Biographical Sketches of Early Barber County, Kansas Settlers
I would like to thank Kansas Genealogy Society, Inc. for their contribution of this article to the Barber County GenWeb.
F. T. Beach, of the firm of Bender & Beach, dealers in hardware, lumber, etc., was born in Litchfield, County, State of Connecticut, in 1835. His parents moved to Rock County, Wisconsin, in 1846. Was one of the first settlers of that region. Was reared in the agricultural business and obtained a business education. When twenty-one years of age, he began farming for himself in Wisconsin, where he remained for seven years. He then moved to Evansville, in the same county, and engaged in the livery business, remaining two and one-half years; then farmed two years. In 1869, he emigrated to Kansas, and settled in Linn County, where he was in the real estate business, laying out and platting what is known as Foot & Beach’s First Edition to the City of La Cygne, remaining in this business for six years. He then farmed and handled stock for seven years, at the end of which time he came to Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas, and opened his present business January 22, 1883. Mr. B. is a member of the order of Freemasons. In 1858, he was married to Miss Lucinda R. Davis, of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, by whom he has two children - June R. and Mina A.

A. C. Bender, of the firm of Bender & Beach, dealers in hardware and lumber, was born in Tennessee in 1829. He was reared on a farm. When twenty-one years of age, he began mining in the Cumberland Mountains in Kentucky, at which he continued eight months. He next worked on a farm, after which he went to Southwestern Missouri, where he remained in the stock business two years. In 1856, he came to Kansas, and took up a claim, and in 1857 brought his family, after which he went into the stock business, in which he continued until 1861. In 1862, he joined the army, and served until 1865, after which he returned to Kansas and handled stock until 1873. He was next in Great Bend, Barton County, Kansas, in the milk trade one year. He then came to Barber County, and was engaged in the stock traffic until August, 1882, when he opened his present business. Mr. Bender has improved several farms in the state of Kansas, prominent among which is one of 400 acres in Barber County, and made substantial improvements in Medicine Lodge. Mr. Bender is a member of the Christian Church, and is also a member of the order of Freemasons. He has assisted in organizing several churches and Sunday schools. In 1850, Mr. Bender was married to Miss Rachel Allen, of Tennessee, by whom he had nine children - Elzodia, Iderah, Samuel R., Clay, Samuel Lincoln, Lillie, John H., Louie S., and Ormel A. His wife died in 1877. Was married to Mrs. Mahala Howard, of Illinois, in 1877. Mrs. Bender is a member of the Episcopal Church.

John E. Chapin, County Clerk, is a native of Illinois, and was born in 1840. His early life was spent in school, and when fifteen years of age he entered a printing office, where he continued four years. He then entered school, remaining a few years. In April, 1861, he joined the army of the Tenth Illinois Infantry, Company E, for three months. He then joined the Black Hawk Cavalry, and was afterward mustered into the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, Company D, where he served three years and one month. He then returned home, and farmed for six years, after which he was in the floral business four years. In 1879, he emigrated to Kansas, and settled on a claim in Barber County, where he remained a short time. He was next in the saddlery business for a short time. In 1880, he was elected County Treasurer for a term of two years, after which he was elected County Clerk in 1882. He was also Clerk of the School Board for three years. He was Mayor of the city one year, and was Councilman for two years. He is now a member of the Board of School Examiners. He is a Freemason and Ancient Workman, and is a member of the G.A.R. Owns twenty acres of land near the town, and one-third interest in the Medicine Lodge town sight. In 1872, Mr. C. was married to Miss S. S. Russell, of Illinois, by whom he has three children - Mary, Olive, and Ernest.

