CARY OREBAUGH. The most valuable part of the history of Kansas is the record of how men now in substantial circumstances acquitted themselves in the struggle with hard conditions, climate, soil and other adversities. One of the experiences that throw light on this subject is that of Mr. Cary Orebaugh, now a well known business man and resident of Dodge City.
Mr. Orebaugh was born in Brown County, Ohio, March 12, 1852. The family came from Germany and located in the United States early in the last century. His father, Henry Orebaugh, was a native of Germany and was a child when the family settled at Belfast, Ohio. His brothers and sisters were Peter, Andrew, Mrs. Kaley and Mrs. Susie Borden. Henry Orebaugh spent his life as a farmer and died in 1913, at the age of ninety-two. He married Hannah Sprinkle, a daughter of Pennsylvania Dutch parents. She passed away in 1912, also at advanced age, ninety-one years. They were members of the Newlight Church and in politics Henry Orebaugh was a democrat. A record of their children is as follows: Mary, who married Nelson Winkle and died in Ohio; Cary; Libbie, who married Will Rector and lives in Ohio; Hester, who died unmarried; William, of Winchester, Ohio; Louis, of North Liberty, Ohio; and Ollie, who married John Blake, of North Liberty, Ohio.
Cary Orebaugh had a very limited schooling, chiefly in the subscription schools of Ohio. His years were spent with his parents until he married, and he then started out to make his own way in the world. After getting the equipment of team and other supplies for farming he was $175 in debt. The year after his marriage he moved to Fayette County, Ohio, spending three years there, and another three years in Highland County. It seemed difficult to make more than a living in Ohio, and selling out what he had accumulated during his six or seven years of experience he came to Kansas in 1879, first locating in Sumner County. Unable to find any steady employment there, he removed to Cass County, Missouri, locating midway between Harrison and Belton, which was his home for nine years. Returning to Kansas, he spent five years in Shawnee County, and then in 1890 began his experience as a homesteader in the western part of the state, in Hodgeman County.
In 1890 he entered land in Hodgeman County. He was then thirty-eight years of age, had a family of wife and seven children, but success and independence were still in the future. He drove into Hodgeman County overland from Topeka, driving a caravan of four teams with which to begin his career as a farmer. He entered as a homestead the southeast quarter of section 30, township 23, range 26, and also a tree claim near by. His home was in Benton Township. There he erected a seven-room frame house, probably as good a house as could be found in the entire region at that time. He also constructed a real frame barn to accommodate all his stock. These improvements show that he was one of the more substantial early settlers of that community.
The first year here he broke up land and prepared for crops, and in 1893 harvested a fair yield. He failed to sow wheat that fall, and therefore did not participate in the bumper wheat crop. Then followed four years when crops were short or nothing at all, and it was with difficulty that the family survived those years verging on real poverty. However, there was willingness in all members of the household to get out and do their share. All the surplus was consumed and Mr. Orebaugh went to work at the trade of carpenter in Garden City, while his two sons went into Eastern Kansas and worked in the harvest fields. The oldest daughter at that time was very anxious to acquire an education, and while the family purse did not permit sending her to school she exerted her own efforts, with the encouragement of the county superintendent, and gained two years of instruction beyond what the local schools could furnish. After finishing her education she engaged in teaching and followed the profession for seven years.
By these contributions from different members of the family it was possible to remain in the locality when many other families had to leave, and they also had faith in the future of this region and began buying land, which was then very cheap. The first quarter section after the homestead and tree claim cost on $25, together with a warranty deed. For three other quarter sections they paid $200 a quarter, and for another quarter section $300. Of these seven quarter sections Mr. Orebaugh brought 300 acres under cultivation, had it all fenced and became a successful stock man. As a cattle man he bred up native cattle with the better strains of the White Face and Red Poll.
The Orebaugh family during their residence in Hodgeman County did much for the community as well as for themselves. Mr. Orebaugh was a member of the district school board, was elected and served one term as treasurer of Benton Township, and he and his family were active as Methodists and did much to keep up the Sunday school at the Rising Star schoolhouse.
In 1902 Mr. Orebaugh left his farm and moved to Dodge City, where he bought the Shinn property, one of the old improved homes of the town. Since coming to Dodge City he has been an active factor in the real estate business. For a time he was associated with H. B. Bell, also with H. B. Ragland, and later with M. M. Gwinner. While acting as a broker he also bought and sold considerable property on his own account, and has had his share of profits due to rapidly advancing values.
Ever since coming to Western Kansas Mr. Orebaugh has manifested a good citizen's interest in politics, but his interests was always in behalf of good government or in behalf of some other candidate than himself. However, in the fall of 1915 he was nominated by the democrats for the office of county commissioner and was elected for the second district as successor to Commissioner Davies. On a straight party vote this district is republican, but at that time the candidate instead of the party apparently was considered by the voters and Mr. Orebaugh went into office with a majority of 140. The chief matter before the board outside of the routine business is the building of hard roads.
While living as a farmer in Ohio Mr. Orebaugh married in Brown County October 2, 1873, Miss Ellen Ketterman. Her father was Zebidee Ketterman, a farmer. Mrs. Orebaugh has three half brothers older than herself, Moses, Will and Chris. Her own brothers and sisters are Hiram, John and Mrs. Catherine Allen.
While Mr. and Mrs. Orebaugh have greatly prospered in material circumstances since coming to Kansas, they regard as the crown of their achievements their fine family of children and also their numerous grandchildren. The oldest of the family is Stella, now the wife of Francis Osch, of Hodgeman County. They have two children, Sylvia and Vernie. Orpha, the second child, married Rosa Osch, of Hodgeman County. Charles, resident of Dodge City, married Pearl Hill and has two children, Earl and Viola. Pearl Orebaugh is the wife of Morris Naylor, of Hodgeman County, and they also have children. William, living near Dodge City, married Minnie Short and has three children, Ruth, Ruby and Roy. Walter, of Dodge City, by his marriage to Edna Perry has two sons, Harold and Donald. Clark, living near Fort Dodge, married Alta Wilson and has three children, Mildred, Fern and Loyd. The youngest of the family is Clyde, who enlisted at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in Company E of the Eighteenth United States Infantry, and is now with the army in France, having accompanied the first expedition in June, 1917.
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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