Moses F. Merrill

MOSES F. MERRILL, a prominent farmer of Cherokee County, who lives in section 24, township 32, range 22, in Sheridan township, was born in Warren, Grafton County, New Hampshire, January 15, 1826, and is a son of Nathaniel and Betsy (Bixby) Merrill. His parents were both New Englanders; the former a native of New Chester, New Hampshire, and the latter of Vermont. The father lived all his life in Warren, and was married there, and there is where both the father and mother died. A successful farmer, he was the proud owner of one of the largest farms in his section. Besides the occupation of farming, he could, like the typical New Englander, turn his hand to anything. In politics he was a Democrat, though never taking a very active part in the affairs of his party. A member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he was a leader in all religious affairs. He was widely known and highly esteemed for his strict religious views, his upright character and his charity for all.

The family numbered seven children: Moses F., our subject; Nathaniel, living in Grafton County, New Hampshire; Asa B., who also makes his home in New Hampshire; Laura, who married Ira Weeks of Grafton County, New Hampshire; Sabina, the widow of Joseph Snow, who was a farmer of Crawford County, Kansas; Ruth D., wife of Levi Whitcher, of Hollis, New Hampshire; and George B., of Grafton County, New Hampshire.

Mr. Merrill acquired his education in the home schools of his native State and in Brooklyn Center, now included within the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The first 20 years of his life was spent at home, working on the farm. On April 20, 1846, he went to Brooklyn Center, Ohio, where he attended school for two years and taught for awhile, afterwards becoming a teacher in the Illinois schools where he taught for two winters in Will County. Later he spent some time in Mississippi and Louisiana cutting wood for a living. Returning to Illinois and later going to Iowa, he entered 360 acres of land in the latter State and bought 160 acres. This land he improved a great deal, making farms out of the wild expanse of prairie, and at the same time he became interested in sawmills. Returning to Will County, Illinois, he spent some time there, and later in Indiana worked in a nursery, where he grafted over 50,000 trees and the second season he took charge of the business in the absence of the proprietor. He remained there four years and then returned to Guthrie County, Iowa. Mr. Merrill has owned several farms and improved many acres of land. At one time he was owner of three farms in Atchison County, Missouri.

In 1867, Mr. Merrill purchased land in Kansas. His farm now comprises 320 acres in Sheridan township, in sections 23 and 24, township 32, range 22. He is now retired from active work and rents his farm out. But with his knowledge of planting and sowing, of different varieties of land, and his experience in different States, he keeps alive his interest in his farm and other farmlands, though not actively engaged in the work. During the Civil War, Mr. Merrill was a member of Company H, 58th Reg., Missouri State Militia. He is a Republican in politics though he has never been active in the work of his party. In religious affairs he has always been active as a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Merrill married Mary H. Snow, of Bangor, Maine, in Guthrie County, Iowa. Mrs. Merrill died June 16, 1900, aged 59 years, two months and four days. Our subject started in life a poor boy and made his way up, until he is the owner of fine farms and a good home. He has won success by attending strictly to business, and by honest and upright dealings, has well earned the respect and high esteem in which he is held by all who know him.

Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Merrill accompany this sketch, being presented on foregoing pages in proximity to this.


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, 5/5/97.


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