KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


SEDGWICK COUNTY, Part 14

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES (SOMMER - STURNS).

FREDERICK SOMMER, jeweler, born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1818, came to the United States in 1850; son of H. F. Sommer and Jacobine Aab Sommer, descendants of the French Huguenots. He married in 1855, at Winterset, Iowa, to Miss Matilda Ellwanger, born in Stuttgart, Germany. They have four children, Matilda, Agnes, Julia and Carl. He came to Kansas in 1876 and located at Wichita. He commenced the jewelry business at No. 24 Main street in 1879; was burned out, losing his entire stock. Business is now located at No. 32 Main street. Miss Agnes Sommer, daughter of Frederick and Matilda Sommer, also engaged in the jewelry business at No. 100 Douglas avenue. Fred Sommer was educated as a civil engineer in the Pyrotechnic School, in Germany, in 1840, practiced engineering until 1849, participated in the revolutionary movement of that year, and, in consequence, emigrated to the United States in 1850; was in the War of the Rebellion, and enlisted in August, 1862, in the Twenty-ninth Regiment Iowa Volunteers, Company H, as a private, and was promoted to First Lieutenant in March, 1863; was promoted to Captain, Aid-de-Camp, Maj. Gen. Steel's staff, June 7, 1864. During this term of service he was engaged in engineer duty, fortified Helena, Duval's Bluff, on White River, Little Rock and Fort Smith. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., and R. A. M. & G. C, also of Wichita Lodge, No. 93, I. O. O. F. He is also a member of Garfield Post, G. A. R., No. 25.

FRED. A. SOWERS, dealer in real estate. Was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1839; is a son of the late Eli Sowers, for thirteen years Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and Mary (Dunbar) Sowers. He married at Leavenworth, in 1866, Miss Mary L. Schattner. His wife died in 1879, leaving three children, Percy F., Frederick D. and Charles A. Mr. Sowers was educated at Canton, Ohio, graduated in the class of 1856, and came to Kansas in 1863, locating at Leavenworth, where he became connected with Col. J. C. Vaughn, of the Daily Times, remained in that connection for seven years, removed to Wichita in 1870, started the first newspaper ever published in the Arkansas Valley, from its source to the Indian Territorial line, the Vidette. After the publication of that paper for two years, it was removed to Belle Plaine. In 1872 he became associate editor of the Eagle. After one year, started the Daily Beacon, the first daily paper ever published in the Arkansas Valley. That was in the days of the early cattle drive. After running the daily for six months it was the Beacon and was associated with the Eagle for one year. From 1876 to 1878 he was merchandising. In 1878 he went to Leavenworth and accepted the management of the Daily Press, resigned that position in 1879 and returned to Wichita. He went to Arizona in 1880 and spent one year in traveling and prospecting, returned in 1881 and purchased the editorial interest of the Daily Republican, now the Daily Times. In 1882 he commenced the real estate business, located on Douglas avenue, first block east of Main street. He was County Clerk for the term and made the first tax roll for Sedgwick County; was elected Register of Deeds on the first organization of the School Board. In connection with his pioneer newspaper work had an eventful life in the early days of Kansas, having taken the position of right and order against the disorderly element. He was often exposed to personal danger and violence.

GEORGE E. SPALTON, was born in Derby, England, April 3, 1848. He emigrated in 1870, locating on his arrival in America, in Virginia, where he remained a few months, and then resided in Union and Taylor counties, in Iowa, for ten years. From 1871 to 1875, he was engaged in farming and subsequently in the mortgage and loan department of the Bank of Creston, until he came to Wichita, December 5, 1880. Since that time he has been connected with the Lombard Mortgage Company and with the Kansas State Bank. He was married at Ottawa, La Salle Co., Ill., December 5, 1879, to Lillian C. Clark, of South Ottawa. They have one child, William A.

F. STACKMAN, merchant tailor, came to Kansas in 1869, located at Topeka, and moved to Wichita in 1872. Was born in Marso, Prussia, in 1843. Is the son of Carl and Anna (Hatka) Stackman. Commenced business at Wichita in 1872. Owns building in which business is carried on, No. 54 Main street. His business has steadily increased from the commencement.

