WILLIAM L. WHITING knows by personal experience all the ups and down of farming in Lane County for the past thirty years. Out of the mill of adversity in the early years he has come not without credit to himself and with prosperity, and he owns a fine farm in the Amy community of Blaine Township, where he was a homesteader. The modern home of the Whiteing family is a conspicuous part of the landscape. It stands on the apex of a gradual incline, and is conspicuous for a long distance in the surrounding country, and is especially notable for the grove of trees which surrounds the house, a grove being a rare sight upon the high points of Lane County.
Mr. Whiting was born in Fulton County, Illinois, November 16, 1867, and was not quite twenty years of age when he arrived in Lane County in February, 1887. The family came from McDonough County, Illinois. His father, James H. Whiting, came from Southern Ohio and the Whitings were of English stock. James H. Whiting went to Illinois as a young married man, and died in McDonough County at the age of forty-five. He was married in Ohio to Miss Emily Jump, whose people were also Ohio farmers. The children of their marriage were: William L.; Herschel, of Joycoy, Colorado; Flora, who married Leonard Filson, of Scott City, Kansas; and Minnie, who became Mrs. M. K. Armantrout, of Scott City. Mrs. James H. Whiting is still living, a resident of Kansas, at the age of about sixty-eight.
William L. Whiting came to Kansas with his mother and the other members of the family. They came by train to Garden City, and it was the presence of Tresdale Whiting, a brother of James H., in Lane County, which caused the family to locate there. William L. Whiting in the meantime had acquired his educational advantages in the country schools of Illinois. His mother filed on a homestead in Lane County, the northeast quarter of section 31, township 18, range 30. She proved it up and the land became the family home. She and her children occupied the sod house they got with the relinquishment. It was a three room house, more than ordinary commodious for such structures, and was dignified with an "L." That sod house remained the family home for about five years. Mrs. Whiting had brought some surplus money with her to the county, and that was spent almost entirely for food and provisions, since several years passed before they were able to get returns from the land. Their early crop misfortunes were due largely to the fact that they failed to sow wheat, and concentrated all their efforts upon corn, which three times out of four in the early days failed to respond to the most earnest efforts of the agriculturists. On leaving the homestead Mrs. Whiting and her daughters moved to Dighton, where they kept a boarding house for about a dozen years, and while there one of the daughters held a clerkship with the old merchant J. B. White. Later she secured a position in Scott City, and the family moved to that town and have since called it their home.
William L. Whiting soon parted from his mother and brothers and sisters on coming to Lane County, and began his career on his own claim. He built a sod house for himself, a two room structure, with sod walls and sod roof. He moved into that house, kept bachelor hall for a few months, and then married and settled down to the serious responsibilities of home making. His equipment for farming was a span of mules and a couple of milch cows. He had lived in the county about three years before he began sowing wheat. His first crop was very encouraging, and he has put in wheat every year since. The profitable crops during the period would number perhaps twenty and the total failures about five. The best wheat yield was the enormous crop year of 1903, when he threshed about thirty-five bushels to the acre. However, times had been so close up to that year that every dollar of the crop was provided for before it was marketed. A Kansas homestead without the record of a mortgage upon it at some time would indeed be a rarity, and Mr. Whiting has no reason to be ashamed that his own place was not an exception to the rule. He deserves particular credit because he did not become discouraged during the black conditions of earlier years, and though many left the country, he was always optimistic himself and felt that good times would surely come, as they did.
Some six years after he located in Lane County Mr. Whiting began extending his land holdings. He paid $275 for his first quarter directly purchased, the next quarter cost him $500, and in 1916 he paid $1,700 for the last quarter section addition to his land. He thought that he was getting this 160 acres cheap at that. He now owns the entire section 33. Three hundred twenty-five acres are in cultivation. During the years 1914-15-16 wheat in this section produced from twenty down to ten bushels per acre. In 1907 Mr. Whiting erected the substantial home already referred to, while his barn was built in 1911. His other improvements are in keeping with the substantial character of the man.
As a citizen Mr. Whiting has been a director of district No. 41 for twenty years and he filled the office of treasurer of Blaine Township two years. He did his first voting in Lane County, and from the first affiliated with the republican party. He voted for President Harrison in 1888. He has occasionally attended a county convention as a delegate.
On December 30, 1894, Mr. Whiting married Miss Anna Bush. Her father, Milton M. Bush, who was born in Edgar County, Illinois, September 28, 1845, grew up and married in Vermilion County, Illinois, and in 1886 came to Lane County, Kansas. He is now living in Scott City, Kansas. He married Mary E. Evans, daughter of Thomas Evans, and she died on the family claim in Scott County. Mr. and Mrs. Bush had the following children: Mrs. Whiting, born September 8, 1872; Jacob, of Wichita; Myrtle, wife of Joseph Scott, of Scott County; Luzella, who married Charles Conner, of Lane County; Edith, wife of Neason Neptune, of Scott County; Earl, of Scott City; Maud, wife of Ed Nibert, of Kingman, Kansas; Marshall and Grace, both living at Scott City.
Mr. and Mrs. Whiting are the parents of the following children: Wilbur Jay, Clara May, Hazel Marie and Eula Gertrude. Wilbur Jay has finished his education in the Agricultural College of Kansas at Manhattan, and is now practicing theory on the old home farm. The daughter Clara May is a student in the Scott City High School.
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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