FRANK G. RIDER, a farmer and ranchman of Shockey Township, Grant County, was member of the first party of white men to start permanent homes in this section of Western Kansas. He arrived in the fall of 1882, and thirty-five years have come and gone, each one leaving him a little more firmly anchored in the material prosperity and good citizenship of this locality.
On coming to Grant County Mr. Rider took a preemption and homestead in section 22, township 27, range 38. That homestead was in the almost uncharted waste of the frontier where the grass had been grazed for centuries by the buffalo. He and his party were the very first to locate in this vicinity, and they helped lend the first impressions of civilization. The great herds of buffalo of the plains had been driven almost to extermination, though the Riders occasionally saw a few head of those magnificent animals. There were many wild horses and some of these were caught and tamed by the Riders and many others killed in order to save their own domestic animals. Those inclined to the chase could still find numerous antelope.
The Rider party which came into Grant County in the fall of 1882 consisted of Frank G. and his brother George R. Rider. Frank was married and brought his wife and four children with him. They drove into this country from Barber County, bringing 500 head of cattle and 100 head of horses. Dugouts were constructed for the protection of the family and the brothers and the entire party lived in two rooms. It was a veritable "cow camp," well known to all who have had any experience on the frontier. Beyond growing small crops of feed Mr. Rider did no farming for several years. It was unnecessary then to feed either horses or cattle during the winter season. The Rider stock frequently drifted south to the Beaver River in Oklahoma and in the spring the roundup would begin and it would take all summer to get the stock back. Every unbranded calf too young to travel was branded on the spot where it was found and left for gathering up later on. The Rider cow brand was "111" and the horse brand simply "11."
In recent years Mr. Rider has curtailed his stock enterprise because of the general settling up of the country. But he makes up in quality what he lacks in quantity and handles only the better grades of blooded Polled Angus cattle. Recently he sold from his herd some two year old steers at $100 apiece, this standing in remarkable contrast to former times when he sold similar animals for from $18 to $20 a head.
For twenty years the family continued to occupy the "camp house," and then a civilized home of frame and shingles was built, and this still shelters what is left of the family. Beginning with two government quarter sections, Mr. Rider found no particular incentive to acquire other tracts of land, since the years the range was open and unfenced land ownership conferred no special privileges over the landless. In those years it would have been possible to buy unlimited quantities of land for almost a song. Altogether he has contended himself with ten quarter sections, constituting a single body, and now improved and a well diversified ranch and farm. About 300 acres are under cultivation. His crops of kaffir and maize have seldom failed, and he has also found profit in the growing of broom corn. In a community way Mr. Rider helped create the local school facilities. The first schoolhouse, the Shockey, is still standing, but has recently been abandoned for a new building.
Frank G. Rider has been a resident of Kansas since childhood. He came with his parents from Whiteside County, Illinois, where he was born February 10, 1856, and the family located in Chase County during the Civil war times. His father, Isaac D. Rider, was born in New York State, spent his life as a farmer, and died at Elmdale in Chase County, Kansas, at the age of sixty-five. He married in Illinois Catherine Umbarger, who survived him and died at the age of seventy-five at the home of her son Frank. Their children were: Isaac, of Chase County; Frank G.; George R., of Grant County; Christopher Columbus, of Chase County.
All the education Frank G. Rider was privileged to secure was supplied by a country school in Kansas. At the age of eighteen he started out to make his own way as a wage worker. He was employed on a farm, and among other early experiences did some freighting from Cowley County to Osage Mission, now St. Paul, and from Wichita to Kiowa. As a freighter he came in contact with the plains Indians, who were still dangerous and full of emnity toward the whites. He did his first independent cattle raising in Cowley County near Dexter on Grass Creek. After grazing his stock there about three years the income of farmer settlers drove him out, and he then took his herds into Barber County. For about ten years he was located in that county, having gone there when it was a frontier and when the entire public domain was available to the cattle men. The "pushing on" process reached him in Barber County, and caused him to drive out his cattle and seek his present location in Grant County. Mr. Rider has found his time well occupied in looking after his varied interests and in such local affairs as furnish responsibilities to the public-spirited citizen. He has therefore never concerned himself with politics beyond casting his vote as a republican. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church of Ulysses.
In Barber County in January, 1877, Mr. Rider married Miss Amy Davis, daughter of Lee and Libbie (Correll) Davis. Mrs. Rider was born in Whiteside county, Illinois, being one of a family of two sisters and two brothers. Her brothers are Lee, of Ulysses, Kansas, and Herbert, of Kenton, Oklahoma. Mr. and Mrs. Rider have four children. Mrs. Goldie Reynolds, of Grant County, has children, John, Robert, Grace, Alonzo and George. Deery is the wife of Robert Cowden of Redlands, California, and they have two children, Leonard and Gladys. The two youngest children, Frank W. and Claude, are still at home with their parents and unmarried. The two latter entered the kaffir corn contest of Kansas in 1915 and Frank won first prize and was rewarded by Governor Capper with the appointment of delegate to the World's Fair at San Francisco, which he and his parents attended.
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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