Butler County,  Kansas



E. A. Shriver, a successful hardware dealer at Towanda, Kans., is a native son of Butler county, having been born in Towanda township in 1873. He is a son of Joshua Shriver, a Butler county pioneer, further mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume. E. A. Shriver was reared on a farm in Towanda township and attended school at district No. 37 and the Towanda High School. He remained on the home farm until he was twenty-four years old, when he began clerking in the hardware store of Patterson Brothers at El Dorado and remained with that firm for six years. In 1904 he engaged in the hardware business in partnership with A. J. Glass at Towanda, under the firm name of Shriver & Glass. This concern had a successful business from the start and each year has shown an increase of patronage and they now have one of the extensive hardware stores of Butler county. They carry a complete line of hardware, paints, wire and farm, implements, including the McCormick harvesting machinery. The reliableness of this firm and their straight forward method of doing business has won the confidence and patronage of hundreds of satisfied customers in Towanda and vicinity.

Mr. Shriver was united in marriage in 1898 to Miss Olive Glass, a daughter of James Glass, a native of Indiana, who settled in Butler county in the eighties. He died at Towanda in 1908 and his remains were buried in the El Dorado cemetery. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Olive Wood, was also a native of Indiana, and died in Butler county in 1895. To Mr. and Mrs. Shriver have been born four children, as follows: James, who died at the age of two years; Josephine, Harry and Garner.

Mr. Shriver is a lceen and progressive business man and takes an active interest in all matters tending for the civic or commercial betterment of Towanda and Butler county. He is a thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine. He is also fraternally identified with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Fraternal Citizens.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Page 541)


Joshua Shriver, of Towanda, Kans., is a veteran of the Civil war and a Kansas pioneer who has spent over forty-five years of his life in Butler county. He was born at Elkhart, Ind., in 1841, and is a son of Daniel and Lavina (Nuzum) Shriver, both natives of Virginia, who removed to Indiana at an early date. The following children were born to Daniel and Lavina (Nuzum) Shriver: Joshua, the subject of this sketch; William, Elkhart, Ind.; Rufus, Elkhart, Ind.; Frank, Peabody, Kans.; Anne (deceased); Mrs. Matilda Hoover, Peabody, Kans.; Mrs. Phoebe Lambert, Goshen, Ind.; John (deceased), and Noah (deceased).

Joshua Shriver spent his boyhood days in his native State and was educated in the public schools of Elkhart. About the time he reached his majority he enlisted at Elkhart, Ind., in Company E, Seventy-fourth Indiana infantry, serving from 1862 until June, 1865, when he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis on account of the close of the war, after having served about three years. His career as a soldier was an active one and he participated in many important battles of that great struggle, as well as a number of lesser engagements and minor skirmishes. He was at the battle of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta campaign. He was at the battle of Jonesboro, and the constant series of engagements on Sherman's march, beginning with the battle of Resaca, and when the war closed he was at Goldsborough, N. C. While Mr. Shriver's military career-was an unusually hazardous one, he escaped without an injury and never spent a day in a hospital.

At the close of the war Mr. Shriver returned to Goshen, Ind., where he was engaged in farming for about six years, and in 1871 came to Kansas, locating in Towanda township, Butler county, about one and a half miles east of Towanda. Here he homesteaded 160 acres and engaged in farming. He broke the prairie and converted his place into one of the productive farms of Butler county, and was engaged in farming and stock raising until 1913, when he removed to Towanda, where he is now living in retirement. Mr. Shriver-has well earned the title of pioneer and is one of the men who had faith in the future of Kansas during its days of uncertainty, and in recording the story of these men, a work of this character is fulfilling its most important function.

Mr. Shriver was married in 1868 to Miss Nannie McGuffin, of Goshen, Ind. She was a daughter of James McGuffin and Sarah (Stuart) McGuffin, natives of Indiana and of Scotch descent. To Mr. and Mrs. Shriver have been born the following children: Charles, Leon, Kans.; John, Pine Bluff, Ark.; E. A., hardware merchant, Towanda, Kans., a sketch of whom appears in this volume; Fred G., Towanda, Kans.; James, farming the home place in Towanda township; Mrs. Ella Oten, McPherson, Kans.; Mrs. Bertha Stewart, Benton, Kans., and Mrs. Nellie Bishop, Amarillo, Tex.

