RANFORD T. WORMAN has one of the fine farm establishments in Meade County. This county has been his home since May 11, 1894. He came here with very little equipment and capital and has raised himself to the plane of affluence by hard work on the part of himself and family and by thrifty and intelligent management.
Mr. Worman first knew Kansas when a boy in the years following the Civil war. However, most of his young manhood was spent in Missouri, from which state he came to Kansas. He was born August 20, 1857, in Adams County, Illinois, southeast of the City of Quincy. His grandfather, John Worman, was a native of Kentucky and died at Pittsburg, Kansas, about 1887 at the age of eighty-six. His wife also died in Crawford County, Kansas, in 1876. Their children were: James H.; Mrs. Eliza Reeves, who died in Pike County, Illinois; Wallace, known familiarly as "Doc," died at Versailles, Illinois; Taylor, a resident of St. Joseph, Missouri; John, who died in Eldorado, Kansas, in 1908; and Thomas, who died in Boon County, Arkansas, in 1893.
James H. Worman, father of Ranford T., was born near Charleston, Kentucky, acquired a common school education in that state, and when a young man went to Indiana and married there. He was in the last draft for soldiers from Indiana, but the Civil war ended before he got into service. He was a man of mechanical proficiency, being a carpenter, cabinet maker and cooper. In 1866 he brought his family from Illinois to Crawford County, Kansas. That section was then just beginning its development, and he located four miles south of where the City of Pittsburg now stands. Incidentally it may be noted that Ranford T. Worman built the first business house at Pittsburg for M. M. Snow. The Wormans made their trip from Illinois to Kansas with a mule team, the family consisting of the father and mother and five children. On reaching Crawford County they had exhausted their capital, and to get a living was a matter of work for every member of the household. James H. Worman did carpenter work as the country developed and his son Ranford also learned the art and practice of carpenter tools under him. James H. Worman spent the remaining years of his active life in Crawford County, but finally moved to a son's home in Henry County, Missouri, where he died in 1893, at the age of sixty-nine, and his widow passed away at Ohio, Missouri, in 1915, aged eighty-four. James Worman was a democrat and satisfied his political ambition with merely voting. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church but his widow finally joined the Christian Church. Her maiden name was Rebecca McConnell. She was born in Indiana. Their children were: Lizzie, living at Pittsburg, Kansas, widow of Henry Love; Annie, also a widow at Pittsburg, her husband, Frank Timmerman, having been a miner; Ranford T.; Pulaski, who died in Bates County, Missouri, in 1901; Origin A., of Center, Colorado; William C., who died at LaJunta, Colorado, in 1914; Mackie, wife of J. H. Mitchell, of St. Clair County, Missouri; Edward, of Colfax, Washington; Minnie, wife of A. A. Johnson, of Ohio, Missouri; and Jesse, of Clinton, Missouri.
Ranford T. Worman was nine years old when his parents came to Kansas. He finished his education in such schools as that country afforded in those early days, but most of his time was given to learning and practicing the trade of carpenter. He acquired a skill and thoroughness in the use of tools and building material that finally enabled him to take up contract work. One season in Pittsburg during his early manhood he had as many as twenty houses under contract at one time. When he moved across the Missouri line into Henry County he continued at his trade, building schoolhouses and residences. He often took timber from the stump and made barns out of it for the settlers. He was also a farmer in that county.
From that section of Missouri Mr. Worman returned to Kansas and located in Meade County May 11, 1894. This was a hard-times period, and he brought with him to the state two teams and wagons. He entered land eighteen miles southeast of Meade, but never proved up the claim. However, he lived there, for a time in a sod house, and he and his wife and daughters all labored to build their first real home, a sod building 14 by 28 feet, comprising two rooms. These rooms were plastered and floored and covered with boards and paper. He soon found that he could not make a living from the land as a farm proposition and the resource which enabled him to remain in Kansas was an arrangement he made with Mr. Steele, proprietor of the old Crooked-L ranch, for taking cattle on the shares. Thus he did work in the cattle industry and that gave him his real start. Before coming to Kansas Mr. Worman had been compelled to do coal mining in the absence of regular employment as a carpenter, and while at work in a mine at Deepwater, Missouri, he was injured and the injury resulted in ill health for several years after he came to Kansas.
On abandoning his claim he bought for $350 a quarter of section 7, township 32, range 27, two miles east of Meade. The improvement of the claim had only been begun. A part of the present home which shelters the family was already on the land, but it had no fences and no stock shelter. He and his wife and children moved into a one-room house, and this has since been the scene of his real farming. He brought with him nine head of cows, and stock raising and farming have enabled him to get ahead in the world. He began sowing wheat almost from the first and has put in a crop of this cereal every fall. Only the season of 1917 failed to give him at least seed wheat, and some of his harvests have been bountiful.
To understand the quality of his enterprise and success it is necessary only to review briefly the various improvements and the property which now represents the Worman home. From year to year he erected buildings until his residence became a substantial nine-room house. His barn is 40 by 64 and he has demonstrated to his own satisfaction the value of a silo of 140 tons capacity. He has well and windmill and an ample supply of good soft water. His land accumulations consist of 480 acres, 300 acres of which are under cultivation. He is also handling about 100 of mixed stock, horses and cattle, and in past years has shipped to the Kansas City market.
Mr. Worman has served as trustee of Meade Township and either he or his wife have been on the Board of School District No. 65 almost ever since they located here. Mrs. Worman is a present director of that school. In politics Mr. Worman is a democrat, though he has often deviated from the party ticket in order to support a better qualified man. He is identified with all the enterprising movements of the locality, and is a stockholder of the Meade County Fair Association, the Meade County Country Club, the Meade Equity Union and the Farm Bureau of Meade County. Mr. and Mrs. Worman are members of the Christian Church. He is affiliated with the Blue Lodge and Chapter of Masons and Independent Order of Odd Follows, and Mrs. Worman is a member of the Eastern Star. The entire family are identified with the Red Cross as workers and they are strong and loyal supporters of the Government in the war, having sacrificed one member of their household to the cause of liberty.
In Crawford County, Kansas, August 1, 1880, Mr. Worman married Miss Olive Sawyer, who was born May 22, 1862, daughter of William and Sarah (Andrews) Sawyer. Her father was a native of Maine and her mother of Illinois. When young her parents settled in Linn County, Iowa, where they married and where they died. Her father was a carpenter by trade. Besides Mrs. Worman there were two children, Ira, of Oakland, California; and Arba, who died in Meade County, Kansas. Mrs. Worman received a country school education in Iowa, and came to Kansas in 1878 with her aunt, Mrs. Hannah J. Bottorff, who located in Crawford County. It was there that she met Mr. Worman.
Mr. and Mrs. Worman's children were named Addie, Elyda, Elmer E., Charles F., William C., John Russell and Alma. Addie is the wife of O. M. Randolph, Kansas, and has three children, Leona, Lorene and Ranford. The daughter Elyda is the wife of W. M. Smith, of this county, and their children are Olive, Roy and Elmer. Charles F. was in the August call of 1918 for troops for the World war.
Mr. and Mrs. Worman's son Elmer was called to the colors in December of 1917 and was sent to the training camp at San Antonio, Texas, in the aviation corps. There, after twenty-seven days of service, following an attack of measles and pneumonia, his death occurred January 16, 1918.
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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