Silas Johnessee

SILAS JOHNESSEE, a well known farmer of Sheridan township, was born in Washington County, North Carolina, August 11, 1834, In 1839 his parents removed to Greene County, Illinois, remained there two years, then went to Calhoun County. Illinois, where they spent the rest of their lives, both dying in the above named county. The family consisted of four children. These children had little chance to acquire even a common-school education, so our subject grew to manhood with only a scant knowledge of books. In 1863 he went to Montgomery County, Illinois, where he remained for six years and then turned towards the West to find a new home. In 1869 he settled on the farm in Sheridan township where he now lives. This farm comprises 160 acres in sections 26 and 35, township 32, range 22. As one of the first settlers, he had the experience of breaking but a small portion of prairie at a time and slowly but surely adding improvenments[sic] when time and money allowed, until out of the prairie a good home and farm slowly rose as a monument to his perseverance and industry.

Our subject has been twice married. His first marriage, occurring in Illinois, was to Mary T. Thorp, a native of Calhoun County, Illinois. Her death occurred in 1879. His second marriage. occurring in 1880, was to Mrs. Martha (Heep) Scheider, a daughter of John Heep of Jackson County, Illinois. Mrs. Johnessee's first husband was Christian Scheider, by whom she had one daughter,—Dora, wife of T. B. Lovelady, of Sheridan township. There were seven children born to the first union of Mr. Johnessee, of whom three are living, as follows: Mary Ann, wife of Chester Handshy, of Columbus, Kansas, and Sylvester and Frank, who are farming on the home place.

Mr. Johnessee has always been a farmer and a good one, as his present farm testifies. The extent of his present holdings insure a good income from rentals, and he finds it quite profitable for he has rented out the land for the past three years. Left an orphan at the age of nine years, our subject has had his own way to make in the world, and he may be called in the best sense of the phrase a "self-made man."

He is an independent voter and always strives to cast his vote for the best man. He has several times held once and at one time was United States marshal and detective. During the Civil War our subject was a member of the Illinois State Militia. He is a familiar figure in the county and surely deserves the esteem which is bestowed upon him by his hosts of friends.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 6-27-97


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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