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 K. Pickerill

JOHN K. PICKERILL, one of the hustling young business men of Barton County, is manager of the Universal Mill and Elevator Company of Claflin. He is a native Kansan, and began his active business experience as a grain buyer before reaching big majority.

He is the son of William B. Pickerill, now a resident of Kansas City, Missouri. His father was born in Kentucky in February, 1862. He grew up in the hill country where timber was plentiful and where rail splitting was an inevitable occupation. He did rail splitting and practical farming when modern boys are attending school, and as a result he came to man's estate with less than a common school education. However, he has been a student all the rest of his life, especially of men and affairs. About 1887 he settled near Olpe in Lyons County, Kansas, and was a ranch superintendent. When the Cherokee Strip was opened in 1893 he failed in an effort to get a claim, and then established his home at Claflin. He worked as a farm hand, but soon became an employe in a local elevator and finally bought the plant. He organized the firm of Pickerill & Hill, and in 1904 the firm constructed a mill, this being the business now managed by Mr. Pickerill's son. In June, 1913, William B. Pickerill left Claflin and removed to Kansas City, Missouri, where he established an office for the Claflin plant of the Universal Mill. He is now a partner in the E. E. Roahen Grain Company. Mr. Roahen is also a former Barton County man.

While a resident of Claffin William B. Pickerill was active in local affairs. He is a democrat by inheritance and training, and in Kansas also affiliated with the populist party. He was chosen county commissioner for his district while living at Claflin, and was once offered the nomination for representative to the Legislature, but declined that honor. He has some unusual gifts as a speaker, and is an active worker in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. In Lyons County William B. Pickerill married Emma C. Thompson, a native of South Carolina. She came to Kansas with her family when young. The only other surviving child of the Thompson family is John Thompson, of Shawnee, Oklahoma. William B. Pickerill and wife have five children, John K., Gladys, Velda, Elvira and Chester, all of whom live in Kansas City except John K.

John K. Pickerill was born in Lyons County, Kansas, August 20, 1890. He attended the public schools of Claflin, including one year in high school, and had a business training in the Kansas Wesleyan College at Salina. On graduating there he entered his father's office as stenographer with the firm of Pickerill & Hill. After a year he took charge of the firm's elevator at Red Wing, and was grain buyer 2 1/2 years. On returning to Claflin he became assistant bookkeeper and stenographer at the home plant, and for several years bought most of the grain. In 1913 he was made manager of the Universal Mills Company, and is also one of the directors.

Mr. Pickerill cast his first presidential vote in 1912 for Mr. Wilson. He was chosen to the office of mayor of Claflin in 1917 as successor to Albert P. Haury. Besides the routine work of his office he has been looked to as the leader in many of the local war movements, was active in the various campaigns for war funds, and was chairman of the membership committee of the Red Cross.

In Barton County May 16, 1911, Mr. Pickerill married Miss Sophia E. Kramer, who was born in Barton County in March, 1890. Her father, Val Kramer, was a native of the Duchy of Luxemburg, and came to Kansas from Minnesota. He was an early settler in Barton County, and on leaving his farm moved to Claflin and was vice president of the Citizens State Bank when he died. Mr. Val Kramer married Catherine Theisen, also a native of Luxemburg, and they have five sons and five daughters. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Pickerill were born Ferris and Harris, twins, the latter dying in infancy, and Leona and Marjorie.