Hill City, Graham County, Kansas
In spite of the drudgery of work-a-day farm life, there is an independence and satisfaction which surpasses that of all other walks of life.
In the spring, the waving fields of green,--in the autumn, the abundant golden harvest--and always the evidence of ones own handiwork.
One of the best illustrations of the comforts and satisfaction of farm life is found in the home of T. H. Smith, who lives 23 miles northwest of Hill City.
Mr. Smith came to Graham county twenty-two years ago last March, from Republic county, having previously been a resident of Iowa. It was in Iowa that he married Miss Emily Glover on October 21st, 1878 and to them were born four boys and three girls. When he came to Graham county in 1885 he preempted the home place, paid out on 80 acres and later bought 720 acres.
Not only has Mr. Smith added acres to his farm but also those improvements which make farm life more desirable. For planting, tending and harvesting of the crops, he has $4,000 worth of new and improved machinery.
He has erected a comfortable house of eight rooms and a barn 30x60 feet, with a capacity of 40 tons of hay. In connection with the barn are good scales.
Of the 800 acres in the farm 560 are fenced and something over 200 are under cultivation.
In 1905 Mr. Smith raised 4000 bushels of corn, 3200 bushels of wheat and 1900 bushels of oats. The average worth of the grain marketed in the last ten years was $1500 a year.
The livestock is an interesting feature of the farm, 14 head of fine horses, 35 hogs, and 42 head of thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle, 14 of which are registered.
The Shorthorn has made wonderful progress in Kansas. He is the premier tribe of the beef cattle on the range. Take him all around in the stall and at the pail, on the range and at the block he fills the bill for general purposes better than anything else in the bovine world.
Mr. Smith has ambitions to make his place a Shorthorn cattle ranch.
Last but not least of the many delights of the place is a splendid orchard of several thousand trees. In addition to the 500 forest trees, there are 250 peach trees, 50 apple trees, 125 cherry trees, 10 apricot trees and 1,000 plum trees all bearing.
An abundance of small fruit is produced annually, among them goose berries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, strawberries and grapes.
Mr. Smiths evergreens [sic] in the front yard, for age, will rival eastern grown ones.
Thirty-two years ago, Jewell county Kansas, gained from Iowa an industrious, thrifty farmer and a good citizen in the person of A. Van Norman. In 1899 with $1600 he moved to Graham county and located on a quarter section, eight miles northwest of Hill City.
Within the last four years he has spent $700 for improvements on his place and in that time has made above expenses, some $1200.
By his industry and thrift Mr. Van Norman has increased the value of his farm from $100 to $3000 in four years.
In his desire for financial gain he has not forgotten the beautiful, and in addition to 40 fruit trees has set out and tended 1400 forest trees in which he takes particular pride. 50 acres of the farm is under cultivation, the remainder being good pasture land.
Mr. Van Normans home has been made desolate by the death of his wife and the marriage of his two children, and but for the two bright
granddaughters who spend most of their time with him, and are his especial pride and comfort, his life would be somewhat lonely.
Mr. Van Norman likes all Graham county and especially the part in which his farm is. He has made himself independent here and wishes no other home than the one he now owns.
Last winter Mr. Van Norman sold most of his live stock and invested the proceeds in bank and telephone stock.
Mr. W. C. Brown is a native of Iowa, was married in 1881 to Miss Ada Gates of Tabor, Freemont county, Iowa, and came to Kansas in 1887.
He brought with him barely enough stock to start farming, and about $1,000 in cash, but paid $450 of this amount for a relinquishment of his land. By his industry and thrift he has added acres to acres and dollars to dollars until today he owns a splendid farm of 1050 acres, three-fourth of which are under fence.
Two years ago Mr. Brown builded a $2,500 house of 12 rooms, with a good cellar, and a stone basement, barn measuring 30x40 feet which cost him $1000. Other improvements on the place are valued at $1000.
