CHARLES H. REECE. In the years to come some of the most eagerly prized history will consist of the records which describe the early experiences of the first settlers in Western Kansas. In this section of the state the pioneer epoch is still within the easy memory of men not yet old, and from their lives it is possible to set down now what with the rapid development would otherwise he lost to knowledge in the course of a few years when the present actors have left the stage.
Some of these interesting experiences of pioneer epoch in Stanton County revolve around the career of Charles H. Reece, a farmer and rancher of Roanoke Township. Mr. Reece has lived in the county since the spring of 1887 and has been a resident of Kansas since October, 1885.
His father, David Reece, was a native of Randolph County, Indiana, had a common school education, lived the life of a practical farmer, was a republican but gave little interest to policies, and was a member of the Friends Church. On bringing his family to Kansas in 1885 he located in Ellsworth County, a dozen miles southeast of Kanopolis. He brought the family to this state from Cass County, Indiana. He homesteaded the southwest quarter of section 30, township 30, range 39, but soon became discouraged and abandoned the claim and after a few years returned to Eastern Kansas and finally went into Oklahoma and tried the Indian country. Later he made his home in Stanton County, and died at the home of his son Charles in 1907, at the age of seventy-seven. David Reece married Elizabeth Ann Dorsey, who represented an old Indiana family of Quaker stock. She died in 1878. Her children were: Thomas, a farmer at Sharon, Oklahoma; William, of Milan, Kansas; Ann, who died at Walton, Indiana, wife of Jack Taylor; Melissa, who died in infancy; Melinda, who died unmarried; Grant, who passed out of the knowledge of the family while a young man in Indiana; and Charles H.
On the parental farm not far from the banks of the Wabash, between Logansport and Peru in Cass County, Indiana, Charles H. Reece was born April 22, 1872. He was about thirteen when the family first came to Kansas, and he acquired most of his education in Ellsworth and Stanton counties. He grew up in humble environment, and he and his brothers were wage workers in Stanton County for several years after they first settled here. All the boys took up public land. Charles entered his homestead in Grant County, the southwest quarter of section 7, township 30, range 38. That was his home for eight years.
Many of his most interesting experiences, and doubtless some of his happiest days, were lived on that homestead. The place to which he brought his wife when he married was a sod house 12 by 16 feet. As a team they had a pair of broncho ponies. Other possessions consisted of a second-hand wagon, and the furniture comprised a cook stove, a home-made table, cupboard, bedstead and four chairs. The farming implements comprised two plows, a harrow and a half interest in a walking lister. The shelter for the ponies was a rough frame structure covered over with corn stalks. Their well was a barrel sunk into the bed of the creek which crossed a corner of their claim. Important sources of living were the milk and butter supplied by two cows, and the eggs produced by a small colony of chickens were sold and enabled them to buy their groceries. Besides looking after his homestead Mr. Reece also spent a considerable time herding a flock of sheep for a neighbor at 50 cents a day. On the whole he was well prospered on his original homestead, and when he sold at the end of eight years he possessed over $1,500 in cash, thirty-one head of cows and ten horses.
From the homestead he moved to his present location, buying half of section 36, township 30, range 40. Later he bought the southeast quarter of section 25 and now has a complete section, all fenced and devoted to farming and stock raising. He is a breeder of Hereford cattle and Percheron horses, and usually runs from 150 to 225 head of cattle and over fifty horses. His business as a horseman has been an important factor in his general prosperity. The Reece home is one of the most commodious and comfortable in the entire county. It is well built and well furnished, a house of nine rooms.
While his private affairs have made heavy demands upon his time and attention Mr. Reece has not neglected the public welfare and has played the part of a public spirited citizen. He has served as an officer of school district No. 31 since its organization, and has also been township treasurer and township trustee. Politically he is a republican, casting his first vote for Major McKinley in 1896. He and his wife are loyal members of the Friends Church.
On January 23, 1894, in Stanton County, Mr. Reece married Miss Maggie Trimble, daughter of Ephraim and Jane (Duncan) Trimble. Her maternal grandfather, John Duncan, was a native of Ireland and of Scotch ancestry. Ephraim Trimble was born in Pennsylvania, was in Kansas during territorial days and passed over the site of Topeka before that became a town. He was last heard of while working on the World's Fair buildings in Chicago about 1892. Mrs. Trimble brought the family into Stanton County in 1887, took a homestead and is still living there. Her children were: Annie B., who lives in Stanton County, widow of John Stewart; William, of Stanton County; John C., of Goldfield, Nevada: Albert S., of Missoula, Montana; Eliza J., who died in May, 1917, the wife of George W. Julian; and Mrs. Reece, who was born within a few miles of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1872. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Reece are: Versa J., Cora E., J. Gilbert, Hazel A., Glenn A., C. Munden and William S. Versa is the wife of Guy Harvey, of Hugoton, Kansas. Cora married Paul Fisher, of Springfield, Colorado, and has a daughter, Lillian. Hazel is being educated in high school at Fowler, Kansas. The sons are all farmers of the home community.
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
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project