John Viets, the present popular and efficient county clerk of Crawford county, is one of the oldest established residents of the county, and almost his entire active career has been identified with the private business and agricultural and official affairs of the county. His prominence is well deserved, for from the time of boyhood he has been engaged in useful activity, beginning with several years of patriotic service to his country. He knows what it is to subdue the virgin prairie soil to the uses of agriculture, and was also one of the early merchants of the county. Many places of responsibility and trust have been confided to him by his appreciative fellow citizens, and his integrity and high personal character have always proved worthy of the greatest confidence and honor.
Mr. Viets is a true-blue American in everything except birth. He was born in Hanover, Germany, July 15, 1843, being a son of Henry and Margaret (Heimsohn) Viets, both native Germans. His parents came to America in 1857, and first located in Benton county, Missouri, where his father was engaged in farming for ten years, and in 1867 came to Crawford county, Kansas, where he continued the tilling of the soil. He died March 5, 1903, and his wife had been taken from him in 1884.
Mr. John Viets was educated in the old country and in Benton county, Missouri, being reared and accustomed to farm life from childhood. He was about seventeen years old when the call for ninety-day troops came to Missouri, and he enlisted for that period and served it out. He then enlisted in the Fifth Missouri Cavalry, and at the end of two years veteranized in the Thirteenth Missouri Cavalry. He was in the battle of Cold Camp, in Price's raid, and many other engagements of the war, and was mustered out with the rank of lieutenant on January 11, 1866. He came to Walnut township, Crawford county, and took up a claim of bare land, which he at once set to work to improve, and on which he lived until 1869. He then sold his farm and started a general store in that locality, which he sold out in the following year. He moved into Hepler in 1870 and engaged in the general merchandise business. He also bought grain and stock, and continued his business operations there until 1890.
Mr. Viets has had a most honorable public record. He served as county treasurer from 1884 to 1886. In 1890 he moved to Girard and built the county court house. He was elected county clerk in 1899, and took office in January, 1900, serving as such until 1902. He was again elected clerk of the county in 1902, and has held the office till 1905.
Mr. Viets was married in July, 1867, to Miss Adelheit Gotheer, a daughter of Henry Gotheer, of Miami County, Kansas. They have had five children: Emma is now cashier in the office of the Illinois Life Insurance Company in Topeka, Kansas; Amelia is the wife of Charles R. Bernard, of Florence, Colorado; Marie is the wife of Dr. A. T. Havely, of Girard; Nora is the wife of John Vincent, proprietor of a meat market in Girard; and Henry, the only son, is attending college. Mr. and Mrs. Viets are members of the Lutheran church, and their children are Episcopalians.Pages 402-404 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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