Mr. Shriver has been in poor health for the last few years, having been afflicted with partial paralysis since 1912. However, his mind is as clear as ever, and his recollection of the pioneer days in Butler county is most vivid, and he tells in an interesting and entertaining way the many adventures and experiences of the early day pioneers who laid the foundation of Butler county, as one of the foremost political subdivisions of the Kansas of today and the future. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 541-542)


Matsy Braley, an extensive contractor and builder, of Towanda, Kans., who is also interested in farming and stock raising, is a native of Ohio, and has lived in Butler county since 1873. He is a son of Joel S. and Marilla (Kelly) Braley, both natives of Meigs county, Ohio. They were the parents of two children, as follows: Mrs. Theora Davis, who resides in Towanda township, and Matsy, the subject of this sketch.
The Braley family came to Butler county in 1873, when Matsy, whose name introduces this sketch, was fourteen years old. They located on the southwest quarter of section 15, Towanda township. Here the father engaged in farming and stock raising and followed that occupation until his death in December, 1899, and his widow resides on a place which they purchased some years after locating in Towanda township, and which adjoins the original homestead.

Matsy Braley received his education in the public school at Towanda oand recalls among his early teachers, Calvin Rayburn, Josie Dutton, R. S. Miller, Vol. P. Mooney and Miles Jacoby. The old school house where he attended school has long since disappeared, and the place which it occupied is now the site of Porter's barn. After leaving school Mr. Braley learned the carpenter trade and has followed carpenter work and contracting quite extensively in Towanda and vicinity. He has built a number of residences in Towanda, including those of O. L. Thomas, Collins Sarder, J. W. Tucker and Art Reeves. Mr. Braley also carries on farming and stock raising on his 240-acre farm, which is situated one-half mile south of Towanda, and is one of the successful agriculturalists of Towanda township.

When Mr. Braley came to Butler county with his parents, the real pioneer conditions of Butler county prevailed. Dried buffalo meat was on sale for ten cents per pound, and many things that happened in those early days made lasting impressions on his mind. He remembers when the country was swept by grasshoppers in 1874, when everything in sight was destroyed. He says that they had a young orchard of 200 peach trees and that the grasshoppers not only ate the leaves, but stripped the little trees of bark. The following year, however, new sprouts came up from the roots and the trees eventually developed, seemingly none the worse from the effects of the grasshopper treatment.

Mr. Braley is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Knights of Pythias, holding membership in both of these lodges at Towanda, Kans. He is a progressive and public spirited citizen and is ever ready to co-operate with any movement for the betterment of his town, county or State.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Page 543)


Bishop Brothers - This enterprising and progressive firm is composed of Emmet and James Bishop, and they rank among the successful dealers in Percheron horses and Holstein cattle of Butler county. Both Emmett and James Bishop were born in Benton county, Arkansas, and their parents both died when the boys were very young. James was taken by an uncle who resided in Missouri, and was reared to manhood and educated there. Emmett was reared in Arkansas and was educated in the public schools of Benton county. In 1891, he located in Bates county, where he followed farming until February, 1899; he then went to the State of Washington, where he remained until November of that year, when he came to Butler county, and he and his brother James entered the employ of J. C. Robison at the Whitewater Falls stock farm. After remaining there about a year the two brothers went to Oklahoma to harvest a crop of wheat which they had there, after which they returned to Kansas, making Towanda their permanent home.

James entered the general store of M. Orban, Jr., as a clerk and Emmet entered the employ of the D. M. Osborne Machine Company, and was on the road for that company for two years and then entered the employ of the J. I. Case Company, of Racine, Wis., traveling for that company four years. While Emmet was on the road, James begail to deal in Percheron horses, in a small way, and in 1908 was joined by his brother, Emmet, and the partnership which was formed at that time still exists. J. C. Robison had an interest in the business up to that time, but in 1909 Bishop Brothers became the exclusive owners.

