From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 46
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   James P Engel is an agriculturist and stock breeder of Valley township, now carrying on a successful business.  He was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, April 13, 1846, and is a son of Charles and Ellen (Heller) Engel.  The father was born about 1810 and died in 1846, before the birth of their son James, who was his only child.  The mother was a daughter of Adam Heller, a native of Germany.  She was thrice married, her first union being with John Bruch, by whom she had three children, rearing two sons, Adam and Andrew Bruch, who are yet living in Pennsylvania.  Her third husband was Jacob Godshalk.

   In the state of his nativity James P Engel was reared and the public schools afforded him his educational privileges.  On the 18th of November, 1864, he was united in marriage, in Pennsylvania, to Miss Clarissa Godshalk, a daughter of Jacob Godshalk.  She was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, December 10, 1847, and at the time of the marriage the groom was in his twenty-first year, while the bride was eighteen years of age.  They removed to St Joseph county, Michigan, and were connected with farming interests there, Mr Engel continuing the operation of the rented land for a number of years, after which he took his family to Indiana, settling in South Bend in 1872.  However, he soon returned to Michigan, and in the spring of 1878 he came to Sterling, Kansas.  Not long afterward he settled on a pre-emption claim of eighty acres north of Alden, and there remained for four years, after which he was engaged in business in Sterling for six years.  On the expiration of that period he purchased his present farm, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of the Santa Fe Railroad Company paying eleven hundred dollars for the wild land, upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made.  Fourteen years ago, in the spring of 1887, he removed to the farm and has since made it his home.  In 1884 he had erected a part of his residence thereon and it was occupied by a tenant until he concluded to make it his home.  He has constructed all of the buildings on the farm and planted all of the trees, including a good orchard of apple, cherry and peach trees.  His fine, large red barn was built in 1899.  He has for a number of years been engaged in the breeding of pure blooded Shorthorn cattle, carrying on this industry for more than two decades.  He also grows wheat, corn and broom corn, and in both departments of his business he is meeting with creditable success.

   Mr Engel served for one year during the Civil war, joining the army in the fall of 1862, as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry.  He was taken prisoner at Chancellorsville and held in captivity for two long months, enduring many of the hardships of prison life.  He has always been a loyal citizen, as true to the interests of his country as when he followed the stars and stripes upon southern battlefields.  In his political affiliations he is now a Populist and was formerly a Republican, but he largely votes independently.  For one year he served as township treasurer and for several years he was a member of the school board.  He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and for three years was sergeant at arms in his post.  His religious faith is indicated by his connection with the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has been trustee, steward and Sunday-school superintendent for several years.

   The home of Mr and Mrs Engel has been blessed with four sons.  Elmer Franklin, who was born April 7, 1868, is Plainfield, Northampton county, Pennsylvania, pursued his education in the Sterling high school, after which he engaged in teaching for three terms and then took a five years’ course in the State University, being graduated with high honors in the class of 1892.  He then became an assistant professor in that institution, in which he had won the degree of bachelor of arts, and after pursuing a post-graduate course in Harvard College he won the degree of master of arts.  He is now professor of German in the State University and is one of the prominent educators of Kansas.  He is a man of fine personal appearance and of high mental and moral worth.  On the 27th of June, 1891, he married Miss Essie Powers, and they have two sons and two daughters.  William Ezra, the second member of the Engel family, was born in St Joseph county, Michigan, June 10, 1873, and is a farmer, living upon a tract of land adjoining his father’s property.  He has a wife and one daughter.  Raymond Jacob, who is married and has one son, also resides upon a farm in this locality.  Frederick Austin, born June 27, 1882, is a young man at home.  He acquired a good education and is now of great assistance to his father in carrying on the home farm.  Mr and Mrs Engel are both young appearing people and are justly proud of their children and grandchildren.  For thirty-seven years they have traveled life’s journey together, sharing with each other in its joys and sorrows, its adversity and prosperity, and, though they had to work hard in early life, they are now surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.