Page 636-638, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. H. Havner of Potwin, Kans., is an extensive Kansas land owner and one of the progressive men of the community. For years Mr. Havner struggled against adversity; but by persistence and industry, he finally overcame the many obstacles which confronted him until his efforts were finally crowned with success and prosperity. He was born in Raleigh, N. C., January 15, 1854, and is a son of Levi L. and Clarissa (Lenhart) Havner, natives of North Carolina. In 1858, when J. H. Havner was four years old, his parents removed from North Carolina to Iowa, and settled in Lee county. They drove the entire distance from North Carolina, which was a long journey. The Havner family was poor, they had little money, and their earthly possessions consisted of their team and wagon. They engaged in farming in Lee county, and the parents spent the remainder of their lives in that locality.

J. H. Havner grew to manhood in Iowa and remained there until he was twenty-five years old. He then started out with his team and wagon with $15 in cash and went to Missouri, and about the first thing that he did after reaching there was to loan his $15 to a fellow who never repaid him. He worked at almost anything that he could get to


do, and, for a time, worked for wages, and was unfortunate again, for he was unable to get his pay. His next move was to rent a small farm, which he moved to with his two horses, one cow and $2 in cash, which he had accumulated between times. He worked hard but money was scarce, and he had no feed for his horses and very little for himself, but he struggled on, and that year, raised a good crop, but prices were low, and he only received ten cents per bushel for his corn. While raising his crop that year, he cut cordwood on shares, receiving one cord for cutting two. One Saturday night he would cut two cords of wood, and the next Saturday he would haul his wood to town, for which he received $2, and that would pay expenses for two weeks, until he hauled another cord of wood. During that season, a man volunteered to loan him a load of corn, to be paid out of the crop, and it was paid cheerfully at the end of the season. The man who made the loan was a stranger to Mr. Havner, but saw that he needed it for his horses. He cut cordwood, laid stone wall, and, in fact, did all manner of things to earn an honest dollar, then bought forty acres of land, which he paid for within two years, and then bought eighty acres more on ten years' time at ten per cent. interest per annum. He paid that off in three years, and had saved considerable money, besides clearing and improving his farm and building a good home. About that time, his wife's health failed, and physicians advised that she go farther west, and accordingly, Mr. Havner took her to Pawnee county, Kansas, where he bought half a section of rough prairie land for $6 per acre. This was in 1900. He improved his Pawnee county ranch for which he had paid cash.

He engaged in wheat farming there, principally, and has met with unusual success. In the last sixteen years, he has had only one total crop failure there. In the season of 1904, he and his two sons, with the assistance of three men, raised 37,000 bushels of wheat, which he sold for eighty-five cents per bushel. This is a mere illustration of the kind of wheat raising that Mr. Havner has been doing in Pawnee county. Mr. Havner and his sons are not only engaged in wheat raising, but are extensive horse breeders as well. He gave one of his sons two mares, and seven years later, the young man held a sale and sold the increase of these brood mares for $3,500. This same son raised $4,000 worth of wheat last year and 2,000 bushels of corn. Mr. Havner still owns his Pawnee county ranch, for which he has refused $75 per are. It is located eleven miles northwest of Larnard, in the Ash valley. In 1912, Mr. Havner came to Butler county and bought forty acres of land near Potwin, where he has a good, comfortable home. He says Kansas has been good to him, as before coming here, there was not a year of his life but what he borrowed money, and since coming to this State, he has never borrowed a dollar, but, on the other hand, is a money lender.

Mr. and Mrs. Havner are the parents of four children, as follows: W. S., lives in Worth county. Missouri; C. H., farmer, Worth county, Missouri; A. L., on his father's ranch in Pawnee county, Kansas; and


Mattie, wife of Clarke Barnes of New Mexico. All of Mr. Havner's children are prosperous and well-to-do. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and politically is a Democrat. Mr. Havner bought his Butler county place as a residence and expects to spend the balance of his days in retirement, as he can well afford to do. He can look back upon his efforts, and reflect that while many times the future looked discouraging, he has, in the main, been much more successful than the average man. He has worked out some fundamental principles of business, upon which his success has been built. He has an original philosophy applicable to the world of commerce and finance, which, if followed out, can only lead to success.

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