TRUESDALE WHITING, who now lives retired at Dighton, has had some unusual experiences during his career of thirty-two years in Western Kansas. He has lived in Lane County since 1886. He brought some capital with him into the county, and, partly due to that fact and also to his resourceful management, he avoided several of the pitfalls and hardships which many of the early comers had to endure. His life record is a chapter in Western Kansas history and may be read with profit.
He was born in Ross County, Ohio, April 1, 1850. His people were pioneers in that section of Ohio, the first capital of the state having been at Chillicothe, the county seat of Ross County. His grandfather was George Whiting, who came to Ohio when it was a new and unsettled country, from Virginia, where his people were planters of the wealthy class. Having parted from his family, he never afterwards heard from his people or from any share in the family estate, and the wealth of the Virginia Whitings never benefited that branch of the family which went to Ohio. George Whiting spent the rest of his days in Ross County and died there. His children were all sons, named Slaughter, George, Ensley, and Rhynealdo.
Rhynealdo Whiting was born in Ohio, spent his career on a farm, and while not in the army himself, two of his brothers were Union soldiers. He was a Methodist and became a republican upon the formation of that party. He married Priscilla Penniston, a daughter of George Penniston, of Ross County. Rhynealdo Whiting and his wife in later life moved to Chariton County, Missouri, where both of them died. Their children were: John Ellis, who died as a Union soldier at Memphis, Tennessee; James, who died in Fulton County, Illinois; Salathiel, who was also a Union soldier and died during the war; Sarah, who married John Mitchell and died in Chariton County, Missouri; Maria, who married Abram Eynert and died in Chariton County; Truesdale, of Dighton, Kansas, and Joseph, of Chariton County, Missouri.
Truesdale Whiting moved with his family to Illinois, obtained a limited education in Fulton County of that state, and started out as a practical farmer. In 1870 he moved to Chariton County, Missouri, where he put in ten years of hard work on a small farm, which repaid his efforts only to a limited degree. While there he married, and in order to make better provisions for his growing household, he came out to Kansas in 1880 and became a pre-emptor on the Osage Reservation in Kingman County, where he spent the six years before coming to Lane County. He arrived in Kansas by railroad, leaving the train at Hutchinson. He then took his wife and two children into Kingman County, settled upon his claim, built a frame house, proved up his land, and had some considerable success in cultivating crops and in farming. When he left Kingman County he was better off financially than when he came, and having sold his farm he entered Lane County and homesteaded the southeast quarter of section 31, township 18, range 30, along the west side of the county. The county was just being settled up and there were a number of sod houses and dugouts dotted about over the prairie. Mr. Whiting built his residence of lumber, and it was the only frame house in that entire region and consequently attracted much attention.
His first efforts as a farmer in Lane County were not entirely satisfactory, though he made the soil sustain his family and was one of the few settlers who accomplished even that much. As soon as possible he began developing a herd of livestock. He brought with him a single cow from Kingman County, and an important resource to the family in those early days were the cows and chickens, which contributed probably more to the living of the family than the regular field crops.
After a few years Mr. Whiting began buying more land. His first additional quarter section cost him $125. He contracted for it, put in a crop of wheat, and the first crop paid for the land and for all the expenses connected with the raising and harvesting. He then bargained for another quarter section. He was not able to make enough from these 160 acres to pay taxes, and when the owner of the land visited him he explained that he could not pay for the land and that the land owners really ought to pay the settlers for staying with the country since the land would be absolutely valueless with the settlers. The owner evidently felt considerable justice in what Mr. Whiting told him, and after paying up all the taxes Mr. Whiting again made a bargain to pay $300 for the quarter section. The following season he put in fifty acres of wheat, and that crop paid for the land. For his third quarter section he paid $225, giving his note for the purchase price and paying it the next year. For the fourth quarter he paid $500 cash. Still another quarter he purchased near Healy, paying $650 cash and doubled his money on the land within a year.
In 1905 Mr. Whiting left the farm and moved to Dighton. Here he became proprietor of the Commercial Hotel, and also bought a, store, putting his sons in charge. This store was struck by lightning and burned in 1911. After about a year he left the hotel business, and opened a breeding stable and was a stock breeder for a number of years.
Mr. Whiting's present material prosperity is represented by the ownership of 800 acres of land in Blaine Township, also by the splendid home which he built and where he and his family reside at Dighton, and a large acreage of the old townsite of Dighton. Mr. Whiting and his wife were among the most active in the organization of the United Brethren Church in Blaine Township. He also helped to organize school district No. 41 and was a director much of the time he lived in the country. He has always shown a helpful public spirit, also a commendable interest in local and national politics. He cast his first presidential vote for General Grant in 1872, and has been a loyal republican ever since. For many years he was central committeeman of Blaine Township. He helped nominate Governor Stanley, and was a delegate in the convention which nominated Chester I. Long for congressman of The Big Seventh District.
In Chariton County, Missouri, December 14, 1873, Mr. Whiting married Miss Maria Clark. They shared the early trials and difficulties of their life in Missouri and during the early Kansas days and their later years are made peaceful and happy not only by material prosperity but also by a fine family of children. Mrs. Whiting is a daughter of Calvin and Dorcas (Purgett) Clark. Her father was also a resident of Ross County, Ohio, and spent his life as a farmer. The Clark children that came to Kansas were Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Ann Givens, William, John and Frank, most of whom settled in Kingman County, Kansas.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Whiting are named Margaret, Nora, Ira, Edward and Clark. Margaret is the wife of Fred Uppendahl, of Lane County, and their children are Freddie, Laura, Elmer, Ira and Grace. The daughter Nora died in young womanhood. Ira is a farmer of Lane County and his younger brother Clark is a member of the Eighty-ninth Division, in France. Edward lives at Hutchinson, Kansas. is a traveling salesman for the Central Mercantile Company, and by his marriage to Blanche Patton has a daughter, Lillian.
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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