JOHN LINDAS, now a resident of Larned, was one of the first settlers of Pawnee County. While he was a homesteader and farmer, his enterprise was early directed into the lumber business, and the people over a wide section of Kansas are most familiar with his name as a lumber merchant. The Lindas lumber yards are now widely scattered, and he is head of a corporation which transacts business with thousands of customers and has for years borne a reputation for a reliability of service not excelled by any other lumber firm in the state.
While Mr. Lindas has spent more than half his life in Western Kansas, he had passed through some interesting experiences before coming to this state. He is one of the honored survivors of the great Civil war. He was born near the historic city of Bergen in rock ribbed Norway February 15, 1841. His people had lived in that section of Norway for generations and were thrifty farming people. His father, Hans Lindas, married Carrie Anderson, and they had several children before they determined to leave the old country and seek better fortunes in the United States. The came to America in 1857, locating in Dane County, Wisconsin, where so many of their fellow countrymen had settled before. In that section of Wisconsin, not far from the state capital of Madison, Hans Lindas and wife spent the rest of their years. Their remains now rest at Marshall, Wisconsin. A brief record of their children is: John; Martin, of Deerfield, Wisconsin; Siver, of St. Louis, Missouri; Hans, of Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Malinda, who married Andrew Ellingson and died at Red Wing, Minnesota. The mother of these children married for her second husband Aaron Hanson, and the one daughter of that union is Anna, wife of O. Huseboe, of Taylor, Wisconsin.
Mr. John Lindas was sixteen years of age when the family came to America. He had attended the Norwegian schools, and had a few short terms in the country schools of Wisconsin. For four months he also attended a business college. It did not take long to make a thorough American of him after he settled in Wisconsin, and he was quite ready and willing to volunteer his services in defense of the Union when the Union was tested by the Civil war. In 1862, at the age of twenty-one, he left the home farm and joined Company A of the Twenty-Ninth Wisconsin Infantry. He went to the front with his commanding officers as Captain Hancock and Colonel Charles R. Gill. The first active campaigning was the movement of General Grant's forces upon Vicksburg. Mr. Lindas saw his first fighting at Port Gibson on the Mississippi and afterwards was in the back country in the battles of Champion Hills and Big Black Ridge. He and his comrades then settled down to the siege of Vicksburg, and on the 20th of June, 1863, about two weeks before the surrender of the city, he was taken ill and in a few days was placed on board a hospital boat and sent to Memphis. About the 6th of July he was moved to the hospital in St. Louis and remained there for several months and afterwards was home on furlough until January, 1864. He rejoined his regiment at New Orleans, went with it on the Red River expedition under General Banks, and almost daily for weeks was under fire. Throughout the summer and winter of 1864 he was along the Mississippi and Arkansas and Tennessee. The regiment was then sent by boat to New Orleans, was transferred to Mobile, and took part in the siege and capture of Spanish Fort, one of the principal defenses of that city. For a time Mr. Lindas did police duty in Mobile. The regiment was finally put on board a boat and was sent up the Red River to receive the surrender of the Confederate forces along that stream. He was stationed at Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was mustered out June 22, 1865. Just forty years afterwards to the day Mr. Lindas was back in Shreveport, and found instead of a ramshackle town a thriving business metropolis. With all his steady service of nearly three years Mr. Lindas escaped wounds or capture. He has always taken a keen interest in the old soldiers and has done something to help his less fortunate comrades.
At the close of the war he went back to Wisconsin and had some experience as clerk in a store at Madison and Marshall, and that and farming constituted his experience before he came to Kansas.
In the month of May, 1871, Mr. Lindas arrived in Pawnee County. The first thing he did was to file on a homestead. Having made due preparations for his establishment on the frontier of Western Kansas, he went back to Wisconsin and brought on his family in January, 1874. Accompanying him to Kansas were his wife and son. He had little capital and only limited business and farming experience. As an old soldier he took a soldier's homestead on the northwest quarter of section 4, township 21, range 15. On this he built a shelter consisting of a small frame building of a single room. He was a handy man in the architecture of this rude home, and did most of the building and finishing himself. Owing to limited means he had to start with an ox team, one yoke of cattle. These he bought because he was unable to afford a bettor outfit. He also bought a plow and an old wagon. As he was one of the first settlers there was little of precedent or experience to guide him in his efforts except what he knew about farming as conducted in Southern Wisconsin. He tried growing corn and wheat. The first year the grasshoppers ate up his entire corn crop. As there was no profit from his labors that year he had to fall back upon the resources he had acquired in Wisconsin. It was 1878 before he had any encouragement from his crops.
