Lewis R. Westervelt

LEWIS R. WESTERVELT, a well known farmer of Sheridan township, was born in Franklin County, Ohio, March 9, 1841, and lives on 160 acres of land in section 22, township 32, range 22. He is a son of William and Isabella (McMurry) Westervelt, who were Eastern people, the mother being a native oŁ Franklin County, Ohio, and the father, of New York. The paternal grandfather, Matthew Westervelt, of New York State, died in Columbus, Ohio, and the maternal grandfather, J. McMurry, died in Franklin County, Ohio.

William Westervelt was married in the State of his birth and lived there many years engaged in farming and fruit raising. The town of Westerville was named for him. The family came to Cherokee County, Kansas, in 1867 and settled on a 160-acre tract of land,—the southwest quarter of section 34, township 32, range 22, in Sheridan township. By his own unaided labor our subject's father improved the land and made for himself and his family a good home. A stanch Republican in politics, he always stood for what was to him the right. Both Mr. Westervelt and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The family consisted of 10 children, as follows: Lewis R., subject of this review; Joseph, living in Bremer County, Iowa; Ezra, who was drowned in 1868; William, a farmer of Labette County, Kansas; Israel R., who lives on the old place in Sheridan township; Clara (Mrs. Joseph Brown), of Lola township; Emma (Mrs. Hodgin), deceased; Dora (Mrs. Henry Dewey), of Independence, Kansas; Sarah (Mrs. Alford Dawson), of Ross township; and Mary (Mrs. Jacob Carpenter) of Lola township. Before settling in Kansas, the family moved to Bremer County, Iowa, where the father secured a large farm and was considered a wealthy farmer.

Lewis R. Westervelt, as one of a large family, had little chance to acquire an education. He remained with his parents until the Civil War, when he enlisted in Company B, 14th Reg., Iowa Vol. Inf., at Waverly, Iowa, August 15, 1862. He participated in the fighting at and around Vicksburg and took part in many skirmishes. He was in one of the three new companies added to the 16th Army Corps. After his discharge at Davenport, Iowa, in 1864, he went back to the old home in Bremer County.

On August 30, 1862, Mr. Westervelt was united in marriage to Martitia Tibbetts of Iowa. Their family consists of eight children, as follows: Martha L. (Mrs. M. Hall), of Sheridan township, who has three sons,—Hugh, Ross and Carl; Asa, who married Sarah Peters and is a farmer in Sheridan township; Arthur, who married Orvilla Hall and has two children,—Glen and Ruth; Cora (Mrs. Ed. Smith), of Sheridan township, who has four children,—Carrie, Elsie, Homer and Elda; Clayton Lewis, a teamster of Ross township; Nellie (Mrs. James Hall), of Sheridan township, who has four children,—Zona Mabel, Myrtle, Ray and Ernest; Fred, a farmer of Sheridan township, who married Mattie Pickering; and Simon, who lives at home. By a second union, with Mrs. Annie Freeman nee Bavard, a son, Harry, was born, who resides at home. The third wife bore the maiden name of America M. Lovelace; she is a native of Missouri, and still survives.

In October, 1867, Mr. Westervelt located on the place where he now lives. The land was wild, only seven acres being under cultivation and there were no roads. The buildings on the place consisted of a small log house. However, there was plenty of game, and the man who could make a "Figure 4" trap could have quail on toast every morning if he so desired, or if he could handle a gun he could have baked wild goose or duck for dinner during the spring or fall. while as to rabbit stew, that could be be served at any hour in the day, for rabbits were as common as grasshoppers.

Our subject, not satisfied with only 160 acres of land, added to the original property from time to time until he now has 460 acres of fine land, about 300 acres of which is under cultivation. All the small grains are produced and large quantities of hay put up every year. Horses are raised for use on the farm, besides other stock.

Mr. Westervelt takes a great interest in politics, always voting the Republican ticket. A member of the Baptist Church of Sheridan township, he stands for that which is for the good of the community always, and is well known throughout the county as a man of upright character and honesty of purpose, a man trusted and liked by all. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Westervelt accompany this sketch.


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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