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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William G. Koch

WILLIAM G. KOCH, train dispatcher for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, at Parsons, Kansas, is a native of Gray Summit, Franklin county, Missouri. He is the youngest son of Herman and Wilhelmina (Tappe) Koch. His father was a native of Lippe Detmold, Germany, while his mother descended from Brunswick (Germany) ancestors. She is still living, but the father is now deceased.

The family left Germany, where the parents were married, and where several of their children were born, in 1855, and came to America. They located in St. Louis, Missouri, where Herman Koch engaged in the shoe business. With the exception of three years spent as a soldier during the Civil War, he followed this business continuously for the remainder of his life. The parents remained in St. Louis until most of the children were grown and scattered. The family consisted of nine children, as follows: Fred, who died at the age of twenty years; the second child, who died in infancy; Sophia (Neuhaus), who resides on a farm in Franklin county, Missouri; Herman, who died aged twenty years; Amelia, wife of Mr. Hellman, secretary of the International Cigar Makers' Union, at St. Louis, Missouri, where Mrs. Hellman studied medicine and is now a practicing physician; Henry, who died in infancy, as did also the next child in order of birth; Julius J., a conductor on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, at Parsons; and William G., the subject of this biography.

William G. Koch had limited educational advantages, having attended the common schools only. He left home when but thirteen years old, having previously studied telegraphy at Gray Summit, Missouri. After leaving home, he worked at telegraphy, for which he had a special aptitude. He worked as night operator at New Haven, Missouri, on the Missouri Pacific Railway. He subsequently filled similar positions at Kansas City, Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and Chetopa, Kansas.

May 1, 1887, Mr. Koch was promoted, and served as a regular operator at Parsons, Kansas, until June of the following year. Further advancement then followed and he became train dispatcher under Chief Cowden. For the past three years he has worked the second trick, - that is, from 4 o'clock P. M. to midnight.

Mr. Koch was joined in wedlock with Ida L. Prather, a daughter of Henry and Lydia (Livesay) Prather. Mrs. Koch was born near McCune, Kansas, in 1877. Her father is now successfully engaged in the coal business at Parsons. Her sister, Bertha Prather, is a competent clerk in Bing's clothing store, in the same city.

Politically, Mr. Koch is a Republican; he is not a member of any fraternal society. The family attend the Methodist Episcopal church. They own a comfortable and attractive residence at No. 1900 Morgan avenue, and take a deep and intelligent interest in the welfare of Parsons, of which community they are considered model citizens.