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Brief Biographies Surnames  V - Z

R.M. and F.S. Vessey built one of the first buildings in new Clayton, which was used as a hotel and at the present time as a residence. They also built and operated a livery barn. F.S. Vessey resides in Clayton and R.M. lives on a farm two miles from the town. (page 97)

J.A. Vining was born in 1880 at Norton. He was united in marriage with Miss Hattie Hurst of Almena, and to this union two children were born. In 1915 he married Miss Bertha Mallaby, whose father, Bob Malaby, was an early settler of Norton county. Mr. Vining owns the shining parlor on State street. (page 96)

Vining, J. W. (see Recht, John J.)

Elsie Voight, Almena’s popular milliner was born in Lucas county, Iowa; and came to Kansas in 1898, and to Almena seven years ago. Before coming here she worked at Lebanon and learned the milliner trade from the bottom up. The store at Almena is open all of the year and the goods are always seasonable. She has two children, Lena and Opal. (page 71)

While histories in general speak only of men, and refer to the women merely as possessions, Kansas, now having suffrage, we make bold to mention some prominent women who have been in public life and held state offices. Prominent among these is Ida M. Walker, who was born in a sod home in Kansas. Mrs. Walker taught school in Norton for a number of years; served for two years as State President of the Federation of Women's Clubs; tow years as vice President; two years as State Chairman of the Women's section of the Belgian Relief Fund, appointed by ex-Governor Stubbs, and Gov. Capper. It was largely through the untiring and systematic efforts of Mrs. Walker that the Kansas donations put out state in the front ranks of the relief workers. Mrs. Walker is a member of the Methodist church, and President of the Sixth District W.C.T.U., which office she has held for three years. (page 20)

H. N. Waller was born in 1880 in Hiawatha, Kansas. Came to this county in 1887. In 1906 he was married to Kate Alexander and they have three children, Robert, born in 1908; Herbert, born in 1911 and Raymond, born in 1915. Mr. Waller has been with Whiteker Bros. wholesalers, for the past six years and he is pleasant man to meet, and a booster. He is a member of the Masons, Odd Fellows and the United Commercial Travelers. (page 61)

Frank Ward, a thorough and conservative business man of Norton, was born in Springfield, Illinois, and came to Norton county in 1893 where he farmed until 1903, at which time he engaged in the clothing business in Norton. He is the father of three children, and is a member of the M.W.A. (page 96)

J. A. Ward was born in 1885 at Tecumseh, Nebraska, and came to Norton county in 1893 where he farmed until 1903 when he became a member of the Norton Mercantile Company. When they dissolved in 1913 he, with his father and brother started the Ward Clothing Company. In 1910 he was united in marriage with Miss Maud Jones, a daughter of C. D. and Lucy Jones, pioneers and prominent political and church people of Norton. To this union one child has been born, Douglas; born in 1914. Mr. Ward is a member of the M. W. A. and is a very successful and conscientious business man. (page 11)

L. C. Ward, one of Norton’s younger but very successful business men, was born in Tecumseh, Nebraska. He came to Norton in 1893 with his parents. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus. (page 95)

Roll Ward came to Clayton in 1898 and built the Railroad hotel of which he was proprietor for a number of years. He will be noted for planting the first trees on Main St. (page 97)

Dr. R. D. Wesley was born in 1884 in Correctionville, Iowa. He came to Norton county in 1906. He is a graduate of the Northwestern Dental college at Evanston, Illinois. In 1907 he married Clara Duvall and they have four children, Dorothy, born in 1908; Alice, born in 1909; June, born in 1911 and Clara, born in 1915. The doctor is a member of the Masons, the Elks and the M.W.A. (page 61)

One of the best boosters that Almena has is F. E. Whitaker. He was born in Mahaska, Iowa and came to Norton county in 1874 with his father Isaac Whitaker, who died in 1909. Mr. Whitaker married Etta McCormack, whose father, John McCormack an old settler still lives in Almena. They have one child, Gladys, born in 1893. She married J. Jensen a young attorney of Topeka and they live at that city. Mr. Whitaker is, at the present time in the barber business and has held at different times township and city offices. He is a member of the Masons and Odd Fellows. (Page 66)

