William R. Ansdell, who came to Cloud county in the year 1870 stands as one of the "tried and true," and after being weighed in the balance has not been wanting. Upon his arrival in the "garden spot of the world," he selected the homestead whereon he now resides, but the home of then and now bears little resemblance. "The prairie shall blossom like the rose," is most surely fulfilled at the Ansdell farm. Mr. Ansdell's father, Frederick F.S. Ansdell was a man well known to all the old settlers of the county as having established the first store in 1870, which was the only one in the vicinity until the city of Jamestown was founded, and as that seemed a good location for business he was one of the first to open an extensive general merchandise store; almost simultaneously Myron M. Strain and H.W. Hansen were competitors for the town and country trade.
F.F.S. Ansdell was a native of England and upon attaining his majority emigrated to America. He spent a few months in New York City where he met and married Miss Mary E. Patterson, and emigrated to Wisconsin when that state was sparsely settled; Indians committed many depredations and wolves made the night hideous with their blood-thirsty howls. Here their eight children were born, grew and thrived making the silent woods ring with their glad and happy shouts, laughter and song. Five of these children are still living. Their nearest neighbor was six miles distant and as the telephone system was not in effect those days the women of the family could not hang over the back fence to have a bit of gossip nor could a choice morsel be transmitted over the 'phone.
In 1870, Mr. Ansdell decided to emigrate to Kansas for two reasons; the first one to secure more land for his three growing sons and to seek a more salubrious climate. He found a number of claims taken but only a few settlers living on them. His two sons, William R. and Henry M., and James Carter are the only citizens remaining that were in the township at the time of his arrival. Mr. Ansdell was one of the representative men of the county, but was not a politician. He was the second postmaster of Jamestown and also postmaster at Arena, Iowa county, Wisconsin, during the war and until he removed to Kansas. Mr. Ansdell was the first station-agent at Jamestown. Was appointed and held the position several months without salary, in the meantime not selling many tickets. Several years afterward he put in a claim to the railroad company and they remitted the usual salary paid to agents without hesitation or comment. He was deceased in 1887, and his wife in 1893.
William R. Ansdell was married in 1884, to Miss Ida E. Prince, of Concordia, Kansas, who is a sister of Mrs. "Jack" Billings. They are the parents of six children, four of whom are living; Richard, a young man seventeen years of age is on his last year in the Jamestown high school preparatory to taking a business course in the Great Western Business College, of Concordia, Kansas, one of the most thorough schools in the state. Fred, aged fourteen, George, nine years of age, and Margaret, a winsome little daughter of eighteen months, complete the family.
Mr. Ansdell owns two hundred and thirty-four acres of excellent land all first and second bottom, principally first, Buffalo creek intersecting the north eighty. His crops consist principally of wheat and alfalfa, seldom averaging less than twenty-five bushels of wheat to the acre. He considers alfalfa a leading crop as it brings him more remunerative and quicker returns than any other branch of farming in which he has experimented. After cutting and garnering three crops in one season he has had a field of ten bushels per acre of seed which netted him four dollars per bushel. In politics Mr. Ansdell is a Republican. He has held a number of township offices and is now chairman of the central committee of the Republican party and has filled that office several terms at different times. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of twenty-two years standing, a member of the Rebecca lodge, an Ancient Free & Accepted Mason of twenty-four years membership and belongs to the Beloit Commandery. Mr. Ansdell justly prides himself on his well improved acres even though it has taken years of toil to develop this fine farm with its comfortable house and commodious barn which have supplanted the primitive dugout and sheds. Mrs. Ansdell is a woman of education and culture and taught five years in the schools of Cloud county. Mr. Ansdell and family are much respected. They have conquered a checkered fate and the road which they travel seems broad and easy in comparison with the rough and hilly one of the past.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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