THOMAS S. VENARD, M. D. In 1879 one of the old familiar types of "mover's wagons" brought to Ness County a family whose presence here has ever since been a factor in the enlightened citizenship and progress of the community.
The head of that little family was Dr. John N. Venard, now living in honored retirement from his profession at Ness City. He was then young in his career as a doctor, and the service he rendered for so many years is now being capably continued by his son, Dr. Thomas S. Venard, of Ness City.
On coming to Ness County the older Doctor Venard established a home at Old Shilo, twelve miles south of Ness City. He was the first graduate of medicine to locate in the county permanently. While practicing he also homesteaded a tract of land near Shilo, but after six years in that locality, during which time his practice took him far and wide, riding and driving almost continuously, he moved to Ness City. In the meantime he had proved up his homestead and had that as a resource in addition to his professional work. At Ness City he continued to practice medicine until his retirement in 1912.
The Venard family came to Kansas from Iowa. It earlier had its seat in Indiana. Thomas Venard, father of Dr. John N. Venard, was born in that state and spent his active life as a farmer. He afterwards moved to Iowa, and is laid to rest at his old home in that state. He married a Miss Mallicott, and of their nine children Dr. John N. Venard was the oldest.
Dr. John N. Venard was born in Indiana April 17, 1848, was reared in Iowa, to which state his father moved in 1852, and in 1873 completed his course in medicine in the Rush Medical College in Chicago. After practicing for a few years at Blue Grass, Iowa, he came out to Kansas in 1879.
Besides the valuable service he rendered as a physician in Ness County when it was on the frontier and its population widely scattered, he was also chosen to represent the county in the early '80s in the Lower House of the State Legislature, and served there two terms. He has always been deeply interested in matters of public concern and is one of the old guard of republicans and formerly participated actively in the conventions. During the Civil war, though very young, he attempted to get into the army, but his father vetoed that and kept him out of service because of his youth. He is also one of the leading Masons of Ness City, being affiliated with Great Bend Commandery of the Knights Templar, and a past master of the lodge at Ness City. Since 1885 he has been a member of the surgical staff of the Santa Fe Railway. Until recently he belonged to the Kansas Medical Society and the American Medical Association. In religion he is a Methodist.
Dr. John N. Venard married Margaret Shirley. Her father, John Shirley, came from Apollo, Pennsylvania. The children of their marriage are: Mrs. Lilla V. Lennen, of Ness City; Dr. Thomas S.; Maggie M., wife of O. J. Hendricks, of McCracken, Kansas; and John N., Jr., who is in service in the United States Navy.
Dr. Thomas S. Venard who has followed in the footsteps of his father and gained recognition as one of the leading physicians and surgeons of Western Kansas, has spent thirty-seven years of his life in Ness County. He was born in Iowa January 19, 1876, and was a child of three years when the family made the eventful journey in a wagon to Western Kansas. He attended the local schools, graduated from high school at Ness City, attended the preparatory department of Cooper College at Sterling, Kansas, and finished his literary training in the Kansas State University. After three years in the Kansas Medical College he went to the University of Illinois to finish his course and was graduated M. D. in 1902. Returning to Ness City, where he had been reared, he has since actively engaged in practice. He is a member of the Barton County Medical Society, the Kansas State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is now serving as county health officer and in politics, like his father, is a republican.
Doctor Venard has to his credit volunteer service during the Spanish-American war. He was a member of the Twenty-first Kansas Regiment, and was elected first sergeant of Company A. He was mustered in May 7th and was mustered out December 10, 1898. Most of this time was spent in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in Lexington, Kentucky, and, as is well known, the regiment never got to the scene of hostilities. The company was organized at Great Bend, was mustered in at Topeka, left there May 17th and arrived at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, May 20th. That was the training ground for the company until the 24th of August, when it was sent to Lexington, Kentucky, where it remained until September 26th and then entrained for Fort Leavenworth, where it arrived on the 28th. The company was furloughed from September 29th to October 28th by United States General Order No. 130 A. G. O., and telegraphic instructions subsequently extended the furlough to November 10, 1898.
Doctor Venard is a member of Wichita Consistory of Scottish Rite Masons, and has several times been master of Walnut Valley Lodge No. 191, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He belongs to Isis Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Salina, to Hutchinson Lodge No. 453 of the Elks, and is past noble grand of Empire Lodge No. 169, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In Ness County May 2, 1902, Doctor Venard married Miss Mildred Brentnall. Her father, R. E. Brentnall, is a retired business man and old settler of Ness County, and he married Miss Elizabeth Mills, of Welch ancestry. Mrs. Venard is one of five children. Doctor and Mrs. Venard have the following children: Thomas Newton, Winnona May, Robert John and George Lincoln.
Doctor Venard against entered the service of his country during the summer of 1917, having been commissioned first lieutenant in Medical Department June 28th and shortly thereafter reporting at Fort Riley for service.
A little later he was transferred to Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Alabama, then to Camp Hancock, Augusta, Georgia, where on January 6, 1918, he was promoted to a captaincy. From there he was transferred to Camp Green, Charlotte, North Carolina, then to Camp Upton, New York, from whence he sailed in July, 1918, for active hospital service in France.
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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