ALVUS H. MOFFET has been a resident of Larned and Pawnee County since 1884, and has become prominent as a banker, being president of the Moffet Brothers National Bank of Larned, and has also furnished his individual enterprise and judgment and much capital to the development of the agricultural prosperity in this section. He has been a leader in agricultural affairs, and his example has served to stimulate the efforts of many men left better off financially.
Mr. Moffet is well fitted for pioneering both by special training and by ancestry. His forefathers were always out on the firing line and became prominent as pioneers in their respective generations. The Moffet family was established in America from Scotland, and the first home of the Moffets was in Virginia. The founder of the family had four sons. One of them, John, great-grandfather of the Larned banker, went to Massachusetts and settling on the Connecticut River at Northfleld was granted the right to run the ferry at that place. He was a noted Indian fighter and a Revolutionary soldier, both he and his son John, Jr., entering the Patriot Army and serving through much of the war for independence. John Moffet. Sr., finally went to New York many years after the war and died and was buried in that state. His sons John and Hoshea went out to Ohio, locating in Trumbull County. The Moffet family has furnished chiefly farmers and stockmen, and in the present generation Alvus H. and his brother A. C. are the only ones identified with banking.
The grandfather of Mr. Moffet was Hoshea Moffet. Hoshea was the son of John Moffet.
Dr. Chauncey W. Moffet had a history and a variety of experience which would require many pages for the telling in detail. During the '30s he went with his father to Texas and was with Sam Houston in the war for Texas independence. Later he established his home near Moffet in Bell County, where he was a pioneer. Three brothers of Doctor Chauncey were pioneers in Kansas, going into the territory in the late '40s and participating in the border warfare. They lived in Wyandotte and subsequently removed to Shawnee County. It was one of these brothers of Doctor Moffet who was confined in an old house by Quantrell's band and made his escape by digging a hole through the floor. All the Moffets were distinguished by their loyalty to the Union cause.
Dr. Chauncey Moffet was a capable physician and was the pioneer in that profession at his locality in Texas. He was a northern man settled in a hotbed of pro-slavery sentiments, and though living in the midst of political and radical enemies he showed a complete lack of fear and an absolute contempt for all the bitterness and hostility aroused against him. Though he owned slaves himself, he kept them only long enough to teach them to read and then freed them and started them north to liberty. He freed all his slaves at the outbreak of the war, and this act opened the breach between him and his fellow citizens beyond all possibility, of healing. In fact it brought on an open war upon him and was followed by many personal encounters and ultimately led to his death. He attended the meeting of some forty Texas settlers at the opening of the war and shortly after he hadd freed his own slaves. This meeting was called for the consideration of matters relating to the state of the community. One of the pro-slavery men, not then acquainted with Doctor Moffet, referred to the latter's act in liberating his slaves in such a tirade of abuse as to arouse all the indignation of which Doctor Moffet was capable. Notwithstanding the fact that every man in the room, except a Mr. Kirkendall, was his personal and political enemy, Doctor Moffet seized the heavy glass in front of him, and from which he had been drinking buttermilk, threw it across the table at his antagonist and struck him full in the face, knocking him out of his chair. Jumping to his feet he then grabbed the pitcher of buttermilk, not yet empty, and poured the contents into the face of the victim as he lay on the floor. This sudden outbreak served to line up the participants of the meeting each according to his political sentiments and belief, pistols were drawn and a battle opened which, as it appeared to Mr. Kirkendall, the only friend the Doctor had in the house, could surely end only in the killing of this fearless and combative Unionist. But with a pistol and his knife Doctor Moffet shot and carved his way out of the room, leaped over an eight foot board fence in the yard while fifty shots were sent after him, reaching his horse and made his escape. Two days afterward he made himself known to his friend Kirkendall under the latter's corncrib, asked for ammunition and provision and made his way out of the locality. Soon after the incident his wife gathered some of their horses and drove back north, the Confederates confiscating all the balance of the family property. Doctor Moffet was then forced into the service of the Confederate side and was enrolled as a surgeon. He finally made his escape from the Southern army, deserting at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and joining an Iowa company and regiment. Toward the close of the war he returned to Moffet, Texas, and there his stormy career came to an end. The old hostility which had been aroused in the early part of the war still followed him, and a large number of Southerners finally gathered and made open war upon him. Again he proved an adept in self defense, but was killed a short time afterward by a pretended friend near Fairfield, Texas. After his death his body was examined and was found to be marked by fourteen scars, wounds made by knife or bullet in the many encounters he had had with his enemies.