George Geppert, cashier of the Medicine Valley Bank, was born in 1842. H was reared in Pennsylvania, and removed with his parents in 1859 to Allegan County, Michigan, where lived with them on a farm until 1862, when he was employed in a general store in Allegan, Michigan. In 1867, he became the book-keeper, and in 1870 a partner in the concern. In 1879, he came to Kansas, and settled in the town of Medicine Lodge, in the hardware and lumber trade. January 12, 1882, he accepted the position of cashier of the Medicine Valley Bank, and at the same time is a member of the firm of Geppert & Stone, hardware and lumber dealers. In 1868, he was married to Eliza A. Stone, of Michigan, by whom he has one child - Frank S.
George Geppert was killed by a gun shot received during a robbery of the Medicine Valley Bank, April 30, 1884 (Medicine Lodge Cresset, Thursday, May 1, 1884).

L. D. Hess, grocery man, was born in Ohio in 1843. His early life was spent on the farm and in the school room. When sixteen years of age, he taught school in Ohio one year. He then taught in Indiana until 1861, when he joined the army, and served three years in the Thirty-third Illinois Infantry, Company B, after which he taught school in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa until 1876. He then came to Wellington, Kan., where he was engaged running a bakery and grocery until 1881, when he came to Medicine Lodge and embarked in his present business. Mr. Hess was elected Justice of the Peace and Police judge in 1883. He is a member of the order of Freemasons and Ancient Order of United Workmen. He built two business houses in Wellington and one residence. Built a brick block, 50x60, and one residence in Medicine Lodge, which he still owns. He also owns a farm of 160 acres in Sumner County. In 1869, Mr Hess was married to Miss L. J. Lamb, of Indiana, by whom he has five children - Clara, Agnes, Estella, William and Ollie.

Alonzo W. Little, of the firm of H. C. Thompson & Co., general merchants, was born in Muhlenburg, then Rumsey County, Kentucky, April 3, 1847. He received an academic education. At the age of fifteen years, he went to clerking in a dry goods store, where he remained fifteen months. Up to 1870, he vibrated between school and his brother’s store, in which year he took the United States Census. In 1871, he commenced the study of law with his brother, a prominent attorney of Owensburg, Kentucky. On being admitted to the bar, he moved to Mississippi, where he practiced his profession, and was there appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court, which position he held four years, when he resumed the practice of his profession. In September, 1875, he was married to Miss Ida M. McDaniels, of Jeffersontown, Kentucky, by whom he has had three children - A. W., Jr., L. Junius and Gerard B., L. Junius being deceased. In 1879, he located in Medicine Lodge, where he engaged in the live stock and real estate business. He has built several houses, some of which he yet owns. He has served one term as Mayor. He is a strong advocate of churches and schools, and though not a member of either church, has almost continuously been a member of the M. E. Church Board. In December , 1881, in company with H. C. Thompson, he commenced the general merchandise business, and from the first prospered far beyond his most sanguine anticipations. On the death of his father, Judge Douglas Little, who for many years was Judge of McLean County, by consent of all the heirs, the property was left to the control of his widow, Mrs. Martha A. Little, who yet lives in the old homestead in Calhoun, Kentucky, loved and respected by all who know her.

C. C. Mills, stock-dealer and raiser, was born east Tennessee in 1852, and reared on a farm, and at nineteen years of age commenced farming on his own account, and continued at the same up to 1880. At this time, he engaged in the stock business with C. Warden; went to Texas with C. Warden and drove the herd for him; bought 642 head of cattle and drove them to the Nation. He now has an interest in a ranch with a range of twenty-eight by thirty miles, on which there are some 20,000 head of cattle; has an interest in 889 head of cattle with C. Warden. He also owns 160-acre farm, which he has improved.

W. O. Mize, livery and stock-dealer, was born in Richmond, Kentucky., 1861. He was reared in the livery and grocery business. When twelve years of age he came to Kansas, and went to school four years. He read law two years at Central University, at Richmond, Kentucky., after which he returned to Kansas, and kept hotel two years; he also kept hotel in Florence eleven months. He was next in New Mexico in the hotel business one year. In September, 1882, he opened his large and commodious livery stable which he now occupies. In 1882, Mr. Mise was married to Miss Molly Ballew, of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Mise are members of the Baptist Church.

