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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Ambrose McElroy Sourbeer

AMBROSE McELROY SOURBEER, foreman of the brass foundry of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway machine shops, in Parsons, Kansas, in which all the brass work of the entire system is molded, was born in the town of Safe Harbor, on the Susquehanna river, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1846. He is a son of Jonas and Ingerber Theresa (O'Connor) Sourbeer.

Jonas Sourbeer was also a native of Pennsylvania, of German descent. He never moved west, and died in 1887. His family consisted of eight children, namely: H. C., Ambrose McElroy, Henrietta Delia, William Bigler, Ann Elizabeth, Charles Elam, Maud Frances and Rebecca. H. C. is a resident of Parsons, and a dealer in poultry, feed products, etc.; he is one of the early residents of Parsons, but has been absent at times. Henrietta Delia (Carroll) resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. William Bigler is a bookkeeper at a small town near St. Louis, on the Iron Mountain Railway. Ann Elizabeth (Hoke), Charles Elam and Maud Frances (Wells) are also residents of Harrisburg, and Rebecca is deceased.

The subject hereof received his mental training in the common schools of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. His first work was as a helper in the rolling mill at Safe Harbor, when a boy. In 1863, he enlisted in Company H, 50th Reg., Penn. Vol. Inf., as a private. He afterward enlisted in Company D, 195th Reg., Penn. Vol. Inf. He was in the 8th Army Corps, under General Sheridan, in the valley of the Shenandoah. He was mustered out of service in the fall of 1864, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. More fortunate than many of his comrades, he served his country without receiving the slightest wound.

Mr. Sourbeer left home and went to Harrisburg, and soon after, to Indianapolis, where he remained one year. He then returned to Harrisburg, and, in 1866, found employment in the foundry. In the fall of 1868, he went to Leavenworth, Kansas, and completed his apprenticeship as a molder. Up to 1873, he was employed in Wilson, Estes & Fairchild's foundry. July 24, of that year, he arrived at Parsons, Kansas, where he began work for Qualey Bros., who built the railway shops. He worked for them one year, and then entered the employ of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, as a brass molder. He took charge of the brass foundry, then employing from two to four men, and has since been the head of this department. He has now a force of 12 men, including helpers. All the brasses of the system are made here, about 2,500 pounds, per day, being turned out. journal brasses for coaches, etc., are polished at the foundry, but the locomotive brasses are finished and polished at the machine shop.

Mr. Sourbeer and his wife have two sons and a daughter, who are grown to maturity. Their daughter, Minnie Theresa, is at home. Jonas Newton stays at home, and is engaged as a molder at the brass foundry, and Frank Louis, also at home, is a machinist. Mr. Sourbeer owns a comfortable home at 1630 Chess avenue. He keeps one or two horses for his own use, and for the convenience and pleasure of his family.

In politics, Mr. Sourbeer is a Republican,, and is held in high esteem in the councils of his party. He has served six years as alderman from the First Ward, in which he has always resided, and has declined a nomination for mayor. He takes an active interest in fraternal societies, and is a member of the A. F. & A. M.; I. 0. 0. F.; A. 0. U. W.; M. W. of A.; and of the G. A. R., in which he has served three terms as commander of Antietam. Post, No. 64, of which John Lyle is the present commander. In his religious opinions he is, very liberal.

Mr. Sourbeer was married in Leavenworth, Kansas, to Jennie C. Graff, who is one of a family of several children. The couple chanced to meet at the home of an uncle who was in the government employ at Fort Leavenworth. Mrs. Sourbeer is a devout member of the Episcopal church.