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.


Thomas P. Kintner

THOMAS P. KINTNER. While some of his experiences as well as his achievements have been out of the ordinary, Mr. Kintner's life in Western Kansas since 1878 constitutes a real chapter in the history of Edwards County and reveals much of the early life of the settlers which people in subsequent generations will be most interested in reading.

It was in the month of May that he arrived in this county, locating in Franklin Township, which was then on the frontier. As a homestead he entered the southwest quarter of section 34, township 25, range 17. Mr. Kintner knows all the comforts and discomforts that went with living in a sod house. He built such a structure with his own hands. It contained a single room. The floor was the native earth packed down hard, and the roof was covered with boards. It was perhaps two years before he was able to afford a better residence. This ampler home came to him by addition rather than by total reconstruction. He first moved a box house against the soddy, and subsequently put up another box house, and this little group of buildings made a conglomerate residence which served the purposes of a home until he replaced them all with his present substantial residence, constructed of cement blocks and containing nine comfortable rooms.

On coming to Kansas Mr. Kintner followed the true pioneer style of journeying in a prairie schooner, drawn by a team. Accompanying him were his wife and two children. They came overland from Dalton City, Illinois, crossing the Mississippi at Louisiana, Missouri, the Missouri River at Boonville, and came over the Kansas State line at Fort Scott. From there they journeyed through Humboldt and Halstead to Larned. This journey had eaten up all his visible resources, and he believed himself completely strapped, though a few days after his arrival he found in his pocket a 25-cent "shinplaster." Prime necessity was the means of provisioning his home, and with that object in view he worked in the harvest fields. He also used his team in breaking sod, and when winter came an and with it a complete absence of working opportunities he "holed up." The next spring he broke out an area of sod and planted corn. He cut up some fodder, but secured not a single nubbin of grain. During that winter he picked and hauled bones to market, and accepted any honest job of work that presented itself. One winter he even went south to Wichita and worked many days husking corn in the open fields.

Five or six years passed before Mr. Kintner's efforts were rewarded with a real crop. He proved up his claim as a soldier, and, like most settlers, placed a mortgage on his land. The mortgage was to most Kansans "the first aid" resource. The proceeds from the mortgage he used to buy supplies, pay debts and buy his first cow. It was much harder to get the mortgage paid off than to put it on, but in this task he succeeded in spite of high rates of interest and repeated crop failures. The raising of wheat and cattle furnished the chief reliable source for raising the mortgage. After getting his first cow he secured another by work or by trade, and in time had a nucleus which classed him as a "cow man." The cows supplied butter and milk, and another important resource was the poultry. With these in abundance there was less need to resort to the more extensive supplies bought from the near by store.

Mr. Kintner is a true and loyal Kansan, and no other part of the world has quite the associations and attractions that this state has. But he distinctly recalls times when he wished he were some where else, and only stern necessity kept him located. Perhaps the "saving grace" for him in those days was his pension. This came as a result of the persuasion of Lawyer Smith of Larned, who persisted in taking up the case, securing the evidence, and eventually the pension was allowed. The arrears amounted to $1,000, and that seemed like a fortune when it was received. It relieved him of further concern about the family larder, and the surplus he used in making investments in stock and in paying up old obligations.

Soon after homesteading Mr. Kintner took up a timber claim, and this half section was for a long time as much land as he desired. To hold land as a speculation was an idea that never occurred to him. Only as much land as he could manage himself seemed to be the proper idea. In fact he has never become a large land owner, and outside of his half section farm his only real estate is a quarter section in Stevens County. After varied experiences with different crops he finally pinned his faith to wheat, and his chief success has been made in that line.

Mr. Kintner is now past the Psalmist's span of years, and nearly forty years of that time have been spent in Western Kansas. He was born in Harrison County, Indiana, June 28, 1845, and grew up at Corydon, the first capital of that state. His grandfather, Peter Kintner, was of Pennsylvania Dutch stock and was one of the early settlers of Corydon, Indiana. By trade he was a saddler, and he spent his last years in Corydon. Among his children were: Frederick, George, James, Jacob, Daniel, Peter, Catherine, who became the wife of John D. Peters, and Sarah, who married David Patrick. The parents of Thomas P. Kintner were Peter M. and Emily (McComb) Kintner.

Thomas P. Kintner attended school at regular intervals until he was sixteen years of age. Though far short of manhood in years, he proved a willing patriot when the war broke out, and in August, 1861, enlisted at Corydon in Company B of the Fifty-third Indiana Infantry. He was first under Captain Long and later under Captain John I. Rush. The commander of the regiment was Walter Q. Gresham, one of Indiana's greatest statesman, and he led the regiment until he was made a brigadier general. For a time Mr. Kintner and his comrades were employed in guarding prisoners in Indiana, and were then sent to Savannah, Tennessee, and were stationed within hearing distance of the guns at the great battle of Shiloh. They then took part in the siege of Corinth and in a general campaign over West Tennessee. Mr. Kintner was also in the Vicksburg campaign, fighting at Hatchie River and reaching Vicksburg after it had surrendered to General Grant. He was in McPherson's corps which whipped Joseph E. Johnston's army at Jackson after the surrender of Vicksburg. After serving three years Mr. Kintner reenlisted, spending a month at home on a veteran's furlough, and rejoining Sherman's army at Big Shanty during the Atlanta campaign. In that great movement of the Union armies he was present in the various battles with his regiment until the 21st of July. At that date General Gresham suffered a broken leg, and Mr. Kintner, being his orderly, took his general back to New Albany, Indiana, and was absent from the command until Johnston's army surrendered to General Sherman at Durham Station, when he joined the forces of Sherman near Raleigh, and was present at Johnston's surrender. With this magnificent body of war worn troops he went on to Washington and participated in the Grand Review. While, as this record shows, Mr. Kintner saw some of the hardest fighting of the entire war he escaped without a single scratch himself, though some spent balls occasionally gave him a thump. He was mustered out of service at Indianapolis, August 3, 1865. Since his early residence in Kansas Mr. Kintner has been a loyal Grand Army man and is a member of T. O. Howe Past No. 241 at Kinsley.

After the war Mr. Kintner left Indiana and established himself in Macon County, Illinois, as a farm renter. In that state he continued renting land until he came to Kansas. He was married in Illinois in September, 1870, to Miss Phoebe Reeder. Her parents were William and Rachel (Ferguson) Reeder. Her father was born in Pennsylvania, went from that state to Ohio and then to Illinois, and came to Kansas with Mr. and Mrs. Kintner, taking up Government land and spending his last days in Franklin Township of Edwards County. His widow died in 1916, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kintner, at the age of ninety years. Mrs. Kintner is the only one of the Reeder children living in Kansas.

To Mr. and Mrs. Kintner were born two sons: William P. and Samuel. Samuel died in young manhood, unmarried. William P., actively associated with his father on the farm, married Clara O'Donnell. Their marriage has given Mr. and Mrs. Kintner the joy and solace of six grandchildren, named Fern, Samuel, Grace, Wave, Ruth and Eva.

Mr. Kintner served on the board of school district No. 17 when it was organized, and was a member of its board sixteen years. For several terms he was a township trustee. Before he was of age, in 1864, he cast a vote for Mr. Lincoln, and his first legal vote was given to General Grant in 1868. He has usually been a republican, though he was identified with the Farmers Alliance and for a few years was a populist. His principal activity in politics has been as a delegate to the county conventions. Through a long career he has proved himself responsible to every trust and demand, and was as hard a fighter against the adversities of Kansas climate as he was in following the flag of the Union from 1861 to 1865.


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

Tom & Carolyn Ward
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