VALENTINE C. STUTZ. To look at the prosperous farm, the comfortable home, and to know the wide influence Valentine C. Stutz exercises as a business man and citizen in his community makes it difficult to realize all the trials and misfortunes which he went through in establishing his home in Kansas. His splendid farm and ranch are located near Utica in Ness County, and his first experience in Kansas came in 1886.
He is of German parentage and was born in Pendleton County, Kentucky, January 30, 1860. He had very few advantages in the way of schools. Before leaving home he got as far as the fourth reader, and among his early studies his favorite was mental arithmetic. Some years later while working on a farm he attended a business college at Bloomington, Illinois, and there gained a knowledge which enabled him to open and close a set of books.
He was one of a family of four sons and a daughter, all of whom were children when they lost their mother, and they grew up and assisted their father in keeping the house and also work on the home farm. Their father was Gotfried Stutz, who was born in Germany, went to Kentucky in 1845, and spent the rest of his life on a farm in Pendleton County. After coming to this country he learned to read and write English. He died in Kentucky in 1902. His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Hensel, was also of German birth, and after she came to Kentucky she worked out nine years to make the money to pay for her father's farm. Her father was Fred Hensel, a weaver by trade, who subsequently became a man of property and independence. Mr. Hensel was born March 16, 1808, in Grise, Hesse Darmstadt and his wife was born March 4, 1813. They came to the United States July 3, 1854, and both died in February, 1891. Mrs. Elizabeth Stutz died February 14, 1865. She was born August 30, 1833. She was the mother of the following children: Frederick G., now living at New Richmond, Ohio; Valentine C.; John D., of Weisburg, Indiana; Mary, wife of Fred Linker, of Mentor, Kentucky; and Charles F., of Oregon City, Oregon.
After leaving his Kentucky home Valentine C. Stutz went to Stanford, Illinois, and was a monthly wage earner there for three years. Then in 1886 he came to Kansas for the purpose of taking up Government land. He acquired a timber claim where his home now stands. The same year he entered a preemption in Scott County. He secured his patent for both, and he paid taxes on the preemption until the tax amounted to a dollar and seventy-six cents more than what he got for the quarter section when he sold it. In order to acquire a homestead he showed himself willing to perform any work that would give him an honest living. At one time he was at the bottom of a well which was being dug and performed that risky and difficult labor for wages of seventy-five cents a day. At another time he worked three days and his only pay for the labor was a little pup dog. In coming to Kansas he had traveled by railroad as far as Kingman, and thence walked practically the entire distance to Ness County.
Temporarily giving up his enterprise as a Kansas home maker, he went back East again, and this time took the train at Rush Center. On leaving Kansas it was his intention to return as soon as conditions were more favorable. During these early adventures he was a single man, and he determined that on his return to Kansas he would bring a wife with him. He went back to Stanford, Illinois, and again resumed work on a farm. He spent nine months without the loss of a single day's time. His place of employment was in McLean County, west of Bloomington. He was paid wages of $19.50 to $21 a month, and also had his horse kept. Though this was not a large wage he was very thrifty and saving, and he never misspent a dollar. From Illinois he returned to Kentucky, and there on February 22, 1892, he married, and soon afterwards brought his bride to Kansas. He brought with him $500 of his own money. They made the journey to Utica by railroad, and the first year he rented some land, raised a spring crop, and had enough to tide him over the following winter. During the fall he bought seed wheat for 115 acres, hired a team to get the ground ready, but there was never a single penny returned for his labor and his seed. Not a bushel of wheat was harvested from the entire acreage which he had sown. He refused to be discouraged. Whenever he could earn a dollar he was eager to work for others, and he was always out at daylight and never in the house as long as he could see. The drought of 1893 was so ruinous that at the end of the year he had his wagon loaded ready to leave the country. Many others had left Kansas, but he hesitated upon this course and on June 25th there came a heavy rain, the first since September of the preceding year. That decided him, he unloaded his wagon, and once more settled himself to the conditions of his sod house and his claim. In the early days he had to haul water for the house and stock, and the story of the vicissitudes he went through would fill a book.
In 1898 Mr. Stutz moved to his permanent home. Since then he has added many improvements from time to time. That year he put up the substantial two story stone house of eleven rooms, and hauled all the stone from the quarry himself. His barn and some other houses of shelter for his stock were erected before the house. In 1915 he built a 200 ton silo, and he says this is one of the best investments he ever made in Kansas. In preparation for his home he dug a well, and thus located a water supply around which his various buildings have been erected. Even before putting up his sod house he had planted an orchard. He set out peach, cherry, pear, apricot and apple trees, and the apple trees have proved exceedingly hardy, while both peaches and grapes have also borne crops. There has been enough fruit from his orchard to sell considerable quantities in the good years, and thus fruit growing has proved profitable even without spraying or the care bestowed by regular orchardists. His grove of trees about his home is an example of practical forestry, of much more value than the fruit which they bear, and has added immensely to the general appearance and attractiveness of his farm.
Mr. Stutz owns 1,800 acres of land in the vicinity of his home. Half of it is under cultivation and the main crop is wheat, though he has been very well satisfied with the seventy-five acres he has in alfalfa. He has combined crop growing with stock raising, and has been especially successful in the raising of horses. He keeps registered Percheron horses and also a large herd of cattle. He is a stockholder in the Utica Grain Company, and as a financier he has always acted upon the principle of using all his surplus capital instead of lending it out to others.
For a number of years he has been a director of school district No. 53. He is a republican and has always been a reader of the newspapers and periodicals, and has a ripe political judgment on the issues of the day. He and his family are members of the Church of Christ.
Mr. Stutz was married just before coming to Kansas, as above related, to Miss Susie E. Oetzel. Her father came from the same part of Germany as Mr. Stutz's parents and is John Oetzel, who for many years has lived at Grant's Lick, Kentucky. He has spent his active career as a farmer, and during the war was a Union soldier. He married Miss Susie Hotchkiss, of Indiana, and their children were: Mrs. Stutz, who was born July 22, 1869; John, of Kentucky; Annie, Edward and George, still at home; Mollie, wife of Charles Dunn, of Fort Thomas, Kentucky; Sallie, deceased; Addie, who is Mrs. William Strable and lives in Kentucky; Fannie, still at home with her parents and is Mrs. Parker Berry.
Mr. and Mrs. Stutz have a fine family of children: John, the oldest, studied law at the University of Kansas, and is now a lieutenant of the Nineteenth Infantry. Minnie is the wife of Alvin Maddy and has a son Wilber. The younger children, all at home, are: Emma, Willie V., Annie, Edward, Mary, Florine, Valentine, Rosella and Leslie. Mr. and Mrs. Stutz have always lived in the fear of God and have exemplified charity toward all. In the early days, even though they were not prosperous themselves, they shared what they had with less fortunate neighbors, and they have always dispensed charity in a practical way. They have exemplified the virtue of loving their neighbors as themselves and their success is due to the fact that they have always been willing to work six days in the week.
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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