D. R. P. RODDY, of Larned, is a pioneer Kansan, though his activities have led him to many different fields. He is an old time railroad contractor and builder and has assisted in the construction of some of the lines by which the Middle West was linked with the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast country.
As a Kansas homesteader he arrived in Pawnee County in March, 1878. He had come with his wife and six children from Shade Gap, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Some advertising matter which he had read on Western Kansas was one factor in his making this move and another influence was the intention of some of his Pennsylvania neighbors to make the same journey. Mr. Roddy made his first home on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 7, township 22, range 18. This was raw land, containing as its chief improvement a frame house of two rooms and a sod barn. For it he paid $8 an acre. The first year he planted a few acres to sod corn and harvested a fair crop. He continued farming the same ground and, after three years rented additional land.
Mr. Roddy had a ready resource at his command when the hard times came upon the settlers of Western Kansas. While in Pennsylvania he had some experience in railroad grading as foreman on the East Broadtop Railroad. It was not difficult, therefore, for him to secure a position as general foreman of grading and construction on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, which was then in course of construction. He became general foreman for the firm of F. A. Butler, a contractor, and began work in Rice County, Kansas. Later he was on the A. P. Railroad at Laguna, New Mexico, from which he rejoined the Santa Fe forces close to Fort Cummings and from there to Deming, New Mexico, where he graded for sidetracks and station. Following that he went to Olathe, Kansas, then between Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Hot Springs, New Mexico, at Raton, New Mexico, from Attica, Kansas, to Kiowa, Kansas, twenty-five miles of line out of Kingman, Kansas, and also some work at Saratoga in this state. He then became general foreman with J. B. Colt & Sons, contractors, and was engaged in construction work on the Missouri Pacific from McCracken, Kansas, to Pueblo, Colorado. From railroad building he and his sons next turned to the construction of irrigation ditches and they contracted and built sixty miles of ditches at La Junta, Colorado. They built dikes along the Mississippi River in Arkansas and subsequently returned to railroading and did some work on the Orient Railway in Kansas and the line from Osage Junction, Kansas, to Cushing, Oklahoma.
Mr. Roddy had many experiences with the tough and lawless element that infested the Bad Man's Land in Arkansas in the early days. All the towns and the camps had their quota of horse thieves and gamblers, and honest men as well as rogues had to go about heavily armed. Mr. Roddy at times had the responsibility of superintending the work of 300 men and an equipment of sixty teams. With this long and varied experience as a railroad builder Mr. Roddy returned to Larned, where his wife had remained in the meantime, and he has since engaged in the real estate business. He handles chiefly western lands. Among other property he is owner of a half section of land in Haskell County, Kansas.
Mr. Roddy was born at Shade Gap in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1839. His parents were William and Sophia (Copeland) Roddy, both natives of Pennsylvania. His father was also a railway contractor and combined that business with farming. His mother was a daughter of Mathias Copeland. Their children were: Catherine, wife of James Mills, a Union soldier from Illinois who died during the war; Eliza, who is unmarried and lives in Larned; J. C. Roddy of Shade Gap, Pennsylvania; Margaret, wife of Lawrence Lynch, of Pawnee County; Thomas, of Shade Gap; D. R. P.; William, who enlisted in the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio Infantry during the Civil war and died in the Marine Hospital at New Orleans.
D. R. P. Roddy grew up on a farm and received a country school education. While attending Millenwood Academy in Pennsylvania he first became acquainted with his wife. On leaving school he was a teacher in Pennsylvania until August, 1862, when he enlisted at Harrisburg in Company I of the One Hundred and Forty-Ninth Pennsylvania Infantry. This regiment was known as the Pennsylvania Bucktails, so called because each soldier wore a deer tail on his cap. The first captain was George W. Spear, who soon resigned on account of sickness and was succeeded by Capt. B. X. Blair. His colonel was Roy Stone. After his enlistment Mr. Roddy did guard duty at Washington, D. C., and Belle Plains, Virginia, but on April 12, 1863, was discharged on account of disability due to illness. His war service over he resumed teaching, and also clerked in stores at Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and Hancock, Maryland, and from there returned to his native town of Shade Gap.
Mr. Roddy was married April 12, 1865, to Miss Martha E. Sipes, daughter of George and Rachel (Cornelius) Sipes. Her mother was a daughter of Benjamin Cornelius of Virginia. George Sipes was a son of George Sipes, Sr., and both were Pennsylvanians of German descent. George and Rachel Sipes had the following children: Rebecca, wife of J. S. Hedding, of Hancock, Maryland; Rachel, wife of William M. Williamson, a former judge of Blair County, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Martha Roddy; Sarah, wife of W. M. Elder, who came to Kansas in 1879 and is still living in Garfield, Pawnee County. Mrs. Roddy's father was a tanner, farmer and merchant at Shade Gap, Pennsylvania.
Politically Mr. Roddy is a democrat but has never held nor sought office. He and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Of their children, Rachel died after her marriage to S. P. Kenison, of Larned, leaving two children, Willie and Harry. J. H. Roddy, the oldest son, lives in Pueblo, Colorado, and by his marriage to Susan Lane has two children, Raymond and Donivan. George S., who is advance man for the Sells-Floto Shows, married Mary Stanton. William is advance man for "The Birth of a Nation." Mr. Roddy is a member of Larned Post No. 8, Grand Army of the Republic, serving as its chaplain six years, and Mrs. Roddy is active in the Woman's Relief Corps No. 61 and served it as chaplain for five years.
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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