L. W. Moore, Register of Deeds, is a native of Kansas, and was born 1858. His parents removed to Iowa in 1859, and remained until 1873, after which he returned to Kansas, and located in Sumner County on a farm. Mr. L. W. Moore then taught school eight years, when he came to Barber County in 1879, and engaged in the stock and grain business for eighteen months. He was then elected Register of Deeds, 1881, in fall, for a term of two years. He built and owns residence in Medicine Lodge; is a member of Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is Acting Deputy Clerk and Recorder of the same. In 1878 he was married Miss Effie Vaughn, of Illinois, by whom he has two children - Carroll and LeRoy. Mrs. Moore is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

J. C. Orner, druggist, was born in New Jersey 1848, and was reared in the drug business, receiving an academic and business education. When seventeen years of age, he began clerking in a drug store, at which he continued two years and six months in Indiana, and two and a half years in Missouri, after which he opened business for himself in Carthage, Missouri, where continued eight years. He the came to Kansas in 1879, and settled in Medicine Lodge, Barber County, and opened his present business. Mr. Orner is a member of the order of Freemasons; is a member of the New York Life Insurance Company. In 1870, he was married to Miss Ida E. Shepherd, of the state of New York, by whom he has three children - Clyde S., Bertram C. and Ethel.

E. W. Payne, banker, stock-dealer and grower, was born in Missouri in 1847, and reared in the agricultural profession, and received a business education. He was left an orphan at the age of six years. He worked on farms in different places, and attended school winters until sixteen years of age, when he went to Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he was engaged in the freighting business two years. He then returned to Missouri, and purchased a farm, which he operated until 1877, when he came to Kansas, and settled in Comanche County, and engaged in the stock business, where continued four years, after which he came to Medicine Lodge, and organized the Medicine Valley Bank in 1882, of which he was elected president. In 1876, he was elected to the Legislature of Missouri. In April of 1880, Mr. Payne associated himself with Messrs. Hunter, Evans & Co., of St. Louis, R. W. Phillips of Chicago, and several other men, for the purpose of ranching cattle, and now controls a ranch forty-five miles square, and known as the Comanche Pool. The company now have about 51,000 head of cattle on their ranch. Mr. Payne is Treasurer, and is one of the Directors of the association, also individual ranch of 1,000 acres deeded land with range privileges, stocked with 900 cattle, which is under fence. The company own about 8,000 acres of land deeded. The increase of this monstrous herd is about 15,000 annually. Mr. Payne owns a pasture of 320 acres adjoining the town of Medicine Lodge; owns five and a half acres in the town, owns a bank building, and was one of the organizers of the Live-Stock Strip Association, and is one of the Directors of the same; is editor and proprietor of the Barber County Index, an eight-page eight column paper, devoted to live-stock interests, which is Democratic in politics. Mr. Payne is a member of the Freemasons. In 1866, he was married to Miss Susan A. Payne, of Missouri, by whom he has nine children - Edward B., Mary A., Estella, H., Charles T., John M., Eliza H., Laura, Lefa T. and William W. E. W. (Wylie) Payne died from a gunshot wound received during a robbery of the Medicine Valley Bank, April 30, 1884. (The Medicine Lodge Cresset, Thursday, May 1, 1884).

W. T. Rouse, County Treasurer, is a native of Missouri; was born in 1859. In 1874, emigrated to Kansas and settled in Sedgwick County on a farm with his mother. In 1879, he went to Barber County, where he attended school seven months, after he which entered the store of Standiford, Youmans & Co., in Medicine Lodge, where kept book two and a half years. He was then elected to the office of County Treasurer, in 1881, for a term of three years. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and the A. O. U. W. He is also a member of the City Council. In 1882, Mr. Rouse was married to Miss May Saunders, of Kansas, by whom he has one child - Horace E. Mrs. Rouse is a member of the Christian Church. She taught school eight years, in Missouri and Kansas. Mr. Rouse owns a residence and ten lots in Medicine Lodge. He is Secretary of the Pioneer Lodge, No. 179, I. O. O. F. Mr. Rouse is a young man of fine business qualifications, and is a true specimen of a self-made man.

