GRANVILLE M. RYAN. Those who bore the heat and burden of the day when the country was new, when the lands were never tilled, when there were hot winds, consuming drouth, grasshoppers and every other plague known to the frontier, have deserved every bit of success and prosperity, honor and esteem, which have come to them in later years, in the time when Kansas is prosperous from end to end, when granaries are full and homes have the comforts and luxuries which the early pioneer would not have imagined in his wildest dreams.
One of these men who have seen all the various changes and transformations of Western Kansas is Granville M. Ryan, of McCracken. He has played the part of homesteader, laboring man, merchant, stock raiser, and his name now means as much as a substantial influence in the affairs of Rush County as that of any other citizen.
Mr. Ryan was born in Whitley County, Kentucky, November 5, 1857. He had only a common school education, and a farm furnished him all his business experience until he reached his majority. His father, William M. Ryan, moved from Kentucky to Iowa, later settled in Montgomery County, Kansas, in 1876 came to McPherson County and in 1878 to Rush County. Thus Granville Ryan has been identified with this section of Western Kansas for nearly forty years.
When the family came to Rush County they brought some teams and a few cows. in the hard years that followed the sons frequently had to leave home and work for others in order to earn their own living and contribute something to the household. The usual labors which were the chief resources were husking corn and working in the harvest fields, and besides that Granville Ryan worked on the Santa Fe Railway branch while it was being constructed from Florence to Ellinwood. He had a team, and used it in grading on the dump.
On coming to this section of Kansas in 1878 Mr. Ryan took up a homestead in Ness County. A dugout was his first home. While proving up his claim he kept bachelor's hall, and he remained on the homestead during his active career as a farmer. The dugout was succeeded by a frame house, and improvements came as his work could make them and as his means justified. He broke out a large acreage and planted it to crops, and he also had a school quarter section and a timber claim, which gave him ample range for his stock. When he moved to McCracken he owned a half section of land. In the days when mortgages were almost as common in Kansas as grasshoppers Mr. Ryan, like other frontiersmen, endured this financial burden, but as soon as possible got rid of the shackles of debt.
On leaving his farm and moving to McCracken Mr. Ryan engaged in the lumber business, associated with his father and three brothers. They established the pioneer lumber yards in the town, and in absence of railway facilities they hauled the lumber from Hays City. Along with lumber they also handled coal, and subsequently began buying grain. But the chief source of prosperity for Mr. Ryan has been farming and the handling of extensive lands. He owns some of the best farming land around McCracken, and for a number of years has been a member of the firm of Ryan & Chenoweth, engaged in ranching on an extensive scale in Trego County. Mr. Ryan has developed many of his extensive holdings by cultivation and improvement, and for many years has found wheat one of the reliable crops adapted to this section.
He is a man of eminent public spirit, and is always willing to work for any enterprise that will help his home community. He has spent some time as a member of the city council at McCracken, and for several years was on the school board, being a member when the first brick schoolhouse was erected. He has always voted the democratic ticket.
In McPherson County, Kansas, December 15, 1883, Mr. Ryan married Mary C. Schneider, who was born in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Her father, J. Phillip Schneider, a native of Germany, was a pioneer settler in McPherson County, Kansas, and continued to live on his farm there until his death. He and his wife had seven children. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ryan are C. Guy, Blanche and Harley. Guy, who is associated in business with his father, was educated in Salina Wesleyan College and in the Agricultural College at Manhattan. By his marriage to Etta Johnson he has a son, Basil. The daughter, Blanche, is the wife of Harry Sieling, of McCracken, and they have a son, Harold. Harley, also in business with his father, completed his education in the Salt City Business College at Hutchinson.
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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