NOBLE J. MADDEN. One of the substantial and worthy men of Stevens County is found in Noble J. Madden, farmer and stockman, and for a number of years identified with public affairs in the county. He has occupied his ranch in the vicinity of Hugoton since May, 1902, but has spent all his life with the exception of two years of childhood in his native Kansas.
Noble J. Madden was born at Fairmount in Leavenworth County, Kansas, November 2, 1871. His parents were Samuel and Annie (Williams) Madden, Samuel Madden was born in Knox County, Ohio, and was the eldest of Gabriel Madden's three children: Samuel, Mrs. Mary Williams of California, and John. He learned the blacksmith trade and about 1849 was working at the same in Missouri, from which state he went to California, at that time being fourteen years of age. He worked at his trade in different sections, once in the vicinity of Virginia City, and also engaged in mining, in which he met with success, although his hard-earned fortune was subsequently lost through an investment in a water-ditch property. In going to California he crossed the plains with the usual ox team conveyance, and six months were spent on the journey, but he returned by railroad.
On coming to Kansas in 1869 Samuel Madden settled at Fairmount in Leavenworth County, and resumed work at his trade, and after a time purchased a farm there and operated it for some years. He subsequently spent two years in the Cherokee nation and also operated a sawmill south of Coffeyville. When he returned to Kansas again he located in Barber County and went back to farming on his place thirteen miles southwest of Medicine Lodge, to which place he moved several years before his death, which occurred in 1901, at the age of sixty-five years.
In California Samuel Madden was married to Annie Williams, whose father, an Englishman, had established his family there and died in San Francisco. His wife was Elizabeth Tregear, born in St. Just, Cornwall, England, where her daughter Annie was born June 6, 1847. The children in the Williams family were Thomas, Johnson, George, Elizabeth, who is a resident of Reno, Nevada; and Mrs. Madden, whose home is at Medicine Lodge, Kansas. The children of Samuel and Annie Madden were: Mrs. Cynthia Swartz, of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Nettie Soper, of Barber County, Kansas; Edward and Johnson, both of whom died in Barber County; Noble J. and Charles, both of whom belong to Stevens County.
Noble J. Madden attended school in Leavenworth and Barber counties, but his advantages were none of the best. He learned to be a stationary engineer and became familiar with the operation of tractors, and as soon as he left home rented land and started as a farmer in Barber County. He remained a tenant farmer until he came to Stevens County, and here entered a homestead on the southwest quarter of section 1, township 33, range 37, which he still owns and which is a part of his 1,600 acre ranch.
When Mr. Madden came to Stevens County he brought three horses, ten cows and three colts. He moved in a covered wagon, which easily conveyed all his effects. His cash capital was just $4.25 and he mortgaged his cattle to enable him to build his dugout, and also had to borrow the money to pay for his filing on his homestead. The first home was a two-room affair, the half dugout of the settler of that day, 16 by 32 feet and "dirted" over, and the only shelter that he could then afford for his stock was a mere windbreak. All these details are intensely interesting as bringing out the sturdy character of the men who so courageously faced hardship and whose perseverance and resourcefulness were later so well rewarded.
Mr. Madden began as a small farmer, and for three years he also made a business of freighting from Liberal to Hugoton. He prospered with his cattle and easily paid off his mortgage by raising broom corn, which he was able to then sell for from $45 to $50 a ton. For several years he raised broom corn on a small scale rather as a convenience, but has always given the most of his attention to cattle and horses. He showed good judgment in the beginning by paying off his indebtedness on his cows, for their increase served as the nucleus of his fortune, from which thousands of dollars worth of cattle have been sold and from that same stock he now owns 190 head. He has bred up highly of the White Face and has sold cows as cheap as $20 and calves as low as $10 each. His practice has been to cling to his heifers as breeders. In the fall of 1917 he disposed of 175 head of mixed cattle, which brought him more than $7,000. He has raised all his own horses and an occasional animal for sale, and raises all his own meat and frequently makes a profit on the sale of hogs. Although the sufferer from a sad accident, through slipping and falling and catching his right hand in the gearing of a tractor, whereby the member was so injured that it had to be amputated at the wrist, Mr. Madden has bravely and successfully carried on his industries and few men in this section have been more generally prospered in their undertakings. Within a few years of coming to the county he began adding to his landed domain and now owns nine quarters in addition to his homestead. For seven years the family endured the inconveniences of the little dugout home, which was then succeeded by the comfortable ranch house they now occupy.
Mr. Madden was married in Barber County, Kansas, July 4, 1895, to Miss Ella Ball, who was born in Sedgwick County, Kansas, March 25, 1876. Her parents were William and Melissa (Banta) Ball. William Ball was born in Parke County, Indiana, and was there married to Melissa Banta, who died in Barber County, Kansas, in 1915, aged seventy-three years. Mr. Ball was a Union soldier during the Civil war, a private in the Forty-third Indiana Infantry. When he came to Kansas he took a claim in Sedgwick County, proved it up and later moved to Meade County and there took up and proved a homestead. Finally he moved to Barber County, and there he died in 1901, when aged seventy-eight years. Of their children Mrs. Madden was the second born, the others being as follows: Howard, who lives in Arizona; Henry, whose home is in Saskatchewan, Canada; Alice, who is the wife of Charles Madden, of Stevens County; and Lina, who is Mrs. Otis Williams, of Barber County, Kansas. At the time of her marriage to Mr. Ball, Mrs. Ball was the Widow Rouse, and she had two children: Wallace T. Rouse, of Wichita, Kansas; and Edward, who died at Saskatchewan, Canada, leaving a large family. Mr. Ball had also been previously married, and the children of his first union were: Sallie, who married Calvin Elswick, of Oklahoma; Zopher, who is a resident of Wichita, Kansas; Charles, a farmer in Ford County, Kansas; John, who is in business at Silver Cliff, Colorado; and Mrs. Rose Neal, who lives in Oklahoma.
Mr. and Mrs. Madden have five children: Zana, who has been a school teacher in Stevens County, is now a student in the Kansas State Normal School; and Ernest Walter, Harry Wallace and Joy. Mr. and Mrs. Madden are members of the Christian Church, as are also the older children, and the entire family, as social factors, are highly regarded in the neighborhood. In politics Mr. Madden is a democrat and cast his first presidential vote in 1892 for Grover Cleveland. In local matters and also in county affairs he has been an intelligent, honest and faithful citizen. He has served for nine years on the school board at Hugoton and for two years was township trustee, and since January, 1917, has been one of the county commissioners of Stevens County. He is a member of Woodsdale Lodge No. 334, Odd Fellows, which is located at Hugoton.
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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