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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Emor M. Greenawalt

Emor M. Greenawalt and Laura Greenawalt EMOR M. GREENAWALT. The experiences of Emor M. Greenawalt and of his family in Wichita County constitute an interesting chapter in local history. He was one of the pioneer settlers, has been through the fire of adversity and hardship, and has done perhaps a little more than his share in developing this region from a wilderness into a landscape of fertile farms and prosperous communities.

His ancestors were substantial German people. His grandfather, John Greenawalt, was born in Germany and came to America in time to participate as a soldier in the War of 1812. He afterwards lived on a farm near Norristown, Pennsylvania, but early in the nineteenth century left Pennsylvania and drove across the mountains to Eastern Ohio. He made this interesting journey in one of the noted Pennsylvania "Rockaway" wagons. He was an early settler at Salem, Ohio, where he died. He and his wife had the following children: Jesse, who died near Fort Wayne, Indiana, as a farmer; George, who spent his life near Franklin Square in Columbiana County, Ohio; Wilson, who was a farmer in the same county; Abraham; Mary A., who died at Washingtonville, Ohio, wife of Joseph Roller.

Abraham Greenawalt, father of the Wichita County citizen, was born near Norristown, Pennsylvania, February 23, 1834, and is now living at the venerable age of eighty-three at Damascus, Ohio. He started life with only a country school education. Learning the bricklayer's trade, he followed it for several years and then became a farmer. During the war he enlisted in the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and saw considerable service under General Grant, being in the army at the close of hostilities. He seldom referred to his army career and showed so little concern with that part of his life that his children know very little of its definite details. He is an active republican and a member of the Methodist Church. Abraham Greenawalt married Jane Miller. She died about 1880. Their children were: Oscar, a railroad man who was killed in an engine explosion at Newburg, Ohio; Emor M.; Annie, who died in young womanhood; Harry, who died at Alliance, Ohio; John, a member of the police department of Alliance. Abraham Greenawalt married for his second wife Mary J. Phillips, who is "a mother to everybody" and is still living with her husband at Damascus, Ohio.

Emor M. Greenawalt was born in Salem, Ohio, March 3, 1859. He grew up at Alliance, attended the public schools there, and learned the carpenter's trade. He followed that trade for a couple of years after coming to Kansas. Mr. Greenawalt had married in Ohio, and it was about two years later that he sought a home on the western frontier. He traveled by railroad as far as Garden City, arriving in April, 1886, and drove by stage into Wichita County, where the date of his arrival was the 17th of April.

As acarpenter Mr. Greenawalt did some of the pioneer work in connection with the building of the Town of Leoti. Among other jobs he was employed in the construction of the business house where he is now located. From carpentry he turned to farming and moved to his claim in Edwards Township. He had entered this claim the day after his arrival in Wichita County. It was a homestead in section 18, township 17, range 37. He commuted this homestead, and subsequently took a preemption which he proved up. He also entered a tree claim, and on that he did perhaps his most notable work in land improvement in this section. The Government requirement regarding a tree claim was that ten acres of the land should be developed according to the forestry rules. The ten acres selected by Mr. Greenawalt were on the low ground. He planted a grove of cottonwoods and box elders. The cottonwoods are now eighty feet high, but the box elders suffered from fire and have not thriven so vigorously. This is the only recorded successful effort at tree growing in Wichita County which complied strictly with the Federal rules. The grove is known far and wide as the Greenawalt Grove.

Mr. Greenawalt continued farming on that claim until 1899, when he was elected register of deeds. He then moved into Leoti, but after two terms of service returned to the country, near the county seat. He did his last work as a farmer on the Harper place there. Going back to Leoti, Mr. Greenawalt bought the furniture business of J. H. Riley, and was so engaged until he sold the business, April 1, 1918.

Going back to his original entry into Wichita County, it should be stated that he started with practically nothing except a fixed ambition and the capital residing in his strong body and two hands. His first home was a one room dugout. He lived there a number of years, and his first wife died there. From the first he depended upon farming and he was determined to get a living out of the land. In 1890 he and Scott Caster brought a threshing machine into Wichita County. It was one of the first outfits that ever appeared in a harvest field in this section. He did not own the machine, having bought it entirely on time, but after one season he did own it and he literally "coined money" through its operations. He continued threshing grain for the settlers of this section for eight years, and then sold the outfit and gave up the business altogether. With the capital he had made through this venture he was able to extend his business affairs. During his earlier years in Kansas Mr. Greenawalt had an invalid wife, and in order to provide her with comforts and necessities he mortgaged his land. He paid the mortgage and his other debts as a result of his threshing machine experience. While register of deeds of the county he began investing in land, purchasing five additional quarter sections. These he developed as a fine ranch, and sold it to Doctor Shepherd in October, 1910. After selling the ranch he invested in other property both in the town and country districts. He and his wife own section 26, township 17, range 37, which is devoted to farming and ranching on a small scale.

