LEONARD M. KRAUSE has been a factor in the commercial life of La Crosse, Kansas, since 1903, but his acquaintance with the western section of the state began thirty years prior to that time. He is numbered among the early pioneers of Barton County, where he located in 1873, the year of the tremendous financial panic, and while he felt some of the effects of those hard times the vicissitudes peculiar to Kansas, such as grasshopper plagues and dry years, affected him even more nearly. He has prospered in business, has been frequently honored with positions of trust and responsibility, and is reckoned as one of the most substantial men of this section.
Mr. Krause is a native of Germany. He was born October 3, 1848, near the Town of Guschenstadt in Oberamt Heidenheim, in the Kingdom of Wuertemberg. He was one of the family of Christian Frederick and Christina (Gehring) Krause. The Gehrings were shepherds but the Krauses were farmers. When Mr. Krause was two years of age he and his five brothers and sisters, with their mother, left the old country in 1850 and came to America. They were a part of that great wave of German colonization which crossed the Atlantic about that time and furnished to America some of its most substantial citizens and patriots. The family landed at Philadelphia, first lived in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, engaged as farmers there, and when Leonard M. Krause was still a youth they moved to Elmira, New York. The mother died at Elmira, while the father passed away at Fort Washita, Oklahoma, while on a visit to a son. The children were: Mary, whose second husband was a Mr. Petrie, died in Pennsylvania; Frederick, who died at Beaverdam, Indiana; Michael, who lives in Oklahoma; Elizabeth, who married Justus Hadie and died at Elmira, New York; Adam, who died at Elmira; Christian, who died at Fort Washita, Oklahoma; Leonard M.; John, who died at La Crosse, Kansas; Mrs. Emma Tucker, who died near Beaverdam, Indiana; and William, a resident of Elmira, New York.
Leonard M. Krause has no recollection of the family residence or fortunes until they lived in Pennsylvania. He attended schools there and also a country school at Car's Corners near Elmira, New York. Farming was the vocation for which he was trained, and he helped in the management of the homestead until he came out to Kansas. As already stated, he came to Western Kansas in 1873 and was accompanied by two neighbors, young men from Beaverdam, Indiana, where for a brief time he had sojourned before resuming his western progress. In Barton County, Kansas, he and his comrades took claims, but Mr. Krause alone became a farmer there.
Mr. Krause on arriving in Barton County settled in section 18, township 18, range 15. He proved up in the required time and then homesteaded in the same section. These two quarters gave him a large farm but he subsequently acquired another 160 acres in the same section. He lived on his farm until 1888, added many substantial improvements, had rather more than the average success as a grain and feed raiser, and in the course of time his activities made him one of the leading men of his county.
He was still unmarried when he came to Kansas. His first work was the building of a dugout, a one-room half underground house, unfinished on the inside and offering merely a shelter from the inclement elements. In that humble home he and six other young bachelors lived the first winter. When the grasshopper plague struck Kansas in 1874 hundreds who had come out to these prairies with high hopes and ambitions to make permanent homes fled from the scene and returned east. Mr. Krause was one of the few who remained, stuck to his post and battled manfully until he was securely established. He had come out to Kansas in humble circumstances, though he possessed enough cash to weather him through the storm of adversity and the periods of short crops.
He left his farm to enter upon his duties as a public official of Barton County. Being a native of Germany, though he came to this country in infancy, he had to complete his naturalization. He took out his final citizenship papers at Larned, Kansas. He began voting as a democrat and has always supported that party in its major candidates, for president and governor. In local affairs he is strictly independent and votes for the man. In 1887 he was chosen treasurer of Barton County and gave a faithful and efficient conduct of that office for four years.
Following his official term he became one of the organizers of the Great Bend Implement Company and was an active factor in its affairs for five years. Later he became a shipper of grain from Alma, Oklahoma, and other points to the northern and southern markets and that gave him an experience which took him much over the country for three years. Upon leaving this work he identified himself with the City of La Crosse, and associated with Brack Brothers, entered the hardware and implement business. The firm was the La Crosse Hardware & Implement Company, and Mr. Krause was one of its associates for about two years. Selling his interests there, he resumed the grain business at La Crosse, where he owns an elevator and for several years has shipped out a large share of the grain that finds a market in this city. Besides the official distinction already mentioned Mr. Krause while living in Barton County was township trustee eighteen years and has been a member of the La Crosse city council.
He is married and has a family and is interested in the maintenance of good schools and good living conditions in his town. He was married in Barton County in July, 1876, to Annie Maria Brack. Her father, Phillip Brack, was of pure German stock but came to the United States from Russia. Mr. and Mrs. Krause's children are: Benjamin F., of La Crosse; Leonard, of Coffeyville, Kansas; David, associated with his father; Annie, wife of Price Logan, a soldier in the United States Army; Adam, of Great Bend, Kansas; William, of Minden, Nebraska; Fred, who is a soldier in France; and Miss Marie, of La Crosse.
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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