WILLIAM E. TRAYLOR has been almost continuously identified with Ness County for thirty years. He was one of the pioneer educators of that county, and taught a great many terms of school in the various districts. He was an excellent type of man to have in the schoolroom anywhere, had a strong hold on his pupils, was conscientious and a promoter of character and high ideals, and many of his best friends are among his former students. In recent years he has been engaged as a banker and farmer, and is cashier of the Citizens State Bank of Utica.
He was born in Menard County in Central Illinois August 7, 1867, but in 1871 his parents moved to Vernon County, Missouri, where he spent his boyhood. Then, in 1886, at the age of nineteen, he came to Ness County, Kansas.
His grandfather, Henry Traylor, came out of Kentucky to Illinois, and spent the rest of his years on a farm in Menard County, where he died at the age of sixty-eight. His children were: James H., who died in Menard, Illinois; William, a farmer and stockman at Atlantic, Iowa; Edward, of Petersburg, Illinois; Leonidas; Mrs. Lizzie Pantier, of Petersburg, Illinois; and Eliza, who married Hugh Clary.
Leonidas Traylor, father of the Utica banker, was born in Menard County, Illinois, May 25, 1839. His early life was spent on a farm, and he lived at a time and in a community where his school advantages were necessarily restricted. When he was still a young man, in 1862, he enlisted for service in the Civil war and became a member of Company E of the Eighty-Fifth Illinois Infantry, which saw its most active service in the command of General "Pap" Thomas. He gave a good account of himself as a soldier, was brave, faithful to duty, and made a record in some of the most historic battles of the war. He was at Perryville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, and afterward participated in the march to the sea. He always served in the ranks, and though close to danger many times escaped wounds and was never captured. He remained in the army until the close of the war and with his comrades marched in the Grand Review at Washington.
After the war he took up farming in Central Illinois, from there removed to Missouri, and on coming to Kansas in 1886 took up a homestead north of Arnold. He proved that up and continued farming there until physical infirmities forced him to abandon the regular pursuit of his vocation. His death occurred March 26, 1917, at Arnold. His interest in politics was as a republican voter, and he was long a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Leonidas Traylor married Nancy J. Davis. Her ancestors were Virginia people and her father, Jacob Davis, was born in Mason County, Illinois, and spent his life there as a farmer. Leonidas Traylor and wife had the following children: William E.; Dillard, who was accidentally killed in Ness County, and had three children by his marriage to Josie Combest; and Harvey W., who is a farmer near Arnold.
William E. Traylor received his early education in the public schools of Missouri. Soon after he came to Ness County he took the examination for a teacher's certificate before Superintendent James Nuttle, and in 1887 taught his first school in the Sandwall district northeast of Arnold. This school was kept in an abandoned farm house. Mr. Traylor also had experience teaching in the familiar schoolhouse of that time, a "soddy," and he helped educate a large number of children in this section of the state, and he followed the profession actively for more than a dozen years. His last teaching was done in 1903. In the meantime he also served on the examining board for teachers, and when he was not active in the schoolroom he spent his vacations in farming and stock raising.
Mr. Traylor left school work to take up his duties as a banker. The Citizens State Bank of Utica was promoted by himself, J. C. Hopper, Tillman Peters, C. W. Askew, A. H. Foulks, John Pausch and L. L. Clyne. In May, 1903, Mr. Traylor entered the bank as cashier. It opened with a capital stock of $12,000, and it has paid regular annual dividends on the stock and now has a surplus of $10,000.
Besides his connection with the bank Mr. Traylor improved a farm near the Sandwall schoolhouse, and has used it chiefly for raising wheat. He has always proved a man of public spirit in his home community, has served as mayor of Utica, is now a member of its council, and has also used his experience to the advantage of the local schools as a member of the board. Mr. Traylor was affiliated with the populist party when it was a strong factor in politics in Kansas, attended some of its local conventions, but he is now a democrat, with strong emphasis on prohibition. As a citizen of Utica he has contributed to the material improvement of the town by the erection of one of the good homes here. He and his wife are active Methodists, and he has been an officer of the church at Utica for several years.
On September 23, 1891, at Newcastle, Wyoming, Mr. Traylor married Mrs. Hattie Terry. She was born in Mercer County, Missouri, a daughter of John Laughlin. By her previous marriage she has a son, James L. Terry, of Mount Sterling, Illinois. Mrs. Traylor died January 16, 1912, leaving four children: Miss Fern, who graduated from the Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina in 1917, is now a missionary in Singapore, Straits Settlements; Francis M., a student of the University of Kansas, enlisted in Company I of the First Regiment of North Dakota Infantry and saw some active service on the Mexican border during the recent troubles there. Later he enlisted in the aviation service and now holds the rank of first sergeant, Aero Squadron "B," Souther Field, Americus, Georgia; Dewey and Eddie, are in high school at Utica.
On December 10, 1914, Mr. Traylor married for his present wife Dr. Sadie H. Frank, a daughter of John Frank. She received her professional education for her career as a chiropractor at Davenport, Iowa, and was engaged in the practice of that profession at Randall, Kansas, prior to her marriage.
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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