1912 Biographical History of Barton County, Kansas


86 BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

AMASA C. MOSES AND FAMILY

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Amasa C. Moses
[IMAGE]
Mrs. A. C. Moses

TO ATTEMPT to write a complete history of Amasa Moses at this time would be an impossibility, and even though the work had been attempted when he was still alive, it would have been found difficult. Amasa Moses was not the kind of man who bid for recognition for every kind act he did, but rather evaded all publicity. He was of that disposition that endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and his friendship was something to be prized. There never was a man in central Kansas who had more to do with its upbuilding, and there never was a man in Barton County who was so universally respected, or whose counsel was more eagerly sought by those who were in need of sympathy and advice. In the early days of this county there were many who went to Amasa Moses for aid and guidance, and not one is known who was refused. It was these elements in his makeup that made him a leader among men and it was these same elements that sustained him and made his efforts successful in aiding in the reclamation of that part of the Great American desert now known as Barton County, Kansas.

Amasa C. Moses was born August 22, 1826, at Ticonderoga, New York. He spent his childhood there and at the age of eleven years went with his parents to Vermont. The family located at the town of Benson where Amasa remained until 1843, when he returned to New York and located in Chautauqua County. It was there that he met and won the heart of Miss Naomi Terry and on April 12, 1848, they were married. They were the parents of seven boys: Arthur H., Clayton L., Edward W., William A., Lincoln C., Cassius M. and Seward E. It is seldom that a family containing seven boys can be found without one or more sisters and it is seldom that a family can point to seven boys and say: "They have all made good."

Like many other eastern boys, Amasa was seized with the western fever and in 1871, he decided to bring his family to Kansas. Whether or not he knew the conditions that were to be encountered is not known. Be that as it may, it required but a short time for him to lay the foundation for a home. Soon after his arrival, and before Barton County had been organized, he located a homestead which comprised the northwest quarter of section 10, Great Bend township, and situated two and one-half miles north of the city of Great Bend. Then began the struggle to raise crops. For seven years he tilled the soil with little or no success in the beginning, but by sticktoitiveness and well applied effort he finally had the satisfaction of seeing his labors rewarded by the harvest of grain. It was on this homestead that Mr. Moses erected the first frame house to be built in this county and it is still in use today and stands on the old homestead which is now known as the Griffith place, and is one of the interesting parts of the county. Amasa was accompanied to this section by his wife who proved her worth by sharing the hardships uncomplainingly and gladly accepting the burden that was thrust upon her, and his seven sturdy boys only one of whom—Arthur—had reached his majority. When they reached what was to be their now home, buffalo and other animals roamed this part

OF BARTON COUNTY, KANSAS 87

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The Moses Brothers, Sons of A. C. and Naomi Moses.
Standing From Left to Right; Lincoln, Seward, Cassius.
Seated From Left to Right; Arthur, Will, Edward, Clayton

88 BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

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Clayt Moses, Ed. Moses, Tom
Mitchell, Jim Shaw

of the state in an almost unmolested state. Armed with Henry rifles the Moses boys soon became known as expert buffalo hunters and many a tale can be related by them of how they crawled upon the ground sometimes as much as a quarter of a mile in order to get within rifle range of the animals. Later the boys secured Sharp's rifles and with these—the highest class of firearms in those days—their hunting was rewarded by much better results.

In those days the returns realized from the sale of buffalo hides and meat represented about all the money that could be raised in this county. The crops were not giving very satisfactory returns and had it not been for the fact that the population of the county, small as it was, the people composing it, like Amasa Moses and his sons, were made of the right kind of stuff to withstand the hardships and building an empire by the force of their genius.

In 1872 Mr. Moses embarked in the mercantile business, his establishment having been located on the north side of the park square, on lot 16, block 78. This ground is now included in the site of the new federal building. At his store was found a complete stock of general merchandise. The old store building is still in use and serves the purpose of a residence near the Missouri Pacific depot Mr. Moses operated this store until the spring of 1873 when he formed a partnership with J. H. Hubbard. This firm continued until 1875 when the stock was divided, at which time Clayton bought his father's interest which consisted of a stock of remnants. Clayton operated the store in the same building used by his father until 1877, when he and his brother, Edward, formed a partnership and started the store known as the Moses Brothers on lot 4, block 90, this ground being now occupied by the Cyclone store on Main street.