The Bishop Brothers have been unusually successful in their venture and are among the representative Percheron horse dealers of the State. They usually have on hand about seventy-five head of Percheron horses and their farm, three and one-half miles southeast of Towanda, and stables, located at Towanda, are well equipped and adapted to this line of business. During the past year they have added a new feature to their business and are rapidly building up a trade as dealers in Hol-stein cattle, and now have on hand about 150 head of pure bred and high grade animals. They have 320 acres of land, about half of which they reserve for pasture and the other half is under a high state of cultivation. The Bishop Brothers are among the leading horse and cattle men of the county.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 543-544)


Mrs. Rebecca Hammond, widow of the late Isaac Hammond, is one of the noble pioneer women of Butler county. She was born in Summit county, Ohio, in 1843, and was reared and educated there. Her father, Jacob Isenberger, was also a native of Ohio, and belonged to one of the pioneer families of that State. The late Isaac Hammond was a native of England and immigrated to America with his parents who settled in Illinois when he was four years old. Here he grew to manhood, was educated in the public schools, and remained on the home farm until the Civil war broke out, when he enlisted in an llinois regiment, and served until the close of the war. After receiving his honorable discharge from the army, he returned to his home in Hancock county, Illinois, where he and Miss Rebecca Isenberger were united in marriage, pursuant to their engagement which had taken place before Mr. Hammond enlisted in the army.

In the spring of 1871, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond came to Butler county, Kansas, driving the entire distance from Illinois, with a team and prairie schooner. They camped on the banks of the Whitewater, and Mrs. Hammond remained with the wagon while her husband rode over the surrounding country in search of a suitable claim. It was several days before he found one which was satisfactory, but one night upon his return, he told his wife that he had found a location. She had told him before he started out that, in making his selection, he must pick a good claim for she said, "When I settle on a place I'll never leave it." Fortunately Mr. Hammond did make a good selection, and it was the family home for thirty-seven years. They immediately proceeded to their claim, and lived in a tent there, made of their wagon cover, from May 1 to August 17. They began farming and stock raising on their claim and prospered, and at the time of his death in August, 1908, Mr. Hammond owned 800 acres of land which is still owned by the family. He was an industrious and capable business man and a progressive citizen; and a man who made the world better, for having lived in it. To Mr. and Mrs. Hammond have been born the following children: Walter, died at the age of twenty-eight; Mrs. Jennie Valentine, Greeley, Colo.; Harry, farmer, Augusta; Sydney, farmer, Augusta; Ike, farmer, Augusta ; Gladys, died in infancy, and Ray, farmer, Towanda.

Mrs. Hammond resides at Augusta where she and her husband had lived for some time prior to his death. She is enjoying excellent health, and is unusually well preserved for a woman of her age. She does her own housework and is as active mentally and physically as the average person of forty or fifty. Mrs. Hammond has seen much of the life and development of Butler county, and she can relate many interesting reminiscences of pioneer days. On one occasion their house caught fire while she was some distance away for a pail of water. When she saw the fire it immediately occurred to her that one of her children was asleep upstairs in the house, and she lost no time in getting the child out of its dangerous predicament, and then she proceeded to extinguish the fire with melted snow water which she had prepared the day before for the weekly washing.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 544-545)


Isaac Newton Walton Mooney, a member of one of the pioneer families of Butler county, who settled at Towanda nearly half a century ago, is a native of Illinois. He was born in 1859, an^ is a son of Rev. Isaac Mooney, a more extensive sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. Isaac N. W. Mooney was one of the following children born to his parents: S. R., Towanda, Kans.; Vol. P., El Dorado, Kans.; Margaret (deceased); Mrs. Celia Swiggett, Wichita, Kans.; Isaac N. W., the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Sarepta Spaulding, Benton township; Joseph, Wichita, and Mrs. Luella Orbon, Whittier, Cal.

Mr. Mooney received his education in the public schools of Butler county, first attending a log school house, furnished with plain, rough benches. A Mr. McFarland was the first teacher here. Mr. Mooney followed the mercantile business in Chase county, Kansas, for about eight years, when he went to Stevens county, Kansas, and homesteaded a claim. He conducted a grocery store at Hugoton, Kans., and was there during the stirring days of the county seat fight between Hugoton and Woodsdale, the affair ending in the shooting of Samuel Wood by Sam Brehnan. Mr. Mooney went from Stevens county to Colorado, where he remained about two years, and in 1890 returned to Towanda, Kans. In 1897 he was appointed postmaster by President McKinley, and faithfully and efficiently discharged the duties of that office until February 15, 1915. He has been identified more or less with Towanda and Butler county since his boyhood.

