J. T. PAYNTER. One of the reasons why Kansas as a commonwealth can congratulate herself is that most of her prosperous and substantial citizens began life poor, and have worked out their creditable destinies by the self reliant and courageous spirit which is exemplified in the motto of the state itself"To the heights of success through difficulties."
A stimulating example of this individual enterprise is the case of J. T. Paynter, president of the Farmers State Bank of Alton and one of the largest farmers and farm owners in Osborne County. He was born in Washington County, Ohio, October 8, 1860, but has lived in Kansas forty years. His grandfather, Thomas Paynter, was a native of England and brought his family to America in 1842, settling among the pioneers of Washington County, Ohio, where he followed farming until his death in 1865.
Daniel Paynter, father of J. T., was born near Lancashire, England, April 26, 1835, and was seven years old when his parents came to the United States. He grew up in Ohio, followed farming there, and also married in that state. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army in the First West Virginia Regiment of Infantry and saw three years of active service. In 1879, at the age of forty-four, he brought his family to Kansas and homesteaded eighty acres in Osborne County, and died there November 26, 1887, having had little time to develop his Kansas property. He was a republican.
Daniel Paynter married Helen Patterson at Covington, Ohio, on November 10, 1859. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1838, and died at Alton, Kansas, December 16, 1916. J. T. Paynter was the oldest of her six children: James F. is a farmer at Alton; William H. is an Alton merchant; C. E. is a farmer at Alton; A. J. also lives at Alton; and Mattie is the wife of B. W. Miller, a rural mail carrier out of Alton.
J. T. Paynter received all his early education in the public schools of Washington County, Ohio. He was nineteen years old when his parents came to Kansas, and the death of his father put him on his own responsibilities. He found a place as a farm hand, and worked at wages as low as $8 a month. Gradually his saving habits and increasing experience enabled him to start farming on his own account, and without examining his experience in detail it is sufficient to indicate the progress he has made when it is stated he now owns 1,440 acres of farm land in Osborne County, and has most of it highly developed, a property that constitutes a small fortune in itself.
Mr. Paynter was one of the men most influential in the organization of the Farmers State Bank at Alton, which opened its doors for business March 4, 1916. This bank is capitalized at $25,000 and has surplus and profits of $7,500.00. Mr. Paynter is president and W. H. Howell is cashier. He is also secretary of the board of directors of the Farmers Co-operative Association of Osborne County.
Mr. Paynter is one of those liberal and progressive American citizens who exerted all his influence and liberality in support of the great war. He was president of all the local committees for raising funds for war work. Alton had a notable record in that regard and every quota was filled by Mr. Paynter's committee within an hour after the drive was started. It is not out of place to mention that Alton's quota for the Third Liberty Loan was $5,589.00. Not only was it subscribed but in twenty-four hours Mr. Paynter and his committee had sold $24,250.00 worth of bonds, and the city's record stands first in every drive in Osborne County.
Mr. Paynter owns a modern home in Alton, also a store building on Main Street. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is a republican in politics.
In February, 1889, in Custer County, Nebraska, J. T. Paynter married Miss Cora J. Ashley, daughter of William and Martha Ashley, the latter still living in Custer County, where her father was a farmer and where he died. Mrs. Paynter died April 21, 1890, the mother of one son, Roy E., now operating one of his father's farms near Alton. July 15, 1894, Mr. Paynter married at Osborne, Kansas, Miss Anna K. Thomas, daughter of Benjamin and Rhoda Thomas, both now deceased. Mrs. Paynter's father was an early settler in Osborne County, having moved there from Iowa in fall of 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Paynter have two daughters, Jennie M. and Alice L., both graduates of the Alton High School, were students in the Fort Hays Normal School one term, and are successful teachers. Alice has a school near Alton and Jennie M. also taught in the county while her husband, J. L. Carswell, was wearing the colors of the United States army in the Tenth Division at Camp Funston.
In November, 1889, J. T. Paynter lost everything he had by fire, leaving him several hundred dollars in debt, and nothing to work with except the confidence he had in his own ability, a good credit (which he never abused) and the confidence and good will of the people. All he has he has accumulated since 1890, and owes no man anything. Mr. Paynter and his family have traveled quite extensively through the United States, having made two trips to the Pacific Coast, have been in and through eighteen states, and visited eighteen of America's largest and most popular cities.
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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