WILLIAM R. POWELL, of Codell, is one of the very influential citizens of that
part of Kansas, a comparatively young man, but has had a vast range of
experience. His people were among the pioneer settlers of Wallace County.
Mr. Powell was born in South Wales February 10, 1879. His father, E. A. Powell, born at Radnorshire in South Wales in 1842, grew up and married there, and for fourteen years of his early life was employed as a signal man by a railroad company. In 1880 he first came to America, locating on a farm at Ottumwa, Iowa. The following year he went back to Wales and conducted a mercantile business in that country for several years. Selling out, he used the capital realized from this experience to return to the United States in 1884 and buy a farm near Ottumwa. From there he came to Kansas in 1887, locating in Wallace County. He was the first settler between Wallace and Laoti. He homesteaded 160 acres and for seventeen years kept that and farmed, and with true Welsh industry and thrift developed his holdings until he owned 2,020 acres. Later he was for two years a merchant at Barnard, Kansas, and in 1907 he bought a ranch ten miles southeast of Codell and lived there until his death in 1915. As an American citizen he voted republican. Mr. Powell at one time held the office of township trustee. He was a very stanch Baptist, and was an ordained deacon of that church for forty-two years. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. E. A. Powell married in his native land Margaret Davis, born in Radnorshire, in 1844 and died at Codell, Kansas, in 1913. They were the parents of ten children, all except the youngest born in Wales. Edward Albert, the oldest, became a farmer and died in Wallace County, Kansas. Robert died in Wales at the age of nineteen. The third in age is William R. Another son of the same name died in Wales at the age of fourteen. Johanna died in Wales at the age of ten years. Mary Ann died at Little River, Kansas, and was the wife of J. W. Woods, a farmer still living near Little River. Margaret, who died at Barnard, Kansas, married Albert G. Ervin, an engineer with the Santa Fe Railway Company, now residing at Newton, Kansas. Thomas died in Wales at the age of six years. Peter died at the age of thirteen months on a train while the family was coming west, and was buried at Dunkirk, New York. John, who was born in Kirkville, Iowa, is a farmer near Codell.
William R. Powell first attended public school at Glamorganshire, South Wales, and grew to manhood on his father's farm in Wallace County, Kansas. At the age of twenty-one he homesteaded 160 acres, and he farmed that place for sixteen years. During that time he served as postmaster of Dinas and also conducted a country store there for 2 1/2 years. Mr. Powell went to Codell in 1902. Thirty days later he was appointed postmaster of the village by President Roosevelt. Two and a half years later he resigned and helped his father establish a store at Barnard. He remained there eight months and then for two years conducted a short order restaurant at Codell. Mr. Powell in 1906 was appointed a rural mail carrier in Rooks County, and for twelve years has faithfully performed his daily round, and is one of the oldest men in the rural mail service in Western Kansas.
Mr. Powell has been an influential factor in the republican party for several years. During the time of Governor W. E. Stanley he served as sergeant at arms in the State Legislature. He was also sergeant at arms in the National Republican Convention when Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for president. Mr. Powell is a deacon in the Baptist Church, is secretary of Codell Lodge No. 418, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, is past grand of Codell Lodge No. 600, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has been a representative to the Grand Lodge and on the committee of appeal of the Grand Lodge. He is also affiliated with Codell Lodge No. 4064, Brotherhood of American Yeomen.
Mr. Powell was state president of the Kansas Association of Rural Mail Carriers two years, 1914-16, and for eight years has been a delegate to every national convention of the mail carriers. He has a pleasant home in Codell, comprising a residence and three acres of ground.
Mr. Powell married in Wichita County, Kansas, Miss Cora Baldwin, daughter of W. S. and Leah (Byerly) Baldwin. Her parents live at Codell, her father being manager of the creamery station there. Mr. and Mrs. Powell are the parents of four children: Thomas B., who is studying osteopathy while working as a railway mail clerk with headquarters at Kansas City. Bessie is a clerk in the postoffice store at Codell. William E. and Leah are both students in the public schools.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm. Submitted by Jan Simpson Reading of Denver, Colorado