ARTHUR E. PEMBER. There will never be any lack of interest in the stories of how the early settlers came to Kansas, what they brought with them, how they managed to live during the early years, and to what point of success and prosperity they brought their affairs. The following is a brief outline of the experiences of Mr. Arthur E. Pember, a retired rancher of Ness City, and one of the men who were in at the beginning of civilized things in that part of the state.
He came to Kansas in 1882 from Ringgold County, Iowa. Nearly four years were spent in Butler County. From there he came to Ness County, arriving in October, 1885, and on March 13, 1886, he settled on his claim. His homestead was located on the southeast quarter of section 17, township 20, range 24.
When he came to the county he brought two teams and sixteen head of cattle, besides a little cash. That was the equipment which his industry and good management had to employ as a capital. He lived on and proved up his homestead, and in time that became the basis of his subsequent large holdings of land in the county.
He realizes what modern luxuries mean because after coming to Kansas he and his family lived for a time in a sod house. That was the typical palace on the western prairies of the state, and no family was thought any the worse of because they lived in such a home. For his horses Mr. Pember set up a rude structure of frame timbers. For the first year he had to depend upon his cows and chickens, and he succeeded in making a crop in the same year. That year in fact was a time of special prosperity in that county. Mr. Pember had millet waist high absolutely without weeds, and his corn was surprisingly fine. In a number of ways he had to adapt himself to special needs and circumstances, and he cultivated with a home-made harrow, constructed out of fence posts. In that year and in subsequent years his hay crop was especially good. Later he engaged in grain raising, but stock has been his mainstay through all the years. Every year out of thirty he has spent in that county he has been able to cut some product from his farm. There was one notable exception. In the fall of 1893 he did not even hitch up to his mowing machine at all. But with the buffalo grass and a little mill feed which he bought he managed to winter his stock.
His first addition to the homestead was a tree claim. He proved up that and in a few years began buying adjacent lands. Some of this he acquired under mortgage sales and some he purchased from the entrymen. Mr. Pember has developed a ranch in Franklin Township consisting of thirty-seven quarter sections. It is divided into four separate farms, and each of his three sons occupy one of them, and all four represent very substantial improvements. Mr. Pember has a half section just west of Ness City, devoted to farming purposes and feed lots. As a stock man he has shipped from Ness City for more than twenty years, and even yet he is buying all kinds of stock for the market.
His own personal supervision was given to his farm and ranch until 1911, when he retired to Ness City. Some years before he had established a feeding barn in the town and this has been used for mules and horses. Mr. Pember has figured as one of the raisers of fine horses and cattle and has exhibited much of his stock at local fairs.
His own material affairs have not engrossed all his time and attention. He has joined with other progressive men in Ness City to advance business and civic organizations. He was one of the original stockholders of the Citizens State Bank and was a director in it and the Citizens National Bank until recently. For several years he was treasurer of the Ness County Agricultural Association. He was a councilman of Ness City, and for five years was one of the four dealers in coal.
On the whole he has made no special effort to mix in politics, though he is a true and stalwart republican and at different times has represented his party in state conventions. He was a delegate to the Wichita Convention which nominated Governor Hoch. Mr. Pember cast his first vote in 1880 for Mr. Garfield, and has never missed a presidential election. He is a member of the Methodist Church and at one time was a trustee of the church at Ness City. He belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen and is an entered apprentice in Masonry.
Arthur E. Pember was born in Courtland County New York, at the Town of Willett, March 29, 1858, a son of Sanford and Salome (Glover) Pember. His paternal grandfather was Parley Pember, who was born in Connecticut and was a farmer by occupation. The Glovers were Pennsylvania German people. Sanford Pember became a carpenter, though he lived most of his life on a farm. During the Civil war he tried to get into the Union army but was rejected on account of disability. In 1872 he moved out to Iowa, settling in Ringgold County, and lived there until the death of his wife, when he returned to Courtland County, New York, where he passed away. Arthur E. Pember was the oldest of his parents' children. His brother Irvin B. lives in Ness County; Eva is the wife of Ed Thomas of Elgin, Oregon; and Parley lives in Broome County, New York.
In Ringgold County, Iowa, February 22, 1876, several years before he started west for Kansas, Mr. Pember married Miss Rhoda Smith. Her father, John B. Smith, who was born in Now York State, became an early settler in Iowa, where he married Lydia Miner. Mrs. Pember was born in Freemont County, Iowa, December 18, 1857, the oldest of the children. Her sister Elizabeth is the wife of Charles Tarman, of Ness County; George lives in Ness County; Mrs. Lucy J. Pember in Kansas City; Lura is the widow of John Zickafoose of Coffee County, Kansas; Rose is the wife of H. L. Mellies, of Ness County; and her two youngest brothers are James and Friend Smith.
Mr. and Mrs. Pember have a family of children, all of whom are married and have established homes of their own. Irvin A., the oldest, lives on part of his father's ranch and is married to Minnie Koester and has two daughters, Oma May and Zelda. Pearl E. and Earl E. are twins. Earl married Lucy Cowles and has children, Glenn and Garnet. Pearl married Emma Koester and has a son Laverne and a daughter, Geneva.
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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