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.

Sidonia (Staude) Bolinger

MRS. W. S. BOLINGER. It is an additional triumph for woman's work and activities in Kansas that the harvest record of Pawnee County is possessed by Mrs. W. S. Bolinger of Larned. From her extensive fields she harvested in the season of 1897, 20,000 bushels of wheat, barley and oats. Then in 1914 her fields returned 15,000 bushels of wheat, and in the comparatively dry year of 1916 her yield was 14,400 bushels of wheat, which commanded the highest market value ever paid in the history of the world.

Mrs. Bolinger, who has been a resident of Kansas since May, 1879, was born in Washington County, Illinois, March 30, 1859. Her maiden name was Sidonia Staude. Her father, Robert Staude, came from Saxony, Germany, when a young man. He married Sarah Ann Stevens, who lived and died in St. Clair County, Illinois. Mrs. Bolinger's brothers and sisters were: Rudolph, who spent his life at Weatherford, Texas; Celestia, wife of Julius Osches, of Hodgeman County, Kansas; Enno, who died in Washington County, Illinois, in 1916; and Elvira, wife of Philip Shoemaker, of Washington County, Illinois.

Mrs. Bolinger was reared and educated in Washington County, and was married there October 25, 1877, to F. H. Meckfessel. Mr. Meckfessel was a wheat buyer in Washington County, and in 1878, soon after his marriage, he removed to St. Louis, Missouri, and was employed in the flouring mills of Yeager & Reynolds until failing health obliged him to seek the salubrious climate of Western Kansas. Thus it was that in May, 1879, he brought his wife to Pawnee County. They left the train at Garfield, and at the time they had an infant child. They brought with them a carload of household furniture, some mules and farm implements. Mr. Meckfessel also had enough cash to buy the north half of section 9, township 22, range 18 in Pleasant Ridge Township. It was railroad land and the purchase price was $10 an acre. There this young couple started on the road to success and wealth on a tract of raw prairie. During the first year they planted ten acres of sod wheat, and not a bushel was harvested. Their first Kansas home was a one-room frame house 20 by 20 feet. In this and a dugout, which was later constructed they reared their family. They also had a small frame barn to shelter their stock for a number of years. Hard work had its reward in their case, and every year the area of cultivated land was extended, larger crops of wheat were sown, and sometimes there was a fair harvest and at other times there was none at all. In spite of setbacks and discouragements they prospered and eventually built a seven-room, one-story house, and a barn with shed on each side, and room for thirty tons of hay. At the present time the Bolinger farm is improved with a quantity of trees, which makes portions of the land almost a forest. There is an ample water supply, a new orchard, and a granary with 5,000 bushels capacity. After getting his original farm paid for Mr. Meckfessel bought the southwest quarter of section 3, township 22, range 18, also adjoining his home on the north, and finally the southwest quarter of section 21, township 22, range 18, and the southeast quarter of section 17 in the same township and range, and also the northwest quarter of section 16, township 22, range 18. Besides all this extensive property Mrs. Bolinger now owns about sixty-five acres on the banks of Pawnee Creek, southwest of Larned and adjoining the townsite. This land is situated bordering upon the route of the famous Santa Fe trail. It is a splendidly improved property, and there she now makes her home.

Mrs. Bolinger is a member of the Brotherhood of American Yeomen and is active in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her first husband, Mr. Meckfessel, died May 9, 1911. The children of their union are: Frank, who lives at Albert, Kansas, and by his marriage to Augusta Shrader has two children, Orvis and Galen; Irwin married Effie Spreier, and their children, all now living in Pawnee County, are Stella, Viola, Irene, Alma; Enno married Grace Davis and has two children, Frances and Gene; Eugene married Ella Baughman; Harry married Marie Detjen; Emma is the wife of A. Weber.

On October 12, 1916, Mrs. Meckfessel became the wife of William S. Bolinger, of Moberly, Missouri. Mr. Bolinger was born in Douglas County, Illinois, July 11, 1875, a son of Simon Bolinger. His father came to America from Germany with his parents, who located on a farm in Douglas County, Illinois. Simon Bolinger had the following brothers and sisters: Casper, Jake, John and Barbara, all living at Galesburg, Kansas; and Irma, wife of John Mann, of Peoria, Illinois, whose son is said to have been the first person to disprove the popular tradition that no person could eat a quail a day for thirty successive days. He is said to have accomplished this feat for a wager of $1,000. Simon Bolinger married Sadie Jacobs, daughter of Levi and Emily (Bailey) Jacobs, of Effingham, Illinois.

When William S. Bolinger was about five years of age his parents moved to Arthur, Illinois, where he lived for a time and later went to Decatur, Illinois, where his father died in 1888, at the age of forty-three. William S. Bolinger grew up and received his education chiefly in Decatur and Effingham, Illinois. For two years he farmed near Petersburg, Illinois, then for a year and a half was a railroad brakeman with the Big Four Railway, and for three years was owner of a restaurant in Moberly, Missouri. Mr. Bolinger subsequently became rural route circulation department manager for the Capper publications of Topeka. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and belongs to the Christian Church. His mother after his father's death married O. H. Bagley of Los Angeles, California, who is now an inmate of the Soldiers Home at Los Angeles.