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.

Henry Borchers

HENRY BORCHERS. In March, 1885, there arrived in Meade County, one of the men who have been identified with the growth and development of that section through all the years of adversity and good and bad fortune. This is Mr. Henry Borchers, whose career is a signal evidence of the value of industry, perseverance and intelligent management that confers value not only upon the possessor but upon the community at large.

Mr. Borchers has lived in America since early manhood. He was born at Bremervorde in the Kingdom of Hanover February 1, 1858. His people were plain and industrious German farmers and his grandfather had lived on the farm which had been occupied by the Borchers for generations. Christopher Borchers, father of Henry, was born in the same locality and spent his life there. He married Ella Bolkerman, whose parents were also farmers and of the same locality as the Borchers. Their children were: Claus; Jacob; Mary and Annie, who died unmarried; Henry; Katie, who married Peter Tiedemann; John, a farmer in Meade County and Ella, who died young.

Henry Borchers emigated with two companions from Hanover and first located in Illinois. He worked there as a farm hand, and from Woodford County went to Missouri, where he spent about three years in Benton County. In Missouri he was also a farm hand at wages from $12 to $15 a month. As he recalls those times Mr. Borchers is convinced that he did two or three times as much work as a modern farm hand does who is paid $40 a month.

Mr. Borchers made the journey from Benton County, Missouri, to Kansas with B. H. Cordes, who is also a prominent Meade County citizen. Arriving in the spring of 1885 he pre-empted a place seventeen miles south of Meade, and on that place he built his first Kansas home. This consisted of a dugout of a single room covered with dirt and without floor for some months. It was a crude habitation, but he was at that time unmarried, a young man of twenty-seven, and able to put up with many inconveniences. He brought with him to Kansas a team and a small amount of cash. In less than a year he had a patent on his land, but subsequently he used it as security for a loan and finally lost his title and abandoned that locality altogether. His new start was made on Crooked Creek, where he took a homestead in section 29, township 33, range 28. On this he constructed a sod house. He had in the meantime married and had one child. He also possessed a team and other implements for farming and a few head of stock. The meager crops he was able to raise together with the stock that fattened on the public range did much to maintain him during the early years. Still earlier he had gained his living largely as a freighter. He hauled goods from Dodge City to Meade. His sod house on the homestead furnished the family its domicile for six years. He then bought an improved place, consisting of a very comfortable three-room sod house. In 1909 he was able to construct a permanent and attractive cement block house of twelve rooms, thoroughly modern and lighted with Carbide lights. He is a great believer in the permanent material of construction, cement. His barn is built of concrete and is 32x66 feet. It was completed two years before the house. Other permanent improvements constitute a cement milk house, a cement poultry house, a cement cattle shed, and he also floored his granaries with cement.

Since locating on Crooked Creek, Mr. Borchers has developed a ranch and farm of 1,940 acres. Of this about a hundred and fifty acres constitute a splendid alfalfa field. Mr. Borchers is one of the men in this section of Kansas who has practiced and is thoroughly convinced of the value of cultivating alfalfa every spring. His experience has satisfied him that cultivation means long life and prosperity of the plant. He also spreads manure over the alfalfa field and as a result of these practices he gets three tons per acre almost every year. He and his sons have about 250 head of black Galloway cattle on pasturage. As the situation seems to warrant they sell either to the home markets or ship to Kansas City.

Mr. Borchers is a stockholder in the First National Bank of Meade. He was reared a Lutheran and has reared his own family in the same faith and is a member of the Advance St. John Church. He has paid much attention to community affairs and served many years on the School Board of district No. 66. That service was chiefly while his own children were in school. He has served as trustee of Odee Township. Politically a democrat, he began voting after reaching Meade County.

Mr. Borchers married in Meade county in March, 1888, Mary Brunjes, daughter of John Brunjes of Benton County, Missouri, who married B. H. Cordes' sister, Katie.

The children of John Brunjes and wife are Mrs. Borchers, born April 26, 1859; John of Benton County, Missouri; Jacob who is also in that county; Dick has spent his life as a farmer in that county; William is a merchant in Brazelton, Kansas.

Mr. Brunjes was also originally from Hanover, Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Borchers have five children: Fred, John, Ben, Katie and Hannah. Fred is associated with his father, as is also Ben, John married Mary Berger, and has a farm within view of the old homestead.