Pages 216-218, 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.




SAMUEL C. VARNER is one whose name is inseparably interwoven with the history of Moran. He belongs to that class whose ability and character are making a deep impression upon the life of this rapidly developing town. In this broad state with its abundant room for individual enterprise with its hearty appreciation of personal worth and its splendid opportunities for individual achievement, the man of ability finds the very largest sphere for usefulness and the gratification of personal ambition. His abilities will be discovered, his integrity will find appreciation, his public spirit will meet with recognition, and he cannot but become prominent. Mr. Varner is an illustration of this fact. He has done much to advance the material interests and substantial upbuilding of Moran.

A representative of sturdy Pennsylvania ancestry he was born in Monongahela, Washington county, that state, December 10, 1845. His parents, John M. and Lucinda (Collins) Varner, were also natives of Pennsylvania. During his boyhood he accompanied them to Canton, Illinois, and from 1856 until 1867 his home was in the "Prairie State." During a part of that time he pursued his education in the public schools. When the war broke out he entered the army and served with distinction in the Sixty-seventh and One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiments of Illinois Infantry, receiving well merited promotion. He enlisted as a private of Company B, in the One Hundred and Forty-eighth, was promoted to first lieutenant and held other responsible positions by appointment. When the stars and stripes had been planted in the capital of the southern confederacy and hostilities had ceased he returned to his home.

In 1867 Mr. Varner removed to Iowa and in 1880 came to Kansas,


locating in Colony. Being of an earnest, self-reliant nature, he was fully prepared for business and at once took a leading position in commercial circles. He made his lumber yard at that place one of the leading enterprises of the time in Anderson county. Quick to note an opportunity offered and with a mind trained to take advantage of favorable business possibilities, his lumber business was a success in every particular. Believing in the future of Moran he determined to locate at that place and extend the field of his operations. Accordingly in 1883 he opened his lumber yard there and also embarked in the grain business. Two years later, in 1885, he extended the field of his labors by adding a hardware store, placing his stock on sale in a small frame building on the east side of Cedar street. That was the modest commencement of his present mammoth commercial enterprise. Soon those quarters became too small and in 1888 on the west side of Cedar street he erected the first brick building in the city. His hardware store soon took first rank in the county and would be a credit to any city in the state. Again he extended the field of his labors by organizing the firm of J. J. Varner & Company and opening an extensive store with a complete stock of merchandise.

In 1888 Mr. Varner established what was known as the S. C. Varner Bank, which in 1892 was re-organized under the name of the Peoples Bank with Mr. Varner as president. In 1890 he completed the magnificent brick block which stands as a monument to his activity, energy and success. Giving personal supervision to his varied business enterprises he has at all times been master of the minutest details of each, so that he is ever able to thoroughly meet every call of an immense business that would ordinarily require the combined skill of the individual members of a strong company. Although the year 1893 was a period of financial depression in many departments of trade, Mr. Varner, owing to his careful management, found that his business not only held its own but was increasing, making necessary additional room. He therefore erected the opera house block on the east side of Cedar street, utilizing the first floor as a ware-room. This is a handsome brick structure which is certainly a credit to the city. Mr. Varner's public spirit, his pride in his adopted city and his faith in its future led him to believe that his investments in improvements would be appreciated. Having early established his commercial standing, which was recognized by all the leading houses of the country, Mr. Varner continually added to his business, carefully managed its interests, and maintained unassailed his reputation for commercial integrity, so that when the period of financial depression came upon the country, he still enjoyed the public confidence that had been earned by honest effort. The words of commendation which he now receives from the leading wholesale houses of the country are well-deserved tributes to his ability and his high standing.

On the 27th day of September, 1863, Mr. Varner was married to Miss Annie McCord, a highly accomplished lady of Canton, Illinois. They have never had any children of their own but adopted a daughter whom they reared to adult age. Mr. Varner exercises his right of franchise in


support of the men and measures of the Republican party, but has never sought or desired office. He was elected mayor of Moran in 1896 and his administration was one of worth to the city. Socially he is a Knight Templar, Mason and also belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Ancient Order of the United Workmen and the Grand Army of the Republic. Men with minds that are as alert and broad as his are never narrow; and men who, like him, view public questions, the social organization, politics and all the relations of life comprehensively and philosophically are magnificent supporters of the best interests of humanity.

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