kentucky. Isaac Rains located in Cedar County, Missouri, about eighty years ago. Mrs. Rains was one of sixteen children, all of whom lived to grow up. From the record that has already been given it is evident that long life and moderate prosperity has been characteristic of both the Dillman and the Williams family. Mr. and Mrs. Dillman have the following children: Vern, wife of C. P. Dixon, of Spokane, Washington; Frank Loy is in France as a member of the Fifth United States Engineers; Merl H. is a member of the Thirty-first Balloon Company, United States Army; Clive Dewey is now in the United States Heavy Artillery in France; Fay is a clerk for her father in the postoffice; Floy and Ilene complete the family.
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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