GEORGE W. HARPER, of Satanta, Grant County, has been a resident of Kansas over thirty years, and after varied experience elsewhere has been extremely gratified with his success and growing prosperity in Grant County, where for the past ten years he has combined farming and ranching so as to give him a very substantial stake in the county.
Mr. Harper was born in Van Buren County, Iowa, August 8, 1857, and came to Kansas from that state. His Harper forefathers were of Irish stock, and some of them were responsible for the founding of Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His father, Richard Harper, a native of Pennsylvania, grew up near Columbus, Ohio, and died in 1892. In Ohio he married Catherine Shaw, whose father, Samuel Shaw, was a farmer south of Columbus, and is remembered as a very strict Presbyterian. Mrs. Richard Harper died in 1889. Their children were: John, who died at Fairfield, Iowa; Lizzie, who died as Mrs. Jacob Beckley, of Hillsboro, Iowa; Miller, of Sumner County, Kansas; Jane, wife of Len Cook, of Salem, Iowa; Kate, wife of William J. Newbold, of Wellington, Kansas; and George W.
As a boy in Iowa George W. Harper had very limited educational advantages. He attended school long enough to learn to read and write, but gained his chief knowledge of arithmetic through the practice of business transactions. He largely picked up his knowledge as he needed it.
In 1884 he came to Kansas and settled in Sumner County. He engaged in the business of horse dealing and also conducted a livery at Argonia for four years. He then broadened out his operations as a dealer in real estate and also found considerable opportunity for exchanging blooded Percheron horses brought from Illinois for Kansas land. This business took up another four-year period of his early life, and he then engaged in farming. For several years he was one of the wheat growers of Sumner County, but with the coming of the hard times of the early '90s he removed to Missouri, hoping to better his situation in that state. Two years in Greene County caused him to realize that Kansas was after all the place of biggest opportunities for him. He accordingly returned to Sumner County and resumed farming. Various reverses kept him a long time on the road to prosperity.
Thus it was that when he came to Western Kansas and settled in Grant County on April 7, 1907, he was far from having satisfied his ambition in the matter of material accumulations or his ideals of success. In Grant County Mr. Harper entered as his homestead the northeast quarter of section 12, township 30, range 35, and in that locality his efforts have been continued to the present time. His beginnings were with a very modest equipment, his home consisting of a dugout and a small frame shack. For five years he had to be satisfied with this environment. As an agriculturist he from the first put his faith in kaffir and maize, and has never had a failure of these crops. He also went into the cattle and horse and mule industry on a limited scale, and horses and mules in particular have furnished him a large share of his revenue. Experience has decided for him the question as to the most reliable feed in this country, and the results he has obtained from black kaffir corn, maize and cane have been similarly substantiated by many other local farmers in this region. In a single season Mr. Harper's crop of kaffir brought him $2,400, and it was from the proceeds of that season's harvest that he erected his very comfortable country home. The year 1917 his grain crop was sold for $6,000. His other crops have been largely fed to his stock or shipped from his land. He has become so attached to this region that he has acquired other land as opportunity offered and his ranch now comprises 840 acres, well stocked with horses and mules.
Like all of the Harper family, Mr. Harper is a republican, but has never been ambitious for office and has satisfied his citizenship as a voter merely. While not a church member, he was reared in a home of Christian parents, and under the combined Presbyterian and Methodist doctrine. His wife is a member of the Christian Church.
As a young man in Iowa Mr. Harper married Delay Harlan. She was born in Van Buren County of that state, daughter of Cyrus Harlan, who came from Indiana. Mrs. Harper died at the age of twenty-eight. Of her children, Lewellyn died in Sumner County, Kansas, at the age of thirty-five, and by his marriage to Doll Maniela left two children, Harold and Ira. The second, Ethel, has been twice married, has a daughter, Hilda Cook, by her first husband, and is now the wife of Jack Flemings, cashier of the Board of Trade of Chicago. Lorene is the wife of Frank Welter, of Chicago, and has a daughter, Charline. The youngest of Mr. Harper's children is Jennie, who is also married and living in Chicago.
On September 10, 1892, in Sumner County Mr. Harper married Retta Malone. She was born in Wayne County, Iowa, in 1871, daughter of Elias and Mary (Thomas) Malone. The family of this union consist of Jewell, Florence, Eva, George Wilkes, Lawrence, Georgie, Elva, Mildred and Marita. The daughter Jewell is the wife of Clarence Roland, of Grant County, and has two children, Lamont and Bertha. The daughter Florence married Roy Harrison, also of Grant County. Both Mr. Harrison and Mr. Roland are now in the service of the United States Government, on duty in the world war, and are in France. The daughter Eva married Alvin Hyde, of Grant County, and has a son Lloyd. As a resident of Grant County Mr. Harper built and contributed the first school house in his school district, the school house being located on his own farm. Mrs. Harper is treasurer of the district.
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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