SILAS C. EVERHART. The experiences of the Kansas pioneers make a story that will never grow old. It was a contest in which the resources of the individual were matched against the adversities of soil and climate, the pressure of economic necessity, and while many went down to defeat, there were others who survived because of a certain persistency in their makeup and an ability to get along without luxuries and even comforts in order to benefit from the prosperity which they anticipated.
One of these capable pioneers who afterward found prosperity was Silas C. Everhart, of Ness County. Mr. Everhart located in Nevada Township, Ness County, in 1886. His business was that of mixed farmer and stockman. He first settled on school land in that community, and subsequently bought the relinquishment on the west half of the southeast quarter of section 4 and the west half of the northeast quarter of section 9, township 17, range 23.
It was a sod house into which he moved his family, and there he made his home for about ten years. In some respects it was a house considerably better than the average. It contained three rooms. The roof was made of willow poles covered with sod, and a native plaster had been used for finishing the walls. The old settlers all bear testimony to the comfort of these primitive homes. They were warm in winter and cool in summer, and in those qualities surpassed the more ornate and elaborate homes of the present time.
During his first years here Mr Everhart made a general trial of different types of farming. He planted forage, corn and a little wheat, and the crop he found best adapted for stock and poultry was sorghum and kaffir corn. His wheat crop proved the most reliable money maker. In the short crop years Mr. Everhart depended chiefly upon the cows which he had brought along with him, and when there was no grain to sell he could get from $5.50 to $10 for a calf and that would supply the necessities of the household.
Mr. Everhart was one of the first men to introduce thoroughbred livestock into Ness County. He brought with him three good horses, three excellent milch cows, three thoroughbred Poland China hogs, and a couple of dozen Plymouth Rock chickens. Few of the early settlers had so much stock as that, and nearly all the stock and poultry of the early days was of mongrel type. This stock and also his household goods Mr. Everhart shipped from Miami County, Kansas, to Larned, and thence brought it overland with wagons. He was a resident of Miami County four years before coming to Ness County.
Mr. Everhart was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, January 20, 1850, but in 1851 his parents moved to Jackson County, Missouri, where he spent his early years. His grandfather, Philip Everhart, was a native of Germany and was married there to a member of the royal family. Coming to America he settled in Virginia, and lived within eight miles of Harpers Ferry. He and his wife had nine sons.
Philip P. Everhart, father of Silas C., was born near Harpers Ferry in Loudoun County, Virginia, in 1817. In the old time when it was customary to have a militia muster every year, he was always on hand and thus acquired considerable military training. When the Civil war broke out he helped to drill some troops which served in General Price's army. Though an active southern man in sympathy, he was not in the war as a soldier. He continued to live in Jackson County, Missouri, until 1885, when he removed to Miami County, Kansas, and spent the rest of his days there on a farm. He had been a whig in early years but subsequently became a democrat, and in church affiliations he was a Calvinistic Baptist. He married Mary Crawford. Her father, Rev. Bebee Crawford, came from Loudoun County, Virginia, and died soon after settling in Lafayette County, Missouri. He was a member of one of Virginia's old families. Mrs. Philip P. Everhart was the only child of her mother, and she died in November, 1914. Her children were: Silas C.; Dora Amanda, of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, wife of Edgar Powell; Betty Elizabeth, widow of John Swarzel, living at Excelsior Springs; Mollie, wife of Price Hornbuckle, of Miami County, Kansas; George W., of Kansas City; Ella, deceased, who married Phil Mann; Dan, a resident of Kansas City; Charles, of Kansas City; and Emma, wife of James Reynolds, of Kansas City.
Silas C. Everhart grew up on the old farm in Jackson County, Missouri, not far from the City of Kansas City, received his education in the country schools, and at the age of twenty-three took the active management of the home farm. He lived near Kansas City until he moved to Miami County, Kansas.
In many ways Mr. Everhart was a useful factor in the development of Ness County. The improvements on his own farm constitute a valuable contribution to the assets of this section. In 1915 he erected a substantial modern home of concrete blocks, and put up a large barn the same year. Out of the 720 acres he owned he has 300 acres in cultivation, and long experience enabled him to adapt his work as a farmer in such a manner to the varying seasons and market demands that he usually had some surplus when he closed his books at the end of the year. His best wheat yield was in 1915. Part of the land in crop that year yielded over thirty bushels to the acre.
Mr. Everhart came into school district No. 7, the Nevada School, in time to help build the first schoolhouse, and he was the chief contributor to the erection of that temple of learning. It was a sod house and occupied the site now covered by a more substantial frame building. One of the first teachers there was Miss Kate Harkness. Mr. Everhart was one of the school directors for a number of years and he served as treasurer of the township board. He was a strong prohibitionist, and for several years was a member of the Central Committee of his township and did all he could to extend the prohibition sentiment. For a time he was in charge of the roads of his district. He was a member of the Methodist Church of Ransom, to which his wife also belongs. Mr. Everhart passed away September 21, 1918.
In Jackson County, Missouri, November 24, 1874, Mr. Everhart married Miss Elizabeth J. Curran, a daughter of Henry and Catherine (Rowe) Curran. The Curran family came to Missouri from Lafayette County, Ohio. Henry Curran was a farmer, and while living in Ohio he entered the Union Army and served a short time during the Civil war. Mrs. Everhart, who was born in La Fayette County, Ohio, July 16, 1856, was one of the following children: Kate, who married James Shrout of Jackson County, Missouri; David, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Mrs. Mary Hendricks, of Jackson County, Missouri; Mrs. Everhart; Mrs. Alice Clayton, of Cowley County, Kansas; Jesse, of Jackson County, Missouri; Bert, who is a worker in the Oklahoma oil fields; Clara, who is the wife of Roy Vance of Kansas City, Missouri.
The thirteen living children of Mr. and Mrs. Everhart proved a great incentive to their labors in making a home and in acquiring prosperity in Ness County. George William, the oldest, a farmer near his father's home, married May Manchester, and has children named Stanley, Stella, Clinton, Sylvia, Billie, Bertha and Rolley V. Cora married Alfred Rider, of Ness County, and their children are Bert, Letha, Freddie, Mabel, Opal and Earl. Connie, who lives in Alberta, Canada, married Minnie La Vell and has three children: Juanita, Elina and Elizabeth Fay. Lee, a farmer here, married Ida Amstutz, and their children are Laura, Myron, Harold, Juanita, and Lois. Maude is the wife of Billie Brown, of Ness County, and has children named Melvin, Jesse, Nellie, Robert, Stella, Pearl, George and Leo. Lula by her first marriage has a son, Jesse Wantland, and she is now the wife of Oscar McMichael, of Quenemo, Kansas, and their children are Ethel, Alvin and Martin. Fred married Cora Hoover and has two children; Milton and Ruby L. Clayton married Violet Hoover. The younger children are Roy, Clarence, Herman and Henry. Roy is a volunteer in the army, in Battery A of the Sixty-Second Regiment and is serving in France. The other sons are the farmers at home.
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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