Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1187
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
One of the fine farms of Rice county is that owned and occupied by Zachariah Hager, an honored pioneer settler whose splendidly improved property is an indication of the honorable, active and useful life which he has led. He today has three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, which surrounds a commodious and comfortable residence. Two large barns furnish shelter for grain and stock and the other necessary outbuildings have also been erected. There are wind pumps, a fine orchard, beautiful grove and richly cultivated fields and every thing about the place is attractive in appearance and indicates the careful supervision of an enterprising owner. Mr Hager has been the architect of his own fortunes and has builded wisely and well.
A native of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, Zachariah Hager was born November 5, 1847, a son of Peter and Hulda (Vansickle) Hager. The father was also a native of the Keystone state and his father was Peter Hager, Sr, who was of Holland-Dutch descent. He became one of the early settlers of Pennsylvania and there followed farming. His children were Thomas, William, Elizabeth, Ann and Peter. The mother died and the father afterward married again, by which union he had seven children: George, Adam, Caroline, Martha, Ann, Samuel and John. Of this family Ann became the wife of A Patterson, who removed to Putnam county, Illinois, afterward went to LaSalle county, that state, and then to Livingston county, where she died in August, 1901.
Peter Hager, the father of our subject, was born and reared in Pennsylvania and subsequently removed to Ohio, but before leaving his native state he wedded Hulda Vansickle, who was born in Virginia, a daughter of Lewis and Eleanor (Dean) Vansickle, the former a native of England, the latter of Wales. They were married, however, in Virginia, where their last days were also spent. At one time her father was very prosperous and owned the land upon which Jersey City is now located, leasing it for one hundred years. The lease has now expired and some of the heirs are trying to settle the title and get what is due them for the land has become very valuable property there and in Maryland. He conducted many profitable speculations and thus became wealthy. His children were: David, who died in the Old Dominion; Zachariah, who also died in Virginia; Polly, the wife of J Yoter; Betsey; Sophia; Ellen, the wife of W Hager and Hulda, the wife of Peter Hager. The parents were members of the Dunkard church.
For some time Peter Hager, the father of our subject, carried on farming in Ohio and then returned to Pennsylvania, whence he made his way to Illinois in 1851. Settling in LaSalle county he there rented a farm for a number of years and in 1866 he purchased eighty acres of land, upon which he resided until his children were grown and had left home. In 1890 he sold that property and retired from active farm labor since which time he has enjoyed a well earned rest. He has now reached the ripe old age of seventy-eight years. He has lived the life of an upright, honest man and an energetic farmer and has thus won public confidence and regard. He had five children: Stephen, a resident farmer of LaSalle county, Illinois; Albert, who is living in Kansas; Zachariah; James B, of Stafford county, Kansas; and Josephine, of Edwards county, Kansas. The mother died in 1882 and the father afterwards married Mrs Martha Patterson, a widow, with whom he is now living.
In taking up the personal history of our subject we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known in Rice county. Although a native of Pennsylvania he was reared in Illinois, having been taken to that state by his parents when about three years of age. He was in the family home in LaSalle county until after he had attained his majority when he started out upon an independent business career. He worked as a farm hand and in the coal mines to some extent and followed other employment that he could secure in order to gain a start in life. At the time of his marriage in 1870 he located upon a rented farm, which he continued to cultivate for eight years, and in 1879 he came to Kansas settling in Rice county. He first purchased an eighty acre tract of land on which he made substantial improvements and there he resided until 1889. In the meantime he had purchased another tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres, all raw prairie, and subsequently he sold his first farm, giving his entire attention to the second farm. To this he has added another quarter section so that he now owns three hundred and twenty acres, constituting the farm described above. It is pleasantly located eight miles from Chase and is a very desirable property. When he came to Kansas he was in limited financial circumstances and during the first few years had a difficult time to get along. He added some to his income by hunting and got also much enjoyment from the sport. All of the settlers were similarly situated financially but they made the best of their opportunities and laid the foundation for the present prosperity and progress of the county. In two successive springs hailstorms destroyed the small grain and the farmers underwent other hardships and trials. Some became discouraged and left the country but those who persevered found Kansas was and is a good place to live and that the man of determination and business ability has no cause to complain here.
Mr Hager has been twice married. In LaSalle county, Illinois, in 1870, he wedded Elizabeth Blackwell, who was there reared, a daughter of Joseph Blackwell, who was born in England but was married in America. He devoted his life to the construction of public works and died in Utica, Illinois. His wife survived him and afterward married Joseph Hammer. By her first marriage she had four children: Jemimi, deceased; Sarah A, the wife of A Hager; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Zachariah Hager; and Zeno, who is living in Oklahoma. By her second marriage Mrs Hammer had five children: Isaac, Rachel, Katie, Joseph and Jasper. By his first marriage Zachariah Hager had nine children, as follows: Chauncey, who is living in the Oklahoma strip; Ida M, the wife of D M Lantz; Luther, a blacksmith of Bushton, Kansas; Paulina, now Mrs Strohmeyer; Libbie, the wife of J Bartlett, a blacksmith of Stafford county, Kansas; Zachariah, who is farming the old homestead; Iva, Evalena and Columbus, all at home. The mother was called to her final rest February 24, 1895, and on the 22nd of October, 1898, Mr Hager was again married, his second union being with Mrs Jennie Brown, a widow, who was born in Missouri, November 26, 1860, and was first married in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr Brown died in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he had gone for the benefit of his health. He was a railroad man, but became ill with consumption and the disease terminated his earthly career. Mrs Hagerís parents were William and Sarah (Dryden) Maxwell, both of whom were natives of Virginia. The father was a carpenter by trade and was an early settler of Missouri, where he afterward engaged in farming. In his last years he retired from active business life and enjoyed a well merited rest. He and his wife both died in Missouri. Their children were: Thomas W; Mattie, the wife of J Meyers; Mrs Mollie Maxwell; John; and Jennie, now Mrs Hager. The mother was a devoted follower of the Methodist church, in which she long held membership.
In his political views, Mr Hager has always been independent, voting for nominees irrespective of party affiliations. He was reared in that faith and on all matters connecting with the welfare of state and nation involving political issues he supports the Democracy, but at local elections where the fitness of the candidate for office is the only consideration he does not regard himself as bound by party ties. His time and attention have been closely given to his farm work and his enterprise and energy have resulted in bringing to him richly merited prosperity.