Valentine Christian is one of the oldest settlers who still reside on the land he homesteaded in October, 1870, and, although he and his family have passed many hardships since emigrating to Kansas, they have been happy and contented and are staunch friends of the "Sunflower state." For six months Mr. Christian did not possess a penny nor a postage stamp until through the vigilant eye of the great hearted "Uncle" Heller, who always had the welfare of his fellowmen at heart and whoo not only gave words of consolation and comfort, but that which is of more value in such a time, his store of worldly nature. He had observed our subject was not posting his usual quota of letters and perhaps suspecting the real cause, this good man remarked one day, "Mr. Christian, you are not mailing many letters these days?" Our subject replied, "No sir, I have not got the postage." Whereupon "Uncle" Heller, with an expression of deep feeling and sympathy, said, "Do not refrain from writing your friends for that reason; take all the stamps you want; all I ask is you to pay me quarterly." Mr. Christian acted upon the generous impulse of "Uncle" Heller and at one time owed a bill for postage of $1.50. Those were days when commodities were not taken in exchange for goods; for instance, Mr. Christian at this time took some eggs to town and could not get even one cent per dozen, the merchants preferring to credit him for pins and matches, than take eggs in exchange. His family at that time consisted of a wife and one child. They could not use the eggs, and his neighbors were likewise supplied so he threw them away.
Mr. Christian is a native of St. Joseph county, Indiana, born in 1845, and has been a farmer and stockman all his life. His father is Asa D. Christian and lives on the old homestead in the "Hoosier" state at the age of eighty-one years. The Christian ancestors were from Germany and settled in the Dutch settlement of Pennsylvania in a very early day. When Asa D. Christian was twelve years of age he emigrated westward with his parents, and barefooted drove and ox team into the wilderness of Indiana where they settled in the uninhabited timber region of that state. His mother was Almira Fisher. Her ancesters were of Irish origin and among the first settlers of Cincinnati, Ohio, when the Indians were numerous and when they found it necessary to resort to all sorts of devices to protect themselves against the pilfering, begging tribes that roamed the primitive forests. They split logs in half and stored their provisions in the hollowed interior, laid the two halves together, heaped brush and leaves over it, thus concealing their meat and other articles of food, for when the Indians came they helped themselves to what ever they found in the way of eatables. Upon one occasion their attention was attracted toward a bright, shining new hatchet that had been given Mr. Christian's grandfather, who was about twelve years of age. One of the Indians looked longingly at the little ax for a moment and then appropriating the coveted weapon walked unceremoniously away into the forest. A moment later the owner of the hatchet came in and when he learned what had taken place, quietly, but with determined look lifted a loaded rifle from the wall and deliberately followed intent on revenge. When but a short distance from their cabin he heard a pounding and suspecting the savage was trying the virtues of his new weapon, the boy slowly and quietly crept through the bushes, while with each succeeding stroke of the hatchet his blood grew hotter, and onward he went until rewarded by a glimpse of the savage who was astride of a log cracking nuts with the utmost satisfaction. The lad cautiously gained a large log at safe gunshot distance and drew a head on his unsuspecting victim who was alone, having separated from his comrades. He would aim and then lower his gun debating if he should empty the contents into the red skin or spare his worthless life and while thus soliloquizing, the Indian cracked another nut and with such inate satisfaction that the youth was maddened beyond control, each walnut inciting renewed anger and finally drew down on the sights of the gun, he knew well how to use although a mere boy, and in another instant the Indian was sent to the "happy hunting ground." The victor then proceeded to gather in his spoils, secured his hatchet and upon returning to the cabin his mother who had heard the report of his rifle inquired what he had done. His father at once instigated a search and finding the body, immediately secreted the victim, for had the tribe discovered one of their number had been thus dealt with would have wreaked a terrible vengeance and in all probability have massacred the whole family. Mr. Christian's mother who died about sixteen years ago was the mother of thirteen children, eleven of whom are living. Mr. Christian is the eldest child. Edward C., a stock dealer in Scandia, is a brother, and Robert, a farmer of Elk township. Mrs. Frank Rupe and Mrs. Milton Garwood are sisters; the other members of the family are near the old homestead in Indiana.
Mr. Christian was married in 1871, to Laura Fitch, of Montpelier, Vermont, who died November 4, 1874, leaving two sons, Arthur, the eldest child is a resident of Holton, Kansas, and Valentine who farms with his father. Mr. Christian married his second wife, Jeanette Parker, in 1876. To this union seven children have been born, viz: Winifield and Clarence, the two eldest, are young men aged twenty-three and twenty-one years. Almira, the eldest daughter at the request of her grandfather was named for her maternal grandmother. The other children are, Francis, John, Eva and Imo.
Mr. Christian's farm consists of one hundred and sixty acres of land all under cultivation. He keeps a herd of finely bred Red-Poled cattle and among them are several pure blooded pedigreed animals. He has also dealt extensively in fine bred hogs of the Poland China breed, and during corn years raises and feeds from one hundred to one hundred and fifty head. Mrs. Christian has been very successful in poultry, raising from five to eight hundred in a season. She has tried various breeds but finds the Plymouth Rock the best farmer's bird and general purpose fowl. In the spring of 1902, she set sixty-six hens and sold nearly two thousand eggs for hatching, often gathering from the nests twelve dozen per day, which furnished many short orders.
Politically Mr. Christian is a Republican but not a radical politician. He is a well informed man, received a good common school education and having been a great reader has acquired a store of useful knowledge. He is a public spirited man and a most excellent citizen.
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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