In 1878 Mr. Lindas accepted an opportunity to engage in the lumber business at Pawnee Rock. He assumed heavy indebtedness for lumber and other materials and as he was unable to get ready profits and returns from the business he would have been bankrupt but for the generous crop of wheat threshed that summer. His homestead adjoined Pawnee Rock, and while looking after his mercantile affairs he continued farming.
The original lumber yard at Pawnee Rock was the beginning of a system of lumber yards since developed by his enterprise and now covering a string of Western Kansas towns. Mr. Lindas has always considered the day he bought the yard at Pawnee Rock as the luckiest one in his career. He continued to live on his farm until 1880 and in the meantime had converted the pioneer improvements into something permanent and substantial.
Pawnee Rock when he first saw it was only a railway station with two or three small habitations. Before establishing his lumber yard several other buildings had started and there seemed a reasonable prospect of growth and prosperity for the community. Mr. Lindas continued to! live in Pawnee Rock until 1900, when he removed to Larned, in which city he has lived now for seventeen years. While at Pnwnee Rock he was influential in establishing the school district and was a member of its board. He was the first mayor the town had, and he also played a modest part as a voter in politics locally and in the county.
The Lindas lumber yard at Pawnee Rock became the mother of a system of yards since established in Central and Western Kansas. About twenty years ago the Lindas Lumber Company was incorporated, with Mr. Lindas as president. This company has not only established yards but has bought lumber enterprises already established. It has both bought and sold lumber plants. Mr. Lindas removed to Larned after buying a retail yard in that city.
He is one of the directors of the Moffet Brothers National Bank of Larned, served as its vice president fifteen years, and has been a member of the city council of Larned. He is a republican in politics, and in Masonry is a member of the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery.
In 1868 Mr. John Lindas was married in Wisconsin to Miss Bessie Williams. She died in Wisconsin in 1872 leaving a son. Dr. Henry E. Lindas, now a resident of Joplin, Missouri, engaged in zinc mining in that section. On November 21, 1871, Mr. Lindas was married in Wisconsin to Miss Martha Starks. Some months before his marriage he had made his first prospecting tour in Western Kansas, and he took his bride to the homestead in Pawnee County not long after their marriage. Mrs. Lindas is a daughter of Joseph Starks, who was born in Norway. Mr. and Mrs. Lindas have one son, Ed S., of Larned, and an adopted daughter, Nellie, wife of Charles E. Clutter.
Ed S. Lindas, son of Mr. John Lindas, is now serving as mayor of Larned and is one of the vigliant[sic] and active business men of the city. He was born at Pawnee Rock in August, 1877, attended the high school in his native town, and was liberally educated in the University of Kansas, where he was graduated in 1900. Returning home, he became actively associated with his father in the lumber business at Albert, and in 1902 removed to Larned. Among other business interests he is the founder with Mr. Clark of the Arkansas Valley Telephone Company. He has passed all the chairs in the Masonic bodies at Larned and has been a representative to the Grand Lodge.
He has played a notable part in local affairs. As a republican he cast his first presidential vote for McKinley and has attended county and district conventions and in the Wichita State Convention helped nominate Governor W. J. Bailey and was also one of the delegates to the convention of the Seventh Congressional District at Great Bend. Mr. Lindas was elected and served as a member of the city council from the second ward of Larned during the administration of Mayor Frizell. In April, 1913, he was elected mayor to succeed Mayor Frizell. His term as mayor had proved an epoch in municipal advancement. The first achievement of importance during his term was the construction of the Cummins Memorial Library in 1913. In 1916 a new electric light plant was built at a cost of $100,000. During 1916 and 1917 about seventy-five blocks of vitrified paving was laid.
In January, 1904, Mr. Lindas was married in Larned to Miss Clara Yeager. Her father, W. K. Yeager, was a native of Pennsylvania and of German stock and came to Western Kansas in 1885. Mrs. Lindas was educated in the Larned public schools, and prior to her marriage was employed for a time in the First State Bank of Larned. She and Mr. Lindas have one daughter, Bettie.
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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