Mr. Mooney was united in marriage September 23, 1885, to Miss Jane A. Turner, of Towanda. She is a daughter of John and Agnes (Elwood) Turner, natives of Grasmere, England. They were pioneers of Butler county, coming here in 1874, locating near Towanda, on the west side of the Whitewater. The father died in 1883, and the mother passed away in 1908, and their remains are buried in the Towanda cemetery. To Mr. and Mrs. Mooney have been born three children, the eldest of whom died in infancy, and the others are as follows: Eulala died at the age of eleven years, and Myrtle, married William Bloir, of Towanda township, and they have three children, Vinita, Olive and Clifford.

Mr. Mooney is a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Fraternal Citizens, and he and Mrs. Mooney are members of the Christian church. Mr. Mooney and his wife have grown up with Butler county, and are familiar with many reminiscences of pioneer days. They suffered considerable loss from the cyclone which struck Towanda and vicinity in 1892. Their residence was completely destroyed and much of their household goods was blown away and destroyed, and Mrs. Mooney was severely injured. The family Bible, which had been a present to Mrs. Mooney a year before the cyclone, was one of the articles which they found in the neighborhood after the storm, and its pages still bear mute testimony of the wind and rain of that memorable, devastating storm. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 545-546


Daniel Mosier, a Butler county pioneer, who has spent nearly half a century of his life in Towanda township, is a native of Fulton county, Illinois. He was born in 1855, and is a son of Daniel and Amanda (Farris) Mosier, both natives of Ohio. The Mosier family consisted of the following children who grew to maturity: Jonas L., Towanda township; Daniel, the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Florence Graves, Fair Valley, Woodward county, Okla.; Mrs. Eva Thomas, Towanda township, and Miles who died in Towanda township in 1914.

The Mosiers came to Kansas and located in Towanda township, Butler county, in the spring of 1868, and the father bought a place about a mile west of where the town of Towanda is now located, and here they began life under primitive conditions common to a new and unsettled country. For a time they lived in a cabin, 10x12 feet, which had been built on the claim by a man named Hager. This was a very early day in the settlement of Butler county, and the conveniences and comforts of ordinary civilized communities were sadly lacking. In 1869 four of the Mosier children, Sarah, Laura, Elisha and Arena, died of scarlet fever.

In 1867 there were no schools in the section where the Mosiers settled, but shortly afterward the settlers hauled lumber from Emporia, which was the trading point for the early settlers on the Whitewater, and built a school house, which later became known as District No. 16 school, and here Daniel Mosier, his wife and children were educated. Daniel Mosier on one occasion with his brother was on foot hunting the cattle on the prairie and got lost. Their dog kept running ahead and then back to them, indicating that he knew the way. At last they decided to follow him, and he led them safely home. There were few-settlers here when the Mosiers came, Mr. Mosier being able to recall only two, Anthony Davis and Daniel Cupp, who lived in this vicinity prior to 1867. Harrison Sterns and his family came at the same time that the Mosiers did, and Richard Jones and family, wife and two children, came in the fall of 1868 and lived with Harrison Sterns in his 10x12 cabin and they cooked on their fire place and got along with as little, or even less, friction than people would nowadays in more commodious quarters. They really did not have sufficient room for very much trouble. Other settlers followed close after the Mosiers, including the Jones, Green and Lytle families, and Mr. Lytle built the first grist mill in that section, which was located on what is now the Higgins farm, and did considerable custom work for the early settlers and was of great convenience to them. Later the mill was swept away by a flood.

Mr. Mosier recalls the time when the first self-rake reaper was brought into the settlement. Mr. Jones was the purchaser, and during the first season he operated his machine night and day, harvesting grain for the settlers. Mr. Mosier was here during the Indian scare of i868r when James Kelly and his brother brought in the report that the Cheyennes were on the warpath and that a band of warriors was coming down the Whitewater on an expedition of murder and pillage. After considerable preparation and much excitement and fear, the report was found to be unfounded, as were many similar reports in the early days.

