Page 772-773, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


H. Charles Stephens, a successful farmer and stockman of Fairmount township, has been brought up in the stock business, and since his boyhood, has been identified with that industry on an extensive scale. Mr. Stephens is a native of Kansas, born at Peabody, September 22, 1884. He is the eldest son of Henry and Louisa (Merkle) Stephens, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Illinois. Henry Stephens was nine years old when he and his widowed mother immigrated to America and settled in LaPorte county, Indiana. A few years later, they removed to Iroquois county, Illinois. They remained there until about 1872, when Henry Stephens came to Kansas. He was about twenty-one years old then. He bought three quarter sections of land in Marion county, and after improving one quarter, he sold it at a very good profit and later he improved the other two quarters, building a large rock barn and a good residence, making of it the best improved farm in southwestern Kansas at that time, and sold it for $10,000, which was considered a high price in those days. Shortly after selling that property, Mr. Stephens bought ten sections of land in Butler and Marion counties and later established what was known as the Stephens Ranch on a part of it in Butler county. He stocked his place and engaged in the cattle business, following the old ranchers' ideas of handling cattle until 1895. He then conceived the idea of a better plan of conducting the cattle business. He built an elevator and equipped the place with proper machinery for grinding feed, etc., and in 1897, he bought twenty acres of land adjoining the Sante Fe stockyards at Peabody, where he built an elevator with a capacity of 50,000 bushels of grain, and installed modern machinery, and during the next four years, he fed and fitted for market over 6,000 head of cattle, and the combination of his ranch with this plan of feeding proved most profitable. In 1902, Mr. Stephens sold his ele-


vator and feeding station, at Peabody, to Arnold Berns, who is now conducting the business along the plans which Mr. Stephens followed.

After selling the Peabody station, Mr. Stephens and his sons went to Jackson county, Missouri, where they bought 400 acres of land where they established a similar institution, and the youngest son, John Stephens, now owns and is operating it, successfully. Henry Stephens was a man of unusual foresight and business capacity. He came to Kansas with about $4,000 capital, and at the time of his death, November, 1913, his estate was conservatively estimated at $175,000.

H. Charles Stephens, whose name introduces this sketch, owns 400 acres in Fairmount township, which is a part of the original Stephens ranch, and is, no doubt, the best equipped ranch for cattle feeding today in Butler county. He has a commodious barn, 70x144 feet, grain elevator, and grinding machinery. His barn has a capacity of 200 tons of hay, and his stables are capable of accommodating 200 head of cattle. In addition to his extensive cattle feeding business, he is also breeding Percheron horses and mules on a moderate scale. However, cattle and hogs are the chief factors of his business.

Mr. Stephens was married in 1912, to Miss Julia Baird, a native of Comanche county, Kansas, and reared in Wyandotte county. Her father, H. L. Baird, was one of the first homesteaders in Comanche county, coming from Ohio to this State. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens have two children, H. Charles, Jr., born March 10, 1915, and Alice Louisa, born May 19, 1916.

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