AARON H. YOUNG, cashier of the Alexander State Bank, has had a very prominent part in banking affairs in Rush County for a number of years. He is one of the few men now more than forty years of age who can claim Western Kansas as their birthplace.
This story properly begins with his father, Jacob C. Young, who was a pioneer of pioneers in Rush County. The permanent agricultural settlers came into Rush County during the '80s. The cattle men, whose homes were more or less temporary and transient, had invaded the district some years before. Jacob C. Young was with the vanguard of cattlemen and was one of the few who came in the early '70s and determined to remain. Jacob C. Young was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1819, was a farmer's son, and the only one of his father's children to settle in Kansas. He acquired a liberal education and taught school in Pennsylvania. During the Civil war he was in the Union army a few months. From Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he came out to Kansas and stopped for a year or so near Wamego. He participated in that exciting occupation of buffalo hunting, and his first visit to Rush County was in the role of a hunter. He had a keen eye for attractive locations, and the Walnut Valley in Rush County so fascinated him that he afterward returned and took up a claim there. He entered his homestead along Walnut Creek in the year 1872, some thirteen or fourteen years before the real settlement of the county began. His claim was in section 19 of township 18, range 20. He acquired title to it, improved it, and owned it at the time of his death. Jacob C. Young, like the real pioneers, was rather independent of capital or large possessions. He had made himself independent of those comforts of civilization which many people even in his day seemed to demand as essential. He could live on the prairies, he could make his meat buffalo steak, and could find a living where many men would suffer hunger. He began his life in the Walnut Valley with a wagon and team, a wife and six children. During the first few years he freighted from Fort Dodge and Fort Hays to the store on Harvey's ranch. He did quite a business in the selling of buffalo hides and also in gathering up the bones of the bison which then sprinkled the prairies in every direction. From these pioneer activities he made a living and did very little as a real farmer for a number of years. Acquiring a few head of stock, he engaged in the cattle business, and it was chiefly from his operations as a stockman that he extended his land holdings until at the time of his death he left an estate of six quarter sections. For many years he bred and raised the shorthorn strain of cattle.
Only a brief pen picture can be given of his early home. It was a little dugout extending into the rising bank along Walnut Creek. At the rear was a fireplace. For a time he occupied it alone. On one occasion, while absent from his dwelling, a skunk took possession and made itself comfortable by digging up a large pile of dirt in the fireplace. The dugout gave way to a log house, and a log house was so distinctive in that day of soddies that it was regarded almost as a palace. The log house in turn was succeeded by a two-story stone residence, which at the time was the finest house in all the surrounding country.
Jacob C. Young was rather a remarkable character, not only for his varied experiences on the frontier but also for his influence and value as a citizen. He served almost continuously on the school board in District No. 6 of Belle Prairie Township, and for many years was a township officer. He was a red hot republican, and the populist movement which enveloped Kansas had no attractions for him. He was a member of the Baptist Church, but had membership in no secret order. He had read extensively, kept in close touch with the world outside as well as his own community, and it was his delight to entertain the strangers and others who passed his way. Those who were entertained at his ranch deemed it a privilege to listen to the old frontiersman tell about his buffalo hunts and other frontier experiences.
Jacob Young married Martha Root, who was born in 1839, a daughter of Levi Root, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Young is still living, a resident of Alexander. Their children were: Abram B., of the Alexander community; Martha, who married William Mitchell and is living in Greeley, Colorado; Omar J., who died in Rush County; Ella, who was a stenographer and died in Kansas City, unmarried; Lillie, who also became a stenographer and died in Kansas City, she being a twin sister of Aaron H., the youngest of the family.
Aaron H. Young was born in Rush County, Kansas, September 25, 1874. His first conscious recollections are of a district which was then far from well settled up or into which the more usual institutions of civilization had penetrated. He attended his first country school in a log house. After finishing his education he himself taught five years in the country communities of Rush County, and he finished his own education with a business course at Ottawa University. He left school to become a farmer, and followed that occupation for five years.
In 1909 Mr. Young and other associates organized the Alexander State Bank. His associates were Ed S. Chenoweth. George A. Ryan, N. P. Olson and J. S. Williams. The bank was capitalized at $30,000, and after seven years of prosperous existence it now has a surplus and undivided profits of $12,000. Mr. Williams was the first president, George A. Ryan, the first vice president, and Mr. Young has been continuously cashier from the time the bank opened its doors. The president is now N. P. Olson and Mr. Ryan is still vice president. Mr. Young and Ed S. Chenoweth also organized the Nekoma State Bank, and Mr. Young is vice president and a director of that institution.
Mr. Young has served as a member of the township board and as a director of his school district. He grew up as a republican, has been affiliated with the progressive wing of that party, and a few years ago was a delegate to the Progressive State Convention at Independence. He is a member of the Masonic Lodge, and his church is the United Brethren.
In September, 1896, in Rush County, Mr. Young married Miss Lena Winkelman. Mrs. Young was born in Switzerland in December, 1873, a daughter of Fritz and Anna Winkelman. Her father was a farmer, was an early homesteader in Ness County, Kansas, and now lives at Alexander. The other Winkelman children were: Emma, wife of Howard Salman, of Hodgeman County, Kansas; and Flora, wife of Oren Salman, of Shawnee County, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Young have a family of five children, named Harold, Esther, Lawrence, Glenn and Wayne.
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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