DUDLEY POSEY of Pleasant Valley Township, Pawnee County, has journeyed a long way in the world. Good fortune and adversity have mingled in his experiences. He has taken life as he has found it and has looked danger and discouragement full in the face. Hard work has been his salvation, and the accumulations of many years are a satisfactory achievement and one which may well be envied and admired.
For forty-one years Mr. Posey has had his home in Pawnee County. He came in 1877. He was then a comparatively young man, and it will help to a better understanding of what he did and experienced in Western Kansas to notice his ancestry and his early life.
He was born in Washington County, Ohio, near the historic old city of Marietta, on the Ohio River, on September 25, 1844. The Poseys were Virginians and originally English people. His grandfather, Thomas Posey, came from England, located in Virginia, and subsequently moved to Ohio, where he brought up his children on a farm. A brother of Thomas Posey went into Indiana and settled along the lower reaches of the Wabash River. Indiana has a numerous family of that name, and one of them was a territorial governor. A county is named Posey. It is believed that the Indiana Poseys were at one time closely related with the Ohio branch of the family. Thomas Posey's children were: Henry, who spent his life in Ohio; George, who died in Washington County of that state at the age of ninety-eight; William, who died in early manhood, leaving children; Dudley, who died in Ohio; Thomas, who died unmarried; Mamie, who married David McKibben and spent her life in Ohio; Alexander; Elizabeth, who died young; and Charles, who moved to Indiana.
Alexander Posey, father of Dudley Posey, was born in Virginia and went to Ohio when a child. He married Mahala Morrison. Her father, Hamilton Morrison, was an Irishman and settled near Parkersburg, West Virginia. Alexander Posey died in Washington County, Ohio, in 1878. His wife died in Minnesota, where the family then lived, in 1858. In 1860 Alexander Posey returned to Ohio and married for his second wife Mrs. Ellen Northrup. The children of his first marriage wore: Mary, who married Richmond Richardson and died in Ohio, and is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Alice Racer, of Washington County, Ohio; Thomas, who died in young manhood; Mahala, who married George Richardson and died in Portland, Oregon; Jane, who married Ezra Racer and lives near Marietta, Ohio; Harriet, who married Madison McCallister and died in Ohio; Dudley; Henry, who served as a Union soldier in the Thirty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was sheriff of Washington County, Ohio, at the time of his death; Leonidas, who is a station agent of the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railway; Minnesota, who was born in the state of that name and lived near Marietta, Ohio, the wife of Thomas Mathers. By his second marriage Alexander Posey had two children: Marion, who lives in Northern Kansas, and Ida, who died near Salina, Kansas, the wife of George De Weese, leaving two children.
Dudley Posey grew up in Southeastern Ohio on a farm. His educational advantages were confined to the country schools. He was not yet seventeen years of age when the Civil war broke out, and in the fall of 1862 he volunteered his services for the defense of the Union. He enlisted in Company F of the Ninety-Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. William Thorniley, and served under two colonels, Nelson Van Vorhees and B. D. Fearing. The regiment was organized at Marietta and was first ordered into the Kanahwa Valley of West Virginia. It had skirmishes with the Rebel forces in that state, and at the end of the campaign the regiment went into winter camp there. In the spring of 1863 it was sent south toward Chattanooga. About that time Mr. Posey was taken ill, was sent to the hospital at Nashville, and after remaining over the following winter was granted an honorable discharge and returned home.
His army career had made serious inroads upon his health, and it required some time to recover his strength. As soon as physically able he began farming in Ohio, and farming has always constituted his principal vocation.
The journey to Western Kansas and the settlement in Pawnee County was in the nature of a wedding journey for Mr. Posey and his young bride. He had married April 19, 1877, Miss Etta McKibben. She was a daughter of Weston and Adaline (Jett) McKibben. Her father was a Virginian who settled in Washington County, Ohio, in the early days.