For eleven years he was successfully engaged in the cheese business. Fortune smiled on him, and each year marked a material advance in his financial gains. In 1903 his wheat crop averaged 35 bushels to the acre, yielding an entire crop of 5000 bushels. In 1904 he marketed 5000 bushels of corn and $1600 worth of hogs and cattle were sold from the place. In 1905, the yield of corn was 2500 bushels and this year he sold $1740 worth of cattle.
The entire care of the farm is more than Mr. Brown cares to undertake and he has rented a number of acres to the tenant on the place.
Everyone appreciates a fine grove and especially is this true of peo-
ple in a prairie country. For years it was thought to be impossible to grow trees here, but one has only to visit Mr. Browns home to be thoroughly convinced of his mistake. He has a large and dense grove of forest trees in addition to a good orchard.
A quarter of a century of hard work and close application have enabled Mr. Brown to reach the success which waits at labors gate. He is surely entitled to be placed among the foremost in the ranks of successful farmers of Graham county.
In the beautiful valley of Coon creek, nestling amidst green fields and beautiful trees is the home of J. E. King, our county commissioner. No pains have been spared in making this home an enviable one. Mr. King located here in the spring of 1888, but did not engage in farming for himself until 1893, having been employed feeding cattle for B. F. Poston for five years. In 1893 he purchased the land on which he is now living. Mr. King says he was as near minus this worlds goods as one can be whose only possession was a will to dare and do, and right well did he succeed as is evidenced in his comfortable home and well managed farm. He now owns 480 acres of land, valued at $25 an acre, has a beautiful and commodious frame dwelling, 40 head of cattle, 10 head of horses and many head of hogs. In 1905, he raised 1,000 bushels of corn from 25 acres, and 1,000 bushels of oats and barley, from 18 acres. This year he has good growing crops on 170 acres of ground. His alfalfa crop is immense, and he has considerable land suitable to the successful growing of this valuable crop. He is making easy money each year from hogs, corn and alfalfa. Mr. Kings home is connected by telephone lines, with his neighbors and nearby town, a rural mail route passes his door. Mr. Kings family of three boys and one girl, with his estimable wife, are enjoying well earned prosperity.
Verdant wheat fields stretching southward,
Fruitful orchards east and west;
Not a spot in all the prairie
That the springtime has not blessed;
Every field a smiling promise,
Every home an Eden fair,
And the angels--Peace and Plenty--
Strewing blessings everywhere.
This sketch from Eugene Ware comes to mind when one visits the farm of Carl Kobler. It seems indeed, that the angels, Peace and Plenty have strewn their blessings everywhere. But when Mr. Kobler tells his story, one would realize that these blessings have not come unsought. He came with his parents to Graham county from Muscatine, Iowa, in 1879. Here he attended the public schools, and grew to manhood and was married. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kobler were teachers, and taught five years after their marriage.
Mr. Kobler began farming in 1894, but bought his first land, 160 acres, in 1899. By hard work and careful management he was enabled to add 320 acres in 1903, 160 in 1904, and 400 in 1905.
Of the 1040 acres, 480 acres are in the Solomon valley and suitable to the growing of alfalfa, 800 acres are fenced, 12 acres under hog tight fence.
In the last three years Mr. Kobler has had 210 acres in wheat and has harvested 3370 bushels of that grain. He has gradually increased his wheat acreage, in 1904 having but 45 acres and in 1906, 95 acres. He also has 180 acres of corn this year, and has begun the cultivation of 100 acres of raw land.
Mr. Kobler has dealt somewhat in live stock, marketing in 1905, $500 worth of hogs and 1906, $800 worth. Has now 60 head.
In 1901, Mr. Kobler had but 12 head of cattle, has sold since then $800 worth, and has now 40 head. He owns 10 head of good horses.
The improvements on this farm are valued at $2000.
The subject of this sketch was born in Illinois, and moved with his parents in boyhood to Austin, Texas, where he was educated and learned the trade of a stone mason. He came to Graham county in 1882 and his first contract was the Pomeroy Hotel. Then followed the F. and M. Bank, the Scherer Hotel and the Presbyterian church and manse.
Though Mr. Searl found all the work he could do at his trade, he decided to become a farmer and homesteaded two and one-half miles southwest of Morland, in 1886. He made no mistake in the change and has been exceedingly prosperous.
