Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Benjamin F. Asbell

BENJAMIN F. ASBELL is one of the most extensive land owners in Labette county, Kansas, and is living in section 18, township 34, range 21, in Richland township. He was born in Estill county, Kentucky, in 1837, and is a son of Pierce and Maria (Bryson) Asbell.

Pierce Asbell was born in Kentucky in 1800, and removed to Missouri in 1838, where he carried on farming for fifty years, and died in 1894 in that state. He married Maria Bryson, who was born in Kentucky, in 1808, and whose death occurred in Missouri, in 1890. They reared 10 children, namely: Tyree, aged seventy-three years, who lives in Missouri; Emily (McPeak), also of Missouri; John, deceased; Mary (Clark), who lives in the Indian Territory, - her husband having been a soldier, who died in Kansas, in 1900; Benjamin F.; William, who died in Wyoming, in September, 1900; Mahala (Suttee), deceased; Cassandra (Bolin), of Missouri; Pierce, Jr., who died in Missouri, aged twenty years; and Salina (Anderson), who died in 1896 in Oregon.

Benjamin F. Asbell was reared and schooled in Missouri, where he remained until he attained the age of twenty-four years. On February 12, 1862, he enlisted in the 8th Reg., Mo. Vol. Cav., under Colonel Gravelly, later Governor of Missouri. He served two years as a private, and was mustered out at Springfield, Missouri. Although he was not seriously wounded during his active service, his eyes have been affected ever since, and he has been compelled to wear glasses. Mr. Asbell returned to Missouri, where he remained one season, and then removed to Labette county, Kansas, August 12, 1866. He bought his present home in Richland township, and has added to it ever since. He now owns 1,300 acres of land, and is one of the most prosperous farmers in this section of the state. He employs from three to five men constantly, and is often obliged to hire more to assist him. In 1867 he set out an orchard, and now has about 25 acres of fruit trees. Mr. Asbell replaced the claim cabin with substantial dwellings of brick and frame, and the general appearance of the farm bespeaks the thrift and energy of its owner. Mr. Asbell is a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and has used great judgment and care in the management of his farm.

Mr. Asbell was united in marriage with Salina McMaster, who died in 1894. She left one son, who is now serving a life sentence in the state penitentiary. He was convicted through an excited popular opinion, and by a prejudiced jury, for the supposed fatal shooting of his wife. The act of the jury in this case was greatly deplored, as Marion Asbell was well liked and had many friends. It is generally believed that his wife committed suicide, and Mr. Asbell is making every exertion to obtain a pardon for his son. This case only reveals another victim of circumstantial evidence, which has been the cause of many wrecked lives.

Mr. Asbell was a Republican in political views, until the last election, and since that time has been independent. He is a highly respected citizen of Labette county, and has given aid to many public enterprises.