William Alexander Lamaster

WILLIAM ALEXANDER LAMASTER. In the subject of this sketch we have one of the pioneers of the county, who came here in the days when Cherokee County was a lusty infant, and who was present at many of the "first" events now related at the meetings of old settlers. Mr. Lamaster came to the county in 1870, and immediately located on the south half of the northeast quarter of section 28, township 33, range 22, in Lola township, a portion of the 440-acre tract he now owns. He is a native of the "Blue Grass State," born April 8, 1852, in Garrard County.

The early childhood of Mr. Lamaster was passed in his native county. When he was five years old, his parents moved to Knox County, Missouri, where he lived until he was 17 years old. There his father, Alexander W. Lamaster, who was a cooper by trade, and also a farmer by vocation, died in 1865, and there his mother, Mrs. Nancy (Lear) Lamaster, passed away at the age of 48 years. Nine children resulted from their union, as follows: Mrs. Elizabeth Haden, who came with her husband to Cherokee County, and and is now deceased; Mrs. Sallie Starks, of Montana; James W., one of the prominent citizens and well-to-do farmers of Lola township; Mrs. Zarelda Lewis, of Pony, Montana; Mrs. Edna Earl, of Lola township; William Alexander; Mrs. Katherine Lightfoot, of Deer Lodge, Montana; Mrs. Nancy Bradshaw, of LaBelle, Missouri; and Joel Garwood, of Butte City, Montana.

Mr. Lamaster came to Cherokee county in 1870, with a brother-in-law and sister, riding a horse the whole distance, and driving the cow behind the wagon; his brother-in-law drove the team and Mr. Lamaster had to help the wagon up nearly all the hills. They were four weeks making the trip, and arrived here in October. It is unnecessary to go into details concerning the hardships encountered during those first years. No wonder the old settler looks with contemptuous pity on the farmer of this day, who complains of the difficulties encountered in improving the farm from its wild state. Surrounded with all the comforts of civilization, and with modern machinery to aid him in his work, there is a world of difference between his condition and that of the farmer in the days when the county was first settled.

Mr. Lamaster joined his brother, James W. who had arrived here in the preceding May, and "bached" with him for some time. He located a claim in the "Joy lands," taking 160 acres in section 28, Lola township, where he has ever since lived. Later, he acquired the northeast quarter of section 22 and 120 acres in section 26, township 33, range 22. After living with his brother for one year, Mr. Lamaster built, on his 160-acre tract in section 28, a box house, one story high and 14 by 24 feet in size, divided into two rooms. This was the home to which he took his bride in 1875, and this continued to be his residence until about 1884, when he erected his present fine, frame house.

Mr. Lamaster and his brother entered vigorously upon the work of preparing their land for cultivation, and broke all their own land, besides a good deal for their neighbors, at the same time exchanging work to a considerable extent with their fellow settlers. In the first winter he was here, Mr. Lamaster killed the first white prairie chicken he ever saw; he never saw any after that winter. There were a few turkeys to be seen. The district abounded in deer, and at one time Mr. Lamaster saw 38 antelope in one drove. Chetopa, 12 miles away, was his trading point.

The subject of this sketch, immediately upon location in Lola township, identified himself with the interest of the section. He joined the Land League of the settlers, and was active in making it an effective organization. When the A. H. T. A. sprang into existence, he gave it hearty support. Of the township society of this association he has been president for the last 15 years. So faithful has he been, that last spring he was voted a gold badge for his long service. This association has been of great service to the citizens of the county in recovering stolen horses, and has sent many horse thieves to prison. In the days of the Farmers' Alliance, Mr. Lamaster was one of its enthusiastic members. The promoters of schools and churches have always found him a ready helper. He helped to build the first log school house in Lola township, at Faulkner, and has served on the School Board in Lola township for 17 years, being now its treasurer. He formerly supported the Democratic party but of late years has voted the Populist ticket. For two years, he served as township treasurer. A member of the Christian Church, holding the office of deacon, that organization has found him a tower of strength not only in the early days, but also at the present time. He was one of the building committee, in company with William McKee and Rev. William King, on which fell the burden of building the present fine edifice of the Christian Church in Hallowell.

On December 20, 1874, Mr. Lamaster was married to Susan Dunbar, who was born in Illinois, and is a daughter of Warder D. and Louisa (Narden) Dunbar. To them were born a son and a daughter, namely: Ernest, who lives at home; and Tennie May, who is the wife of Philip Oglesby, of Lola township, and the mother of two daughters,--Letha and an infant.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 1-14-97.


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