WILLIAM J. HAEGE. One of the greatest qualities of human character is bull dog tenacity, which has been exemplified in some of the greatest generals the world has known and in practically all lines of business and other work. There never was a finer testing and proving ground for this trait than Western Kansas. The successes recorded there are largely those of the men who stayed, worked and finally won against heavy odds.
All this is true of the Haege family, represented by Mr. William J. Haege, one of the prosperous farmers of Pleasant Ridge Township, Pawnee County. His career has been not unlike others in that community, very monotonous at times, but very productive, and the pleasing part of it is that Mr. Haege is still a young man and is capable of enjoying his prosperity for many years to come.
The Haege family arrived in Pawnee County in 1878, when William J. Haege was about seven years of age. His father, Jacob Haege, was born in the Rhine Province of Germany and was twenty-one years of age when he came with his parents to America. He was the youngest of the children, and the others were: Mrs. Haag, who died at Belleville, Illinois; Mrs. Thomas Knobeloch, who died at Belleville; Andrew, who died in St. Clair County, Illinois; Louis, who also died in St. Clair County.
Jacob Haege grew up in Germany, acquired the elements of a liberal education, and learned the blacksmith's trade. He was never required to serve in the German army. For many years he lived in St. Clair County, Illinois, and there conducted a blacksmith and wagon shop and saw mill. He made some reputation as an inventor as well as mechanic. His mind ran in the channel of machinery. He invented and patented several plows and cultivators and other horse power machinery. A gang and a walking plow were among his inventions, and finally he perfected a fire escape. Many of these devices he manufactured in his own shop and sold them. While in Illinois he made considerable money, but he was generous and loaned much of his surplus to his friends and thereby lost a small fortune.
When he brought his family out to Western Kansas in 1878 he bought the southeast quarter of section 16, township 22, range 18, and on that land he spent the rest of his days. He brought very little cash with him to Kansas, but due to his skill at his trade he never had to leave the locality to seek work elsewhere, as so many of the pioneers did. While getting his farm developed he kept a shop in which he made plows and wagons during idle times and sold them to the new settlers. He bought his land of the state, and it was the property which he owned until his death. Jacob Haege died in 1891, when past sixty-six years of age. After coming to Illinois he had taken out citizenship papers and showed a keen interest in local affairs. In national questions he voted the democratic ticket. He was a member of no church and no societies. He married Christina Pierchbacher who was born in Germany and was brought to the United States when two years of age. She survived her husband and died at the age of seventy-six. Their children were: Phillip, who died when a young man; Mrs. Elizabeth Knobeloch, of Belleville, Illinois; Mrs. A. F. Meckeffel, of Pleasant Ridge Township, Pawnee County; Jacob, of Manhattan, Kansas; and William J.
William J. Haege was born at Belleville, Illinois, September 19, 1871, and his earliest recollections are of that southern Illinois town and his father's shop for blacksmithing and manufacturing. Most of his education was acquired in Pawnee County in the country schools, and he also took a business course in the Central Normal College at Great Bend. When it came time for him to try his own efforts he did so as a farmer on his parents' homestead. Eventually he acquired title to the old place and still owns and occupies it. His work has been that of mixed farming, raising of cattle and threshing grain. For the past half dozen seasons Mr. Haege has operated a threshing outfit and has covered a large territory and threshed out hundreds of thousands of bushels of grain. Largely from the profits of his industry he has purchased 680 acres. His experience in buying additional lands shows the rapid increase in value in this section of Kansas. For his first quarter section he paid $10 an acre. He has all the lands fenced, much of it broken up and cultivated to wheat. His home place is very substantially improved. His barn is 36 by 46 feet, with room for thirty tons of hay. A few years ago he built his silo. He is an enthusiast now on the silo as an adjunct to good farming, and it has enabled him to keep up a dairy herd and fatten his cattle for the market.
His activities have not been confined to the land. He is a director of the Garfield Co-operative Elevator Company, and for seven years has been one of the directors of the Garfield Mutual Telephone Company. He has also served as a director of the Cemetery Association four years and as township treasurer. He began voting as a fusionist, subsequently aligned himself with the populists and more lately with the democratic party. In local affairs he usually votes the independent ticket. Mr. Haege and family are members of the Garfield Congregational Church,
In 1917 Mr. Haege added a new modern residence to his other improvements, building an eleven-room, two story house, with conveniences including the Edison system of electric lighting and a hot water heating plant. A complete air system between the house and garage was installed, and a basement is under the whole residence, while many of the rooms are completed in Tiffany finish, while the kitchen, pantry and bathroom are enameled. Two stairways lead to the upper floor which floor is so arranged as to form separate compartments. A cyclone coil connects with the basement.
In Pawnee County September 20, 1909, Mr. Haege married Miss Annie Johnson. Her father, W. H. Johnson, was an Illinois man, went from that state as a Union soldier during the Civil war, and he brought his family out to Western Kansas about the same time as the Haeges came. He acquired a homestead in Larned Township and spent the rest of his years there as a prosperous farmer. He was also active in local affairs. His death occurred in 1908. He married Eva Kling, who was also of German stock. While Mr. and Mrs. Haege have no children of their own, they have a foster child, Theresa Boehm.
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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