LOUIS GEORGE GROBETY is an old timer at Dodge City, where he has lived for thirty-three years. The name of Mr. Grobety is associated with many important matters in the city and in Ford County. He has a long record of public service, and has likewise been prominent in business affairs.
He was a young man of about twenty-seven when he came to Western Kansas. Mr. Grobety was born May 8, 1858, and claims French nationality, though it is believed that his parents were living in the Canton of Neufschatel, Switzerland, at the time of his birth. He was still a small infant when his parents immigrated to the United States. His father, Peter, spelled the name "Grosbety," which was pronounced Grobety, and Mr. Grobety of Dodge City has spelled the name as it is pronounced since he came to Kansas. On coming to America Peter Grosbety settled in Stark County, Ohio, at Massillon, later moved to Mount Eaton, and there his wife, whose maiden name was Charlotte (Des Camp), died in 1865. From Ohio Peter Grosbety moved to LaFayette, Indiana, and his second marriage caused a breaking up of the older family circle. Still later he went to Monroeville, Indiana, and lived in Allen County, Indiana, until his death in 1915, at the age of eighty-three. He had learned the trade of watch maker in the Swiss factories and in France, and for a number of years he was engaged in the jewelry, business at Monroeville.
The children of Peter Grosbety and his first wife were: Louis G.; Pauline, the first child of the family born in the United States, now the wife of Samuel Young, living near Canton, Ohio; and Sophie, who married Jacob Weiner, of Massillon, Ohio, where she was born. By his second marriage Peter Grosbety had three children: Oliver, who disappeared from home as a young man after a brief but successful career as a stock man, and for a quarter of a century his whereabouts have been enshrouded in mystery; Emma married John Emenhiser, of Allen County, Indiana; and John C. Grosbety is a merchant and prominent business man at Garner, Iowa.
Louis George Grobety was reared from infancy in Morrow County, Ohio. He had the experience both of the rural and the town communities of that state, was educated in the public schools, and at the age of twenty began teaching. He was employed for several years as a teacher in Morrow and Delaware counties. While teaching he had also studied law, his early ambition being for a legal career.
Mr. Grobety arrived at Dodge City, Kansas, April 18, 1885. When he came west he was unknown except by a single man in Dodge City, W. B. Dickey. It was Mr. Dickey's presence here that influenced Mr. Grobety's coming and resulted in his becoming a permanent factor in the community. On coming to Kansas Mr. Grobety gave up his school work and also his idea of preparing for the practice of law. However, he has come more or less into active touch with lawyers and legal affairs, especially as a justice of the peace at Dodge City and as clerk of the District Court of Ford County. When he came to Dodge City Mr. Dickey was in the flour and feed business and employed Mr. Grobety for a few months. Mr. Grobety gained a mercantile experience when a boy in the employ of W. B. Denman, of Cardington, Ohio, and after a few months with Mr. Dickey he engaged in merchandising on his own account. Mr. Grobety arrived in Dodge City with only $27 in cash capital. A few months later he borrowed a small amount of money and associating himself with James H. Cole engaged in the grocery, drug and feed business. After about a year this firm dissolved. Mr. Grobety then took up the drug business alone, and two years later sold out and became a clerk for Dr. T. L. McCarthy, who was then in the drug business. Not long afterward he was appointed city assessor, then city clerk, and was also elected justice of the peace, and held one or two offices together for a period of about four years. Following that came his election as clerk of the District Court, and he filled that office for one term. He was elected as a republican and was defeated for a second term as a result of the fusion of the populists and democrats.
After leaving public office Mr. Grobety established a "racket" store. He sold this business to David Swinehart, a former representative from Ford County in the Kansas Legislature. His next association with business affairs was a manager and abstractor for the Ford County Abstract & Title Company, and he also went into the fire and life insurance business. After about five years he sold his interest in the company to Kirkpatrick & Martin, but retained his insurance interest. About that time Hon. E. H. Madison, who had been elected a member of Congress from this district, appointed Mr. Grobety his secretary, and he was with Judge Madison throughout the congressional service of nearly five years. On returning from Washington Mr. Grobety resumed his insurance and real estate business and was active along those lines until March 1, 1916, when he became manager of the Dodge City Alfalfa Milling & Supply Company, this representing his present responsible station among the business men of Dodge City.
Mr. Grobety began his political career as a republican, having cast his first presidential vote for General Garfield. The nominees of that party have received his regular support except in 1912, when he voted for the progressive Roosevelt. In earlier days he attended local conventions, and also state and district conventions, and became acquainted with nearly all the prominent republican leaders in Kansas.
For two years Mr. Grobety was secretary of the old Commercial Club of Dodge City, now the Phoenix Industrial Club. While he was its secretary the movement for the building of the Elkhart branch of the Santo Fe Railway was started and was carried out to successful conclusion. Mr. Grobety has long been a prominent member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen in Dodge City. He passed all the local chairs, was a delegate to the Grand Lodge, was on one of the standing committees of the Grand Lodge through appointment by Grand Master Workman Wallace, and served one term. Perhaps the more notable service in this order was his active support of the candidacy of Doctor Crumbine of Dodge City for Grand Medical Examiner of the order. At the first meeting his candidate failed of election, but two years later Mr. Crumbine was chosen against eighteen competitors and acknowledged the energetic and aggressive work of Mr. Grobety in his behalf. The service rendered through this office gave Doctor Crumbine a reputation among the prominent men of Kansas and later brought about his appointment as secretary of the state board of health, where he has acquired a national if not international reputation.
Mr. Grobety is also a member of the Masonic order. He had a good and pious mother, and though she died when he was a child her influence has always been with him and has done much to shape his life and character. Since his middle years Mr. Grobety has been a member of the Presbyterian Church.
In Ford County, Kansas, July 23, 1891, he married Miss Zora O. Miller, sister of Lewis R. Miller of Dodge City. Mrs. Grobety was born in Morrow County, Ohio, December 20, 1868. They have two children: Mrs. A. C. States, of Dodge City, and Lewella.
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
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project