Mr. Searl owns 640 acres of land and has one and one-half section under lease. His entire farm is fenced.
The dwelling is a story and a half stone structure surrounded by a beautiful fifteen acre grove of native trees. These trees are remarkable for their size, many of them, being forty inches in circumference. Mr. Searl has one of the best watered farms in the country. It is traversed by Sand creek and has some twenty-five springs.
The valley along the mile and a half of Sand creek is fine alfalfa land.
The water used in the house and stables is piped from the excellent springs. Mr. Searl has a large young orchard of 150 bearing trees.
In 1905, 4000 bushels of corn were raised on this farm, which has not failed to produce a good crop of this grain since 1894.
Mr. Searls has growing fifteen acres of red top grass, five acres of timothy and 60 acres of alfalfa. The farm is well adapted to stock raising with pasture and grain sufficient to fatten 150 head of cattle and 150 head of hogs, each year.
In 1905, a car load of fat cattle and hogs was shipped from the place.
The improvements on the farm are worth some $4,000, and the land is valued at $20 an acre.
Mr. Searls was married December 25, 1883 to Miss Hannah Hockersmith, and to this union four children were born.
If credit is due to any man who goes into a country when it is new, and fights the pioneer battles, withstanding hot winds, drouths and grasshoppers, then it is surely due to H. I. Scott who homesteaded in 1878 in Graham county, two years before its organization. Mr. Scott proved up on his homestead in 1884 but prior to that time worked for other farmers to support his family.
He now owns 480 acres of good land with 260 acres under cultivation, 90 acres of this splendid farm has been planted in corn for the past five years, with an average yield of twenty-five bushels to the acre. The wheat has harvested on an average of twenty bushels to the acre for the same number of years.
In 1906, Mr. Scott marketed seventy-three head of hogs and has now on the place fifty head of hogs, a good bunch of cattle and 10 horses and mules.
This valuable farm is well improved, has a large story and a half frame house and a 30x32 barn.
The trees are worthy of special note, 400 good fruit trees and many fine trees leading to and surrounding the residence.
Mr. Scott stands well in his community having held the responsible position as trustee of his home township for a longer period of time than any other man in the county.
He can well be called a good home builder as is evidenced by his large family of children who remain at home contented with Graham county farm life as provided by their father.
On the head waters of Hay creek eighteen miles from Hill City is the valley farm home of Dice Seltzer. This is a farm of 320 acres on which there are many living springs, one of them a splendid sulphur spring. 75 of the 200 acres under cultivation is excellent alfalfa land. This is one of the largest truck farms in the county, producing large quantities of vegetables each year.
Truck farming here is a lucrative business, as the demands of the local markets are great and there is easy access to Kansas City and Denver markets. Mr. Seltzer ships in car load lots to the city markets, onions, potatoes and cabbage.
He raises some live stock, and for ten years has averaged marketing fifty head of cattle and the same number of hogs each year. At present he has sixty head of cattle forty-five head of hogs and 13 head of horses. This valley farm is well improved. The residence is a story and a half structure of 8 rooms, with a good cellar and a 12x16 milk house. There are ten acres of fine forest trees on the place.
Mr. Seltzer moved to Graham county from Missouri and homesteaded near Lenora in 1885. Two years later he was married to Miss Della M. Brooks of this county. In 1895 Mr. and Mrs. Seltzer moved to their present home. Mr. Seltzer is one of Graham countys most reliable and energetic farmers who has made the most of her possibilities of beauty
and wealth. His farm is not only remarkable for its utility but for its beauty as well.
George Albertson a native of Denmark, came to America, emigrated in 1872, and located in Harlan, Iowa. In 1881 he was married to Miss
Sarah Hanson of that place and in 1885, Mr. and Mrs. Albertson came to Graham county and homesteaded. They brought with them some money with which they improved and stocked their farm, but in 1886 suffered a severe loss in the decline in the price of cattle. Mr. Albertson did not let failure discourage him, but began at once to win back what he had lost. He prospered and was able to add acres to his acres, adding a quarter section in 1890, another in 1898 and another in 1901.
