MONROE TRAVER. One of the substantial and satisfied citizens of Stevens County is Monroe Traver, whose well improved homestead on which he resides is the southwest quarter of section 14. He has been a resident of the county for thirty-one years and during that time probably experienced the usual amount of disappointments and hardships that are inseparable from pioneering. These handicaps found in Mr. Traver, however, a man not easily turned from his purpose, and the resoluteness with which he met and overcame them is one of the interesting stories of this interesting section of a great state.
Monroe Traver was born in Dutchess County, New York, January 14, 1853. His parents were Ephraim and Elizabeth (Badgley) Traver, both of whom were born in New York. Ephraim Traver was a farmer in his earlier years in New York and later in Laporte County, Indiana, and died in the latter state in 1874, when aged fifty-three years. With the exception of being a captain of militia in early manhood, he had no military experience and lived out his life as a quiet, private citizen, voting with the republican party and supporting the Lutheran Church. He married Elizabeth Badgley, who died in 1873, when aged forty-two years. The following children were born to them: Monroe; Henry, who died in young manhood; Chester, who lives in Fulton County, Indiana; and Carrie, who died in Fulton County, the wife of Henry Hendrickson.
Monroe Traver obtained his education in Dutchess County, New York, first attending the pay or subscription schools when it was the custom for the teacher to "board around." Later he had academic advantages in an institution conducted by a scholarly Frenchman who named it the DeGarmo Academy and taught many branches, including history and bookkeeping, and turned out well instructed pupils. Mr. Traver then assisted his father on the farm until the family went to Laporte County, Indiana, and there he became a farmer for himself and also picked up a working knowledge of the blacksmith trade, which served him well later on.
After eight years of farming in Laporte County, with nothing of moment to show for it, Mr. Traver began to look about for better opportunities and thus was more easily impressed with the Kansas literature circulated at that time, giving glwing[sic] accounts of the future possibilities of this state. He made his way to Douglas County, where he rented land just south of Mount Oread, upon which the classic University of Kansas now stands. The opportunities he was looking for could not be secured in Douglas County, and as a movement about that time was on foot looking to the general settlement of Stevens County, Mr. Traver determined to bring his family to this section and secure a fine homestead with the other hopeful settlers. A short trip by rail brought the party to Hartland, the starting point of many of the settlers in this region, and in March, 1887 began his residence on a claim he had chosen in 1886
As a settler Mr. Traver, with wife and two children, came into the county with some capital, and he owned two teams, two cows, some chickens and a pig. He also brought with him lumber for his pioneer home, which was constructed with due regard for the notorious Kansas breezes, partly underground and 12 by 16 feet in dimensions, and one room sufficed for a time. His stock shelter was not erected until the autumn, when he built a typical side-hill Kansas barn.
Six years after his first entry he found that he could not make farming profitable there. It was situated on the northwest quarter of section 15, and was the best claim he could secure at the time of filing. On abandoning that claim he moved to Hugoton and was able to take care of his family by working as a blacksmith, and four years later he entered another homestead filing and came to his present place, beginning again in a modest way but under better conditions and with a more complete understanding of the requisites of a Kansas farmer in order that success might crown his efforts. About this time the discovery and development as Kansas crops of broom corn, maize and kaffir offered hope, and Mr. Traver began their cultivation and for a time he also grew wheat. With others he found a great handicap in the long distance that he had to transport his products in order to reach a market, and he has hauled wheat twenty-two miles to Liberal and sold it for 65 cents a bushel. This era was one of general low prices, Mr. Traver recalling that he then sold cows as low as $15 and calves for $5. It is interesting to compare these prices with those that prevail in 1918. Like other enterprising settlers Mr. Traver went into the cattle business and the open range gave him wide opportunities. He developed a ranch by accumulating abandoned lands and picked up quarters for less than the taxes, securing seven in the course of time and still owns three of these. He is devoting his farm to grain (maize, kaffir and wheat) and doing well. The comfortable farm and ranch home was developed primarily from an abandoned single-room cottage, to which others were moved and added in a manner to be attractive and convenient, and other improvements on his place include a garage and a granary of 8 by 38 feet, and a spacious barn, 22 by 36 feet with a mow capacity of twenty tons.
Mr. Traver was married in Laporte County, Indiana, September 15, 1879, to Miss Harriet Josephine Holloway, who was born there August 21, 1859. Her parents were John S. and Mary Louisa (Wells) Holloway. Her father was born at Richmond, Indiana, July 24, 1824. In early life he was a farmer and then became a banker at Laporte. Later in life he frequently made visits to Mr. and Mrs. Traver and passed away in their home July 25, 1907. The mother of Mrs. Traver was born at Le Roy, Ohio, April 8, 1831, and died in Laporte County, Indiana, at the age of sixty-eight years. They had the following children: Henry; LeRoy, of Laporte County; William Theodore, of Liberal, Kansas; John Newton, a physician, who died in Laporte County; Abraham Lincoln, a physician of Hutchinson, Kansas; Mrs. Traver; and Stephen S., of Lecompton, Kansas.
Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Traver and all but one live in Kansas. The eldest, Mary Elizabeth, is the wife of W. R. Worthington, who is county farm adviser at Blue Fields, West Virginia. Both Mr. and Mrs. Worthington were students at the Kansas Agricultural College and their marriage followed their graduation. They have three children, Willets Monroe, Josephine and Catherine. Edna, the second daughter, married Lee S. Parker, of Hugoton, Kansas, and they have five children, Harriet Ellen, Pearl Elizabeth, Helen Irene, Lura May and Leonard Seth Monroe. John Ephraim, the eldest son, is a farmer in Stevens County near his father. He married Ella Hohn and they have four children, Leroy John, Margaret Josephine, Florence June and William Monroe. The second son of Mr. Traver, Paul Monroe, is also a farmer in this vicinity. He married Ethel Knisley and they have a daughter, Viola Ruth. Mr. and Mrs. Traver are members of the Society of Friends and attend meeting at Lone Star on the east line of Stevens County.
For many years Mr. Traver voted with the republican party, then became a supporter of the prohibition cause but finally found himself in closest accord with the great progressive party movement. He has been somewhat active in politics and has been a delegate to congressional conventions held at Hutchinson. He has been a director in his school district, although it was more convenient for his children to attend school in district No. 1 and his sons and daughters also attended the high school at Liberal and one son took a course in the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan. Mr. Traver has also served as trustee of his township. The Traver post office was established in his home March 13, 1904, on the Star route from Hugoton to Liberal, and Mrs. Traver was postmistress for four years, when they had the office continued in the Hohn residence, where it was served until it was discontinued in 1912, other postal facilities having been extended by that time.
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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