Doctor Moffet married Amelia Vancil. Her father, Edmond C. Vancil, was a native of Kentucky, born on the Ohio River, and was a conspicuous character in the early settlements of Macoupin County, Illinois. He built the first frame house in that county, along the old Alton and Springfield trail and long known as Vancil Inn. He also served in the Black Hawk war. He spent his active career as a farmer in Macoupin County, where he died. Mrs. Moffet died in Illinois in 1904, when eighty years of age. Her husband had been killed when about fifty years old. The children were: C. W. Moffet, of Douglas, Arizona; Mrs. Portia Gilkerson, who died in Larned; Aletha, who died unmarried; Oce E., of Bay City, Michigan; H. Oren, of Modesta, Illinois; and Alva C. and Alvus H., twins, who are the bankers at Larned.
Alvus H. Moffet was born in Macoupin County, Illinois, December 1, 1866. During his early youth he was educated by a governess in the family, and he finished his education in old Shurtleff College at Upper Alton, Illinois. When seventeen years of age he came out West and spent four years in the active and exciting occupation of cattle punching on the range, he had this experience in the Panhandle of Texas, in No Man's Land, and for a time was employed on the Turkey Track ranch. He was also with the "Bar-J" outfit, and for three summers was in the Panhandle. He came into Pawnee County assisting in the drive of a bunch of horses for George Ripple.
Eventually he located at Garfield, Kansas, and organized the Moffet Brothers Private Bank & Mercantile Company. He personally supervised this business for eight years, and in 1896 the firm moved to Larned, but the bank at Garfield, known as the Garfield State Bank, has been continued all these years. In 1898 the brothers organized under the Kansas laws as a state bank at Larned, and in 1904 organized the Moffet Brothers National Bank. They have also established the Rozel State Bank at Rozel. The National Bank is capitalized at $100,000. Mr. A. H. Moffet is president of the National Bank, the vice president is J. B. Brown and the cashier is Mrs. E. B. Moffet, wife of the president. Mr. Moffet is also president of both the country banks.
Ever since coming to Pawnee County Mr. Moffet has been interested in ranching and has owned one or more ranches. His chief interest as a rancher has been in raising stock and alfalfa. Wheat has not claimed his attention, since most of his farming is done with irrigation. He has invested a great sum of money in improvements for irrigation along Pawnee Creek, and some of the finest results of Western Kansas irrigated farming have been demonstrated on his farms. His alfalfa always yields a crop, and the product ranges from three to six tons per acre, with an average of five tons. His hay crop is fed to Shorthorn cattle and other good grades.
While his varied business enterprises have helped to stabilize and conserve the interests of the entire county, Mr. Moffet has also helped to promote the Larned cultural and educational life. He has always been interested in children and in the schools. He has lectured frequently in the local schools on bird life and the study of nature, end he donated the Moffet medal which goes each year to the valedictorian of the graduating class of the grammar school. The only public official service he over rendered was as treasurer of Larned, an office he filled many years. He takes no active part in politics, merely voting the republican ticket. Mr. Moffet has filled all the chairs in the Masonic Lodge, Chapter and Commandery and is a member of Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite and Isis Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Salina. He has never had any church membership, but has liberally supported church and benevolent causes and institutions.
His family consists only of himself and his wife. He was married at Alton, Illinois, March 16, 1889, to Miss Edwina Buckles. Her father, William Buckles, was an early settler in Central Illinois, going to that state from Virginia, while his wife's people were from Pennsylvania. William Buckles was a farmer, and his children are now found in various parts of the West, in Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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