420 acres of this land is pasture under fence. It is supplied with water from several creeks fed by 12 living springs.
Mr. Albertson has 200 acres of his splendid farm under cultivation, the greater part of it being planted in corn. In 1905 he raised 1,000 bushels of corn 1,000 bushels of small grain; there are 300 bearing fruit trees and three acres of forest trees on the place, which add much to the beauty and value. Seventy-five head of cattle and six head of horses are feeding on the pasture. This year Mr. Albertson has marketed twenty-six head of fat cattle and forty-one head of hogs.
The ranch is well improved having a comfortable stone residence and other improvements amounting to $2,000. Mr. Albertson values his ranch at $20 an acre but does not consider selling. He is satisfied to hold the place and make money to rear his five promising children.
Mr. Albertson by his energy and thrift and honesty has made himself a valuable citizen which any county would be proud to claim.
The subject of this sketch came to Graham county eight years ago and settled on a farm twenty miles northwest of Hill City. An inventory of his stock at that time showed that he possessed a full stock of good judgment, practical sense, untiring energy, and vigorous strength in addition to twenty cents and a span of mules.
Twelve years ago Mr. Howard was married to Miss Mattie Heskett, of Jewell county. One eleven year old son is the pride and hope of this home.
Five of the eight years which Mr. and Mrs. Howard have spent in Graham county, they were engaged in the cheese business in which they made marked success. From nine cows in three months they sold $224.80 worth of cheese to Mr. Lull, of Lucerne, Kansas.
Mr. Howard is now engaged in the cultivation of his well improved farm of 360 acres, which he values at $25 an acre. His substantial home and good barn and granaries he values at $3500.
Aside from his interest in the tilling of the soil he takes much pride in his livestock, owning 100 head of hogs, 32 head of cattle and 5 head of horses.
Mr. Howard has taken advantage of time and labor saving devices and owns all kinds of new and modern machinery. But he has not been unmindful of the luxuries and beauty of his home and has a fine young orchard which bears abundantly.
He has been an unusually successful farmer and considers that he has cleared $800 each of the eight years he has lived here. Last year he marketed $1000 worth of hogs, and raised 2000 bushels of corn.
One cannot help but realize the truth of the old adage, Labor pays best dividends, when they visit Mr. Howard in his comfortable home. He owes his phenomenal success to his great perseverance, untiring energy and excellent judgment.
This is distinctly a country for the young men. No matter how limited their experience or means, the west offers great possibilities to the young and energetic. When Greeley said, Go west, young man, go west.
he must have had in mind some place so full of opportuunity [sic] as is our county. One who has realized and grasped these opportunities is Mr. Frank Born, a young and prosperous farmer of Graham county. The realization and appreciation of the great opportunities offered him, coupled with energy, perseverance and good judgment, has placed Mr. Born in the front rank of the countys successful farmers.
Mr. Born came to Graham county from Nebraska in 1885, bought a relinquishment to a piece of land and began farming with one team and one cow. He now owns 720 acres of good land, fenced and cross fenced.
In 1891 Mr. Born raised a crop of corn that averaged 50 bushels to the acre. In 1903, 1904 and 1905 he raised 12,400 bushels of corn from an average of 125 acres. In seven years he has harvested 13,000 bushels of wheat and in the past three years from an average acreage of 140 has harvested 9,000 bushels.
Mr. Born has sold $400 worth of hogs each year for the last three years, and keeps on the average of 45 head of cattle each year.
These splendid crops are not only indicative of Graham countys productive soil, but great credit is due Mr. Borns unceasing toil and untiring effort.
The improvements he has made on the place consist of a six roomed residence, and a large barn with accomodation for his 19 head of horses.
The house is set in a large grove of native forest trees with a well kept lawn. There is also a large orchard of bearing fruit trees.
Mr. Born was married to Miss Josie Stanfil, January 29th, 1888.
Mr. and Mrs. Born have made an ideal home and are enjoying remarkable prosperity.
