RUDOLPH YODER, who is now living retired at Liberal, has done pioneer work in four or five localities of Western Kansas and has braved practically all the hardships and vicissitudes of experience that have been the lot of enterprising homeseekers during the last forty years. He is by race, training and personal character well fitted for the useful life he has led.
His first American ancestors were a sect of German people of a branch of the Mennonite or Quaker faith who settled in Pennsylvania in colonial days. In the later generations the Yoders have been of the Amish religious denomination, and it was only through an absence of churches of that particular denomination in Western Kansas that Rudolph Yoder and family have always affiliated with the Missionary Baptists in this state. His grandfather, Christ Yoder, was a Pennsylvanian and one of the first so called Pennsylvania Dutch to settle in Holmes County, Ohio, where he lived as a farmer and where he died about 1855. Among his children were Yost, Henry, Jonathan, John, Jacob, Mrs. Fannie Garver, Mrs. Benjamin Troyer, Mrs. Peter Niseley nd Mrs. Jeff Troyer.
Yost Yoder, father of Rudolph, was born in Holmes County, Ohio, and spent his life as a farmer in that county. He married Mary Miller, a daughter of Henry Miller, also of Pennsylvania German and Amish connections. Her children were Henry, Christ, Mrs. Annie Miller, Andrew and Rudolph, all now deceased except Rudolph.
Rudolph Yoder was born in Holmes County, Ohio, January 28, 1845. He had just an average education in the local schools and as a youth learned the trade of carpenter, which he continued to follow for many years, and his skill in that vocation stood him in good stead even after coming to Western Kansas. When he was nineteen years of age he left home, starting westward about the close of the Civil war, and for a few years worked at his trade in Elkhart County, Indiana, and subsequently moved to Lagrange County in that state, where he remained until August, 1876, when about thirty years of age. He was unable to accumulate capital, and opportunities not being promising to a man without money he finally determined to make a big move over the intervening country to Western Kansas.
Thus it was that, in company with some of his relatives, including Mrs. Yoder's brothers, the Millers, he came West in 1876, and all in his party took up land in the Pawnee Rock region of Barton County. Mr. Yoder lived in that section for eighteen years or more. He came to Kansas by rail, leaving the train at Great Bend. Having no surplus capital to carry him over the period of meager crop years he experienced some hardships that were as keen and real as felt by any of the early settlers. He also suffered a handicap in having insufficient horse power to work his farm adequately. In those years he pinned his faith to wheat, and his experience was greatly diversified. He harvested some years two bushels to the acre and some years thirty-six bushels to the acre. The occasional good crop years were not sufficient to make up for the losses that he sustained when seasons were bad, and he gradually slipped backward financially and had to borrow on the credit of his farm.
When at the end of eighteen years Mr. Yoder sold his homestead, then in Stafford County, it brought only a trifle more than enough to cover the mortgage. The few herd of stock he had accumulated he took to a new location in the same county, where he began farming again, and there on the whole he was better prospered. He had better crops, prices were higher, and he was finally able to pay for his quarter section and give it some much needed improvement. He remained there ten years, and then moved to Stafford, which knew him as a resident for seven years.
Mr. Yoder has been a factor in Seward County since October, 1912. He invested in land near Forgan in Beaver County, Oklahoma, where results have been as good as those obtained on his Stafford County land.
Mr. and Mrs. Yoder are now approaching that impressive event which very few people live to celebrate, a golden wedding anniversary. They were married December 27, 1868, half a century ago, in Noble County, Indiana. The name of the bride was Sarah Miller. She was born April 5, 1850, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Lantz) Miller. Her father, born in Pennsylvania June 2, 1813, was a farmer, and died at the age of fifty-six. The mother died in 1875, aged sixty-two. Their children were: Joel, of Alfalfa County, Oklahoma; Jacob, of Kiowa County, Kansas; Mrs. Barbara Yoder, who died in Topeka, Indiana; Adam, of Fort Dodge, Kansas; Jonas, of Alfalfa County, Oklahoma; Mrs. Hannah Byler, of Cleveland, Ohio; David, of Chicago; Dr. Jonathan L., who died in Chicago; and Mrs. Rudolph Yoder.
In the fifty years since their marriage a family of children have grown up around Mr. and Mrs. Yoder and a number of grandchildren have come into the world and some of them are heads of families. Their oldest child, Hannah, now deceased, married Ora Brown, of Fowler, Kansas, where she died, mother of Frank, Ray and Ada. The second child, Milo, who is a farmer at St. John, Kansas, married Titia McWilliams, and their three children are Robert, Mary and Norval. Ella May married Osmon Rolo, of Liberal, Kansas, and has three children, Orlo, Letha and Selma. Netta, wife of John X. Smith, of Liberal, has a large household of eight children, named Roy, Rudolph, Elsie, Edith, Hazel, Fern, Dorothy and Sarah. The youngest of Mr. and Mrs. Yoder's children is Alta, wife of Harlow Emrie, of Liberal. They have four children, Helen, Chester, Lawrence and Lois.
As already noted, Mr. and Mrs. Yoder are active members of the Missionary Baptist Church. He has been a deacon for many years and has always kept a keen interest in the moral and spiritual welfare of his home and his community. Mrs. Yoder has done much recently in Red Cross work and won the prize of an electric stand lamp for knitting socks for the soldiers in Europe, having knit twenty-eight pairs of socks for them up to July, 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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