Mr. Mosier was united in marriage with Adelia Jones, of Towanda, the marriage ceremony being performed by W. H. Fitch. Mrs. Mosier was a daughter of Richard and Elsie Jane (Snodgrass) Jones, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Indiana. The Jones family came to Kansas in 1868, locating in Towanda, Butler county. Mrs. Mosier was one of a family of seven children, the others being as follows: R. M., Towanda; D. A. resides on the old homestead; G. M. Fort Cobb, Okla.; E. L., Forgan, Okla.; Mrs. Margaret Brown, Forgan, Okla., and Mrs. Berintha Hill, Custer, Okla.

Mr. and Mrs. Mosier are the parents of the following children, all of whom are living at home: Earl, Vera, Myrtle, Andrew, Glenn, Lena and Lloyd.

Mr. Mosier is one of the extensive farmers and stock raisers of Towanda township, and has fed cattle quite extensively, which he has found to be a very profitable enterprise. He owns 305 acres, which is considered one of the best farms in Towanda township. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Lodge No. 163, and has been a member of that organization since 1893. His son, Earl, is a member of the same lodge. Mr. Mosier is one of the leading farmers of Towanda township and well and favorably known throughout Butler county.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 546-548)


J. L. Mosier, of Towanda township, came to Butler county with his parents forty-nine years ago, when he was a lad of fourteen. His first experiences in the new country were at a time of life when the new conditions and unusual experiences of pioneer life made vivid and lasting impressions on his mind. He remembers many instances and recounts with accuracy and detail events of the early days which are both important and entertaining to the present and future generations. J. L. Mosier is a son of Daniel and Amanda (Farris) Mosier, who settled in Towanda township with their family in 1867. The father followed farming and met with a reasonable degree of success, and spent his life in Towanda township. He died in 1907, the mother having preceded him in death by five years. For a more extended history of the Mosier family, see sketch of Daniel Mosier elsewhere in this volume.

J. L. Mosier received his education in the public schools of Fulton county, Illinois, which was the place of his birth, and after coming to Butler county attended school in District No. 16, the school house there having been built after the Mosier family settled in that vicinity. His first teacher was Mrs. Clara Priest and later Judge Vol. P. Mooney taught in that district. The Mosier family located about two miles northwest of Towanda, and at that time the Towanda postoffice was located about a half mile north and west of the present town site and Mrs. Sam Fulton was postmistress. Settlers living in the vicinity of Wichita, or where the city of Wichita is now located, got their mail here at that time. James R. Mead kept a little store on the present site of Towanda. When the Mosiers settled in this section there were only four other families within a radius of ten miles, which were the Davis family, James Kelly, Samuel Van and Daniel Cupp.

J. L. Mosier has made farming and stock raising his life's work and has met with more than ordinary success. In addition to his grain farming, he raises horses, cattle and poultry, and owns a valuable farm of 320 acres, which includes the old Mosier homestead. He is unmarried. Mr. Mosier is a member of the Anti Horse Thief Association and the Knights of Pythias. Mrs. Eva Thomas, a sister of J. L. Mosier, resides with him, and is his housekeeper. She was born on the Mosier homestead, and when a child attended the school in District No. 16. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Page 548)


J. R. Ralston, Civil war veteran and Butler county pioneer ,has been a resident of this county for forty-seven years. He was born in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1848, a son of Andrew and Ellen (Paxton) Ralston, natives of Scotland, who were the parents of the following children: Mrs. Ellen McKnight, Chetopa, Kans.; Mrs. Mary Wicks, Bartlesville, Okla.; Lizzie, Fowler, Cal.; Andrew J., Towanda, Kan.; Robert R., Canon City, Col.; J. R., the subject of this sketch; John, deceased; Margaret, deceased, and Sarah, deceased.

