JOHN F. SPANGLER belongs to that era of Western Kansas of which the ranch and range, the holding of land in large leaseholds and the grazing of livestock over countless acres and without the bar of fences was a characteristic feature. Even now he would not he classed as a small farmer, but directs the activities over several thousands of acres and has one of the largest and busiest ranches in Ness County.
His holdings are in Eden Township of that county. Western Kansas was indeed on the frontier when he came to that section on May 11, 1879. In the years which have passed he has not only witnessed but has been a participant in the many changing developments which have transformed this section of the Sunflower state.
Mr. Spangler was born in Appanoose County, Iowa. His father, Rev. John Spangler, settled in that section of Iowa when a young man and married there. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and along with farming he combined the vocation of minister of the Baptist Church. He also served as a soldier in the Civil war, with Company I of an Iowa regiment. He was discharged for disability, and lived to the age of sixty-five. He died at Jetmore, Kansas, in 1900. He was a man of fair education, of high ideals and respected in every community where he lived. Politically he was a republican. Rev. John Spangler married Martha Benge, who died at Jetmore, Kansas, in 1904. Her father was Samuel Benge, a farmer of Appanoose County, Iowa. The children of Rev. John Spangler and wife were: Samuel W., of Idaho; John F.; Siegel S., of Milan, Missouri; Ella, wife of J. W. Wallace, of Kansas City, Missouri; Harlan, of Idaho; Jacob D., of Sharon, Kansas; Nellie, wife of C. F. Herman, of Dighton, Kansas.
John F. Spangler acquired his education partly in Iowa and partly in Kansas. He attended country schools and also the town schools of Larned, Kansas. After reaching his majority he took a homestead in Hodgeman County and remained on it to prove up and secure a patent. Altogether fifteen years of his life were spent in Hodgeman County. He developed a good ranch in north Roscoe Township, and there made his first mark in the cattle business. Mr. Spangler was largely responsible for introducing the Galloway cattle into this section of Kansas, and for years he kept some fine graded stock on his farm. After selling his Hodgeman County ranch he removed to Ness City in 1902 and became associated in the cattle industry with Mr. James C. Hopper. Together they handled Galloway cattle on two ranches, but after a few years the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Spangler succeeded to one of the ranches controlled by the firm.
The Spangler ranch comprises 6,000 acres under fence. It is located on the south fork of Walnut Creek and it is a scene of bustling activity from one year's end to the other. Mr. Spangler has developed this as an alfalfa and stock farm. He has 125 acres in alfalfa, a crop which seems native to the soil of this part of the state, and it is one of the most valuable resources of the Spangler place. He has placed a large amount of improvements, including barns and silos, and about 700 acres altogether are devoted to farming, principally to the raising of feed and grain for his stock. Besides cattle Mr. Spangler handles mules and horses.
He takes a citizen's interest in politics and is a republican voter. As a resident of Ness City he has filled the chair of mayor, and his term in that office was marked by a somewhat bitter fight over the subject of the removal of hitchracks from the main street. This reform was eventually carried out. Mr. Spangler also built one of the loading garages of Ness City.
He was first married in Ness County to Miss Addie B. Hunter. She left two children: Mrs. Edith Queen, of Ness City, who is the mother of a son and daughter named John and Marjorie; and Miss Edna Spangler. The mother of these children was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Spangler married for his second wife Miss Lizzie McKittrick, who was born in Iowa and died September 22, 1913, without living children.
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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