S.O. Everley is a progressive farmer and one of the most successful horticulturists in the country, producing as many peaches perhaps, as all the township combined. Six miles down the Monongahela river from the historical city of Morgantown, West Virginia, the seat of the State University, was where Mr. Everley was born in the month of May, 1846. His parents were Reason Howard and Leurena (Morris) Everley. His father was of German and Irish origin and was born near Morgantown. September 15, 1810. His mother was of Pennsylvania birth. Her parents were early pioneers of that state, blazed a road, and the lines of their land. They were married in 1835. The mother died in 1882, after which the father came to Cloud county to live with his sons, and died March 9, 1887. Reason Howard Everley was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for fully half a century and a class leader for thirty years. His house was the temporary abode of the clergymen. All that is mortal of this good man lies buried in the quiet little cemetery within the shadow of Bethel church, Meredith township.
Mr. and Mrs. Reason Everley were the parents of eleven children, eight of whom are living, R.C. Everley, a very excellent man, died in Cloud county, January 15, 1888, at the age of forty-four years, leaving a wife and seven children. He emigrated from Illinois to Cloud county in 1872. He was a pillar of the Bethel church, superintendent of the Sunday school, a prominent citizen and a man in the truest sense. He was greatly missed in church work. He died ten months after his father. S.O. is the next oldest child. The third son, I.A., is a farmer of Pennsylvania. Alonzo, who was a successful teacher for eighteen years is now engaged in farming and stock raising in Meredith township. Malinda, the eldest of the family, is the widow of Raleigh Waters, who died near Junction City. She and her family are now residents, of Colorado. Huldah, the deceased wife of Henry Hildebrand, died leaving four children. Eliza Jane is the deceased wife of the late H.C. Baker, a hardware merchant and ex-sheriff of Monongalia county, West Virginia. By their demise five children were made orphans. A.G., is a wealthy farmer and has lived in Illinois for more than thirty years. He has owned a half section of land near Salina for twenty years. Simon Elliott, is also an Illinois farmer. Mary E., is the wife of Benjamin Conn, a farmer near Point Marion, Pennsylvania, in the vicinity of Mason and Dixon's line. Marion Evans is a farmer near Delphos, has a finely cultivated tenor voice and is leader of Bethel choir. His wife was Rosa Lee Johns, a daughter of Frank and Matilda Johns, a prominent Pennsylvania family.
Mr. Everley's paternal grandfather was a slaveholder, but to those who desired freedom it was granted at the age of twenty-one years. One day he gave an old slave a new suit of clothes and his independence. The old darkey was delighted at his owner's generosity but after wandering around for a few days he returned glad to forego the franchise granted and spent the remainder of his days in the household of his former master. The grandfather was a planter, distiller and horticulturist. Mr. Everley's father inherited the still house and operated it in his earlier life. At that time he was a Whig and later a Republican and anti-slavery man. He lived on a public highway and kept an inn. Often the fugitive slaves would make their flight under the cover of darkness, traveling all night pursued by their owners and many times his father has sent teams to carry them safely over Mason and Dixon's line. Our subject well remembers accompanying them on some of these hasty departures. His father had independent views and the courage to assert them. Upon one occasion he was making a speech and the "Golden Circle" crew brought a rope and laid it at his feet, threatening that if he finished his speech they would hang him. He defied them and went on with his talk. He was one of two men in his township (Grant) that voted for Abraham Lincoln.
S.O. Everley received a substantial education. He was a classmate of and received honors over, I.P. Dolliver, of Iowa, the noted orator and prospective candidate during the McKinley campaign. Two years were spent in the Morgantown State University but he was prevented by illness from finishing the course. He began his career as a school teacher, but later dug the "dusty diamonds" in the coal fields of Pennsylvania and in 1874 came to Cloud county where a brother had preceded him, and took up a homestead, his present farm. Their means were limited and they lived in a sod house from December until June on a timber claim adjoining. Prior to building a dugout on their own land they lived six weeks under a shelter afforded by a dozen boards. They existed six years in their dugout but it was one of the most comfortable dwellings of its kind in the community, with a board floor and roof. In this humble abode divine services were held. Their first team were oxen, and in the absence of a wagon they used an old sled summer and winter. In this vehicle, with a trunk converted into a seat, they visited their neighbors and attended church. Sometimes the oxen would take a sudden start and over backward its occupants would go.
