John H. Gould, the well known implement and grain dealer and prominent business man of Opolis, Kansas, has been a leader in the agricultural, commercial and civic life of Crawford county for almost as long a period as any other man in the county. He made settlement near the present site of Opolis in the year 1868, which was a pioneer time in the history of the region thereabouts. Stock-raising was then the most profitable line of business, and he grazed his herds without let or hindrance over the fertile prairies for some years, wire fences and osage hedges furnishing no barrier in those days to the herdsman's free range. He accordingly was a witness and a real part of the development and material progress which went on so rapidly during the latter third of the past century, and his business interests have kept pace with the country's growth. Furthermore, his activity has not stopped with individual success, but has found a broad scope in the public affairs of his community, and he has devoted himself public-spiritedly and disinterestedly to the advancement of the welfare of the county's institutions.
Mr. Gould was born in Adams county, Illinois, in 1839, being a son of Benjamin and Rebecca (Jones) Gould. His father was a native of Connecticut, whence he came west to Illinois and Adams county in the early year of 1832. He was a prosperous farmer, and attained to a great age, his death occurring in Hancock county, Illinois, when he was ninety-one years old. His wife was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and died in Adams county, Illinois, at the age of seventy-five.
Mr. John H. Gould was reared to manhood and had the experiences of youth and his educational advantages while living on the farm in Adams county. In August, 1862, he enlisted, at Chicago, in Company C, Seventy-second Illinois Infantry, that regiment being attached to the Army of the Tennessee. He was at the battles of Champion Hill, at Franklin, Tennessee, and other engagements in the latter state and in Mississippi, and was also present at the siege of Vicksburg. During the winter of 1864-5 he was a prisoner in the Andersonville prison, and after his release from this pen he received his honorable discharge and returned home.
In 1868 Mr. Gould came out to Crawford county, and as this has been his home ever since he is certainly one of the old-timers. He located in the southeast corner of the county, where Opolis now stands situate, and he still owns a farm adjoining this town. He came to this county with his brother-in-law, E. B. Hoyt, whose history is given on other pages of this work. The two were engaged quite extensively for some years in the cattle business, and had large interests about Opolis. In 1882 Mr. Gould moved from his farm into Opolis, where he engaged in the grain and implement business. The town had received a great impetus from the construction of the railroad through it in that year, and has since been one of the thriving towns of Crawford county. In addition to his property in Crawford county, Mr. Gould owns a farm across the state line in Missouri.
Mr. Gould's prominence in local affairs began during the first years of his residence here and has continued to the present. He has been a justice of the peace, township treasurer, notary public, was postmaster for four years under President Harrison, and has been president of the school board for twenty years.
Mr. Gould was first married in Adams county, Illinois, to Miss S. J. Hoyt. She died in 1867, leaving one child, who is now Mrs. Jennie B. Michie. Mr. Gould's present wife, Sarah E. (Michie) Gould, is a native of Canada. They have five children: Mrs. Emily R. Wilson; Mrs. Ina E. Bateman, John B. Gould, Mrs. Edith L. Lyngar and Frank Leslie Gould.Pages 205-207 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Joana Joseph and Hazel Hibbs, students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in January, 2003.
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