From A Biographical History of Central
Kansas, Vol. I, p. 216
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
The name of Mr. Bobb is inseparably interwoven with the history of Rice county. He is one of its honored pioneers and most esteemed and worthy farmers. He was the first man that plowed land and put in a crop in Rice county, and from that time his labors have continuously demonstrated the possibilities that lie before the agriculturist in this portion of the Sunflower state. He arrived here in January, 1871, bought a tract of land and planted a field of potatoes in March. His first home was a sod house, in which he resided for two years. Buffaloes roamed over the prairies in large herds, deer and antelope could always be killed, and the animals furnished an abundance of meat to the early settlers. Indians were still in the neighborhood, spending much of their time in hunting buffaloes, after which they would tan their hides and use them for clothing or sell to the white men. Such were the conditions which Mr. Bobb found when he emigrated westward and took up his abode in Rice county, here to become an active factor in the development and progress which has since placed the county on a par with any community in the state.
A native of Union county, Pennsylvania, he was born March 7, 1830, and is a representative of a family of Pennsylvania Dutch people, whose chief characteristics were energy, perseverance and fidelity to their word. Daniel Bobb, the father, was born in the Keystone state and was a son of Peter Bobb, also a native of Pennsylvania and a son of a German emigrant, who was the founder of the family in the new world. Daniel Bobb was united in marriage to Sarah Close, also a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Solomon and Sophia (Gift) Close. Their marriage was blessed with seven children, namely: Mary; Aaron, who is now living in Kansas; Phebe; Levi; Joseph, now deceased; Samuel; and Amelia. In 1847 the Bobb family removed from the Keystone state to Illinois, locating in Stephenson county, that state, near Freeport, where the parents spent their remaining days, the mother passing away April 9, 1892, in her eighty-fourth year, while the father’s death occurred May 1, 1893, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. Throughout his entire business career he devoted his energies to farming, and thereby provided a comfortable living for his family. Like his ancestors he was identified with the Lutheran church, to which his wife also belonged. They were people of genuine worth, honest, faithful and reliable, and wherever known their sterling characteristics won them high respect and confidence.
Aaron Bobb, whose name introduces this review, was reared in Pennsylvania until seventeen years of age and was early taught lessons of industry, honesty and persistence. He acquired his education in the public schools, and at the age of nineteen he began serving an apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, which he mastered, becoming a good mechanic. After the removal of the family to Illinois he followed that occupation, and has always been identified with the building interests of Rice county since coming to Kansas. His knowledge of carpentering proved of great value to him in this state, for, far from towns and railroads, he had to depend largely upon his own efforts for everything which he wished not only in an agricultural but also in the mechanical line. His use of tools enabled him to secure improvements much more easily than many of his neighbors who were not familiar with such departments of work.
Mr. Bobb was married in 1856, in St Joseph, Michigan, to Amelia Ann King, who was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of James King. He died in Rice county, Kansas, at the age of eighty-seven years, and his wife, Mrs. Sophia King, passed away in Michigan, at the age of seventy-four. They were farming people and were consistent Christians, holding membership in the Lutheran church. Mr. and Mrs. Bobb took up their domestic life in Michigan, where they remained until 1869, when, believing that better opportunities could be secured in the west, they went to Daviess county, Missouri, where they remained for two years before coming to Kansas. Mr. Bobb walked two hundred miles on making the journey to the Sunflower state, and after viewing the country, being pleased with its prospects, he returned to Missouri for his family, his team and his carpenter tools. Here he secured a tract of wild land and immediately began the improvement of his claim, for not a furrow had been turned. A sod house gave shelter to the family, and there hospitality reigned supreme, the latch-string being always out. A cordial welcome was ever extended to the weary wayfarer, and many of the new comers through Rice county enjoyed the good cheer which pervaded the Bobb home. In September, 1893, Mr. Bobb removed to his present farm, where he now has a large and attractive residence and a commodious barn, together with extensive granaries, containing three thousand bushels of wheat. There are also sheds for the shelter of the stock, cribs for the storing of grain, feed lots, verdant pastures and highly cultivated fields. In fact, everything about the place is in excellent condition, the farm being one of the finest in this portion of the country. It comprises seven hundred and twenty acres of rich land, which yields to him an excellent return for the grain that is each spring planted in the fields. Good groves and orchards add to the value of the place and no improvement of the model farm is lacking.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Bobb was blessed with a family of nine children, six sons and three daughters, namely: James, a farmer who is residing near Noble, Kansas; Mary A, the wife of John Altman, of Rice county; Frank S, who is living in Atlanta township, Rice county; Oscar David, a carpenter of Denver, Colorado; Joseph Calvin, who is employed as a salesman in that city; Charles Alfred, who is living in Oakland, California; Anna S, wife of Clark McFarland, of Miami county, Kansas; John Peter, who was a soldier in the Spanish-American war, and is also engaged in clerking in Denver, Colorado; and Ida Louise, who is now at home with her father. The greatest loss which Mr. Bobb ever sustained was in the death of his wife, which occurred June 16, 1888. She had indeed been a faithful companion and helpmate to him on life’s journey through a period of thirty-two years. She was of even temperament, always genial, never complaining, and was widely loved for her kindness of heart and mind. Her neighbors knew her for a kind and faithful friend, and to her husband and children she was a devoted wife and mother. She belonged to the Lutheran church, and the principles of Christianity permeated her career.
Formerly Mr. Bobb was a supporter of Democratic principles, but is now a Populist. He has reached the psalmist’s span of three score years and ten, but possesses the vigor and appearance of a man much younger. He came to the county with limited means, but as the years have passed has acquired a handsome competence. He owes no man, has a valuable farm free from debt, and his word is as good as his bond, for in all business transactions he is found straight-forward and reliable. He possesses the sterling qualities of the sturdy pioneers who bravely faced the trials and hardships of life on the plains in order to make homes for their families and thus aided in laying the foundation for the present prosperity and progress of this portion of the state.