Mr. Greenawalt was brought up as a republican. He cast his first presidential ballot for General Garfield. He was a delegate to the state convention of Kansas when Frank Grimes was named for state treasurer. His own first official service in the county was as trustee of West Edwards Township, an office he filled two terms, and was also a member of the school board of the district. In the office of register of deeds he succeeded L. S. Dickey, and, his own successor was Hugh Glenn.

Mr. Greenawalt first married, March 3, 1884, Miss Melissa Oyster, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth (Kymes) Oyster. Her parents were of German ancestry, and her father spent his life as a farmer. Mrs. Greenawalt, though in poor health, gave her husband constant encouragement during the early days in Kansas. She died May 6, 1893, her death being due to lung trouble developed from a cold. She was the mother of two daughters: Pearl is now Mrs. Frank Hoisington of Grand Junction, Colorado, and the mother of several children. Blanche, the younger daughter, is a clerk in the First National Bank of Alliance, Ohio. For his second wife Mr. Greenawalt married Miss Alta Beam, who at the time lived in Wichita, Kansas, and had come from Illinois. She died November 10, 1898, less than a year after her marriage.

On February 14, 1900, Mr. Greenawalt married Mrs. Laura Harper. Mrs. Harper had come to Wichita county with her husband on April 14, 1886. The Harper family, like the Greenawalts, were people looking for a home, and all the cash they had when they arrived was eleven dollars. Frank Harper, the first husband of Mrs. Greenawalt, brought his family to Wichita County from Parsons, Kansas. He had had several years of splendid success in merchandising in that city, but had lost $30,000 in the business, and after that financial calamity he started to get a now home in the West. A liveryman at Mound Valley let him have an old wornout bus team to begin farming. He entered a homestead and tree claim in section 26, township 17, range 37, and on that land he spent six years. The first home was a stable made of lumber, and later he built a dugout with a frame house above. This constituted his home until he put up the $1,600 residence which was completed just before his death. Frank Harper was a real business farmer in every thing that phrase implies. It is no disparagement to other early settlers to say that his success was not exceeded by any other in the county. He was also one of the first commissioners of Wichita County, having been appointed by the governor. In politics he was a republican and was an active member of the Church of Christ. Frank Harper was born near Vincennes, Indiana, in 1846, a son of William Harper, and he died in August, 1892. He left one child, Elsie, who first married T. B. Farmer and is now the wife of B. F. Crawford, a farmer near Leoti. Her children by her marriage to Mr. Farmer are Frank H., William T., Charles R. and Ira Emor, while the children of her present husband are John Bryant, Alice Pearl and Doris Maggie.

Mrs. Laura Alice Greenawalt was born in Davis County, Iowa, May 29, 1856. Her grandfather was Peter W. Schick, a son of Baron Schick, of Heidelberg, Germany, whose estate valued at $80,000,000, has been sought by the family for a dozen years. Peter Schick was one of four brothers who crossed the Atlantic to the United States and whose posterity is now scattered widely over the country. Mrs. Greenawalt's father was Rev. Peter W. Schick, who was born in Clinton County, Ohio, April 4, 1827. He became a minister of the Church of Christ. He married Margaret Srofe, of Scotch-Irish stock. Rev. Mr. Schick died in Mound Valley, Kansas, where his widow is now living. Rev. Mr. Schick's mother was Elizabeth Woodruff, also a native of Germany. Mrs. Greenawalt received her early education in eleven different states. This was due to the fact that her father's ministerial labors were seldom prolonged in any one community. Most of her early education was acquired at Cincinnati, Ohio, where she remained until the age of fourteen, when the family came to Parsons, Kansas. Mrs. Greenawalt was married at Parsons, Kansas, to Mr. Harper on January 15, 1874. Her older sister, Kate, now living at Mound Valley, Kansas, is the widow of Isaac Elledge. She also has two younger brothers, Peter A. Schick, who was born December 26, 1858, died in Mound Valley, Kansas, leaving two children; and Francis M., who was born March 29, 1861, and resides in Berkeley, California. Mrs. Greenawalt has given her life to the task of homemaking for her husbands. She and Mr. Greenawalt are active members of the Church of Christ at Scott City.


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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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