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.

Jacob W. Zook

JACOB W. ZOOK is a successful farmer and auctioneer of Pawnee County and has his home in Pleasant Valley Township. The family name has been identified with this county more or less continuously since February, 1886.

His father, the late John B. Zook, was for years a hard working, successful and esteemed citizen of Pleasant Valley Township. Born in Ohio in 1842, he had very little schooling and transacted his business affairs largely through practical experience and intuition. He was reared a member of the Mennonite Church. This sect had conscientious scruples against warfare, and largely for that reason he was never in service during the Civil war. For many years he lived as a farmer in Northern Illinois, and first came to Western Kansas in 1886, though he did not settle here permanently for several years. For a few years he rented land, lived in a tenant's house, and finally established himself on a deeded farm in Pleasant Valley Township and developed there the home which with many increases and additions remained the scene and stage of his activities until his death. He continuously engaged in wheat farming and never allowed a few failures to discourage him from that industry. He acquired a substantial residence, a large barn, and the trees which he planted around his home had grown up and developed as a small forest before he passed away. The ups and downs and discouragements of Western Kansas afflicted him as they did his neighbors, but in time the hard lines were smoothed out and his life in later years was led along the even paths of prosperity. At times he had almost been persuaded to move away, but even the vicissitudes seemed to make him more friendly to Kansas and he was finally so attached to the state that nothing could have taken him away except death itself. John B. Zook not only did well himself but exercised an influence toward persuading other eastern farmers to come to Kansas. His estate was developed until it comprised 5 1/2 quarter sections of land, all in the same locality, and most of it under the plow. This land had three complete sets of farm improvements. He was never engaged to any extent in cattle raising and raised only sufficient hogs to supply his own meat. As a citizen and neighbor he proved his usefulness in many ways to his community. He was always a democrat, was a trustee of Pleasant Valley Township and a school director for many years.

John B. Zook married Catherine Salzman, a daughter of Christian Salzman. Her father was born in Europe, being a native probably of one of the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. John B. Zook died February 23, 1912, and his widow on September 16, 1913. Their children were: Dan B., a farmer in Pleasant Valley Township; Aaron W., of Larned, Kansas; John H., a carpenter at Oakland, California; Rosa, wife of J. W. Collins, of Pleasant Valley Township; Mose B., a farmer at Copeland, Kansas; Emma, wife of A. M. Long, of Belpre, Kansas; Christ W.. of Pleasant Valley Township; Laura, wife of C. E. Chesterman, of Pleasant Valley; Jacob W.; and Charles A., a farmer in Pawnee County.

All these children were born in Livingston County, Illinois, and Jacob W. Zook first saw the light of day there on July 19, 1879. His first conscious recollections are of Western Kansas, and from his father's early home in Pawnee County he went to the country schools during their rather brief terms and was at home working on the farm and performing other responsibilities fitted to his immature years until he gained his majority. He remained at home until his marriage and then started out as a farmer and auctioneer. He had shown inclination and ability as an auctioneer when a boy, and he cried his first sale a few days after his twenty-first birthday. Gradually this became his regular profession and has been the source of as much income as his farm activities. Mr. Zook now cries about fifty sales every year. His territory is portions of Edwards, Stafford and Pawnee counties, and at times he even responds to invitations for his service beyond these borders.

Mr. Zook's farm home is on the northeast quarter of section 16, township 23, range 16. He now has a splendidly improved farm, with a good eight-room house, a barn 40 by 40 feet, with mow room for forty tons, with a cattle shed addition, a machine shed 36 by 48 feet, a frame garage, wash house, and all these improvements are of his own making and the fruit of his earnings. His buildings are lighted by the Delco system of electric lighting.

Reared in the faith of the democratic party, Mr. Zook cast his first presidential vote for Mr. Bryan. His only official service has been as a director of school district No. 33. Mr. Zook was married in Pawnee County and has two children, Helen and John. He has been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since 1903, and carried his farm insurance in the Grange Order.

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