NORRIS O. WAYMIRE, now retired, located in Pawnee County, Kansas. in February, 1878, and for years was closely identified with the business activities of Garfield and is still a resident of that village.
He is an Ohio man by birth and first saw the light of day September 20, 1849, at Saybrook in Ashtabula County. His boyhood was spent on his father's farm. While he had a limited education, acquired by attending school for three months in the summer and a similar time in the winter for a few years, his native intelligence, his rare flashes of wit and humor, and his ability to move easily among men and handle varied affairs have caused him always to pass as a man of broad information and that kind of education which counts for most in real life. When he settled up his father's estate he had $500 as his share. This he put away and started to make an additional $500, the amount of capital which theoretically is supposed to constitute the foundation of success in life. He acquired that $500 by work as a farm hand. Farm hands worked harder fifty years ago than they do today and they worked longer hours. Mr. Waymire earned his wages of $20 a month by work from 5 o'clock in the morning until bedtime.
About the time he acquired this capital Mr. Waymire was married in Geneva, Ohio, on December 24, 1877, to Miss Mary Stephens. Mrs. Waymire was born in Cornwall, England, a daughter of John Stephens. She was brought to the United States when five years of age, and died January 31, 1918. Mr. and Mrs. Waymire never had a family.
When they came out to Pawnee County in February, 1878, Mr. Waymire's experience was that of a farmer only. He had not yet come into real contact with commercial affairs. Locating at Garfield, he put up a store building 20 by 44 feet, two stories. This subsequently had to be enlarged to accommodate his growing trade. In time his business reached splendid proportions and from general merchandising he established the first exclusive hardware and implement store, and eventually began dealing in coal and lumber. His lumber yard was the last of the departments of his business to be established. it proved one of his most profitable ventures. At the beginning the patronage of his store was limited to the very few settlers then in and around Garfield, but he lived to see the country develop and prosper just as his store did. He continued in trade for thirty-two years, and finally retired and sold out his interests on April 22, 1910. Some of the proceeds of his merchandising he invested in cheap lands in Gray County, and he has been the beneficiary of the growth in values in that community.
Though without children of their own, Mr. and Mrs. Waymire were interested in Garfield schools from the start, Mrs. Waymire having been the village teacher for one year. He has served on the school board for the past six years, has been township treasurer, and for many years has helped support the Cemetery Association. Politics has not been in his line, though he has shown an intelligent interest in local and national problems. He began his career as a voter as a republican, subsequently became a progressive, and in late years has exercised his franchise rather liberally.
Mr. Waymire was formerly a director of the Mutual Telephone Company at Garfield and was one of the original stockholders of the Garfield State Bank. One of his principal contributions to Garfield's development was his handsome home, which is a large and modern one and has every convenience and equipment. While not a churchman, Mr. Waymire has aided all three of the organizations in Garfield. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mr. Waymire has an interesting ancestry. His grandfather was a native of Hanover, Germany. When quite young he was picked up by the British there during their recruiting and was pressed into military service in America during the Revolution. In crossing the Atlantic he was sixteen weeks on the ocean. Military service under the British flag was distasteful to him, and after a time he deserted. He was retaken and was given the choice of lashes or six months in prison, and "as he had no engagements" he took the prison sentence. Later he succeeded in making good in his efforts to desert. He and other comrades started for freedom, and when some became weak-kneed, the others took their flintlocks and bent them around trees, left their owners to take care of themselves and finally reached the line of Colonial troops. At the close of the war he settled in Albany, New York, where he married a Miss Quackenbush, probably of Knickerbocker Dutch stock. Their children were David, Rebecca and Frances.
David Waymire, father of Norris O., was born in Albany, New York, in 1800. About 1825 he went west to Ohio, was married in Lake County, that state, to Mrs. Almeda Beckwith, nee Collins, of Massachusetts, who came to Ohio in 1825. David Waymire finally moved to Ashtabula County and died in Saybrook in March, 1872. He and his wife had the following children: Horace, who died at Boise, Idaho, Mary, Henry, Hiram and Norris O.
From his ancestry Mr. Waymire has a vein of Irish stock and that probably accounts for his reputation as a humorist. His good nature shines out notwithstanding his frail constitution and his suffering body. Through good times and bad he has always worn a smile, has carried his civic and business burdens without flinching and has cultivated his friendships among the substantial people of his community. He is a most entertaining conversationalist, can also write well and has contributed a number of articles on various topics to his home papers.
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.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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