Joe Disser came to Arkansas City some time around 1870 or maybe a little earlier, The story handed down was that he rode into Ark City on an Indian Pony and the grass on Summit Street was higher than his head as he sat on the horse. This means that he was a very early settler and it was in the fall of the year to have the bluestem grass that tall.
The Disser Family
He had come from Indiana where his family had settled after immigrating from Alsace-Lorraine, between France and Germany. He spoke German. He had served in the Union Army in the Civil War and upon returning to Indiana, he found that his father had passed away and his brothers had inherited all the land. Joe was left with a team of horses and boot making tools. The message was clear. Go West!
He homesteaded the NW quarter of Section 10 where his great-grandson now farms. From a claim shanty located south and a little east of the present house, he worked his 160 acre farm and traveled into Ark City every day to operate his boot making shop on Summit Street.
South of the current farmstead was an orchard and a grape vineyard. He marketed the fruit in town and made some rather notable wine from the grapes. Most of these planting died out during the 1930's.
He raised four daughters from two marriages. The oldest daughter was losephine and married Blain Kirkpatric and stayed on the home quarter. The Kirkpatrics had five children, three boys and two girls. The two oldest boys, Merrit and Max went to Alaska as aviators. The youngest boy, Rolland, died as he reached manhood and was starting his farming career. The oldest daughter, Alice, married Bob McMichael and lived in the Chicago area. The youngest daughter, Lois, married Russell Lewis from Silverdale and lived on the home place.
The Lewis' had three children, Kay who lives in Alabama, Lois who lives in Missouri, and Mick who lives on the home place and is married to the former Barbara King. King being another early pioneering family in the area.
Mick and Barbara have two children, Danni who is attending Kansas University and Matt who is in the public schools in Ark City. The Lewis farm was named a century farm by the Farm Bureau in the 1970's and it was also named the oldest farm in Cowley County to be owned and operated by the same family for its entire history. The ghosts of the past are always present when succeeding generations pursue the same business in the same place with the same assets.
Submitted by Mick Lewis
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 155.
Tom & Carolyn Ward, Columbus, KS