JAMES F. STAFFORD, dealer in groceries and guns and ammunition, born in Cayuga County, N. Y., in 1845, son of Michael Stafford and Mary (Dunlavey) Stafford. He married in 1867, to Miss Ellen Donley. They have three children - Mary Ann, Josephine and George. Mrs. Stafford died in 1873, at Auburn, N. Y. He came to Kansas in 1876, located at Wichita, and commenced the grocery business the same year. In 1878 added the sale of guns and pistols to his trade, and carries a full line of ammunition and all appurtenances to the gun trade. Business located at No. 49 Main street, and owns the building in which business is located. Is a member of the Catholic Church.

WILLIAM E. STANLEY, located at Perryville, Jefferson Co., Kas., in April, 1870. In the fall of the same year he removed to Oskaloosa, where he remained until September, 1872, when he settled in Wichita, resigning the office of County Attorney, which he held two years when he left Jefferson County. After locating at Wichita he was elected County Attorney, in 1874-76-78; and in 1880, was elected Representative of the State Legislature. Mr. Stanley was born in Danville, Knox Co., Ohio, December 28, 1844. He was educated at the Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, Ohio, and read law with Judge Bain at Kenton, Ohio, and with Conover and Craighead at Dayton, Ohio, being admitted to the bar before removing to Kansas. He was married at Wichita, May 30, 1876, to Emma L. Hills, a native of Indiana. They have one child - Henry W., born August 25, 1880.

J. A. STEDMAN, insurance agent, was born in St. Lawrence County, N., Y., where he lived until 1872. He became connected with the hardware house of Hibbard & Spencer, of Chicago, and removed to that city. He remained with that house until he came to Kansas in June, 1876, and located at Sedgwick City, from whence he moved to Wichita in 1878. Mr. S. represents fourteen fire insurance companies, his fire and life insurance extending to many points in the Arkansas Valley. Mr. Stedman represents the following companies - Fire: Sun Fire of London; Phoenix, London; North British and Mercantile, London; Commercial Union, London; Lancashire of Manchester, England; Queen of London, England; Continental, New York; Franklin, Philadelphia; Pennsylvania Fire, Philadelphia; Springfield Fire and Marine, Massachusetts; British America of Toronto, Canada; Glenn Falls New York; Life and Accident: Mutual Life, New York; Travelers Life and Accident, Hartford.

J. M. STEELE, real estate, insurance and loan agent, came to Wichita in 1869. Took a claim on Section 4, Township 27, Range 1 east, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1870, when, after doing carpenter work for two months he commenced the business in which he is now engaged. Mr. Steele was born in Westfield, Tioga Co., Pa., July 31, 1844. He resided in his native town until 1866, when he located in Troy, Doniphan Co., Kansas, and remained in that place until he came to Wichita. While living in Tioga County he enlisted, in June, 1861, in Company A, First Pennsylvania Rifles (old Bucktail Regiment) in which he served until discharged after the battle of Appomattox. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Gaine's Mills and kept at Libby and Belle Isle forty-two days before he was discharged. He re-enlisted in Company A, One Hundred and Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry of which he was made First Lieutenant.

GEORGE W. STEENROD, was born in Friendship, Allegany Co., N. Y., July 7, 1845, his native State and town remaining his home until he started for Kansas in the spring of 1872. He enlisted in Company C, Eighty-fifth New York Volunteer Infantry October 16, 1861, and served until July 15, 1865. He was taken prisoner at Plymouth, N. C., April 20, 1864, and confined at Andersonville until the following August afterwards at Charleston about a month: then at Florence, S. C., until December 14, 1864, at which time he was paroled, and exchanged about a month later. At the time his capture nineteen of his comrades from Nile and Friendship, N. Y., were also taken prisoners, of whom sixteen died in the rebel prisons. Of the 443 members of the regiment that were captured, only thirty-five ever rejoined it, the others dying in prison or becoming disabled by starvation and exposure from performing active service. After leaving the army Mr. Steenrod returned to Allegany County and remained until the spring of 1872, when he came to Kansas and located in Union Township, Sedgwick County, on the northeast quarter of Section 20, Township 25, Range 2 west, his experience confirming him in the opinion that the country of that region is well adapted to farming having had but one failure of crops, in 1874, since he located. He has served two terms as Justice of the Peace and twice as County Commissioner. He was married in Friendship, N. Y., April 2, 1865, to Louisa Axtell, a native of that place. They have four children - Charles C., May, Floyd L. and Le Roy. Mr. S. is a member of the G. A. R.

