Pages 777-779, 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.




There is ever an element of interest attaching to the history of a self-made man, one who starts out in life empty-handed and wrests fortune from an adverse fate. Obstacles and difficulties are encountered, but to the man of resolute purpose these but call for renewed effort and serve as stepping stones to something higher. The life record of Mr. Darst stands in exemplification of what may be accomplished in this free land of ours, where the man of ambition and determination is unhampered by caste or class. He is numbered among the pioneers of Woodson County, and for more than thirty years has contributed to the material advancement and substantial upbuilding of this section of the state. He is an honored veteran of the Civil war, and the same loyalty which he manifested on southern battlefields is now manifest in his faithful performance of the duties of citizenship. Such qualities render consonant a detailed account of his life in this volume.

A native of Ohio, he was born in Meigs County, on the 6th of June, 1839, and is of German lineage, the first representatives of the family in America having come from the Fatherland to the new world. John Darst, the grandfather of our subject, died in 1849, at the extreme old age of ninety-three years. Abram Darst, Sr., the father, was born in Ohio in 1803, and died in Vinton County, that state, in 1852. He married Nancy Read, whose death occurred in Lake County, Indiana, in 1875. This worthy couple were the parents of ten children: Mary J., wife of Joseph Marshall, of Ruskin, Nebraska; Sarah A., widow of Francis Andrews and a resident of Iowa; Thomas L., of Wheatland, Wyoming; James S., of Doniphan County, Kansas; Maria L., who married John M. Fuller, and is


now deceased; Abram F., of this review; Elizabeth, deceased wife of William Buckley; Jonathan J., who has also passed away; Addie A., the widow of D. V. Dow, and a resident of Woodson County, and Joseph J., of the same county.

Abram F. Darst spent the first sixteen years of his life in the state of his nativity and then became a resident of Lake County, Indiana, in 1855. There he remained until his removal to Kansas, and in the meantime he had become familiar with the work of the farm through practical experience in the fields. When the country became involved in Civil war, he resolved to strike a blow in defense of the Union, enlisting on the 23d of June, 1861, as a member of Company B, Twentieth Indiana Infantry. He was mustered in at Lafayette, that state, and on the Northern Central railroad proceeded with his command from Pittsburg to Baltimore, and from there to Fort Hatteras, North Carolina. The winter was passed at Fortress Monroe, and in the spring he witnessed the famous naval battle between the Merrimac and the Monitor. The regiment afterward proceeded to Norfolk and joined the Army of the Potomac at White House Landing. Mr. Darst participated in the seven day's fight and then joined Pope on the Rappahannock, taking part under his command in the second battle of Bull Run. For a time he was left at Washington on account of disability, and after rejoining his regiment took part in the battle of Frederickburg. He was also in the Gettysburg campaign and was wounded, being shot through the left thigh. He joined his regiment again at Fort Schuyler, New York, whither it had gone to quell the draft riot, and upon leaving that state the Twentieth Indiana returned to the Rappahannock, taking part in the engagement at Chancellorsville soon afterward. Mr. Darst re-enlisted and received a thirty days' furlough, on the expiration of which time he rejoined his command at Brandy Station, later taking part in the Richmond campaign under General Grant. On the 6th of May, 1864, in the battle of the Wilderness he was shot in the right leg below the knee, the ball entering between the two bones, where it lodged. It therefore had to be cut out and gangrene set in, which necessitated Mr. Darst remaining in the hospital for nearly a year. It was 1873 before his wound ceased to discharge, and it still troubles him to this day. Discharged from the service he returned to his home, conscious of having performed his duty for the perpetuation of the Union and for the honor of the old flag which now floats so proudly over every portion of the nation.

In the year following the close of the war, on the 22d of February, 1866, Mr. Darst was united in marriage in Lake County, Indiana, to Miss Eunice, daughter of Jackson and Amy (Cutright) Dumond, and the same year started with his bride for Kansas, accompanied by Henry Peters, J. H. Hale, Joseph Barker and J. W. Dumond, together with their respective families. They arrived at Humboldt on the 4th of July and secured claims in Eminence township, Woodson County, on the east branch of West Buffalo creek. That summer all erected homes, each twelve by sixteen feet


and one story in height, built of cottonwood and sycamore lumber, manufactured at Humboldt and for which they paid twenty-five and thirty dollars per thousand. With characteristic energy Mr. Darst began the development of his land and continued its cultivation until January, 1897. He added eighty acres to his first tract and devoted his time to the raising of grain and stock, both branches of his business proving profitable so that in the course of years he acquired a handsome competence which now enables him to live retired, enjoying rest from the more arduous duties of business life.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Darst was blessed with two daughters. Myrtle, the elder, is the widow of Lawrence O. Heffelfinger and has two children, Lillie and Neva. Nellie, the younger daughter, is the wife of S. T. White, of Buffalo, Kansas. and has one child, Frank White. Although reared in the Democratic faith, for his father was a supporter of that party. Mr. Darst of this review has always been a stalwart Republican and warmly espouses the principles of the party. He belongs to Woodson Post, No. 185, G. A. R., and has frequently attended the state encampments, finding pleasure in recalling the scenes of army life upon the tented field or the firing line amid those who have shared in similar experiences. His interest in everything which affects the welfare of the people and the growth and development of the county is deep and abiding and as a citizen he has the respect of all who have knowledge of his straightforward business methods and his uprightness of character.

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