Even as a stream cannot rise above its fountain head, so a town cannot progress faster than the industrial community which supports it, and
the prosperity of our town depends largely upon the individual farmers of our county. W. S. Rowley is distinctly one of the well to do farmers who helps to make our town and county what they are.
Mr. Rowley came from Republic county to Graham county in 1901, and bought 160 acres of land of which only 40 acres were improved. In 1902 he built a five room house with the money netted from his first years crop. He has a fine barn 24x44, with a storage for 30 tons of hay and 700 bushels of grain, and stall room for 12 head of horses. There are other granaries which will hold 800 bushels of grain.
Mr. Rowley has 75 acres under cultivation, 10 acres in alfalfa, 50 acres in corn and the remainder in small grain. The trees on the place are an interesting feature, four acres of good forest trees and eighty bearing fruit trees.
Mr. Rowley has kept careful figures of crops raised and grain and stock sold and says for four years his corn has averaged 27 bushels to the acre. He has marketed $700 worth of cattle and $300 worth of hogs for
the last three years. At present he is feeding 37 head of cattle, 35 head of hogs and seven head of horses.
Mr. Rowleys farm is five and one-half miles north of Hill City with the district school house but a half mile distant. He is on mail route No. 2 of Hill City and is connected with the Hill City telephone exchange. The farm is all under fence and has several living springs.
Mr. Rowley is a carpenter by trade, but prefers farm life in Graham county to any other.
On rural route No. 1, Bogue, Kansas, is the home of A. N. Young, a thrifty prosperous farmer.
Mr. Youngs career demonstrates what a man with health energy and
perseverance, but with little wealth is able to do for himself. In the autumn of 1892, Mr. Young and his family, with six horses a few cattle and some little household goods, settled on his homestead in the extreme south east corner of Pioneer township. Since that time he has bought four quarters of land, two in Pioneer township and two in Alcona township,
just across the line of Rooks county. He has these 800 acres fenced and crossed fenced. Mr. Young has a fine field of alfalfa and is sowing 33 acres more this spring.
The farm is well stocked with cattle, horses and hogs.
In addition to his comfortable seven roomed house and various other buildings on the home place he has a three roomed house on his Rooks county land, which his oldest son occupies. In addition to doing her full share as a help mate in making this farm home, Mrs. Young has sold
$3,000 worth of chickens, eggs and butter in their thirteen years residence in Graham county. Mr. Young deserves more than ordinary credit for the remarkable success he has achieved. Aside from owning one of the best farms in the southeast part of the county, he has a substantial bank account and a credit of which any one might be proud.
Nathan Williams was born in Massachusetts of sturdy Puritan stock. He grew to manhood and was married in that state, but being a victim to acute asthma, came west in search of a milder and drier climate and settled in Graham county. Mr. Williams has experienced a complete recovery and is strong in his praise of our wonderful climate, for he is healthy and hearty at the age of 77 years. His wife, seven years his junior and a sister aged 82 who comprise his household, are enjoying excellent health.
Though Mr. Williams has found Graham county farm life ideal, he is scarcely able at his age to discharge the duties attendant upon that life and has placed his 160 acre farm on the market at $20 an acre. The place is well located being five miles from Bogue, and is one of the most productive spots in Graham county. The land is particularly adapted to gardening, fruit and alfalfa growing. 80 acres are under cultivation and 80 in pasture land. It is especially well watered, with many living springs. The ten acres surrounding the house are sub-irrigated by numerous springs near the surface.
A large orchard of 400 bearing fruit trees is Mr. Williams [sic] particular pride. Last year he sold 150 bushels of peaches from this orchard in addition to smaller amounts of cherries, apples and other fruits. This is something of a dairy farm. A small herd of Red Pole cows furnish the
milk for cheese making, which business Mr. Williams has successfully carried on for a number of years.
There is no reason why Kansas farmers should raise corn and ship it to New York farmers, to feed to their cows and ship cheese back to Kansas. If the New York farmers can find it profitable to import Kansas feed and make cheese for Kansas, surely Kansas farmers by raising the feed ought to find it still more profitable. This has been Mr. Williams experience. He has two cheese presses and a 150 gallon vat which are for sale with the place. The buildings on the farm are a residence, a barn and a cow barn 75 feet long, which accomodates 31 cows with shed room for 21 more.
