H.D. Layton, one of the most highly esteemed citizens of Buffalo township, located on the land which comprises his present desirable farm in 1872. Mr. Layton is a native of Morgan county. Illinois, born on a farm near the city of Jacksonville in 1847; reared and educated there, and lived in that community until coming west. His brother, William Layton (see sketch), was located in the eastern part of the state and at his solicitation, our subject came to Nemaha county, and from there the two brothers emigrated to Cloud county. As they traveled westward the settlements grew more sparse until by the time they had reached Clyde habitation was limited to a few scattering settlers on the creeks and valleys; the uplands were almost totally unsettled. From Clyde they were directed to certain points along their journey by people telling them to go a certain distance beyond, to the right or to the left of the next shingled house; dwellings with that sort of covering not being numerous.
Mr. Layton states when he arrived in Kansas and got off the train at Wetmore he would not have given fifteen cents for the whole state. He carried his hat in his pocket to keep the wind from blowing it away. It was his first introduction into a prairie country and was in perfect sympathy with the fellow who wrote:
"The dust it flew,
The wind it blew
New The paint from off the steeple.
It blew the tails
From off the quails,
The microbes off the people."
For some time after his arrival in Kansas our subject (like many of his neighbors) was a single man and lived for two years in a dugout. Two bachelor friends were visiting him when a blizzard spread over the country, raging unceasingly for forty-eight hours. During the storm the roof was blown off his stable. They each had a horse which must surely perish if left standing in their unroofed stalls, so the trio made their way through the blinding blizzard, loosened the straps of the shivering animals and led them into the dugout. To further shield them from suffering they ripped up some beds and fed them the straw they contained.
Mr. Layton was married in 1874 to Miss Rosa Tatro. She was born in Kankakee, Illinois, and was of French parentage. Mrs. Layton was a woman of gentle bearing; she was a patient sufferer for years, and died of consumption in May, 1894. To their union two children were born; a daughter and son. Lena, a young woman of twenty-five years is now in the Kansas City hospital where she is in training for a nurse. She has until recently been her father's house-keeper since she was fourteen years of age. The son, Fred, aged twenty-three, is a typical farmer and is interested with his father on the homestead. He is a member of the Jamestown band.
Mr. Layton has seen the country develop into a prosperous agricultural region. Their present handsome cottage is built over the cellar, where they lived with a roof over it, for several months. They also lived in a small stone house, now used for a smoke house and considered themselves fortunate to have had so comfortable a dwelling. Mr. Layton has prospered, has a pleasant home, owns two hundred and forty acres of fine land and is satisfied to live in the state he once would have gladly deserted. In 1890 he sold all their personal effects and went to Oregon. But after two or three months in the Willamette valley returned, feeling there was no place where a man could make money more easily or be so happy as in Kansas.
Mr. Layton's parents were William and Elizabeth (Goodpasture) Layton. His father was of Kentucky birth and emigrated to Illinois before the city of Jacksonville was thought of and on its present site the tall prairie grass was growing undisturbed. He was a blacksmith by occupation. His death occurred when our subject was about twelve years of age. His mother was of Tennessee birth and like the Laytons, the Goodpastures were pioneers in the vicinity of the city of Jacksonville, where a whole settlement of them still hold forth.
Mr. Layton is one of eight children who lived to maturity. Of these, five are now living. William (see sketch), Mrs. James Kemp, of Iowa, Mrs. Maggie Thompson, of Morgan county, Illinois and Mrs. Martha Redwine, a widowed sister who lives alternately in the homes of her brothers.
Politically Mr. Layton is a stalwart Democrat. Socially he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Sons and Daughters of Justice. Mr. Layton is a man whose loyalty and honor in all the walks of life have given him an enviable reputation among his fellow men. Of his personal characteristics one of the most conspicuous are his substantial and trustworthy qualities.
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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