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 A. Shanstrom

JOHN A. SHANSTROM. An intelligent, progressive and enterprising agriculturist of Hamilton County, John A. Shanstrom, of Coolidge, has labored faithfully in his efforts to convert from its virgin wildness the homestead which he now owns and occupies, it being a highly improved ranch which in its appointments compares most favorably with any in the locality. A son of John P. Shanstrom, he was born in East Jutland, Sweden, March 3, 1842, and as a boy of ten years came with his parents to America.

John P. Shanstrom immigrated to the United States with his family in 1852, and was subsequently engaged in farming in Jefferson County, Iowa, until his death. He was twice married. He married first, in Sweden, Anna Lottie Shanstrom, who came with him to this country, where both learned the English language and became naturalized citizens. They were Lutherans in religion in their native land, but united with the Methodist Church in Iowa. Mrs. Anna L. Shanstrom died in Jefferson County, Iowa, leaving the following named children: John A., the special subject of this sketch; Peter G., a merchant in St. Paul, Nebraska; Mrs. Matilda Chilberg, of Seattle, Washington; Mrs. Caroline Smith, of the same city; Mrs. Mary J. Burrell, who died in Central City, Colorado; Alice, wife of D. M. Gray, of Denver, Colorado; Anna, wife of Peter Egvet, of Seattle, Washington. By his union with his second wife, John P. Shanstrom reared four children, Isaac and Jacob, twins, Della and Etta.

Brought up on a farm in Jefferson County, Iowa, John A. Shanstrom was well trained in agriculture by his father. An ambitious youth, full of push and energy, he sought more remunerative employment, and having been suddenly seized with the gold fever he joined a company bound for Colorado, and in 1860 crossed the plains with an ox team furnished him by his father, going up the Platte River from Plattsmouth. He passed through Denver before it had a postoffice and at a time when the charge on a letter sent by an express company was 25 cents, while one forwarded by the United States Government cost an additional 3 cents. Safe to say that the mail bags were not then packed as they are today. With the company Mr. Shanstrom, then a youth of eighteen years, began his career as a miner in Central City, being then as "poor as a church mouse." In 1883 he left that place to avoid further contact with the mountain climate, and in seeking a favorable place in which to regain his health located in Hamilton County, Kansas, where he established himself as a stockman. In the spring of 1884 he bought a quarter of land in section 24, township 23, range 42, and began its improvement, working from the grass roots up, doing the initial work of developing a fine ranch that now consists of 500 acres of productive land.

Mr. Shanstrom's ranch lies on the north side of the Arkansas River, which furnishes the water with which it is irrigated. He assisted in making the first and the main ditch, which was built by the settlers of this region, and lacks but a few rods of being eight miles in length. His farm is all under irrigation with the exception of about forty acres of wild meadow, and is devoted principally to the growing of alfalfa. He has at different times experimented with wheat, one season getting a crop that averaged 24 1/2 bushels an acre, but more frequently getting about half that yield. He first started as a stock raiser, using the open range for his cattle, but eventually retired from that industry, converting his lands into an irrigation farm.

Mr. Shanstrom planted the first tree grown on his ranch, growing the mulberry for windbreaks, and also has elms, box elders, and a few walnut trees, all doing well. His residence nestles snugly in a beautiful grove of his own growing, his lawn and garden plots being irrigated by an artesian well, which he drilled in 1911 and from which the water has since flowed at the rate of four gallons a minute.

Mr. Shanstrom married, October 15, 1871, in Gilpin County, Colorado, Susan Tucker, who was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, a daughter of John Tucker, whose mother was a sister of Robert Morris, a prominent Pennsylvania merchant who financed the Colonial Government through the Revolution. Mrs. Sanstrom was one of a family of eight children, being the youngest in succession of birth, the others having been Dr. Henry C. Tucker, who served as an army surgeon in the Civil war; John, a soldier in the Union army; Mrs. Leah Brown, deceased; Mary, who died, as Mrs. Milton Romig; A. Wayne, who was a United States regular during the Civil war period, took part in fighting the hostile Indians in Colorado and fought Linder General Chivington, and died in Sedgwick County, Kansas; William, who died in Tuscarawas County, Ohio; Mrs. Hannah Minnich, deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Shanstrom are the parents of six children, namely: Elmer Floyd, an importer and exporter, is married, and lives in Shanghai, China; Irene Florence, wife of W. V. Barrett, of Chillcothe, Ohio; Mrs. Edith Maud Downing, deceased; Harvey Morris, of Pueblo, Colorado, married Pearl Opp; Jessie, wife of J. H. Conard, of Coolidge, Kansas; and Raymond Tucker, a graduate of Fairmount College, Wichita, Kansas, lives with his parents as manager of the farm. Mr. Shanstrom is a republican in politics, and a Presbyterian in religion. Fraternally he is a charter member and past master of Coolidge Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and has served as a delegate to the Grand Lodge.