EZRA J. EVERETT. This is the record of one of the early settlers of Greeley County, one who earned both material independence and popular esteem. He was a fighter for the Union during the '60s, and as an Illinois farmer he worked for the home and that little share of wealth which he brought with him to Kansas. Among other achievements to his credit here should be mentioned his service in the office of probate judge.
He was a native of an interesting section of the Buckeye state, Trumbull County, a part of the old Western Reserve. He was born March 11, 1839, a son of Benjamin and Catherine (Earl) Everett, the former a native of New York and the latter of Ohio. His father lived to be seventy-six while the mother was about seventy-two. Theirs was a family of the following children: Lucretia, who died as Mrs. Elijah Woolsey at Galesburg, Illinois; Lucy, wife of Adam Martin, who also died at Glendora, California; Ezra J., who died at Tribune, Kansas, November 12, 1917; Amos, of Orange County, California; Elmer, a resident of Reno County, Kansas, and Bishop Benjamin, who died at Galesburg, Illinois, in May, 1910.
Good home influences and a country schooling were Judge Everett's training for life. He started for the West soon afterward, and was living in Illinois when the Civil war broke out. At Galesburg he enlisted in Company K of the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry, under Captain Reynolds and Colonel Smith. Most of his time was spent in scout duty with the Army of the Cumberland, and he was in no pitched battles. He was subsequently assigned to service in a hospital at Stephenson, Alabama. The war had been over some weeks before he received his honorable discharge at Springfield, Illinois, in August, 1865.
He then returned home and took up the responsibilities of providing for wife and child. He had married on November 17, 1858, Miss Easter H. Wooley, daughter of Thomas and Mary E. Wooley, of Knox County, Illinois. For about twenty years Mr. Everett enacted the role of an Illinois farmer, chiefly in Peoria County.
He came out to Kansas with a team and such other property and assets as these years had yielded. For two years he farmed in Reno County, and in April, 1887, arrived in Greeley County. He was almost in the vanguard of pioneers invading the long undisturbed domain of the cattleman, and conditions then and for some years later were sufficiently primitive.
His homestead entry was in Colony Township, the northeast quarter of section 5, township 19, range 41. A "soddy" was the best he could do in the way of a house, and it was all that was expected of the early settlers. Into its two rooms when completed he moved his family, consisting of wife and three children. They enjoyed some happy days there. Some increase of room was made after eight years and additions of comforts from time to time, and there the family lived until they left for a town home in 1905.
As a Greeley County farmer Judge Everett had at the beginning about twenty-five cattle, four mares and enough cash to tide him over a year or two of possible hard times. In growing crops he fared perhaps a little better than the average, and what he was able to raise from the soil, together with the milk and butter sold from his cows, kept the household in plenty until the hard years were past. The surplus of his profits he invested in other land, and when he was ready to retire he owned eleven quarter sections. Only two quarters had been developed for strictly farming purposes, while the rest served as range and pasture for his herds. Though losses came thereto, stock was his mainstay in Western Kansas. In 1905 Mr. Everett sold his ranch and stock and other property and moved to Tribune.
In 1906 the people of Greeley County by their votes called him to the office of probate judge, succeeding Frank O'Neal. He was re-elected in 1908. The principal business before the office was the routine of proving up homesteads, and he also had to exercise his functions rather frequently in performing marriages. The couple who first came to him for marriage bonds were the Williamses from Garden City.
While in the country he had helped establish school district No. 18, and gave his services for a number of years as member of the school board. For three terms he was trustee of the township. He also helped the cause of religion and for a number of years was superintendent of the Union Sunday School conducted in the schoolhouse. He was brought up in the Christian denomination. but became a Methodist.
Mrs. Everett after a married life of nearly fifty-eight years passed away October 20, 1916, at the age of seventy-six. There were ten children born to this worthy couple, but only four lived to be grown. Carrie married Non J. Terrill and died at Partridge, Kansas, leaving four children; Mary, who died in Greeley County, Kansas, was the wife of A. J. Shepler, and she left one son. Bertha E. is the wife of A. B. Decker, of Tribune, and their children are Florence, Everett Miller and Clariss Ruby. Alva, the only son, is a Greeley County farmer. He married Mrs. Ella Daniels, but they have no children.
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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