Mr. and Mrs. Posey came to Kansas by railroad and first located in Garfield Township. Here he homesteaded and took a tree claim in section 24, township 23, range 17. He had enough money to buy, with a cousin as partner, a yoke of cattle. He also built a small frame house, 12 by 16 feet. With the oxen he proceeded to break the ground, and with what he was able to coax from the soil and with a few cows he made a living. Outside the work on his land there was little opportunity to earn wages, and as there was considerable disparity between his income and what was required for the support and upkeep of his home Mr. Posey contracted to herd some cattle on the free range about his home. In a few years his own stock had multiplied so as to afford a substantial source of income. After two years he was able to buy a pair of mules. His oxen had served as a team until then. In this way he kept things moving, though not always in a progressive fashion, for about a dozen years. In the midst of the struggle, and when the light was just breaking, there came the great misfortune in the death of his partner and wife, who died April 14, 1889. This left Mr. Posey with the cares and burdens of his farm and also five small children. He kept these children together, provided for them, and several of them are still settled about him. The children of his first wife are briefly mentioned here as follows: Harriet married John Henderson, of Gray County, Kansas, and their children were Mahala, Kenneth, Cleo, Erwin, Lewis, Esther, Ruth, Florence, Martha and an infant son. Addie May, the second daughter, is the wife of Elwin Beckwith, of Kinsley, Kansas. William Mack is a farmer near his father, and by his marriage to Eva Paris has four children, Dudley, Lucile, Hazel and Maxine, Charles D., a farmer on the old homestead, married Bertha Fisher and has a daughter, Lucy May. Etta is the wife of Bertle Barstow, of Pawnee County, and has a daughter Elizabeth.
A little more than three years after the death of his first wife Mr. Posey was married in Pawnee County in July, 1892, to Miss Maggie V. McKibben, a cousin of his first wife. Her father, Henry McKibben, and Weston McKibben, father of the first Mrs. Posey, were half brothers. Mrs. Posey's mother was Susan R. Ames. Henry and Susan McKibben had the following children: Charles, who was an old employe of the Santa Fe Railway Company and died at La Junta, Colorado; Hugh who died in Belpre, Kansas; and Mrs. Posey, who was born January 4, 1861. By his second wife Mr. Posey has one son, Thomas Alfred, who received his final education in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan and is a farmer at home.
Mr. Posey recalls many interesting facts concerning the state of the community in which he lived in the early days. It was a peaceable and orderly society then, and that class of citizenship accounts for the present high class of citizens who inhabit Pawnee County. In the early days there was no stealing and no crime worthy of the name. The community organized its churches and schools, and proceeded to avail itself of everything that was obtainable in a social and educational way. Many of the very first settlers soon began leaving the county because of the repeated failure of crops. There was one period only when Mr. Posey was inclined to leave. That was when his brother loaded up and started back to Ohio. Mr. Posey put the matter of return up to his wife. She demurred, and the subject of leaving the state was never seriously considered again.
In the pioneer days Mr. Posey took much pleasure and also got some profit from hunting game. In many parts of Western Kansas the buffalo was still roaming in numbers on the prairies when he came, but other game was excedingly plentiful in Pawnee County. Antelopes were as familiar to the early settlers as jack rabbits in later years. Mr. Posey would usually go out in the fall and winter and kill a number of antelope, and the meat of these animals he divided freely among his neighbors. The repeating rifle with which he did this execution is still in his possession. Some seasons the wheat fields would be covered with wild geese and with sandhill cranes, and they proved a rather serious pest because of their inroads upon the crop. Mr. Posey also killed large numbers of these birds.
In his old country community Mr. Posey took part in the organization of School District No. 32. He served as its treasurer for thirty-eight years, finally resigning the office when he moved from the district. Ho was also trustee of Garfield Township three terms, and was then chosen county commissioner for one term. In 1916 he was again elected county commissioner, succeeding Aaron Zook, of the third district. The principal business of the board of commissioners of which Mr. Posey is a member has been keeping up the roads, planning and building the $175,000 courthouse, and the routine matters of administration. Politically Mr. Posey is a republican. For a time he was identified with the Farmers Alliance movement, but when he saw its true trend in politics he abandoned the cause. He frequently attended state conventions, helped nominate Governor Hoch, and was a delegate in the convention which nominated Congressman Long and his successor, Victor Murdock.
Mr. Posey had lived in Pawnee County a number of years before he felt justified in assuming additional obligations for land. He first bought a tract of railroad land, paying $4.50 an acre, on long time payments. He paid for it from the fruits of Kansas sail and with his cattle. To his homestead and tree claim he added altogether three quarter sections. The last quarter cost $1,200, and the first tear he raised more than enough wheat to pay for it. The pioneer home was developed into a larger one by successive additions, and barns and granaries came along as they were needed.
As a wheat grower Mr. Posey's best record per acre was 35 bushels. One or two seasons he had nothing at all to show for the seed planted. His land now comprises 880 acres. Four hundred acres are under cultivation. Some years ago he moved his home to the northeast quarter of section 20, township 23, range 16. It is a homestead handsomely improved, and is one of the most attractive places. His residence has all the conveniences of city life.
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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