GEORGE G. GARRETTSON came into Kearny County in the winter of 1883. He was a homesteader and claim taker and had the same lot of experience with adversities and difficulties that the other pioneers had. Trial and hardship could not baffle him, and he remained steadily in this section of Kansas until he had acquired a fine ranch and home, and after prosperity had fully dawned he left the state to engage in business on the Pacific coast. Then some years ago he returned to Kansas and is today rated as one of the foremost farmers, ranchers and stockmen in the county.
On coming to the county he entered a pre-emption between Lakin and Hartland and on that tract he built his first Kansas home. It was a small frame house of three rooms. Later he entered a homestead in section 6, township 25, range 36, and moved his little house to that place, and it served the family as a home for many years until the foundation of their prosperity was well laid. Both his preemption and his homestead are still part of his extensive ranch holdings in this community.
At the beginning Mr. Garrettson took up stock farming and ranching on limited scale. He was one of the early converts to alfalfa and his successful example has inspired much of the extensive growing of that crop throughout Kearny County. A conspicuous example of the value of alfalfa and hogs was recently witnessed on the Garrettson ranch. Some of the women of the family invested the small sum of $26 in a brood sow and after a lapse of two years that small nucleus had increased to five sows with litters of forty-two pigs. They were raised on alfalfa, and it shows the enormous money value of a small investment properly handled.
Mr. Garrettson's country home is a bower of fruit and shade trees. His pioneer efforts in forrestry and horticulture have also served to conclusively demonstrate the possibilities of this country. Many years ago he set out an orchard and for years it produced fine apples, peaches and small fruits.
Mr. Garrettson continued a strenuous factor in the agricultural enterprise of Kearny County until 1891. In that year he leased his ranch and, going to California, established his home at San Diego. He spent about nineteen years on the coast, and while there was connected with the Pacific Wood & Coal Company and later with the Garretson Investment Company and is still a stockholder in the latter.
When he returned to Kansas he resumed ranching, not where he left off, but where his tenant left him off. In his case, at least, absentee ownership was by no means profitable. His buildings and lands had suffered in every way from the handling of his tenant, and he was confronted with a big task of reimprovement and rehabilitation. This has been carried on until now he has matters in a satisfactory state. He is proprietor of a ranch of 750 acres, 160 acres under cultivation, chiefly to alfalfa. Under his supervision this crop has always proved profitable. In the early days when water for the ditches was plentiful and irrigation could be depended upon, wheat raising and growing of other small grains were safe and sure propositions for the farmer.
Mr. Garrettson came to Kansas from Iowa. He was born at Muscatine in that state October 14, 1861, and grew up there. His ancestry is English and has been identified with American soil for many generations. His grandfather Garrettson died when Mr. Garrettson's father was a boy of fourteen. He left a widow and children whose support devolved upon this youthful son.
Garrett A. Garrettson, the father of George G., was born in Baltimore, Maryland, grew up in Pennsylvania, and in middle life moved to Iowa, where he was a banker and merchant. He finally went to California and died at San Diego at the age of sixty-five. He gave all his time to business or to home making and never sought distinctions in political affairs. He married at Graysville, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth A. Gray. Her family traces a connection to General Braddock, who, as every American schoolboy knows, was leader of that unfortunate expedition of British regulars and Virginia colonists into Western Pennsylvania at the time of the French and Indian War. Her mother was Sarah Roseberry. Mrs. Elizabeth Garrettson died in San Diego at the age of eighty-seven. Her children were: Mrs. Ella Bergin, who died in Kansas City, Missouri; David F. of San Diego, California; Mrs. Katie Kaufman, who died in St. Louis, Missouri; George G.; Mrs. Jennie B. Dulin, of Los Angeles; and Fred W., who died in San Diego.
George G. Garrettson grew up as a merchant's son, and, as a boy, had some experience driving a dray and in other common labor. He attended the public schools of Muscatine and was also sent to military academies at Morgan Park and Irving Park, Illinois. On reaching his majority he entered the stock business, and this interest led him out to Texas, where he worked as a cowboy in Baylor County, and for a time was in the some occupation around Pond Creek, Oklahoma. It was this early experience which doubtless had something to do with his engaging in the cattle business in Kansas.
Mr. Garrettson has always practiced the philosophy of doing one thing at a time and doing it well. Thus while he was farming in Kansas he allowed no other interest to intrude upon his work, and when he went to California he devoted himself as assiduously to his business affairs in that state.
At Muscatine, Iowa, December 13, 1882, a short time before his incursion into Kansas, Mr. Garrettson married Miss Mary E. Lewis. Her father, Ewing B. Lewis, was born at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and early went to Iowa. From that state he enlisted in and became first lieutenant of Company E of the 11th Iowa Infantry and saw much active service during the war. Part of the time he was one of the body guard of General Grant. He went through the war without wounds or capture, and after the war was a business man of Muscatine. Ewing B. Lewis married Isabel Jackson. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Jackson, were both natives of Scotland and located at Cincinnati when they came to the United States. Mrs. Ewing Lewis was born in Cincinnati. Mrs. Garrettson's parents both died at Muscatine. She was the oldest of their children, the others being: Mrs. Nellie Maxwell, of Muscatine; Samuel T., of Sioux City, Iowa; Mrs. J. S. Akerman, of San Diego, California; and Fred W., of Muscatine.
Mr. and Mrs. Garrettson have four children. The oldest is Mrs. Isabel Caton, of Los Angeles, the mother of two children, Mary Margaret and Thomas S. George A., the only son, lives at San Diego, and by his marriage to Clarabelle Pauter has daughters, Charlotte and Jane Louise. Two daughters, Kathryn and Jean, are still part of the Kansas home circle.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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