Pages 709-710, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




One of the honored pioneer settlers of Woodson County is David Askren, who for forty-two years has resided within its borders. Few of the residents of this portion of the state can claim as long continuous connection with it. Great changes have occurred in this period as the work of improvement and progress has been carried on, transforming the raw prairie into fertile farms, replacing cabin homes with commodious dwellings and adding the commercial and industrial interests and the evidences of civilization known to the older east. Mr. Askren can relate many interesting incidents of pioneer days when they coped with the hardships and trials of frontier life to make homes in the west, and no history of this portion of the state would be complete without the record of his life.

He was born in Logan County, Ohio, January 1, 1831. His father, Isaac Askren, was a native of Pennsylvania but in boyhood removed to Ohio where he was reared to manhood and married, Miss Elizabeth Spry, a native of Maryland, becoming his wife. In 1853 he removed with his


family to Iowa, where his remaining days were devoted to agricultural pursuits, his death occurring in 1892, when he was seventy years of age. His wife died in 1888, at the age of seventy-six. They were the parents of seven children, but only three are now living—David, who is the eldest, and Isaac and Mary, who are residents of Iowa. One of the sons, John, died in the army during the Civil war and was buried in the cemetery in Iola, Kansas.

Reared to farm work and educated in the common schools, thus passed the boyhood days of David Askren and when he had become a man he married Miss Charlotte Alexander, the wedding being celebrated on the 13th. of February, 1855. The lady was a native of Ohio. The young couple began their domestic life in Ohio but in 1859 came to Kansas and Mr. Askren pre-empted the farm of one hundred and sixty acres upon which he has resided for more than forty years. He has remained in the Sunflower state through the period when the commonwealth was infested by grasshoppers and suffered from drouths, and though these entailed great hardships upon the settlers never but once did he become discouraged and wish to leave Kansas. During the great drouth of 1860 he determined to return to Ohio, and several years later when he had saved money enough he started with his family for their old home. They traveled by wagon as far as Illinois. There on account of illness Mr. Askren left his family and proceeded alone to the Buckeye state, but had been there only a short time when he became homesick for Kansas. However, he wrote his wife that she might come on to Ohio and they would sell their Kansas farm and make a home in their native state, but she replied that she was as near Ohio then as she ever wanted to be, that she desired to return to Kansas and that the children were crying to go back. Mr. Askren says that he never in his life received a letter which was as welcome and which did him as much good. Accordingly he rejoined his family and they returned to Kansas, where he has since remained and is now one of the prosperous, contended farmers and valued citizens of Woodson County.

After forty-five years of happy married life he was separated from his wife by death. She passed away on the old homestead October 17, 1899, at the age of sixty-six years, and all of their four children have departed this life with the exception of Mrs. Charlotte Klinkinburg, who is now living, with her father, acting as his housekeeper in his declining days. They are the only surviving members of the family and the relation between them is accordingly very near and dear. Mr. Askren has been called upon to fill many positions of honor and trust in his township and county. He has been township trustee and justice of the peace and was the second county assessor after the organization of the county. His duties were ever faithfully performed and over his public record there falls no shadow of wrong, while his private life is alike above reproach. In his political views he is now a Prohibitionist, warmly advocating temperance principles, morality and all movements that tend to uplift mankind.

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