The Ralson family removed from Ohio to Illinois at an early date, and J. R. was educated in the common schools of Warren county, Illinois, and at the early age of sixteen he enlisted in Company K, Sixty-fourth Illinois infantry, in March, 1864, at Chicago, Ill., under Colonel Morrel. He was first sent to Alabama and a week later joined Sherman's march to the sea and participated in the following engagements: Resaca, Dalton, Snake Creek Gap, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain and the Atlanta campaign, and on July 22, 1864, received a gunshot wound in the shoulder in the last mentioned engagement. He was in the campaign in pursuit of Hood and Served under General McPherson at Atlanta. After the close of the war he was mustered out of service at Louisville, Ky., July 11, 1865. He then returned to Illinois, and, after remaining in Livingston county for a short time, he went to Monmouth, and in 1868 came to Kansas and took up a claim of government land in Towanda township, Butler county. The following year he disposed of his interest in that claim and pre-empted a quarter section two and a half miles southwest of Towanda, which has been his home for the past forty-seven years. He took this land from its raw prairie state and soon made of it one of the best improved farms to be found in that section of the county. The place is well improved with a good residence, farm buildings, silo, etc. Mr. Ralston has followed both general farming and stock raising and has met with considerable success as a feeder. He also raises large numbers of hogs, specializing in the Duroc Jerseys. He is one of the successful alfalfa raisers of the county, usually having about fifty acres devoted to this crop.

Mr. Ralston was married in 1879, to Miss Ida Bennett, of Towanda, Kan., a daughter of a Butler county pioneer, who settled in Towanda township in 1871. To Mr. and Mrs. Ralston have been borne ten children, as follows: Albert E., Antelope, Kan.; Edna J., at home; Ella M., at home; Mrs. Bessie Wood, Towanda, Kan.; Renwick P., Towanda, Kan.; Ray, Augusta, Kan.; Mary, Clarence and Edith, all at home, and Lillian B., deceased.

Mr. Ralston had many experiences in the early days in Butler county. Coming here at a time when this section of the State was in almost its primitive condition, he had an opportunity to witness the formative period and watch the development of Butler county for nearly half a century. When he first came here game of all kinds was plentiful. There were lots of deer and small game, but the great herds of buffalo were beginning to move westward. He experienced many of the Indian scares of the early days. He recalls an early instance when the Cheyennes were on the warpath and the residents of Towanda expected an attack from these hostile Indians at any time, and on that occasion he and three others, Tim Pete, Andy J. Ralston and a Mr. Brown stood guard around the town all one night.

Mr. Ralston is well and favorably known in Butler county and is one of its substantial citizens. He has done his part nobly and well in the building up and development of the "State of Butler" and is deserving of much credit for the part he has taken in times of peace as well as in the stirring days of the Civil war. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 549-550)


A. W. Steams, a Civil war veteran and pioneer newspaper man, has been a resident of Butler county since 1868. Mr. Steams was born in Fulton county, Illinois, in 1845, and is a son of J. G. and Mary J. (Wilson) Steams, both natives of New York, the former of Chautauqua county and the latter of Cayuga county. The father was born in 1818, and the mother in 1823. They were the parents of the following children: Mrs. Georgia Mitchell (deceased); Mrs. Victoria Schrader, Albany, Ore.; Mrs. A. Kirby, Massilla Park, N. M.; Z. A., Seling, Okla.; E. B. (deceased), and A. W., the subject of this sketch.

A. W. Steams had the advantages of a good education, having attended the public schools of Fulton county, and was a student in the high school at Peoria, Ill., when the Civil war broke out. He was then only sixteen years of age, but was among the first to respond to the President's call for defenders of the Union. Although a mere boy, he enlisted in Company G, Eleventh Illinois cavalry, under Col. Robert G. Ingersoll. Mr. Steams was with his regiment at the battle of Shiloh and served through the Vicksburg campaign. He was with Sherman on his march to the sea, and participated in the siege of Atlanta and took part in many hard fought battles and a countless number of skirmishes and minor engagements. He was lightly wounded by a sharpshooter at Columbia, S. C, the ball grazing his neck and making quite an ugly and disagreeable flesh wound. After Lee's surrender, Mr. Stearns's command marched north through the Carolinas and on to Washington, where they participated in the grand review. He was mustered out of service at Louisville, Ky., in August, 1865, and returned to Peoria, Ill., where he completed his high school course. He was then engaged as a clerk in a book store for two years, and in 1868 came to Kansas and took a homestead on the Whitewater river, where he homesteaded a quarter section, which he still owns. He followed farming here for sixteen years, when, on account of failing health, he went to El Dorado Springs, Mo., and shortly afterwards engaged in the newspaper business there, publishing the El Dorado "Tribune" for five years. After remaining in Missouri about twelve years, he returned to Towanda and for a time was connected with the Towanda "News." He was editor of that paper for one year. He has also done considerable newspaper work for the Walnut Valley "Times" and other newspapers, but for the past few years he has been engaged in farming and stock raising on his old homestead in Towanda township. He is one of the few still living on their original homesteads in Butler county.

