Pages 349-351, 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.




ROBERT M. WORKS.—Fourty-four years upon the plains of Kansas, more than four decades a resident of Allen county and above two score of years a central figure in the industrial sphere of his commonwealth


marks the record of our worthy pioneer, Robert M. Works. A lifetime of intense and profitable activity along the banks of the placid Neosho and the last of a race of determined and indigent pioneers express to the world in a few words his physical achievements. If there were no substantial rewards for industry, if there were no appreciation for things done and tasks accomplished, how, then, could the world repay her planters of civilization and establishers of society for the hardships and misfortunes they have endured. Tenacity is the chief ingredient in the mechanism of a typical pioneer and the few who have possessed this trait to a marked degree are the few who answer to roll-call after a quarter of a century of prosperity and adversity, of successes and reverses, each in allopathic cases.

The time seems never to have been when R. M. Works was not a citizen of Humboldt township. He settled on the river near the old county seat at a date farther back than most men now remember—1857—and began the task of opening a farm. The most that was known then about Kansas soil was that the best land lay near the streams and in this knowledge Mr. Works was particularly fortunate. His homestead all lay in the bottom and when its wild nature had been destroyed and the abundance of its yield beheld, the prosperity of its owner was no longer a subject of wonder. As a grain farmer and as grain producers Mr. Works and his broad acres are unequaled in Allen county. Away back in the seventies when the prairies were settling up and when the grasshoppers and floods made it impossible for the new men to tide over on their crop they called on "Uncle Robert" and paid him in money and in notes, a dollar a bushel for big white corn. There was always one place where corn or wheat could be had, in the olden time, and what was true of that farmer then is true of him still. Mr. Works absorbed acre after acre of land adjoining him till in all fourteen hundred acres along and near the great Neosho Valley represent the partial fruits of his labors.

At eleven years of age Robert Works was thrown out upon the world to battle with the elements. He was left an orphan at seven years of age by the death of his father and it was as a farm hand and at other forms of hard work that he started in life. He was born in Essex county, New York, February 20, 1831, and was a farmer's son. His father was George Works and his mother, who died in 1880, was Julia Collidge. The father was born in Massachusetts in 1803 and his mother's birth occurred in 1805. They were the parents of four children: George, Robert M., Clark and Obadiah Works. George and Clark are in New York and Obadiah is in Wisconsin, near Eau Claire.

In 1838 the Works family passed through the Erie canal bound for Illinois. Soon after reaching their destination the father died and the mother took her children back to New York state. The indigency of the family made work necessary and placed education beyond the reach of young Robert. Having tasted of the western air he longed to try his fortunes there and in 1855 he went into Iowa. He spent two years there in the employ of farmers and while there heard of Kansas. Following a de-


sire to see and know the new Territory himself he came hither and "took up" the best tract of land in Allen county.

The first events of the Civil war found Mr. Works busy with his new farm. When the country called he was not too busy to help put down rebellion against the flag. The second call for troops brought him to the proper officer to subscribe his name and to offer his services, and his life, if need be, that we might be preserved a nation and not a league of states. He joined Company G, Ninth Kansas and was in the field three years and four months. The regiment's marches through Arkansas and Missouri and the battles and skirmishes incident thereto furnish many of the exciting reminiscences of Mr. Work's life.

When the war ended Mr. Works returned home and was married the same year to Mrs. Caroline Butterfield. Two children were the result of this union: Julia E., wife of James W. Hamm of Humboldt, and C. Wilbur Works, the active young aid to his father's large enterprises. The latter is married to Alice Michael and has two children. In 1872 Mr. Works lost his wife by death and in 1874 he was married to Mrs. Frances Parker, a daughter of John Woodin. Of the four children of this marriage three survive, viz: Robert L., George C. and Mary Works. In June, 1892, Mr. Works lost his second wife.

Throughout all the years of his active, and somewhat eventful life, Mr. Works has maintained himself pure and righteous among men. The taint of suspicion or reproach has not pointed in his direction and in his quiet and unobtrusive manner he has made and retained warm friendships at every turn. His whole life illustrates the adage that one should never weary of well-doing.

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