Page 475-476, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


William Houston Betz, superintendent of the city water works of El Dorado, is a native of Ohio, born at Lima, July 28, 1868. His parents were Henry and Mary (Shumberger) Betz, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Pennsylvania. The Betz family were among the early settlers of El Dorado, locating here in 1869, when William Houston of this review was about a year old. Their first home was on North Main street where the Commercial hotel now stands. They drove the entire distance from Ohio to Kansas, which was a long, tedious journey, and in those pioneer days they followed the trail through much wild and unsettled country, before reaching Butler county. Their outfit consisted of four wagons, one of which was a spring wagon, and they covered a distance of about 1200 miles.

After remaining in Kansas about six years, the family returned to Ohio, but two years later came back to Kansas, this time by rail as far as Florence, and continued the journey to El Dorado by stage coach. The father was engaged in buying and shipping cattle for a number of years, and later conducted a meat market in El Dorado, where he died and the mother passed away at Alton, Ill. They were the parents of the following children: Samuel, now deceased; Elizabeth, married James Johnson, and is now a widow residing at Chicago, Ill.; Christine, married Edward Stanley and resides in Kansas City, Mo.; Lewis, died at the age of twenty; Fred, a farmer, Medicine Lodge, Kans.; Henry, Philadelphia, Pa.; William H., the subject of this sketch; and Charles, Kansas City, Mo. Samuel, the eldest brother, who is now deceased, was a natural frontiersman. He frequently made extensive hunting trips into the west and southwest, in the early days when those sections of the country had scarcely a white habitation. He was a great hunter and had an extensive acquaintance with various tribes of Indians and could speak many of their tribal languages with fluency. He organized a wild west show which he conducted for a time and later sold it to Adam Forepaugh. He was an unerring shot and a great rider, and in many ways an unusual type of man. He was killed in an accident in a spoke factory in Ohio.

William H. Betz was educated in the public schools in El Dorado, and attended high school, and was a schoolmate of Willam Allen White. From the time he was twelve years old, he practically made his own way in the world. He worked at odd jobs until he was seventeen years old, when he entered the employ of the Missouri Pacific railroad as switchman and remained in the train service of that road for thirteen years. He then entered the employ of C. L. Turner as an implement and buggy salesman, and followed that vocation for seven years. In Febru-


ary, 1906, Mr. Betz became superintendent of the El Dorado city waterworks. He is also superintendent of the sewer system, which includes a septic tank, which was built at a cost of $12,000 during his administration of that department. Mr. Betz is a close student of the intricate and important problem of city water supply and the most efficient and economical systems. He is a constant reader of current literature on that subject and keeps in close touch with the views and experiments of the leading experts along those lines throughout the country.

Mr. Betz was united in marriage in November, 1889, with Miss Winona Payton, a native of Ironton, Ohio. She came to Kansas with her parents, William and Sarelda Payton, when she was a child. The father is now deceased and the mother resides at Newton, Kans. To Mr. and Mrs. Betz have been born the following children: Grace, married William Rowell, proprietor of the Gem Theater, El Dorado; Mabel, married M. S. Smock, El Dorado; William and Irene. Mr. Betz is a Republican and is a member of the Masonic Lodge; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Modern Woodmen of America, and Knights and Ladies of Security. The family are members of the Christian church.

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