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.

John W. Phares

JOHN W. PHARES, a former county clerk of Trego County, has been identified with Western Kansas as a pioneer homesteader, farmer, public official and business man for a quarter of a century.

Mr. Phares is of Scotch-Irish ancestry on his grandfather's side and English through his mother. His maternal ancestors located in Virginia in early days. His grandfather, Robert Phares, was a native of Virginia, was a farmer and stock raiser in the western counties of that state, and, like many of his fellow-citizens there, had no special sympathy with the institution of slavery, though he was nominally a southerner. He died in Pendleton County, West Virginia, in 1874. He married Miss Wimer. She was also a native of Virginia.

John W. Phares was born in Pendleton County, West Virginia, April 22, 1868. His father, Robert Phares, was born in the same county in 1844, grew up and married there, and early in the war was inducted into the service of the Confederate army. His heart was not in the cause, and after the battle of Gettysburg, in which he served, he went out to Illinois and remained there until the close of hostilities. Afterward he was a farmer and stock raiser in West Virginia, and in the fall of 1878 pioneered to the State of Nebraska. He farmed the first year near Plattsmouth, then went to Lancaster County, and bought a farm on which he lived ten years, and in 1890 removed to Gosper County, whore he continued farming until his death in 1899. He was always a democrat in politics and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Robert Phares married Phoebe Jane Waybright. She was born in Highland County, Virginia, in 1845, and is now living with her son John W. at Wakeeney. John W. was the oldest of their eight children. Cora Susan is the wife of George C. Rice, a farmer and stockman in Gosper County, Nebraska; Lena married Ira Downer, a farmer and stock raiser in Weld County, Colorado; James Claude is a railroad man living at Livingston, Montana; Francis Morgan was a railroad man and later a farmer and died near Denver in 1913; Carrie Elizabeth is the wife of Wyatt Blackburn, a railroad man at Amarillo, Texas: Charles and Elizabeth, the two youngest children, died in infancy.

John W. Phares was ten years old when his parents moved to Nebraska, and practically all his life has been spent on the open plains of the West. He began his education in the public schools of West Virginia, attended school in Nebraska, including the Plattsmouth High School, and completed a business course in the Lincoln Business College at Lincoln, Nebraska. Up to the age of twenty-three his home was with his father on the farm. Following that he farmed in Gosper County for himself, and in May, 1892, homesteaded a quarter section in Wallace County, Kansas. He proved up a claim and lived on it until 1896, when he removed to Trego County and combined farming with teaching in the rural schools until 1900. In the fall of 1899 Mr. Phares was elected county clerk of Trego County, and since 1900 has had his home at Wakeeney, the county seat. He was twice re-elected to the office, and held it altogether seven years. Since January, 1907, he has been engaged in the real estate business, and has the knowledge, experience and business integrity which gives him a wide command over all business of that nature in Trego County. He personally owns 1,000 acres of farm land in the county, and is also president of the Lossville Electric Company at Lossville, Kansas. Mr. Phares is a democrat and is affiliated with the Wakeeney Camp of Modern Woodmen of America.

In April, 1900, in Lincoln, Nebraska, he married Miss Mary Knudson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Newt Knudson, both now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mr. and Ms. Phares have three children: Mildred, born April 16, 1901, now a senior in the Trego County High School; Clifford W., born November 22, 1902, a sophomore in the County High School; and Ward W. born February 11, 1906, a student in the Wakeeney grammar schools.

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