R. STEPHENS, proprietor of stock and sale stable, born in Butler County, Ohio, son of William Stephens and Margaret (Charlton) Stephens. Married, in 1879, Miss Nannie Stephens, M. D. Mrs. Stephens was born in 1854, educated at the Women's Medical College in Chicago; graduated in the class of 1878. Commenced practice of medicine in 1879. In the winter of 1878 and 1879 attended medical lectures in Philadelphia. Came to Kansas in 1879. Mr. Stephens came to Kansas in 1873; located at Wichita, engaged in the grocery business. Continued in that business until the fall of 1876. In 1877 commenced the stock and feed business, located on Douglas avenue, between Main and Water streets. Owns the building and a residence, also a farm from which he realized this year, from the crops, enough to pay for the farm and $100 in excess, after hiring all the work done. Was in the United States service in Ohio, in 1862, in resisting Morgan's raid.

W. P. STEIN, contractor and builder, was born in Ohio, in 1844, son of John and Sarah Armstrong Stein. Was married in 1876 to Miss Dora George, daughter of Hudson George. Has two children - Albert and Edna. Came to Kansas in 1867; located at Topeka; engaged in contracting and building; remained until 1870. In 1871 located at Wichita, where he established his business and continued the same from that time. Shop located on South Main street. Employs ten men. Has been secretary of Sedgwick County Agricultural Society for five years, from 1875 to 1880. Is a member of the Wichita Lodge, No. 93, I. O. O. F., and of Encampment No. 29.

WILLIAM H. STERNBERG, contractor and builder, was born in Root, Montgomery Co., N. Y., February 17, 1831. When he was five years of age, he removed with his parents to Chenango County, which remained his home until 1877, when he emigrated to Kansas. Mr. S. resided in Norwich, Chenango County, for twenty-five years, prior to his removal to Kansas, and was married in Plymouth, in the same county, July 25, 1852, to Catherine Havens, a native of Otselic, same county, by whom he has two children - Oscar E. and Wm. Olin. Mr. S. located in Wichita, in February, 1877, and engaged in carpenter work one season, since which time he has been contracting and building. Among the buildings which he has erected, are the Hydraulic Mills, Temple Block, Roys Block, Second Ward Schoolhouse, F. Ross' Furniture Store, and the residences of Peter Gettos, C. R. Miller, C. N. Lewis, Aaron Katz, Wm. H. Whiteman, two for Kos Harris, J. R. Van Zandt, Dr. J. Russell, his own residence, and many other buildings, including Eads Block, Smyth & Sons' Block, Elliott's store, Gettoes' store, H. Imboden's residence, A. W. Oliver's residence.

M. STEWART, proprietor packing house, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1843. He is a son of Andrew Stewart and Susan (Ankeny) Stewart. He married in 1875, Miss Emma R. Newcomer, and has one child - Charles F. Stewart. He came to Kansas in 1867, and located at Junction City, and remained for five years, engaged in the grocery business. In 1872, located at Wichita, and engaged in the grocery business; continued for two years. In 1874 he engaged in the packing business, located on Douglas avenue, near the iron bridge. He was burned out in 1880, and the same year built the building now occupied by the business. Business has increased 500 per cent since its establishment. He is also engaged as a breeder of Poland-China thoroughbred hogs. Is the only one engaged in the business, and has the largest herd of thoroughbred Poland-China stock in Sedgwick County. He was in the War of the Rebellion, and enlisted in 1861, in the Fourth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers, Company K. Enlisted as a private, and in 1862 was commissioned as Captain in the Thirteenth Regiment. In 1864 was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the same regiment. He was wounded at the battle of Winchester, Va., September 19, 1864. Served on the staff of Major Gen. George Crook, Inspector General Department of West Virginia, in 1864-65. He was mustered out in 1865, and was commissioned Captain of the Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry, in 1868. Was in the service for six months and on the resignation of Col. Crawford was promoted to Major. Was mustered out in 1869. Is now post commander of Garfield Post, No. 25, G. A. R. Has been three times elected to that position. He was President of the Board of Trade for the City of Wichita for 1882. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

