H. F. Smyres

H. F. SMYRES, a very successful farmer and breeder of fine horses, who is located on the northwest quarter of section 27, township 33, range 24, in Crawford township, and is a large land owner in other parts of the country, was born April 13, 1855, in Hocking County, Ohio, and is a son of Lewis and Martha (Fink) Smyres.

Lewis Smyres, who came of French ancestry, was born in Hocking County, Ohio, and lived there until he was about 48 years old, when, in 1861, he moved to Wabash County, Indiana, where he made his home until his death, in 1894. He was a farmer and stock-raiser and was widely known as a breeder of of [sic] fine, heavy-draft horses. His farm was located in the Hocking Valley coal district, the underlying coal beds being still undeveloped when he sold out. His wife was also born in Hocking County, of Scotch parentage. Her father, who died at the age of 98 years, was a Methodist preacher, and was the father of five preachers, three of whom still survive. Two of his sons served in the Civil War, one as a general and one as a colonel, while the father had served in the Mexican War. Mrs. Smyres died in Hocking Valley while the subject of this sketch was a babe. She left two other children, viz: D. P. Smyres, of Rice County, Kansas: and L. A. Smyres, an attorney in Champaign County, Illinois. By a second marriage, the father reared eight other children, who reside in Wabash County, Indiana.

H. F. Smyres was reared and educated in Indiana, where he attended Valparaiso College under the noted Professor Brown. His active life has been devoted to the breeding of fine standard horses, but he has also taught school and farmed extensively. He first came to Kansas in 1884 and settled in Rice County, where he secured a farm and made his home for nine years. Then he sold that property and removed to Ellsworth County, where he still owns 320 acres of land, which is known as the "Smoky Hill Ranch." He also has 400 acres, known as the "Frenchman's Valley Stock Farm," in Phillips County, Colorado. In March, 1900, Mr. Smyres came to Cherokee County, and purchased his farm of William Duncan. He has taken a deep interest and much pride in his high-bred horses, among the most valuable of which were: "Gray Harry," a pacer, with a record of 2:14, and the sire of over 40 horses which have made records below 2:15; "Billy, the Twister," 2:15; "Prairie Girl." 2:19 1-4; "Lydia R. Smyres," 2:14 1-4; and "P. D. Q.," 2:12 (in a trial heat).

Mr. Smyres was married in Indiana, to Emily E. Ridenour, who is a daughter of John and Lydia (Elwood) Ridenour, of German and English ancestry, respectively. John Ridenour was one of the oldest residents of Wabash County, Indiana, where he died aged 82 years, being survived by eight children. He was one of Wabash County's most esteemed and substantial men. Mr. and Mrs. Smyres have one daughter,—Lydia R.,—who is an instructor in vocal and instrumental music, and a performer of ability. Her talent is well known, and her services are frequently given in the cause of charity. Mrs. Smyres is a member of the German Lutheran Church.

Politically an adherent of the Republican party, Mr. Smyres has always refused office, his attention being devoted to his personal business. He is fraternally connected with the Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Improved Order of Red Men.


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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