Page 543, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Matsy Braley, an extensive contractor and builder, of Towanda, Kans., who is also interested in farming and stock raising, is a native of Ohio, and has lived in Butler county since 1873. He is a son of Joel S. and Marilla (Kelly) Braley, both natives of Meigs county, Ohio. They were the parents of two children, as follows: Mrs. Theora Davis, who resides in Towanda township, and Matsy, the subject of this sketch.

The Braley family came to Butler county in 1873, when Matsy, whose name introduces this sketch, was fourteen years old. They located on the southwest quarter of section 15, Towanda township. Here the father engaged in farming and stock raising and followed that occupation until his death in December, 1899, and his widow resides on a place which they purchased some years after locating in Towanda township, and which adjoins the original homestead.

Matsy Braley received his education in the public school at Towanda and recalls among his early teachers, Calvin Rayburn, Josie Dutton, R. S. Miller, Vol. P. Mooney and Miles Jacoby. The old school house where he attended school has long since disappeared, and the place which it occupied is now the site of Porter's barn. After leaving school Mr. Braley learned the carpenter trade and has followed carpenter work and contracting quite extensively in Towanda and vicinity. He has built a number of residences in Towanda, including those of O. L. Thomas, Collins Sarder, J. W. Tucker and Art Reeves. Mr. Braley also carries on farming and stock raising on his 240-acre farm, which is situated one-half mile south of Towanda, and is one of the successful agriculturalists of Towanda township.

When Mr. Braley came to Butler county with his parents, the real pioneer conditions of Butler county prevailed. Dried buffalo meat was on sale for ten cents per pound, and many things that happened in those early days made lasting impressions on his mind. He remembers when the country was swept by grasshoppers in 1874, when everything in sight was destroyed. He says that they had a young orchard of 200 peach trees and that the grasshoppers not only ate the leaves, but stripped the little trees of bark. The following year, however, new sprouts came up from the roots and the trees eventually developed, seemingly none the worse from the effects of the grasshopper treatment.

Mr. Braley is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Knights of Pythias, holding membership in both of these lodges at Towanda, Kans. He is a progressive and public spirited citizen and is ever ready to co-operate with any movement for the betterment of his town, county or State.

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