E. F. HEISLER is the son of Emanuel F. Heisler, who came to the United States from Wurtemberg, Germany, about the year 1834, locating at Massillon, Ohio, where he was engaged as a cooper two years. About the year 1836 he bought land in Richland county, Ohio, clearing a portion and building a house in 1837. In January, 1838, he married Fredrica C. Hammer of Massillon, Ohio, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany. In 1839 he moved to Green Valley, or Hollister's Mills, where he operated a cooper shop six years and was employed as a weaver two years, when his wife died, leaving four children, E. F., Pauline, Charlott C. and John P. In the latter part of 1848 he married Mrs. Catherine Deardorff, of Richland county, Ohio. To them a son (Charles) was born in 1851, and a daughter (Kate) in 1853. In 1850 he bought a farm in Morrow county, Ohio, and in 1855 moved to Kosciusko county, Indiana, where he lived on a farm until the time of his death in 1882. He was a Democrat until after the "Dred Scott decision," when he became a Whig, and afterwards a Republican. He was a member of the Lutheran church, but in 1850 became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Of the above named children only three are living, Miss Kate Heisler, of Claypool, Indiana; Mrs. Charlott C. Kinsey of Claypool, Indiana; and E. F. Heisler of Kansas City, Kansas.
The subject of this sketch was born October 25, 1838, in a two-room story and a half log house on his father's farm in Richland county, two and one-half miles northwest of Jelloway, Ohio, where the house still stands and has been occupied as a residence until a very recent date. His early life, until he was twenty-one years of age, was spent mainly working on the farm and attending school about three months each winter when the health of the family would permit. And to make up for the time thus lost from the winter school, he often would take his books to the field and study while plowing and otherwise engaged, so that in 1858 he was able to pass examination and secured a teacher's certificate, teaching one winter in Indiana; the next winter in Pesotum, Illinois, the next year in Platte county, Missouri, and after the close of the Civil war in Wyandotte county, Kansas; after which he was elected county superintendent of the schools serving six consecutive years, when the political party which nominated him was in the minority in the county. No other person in this county has ever held that office as long as Mr. Heisler, and in all these years there was but one appeal from his decision, and he was sustained in that decision.
He was twice delegated to the National Teachers Association, representing the Kansas State Teachers Association. When teaching school in Platte county, Missouri, in July, 1861, after most of the Southern states had seceded from the Union, he conducted a celebration in his school district, this being the only place in the state of Missouri, (either in the country or in any of the cities,) where a celebration was held and the Declaration of Independence was read that year. Several toasts were offered, bitterly condemning secession.
E. F. Heisler came to Wyandotte county, Kansas, in April, 1860, and entered 120 acres of land in Coffey county with a land warrant. In August, 1861, he enlisted in Captain Veal's Company A, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, and two weeks later, (September 2) he was wounded at the battle of Dry Wood twelve miles east of Ft. Scott, and was left on the battle field by the surgeon in whose care he had been placed, without having his wounds dressed. But he was rescued by his comrades before leaving the battlefield and sent to Ft. Scott. After recovering he participated in the battles of Newtonia, Old Ft. Wayne, Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Honey Springs, Prairie du Ann and Jenkins Ferry, including most of the campaigns of the Trans Mississippi country. He served as a private, as company clerk, company quartermaster sergeant, and in 1864 was elected by a vote of his company as second lieutenant.
At the close of the war he was again engaged in teaching; then manufacturing improved school furniture, supplying many of the schools in the adjoining counties. He afterwards published a property map of Wyandotte county, and a property map and history of Johnston county, Kansas.
In 1876 he established the Louisburg Herald, and was its publisher for ten years. In 1889 he established the Kansas City Sun, which newspaper he is still publishing.
In 1860 he walked fifteen miles to Kansas City, Missouri, to vote for Abraham Lincoln. In 1867 he was one of the stockholders who built the first bridge across the mouth of the Kansas river, and afterwards was toll keeper until the bridge washed away in 1868. He also was appointed by the governor of the state, a member of the board of directors of the Freedman University of Quindaro. Ex-Governor Robinson was president, Byron Judd treasurer, and E. F. Heisler secretary of this board. He is also secretary of the Kansas Soldiers Monumental Association. Besides these, he has held many other elective and appointive offices of trust.
He is a zealous advocate of the Good Roads movement and the improvement of our internal waterways, and has frequently been sent to represent the state in the National gatherings of these organizations.
In politics he was a Republican, until that party made the bondholders "preferred creditors" by paying them in a different money than it paid the soldiers who fought the battles of the country. Then he became a Greenbacker and now is publishing a Populist paper, but usually tries to vote for the best men regardless of their political affiliations.
In 1870 he married Miss Ollie Dove, a school teacher and a daughter of Jacob Dove of Kusciusko county, Indiana. At the time of their marriage both were delegates to the National Teachers Association, which they attended at Cleveland, Ohio, on the day of their marriage.
They have a family of five children, all living. J. L. Heisler, the youngest is married and lives in Kansas City, Kansas. Miss Lida Heisler and Will H. Heisler are single and living with their parents. Fred D. is married and lives in Washington, D. C., employed in the government printing office, as a proof reader, and Mrs. Lou H. Brandeberry is married and lives on Hoods Canal, twenty miles west of Seattle, Washington.
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