Page 540-541, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


M. E. Varner, a successful farmer and stockman, of Towanda township, is a native of Iowa. Mr. Varner was born in 1866, and is a son of I. D. and Ruth (Baker) Varner, both natives of Monroe county, Ohio. The mother died at Towanda in 1910 and the father has been an invalid for the past two years. They were the parents of ten children, seven of whom are living, as follows: Mrs. Mary Winkler, El Dorado, Kans.; Mrs. Susan Steel, Wichita, Kans.; M. E., the subject of this sketch, and Mrs. Emma Lamb, of El Dorado, twins; Mrs. Dulcie Cook, Clark county, Kansas; E. A., Fairview township, and F. H., Clifford township.

The Varner family were pioneers of Butler county, coming here in 1871, and located in Towanda township. The father homesteaded the northwest quarter of section 12, township 25, range 4. Their claim was located on the open prairie, and settlers came in quite rapidly about that time, as it was about the beginning of the rapid settlement of that section. The country was still in a wild and primitive state and M. E. Varner, who was a boy about five years of age at that time, remembers of seeing deer and antelope in the vicinity of the early Varner home. The buffalo, however, had taken up his grazing ground further west, across the Arkansas. Although a boy, Mr. Varner remembers many instances of early life on the plains. About the year that they came to Butler county he recalls an experience with a prairie fire. His father was some distance from home, working with his ox team on a place which he had rented on the west branch of the Walnut, and one of the periodical early day prairie fires was sweeping across the plains, carried forward by a strong southern wind. The father escaped the flames with his oxen by starting what was called a "back fire" and burning the grass in his immediate vicinity, which afforded a place of safety for himself and oxen by the time that the prairie fire approached.

M. E. Varner has made farming and stock raising the principal busi-


ness of his life, giving special attention to the raising and feeding of cattle. He raises large quanties[sic] of corn and alfalfa, which he generally feeds to his own cattle. Mr. Varner was married to Miss Cora Washburn, of Fairview township. Her parents came from Ohio and settled in this county in the eighties. To Mr. and Mrs. Varner have been born three children, all of whom are at home: Florence, Grant W. and Wilma. Mr. Varner is a substantial citizen and bears the distinction of being one of the youngest old pioneers of Butler county. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Lodge No. 163, Towanda, Kans.

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