This is a collection of short biographical sketches submitted by individuals with a link to the Researcher. You are invited to send appropriate sketches of early Atchison County residents for inclusion on this page
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AARON S. BEST
It is meet that considerable space in this history of Atchison County be devoted to the stories of the lives of real pioneers of the county. The old pioneers were the salt of the earth and a stronger or more vigorous race of men never conquered a wilderness. In the class of the real old pioneer settlers, comes Aaron S. BEST, retired farmer of Effingham, Kan. Captain Best has lived in Atchison County for nearly fifty-five years and has seen the country transformed from a vast tract of pasture and grazing land to a region of fertile and productive farms and well built towns and cities. During all these years he has taken an active and prominent part in county affairs, and in his younger days was a political leader in his own neighbornhood.
Arron S. Best was born June 27, 1839 in Clinton County, PA, a son of John W. and Catharine (SHAEFER) Best of German descent and native born and reared in Pennsylvania. John W. Best was born in 1809 and died in 1881. He was the son of Peter Best, a native of Pennsylvania of German parentage. In the year 1860, John W. Best accompanied by his wife and seven children, crossed the country to find a new home in Kansas. He had made a trip to Atchison County in the previous year and after carefully looking over the ground, made up his mind that the country had a great future, and he decided to move his family so as to make a permanent home in Kansas. The Best family arrived in Atchison in March of 1861 and at once moved to a farm in old Monrovia. In June of the same year, the wife and mother died, at the age of forty-five years. The following children were born to John W. Best and wife: Mary and Elvina, deceased, in Pennsylvania; Henry, living at Parr, Tex.; Louis, Luther and Reuben, deceased; Mrs. Henrietta LAMBERSON of Argenty, Ark.; and Michael, deceased.
Aaron Best was twenty-one years of age when the family removed to Atchison Couty. Being a Free State advocate, it was only natural that he take some part in the struggle with finally make Kansas a Free State. When General PRICE's threatened invasion of Kansas seemed imminent, he assisted in raising a company of militia among his neighbors and was chosen captain. This company marched to Westport and took part in the famous engagement which resulted in Price's retreat to the southward. Captain Best was in command of Company F, Twelfth Regiment, Kansas Cavalry. Only two companies of the Twelfth Regiment were under fire and Company F was one of these, Capt. Asa BARNES; company being the other actively engaged. Captain Best's horse was shot from under him and badly crippled.
After coming to Kansas, he spent one year assisting his father on the home farm and then moved to a farm of his own, south of Monrovia, which he developed from raw prairie land to a very productive farm, residing on until 1907 when he rented his land holdings and retired to a comfortable home in Effingham. The first land which Mr. Best owned was bought by his father for $750 and he farmed this on the share plan for six years, after which he paid his father $2,000 for 140 acres. His next purchase was eighty acres of land nearby, and he continued to add to his land possessions until he was the owner of 275 acres in all. In the spring of 1914 Mr. Best sold his farm land for $21,000. His farm was one of the best improved in Atchison County and naturally brought a good round price because of the good condition of the buildings and of the fertility of the soil.
Mr. Best was married in February 1860 to Malinda BRICKER and to this union have been born one son and three daughters as follows: Mrs. Ella Rebecca SHARP living at Helena, Mo., and mother of two children; Albert and Twila; Mrs. Mary C. BONNELL, living on a farm southeast of Effingham and who has eight children, Nellie, Edith, Grace, Ruth, Catherine, Lea, Claude, Malinda; Mrs. Emma WOOD of Council Grove, Kan. and mother of four children, Clara, Beulah, Morris, Ralph, Esther; John a merchant of Monrovia, Kan., father of three children, Leota, Hazel and Blanche. The mother of these children was born in Hanover Township, Daulphin County, Pennsylvania, December 13, 1837 and was a daughter of Joseph and Rebecca (LOHS) Bricker, both of whom were of Pennsylvania German ancestry and died in their Pennsylvania home.
Mr. Best has always been allied with the Republican Party and has been a stanch advocate of Republican principles for a long period of years. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and contribute generously to the support of that denomination. He is fraternally affiliated with the Odd Fellows Lodge and Encampment No. 5, and the Modern Woodmen. Physically and mentally, Mr. Best is a remarkably well preserved man, when one considers his age and the fact that he endured so many hardships in his first struggles to attain to the position of affluence and comfort which he enjoys at present.
History of Atchison County, Kansas
by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916
Clemi Higley Blackburn, July 2001
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