WILLIAM R. HAUN has been on the frontiers of Western Kansas since the fall of 1878. He was then about seven years old, and as the scenes of this locality were presented to him with the freshness of a child's mind he has all the keener recollection of subsequent events. Mr. Haun has long been a prominent farmer in the vicinity of Pawnee Rock, Barton County, and his activity has extended in various directions, not only in business affairs but in the work of the community.
Mr. Haun is a charter member of the local organization of the Federal Farm Loan Bank and one of its directors. This bank secured the first farm loan made by the government to Mr. Stockwell, president of the organization.
He was born in Knox County, Tennessee, February 21, 1871. His father, Edmund W. Haun, who died in Tennessee in 1876, was a millwright by trade. On that account he was exempt from service during the war. He had three brothers, named Nathaniel, Samuel and George. Edmund W. Haun married Miss Anna E. Smith, who was one of the several children to grow up of John and Mary (Galbreath) Smith. Her father was a native of Tennessee and was a farmer on a large scale there. The children of Edmund W. Haun and wife were: Delia, wife of Dr. S. C. Rogers, of Watsonville, California; Samuel, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Mary J., wife of Myron Hough, in the vicinity of Pawnee Rock; John M., of Pawnee Rock, Kansas; Maggie, wife of George Brannan, of Timken, Kansas; Omer, who died in Garfield, Washington, leaving a family; Olive, wife of H. A. Russell, county attorney of Scott County, Kansas; Cecil, who died in childhood; WIlliam R.; Gertrude, wife of C. A. Kitch, of Wichita; and Lyda, wife of James Beck, of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Two years after the death of her husband in Tennessee Mrs. Anna Haun started for the Far West with her children, and made the entire journey, a distance of over 1,000 miles, by wagon. Though the trip required several weeks, there was no untoward incident to mar the progress of the little caravan. Mrs. Haun at the time had eleven children, ten of whom identified themselves with Kansas. There were three teams in the caravan that brought the family west. An older son, Omer, had preceded the family and had selected a location. The mother transacted to buy eighty acres of railroad land. It was bare prairie and in the absence of a habitation she and her children spent the first winter in a one-room house and basement not far away, and in the spring they built a one-room house and basement 14 by 18 feet. A few years later a sod addition was made. There with the help of her sturdy older sons this courageous Kansas pioneer woman began the task of farming. Sod was broken, corn was planted, and some additional land was rented for a wheat crop. This wheat failed to grow and there were other years in which hardly the seed repaid the efforts bestowed in planting it. In this critical juncture of affairs the three older sons went into railroad work as employes of the Santa Fe Company. One of them, Samuel D., helped to lay the steel of that road over the mountains through New Mexico, and is still a railroad man. After leaving the Santa Fe he was employed by the E., T., U. & G., now the Southern, at Knoxville, Tennessee, and has been with that company continuously for thirty-six years, missing only two paydays in that time. The brother Omer, who also took up railroad employment, finally returned home, but after a few years went back with the railroad.
While her younger children were minors Mrs. Haun managed the family affairs with consummate skill and ability. However, she was unable to carry out the contract with the railroad company for the payment on the original tract of land, and giving it up she next bought a relinquishment on a timber claim, homesteaded it and finally proved up. That was her home throughout her remaining years, and it is now owned by William R. Haun. This homestead was the northwest quarter of section 4, township 20, range 16. Besides what was required of her in the management of her home Mrs. Haun served several years as a member of the district school board No. 20. She was an active member of the Ash Valley Methodist Episcopal Church. She had a limited education. She was able to help her children while they were in school, and in every way played the part of the true mother and a kindly neighbor.
It was in one of the pioneer schools of Rush County that William R. Haun acquired his education, but with growing strength he applied himself more and more to assisting his mother on the place. He lived with his mother all her life, and since he himself was seven years of age his life has been industriously spent in almost one locality. He now owns the north half of section 4, township 20, range 16, and has added many improvements and buildings. His success as a wheat grower has been perhaps above the average. At times he has had acres which made over forty bushels of grain, while his best average yield was about fifteen bushels. In the matter of price he has sold some as low as 35 cents a bushel and has also enjoyed the good fortune of selling $2.50 wheat. He threshed the first wheat ever threshed in Pawnee County with a Deering combined harvester thresher June 22, 1918. Throughout the years he has combined cattle along with general farming, and has a herd of high grade Shorthorns.
Politically Mr. Haun has strong leanings toward the democratic principles and party. Outside of business and home he has given much of his time to maintaining and advancing the interests of Sunday school organizations. For twenty-five years he has served either as superintendent or teacher, beginning his work in Ash Valley and is now superintendent of the Sunnyside Sunday School. He has attended local and district conventions and was a member of the State Sunday School Convention at Topeka in 1917 and is now president of the District Sunday School Association.
On December 27, 1899, Mr. Haun married Miss Gertrude Gill, daughter of William A. Gill, a prominent old timer whose career is sketched elsewhere in this publication. Mr. and Mrs. Haun have five children: Gladys, Marie, Harold, and Eugene and Eunice, twins.
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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