Mr. Steams was married at Fulton, Ill., in 1868, to Miss Mary E. Geyer, who died at Wichita, February 18, 1888, leaving two children, as follows: Joseph A., who is connected with the Wichita Beacon and Grace B., the wife of Dr. Lowery, a prominent physician and surgeon of Excelsior Springs, Mo. Mr. Steams married for his second wife, Mrs. Fannie Jett, of El Dorado Springs, Mo. Mrs. Jett is the mother of two children by her former marriage: B. P. Jett, of Towanda, Kans., and Walter P. Jett, of Nardin, Okla.

Mr. Steams is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic. His life has been marked by experiences out of the ordinary, as a soldier and pioneer.

He came to Butler county almost at the beginning, and had an opportunity to witness the growth and development of this county almost from its dawn and has had an opportunity and an inclination to observe the trend of events during the formative period of Butler county. He is one of the best posted men on local history in his section of the county and takes a commendable pride and interest in doing his part towards the perpetuation of the history of his locality, that future generations may know something of the trials and hardships incident to reclaiming a broad expanse of waste and building such a county as Butler is today. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 550-551)


O. E. Torrey, manager of "East View" dairy farm, near Towanda, Kan., is one of the progressive and up-to-date dairy men of Butler county. Mr. Torrey is a native of this county and was born in 1892. He is a son of Albert and Susie (Varner) Torrey, the former a native of Wisconsin and the latter of Iowa. They were the parents of four children, as follows: Mrs. Effie Fresh, Potwin, Kans.; Mrs. Mamie Whiteside, Towanda, Kans.; Mrs. Vesta Larlie, Whitewater, Kans., and O. E., the subject of this sketch.

O. E. Torrey received his preliminary education in the public schools of Butler county and then attended Friend's University at Wichita, and Owensboro College at Owensboro, Ky. He then took a course in the Mills Business College at Wichita, Kans., after which he was engaged in general farming for two years. In 1914, he engaged in the dairy business on an extensive scale on the "East View" dairy farm, which is located one-half mile north of Towanda. This is, no doubt, the most modern dairy farm in Butler county, and it can be truthfully stated that the place is equipped with the most modern methods for handling this important branch of industry. Mr. Torrey has installed a milking machine, which is, perhaps the first apparatus of the kind to be successfully operated in Butler county. The device is capable of milking three cows at a time and is operated by a gasoline engine, and all other fixtures and conveniences about the place for the purposes of conducting a modern sanitary dairy farm are in thorough keeping with the plan of this marvelous milking machine. "East View" dairy farm consists of 400 acres, and Mr. Torrey entered the dairy business there with twenty-five head of high-grade Holstein cows and shortly afterward increased the number to forty. Besides his extensive dairy business, he deals in dairy cows, and usually has on hand about 125 head. He is gradually raising the standard of his stock and eventually expects to have only pure bred stock. He ships the product of his dairy to the Wichita market, where he receives the highest price, as he has already established a standard of excellence for his products on the market.

Mr. Torrey was married July 17, 1914, to Miss Eleanor Gillespie, of Towanda, Kans. She was born in Towanda township and is a daughter of F. P. and Kate L. (Clancy) Gillespie. By a former marriage to Mrs. Sarah Fouch, Mr. Gillespie had three children, as follows: Mrs. Martha Ramsey, of Chelsea; W. E. Gillespie, Kansas City, Mo.; and Mrs. Grace G. Lemon, Denver, Col. F. P. Gillespie and Miss Kate L. Clancy were married at El Dorado, Kans., in 1893, and to this union, one child was born, Eleanor, the wife of O. E. Torrey.