In 1872, when the people were called upon to choose their first set of city officials, it was only natural that Amasa Moses was selected to fill one of the most important offices. Accordingly he was elected the first city clerk of Great Bend and served with great credit and as the town was new it required a man of Mr. Moses' ability to discharge the duties of this office in a satisfactory manner.

Mr. Moses always took a leading part in matters religious and municipal and he was one of five christians who organized the Congregational church in 1873. He served the county as superintendent of public instruction during the first years after schools were established in the county. He organized Barton County's first Sunday school and was its superintendent. This work was not so easily accomplished in those days as it might seem to those who know of the conditions that prevailed at that time only by reading, and by hearing the old timers tell of them. However, Mr. Moses was the kind of man who met all difficulties with fortitude and determination which accounts for the fact that success met his every effort and he never was happier than when he was accomplishing something that resulted in good for others.

When the Moses family arrived in Barton County there were a large number of Indians roaming this part of the state, and on their trips back and forth from the Platte river in Nebraska they frequently visited Mr. Moses' home. However, he met them in a friendly spirit and as a result they came to like him and his family almost as did the white settlers.

It was the first Sunday the family spent in their new home that a band of 5,000 or more Pawnees stopped at the Moses homestead. One of the number was ill. Mrs. Moses gave him some medicine and brought him around in fine shape. The Indian had given Mr. Moses a pony as a present, but when the band was ready to continue their journey, the buck—Indian like—insisted on getting his pony. Of course Mr. Moses gave him back the present but after that he was known among the Indians as "Old Mose." When the Indians would become hostile and show indications that they were going to commit some depredation the government would send troops to this section. As soon as the Indians saw the troops they would move away but with the troops on their way back to the fort from which they came the Indians would return. Mr. Moses had treated them so kindly that he never was molested and his family was held in great respect by all the tribes that were found in this section of the state.

After Mr. Moses had sold his store to his son he still aided him in its management and

OF BARTON COUNTY, KANSAS 89

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E. W. Moses in Early Days When
Hunting Buffalo

when the firm of Moses Brothers was formed he was a great help to the boys in the conduct of the business. He had always led an active life and up until the time of his death was hale and hearty. When on Wednesday, February 9, 1887, at the age of 60 years, 5 months and 18 days, he was suddenly stricken with paralysis and died, he passed away, happy in the thought that his life had not been a failure. Nothing so fitly describes Amasa C. Moses as the quotation: "The elements so mixed in him that all the world could rise up and say, he was a man."

Mr. Moses' death was a great shock to the community. Not only did his sons and other relatives mourn his loss deeply and sincerely, but scores of those who knew him best were bowed down with a weight of woe that seemed almost unbearable.

The Congregational church of Great Bend of which he was one of the five organizers, was filled with sorrowing friends and relatives when the funeral sermon over the remains of Amasa C. Moses was preached. The new house of worship of this church contains a beautiful memrial window placed there by his sons to their father's memory. This is not the only memorial to Amasa Moses; there are others of a material kind, but the most desirable of them all is the memorial he wrote by his deeds upon the hearts of men.

There are none of the old timers and very few of those who arrived in the county after the disappearance of the buffaloes and Indians that did not know the Moses boys. The old timers knew them for their sterling worth as friends and neighbors and they knew them for the active part they took in aiding their father and mother in building a home in the land. Every one of the seven sons of Amasa Moses has made good in the different lines they have followed.

Three of the boys: Clayton, Edward and Lincoln stayed with Barton County and have been closely identified with its agricultural cattle, commercial, milling and banking interests. The remainder of the boys have cast their lots with other sections of the country, but without exception they look upon Barton County as their home.

Ed and Clayt Moses, as they are familiarly known, were born in Chautauqua County, New York, the former at Clymer, on July 23, 1856, and the latter at Clymer, January 19, 1854.

