F. M. ROCKAFELLER, who drove through, in 1867, from Illinois to Cherokee county, Kansas, is a worthy representative of the hardy pioneers of this state. He has been a resident of Labette county since 1895, and is located in Mound Valley township, in the southwest quarter of section 1, township 33, range 19. He was born near Connersville, Indiana, in 1844.
Agsilaus Rockafeller, father of F. M., married Pamelia Young. Both were born, reared and married in New Jersey. He moved to Indiana, and then, in 1854, to Illinois. He moved to Cherokee county, Kansas, in 1869, and died there in 1892, at the age of eighty-seven years. He was an active Republican in politics. He and his wife became the parents of 10 children, eight of whom arrived at maturity. Six are now living and are located in Cherokee and Labette counties, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arizona.
F. M. Rockafeller was reared partly in Indiana, and partly in Bureau county, Illinois, of which Princeton is the county-seat. At the age of eighteen years, in 1862, he enlisted in Company K, 65th Reg., Ill. Vol. Inf., and served a period of three years. He was wounded at the siege of Knoxville in the fall of 1863. A bullet dislocated his jaw, and incapacitated him for service for seven months. He then served eighteen months longer as a noncommissioned officer, and was mustered out at Chicago in 1865. He returned to Bureau county, Illinois, and in 1867 drove through to Cherokee county, Kansas, with a span of mules, which were afterward exchanged for oxen. Kansas City, Missouri, and Sedalia, were then the nearest railroad points. He met with hard experiences for some years, for no crops were raised in 1868. He took a claim a little east of Sherman City, and resided there until 1895, with the exception of the year 1886, which was spent in California. In 1895 he sold his farm, which was valuable for milling purposes. His land was underlaid with coal, some of which, was so close to the surface that he frequently dug it. He came to Labette county where land was cheaper and served his purpose equally well, as it was more adapted to farming purposes. He acquired of Mr. Maudlin the southwest quarter of section 1, township 33, range 18, in Mound Valley township, which had been first conveyed to Mr. Ice, now deceased. He and Mr. Maudlin made great improvements upon the place, and now Mr. Rockafeller owns a very valuable piece of property. He is engaged in general farming, and raises corn, oats and wheat. He also raises stock, and favors Durham cattle, and Poland-China hogs. He has an orchard of 200 apple trees, which are bearing well. He has an excellent water supply, for Pumpkin Creek flows through his property.
Mr. Rockafeller was united in marriage, in 1866, with Rebecca Darnell, who was born in Kentucky, in 1842, and was reared in Illinois. They have three children: Henry, a farmer in Cherokee county; A. M.; and Zella (Gay), who lives four miles north of her father's place. In politics Mr. Rockafeller was a Republican, but is now a member of the People's party. He is a trustee of Mound Valley township, and for two years held the same office in Cherokee township. He is a member of the G. A. R., is district deputy of the Odd Fellows; lodge, and belongs to the A. 0. U. W. He and his wife are members of the Sons and Daughters of Justice, and she is president of the order at Mound Valley. Their son, A. M. Rockafeller, is a member of the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Sons and Daughters of justice. Religiously, the family entertains liberal views. Mr. Rockafeller is a relative of the Standard Oil magnate bearing the same name.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project