S. H. STEWART, contractor and builder, located at Wichita March 1, 1877, and has been engaged in contracting and building since that time, with the exception of the first year, when he was employed as a carpenter. He was born in McKeesport, Allegheny Co., Pa., May 9, 1829, and resided mainly in his native county until he came to Kansas. He was married at McKeesport, December 1858, to Maria E. Sill, a native of that place. Mrs. S. died in July, 1867, leaving two children - Harry W. and Emma S. He again married at McKeesport, in June 1870, Mary I. Bair, a native of New Athens, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have three children living - Morton H., Gilbert H., and Bessie E. They have lost two children - Nannie B., aged over three years, and Rettie B., an infant daughter. Mr. Stewart is one of the proprietors of the Zephyr Flouring Mills, and a member of the Presbyterian Church.

J. F. and W. F. STITES, farmers, P. O. Wichita, twin brothers, born in St. Clair County, Ill., in 1844. Sons of John Stites and Catherine (Mace) Stites. Were married in 1873, to twin sisters, Alice R. and Carrie E. Worth. They came to Kansas in 1872, located in Wichita Township, Section 16, one mile east of Wichita, own 146 acres; have been engaged in farming and stock raising from that time. Are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of the Masonic fraternity, A., F. & A. M.

O. B. STOCKER, contractor, came to Kansas in October, 1878, and located permanently at Wichita. His business is exclusively contracting and furnishing material for plastering and finishing buildings. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, and has held the position of warder of the commandery for the last three years. He is a native of Northampton County, Penn., where he was born June 8, 1852, and was reared and educated in Lucerne County, Penn., which was his home until he came to Kansas.

MARTIN LUTHER STONER, carpenter, immigrated to Kansas in December, 1873. He located in Illinois Township, Sedgwick County, where he remained, engaged in farming, until the spring of 1881, when he removed to Wichita, and has been working at his trade in that city since the fall of the same year. He was born in Eaton, Preble Co., Ohio, April 7, 1849, and when a child, removed with his parents to Jersey County, Ill. In 1871, he again moved to Macoupin County, Ill., and from that place to Kansas. He was married at Madora, Macoupin County, Ill., June, 1877, to Louisa M. Wagoner, a native of Madison County, Ill.

J. W. & J. P. STURNS, farmers and nurserymen, P. O. Wichita. J. W. Sturns was born in Switzerland County, Ind., in 1822; son of John W. Sturns and Naomi (McCuin) Sterns. Married in 1841, Miss Synthia Renan, and has four children - J. H., Edward, Washington and James P. Came to Kansas in 1866, located at Ottawa, in nursery business, remained nine years, came to Wichita in 1875, engaged in nursery business, and has been engaged in the same. Has a stock of 800 apple trees, 300 evergreen and a variety of ornamental trees and shrubbery. Was married the second time in 1881, to Mrs. Sedenia J. Kellogg. Had two children - Armal A. and Eda M. Kellogg. J. P. Sturns, son of J. W. and Naomi Sturns, born in 1856. Married in 1881, Miss Rettie Burton. Came to Kansas in 1866, located at Wichita Township, and engaged in the nursery business with G. Sturns, in 1882, located on five acres of land in southeast quarter of Section 21, one mile east of Wichita. Has a stock of 14,000 fruit trees, and a variety of ornamental stock and shrubbery.

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