Page 444-446, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


W. H. Sluss, of El Dorado township, is one of the pioneer cattle men of Butler county and since locating here in 1870 has seen Butler county developed from a primitive prairie to one of the greatest counties in the State of Kansas; and has done his part as a pioneer, a businessman and a citizen in bringing about this wonderful transformation in the brief space of less than a lifetime. Mr. Sluss was born in Frederick county, Maryland, November 16, 1839, a son of John and Susan (Farney) Sluss, both natives of Frederick county, and descendents of Colonial ancestors. Michael Sluss, grandfather of W. H., was a captain in the United States army during the War of 1812. W. H. Sluss' parents spent their lives in Maryland, where the father who was a farmer died in 1891, and his wife died the same year. They were the parents of six children, two boys and four girls, all of whom are living except one son.

W. H. Sluss received a good common scchool[sic] education in his native State, and in 1863 went to St. Joseph, Mo. by rail, and later went down the river to Ft. Leavenworth, Kans. He was engaged in farming about a year in that section when he returned to his Maryland home, and after remaining there four or five months went to Iowa with a view of looking the country over. He remained in that State about six months and then went to Illinois and after spending a couple of months there came back to Leavenworth, Kans., but remained only three months when he returned to his old home in Maryland again. He worked on his father's farm for two years, but during all this time had Kansas on his mind and constantly kept thinking to himself "I want to go back to Kansas." He was right. When he was in Kansas he saw opportunities that the new State offered a young man, with ambition and a determination to win. In the spring of 1869, he went to Missouri and the following year came to Kansas, and preempted a quarter section of land, three miles south of El Dorado, where his present home is located. He built his first house about two rods north of where his present residence is located. The building is still standing and is built of native lumber which was sawed on Little Walnut Creek, with the exception of siding and shingles which were hauled from Emporia. Mr. Sluss "batched" for the first five years on his claim, which was not an unusual mode of living in those days. When he came here the country was in a crude and undeveloped state, and the blue stem grass was to be seen in every


direction. Deer, antelope and all kinds of small game were plentiful. The prairie was almost alive with prairie chickens and wolves traveled in droves and their howls around the cabins at night kept the bachelors of the plains from getting lonesome. Mr. Sluss says in those early days that they had plenty of buffalo meat, and most everybody generally kept a good supply of it on hand. There were no buffalo in this immediate vicinity but there were plenty just a little farther west along the banks of the Arkansas. He says one peculiar thing about conditions of those days was that there were no flies, which would give rise to the suspicion that flies like politicians were a product of an older civilization.

Mr. Sluss had some capital when he came to Butler county and saw possibilities in cattle raising, and was one of the first to engage in that business here. He started in with the Texas long horns but soon raised the standard of his stock, making high grade Galloways his specialty. He has handled thousands of cattle, perhaps more than any other man in Butler county, frequently raising from eighty to one hundred a year. Mr. Sluss added more land to his original holdings from time to time, until he acquired about 1800 acres, but in recent years he has turned considerable land over to his children, giving each a half section, and his sons have assumed the active management of his broad acres while he is taking life easy, as he is justly entitled, after the many years of a strenuous and successful business career.

Mr. Sluss was united in marriage in 1875, to Miss Frances Norris, of Spring township, Butler county, a daughter of Ward Norris, who came to this county with his family in 1872 and settled in Spring township. Mrs. Sluss was born in Wallworth county, Illinois. To Mr. and Mrs. Sluss have been born eight children, six of whom are living, as follows: Lula, married Herman Holem, El Dorado, Kans.; William, farmer and stock man, El Dorado township; Ollie, married Stanley Skaer and lives near Augusta; Harrison, a farmer and stock man, El Dorado township; Russell, also a farmer and stock man, El Dorado township, and George resides at home with hs[sic] parents.

The hundreds of acres contained in the Sluss farm present an unusually well kept appearance, and Mr. Sluss' home is one of the most substantial buildings to be found in the county. The first house that Mr. Sluss built on his place came very nearly being demolished by a cyclone in the early days. Mr. Sluss was in the house when the cyclone struck it and he says he was not quite sure that he was ever going to be able to find his claim, after he landed, but he and the house both escaped, not very much the worse for the experience. And when he built his present residence thirty-four years ago he made it a point to see that the entire structure was as substantial as expense and mechanical ingenuity could make it. The walls are of solid stone of unusual thickness and would seem to be immune from the average gentle zephyr.

Mr. Sluss has always been a Republican, but in recent years he is inclined to be independent in his political views and not bound to any


particular creed. W. H. Sluss is one of the grand old pioneers of Butler county and a work of ths[sic] character can cite the present and future generations to no better example of American manhood for their guidance and inspiration.

Previous | Main Page | Biography Index | Next

Pages 444-446,