S. J. Shepler, Judge of the Probate Court, was born in Pennsylvania, April 13, 1827, and was reared a farmer and received an academic education. At the age of eighteen, he began farming, at which he continued for one year, when he went on the river as engineer, in 1848. This business he followed until 1865, when, having saved up a little money he bought a steamboat on the Missouri River, and engaged in the towing and wood traffic up to 1869, when he lost his boat by the ice. In 1870, he moved to Montgomery County, Kansas, where he engaged in the lumber business, at which he continued until March, 1873, when he disposed of his business and went to Barber County, where he located some land and tried to farm for three years, but made a failure of it. Running for the office of County Clerk in 1875, he was elected and served four years. In 1880, he was elected Probate Judge, and re-elected in 1882. The same year, he was elected Mayor of the city, and re-elected to fill the same office in 1883, and has done something in the real estate business in the city. He owns business property and vacant lots. In 1847, he was married to Miss Hester Frye, of Pennsylvania. “They have six children - Alfonzo V., Thomas F., Eunice C., May, Nora T. and John H.

Eli Smith, druggist, was born in Lorain County, Ohio, in 1845. At the age of eighteen years, enlisted in the army, serving two years in Company F, Twelfth Ohio Volunteer Calvary. In 1870, came to Topeka, Kansas. Engaged in farming one year, then removed to Cowley County, Kansas, and in the fall of 1872 came to Barber County. Engaged in hunting buffalo for four years; has killed a great many, probably from 10,000 to 15,000. In 1876, engaged in the drug business in the town of Medicine Lodge, and has continued in that business ever since. Owns farm and town property; is now building dwelling house on farm. Aided in organizing the county, and has substantially aided all churches and benevolent orders that have been established in Medicine Lodge. Is an Odd Fellow, and a member of the A. O. U. W., and is the present Post Commander of the G. A. R. post at this place. Was married in June, 1867, to Miss Ann E. Cable, at White House, Ohio, and has a family of seven children.

Davinius Van Slyke, stock dealer, was born in Indiana in 1851, and was reared in the drug business. On arriving at the age of fifteen years, he engaged in it on his own account. In 1870, he emigrated to Kansas, stopping at Neosho Falls, where for a short time he accepted a position as clerk in a store. He next entered the employ of a railroad company, acting as a land agent for one year. In the spring of 1873, he settled in Medicine Lodge, and was appointed Postmaster for one term, and then engaged in the drug business; then general merchandise, etc., up to 1881, when he engaged in the stock business, buying and selling, etc. Owns a ranch five miles square, business houses, and a number of farms well improved. He was one of the organizers of the Medicine Valley Bank, and one of its first directors. Mr Van Slyke is a self-made man; He is foremost in all public enterprises, and a leading man in his section of the state.

Edward Youmans, of the firm of Standiford, Youmeans & Rogers, general merchants, was born in New Jersey, in 1836. He was reared in the mercantile business, in which he embarked for himself at the age of twenty years. He came to Kansas in 1857, and opened business in Osawatomie, Miami County, where he continued until 1878, when he came to Medicine Lodge, Barber County, and established his present business. In the mean-time, he was carrying on a farm, and was also in the cattle business for eight years in Miami County. Mr Y. improved two farms of 160 acres each in Miami County. In 1860, he was married to Miss B. J. Standiford, of Missouri. Mrs. Y. is a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Y. is a genial gentleman, full of energy, progressive ideas and public spirit, and has done a great deal toward building up his town, and enthusing his townsmen to the performance of improvements in various directions. He has been, for a number of years, one of the largest cattle men in Southwestern Kansas, and also controls one of the largest commercial houses here.

Andreas, A. T., History of the State of Kansas: Counties, Towns and Villages. (Chicago, 1883) 1521-1524
Contributed by Ed Rucker



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