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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

William F. Baer

WILLIAM F. BAER, of Ransom, is one of the vigorous young Americans who not only find but make for themselves a place in human affairs, and the achievements to his credit before he has reached the age of forty presage a still greater business future for him. As cashier of the First State Bank of Ransom he is guiding the destinies of a very successful institution, and he has various other interests in that section of the state,

He represents the second generation of a very worthy family in Ness County. The Baers came to Ness County as early as 1878. The founder of the family was Amandus D. Baer. Amandus D. Baer was born in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, he and his brother Fred being the only children of Moses Baer and his wife, whose maiden name was Zimmerman. The Baers were old and substantial people of Pennsylvania, originally of German ancestry.

Amandus D. Baer came to Ness County along with a colony of Pennsylvania German settlers who located along what is known as the "Dutch Flats." Others who came at the same time were the Masts. A. D. Baer entered some land three miles east of Ransom. Mention of some of his early toils and difficulties tends to throw light on the early historical development of this section of the state. When he arrived in Kansas he did not have enough money to buy a yoke of cattle. It was not easy to make a living and secure the bare necessities for several years, as many other pioneers found out, and many who came at that time became discouraged and left Kansas, and thus never realized the prosperity which eventually came to those who persisted and remained. in order to secure the means to buy food Amandus D. Baer spent several winters as a section hand on the Santa Fe Railroad, walking all the way to Dodge City in order to secure employment in that capacity. Several summers he played his part as a hand in the harvest fields in McPherson County. One farmer for whom he worked as a hand did not have the money to pay his wages after he had finished. Thus with the hardest kind of manual toil he earned and saved enough to buy a yoke of cattle. Those oxen gave him the power to drag a plow through the virgin soil of his claim, and he then started to farming in earnest. His pioneer home was a sod house, and in that humble home, which was typical of all habitations in Ness County at that date, his children were born and reared. In later years Amandus D. Baer has enjoyed a comfortable prosperity, but he got his start and made most of his early fortune on the old home claim and farm. He was a grain raiser, and the annual crops usually paid him a dividend. He has never been a speculator in land, and his ownership extended to only half a section and yet out of that he became financially independent. In later years he bought other lands but is now retired from business. His life was a severe struggle, but in less than twenty-five years he finds himself independent. For many years he served as a trustee of Nevada Township, favored education and encouraged long sessions of the local schools and one of the best rural schools Ness County has ever had was the Fairview School. He took an active part in republican politics. His wife was the principal member of the family engaged in church work.

Amandus D. Baer married Emma Mast. Her father, Samuel Mast, came to Kansas in the late '70s with other Pennsylvania immigrants, entered land and spent his life as a farmer. Mrs. A. D. Baer died June 22, 1910. Her children were: Mamie; William F.; Roy, a lawyer at Ness City; and Anna, who died in childhood.

In the old sod home in Nevada Township of Ness County, William F. Baer was born July 5, 1884. He attended the Fairview District School and later the Salina Business College, and at the age of twenty he left home and began his business career, which from the first has been in banking. He was assistant cashier of the Citizens National Bank of Ness City, and then for five years cashier of the National Bank of Ness City, but in 1910 he bought the controlling interest in the First State Bank of Ransom, and became its president. The following year he took the active executive management as cashier, the president now being Mr. L. L. Clyne. The First State Bank has a capital of $10,000, and its highly prosperous and substantial condition is reflected in a recent report which shows $5,000 of surplus and undivided profits, and deposits of $255,000.

Besides his banking connections Mr. Baer has some valuable farming interests, and since 1912 has been specializing with Shorthorn cattle. He now has a herd of seventy-five head. The nucleus of this herd came from the Tomson Brothers' ranch at Carbondale, Kansas.

Mr. Baer is a member of the Christian Church. In Ness County in December, 1906, he married Miss Daisy Scott, a daughter of one of the early settlers and homesteaders of Ness County. Her father came to Kansas from Missouri, and for some years conducted a country store at Cyrus, Kansas. Mrs. Baer's mother was Phoebe Scott. There were ten children in the Scott family. Mr. and Mrs. Baer have no children.