Mr. and Mrs. Everley were married on Christmas day, 1872, on her father's farm in Monongalia county, West Virginia. They were participants in a double wedding, a brother being married the same day. Her father was Thomas Abraham Haldeman, for fifteen years a carriage maker of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He served as justice of the peace there for seven years. Mrs. Everley was born on "Pleasant Dale Farm," March 4, 1854. She was the fourth child and the first girl to brighten her parents' home. Her father was an ordained deacon in the Methodist Episcopal church of Morgantown and held that office twenty-five years. Prior to that period he was a member of the Presbyterian church. He was born February 28, 1825, and died at the old home May 2, 1902, in his seventy-seventh year, and was laid to rest four days later. He was of German origin and one of eleven children. His mother was Siloam Shirer. Her father was a self-educated man. His parents were poor but he acquired a good education under many difficulties. Mrs. Everley's mother was Maria Louisa Baldwin, born in Virginia, November 15, 1829; her father was in the war of 1812. She was a descendant of "Morgan the Indian fighter," who was her great-grandfather. In their family was the brave frontiersman's saddle, covered with Indian skins. A murderous band of savages had committed a number of dastardly deeds and was awaiting Morgan and his company, to deal death to them and their families, but the whites escaped and captured the savages instead, and, perhaps as an example to other marauding bands, skinned them, tanned their hides, and converted the leather Into various things, among which was the saddle.
Mrs. Everley is one of a family of six children, five living and nearly all of an inventive turn of mind. Edward Allen Haldeman, a farmer of Meredith township, was born October 2, 1848 and is a mechanic by trade. Benjamin Franklin, born June 12, 1850, is a machinist in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and is said to be the most proficient in the three cities of Pittsburg, Allegheny and Birmingham. Among several inventions he has patented a brake car coupler. Josiah VanKirk, born June 17, 1852, was an Ohio farmer and died March 22, 1879. Laura Jane, born December 25, 1857, is the wife of Wallace Blackburn, of Chicago, Illinois. Ella May, born August 1860, is the wife of Grant Jacobs.
Mr. and Mrs. Everley have a remarkable family. There is an even dozen, six sons and six daughters and there has never been a death in the family. The eldest child is Zora Louise, wife of George Casselman (see sketch). Lila Inez is the wife of C.F. Willers, a farmer and fruit grower and owner of "Cottage Grove Farm" in Lyon township. They are the parents of one little son, Cecil Clayton. Mary Olive is a stenographer in the office of Abbey & Ellison, abstract lawyers and mineral water dealers of Abilene, Kansas. She first graduated in the common branches and then taught three terms of school in Cloud county and one year in West Virginia. She graduated from the Allen Commercial College of Abilene and made a record as a student. She is also possessed of some literary talent. Albert Franklin Golden is the first son. He graduated in the common branches, attended the Manhattan Agricultural College in the winter of 1901-2 and has entered upon the avocation of teaching the public schools. Oliver Vinima and Howard Haldeman both finished the common school studies and assist with the work on the farm. The younger children are Laura May, Victor Coil, Loyal Leslie, Marion Lee, Opal Floy and Merl Gladys.
Mr. Everley is an Abraham Lincoln Republican, but after the Populist party was organized, he affiliated with them in its conception. His political career proper began with the organization of the Alliance party. He served several terms as chairman of the Alliance central committee. In 1890, he was elected representative for the sixty-second district, serving two terms. The first year Mr. Frey of Miltonvale, was his opponent; the second year, Ed Hostetler, then of Jamestown, was his competitor, but was defeated by a majority of from three to four hundred. Mr. Everley was author of the fee and salary bills reducing county expenses. He has been justice of the peace of his district for eight years. While a resident of West Virginia, he was a member of a military company. Mr. Everley is an active and unselfish worker for every worthy movement, and as a useful man in the community, enjoys and merits the highest esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
Mr. Everley's farm consists of three hundred and twenty acres of land. His extensive peach orchard numbers four or five thousand trees. He also has a large plum orchard and many other varieties of fruit. The family are earnest workers in the Methodist Episcopal church and Bethel owns much of its success to the Everley families.
Mrs. Everley is a bright, intelligent woman and possesses in a high degree the maternal elements that influence her children to become useful men and women. She is a woman of considerable literary talent. The touching poem which follows was written by her and dedicated to "The Mothers of Cloud County" whose sons nobly responded to the call for volunteers during the late Spanish-American war.
"As we listen for the tidings
From the islands far away,
We often think and ponder
Of the boys so blithe and gay
Who lightened all our burdens,
Who multiplied our joys,
And we pray that God will bless them,
The Cloud county boys.
How our mother hearts ached,
We think of them at morning,
We know they will be brave,
And when the war is over,
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.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project