EDWARD LYMAN is an old timer of Western Kansas. He has lived in the state since 1868, was a claim taker and frontiersman in Hodgeman County for a number of years, and since 1890 his home has been in Pawnee County. He has had a varied experience from living on the verge of absolute poverty to a commanding position in business affairs, the owner of many broad acres and of ample possessions and property.
Mr. Lyman started life practically without a father and as a member of a household in very moderate circumstances. He early learned to paddle his own canoe and has had plenty of ambition and energy to put him through the most stormy rapids on his voyage. He was born in Illinois December 2, 1861. His grandfather, William Lyman, a native of Pennsylvania, was one of a family of eight sons and eight daughters, all of whom reared families, and the youngest died at sixty, while the oldest lived to be one hundred and five years old. William Lyman went to Ohio with his parents when he was a child and in 1834 he journeyed from Ohio to Illinois with ox teams, locating in Iroquois County. He was a successful farmer and stockman there and died in 1903, at the age of ninety-two. His children were: John; Hannah, who married John Hoston; Yune; and Andrew W., of Erie, Kansas.
John Lyman, father of Edward Lyman, was born in Knox County, Ohio, and spent his active career as a farmer. He died in Iroquois County, Illinois, in 1866, when Edward Lyman was only five years old. John Lyman married Miss Mary Ann Pierce, who died in April, 1917, at Watseka, Illinois, at the age of eighty-three. Her children were: William, of Watseka, Illinois; Melissa, who died unmarried; Alfred C., of Kankakee, Illinois; Edward; and Elmer U., of Watseka.
After the death of his father Edward Lyman went to live with his uncle, A. W. Lyman, now a resident of Erie, Kansas. A. W. Lyman served as a soldier in the Civil war with the Seventy-Sixth Illinois Infantry and passed away in April, 1917. He early moved to Neosho County, Kansas, where he was among the pioneers. In the early days there he worked in the timber along the Neosho River near Erie, cutting wood and making posts. That was a time of high prices such as the country has not seen until the present day. A. W. Lyman paid $9 a hundred for flour, 35 cents a pound for bacon and bought corn at $2 a bushel. The principal diet then was navy beans, which was one of the few comparatively cheap things. With all the shortcomings of the time and place the frontiersman enjoyed life. Everybody was on a plane of equality, and there was sociability to a greater degree than can be found now. It was very common in those days to see an ox team hauling a wagon containing a family going to visit their neighbor. The pioneer home of the Lymans in Kansas consisted of a shack set out on the prairie, and many times deer and wild turkey came almost up to its door. The house was built of posts planted in the ground, three on a side, with 2 by 4s laid horizontally for stringers and with boards nailed on roughly and frequently with many cracks between. The roof consisted of buckwheat straw, and the opening where a door was intended was covered with an "Uncle Sam" blanket, the honored blanket the uncle had used while fighting the Rebels.
It was in these rude and wild environments that Edward Lyman grew up and learned how to farm. His school advantages were confined to the curriculum of a country school where only the three R's were taught. In 1880 he left his uncle's home and went out to Barber County and found employment on a cattle ranch. He spent three years working for wages in and around Medicine Lodge, and from there went to Hodgeman County and had the life of a homesteader for seven years. In that time he proved up 480 acres in Hallett Township. As he looks back to those days he feels that his experience was such that "Hades will seem mild in comparison" for any one doomed for such a place. He "made a bet with the government" that he would stay there five years, and while he won the bet, he feels that he was beaten. He began his life on his claim in Hodgeman County in a sod dugout, covered with brush, sod and dirt. That furnished him protection from the elements, and later he put up a similar residence on his homestead, though it was covered with boards. Mr. Lyman feels that he had more real experiences while living on those claims than has come to him since. He was unable to get a living always from the land, and he more than once left home and found employment at wages. Thus he worked on the construction of the Jetmore branch of the Santa Fe, helped to build the Rock Island line from Bucklin to Dodge City, and also did freighting from Spearville to Jetmore. Some years later he traded his land in Hodgeman County for five head of cattle. While bringing these cattle to Garfield he met an acquaintance who offered him $125 for the herd and suggested that he go into the real estate business, since his acquaintance claimed that Mr. Lyman had made the best deal on Hodgeman County land up to that time.