Frank V. Whitcomb was born in 1888 at Long Island, Kansas, and came to Almena in 1915 and took charge of the Foster Lumber Company, a position which he still holds. (page 76)

L. H. Wilder, the present county attorney of Norton county, was born in Dubuque, Iowa February 2, 1855. He moved with his parents to Missouri in 1867. At the age of sixteen he was thrown on his own resources and worked his way through school, and at the age of 22 he entered Simpson College from which he graduated at the end of his third year, receiving the Degree of Bachelor of Science. Three years later the Degree of Master of Science was conferred upon him. He then took up the study of law and in January 1884 was admitted to the bar in the state of Iowa, where he practiced until 1887 when he came to Norton and opened a law office. He was married in October 1887 to Miss Dora McClure and they have one child, Mark B. Mr. Wilder has served tne years as county attorney for Norton county and was again nominated in August of this year. He is a thorough law student; a conservative man of good sound judgment. In speaking of him Judge A.C.T. Geiger said, "When in court Mr. Wilder offered an objection, I always gave it careful study because he does not offer the numerous stereotyped objections of the average lawyer. When he objects there is usually reason." And to those who know Mr. Wilder this will appeal as truth. Mr. Wilder is a liberal contributor to all religious movements, church work and civic enterprises, and few improvements of Norton or Norton county there are that Mr. Wilder has not contributed to in mental toil or money. He is a clean man, of good habits, a kind husband and father and a man of whom Norton is justly proud. (page 20)

A. R. Williams was born in 1854 in Barry county, Ohio and came to Norton county in1873. He was married in 1875 and is the father of three children. He served seven years as city councilman and at this time is president of the council. He also served one term as mayor and made an efficient official. Mr. Williams is very proud of the fact that he has never tasted a drop of liquor in his life, and indeed this is something but few men can truthfully say. He is a member of the Christian church and has served as superintendent of the Bible School for 20 years. He is a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Masons and the A. O. U. W. He has been with the Lease Implement Company for 21 years. He owns a fine farm just east of town, occupied at the present time by Dr. Thomas. (page 17)

Roy Woodward was born in 1883 in Riley county, Kansas and came to Norton county in 1885 with his father J.W. Woodward, who homesteaded near Edmond where he now lives. Roy married Miss Maggie L. Dannevick. They have four children and are members of the U.B. church. He is a member of the Masons and Odd Fellows. [Edmond] (page 85)

J.A.M. Young came to Norton county in 1885 and picked Almena as the best town for his business. He has met competition, and conquered, and today has besides a fine harness business, a modern equipped shoe repair shop and a complete line of leather goods. He has been in the harness business for 45 years. He was burned out in the big fire of 1908 but the next day he was doing business as usual. Some how when we think of the harness business we think of a small shop that has been the same for years and never interesting, but Mr. Young’s shop and store will give you a different opinion and there is no more wide-awake merchant in the county today than he. (page 76)

V. Yount, who has taken Ed O’Brien’s place as manager of the Chicago Lumber company, is an experienced lumber and coal man. He was born in Cloud county, Kansas in 1894, was educated in the public schools of Concordia and spent five years at Beloit, Kansas, coming to Clayton in September 1916. Mr. Yount is a good business man and a booster for Clayton. (page 100)



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©2005 Ardie Grimes.  Transcribed from Norton County News Historical Number 1870 - 1916, re-organized and re-formatted for ease of use. These pages are dedicated to free access to records, documents and photos of historical and genealogical value. Documents contained herein may be copied for personal, non-commercial use as long as this statement remains on all copied material.   These records, documents and photos may not be reproduced, published or re-published for any reason, in any format,  including electronic (web pages or CD's) and print, without prior written consent of the contributors or copyright holders.

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