ARTHUR W. SHADY is one of the old settlers of Pawnee County. His life in Kansas has had both its pleasant and unpleasant aspects, the bitter has been mingled with the sweet, but out of it all he has gained those substantial things for which men chiefly strive, an amount of material prosperity sufficient for reasonable needs if not luxuries and an opportunity to rear a family and enjoy position and influence in a community.
It is now thirty years since Mr. Shady came to the western frontier of Kansas. He came from Indiana, in which state, in Wells County, he was born April 27, 1853. His early life was that of the average Indiana farm boy, and his education came from one of the country schools of that state. In growing up on a farm he learned its duties, and as a youth he worked as a farm hand. When only a few months past his twenty-first birthday, on September 2, 1874, he was married in his native county to Miss Lizzie Davis. Having established a family and with responsibilities and ambition increased proportionately Mr. Shady became an Indiana farmer. He had only a reasonable degree of prosperity. There were two reasons which induced him to come to Kansas. In the first place the climate of Indiana was somewhat unhealthful and he believed that the atmosphere of the western prairies would be beneficial. Also word had come back from many of his neighbors who had gone to Kansas in the early days of wonderful prospects of that state, of cheap lands and of bountiful crops. In coming to Kansas he realized the benefits of the climate, but the golden promise of the early years so far as agriculture was concerned had somewhat dimmed when he arrived.
Arriving in Pawnee County in 1887, he took up farming in Walnut Township. He remained there about six years. He diligently worked the land, but results were not encouraging. The best crops were none too good, and he and his family might have suffered had there not been some source of money besides the farm. He had a well drilling outfit and used it whenever there was a demand, and did other outside work to provide for the support of the family. Another drawback to his community was the absence of good school facilities. That finally decided him to remove to Larned so that the children might have better advantages than they could secure in the country. At Larned Mr. Shady entered the hardware and tinning business, which he followed three or four years.
In 1893, when the Cherokee Strip was opened in Oklahoma, he participated in the historic rush. It was his good luck to secure a town lot in Round Pond, then boomed as a coming city, but like other places in Oklahoma it was a city born to wither and die. After his experience in Oklahoma Mr. Shady returned home and for several years engaged in the second-hand business at Larned. He finally abandoned merchandising and since then has confined his activities chiefly to farming. He has a large farm and keeps it alive with his personal energy and has done well both as a stock raiser and wheat grower.
Mr. and Mrs. Shady had five children when they came to Kansas. Mrs. Shady is a daughter of Jesse and Christina (DeWeese) Davis. Her father was a farmer and came to Indiana from Ohio. Mrs. Shady had two brothers: Melville, of Bluffton, Indiana, and James O., who died at Bluffton. The oldest of Mr. and Mrs. Shady's children is Roy, now in the automobile business at Trinidad, Colorado, and by his marriage to Mabel Springer has a daughter, Melville. Chester is a resident of Larned, married Mayme Scott and has children named Wanda and Scott. Rachel died in Larned, the wife of Harry Hunsley, leaving three children, Harry Lee, Maurine and Euby. Melville lives in Pocatilla, Idaho, married Etta Snyder and is an automobile dealer. Harry is a resident of Larned, married Mary Hunsley, now deceased, and has three children, Treva, Marvin and Marie. Myrtle is the wife of Lee Bodine, of Hoisington, Kansas. Stella married Jesse Hunsley, of Larned, and has a daughter, Edith, and a son, Jesse. Leora is the wife of Fred Benjamin, of Coffeyville, Kansas, and has daughters, Jennie and Marie. Nettie, the youngest of the family, is the wife of Claude Derkee, of Coats, Kansas, and has a son, Dean Paymon.
Mr. Arthur W. Shady is a son of Lewis Shady and a grandson of William Shady. William Shady was a German and was born probably in the Fatherland. He lived in Pennsylvania for some years, moved from there to Ohio, and died in Wells County, Indiana, about 1882, when aged about eighty-two. He spent his life as a farmer. His wife, Susanna Grimm, died about the same time as her husband. Their family consisted of the following children: Samuel; Joseph; Lewis; Margaret, who married Elihu Nash; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Ephraim High; Isaac; William; Martin; and Reuben, who left home when a young man and bound for the Black Hills Country and has not been heard of since. Three of these sons, Samuel, Joseph and Lewis, were soldiers in the Union army during the Civil war.
Lewis Shady, father of Arthur W., was born in Ohio in 1832 and went to Indiana when twelve years of age. He was a gallant soldier of the Civil war, enlisting in the One Hundred and First Indiana Infantry as a private, under the command of Capt. Peter Studebaker, a banker of Bluffton, Indiana, and a relative of the great wagon manufacturers at South Bend. He served until wounded in the battle of Chickamauga and recuperated in the Cumberland Hospital at Nashville, and after recovering was detailed there as a hospital nurse until the war ended. He afterward became a loyal member of the Grand Army and while he had entered the army as a democrat he came out an ardent republican. He was a man of fine moral character and always set a good example to the young in his own household and in the community. He followed farming during his active years, and he died at Bluffton, Indiana, in 1914, at the age of eighty-three. He married Rachael Mills, who died in 1885. Her parents were Joseph and Margaret (Pea) Mills, who were Ohio people and farmers. Lewis Shady and wife had the following children: Melvina, who married Frank Daugherty and died in Indiana; Arthur W.; Elzina, who is the wife of Eli Good and lives in Elkhart, Indiana; John, a resident of Michigan; and Lewis, of St. Joseph, Missouri.
Arthur W. Shady is now commissioner of the first district of Pawnee County and has long been active in local affairs in Kansas. His first office was justice of the peace in Walnut Township. He served ten years as a member of the Larned school board. He was first elected county commissioner in 1906, as the successor of W. H. Brinkman. His associates on the board during that time were James Gilkerson, W. H. Price and J. A. France. It was during his first term that the county began the construction of cement bridges. The best two examples of that construction erected during his first term are the two bridges across Pawnee Creek. After an interval of four years Mr. Shady was again elected to the board in 1914, and again succeeded Mr. Brinkman in the office. During his second term bridge building has been carried on, but the chief public enterprise of the county is the building of the $175,000 court house. Pawnee County is out of debt and the board of commissioners adopted the plan of direct taxation to pay for the construction. The taxation for this purpose is spread over a period of not exceeding five years.
In his political faith Mr. Shady was roared a republican, and voted with that party until the people's party came in existence. He actively supported its principles and later years have proved the validity of many of the policies which at that time were considered heresies. Mr. Shady became a follower of William J. Bryan after the latter's famous "Crown of Thorns and Cross of Gold" speech in the Chicago Coliseum, and for the past twenty years his affiliation has been chiefly democratic, though he voted for Roosevelt in 1904. He has been a delegate in congressional conventions and assisted in nominating Congressman Shouse. Mr. Shady is a past noble grand of Larned Lodge No. 129, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has attended Grand Lodge many times, and served on the legislative committee for the Encampment of the order. He is also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Chapter and the Modern Woodmen of America. In religious matters he is a Baptist.
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