John B. Puttkamer

JOHN B. PUTTKAMER, a prominent citizen, extensive land owner and successful prospector of Cherokee County, has a well cultivated farm of 200 acres, in section 13, township 34, range 23, in Lyon township. He was born in the province of Pommerania, Germany, within 15 miles of the Baltic Sea, on August 30, 1855. He is a son of Baron Gustave and Johanna (Puttkamer) Puttkamer.

Baron Gustave Puttkamer, father of John B., was born also in Pommerania, in the old home of the family, and on the estate which had been entailed since the days of serfdom. This estate comprised 7,000 acres of land, and the entail continued until 1864, when the value of the land was paid to the King of Prussia, and the entail was broken, according to the laws of Prussia. Baron Puttkamer spent his whole life in Germany. He had two brothers, both of whom were distinguished military men, one being a general and the other a colonel. His only sister married von Dorpophsky, who was a commander of the troops of Braunschweig, in the war of 1870-71. Baron Puttkamer disposed of 5,500 acres of the old estate, and the remainder is now owned by one of his sons. He was a man of strong political convictions, and, although the wife of Prince Bismarck was his first cousin, he always opposed that statesman's methods of governing Germany.

The mother of the subject of this sketch was a relative of her husband,—a cousin once removed. To their union 19 children were born, 10 of whom lived to maturity, viz: Anna, George, Jeskow, Helen, Erich, John B., Albrecht, Elizabeth, Albertina and Fred. Anna (Richard) died in Germany. George and Jeskow (twins) came to America, traveled through the Middle West, and took claims in Cherokee County, Kansas. Both returned to Germany, where George died and where Jeskow is engaged in farming. Helen lives with a brother in Germany. Erich is a captain of police in Berlin, where he has been connected with the service for 25 years. Albrecht, formerly a captain in the Germany Army, owns 2,500 acres of the old estate. Elizabeth is the wife of the owner of large estates in Germany. Albertina married an Austrian duke and died in Austria. Fred, who has been in America for 22 years, is now the owner of extensive timber tracts in the State of Washington.

The subject of this sketch had educational and social advantages in his own country, before coming to America. He came to this country in November, 1873, with the purpose of joining a brother, with whom he worked for two years, but ill health discouraged him and he returned to Germany in 1875. After two years spent in his native land, he came back to America and located in Texas. The next season he came to Kansas, and in the spring of 1878 made the deal by which he became the owner of his present fine property of 200 acres in Lyon township. When he settled here, only 15 acres had been broken, and all the cultivation and improvement have been accomplished by him, or under his direction. He set out groves and orchards, erected a commodious home and substantial barns, and converted the place into one of the finest farms and most pleasant homes of the township. For the past two and a half years he has turned over the conduct of the farm to his sons, and with his eldest son has been actively engaged in prospecting in Colorado, Wyoming and California, and on Spring River, in Cherokee County.

On April 5, 1879, Mr. Puttkamer was married to Mollie Alsenz, who was born in Texas, April 20, 1858, and is a daughter of John and Sophia Alsenz, natives of Germany. The six children of this marriage who survive are: Gustave, who is prospecting with his father; and Andrew, Herbert, Mabel, Joseph and Rose. One son, Cicero, died, aged three years.

Mr. Puttkamer has taken a very active part in township affairs, and has been a justice of the peace, road overseer and school official for a long time. He is one of the solid, substantial men of his locality,—well known and highly esteemed. He is an active member of the Democratic party in Lyon township, and enjoys the confidence of many of the party leaders.

Although Mr. Puttkamer was born in another country and still has a deep affection for the "Fatherland," he is in every essential, a loyal American citizen, who takes pride in his adopted land.


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, 3/11/97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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