WILLARD L. EARL is a Kansas banker, now cashier of the Farmers State Bank of Larned. Prior to coming to this city in 1912 he had been actively identified with banking at Alton in Osborne County. At Larned he is associated with Mr. I. A. Webb, president of the Farmers State Bank and its chief stockholder. The vice president of the institution is W. S. Young, Mr. Earl has proved his special genius as financier at Larned, and the Farmers Bank for the past five years has had a remarkable record of growth and prosperity. When he bought an interest its capitol was $15,000, and at the present time its capital and surplus amount to $60,000. Five yours ago its deposits averaged $47,000, while today a round total of $525,000 are on deposit.
While Mr. Earl is not a native Kansan, he has lived in the state all his conscious life. He was born at Kalamazoo, Michigan, September 14, 1876. His paternal ancestry is Scotch-Irish. His grandfather, Lyman T. Earl, was a native of New York State, moved from there to Michigan, and was one of the pioneers of Kansas. He had come to Kansas to participate in a buffalo hunt, and what he saw of the state influenced him to become a permanent settler. In Michigan he was a succesful lumberman and owned several large saw mills there. In Kansas he did his pioneer work in Osborne County, where he laid out the Town of "Bull City," now Alton. His associate in that enterprise was General Bull. They laid out the town together and then "drew cuts" to see whose name the place should bear. General Bull won in this lottery. Lyman T. Earl spent most of his Kansas life as a retired farmer. He was a strong Union man and gave his influence to that side during the early struggles of Kansas. He was a loyal republican. His death occurred in 1886, at the age of eighty-four. Lyman T. Earl married Abilgail Chipman, who died in Osborne County. She was the mother of five daughters and two sons, the sons being Charles and Austin Earl, the latter of Alton, Kansas.
Charles Earl, who now lives in Topeka, was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, had a common school education, and though too young for service during the Civil war he twice tried to enlist. He brought his family to Kansas in 1878 and entered a government claim in Osborne County, proving up the homestead which he still owns. When he began his career in Osborne County he had a cash capital of only $47. His first home was a structure partly a hole in the ground and the upper part framed in with cottonwood boards. This habitation served its purpose until prosperity enabled him to do better. Charles Earl continued farming for many years, and when he retired he moved to Topeka. In the early days he grew or tried to grow wheat and corn, broom corn and the castor bean, and through these crops he paid for his land, provided for his family and gradually made a substantial stake in the country. At the same time he shared in the vicissitudes of the lean years and the afflictions of the early Kansas farmers, but he managed his affairs in such a way that hard times served only as a period in which his prosperity stood still while the good years enabled him to advance, and he seldom ever had to retreat. In the course of time his landed estate comprised 720 acres. The old pioneer home and other improvements were submerged in a modern house and splendid barns. When the family first went to Osborne County they hauled water on a "stoneboat" four miles. The water was obtained from an old well sunk in the bottom of a creek bed. Charles Earl located in Osborne County in time to help organize district No. 81, and the first school house was built of sod. He was a member of its board for about twenty years. He also served Grant Township as clerk and trustee. Politically he was a loyal republican until the campaign of 1896, when he stood with his party on the silver issue and has since been a democrat. He is not a church man, but his wife is Presbyterian, and fraternally he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Charles Earl was married in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Miss Ellen Fairchild, daughter of Lyman and Margaret Fairchild. Their children are as follows: Orville, a farmer at Alton, Kansas; Willard L.; Walter, who died on May, 1917, was a rancher in Yuma County, Colorado; Fred, also on a ranch in Colorado; Elton, a Colorado ranchman; Clark, a farmer and stockman at Alton; Katie, who died in 1916, the wife of Joseph Fry, of Alton; and Misses Agnes and Clara.
Willard L. Earl obtained his early education in the public schools of Osborne County. When he had gained all the local schools were able to supply in the way of instruction he qualified as a teacher and then entered the Kansas State Normal School, graduating in the elementary course in thirty weeks. He is still well remembered in Osborne County for the successful work he did as a teacher. For six years he was superintendent of schools at Kensington, Kansas, and during that time took an active part in normal institute work. For two years he was a member of the Osborne County Examining Board for teachers.
He gave up teaching to engage in the drug business at Alton, and was connected with that line of commercial work for a year or so. His inclinations were for banking, and he soon organized the First State Bank of Alton, being associated with Henry Neuschwinger in that enterprise. Mr. Earl became cashier of the bank, and there too he made a successful record as a bank manager. The Alton Bank began with a capital of $10,000, and when he left it its capital and surplus amounted to $60,000.
Since coming to Larned Mr. Earl has been active in local affairs and has served four years as president of the Larned council. He is chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee, and seldom has missed state conventions of his party. His first presidential vote was given to William J Bryan in 1896. He voted in Osborne County, and in the same year he was candidate for county superintendent of schools. That county was then normally republican by about 800, but his defeat was compassed by only thirty-seven votes. Mr. Earl is interested in Masonry, is both a York and Scottish Rite, and a member of Wichita Consistory and the Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He has also filled the various chairs in the subordinate lodge of Odd Fellows at Larned. His church is the Presbyterian.
For his wife Mr. Earl went back to his native city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, where on June 4, 1905, he wedded Miss Dorothy Robinson, daughter of Doctor and Hattie (Hamilton) Robinson. Mrs. Earl has one brother, Harry Robinson, still living in Kalamazoo. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Earl are three in number, Wilma, Dorothy and Robert.
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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