GEORGE L. EDDY. It was more a whim of fate rather than the expression of a direct resolution that brought George L. Eddy to the pioneer country of Western Kansas in the year 1876. Having lived in Pawnee County for over forty years he naturally knows much of its early experiences, and is an old timer whose career is well worth telling.
He was born in Chenango County, New York, August 12, 1849, and grew up at the town of Afton, New York. He had a limited education and as a boy he learned the machinist's trade in the shop where his father worked. He was barely twelve years of age when he began earning his own way. While he lived with his parents he did enough work to pay his board and keep. After that all the time he spent in the East he worked for wages and he finally left Chautauqua County, New York, for the great West, with its romance and adventure. As a result of thrift and looking ahead into the future he had saved nothing from his wages and had some little capital to finance him during his early days in Kansas. However he arrived in Kansas from the West rather than from the East. He had spent about a year along the Pacific Coast looking out for a location for his future home. In the course of his wanderings he visited the agricultural regions of Oregon, including the famous Willamette Valley, and went through Northern California to Sacramento. His search for a permanent location was unavailing, and he then took a train bound for the East. When the train reached Larned, Kansas, he decided to get off, and thus he virtually stumbled onto the location which has ever since been his home. From the time he left Chautauqua County, New York, he did not meet an acquaintance in all his wanderings, and there was no one in Pawnee County whom he had known before.
The day following his arrival in Larned he entered a homestead at the Larned Land Office. This homestead, in Pleasant Ridge Township, comprised the south half of the northeast quarter of section 14, township 22, range 18. He was a married man at the time and as a shelter for his family he prepared a frame building 14 by 20 feet. This original structure still forms part of his more modern and commodious residence. His chief equipment for farming was a yoke of Texas cattle. He had bought them at Lincoln, Kansas. The animals weighed about 3,000 pounds and they were strong and sturdy. During the first summer they pulled a heavy breaking plow until he had about fifty acres of sod ready for planting. Ten acres of this he planted to corn, and was much encouraged by his crop. In the fall he sowed thirty acres of wheat, and in 1877 had a bountiful harvest. All this was very encouraging and his spirit rose with his success. He then increased his acreage, and for three consecutive years sowed grain, but raised nothing. Two of those seasons he sowed wheat, but so far as he was able to discover not a grain sprouted or showed a spear above the ground. The third year he desisted from wheat. That was the period of stress for the early settlers of Pawnee County. The lean years ate up all the surplus of those who were lucky enough to have any, and as Mr, Eddy looks back upon that time he realizes that the only resource that encouraged him to stick and persevere were a few cows which he had accumulated and a small flock of chickens. These provided the necessities of life, and without them he undoubtedly would have pulled up stakes and left Kansas and this history would not have been written.
Having failed at grain growing Mr. Eddy concentrated most of his efforts upon stock. He herded them on the grass all winter and sometimes he had feed in sufficiency and other times not. Nearly a dozen years passed before he ventured to try wheat again, and after all his years of experience with that crop he believes that he has done no more than "cut even." The best yield of wheat he has ever had from a considerable acreage was about thirty-eight bushels. Frequently his harvest totaled a zero.
Having been in the country about ten years, Mr. Eddy could begin to see light ahead, and was able to add something to his improvements. He also increased his land holdings about that time. For the other eighty of his original quarter section he paid $600, and after he had been in Kansas about twenty-five years he bought the northwest quarter of section 13, township 22, range 18, and that completes his possessions as a realty owner.
Mr. Eddy's parents were Esek A. and Paulina (Knight) Eddy. Esek A. Eddy was born in Otsego County, New York, became a carpenter and machinist and followed these trades all his life. He never aspired to public place, and was a man of limited education, quiet and industrious, and did all he could to provide for his family. He died in 1895, at the age of seventy-six. His first wife was Miss Johnson. Their children were three sons, Edgar A., Adelbert and Curtis. These three sons spent their last years in New York State, died there leaving families, and all three were Union soldiers. Curtis was with the army five years. By his marriage to Paulina Knight, daughter of a Vermont farmer who had settled in New York, and who died in 1887, at the age of sixty-four, Esek A. Eddy had the following children: George L.; Horace A., of Bainbridge, New York; Charles, who died in New York State; William, of Bainbridge; Frank and Ney, both of whom died in childhood; Ella, who married Henry Johnson, and lives in Pennsylvania; Addie, wife of Henry Brandes, of Wellsville, New York.
George L. Eddy was married August 12, 1873, about two years before he started west to seek a home, to Miss Jennie Dickson. Mrs. Eddy's paternal grandfather, Gabriel Dickson, was an Englishman, a colonial settler, and when the American Revolution came on he remained a tory, loyal to the Crown. Gabriel Dickson married Mary Johnson, and their children were Nathaniel, Nicholas, George, Henry, Mrs. Amanda Gear, Miranda and Washington. Henry Dickson, father of Mrs. Eddy, was born near Warrensburg, New York, March 14, 1800. He was a blacksmith and farmer, and served as a militia captain during the old training days. He married Rachel Truesdell, who was born July 14, 1806, a daughter of Jacob Truesdell. The Truesdells are of English origin. Mrs. Eddy's great-grandfather, Richard Truesdell, came from Bristol, England, and served as a minute man among the American patriots of the Revolution. Thus, while her grandfather was a tory, Mrs. Eddy is eligible to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution through her maternal great-grandfather. Henry and Rachel Dickson had the following children: Alfred, who died in Jamestown, New York; Almyra, who died unmarried; Harvey, who spent his life in Chautauqua County, New York; George, who died in infancy; Minerva, who married Daniel Cheney and died at Aurora, Illinois; Hiram, who was a Union soldier and died from the effects of wounds at Fortress Monroe in 1865; and Mrs. Eddy, who was born December 20, 1848.
Mr. and Mrs. Eddy have two children. Their daughter Helena M. is still at home. Their son Arthur D., an active farmer in Pleasant Ridge Township, married Lelia Riley, and their children, grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Eddy, are Theodora, John, Joseph, Ronald and Florence L.
Mr. Eddy has always taken an active interest in local affairs and improvements in his section of Pawnee County. Upon the formation of school district No. 38 he was elected first treasurer of the board and has been a member of the board almost continuously. He also served as treasurer of the township. He was brought up in a home of republican politics and cast his first presidential vote in 1872, when he supported General Grant. In all the years since he has voted similar sentiments, though he espoused the progressive faction of the party in late years. His family are members of the Congregational Church at Garfield. Mr. Eddy and his son are active members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he is also affiliated with the Masons.
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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