GEORGE SLAGLE. The ranching and farming community of Johnson Township, Ness County, is represented by a number of men of progressive spirit and business ability, and prominent among these is found George Slagle, whose home is located twenty-four miles southwest of Ness City. Mr. Slagle is not one of the first settlers of this part of the county, but has lived here for more than thirty-two years, and during this time has been a witness of the great development of the locality and has himself played a part in its progress and advancement. His career has been typical of the self-made manhood that has built up Kansas industries and institutions.
Mr. Slagle was born in Gallia County, Ohio, October 26, 1855, a son of John and Nancy (Wood) Slagle. John Slagle was born in Virginia, in February, 1833, and was given but few educational advantages. As a young man he moved to Ohio, and when the Civil war came on enlisted from that state in the Union army, becoming a member of Company D, Ninety-first Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving in Sherman's army. He took part in the Shiloh engagement under Grant and was at Antietam and Gettysburg and on the Atlanta campaign to the sea. Mr. Slagle was a private soldier, and passed through the war without wounds or capture, and with an honorable record. He was for many years a member of the Grand Army of the Republi, a republican in politics, and one of the substantial and respected men of his community. His death occurred in June, 1914. Mr. Slagle married Nancy Wood, a daughter of Noah Wood, who moved into Ohio when it was a new country, and there engaged in farming. Mrs. Slagle died near the old Slagle home in January, 1918, being then eighty-five years of age. Their children were as follows: William, who passed his life in Ohio and died there; Martha, who died as Mrs. Samuel Boggs; George, of this notice; Charles, who is still a resident of Gallia County, Ohio; John, also a resident of that county; Mary, who is the wife of Charles Carter, of Gallia County; and Noah, who is a resident of the same county.
George Slagle grew up in Gallia County, Ohio, as a farmer, with only rural school and other rural advantages to assist him. He was reared to agricultural pursuits and assisted his father until he became of age, when he became a wage worker by the month and so continued for three years, when he married and began his career as a renter.
Mr. Slagle was married in Gallia County, December 26, 1879, and came West by rail, leaving the train at Sterling, Kansas, from whence he brought in his household goods and a span of horses. He remained for more than a year in Stafford County and then drove into Ness County, reaching here in March, 1885, and homesteading the southeast quarter of section 35, township 20, range 25. He brought enough money, or had enough, to buy two cows in Stafford County, and brought them and his team here, and his first home in Ness County was a real hole in the bank, which served until he built a sod house later. The dugout was not high enough for Mrs. Slagle to stand erect, and she sometimes feared that she might never be able again to straighten out. They had to place the chairs out of doors or on the bed when the family gathered in the room, but the little apartment was home, and that meant much to them. The family "soddy" was a two-room affair and was plastered with native lime and was a comfortable home. For a time it had a sod cover and a dirt floor, and in this little abode the family resided even for some years after they had proved up their claim.
As before noted, Mr. Slagle was without funds to replenish the family larder when "grub" ran short and he accordingly resorted to work at freighting, harvesting back in Barton and Stafford counties and helping to dig wells, and his claim raised the feed for his stock and some broomcorn for the market. This corn was about as reliable, or almost so, as any, and as rapidly as he could he entered the cattle industry. He exchanged his homestead for other land and came to his present property in November, 1894. This was the Anderson homestead and Mr. Slagle finished the stone house, set out an orchard, dug wells, fenced the farm, and added buildings, including the best bank barn in the county. While he has always sown wheat he has not always harvested the next year. He has bought more land as the years have passed and as his prosperity has warranted, and now owns about nine quarter-sections, or 1,300 acres, of which he has 400 acres under the plow and devoted to various crops, his alfalfa in the Plum Creek bottoms prospering particularly well and furnishing three or four crops a year whether it rains or not. His apple orchard has also responded almost yearly and in 1915 more than 700 bushels were gathered from it, while peaches grow and bear, but the trees are short-lived and are unreliable as bearers.
Mr. Slagle is in the Nonchalanta district, has been a member of the district board much of the time he has lived here, has the postoffice in his residence, and has been postmaster for ten years. He has taken part in county public affairs here, is a republican in his political adherence, and was county commissioner for four years, being elected in 1908 as the successor of Commissioner Ellis and serving on the board with Sam Garragues and William Walkintz, and during his last term with Mr. Garragues and Andrew Stull. The standpipe at Ness City was a part of the achievement of the board, and bridgebuilding over the county comprised other important work, besides the raising of the levy for the sinking fund for the new courthouse. Mr. Slagle was nominated by the republicans at the 1916 primary for county treasurer and was the only candidate for the nomination. He and his family are Methodists and are members of the Nonchalanta Church.
Mr. Slagle married Miss Mary Hays, a daughter of William T. and Ollie J. (Armstrong) Hays, the former of whom came from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and was a native of that state. He was an Ohio soldier in the Union army and fought in various battles of the Civil war, including that of Murfreesboro, and, it is thought, took part also in the march of Sherman's army to the sea, as well as the bloody engagements at Nashville and Franklin. He escaped wounds and capture and spent the rest of his life as a blacksmith and wagonmaker, and died November 22, 1893, aged sixty-two years, ten months and one day. His wife was born March 14, 1838, and died September 16, 1890. They became the parents of the following children: George, of Strong City, Kansas; Clara, who married George Kitchen and lives at Ashland, Kentucky; Mrs. Slagle, born March 31, 1858; Emma, who is the widow of John Keller, formerly of Jett, Oklahoma; Ella, who married Charles Slagle, of Gallia County, Ohio; Annie, who is the wife of Peter Zongker, of Stafford County, Kansas; Friend, of Byron, Oklahoma; Maggie, who married Lester Dixon, of Pratt, Kansas; Jesse, of Byron, Oklahoma; and Mattie, who married Joseph Huff, of Pratt, Kansas.
To Mr. and Mrs. Slagle the following children have been born: William Stafford, of Pueblo, Colorado, married first Nannie Salisbury, who died leaving a daughter. Blanche, who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Slagle, and William S. then married May McJunkin; Annie married Ernest McVicker, of Ness County and has three children, Mary, Garnet and Alice; Ethel is the wife of Albert Goodman, of Ness County; John, a farmer of Ness County, married Erma McKee, and has one child, Marshall; Vernon and Bernie, twins, the former of whom married Ivy Prose and has one daughter, Velma, while Bernie married Ray Salisbury, of Wallace County, Kansas; George, who married Marie Van Boskirk and resides near home, has a daughter, Bernice Beth; and Roma, the youngest, who resides with her parents. The children received their education in the district schools, and for a time before her marriage Annie, the eldest daughter, was engaged in teaching in the rura]l schools.
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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