PHILIP H. PEER. When Philip H. Peer came into Rush County he had practically nothing in the way of capital or property. Despite all the hardships with which he had to contend he achieved financial independence in less than thirty years and is now living in comfortable retirement at McCracken.
His life began in Pickaway County, Ohio, November 15, 1848. He grew up in his native county, had the advantages only of the district schools, and after reaching his majority he and a number of other young men hired a teacher and attended a select school. He grew up in the discipline of the farm, and in young manhood moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, where he married and started out as a renter.
From Fairfield County, Ohio, Mr. Peer came to Kansas in 1886, first locating in Washington County. He brought with him his wife and three children, and they traveled by railway. Mrs. Peer at the time was almost an invalid, and he had the responsibility of making a living outside and also handling much of the domestic responsibilities within the home. After two or three years in Washington County he came to Rush County in 1888. He arrived with a team and a few household goods, and that constituted his possessions, since his cash capital had all been spent for the bare necessities and for doctors' bills. His first action on arriving in Rush County was to bargain for a tract of land 5 1/2 miles northeast of McCracken. The price was $1,200, and the quarter section was practically raw and undeveloped. The crops did not justify such a price, and although Mr. Peer agrees that he make a mistake in this transaction and in his first calculations, he finally got the land paid for. His first home in the county was a sod house, and it sheltered his family, with its frame addition, for several years. His team consisted of a pair of western ponies. They were small, but they could perform work such as only western horses could, and they were a splendid asset to him in these early years. Because everything was cheap money was hard to get, and crops brought little more than enough to support his family. The wheat crops in those early years were small and disappointing, and the money realized from their sale had frequently been anticipated by debts contracted before the harvest. The factor in Mr. Peer's permanent success was his willingness to accept any honest means of earning a dollar. He was not above work, and was not only willing but eager to employ his services with others who had work to give. Thus he worked about the county, and at the same time gave attention to his own home. On the whole he managed to make both ends meet, though occasionally some distance separated the two ends.
Viewing the years he spent in Kansas as a whole Mr. Peer has prospered. He has a fine farm, owning the east half of section 34, township 16, range 20. This land is almost completely fenced with stone posts and wire, and his country residence is a nine-room house, with barns and cattle sheds. He continued an active farmer until August, 1915, and then spent several months visiting and traveling back to his old Ohio home. In May, 1916, he took up his retired residence at McCracken.
Though his private interests and welfare made heavy demands upon him for many years, Mr. Peer did not fail to do his part as a public spirited citizen. He assisted in building the first frame schoolhouse in his district, No. 50, and was treasurer of the board nearly all the time he lived on the farm. For four years he was justice of the peace of Hampton Township. Mr. Peer grew up in a township back in Ohio where there were only two republican voters, and thus allegiance to the democratic party was seasoned into him when a boy. He brought that political faith with him to Kansas, but subsequently joined the Farmers Alliance movement, and followed the fortunes of the populist party during its existence. He attended a number of populist conventions over the state as a delegate. Since the passing of populism he has been voting for principles rather than for party, and his ticket is usually badly scratched in the booth. In national affairs he still retains his allegiance to democracy. Both he and his wife were reared in the Lutheran faith, and though they have no church home in Kansas they affiliate with church people, and contribute to the support of churches.
Mr. Peer is a son of Benjamin and Phoebe (Teagarden) Peer. His father was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, and died in 1881, at the age of fifty-six. He was a man of small means and never made a striking success in business affairs. During the Civil war he was a Union soldier in the ninety days service. He was a member of the German Reformed Church, while his wife was a Lutheran. His wife was a daughter of Daniel and Rachael (Croninger) Teagarden, who came to Ohio from Reading, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Peer and wife had the following children: Philip H.; Thomas, who lives near Winchester, Ohio; Joseph, who died unmarried in old Mexico; Nathan, of Franklin County, Ohio; John, of Greencastle, Ohio; Edward, of Winchester, Ohio; and Margaret, who married William Stotler and died in Pickaway County, leaving three children.
Mr. Peer has many reasons to be satisfied with his experiences and achievement in Kansas. Even more, he may take justifiable pride in the family which has grown up in his home. His home life has been a very happy one, though to make proper provisions for it required the utmost of his strength and endurance in the early years. He was married November 18, 1875, to Miss Elizabeth Solt. Mrs. Peer was born June 15, 1850, a daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Glick) Solt. Her mother was a first cousin of ex-Governor George W. Glick, of Kansas. The Solt and Glick families were of the early Pennsylvania German Colonial settlers, while the Peers are of Scotch-Irish stock. Jacob Solt spent his life as a farmer and died in Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1886, his wife passing away in 1899. Their children were: Paulina, who married Jacob Runkle; Kate, who married Henry Morehart; Milton; Jonathan; William; Mrs. Peer; Sarah, who married George Heister; Marion; Simon, of Waterville, Kansas; Irvin; Alvah; and Martha, now the wife of Jacob Runkle.
Mr. and Mrs. Peer are the parents of three children, Alvah L., Clarence and Ethel. All of them received their education in the McCracken schools, and all of them had certificates to teach before they were old enough legally to take up that work. Alvah L., who now resides at Oklahoma City, married Bertha Messall and has two children, named Juanita and Philip. He was graduated from the Kansas Wesleyan Business College at Salina in 1900, is an expert pen artist, and his proficiency in that line made him a very capable teacher. He taught in a business college at Savannah, Georgia, also in the Houston Business College in Texas, then became associated with W. B. Elliott as a commercial teacher in Charleston, West Virginia, and from there moved to Wheeling, West Virginia. From Wheeling he went to Tonkawa, Oklahoma, being one of the faculty in the State Normal School there five years. On leaving the school room to take up other business he moved to Oklahoma City, but there again was attracted to commercial work as one of the faculty of Hill's Business College. He is now in business in the development work of the oil and gas fields.
Clarence Peer, who is a rural mail carrier out of McCracken, married Maude Hanel, and their children were Manetta, Willamine and Benjamin. Clarence Peer is a genius with tools of any kind. Though he gives his time to his work in the rural free delivery department, he is an automobile repairer, a carpenter and can turn out a finished job of almost any kind with any class of mechanical tools.
Ethel Peer married Dr. J. O. Stout, a physician of Ashville, Ohio. Doctor and Mrs. Stout have two children, Alleen and May Catherine.
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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