H. H. Karns, of Englevale, is one of the most extensive farmers in this part of the county, and has the further distinction of being the founder of the town of Englevale. He has been in the county since 1880, and while his individual prosperity has greatly increased in these twenty-four years, his own success has visibly affected all the interests in this section of the county, and he has added much to the sum total of general wealth and public progress and upbuilding.
Mr. Karns was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, August 9, 1849, being a son of John H. and Rachel (Hixson) Karns, both of that state. His parents passed all their lives in the state of Pennsylvania, and his father died in 1895 and his mother in 1897.
Mr. Karns enjoyed all his educational privileges at the common schools where he was reared, and the first twenty-one years of his life were spent on the home farm. He then began farming on his own account, and continued his operations in that industry in his native state for several years. In 1880 he sold out and came to Crawford county, Kansas, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land and proceeded to develop a farm. His landed estate now comprises eight hundred acres, and in this as in every other of his undertakings his spirit of progressiveness and enterprise has accomplished excellent results. In 1891 he started the town of Englevale, and in partnership with L. H. Lashley engaged in the lumber, grain and hardware business. He sold out these mercantile interests in 1892 and returned to the farm. In 1902 he opened a coal shaft on his place, and on August 17, 1903, leased it to the Pittsburg Coal Company, which now operates it on a royalty basis. On March 1, 1903, he bought the David Dick place, and a part of it he laid out into town lots, since which time eleven new houses have been erected on this addition to the town.
Mr. Karns is a Populist in politics, and has served in the office of justice of the peace. He affiliates with Lodge No. 481, I. O. O. F., and his family attend the Methodist Episcopal church. He was married August 4, 1870, to Miss Mira Shaffer, a daughter of Isaiah and Sarah Shaffer, of Pennsylvania, but both now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Karns are the parents of the following children: Ida, wife of C. A. Strawalley, weigh boss at the coal shaft; Scott, a farmer in this township; L. B. is now partner in the Pittsburg Coal Company at Englevale, and he is also interested in the large mercantile establishment of the village; Harry is general superintendent of the Pittsburg Coal Company and is also interested in the mercantile trade; and Jessie, Sadie, Irvin, Pearl, Clarence and Hattie, still at home.Pages 597-598 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 Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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