ALBERT G. STROBEL. Not only in Pawnee County, where he has resided since 1899, but in various sections of Kansas and in Oklahoma, Albert G. Strobel has been through the fire of pioneer adversity and the struggles which presaged the modern era of prosperity in the Middle West. As a farmer, land owner and business man there is not a more substantial citizen of Garfield Township than Mr. Strobel.
As Mr. Strobel came to Kansas when a small child, some special reference should be made to his father, who was also one of the early pioneers of the state. His father, Adolph Strobel, was born in Germany, and sometime before the Civil war came to the United States a young man and alone, landing at Castle Garden. During the Civil war he saw some active service in the Home Guard at St. Louis, Missouri. He spent only a short time in New York. By trade he was a gardener, and he followed that occupation in St. Louis. Previously he had lived on a farm at Belleville, Illinois, a few miles east of St. Louis.
In 1872 he sought a home in what was then considered the southwest frontier of Kansas. He was in rather humble circumstances and was encumbered with the care of a large household. He started for Kansas with a team and wagon and arrived in Sedgwick County with this equipment, with $100 in cash, and seven children. He homesteaded near Maize, a station on the Missouri Pacific Railway, which did not appear until many years later. His experiences on his claim were somewhat a repetition of the experiences of all pioneers who went through the scourge of grasshoppers and many dry seasons. At Emporia he bought the lumber which went into his dugout on the claim. The present City of Wichita at that time was marked by a mere trading post. His dugout was about half in the ground and half out, the sides being boarded up and the entire structure containing only a single room. Sleeping quarters were mere bunks, ranged one above another. The room also contained a cookstove, a homemade table and enough benches for the family convenience. This claim often failed to provide a living for the family, and Adolph Strobel then worked for wages in Wichita, which was beginning to assume some importance as a town, and his wife also did housework for Wichita families.
As agriculture became more sure he spent his years as a grain grower and he died at Maize in 1889, at the age of seventy-two. Adolph Strobel was a man of good education. He might have officiated with credit in public affairs, but he had no desire for politics or office holding and as an American citizen he contented himself with voting the republican ticket. He spoke the language of his adopted country very poorly all his life. He was born and reared a Catholic but finally became a member of the Congregational Church.
Adolph Strobel was married in New York City to Fannie Brant. She died in Belleville, Illinois, and is buried in St. Louis. Her children were: Theodore, of Kansas City, Missouri; Carrie, wife of Martin Devine, of St. Louis; Charles, of Goddard, Kansas; Robert, who died at Wichita, leaving a family of children; Edward, at Centralia, Washington; Leopold of Jefferson, Oklahoma; and Albert G. Adolph Strobel's second wife and his widow, Mrs. Fannie Strobel, is now living at Maize, Kansas. Her living children are Lula, Amy and Minnie. The Strobel homestead still belongs to the family.
Albert G. Strobel was born in Belleville, Illinois, October 15, 1867, and was just reaching the years when he was conscious of his surroundings when the family moved to Kansas. His early training was in the public schools near Maize. A number of his old schoolmates there became prominent and successful farmers. When about fifteen years of age he left home and began making his own way in the world. He did this by herding cattle, by working on farms, and his wages ranged between $1.50 and $3 a week. This money he spent as he earned it and he had nothing but experience to show for the years between fifteen and eighteen. He then contracted for a piece of land at Kingman and farmed it on his own account for two years. He had fair success and the following season he farmed the Strobel homestead.
The next scene of adventure was in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was employed in the shops of the Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railway for thirty-three months. He learned blacksmithing and was promoted to the position of "heater." On leaving the railroad shops he paid his first visit to Pawnee County and did some farming in this frontier community for a year. Returning to Kansas City, Kansas, he became a heater in the Union Pacific Railway shops and was nearly a year with that company. His next employment was in the blacksmith shop of the car department of the Dold Packing Company.
