HON. JOHN H. TIMKEN, of Bison, whose service in the State Legislature from that district has been continuous since 1912, is well equipped by experience and long residence to know the needs and how to fulfill them for the people of Rush County. He came to Rush County in the fall of 1876, more than forty years ago, and has personally witnessed and been an individual factor in the progress and development there.
He was a boy of sixteen when he first came to Kansas. Mr. Timken was born August 22, 1858, in Pettis County, Missouri, twelve miles southeast of Sedalia. He is a son of Jacob and Louise (Siebe) Timken. His father, a native of the Province of Hanover, accompanied his parents to the United States at the age of eight years. The family then settled in Pettis County, Missouri, where the grandparents had a farm and spent their last years. Jacob Timken grew up with a limited education, and spent all his life as a practical farmer. He came to Kansas in June, 1875, locating in Dickinson County, and three years later moving to Rush County. In the early days of that county he held some of the local township offices, and was a republican in politics. He was especially active and gave much of his time and means to the support of the German Methodist Church of his community. Jacob Timken died in March, 1904, at the age of seventy-six. His wife, Louise Siebe, was born in Prussia, and came alone when a young woman of eighteen to America. She is now living at Bison, and will be ninety years of age in March, 1919. Jacob and Mrs. Timken had eight sons, six of whom grew to manhood: Frank, who died at the age of thirty-three, leaving five children by his wife, Martha De Mand; John Herman, of Bison; William Carl, of Bazine, Kansas; Jacob Cord, of Rozel, Kansas; George Leonard, of Kinsley; and Herman Joseph, of Bison.
John H. Timken spent his boyhood and youth on the farm, and had the advantages afforded by the district schools of his neighborhood. He reached his majority after coming to Rush County, and then spent four years working in Hoffman's grist mill at Enterprise. Returning to Rush County, he bought a claim near Bison, developed it as a farm, and has been in that locality ever since except in 1888, when he went out to Oregon in the hope of settling if the country suited him. Oregon proved a disappointment and he returned the following year and resumed his residence near Bison. He continued to own and occupy one farm in that neighborhood until 1902, when he sold his lands and bought a place south of Bison, and has since been busied with farming there. His home now adjoins the townsite of Bison. Its improvements are very attractive and convenient, all of them of his own making. He owns three-quarters of section 4, township 18, range 17, and his land almost encircles the town.
For four years he was also identified with merchandising in Bison, being a member of the Bison Mercantile Company, and one of its promoters. However, this did not interfere seriously with his farming operations.
Since early manhood Mr. Timken has taken much interest in public affairs. His first public office was as justice of the peace. He is one of that increasing number of men who refuse to allow a party allegiance to be a fixed rule of life from early manhood to old age. He began voting as a republican, later became allied with the populist movement, and for the past dozen years or so has been a democrat. As a populist he was elected country treasurer of Rush County, and by re-election held that office four years, as long as the law permitted. In 1906 the democratic party nominated him as representative for the Legislature. He was defeated in that campaign, but in 1912 was again nominated by the same party and was elected, being re-elected in 1914, 1916, and renominated in 1918 for the fourth term. Upon entering the house Mr. Timken was assigned to the committees on taxation, railroads and some minor committees. During the second term he was on the committees on penal institutions, charitable institutions, and livestock. In his first session he voted for William H. Thompson for United States senator. That was the last time a United States senator was elected under the old constitutional provision. During his third term Mr. Timken was on the judiciary, claims and accounts, railroads, labor and horticulture committees, being chairman of the last named. He also took an active part in the bone-dry legislation, and all other legislation which had for its primary object the welfare of Kansas, and supported such measures regardless of whether they were sponsored by his own or other parties.
Mr. Timken and family are members of the German Methodist Church and he is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America. In Dickinson County, Kansas, October 10, 1882, he married Miss Emma Kohler. Her father, Senator C. Kohler, was one of the prominent early settlers of Dickinson County and represented his district in the State Senate. He was born in Germany, was a blacksmith by trade, and came to Kansas when it was a territory in 1859. He lived many years in Dickinson County, but died at Bison in 1906. Senator Kohler married Margaret Emory. Their children were seven sons and three daughters, nine of whom grew up: William, of Portland, Oregon; Emma, wife of Mr. Timken; Carrie, wife of Jacob C. Timken; Chris, of Colorado; Walter, of Pueblo, Colorado; Ed, of Bramen, Oklahoma; Harvey, of Herington, Kansas; Fred, of Colorado Springs; and Homer, of Denver, Colorado.
Mr. and Mrs. Timken have an interesting family of children and grandchildren: Albert, who lives at Bison, married Lillie Crottinger, and their three children are Glen, Cecil and Perry; Harvey, also of Bison, married Grace Cottinger, and has two daughters, Louise and Dorothy; Frank is still at home with his parents; Earl, whose home is at La Crosse, Kansas, married Helen Blake, and their marriage has brought Mr. and Mrs. Timken three more grandchildren, Melvin, Winifred and Elton; Henry, of Bazine, Kansas, married Clara Snider and has a son, Lloyd; Louis is the soldier representative of the family, being at this writing in Camp Funston; Ralph is by the recent law of draft age and is in the military training department of the Hayes City Normal School; the youngest of the family is Ione.
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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