BENJAMIN R. ROYSE, of Dodge City, is an old time Kansan, having been identified with this state for upwards of forty years. Many occupations and services have held his attention and engrossed his energies, and altogether his is one of the successful careers among the men of the state. For the past fifteen years he has largely been engaged in the real estate and loan business, also in practical farming, and those are his chief interests as a resident of Dodge City.
Mr. Royse was a young and unmarried man, a farmer's son, when he established himself near Wichita, Kansas, November 18, 1878. He had read considerable literature about Western Kansas, and it was in response to the information gained there that he came to Sedgwick County. He worked here as a farm hand for the well known T. H. Randall, who was subsequently a county commissioner and merchant of Wichita. The wages paid him on the Randall farm was $25 a month. He was ambitious and foresighted, saved all the money he could, and finally after buying a team of mules rented some land and started farming on his own account. He did this successfully for three years, and then contracted for a tract of land near Mount Hope which in a few years he had paid for and well improved as a farm.
Farming kept him busily engaged at Mount Hope until 1894, when he was elected sheriff of Sedgwick County. By that time he was the owner of 160 acres, with many substantial improvements and with a good equipment of live stock. Throughout his term of service he continued to give a general oversight to his farming interests. Mr. Royse succeeded Isaac T. Ault as sheriff of the county and was elected on the republican ticket. He had been only to a local degree identified with political affairs, and he won the nomination for sheriff against six competitors. His election came easily, although the fusion candidate against him was a very popular man. Mr. Royse served one term as sheriff. That was a period of considerable disorder and confusion as a result of the prohibition law enforcement at Wichita, and from that source alone the sheriff's office had a great deal to do.
On leaving office Mr. Royse returned to the farm, and continued with it two years. He was then made general agent for the Acme Harvester Company of Wichita, and was with that firm until 1907. While a practical Kansas farmer, Mr. Royse had acquired considerable knowledge and experience in real estate, and in 1907 he established himself in that business at Kansas City, Missouri. He maintained his residence in Kansas City until 1916, when he removed his family to Dodge City. For a number of years Mr. Royse has been operating in this section of the state, making loans and handling real estate. He had his office in Larned from 1911 to 1914 under the name Blount & Royse, and in 1914 he opened an office in Dodge City. Here he is associated with his son under the name B. R. Royse & Son.
For several years Mr. Royse has been a prominent factor in the wheat growing industry of Southwestern Kansas. He and his son have grown that crop on extensive acreage. In 1916 they sowed 1,500 acres, but did not harvest a single acre of it in 1917. As wheat raisers they have harvested as high as thirty bushels and as low as ten bushels to the acre, but the year 1917 was the first complete failure. In the matter of price Mr. Royse has sold his Kansas wheat at 45 cents a bushel and recently he sold some for $3.20 a bushel. By his varied operations he has acquired a large body of Kansas lands, and their improvements mark them as real farms and they are now handled on a farming basis.
Mr. Royse is a prominent Mason. He is affiliated with Mount Hope Lodge and Chapter and with Mount Olive Commandery No. 12 of the Knights Templar, and also belongs to Wichita Consistory of the thirty-second degree, Scottish Rite. He took his Consistory work in the little old church at the corner of Market and First streets in Wichita, and another member of the same class was Chalk Beeson of Dodge City.
This sketch should not conclude without some mention of Mr. Royse's family history. He was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, August 16, 1859, was reared and educated there, and had only the advantages of the common schools. His boyhood was spent on the large farm estate of his father. His grandfather, John B. Royse, was a native of Virginia, and moved from that state to Kentucky and died in Fleming County. He married Nancy Walton, and their four sons and one daughter were: Hiram W.; Walter; Mary, wife of Basil Hardett; Benjamin and John Allen.
Hiram W. Royse, father of Benjamin R., was also born and reared in Fleming County, Kentucky, and acquired a large grain and stock farm. He sold this in 1883, coming to Sedgwick County, Kansas, where he was a well known and honored citizen until his death in September, 1909, at the age of eighty. He was born August 27, 1829. He attended church regularly, though not a member, and in all his dealings was thoroughly conscientious. He married Sibby A. Hargett, who was born in December, 1838, a daughter of Israel and Mrs. (Ralston) Hargett. She is now living with her son in Dodge City at the age of eighty. Hiram W. Royse and wife had twelve children, and those who grew up were: Elvira, who married W. A. Kissick, of Mount Hope, Kansas; John M., of Augusta, Kansas; Benjamin R.; America E., wife of Charles Moore, of Wichita; George R., of Dodge City; Hiram A., of Oatville, Kansas; Annie F., wife of Mohler Jordan, of Mount Hope; Elizabeth, who married Edward Orr, of Winfield Kansas; and Mattie, wife of Frank Jordan of Hanston, Kansas.
In Sedgwick County, Kansas, November 18, 1883, Benjamin R. Royse married Rose Ann Anderson. She was born in McLean County, Illinois, in 1862, a daughter of Marion and Lenora (Moore) Anderson who came to Kansas from Missouri in 1872. Her father was one of the pioneers and homesteaders near Mount Hope, Kansas, and Mrs. Royse grew up in that community. Four sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Royse, but the only one to reach adult life is Chester Floyd. He is a graduate of the high school of Kansas City and the Spaulding Business College there, and is now actively associated with his father in the real estate and loan business and also in farming.
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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