Page 811-813, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


M. A. Wait, a member of the board of commissioners of Butler county, is a native of Livingston county, Illinois. He was born in 1856, and is a son of W. C. and Hannah E. (Putman) Wait, natives of New York. The father died at Whitewater, Kans., in 1913 and the mother died in 1879. They were the parents of five children, as follows: Mrs.


Ida L. Steam, Towanda; M. A., the subject of this sketch; Ella E., died in 1884 on the old homestead; Mrs. Florence A. Pace, Whitewater, Kans., and Mrs. Maggie Cozad, who resides on the old Wait homestead.

M. A. Wait attended the public schools of Illinois in early boyhood and later attended the schools of Nevada, Mo., where the family had removed. In 1871 the Wait family came to Kansas, settling in Towanda township, about one and one-half miles west of town, where the father bought a homestead right of a quarter section of land from J. W. Tucker. The place was unimproved, with the exception of a small shack, 12x16 feet, of native lumber, which the Wait family occupied as their home on the prairie during their first year in Butler county. The old building is still standing, but has long since ceased to serve the purpose of a residence. The elder Wait lived on this homestead for thirty-six years, and was a successful farmer and stock raiser. During the last few years of his life he lived retired at Towanda.

M. A. Wait is one of the successful farmers and stockmen of Butler county, and is quite an extensive feeder and has met with marked success in this branch of the cattle industry. His farm, consisting of 300 acres of well improved land, is located in Towanda township, and is one of the model farms of that section. Mr. Wait has taken a keen interest in political affairs since reaching his majority, and has served three terms as trustee of Towanda township, and in 1912 was elected county commissioner of the third district, which comprises twelve townships, for a term of four years, and is now serving in that capacity. Public affairs have always received from Mr. Wait the same careful attention and efficient management that he has devoted to his private business, and during his term as county commissioner his straightforward and businesslike method of handling the business of the county has met with the uniform approval of his constituents.

Mr. Wait was united in marriage April 9, 1885, with Miss Florence L. Stevens, of Towanda, Kans. She is a native of McDonough county, Illinois, born in 1856, and is a daughter of H. Stevens and Amanda (Russell) Stevens, natives of New York. Mrs. Wait was a pioneer Butler county teacher. She was educated in the El Dorado High School, and the public schools of Santa Cruz, Cal. She taught her first school at Elm Creek district, three and a hall miles southeast of Towanda. She recalls many instances of early school conditions and has pleasant memories of the old literary society which flourished in Towanda in the seventies and eighties. Here is where Judge Vol. Mooney. Judge Chris Aikman and many other men who later became well known, began their oratorical careers, and played their dramatic roles in "East Lynn" and kindred dramatic masterpieces. The meetings were held in the old Towanda school building, which was later blown away by a cyclone. While the old literary society may seem of little interest to to[sic] the present generation, it occupied an important sphere in the social and literary life in those pioneer days, and its influence was far-reach-


ing and it is doubtful whether its place has been adequately filled by modern methods and institutions. Mrs. Wait has never ceased her interest in the public schools, and has always given her influence to the upbuilding and betterment of the public school system.

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