F. P. Gillespie was a native of Newcastle, Pa., born in 1842. He came to Kansas in 1883and died on his farm in Towanda township in 1907. During his lifetime F. P. Gillespie was a prominent factor in the business and political life of Butler county. At one time he owned that section of the city of El Dorado, known as Walnut Hill, which he platted into town lots and sold at a good profit. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of El Dorado and was its first cashier, the first president being John Fouch. They erected the building on the southeast corner of Main and Central, where the Citizens National Bank is now located. In 1893 he purchased the farm in Towanda township which is now the East View dairy farm. He took a prominent part in political. affairs and served two terms in the Kansas legislature, the sessions of 1896 and 1898, and was prominent in the legislation of those sessions. He introduced the guarantee banking law and ably assisted in placing that act on the statute books of Kansas. He was a Presbyterian, and was a dominant factor in giving that denomination a substantial and permanent organization in El Dorado. Prior to her marriage to Mr. Gillespie, Miss Kate L.. Clancy was cashier of the Bank of El Dorado and a prominent figure in the banking life of Butler county.(History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 551-552)


William H. Morrison, now deceased, was an early settler in Walnut township, and a Butler county pioneer, who contributed his part to the development of Butler county, from a barren plain to one of the great agricultural and industrial subdivisions of the State. William H. Morrison was born in Hawkins county, Tennessee, September 29, 1827, and died at his home in Walnut township, May 20, 1912. He belonged to a prominent Tennessee family, and was a nephew of Governor McMenn, of that State.

In 1870, Mr. Morrison came to Butler county, Kansas, locating four miles northeast of Douglass at Walnut City, a little settlement which at that time had a store, blacksmith shop, and a few residences. He bought a relinquishment of a claim on a quarter section of land from a Mr. Lord, for which he paid $600. Later he bought eighty acres of land for $500, which was his home until the time of his death. When he settled on the claim, there were no improvements, with the exception of a small cabin, and the country was not very thickly settled at that time. He engaged in general farming and stock business, and later built a commodious farm residence and also erected a large barn on the place, adding other improvements until he had one of the "best improved farms in that section of the county. He was an industrious and thrifty citizen, and by well directed efforts and good management, became very well-to-do, and left his family in very comfortable circumstances at his death.

William H. Morrison and Miss Hannah Caroline Glaze were united in marriage at Dalton, Ga., in 1860. She is a daughter of Lawrence and Elizabeth Glaze, of Washington county, Tennessee, and the youngest of a family of thirteen children, and the only one of whom is now living. To William Morrison and wife were born the following children: Hettie Elizabeth, residing at Gordon; Mrs. Mary Almeda Glaze, living at El Reno, Okla.; Mrs. Georgiana West, Morristown, Tenn., and Lawrence Eldridge, Gordon, Kans. Lawrence and Hettie live together at Gordon, and jointly own 188 acres of fine bottom land in the Walnut river valley, and are engaged in farming and stock raising.

The Morrison family settled in Walnut township in the real pioneer days of that section, and Mrs. Morrison has a distinct recollection of many stirring incidents and interesting events of the early days. She remembers the wholesale hangings that the vigilance committee carried out in the early days, which put an end to a series of depredations that had been committed for some time, much to the insecurity of the lives and property of the early settlers. Emporia was the terminal of the railroad when Mr. Morrison and his wife came here, and when they reached that point, they bought a team and wagon and drove to Walnut township, and on the trip from Emporia, Mrs. Morrison held her baby, Lawrence E., on her lap. Miss Hettie E. Morrison recalls the first school she attended, after coming here. It was held in the home of Norman Yowls, and Jennie Blakey was the teacher; and besides Miss Morrison, the other pupils were Ella Rogers, Florence and William Snodgrass, Mattie Blakey and Ida Friend.

The Morrison farm is in the rich oil and gas belt of the Augusta fields, and much development is being carried on in that vicinity. (History of Butler County, Kansas, by Vol. P. Mooney, 1916 Pages 552-553)


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