In 1871, when the family arrived in Barton County, Clayt hunted buffaloes until the fall of the year when he went to the town of Russell, in Russell County, and was employed as a clerk in the store owned by George Hart. He remained there a year and returned to Great Bend where he was employed in the stare owned and conducted by his father and J. H. Hubbard. Clayt's principal duties consisted in buying hides from the hunters. This poistion required tact and knowledge in sorting the hides into their respectve classifications, buffalo bull hides bringing $3.00, spike, or young bull and heifer hides, $1.75, while a cow hide brought $2.25. Many of the hunters would claim that some of the hides belonged to a classification higher than they really did and this was where Clayt's tact came in. These hides were brought for many miles on wagons and gave the farmers and professional hunters a good source of revenue. After the hide business had run its course and the animals were scarce Clayt went into the store where he remained as a clerk until the division of the stock in 1875. Clayt took over his father's interest and conducted a store in the same building until 1877, when he and Ed formed a partnership and opened the store on Main street, where the Cyclone store now stands. This firm continued until 1889 when they sold out to Theodore Griffith, the present postmaster of Great Bend. This sale included only the grocery department of the store and in the following year the dry goods and furnishing goods were sold to Hacker Brothers.

By this time the land of Barton County had begun to yield grain in good quantities and Clayt went into the grain buying business in earnest. The firm had been buying wheat that was hauled to town in sacks, saving it until a carload was secured when it could be shipped to the markets. In 1878 Clayt formed a partnership with R. C. Bailey and they built an elevator on the Santa Fe track. This firm continued until 1892 when they bought an elevator at Pawnee Rock and one at Olmitz. Then Ed was taken into the firm and later Clayt and Ed bought Bailey's interest in the business and the new firm was known as the Moses Brothers Grain Company. The home elevator was destroyed by fire in 1898. Work was at once begun to rebuild the elevator and

90 BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

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Moses Bros. Mill and Elevator

a much larger and more substantial one was finished in 1899. In 1901 a flour mill was added to the firm's holdings and the firm name was changed to the Moses Brothers Mill and Elavator Company. By this time the firm had increased its holdings by adding elevators on the main line of the Santa Fe from Dodge City to Dartmouth, from Great Bend to Scott City on the branch, and from Great Bend to McCracken on the Missouri Pacific.

This string of elevators made a total of thirty-five with the home elevator at Great Bend. The flour mill as originally built had a capacity of 350 barrels per day. In 1903 this capacity was increased so that the mill could turn out 600 barrels of flour every twenty-four hours, and in 1908 the mill was again enlarged to a capacity of 1,000 barrels per day.

In 1908 the company was incorporated with a capital stock of $200,000 with the following officers: C. L. Moses, president; E. W. Moses, vice president and treasurer, and C. N. Moses, secretary. In 1909 half the stock of the company was sold to L. E. Moses, who became president of the company with C. L. Moses, vice president, and R. W. Arndt, secretary. The mill and elevator was operated by this company until January 1, 1912, when it, with six other of the largest milling companies in Kansas, formed a merger which resulted in a company being formed with a capital stock of $7,000,000 and known as the Kansas Flour Mills Company. Since that time this company has acquired two more big mills by purchase. L. E. Moses is president of this company, the other officers being: Andrew Hunt, secretary, and J. H. Holdrige, treasurer.

Early in the year 1910 E. W. and C. L. Moses, together with other substantial citizens of the county, decided to go into the banking business and, as a result, the German American State Bank was opened for business August 8 of that year. The bank was organized with a capital stock of $100,000 and $5,000 surplus. The first board of directors was composed of E. W. and C. L. Moses, Ira Brower, Elrick C. Cole, Ben P. Unruh, E. C. Davis and Dr. Morrison, and at this writing it is the same with the exception of Mr. Unruh whose place on the board was taken by Fred Moore. The officers of the bank are: E. W. Moses, president; C. L. Moses, vice president; Clarence Aldrich, cashier, and Earl Wright, assistant cashier. Since the bank was opened for business its deposits have grown steadily and it has made a most enviable record for square deal methods, and for carrying on its business according to the most approved and conservative ideas. The stock of this bank is owned by men who have spent their time and money to make Barton County and Great Bend what they are today. The bank is operated for the people of this county and during the approximately two years of its existence has gained the confidence of all the people with whom it has had business relations.

Following in the footsteps of their father, the Moses boys have led most active lives and with all their other interests have found time to successfully operate one of the largest thoroughbred stock ranches in this part of the country. In 1898 Ed and Clayt began the breeding and raising of thoroughbred Hereferd cattle. The product of this ranch is known among cattle fanciers as one of the best strains of aristocratic Herefords in the country. The fame of this stock has been almost world wide and the Moses Brothers have shipped animals from this ranch to all parts


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Transcribed from Biographical history of Barton County, Kansas. ; Illustrated. Published by Great Bend Tribune, Great Bend, KS : 1912. 318 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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