When Mr. Lyman removed to Pawnee County in 1890 he rented land, farmed and conducted a threshing outfit. He owned four head of horses and mules, and after a time bought an interest in a threshing machine and has ever since been identified with that business. For a number of years he and a Mr. Ware were partners. They owned three outfits operating in this region. In the spring of 1900 Mr. Lyman bought his partner's interest. Threshing and farming together made a profitable combination, so that he was able to pay cash as he went along, and at the same time his profits enabled him to gather together 1,130 acres of land in Garfield Township, five miles southwest of Garfield. This land constitutes the greatly admired and valuable Catalpa Grove Farm. Its name is appropriately bestowed. From trees he planted in 1901 he has since cut both catalpa and hedge posts enough to fence the property. His farm has two complete sets of improvements. One set recently cost him $5,000, while the old improvements have a value of $8,000. Mr. Lyman is one of the men who have found it profitable and wise to use the silo as a method of cattle feeding. His silo is built of cement and has a capacity of 325 tons. He is also an alfalfa grower. Eighty acres are in that crop, and he has been cutting from it for several years. Since 1902 Mr. Lyman has been one of the notable local breeders of Shorthorns. His cattle have taken first prizes at Pawnee County fairs. His males come from the noted herds of Shorthorns in Missouri. He owns the granddaughter of the famous dam Sicily. Taken altogether there is no better herd of Shorthorns in Kansas.
For the past three years Mr. Lyman has also been interested in the automobile business at Garfield. He is associated with Marquart Brothers in the sale of the Hupmobile, the Chandler and the Grant cars. He was one of the promoters of the Farmers Elevator at Garfield and of the Garfield telephone system, and was president of the latter for some years. To politics Mr. Lyman began voting as a republican and was an adherent of that party and its principles until the progressive campaign of 1912, when he supported Mr. Roosevelt. Then in 1916 he was one of the Kansans who helped turn the state to Mr. Wilson. He has always been a hard worker and exceedingly busy with various affairs, and only now and then has he found it convenient to accept office. He served as trustee of Garfield Township, as a member of the school board for District No. 8, and was on the condemnation or appraising commission for the site of the insane hospital at Larned. Fraternally Mr. Lyman has been through the chairs of the local lodge of Odd Fellows and was one of the promoters and organizers of the Anti-Horse Thief Association. He is a member of the Council of Defense of Pawnee County and is chairman of Garfield Township. He is also a member of the slacker committee of the township and is a deputy food administrator. He was appointed a delegate to the International Wheat Congress at Wichita in 1918. In 1917 Mr. Lyman and others organized the Arkansas Valley State Bank of Garfield. The bank was chartered May 23d, and opened far business November 15th, with a capital of $15,010. Its officers were John E. Wagner, president; Edward Lyman, vice president, and R. H. Singleton, cashier. Its board of directors are John E. Wagner, Edward Lyman, H. J. Marquardt, Thomas Davis and H. F. Mostrom.
Soon after he came to Pawnee County Mr. Lyman felt that his material conditions justified him in having a home of his own. Going back to Neosho County, Kansas, he was married April 5, 1891, to Miss Nellie H. Cook, daughter of Charles and Sarah (Cory) Cook. Mrs. Lyman was born in Canada, May 25, 1866. Her father brought his family to the United States in 1868 and located near the Lyman home in Neosho County. Mrs. Lyman's mother is now living at Lake Wood, New Mexico, at the age of eighty-three, the same age as Mr. Lyman's mother. In the Cook family were six children: E. C. Cook, of El Paso, Texas; Merritt, who died in Oklahoma; Mrs. Lyman; Nathaniel V., of Lake Wood, New Mexico; Watson T., of Lake Wood, New Mexico; and Maggie, who died unmarried in Neosho County. Mr. and Mrs. Lyman have five children: Marian Ethel is the wife of Ray Grandy, of Pawnee County, and has daughters Helen Louise and Lois May; Charles E. is now serving in the regular army in Company D of the Forty-Second United States Infantry as a corporal, and is in Camp Devon, Massachusetts; John Watson is the third; William A. died in childhood; and Eugene Egbert is the youngest.
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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