WILLIAM H. MYERS. - It is because of the presence of such men as Mr. Myers, the well known merchant of Rosedale, that Wyandotte county has assumed the important position it holds in the state. For the commercial prosperity of a community it is necessary that men of undoubted business capabilities should identify themselves with the various commercial enterprises, but when there are added to these abilities the Christian characteristics that are so typical of Mr. Myers, the combination cannot fail of elevating the standing of the locality which he ornaments by his presence. Mr. Myers can trace his genealogy back for at least three hundred years, a fact which involves obligation. A man who knows nothing of his ancestors, even his parents has only his own ideals to live up to, but he who has not only to satisfy himself but to live up to the standards set forth by his ancestors has a harder matter to attend to. Mr. Myers' own ideals are placed too high for him to attain to them, but that long line of ancestors, if they could be ranged before him, would find no reason to condemn him. His whole life is a book, a ledger perhaps, kept in the best bookkeeping hand and always ready for inspection.
William H. Myers, son of William and Sarah (Straight) Myers, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, February 19, 1840. His father died in the early forties, having passed all of his life in the east, where his German ancestors had settled on their arrival in the United States. Mrs. William Myers, Sr., was also of eastern birth, her remote ancestors having settled in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, as early as 1630, since which time the family has continued prominent in the history of that region. One of these early settlers built the first hut at East Greenwich, and numerous members of the family participated in the war of the Rebellion. In later years Samuel, the only brother of William Myers, Jr., employed by the Harison Cashmire Mills, lost his life in the second year of the Civil war, being killed at Fredericksburg, December 11, 1862, fighting under Major Burnside, while William H. Myers himself fought throughout the entire war. He had concluded his educational training and had just attained his majority when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers. The young man responded August 1, 1861, by enlisting in the Fourteenth Infantry for a period of three years, and in May, 1864 he was dismissed from services. After very short furlough he re-enlisted raising his own company, the Thirty-fourth New Jersey Volunteers, and was with Sherman on the occasion of his celebrated march to the sea, under the direct command of General McPherson in the Sixteenth Army Corps, a body of mounted infantry in which he was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant in the regulars because of his signal bravery in various engagements. The battles of Iuka, Union City, Obim Creek, etc., which to most of us are but names, to Mr. Myers are the scenes of bloodshed and of death. At Obim Creek, Kentucky, his horse was shot beneath him and he himself was captured, but managed to make his escape, clad in his shirt and trousers. His company was on scout duty a great deal of the time and it was necessary to do considerable reconnoitering, but although he was in danger many times, he seemed to lead a charmed life, as he was never wounded; his companions in arms fell around him, but he escaped unharmed, and when he was honorably discharged at Columbus, Kentucky, it was with the title of First Lieutenant and a record for bravery such as many a veteran soldier might envy.
He went back east, but not to his old home. He took up his residence in Philadelphia, where for a period of eleven years he was closely connected with John Wanamaker's life, commercial and religious. Mr. Myers was in the clothing department of that magnate's store while he remained in Philadelphia and was also teacher of the Wanamaker Sunday School. At the close of the year 1878 he came west and located first in Kansas City and later in Hutchinson. He secured a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Turon, where he found little but jack rabbits and buffalo bones, but he set to work to bring the farm under cultivation and succeeded in raising, the finest crop of wheat that he ever saw - twenty-six acres yielded one thousand bushels in 1867. Drought followed and for a number of seasons he raised practically nothing, so he disposed of his land and moved to Missouri, settling at Pratherville, just across from Kansas City. After a short residence here he paid a visit to his boyhood home and on his return to the west he determined on Rosedale as a desirable location. There he established a store, with a line of general merchandise and later went into the hog business and carried on very successful and extensive operations in that line. In 1904 he bought four lots at Rosedale, on which he erected a comfortable home and a brick store, situated at what is now known as Myers' Corner, so named in his honor. The store was largely patronized from its start, as he was a man of decided business ability. He dealt extensively in chickens and other live stock, which he raised himself, but at the present time he is living retired from active duties of any kind.
Mr. Myers' stay in Reno county was marked by two important events. In May, 1877 he was there married to Miss Lydia Perkins, daughter of John Perkins, a neighboring farmer. To this marriage six children were born: Birdie May, married to Leonard La Hue, an employe in the Rosedale packing house; Edgar William, in the automobile business at San Jose, California; Benjamin Henry, a carpenter of Speede, Missouri; Robert Elmer, of the Cudahy Packing Company of Kansas City, Kansas; Ernest and Viola at home with their father, assisting in the conduct of the store.
The other important happening in Reno county was his election to the office of township clerk for one term. For the past forty years Mr. Myers has been connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, passed through all the chairs and represented his lodge in the grand lodge. He has also been actively associated with the Marshall Post No. 397 E. D. of the Grand Army Republic and at various times has held all the separate offices of his post. In this manner Mr. Myers has proved himself earnest and efficient in the various relations of life, commercial, military, religious, civic and social - a power for betterment in any capacity.
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