WILLIAM SHUSS. When a man has been able to better his own circumstances and that of his family year after year, when he has added something to the sum total of life's beneficial agencies, and when middle age finds him in a position where he can survey the past with satisfaction and look forward to the future without fear, such a man is truly successful.
This pretty well describes the condition of William Shuss, one of the successful farmers of Pleasant Ridge Township in Pawnee County. The Shuss homestead is in section 29, township 22, range 17, and he has lived there since January 21, 1902.
He is of old Pennsylvania Dutch lineage. The word Dutch is properly used in connection with his family history and is not synonymous with German, as it is so frequently applied. His great-grandfather is believed to have been the immigrant ancestor from Holland. He located first in Virginia and afterwards moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He never learned to read or write the English language. His life was spent on a farm.
Mr. Shuss's grandfather, Daniel Shuss, was born in Virginia, but when a child went to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where he spent his active career as a farmer and died at the age of seventy-eight. He was the father of eleven children, eight of whom reached maturity. Among them were John, who died in Idaho, Mary Ann, who married William Forney and died in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; Jacob; Daniel, still living in Bedford County; Elizabeth, who married Simon Mikesel and died at Dayton, Ohio; Adam, a resident of Dayton; and Rebecca, who died in that city, the wife of Mr. Knisley.
Jacob Shuss, father of William Shuss, was born and reared six miles east of Bedford, Pennsylvania. He grew up on a farm, and while living in Pennsylvania be was unable to make much progress toward financial independence. About 1887 he came to Kansas, locating in Barton County. For a number of years he rented land in that county, and with the fruits of his prosperity he then came to Pawnee County and bought half of section 21, township 22, range 17. Two years later he added the northwest quarter of section 28, township 22, range 17. These three quarters comprise his estate. He died in Pawnee County January 30, 1910, at the age of seventy-two. He possessed a methodical industry and thrifty energy typical of his ancestry. Every improvement he made had the characteristic of stability and permanence. He built a splendid home and in every way showed himself one of the purposeful homebuilders of Pleasant Ridge Township. In politics he was a republican, and was a member of the Dunkard Church. He never aspired to political distinction, and was well content with doing his work and providing for his family. Jacob Shuss married Nancy Replogle, daughter of a Bedford County, Pennsylvania, farmer, Daniel Heplogle. Mrs. Jacob Shuss died in Pawnee County at the age of fifty-eight years. Her children were: Daniel, of Elkhart, Kansas; William; Lizzie, wife of Frank Schneck, of Pawnee County; Miss Rosa and Harry, still at the old homestead; John, of Meade County, Kansas; Charles and Jacob, still at the old home, the latter being a grain thresherman; Hugh, a carpenter at Larned; and Mason, a farmer at Floris, Oklahoma.
Mr. William Shuss was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, February 25, 1875, and grew up in Barton County from the age of twelve years. In that county he attended the country schools and had a well trained mind and a well trained body when he started life on his own responsibilities at the age of twenty-one. Leaving home he found employment as a farm hand in Barton County. The first two years he was paid $13 a month. The fact that the following two years he was given a salary of $18.50 a month showed that he had advanced somewhat in capability and he was then getting about the maximum of wages paid to farm hands. He not only earned every dollar that was paid him but was thrifty in saving it. Having a little capital he joined forces with his brother Daniel and secured a threshing outfit. This outfit they managed quite profitably. While not engaged in threshing both brothers worked out by the month. For eleven seasons they threshed grain over a large district and in that time wore out two outfits. This profits of the business they used to buy three quarter sections of land near Garfield, paying $4,500 for the entire body of raw land. For untold generations this land had never been stirred with a plow and perhaps not even by the crooked stick of the Indian. Its only crop was buffalo grass and its only availability up to that time had been as pasturage.
Mr. William Shuss as soon as possible began developing his land. He broke up prairie and from the first has operated on the principle of mixed and all-purpose farming. Grain growing brought him much profit. Live stock has also been a source of steady accretions to his wealth. His pastures are dotted with fine examples of the Shorthorn cattle, and a number of them constitute a profitable dairy herd. He uses a cream separator and sells the cream.
After settling down to farming Mr. Shuss kept bachelor's hall for three years. He is now owner of the west half of section 29. Like most Pawnee County farmers he has indulged in wheat growing, and the best yield he had per acre was thirty-eight bushels. His most valuable crop came in 1916.
His prosperity is perhaps most easily judged by the improvements which now stand out conspicuously on his farm. His first or pioneer house was a two room frame dwelling. Another room was subsequently added, and these somewhat restricted quarters served the family until September, 1916. At that date the Shuss household occupied their modern bungalow, than which there is none better or more attractive in the rural precincts of Pawaee County. It contains eight rooms, and both architecturally and for convenience is an ideal plan. It is handsomely finished, and the equipment comprises baths, hot and cold water, a Delco lighting system and a furnace. The entire home was built and equipped at a cost of $5,500. In 1904 Mr. Shuss put up a barn of liberal proportions, 32 by 50 feet, with mow capacity of eighty tons. Besides house and barn there is an implement shed, a granary, poultry houses and a garage, since he is one of the many prosperous Pawnee County farmers who own and operate their own car.
The first year Mr. Shuss qualified to vote was 1896. He cast his ballot for Mr. Bryan for president. When the next campaign came around he was in the ranks of the republicans, and has never swerved from the allegiance of that party. He is now serving as clerk of school district No. 48, known as the Lincoln School. While not a church member, he has contributed to the erection of both the Garfield churches.
On December 25, 1906, Christmas Day, Mr. Shuss and Miss Annie Meyer were united in marriage. Mrs. Shuss was born in Barton County, Kansas. November 23, 1883, and is one of the nine children of Henry Meyer and wife. Her father came from Germany.
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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