For some time Mr. Strobel had had his eye on the new country of Oklahoma. When the Cherokee Strip was opened in the fall of 1893 he made the run for a claim. His claim was staked out thirty miles south of Hunnewell. He had only money needed for immediate necessities, and in order to maintain himself in his new location he dug wells and cyclone cellars and exchanged work for breaking on his claim. Again he lived in a dugout, and he is thoroughly familiar with the conditions and the people of pioneer Oklahoma. In the face of adverse conditions he tried to farm and from his second crop on the claim there was enough to supply provisions for a time. His battle with Oklahoma climate and soil continued for three years. In the meantime he had gone from his claim to harvest and thresh grain in Harper County, Kansas, at a dollar a day and most of his wages he invested in seed wheat. He sowed his Oklahoma land but had no crop to harvest. He then rented the land which had been put under the plow to a tenant, and the next season sold his share of the grain for 87 cents a bushel at Ponca. Of this he paid ten cents a bushel for hauling the grain. From what he realized from the sale of his wheat he was able to pay the government four hundred dollars for his land. Having acquired a piece of property in Oklahoma he was ready to leave the locality and then returned to Kansas City and went to work for the Dold Packing Company in the same position which he had abandoned three years before.
After two years Mr. Strobel came to Pawnee County, in 1899, and that has been his home ever since. His home in Kansas City, Kansas, he mortgaged to raise $350 which he brought to the county, and here he located on the southwest quarter of section 11, township 23, range 18. He rented this quarter section, and raised a crop of wheat and feed. The first year brought considerable returns, his experience was not quite so good the second year, and the third year was almost a total failure. But he was determined to remain, and about that time he bought the section of land he now owns and occupies. For that purpose he sold outright his Kansas City home and was able also to sell his Oklahoma claim, which brought him $3,175.00. For his Pawnee County section he paid $3,200.00. It is section 3, township 23, range 18. The land had no improvements when he bought it and its condition today as one of the high class farms of Garfield Township is a transformation which has been worked out by Mr. Strobel's energies and good judgment. One of his first improvements was his home, one of the most conspicuous in point of convenience and modern comforts in the entire locality. He also built a splendid barn, fenced and cross fenced fields, and put all but a quarter section under the plow. For a number of years he has been a successful wheat raiser of the county. While he is a thoroughly practical man, made so by experience, he is also progressive. He was the first farmer in this section of Kansas to buy and introduce a tractor for plowing and doing the heavy work of the fields. The best yield of wheat he has ever had was twenty-seven bushels per acre, in 1914. His total crop that year was about 10,500 bushels. In the meantime he has acquired extensive land holdings elsewhere. Near Garfield he has a quarter section which is part of his pasture land. His land interests in Ness County include nine quarter sections, which he is having improved and is now being farmed. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator of Garfield and at Nettleton.
Mr. Strobel has been a valuable citizen of his community. In 1916 he was elected a member of the Garfield School Board, and the present board now has completed a thirty thousand dollar school building. He is a republican in politics, is a member of the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his family are Methodists.
In Kansas City, Kansas, on November 27, 1890, while employed as a machinist and a poor and struggling young man, Mr. Strobel married Miss Mary Annie Horstman, who has stood loyally by him in all his subsequent progress to prosperity and success, Mrs. Strobel is a daughter of August and Mary Annie (Rositer) Horstman. Mr. Horstman died at Port Orchard, Washington, where his widow and two sons now reside. Mrs. Strobel was the only daughter in a family of six children, the sons being John, William, Joseph, Gus and Bert.
Mr. and Mrs. Strobel have six children, and these children are being trained in a good home and have had the best of advantages in school and in influences that make for substantial character. The oldest is Clyde, who was educated at Garfield and in the University of Kansas, taught in the rural schools of Pawnee County for a time, but is now actively farming in Ness County. He married Miss May Darst and has a daughter, Evelyn May. The sons, Arthur and Vernon, are both students in the Garfield High School. The three younger children are Edith, Russell and Wallace, Edith being also a high school student.
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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