Mrs. Williams has been very successful in raising chickens, having sold since the first of the year $56 worth of eggs.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams have made a beautiful home here, and the purchaser will find it a pleasant place to live and an easy place to make money.
Morland is the second, city of importance in the county. It was always noted for the intelligence and energy and the enterprise of its [sic] inhabitants. Some time before 1886 an attempt had been made to build a town on the present site of Morland, but was finally abandoned. In the Spring of 1886 the land was reentered and a town was started under the Government townsite act. Among the promoters were Snyder Horton, Mr. Garvey, Grover Walker and D. C. Kay who began at once to erect buildings. Mr. Horton built the store room now belonging to G. W. Collins; Mr. Garvey built the store room which later he sold to G. W. Stober; Mr. Walker established a bank, and Mr. Kay built a hotel. In 1890 they were able to make proof on the land having the requisite $20,-
000 in improvements and 100 people. There was no little trouble concerning the name of the newly organized town. The first name given it was Fremont. But the Union Pacific railroad company objected to this because freight and express were often exchanged with that of Fremont of Nebraska. For a time the station was called Kalula, the town Fremont and the post office Morland, but after some time the name Morland was accepted. But the troubles were only begun. In August of 1886 a disastrous cyclone struck Morland and destroyed or injured every building in the town save the hotel. One of the most interesting hard luck incidents of the cyclone was that of G. W. Stober and Mr. Garvey. An hour before the storm Mr. Stober had traded Mr. Garvey a team and wagon for his store. The cyclone completely destroyed the store which fell on the team, killing both horses. But the founders were not to be discouraged and began immediately to rebuild. In the next four or five years the growth was slow owing to extreme drouth, and having little money. Following that period, however, Morlands growth has been
steady and sure and she now has a population of some 250. Almost every line of business is represented, and stores are exceptionally well stocked and up to date for a small western town. There are five general stores, one drug store, barber shop, two hotels, two livery barns, three elevators, one mill, one lumberyard, two blacksmith shops, three real estate offices, one minister and two doctors. A good telephone system, both local and long distance is in operation, and the post office has three star and one rural routes. There are two churches in Morland, but only one, the Methodist, in which regular services are now held. The exact date of the M. E. society is not known, but the first Methodist preacher was Father Jack Langley, who came to Morland some 27 years ago. The history as a charge begins properly in 1900. The present membership is 160 and the church owns a neat parsonage and modern church, built and furnished at
a cost of $1800. The pastor is Rev. W. S. Harper. The fraternal organizations represented in Morland are Woodmen, Odd Fellows, Triple Tie and Workmen. The 22 club a Morland organization of 22 members, deserves special mention. Two disastrous fires have occurred, one in 1902, the other in 1904, but the destroyed buildings were immediately rebuilt. Morland and vicinity have grown rapidly in the last year, 50 families having moved within trading distance and 20 new houses have been built in town. A movement is on foot to incorporate the town, and every citizen is anxious for its [sic] success. A nine foot cement sidewalk has been laid in front of many of the stores and the spirit of boom and enterprise seems to have taken hold of all the merchants. The first of July a second bank will be opened for business in the new building which is being erected for that purpose. Not only is Morland enterprising in a business way but she gives some little thought to recreation in her leisure hours. She boasts of a 24 piece brass band which is thoroughly organized and holds regular practice on Monday nights, and the Morland base ball nine challenges any nine up and down the branch roads. Morland is especially well located for a trading and shipping point, being fifteen miles from any other town and lying as she does between the wheat belt on the south and Bow creek valley on the north. They have one mill and three elevators in continuous operation and have shipped this year 380,000 bushels of wheat in addition to much flour. Morland is facing a very promising future. The growth which has begun steady from the first is increasing rapidly, and there is no reason why she should not soon be a leading town in the west.
Among the finest and best kept general stores catering for public favor is the establishment of Ellis and Cunningham. There is a neat and