Page 691-693, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. J. Getz, a prominent farmer and cattleman of Logan township and Butler county pioneer, was born in Pennsylvania in 1847, and comes from Revolutionary ancestry. He is a son of Thomas and Barbara (Wise) Getz, both natives of Pennsylvania. The great grandfather of Thomas Getz served in Washington's army in the Revolutionary war. The parents of Barbara Wise were Germans, and came to this country from Wurtemburg, settling in Pennsylvania. The Getz


family consisted of nine children, as follows: Mrs. Ellen Shaffer, Jersey Shore, Pa.; Mrs. H. E. Myers, New York; Mrs. Regina Dice, Lock Haven, Pa.; Mrs. Mary Myers, Lock Haven, Pa.; T. J., Hope, Kans.; M. E., Jersey Shore, Pa.; George W., Lock Haven, Pa.; George B. M., Lock Haven, Pa.; and J. J., the subject of this sketch.

Mr. Getz has been twice married, first in 1876, to Miss Anna Probst, and his second wife, to whom he was married in 1909, bore the maiden name of Virginia F. Smith, of Boonville, Mo. Mr. Getz came to Kansas in 1878, and preempted a quarter section of land in Logan township. He encountered many features of pioneer life that made a lasting impression on his mind. When he came to Butler county, like many other early settlers, he was not abundantly supplied with this world's goods, and was actually barefooted. When he came, money was scarce, and there was no demand for labor. The average price paid to labor, whenever there was any employment, was less than twenty-five cents per day. Mr. Getz broke the first prairie on his claim with a team, which was composed of the odd combination of a horse, ox and a cow. This statement should furnish the present age material for reflection, when we consider that we have advanced from this primitive mode of motor power and transportation to the point where some people fear that they will be held up to ridicule if they own an automobile, manufactured by a certain peace advocate, costing less than a thousand dollars. After the horse, ox and cow, Mr. Getz's next team was a yoke of Texas steers, which won a reputation as "The Runaway Texans." They would run away every chance they got, and were considered pretty speedy for oxen. Mr. Getz tells of running a race with Fred Frank, who drove a team of Indian ponies, and the oxen won, althought[sic] they never had any special track training. He was breaking prairie one day with these Texans and another yoke of cattle, with the Texans in the lead, and all of a sudden, the leaders took a notion that they wanted a drink of water, and they headed straight for the creek and with the other yoke of oxen, plow and all, went over a twelve foot embankment into six feet of water. Mr. Getz had many experiences with these cattle, their pranks furnishing him much amusement, and some excitement at times, when there was not much else happening on the frontier. A prairie fire was approaching one day, being fanned along at a lively rate by a high wind, and when Mr. Getz saw the fire approaching, he turned his Texans loose, and they outran the fire, a feat that would require a very good horse.

Mr. Getz not only had to fight prairie fires, but was a victim to other forces that lurked in the elements. While plowing with his Texans one day, he was struck by a cyclone, and after the twister had hurried past, Mr. Getz was left unconscious on the field. He received a very severe, internal injury, causing a hemorrhage of the lungs, but as usual, the Texans escaped, unscathed. Mr. Getz lived in Butler county during the halycon days of the "Bad Man" of the plains, when


horse stealing and other outlawing was a business, and Mr. Getz had occasion to look into the dangerous end of a shot gun or other weapon of destruction at times. After passing through the pioneer days of hardships, he began to prosper, and has successfully carried on general farming and stock raising to the present time.

Mrs. Getz is a chicken fancier, and one of the successful poultry women of Butler county. She specializes in the blue Andalusian breed of chickens, and has about 700, the income of which, in eggs, averages about $50 per month. Mrs. Getz is an expert wing shot, and is almost sure death to chicken hawks, having shot over thirty on the wing.

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