From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1173
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   Among the most prominent and enterprising business men of Rice county, Kansas, is David K Fortna, who was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1851, his parents being Curtis and Fanny (Kaufman) Fortna, both natives of Pennsylvania.  The paternal grandfather of our subject was David Fortna, a native of Pennsylvania, but of French descent.  He was a miller by occupation and died in his native state.  His children were:  Curtis, the father of our subject; Henry; Edmore; John; David Jr; Cass; and Polly.  The oldest son, Curtis, was born and reared in Pennsylvania, learned the millerís trade and worked with his father in the mills until he grew to manhood, when he engaged in freighting with horse teams, the only means of transportation at that time, and later settled on a farm, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying in his native state.  He was a quiet, industrious and honest farmer, caring nothing for political or public life.  He married Miss Fanny Kaufman, a native of Pennsylvania, but of German or Pennsylvania Dutch descent.  Her ancestors were industrious and worthy farmers, and her parents were consistent members of the Lutheran church.  Unto Curtis and Fanny Fortna were born eleven children, as follows:  Felix; Curtis; Casmas; Kate; Fanny; Ann; Elizabeth, who died at the age of fifteen years; David K, the subject of this review; John; Jacob and Abraham.  Fanny and her husband both died in Pennsylvania and were buried in the same grave.

   David K Fortna, whose name introduces this review, was reared upon a farm and early became familiar with all the work of plowing, planting and harvesting.  He received a good education in the common and normal schools and remained in his native county until 1872, when he came west to Massillon, Ohio, where he remained until 1879, when he moved to Kansas, locating in Reno county, where he bought a farm and engaged quite extensively in farming and the raising of stock, mostly cattle and sheep, remaining in this business three years.  In 1882 he sold his farm and moved to Chase, where he has since remained and engaged in different branches of business.  Soon after arriving in Chase he engaged with S H Chatten, as superintendent and manager of his hardware and lumber business, in which capacity he is now serving, having for twenty years had full charge of the business, as Mr Chatten resides in Kansas City.  Under Mr Fortnaís management the business has increased in volume and importance and Mr Chatten has unbounded confidence in his integrity and ability to conduct his business for him.  In connection with the hardware and lumber business he handles all kinds of building material, fuel and coal.  He has not confined his efforts entirely to that line of business, as he erected a large elevator and is one of the largest grain dealers in the town, buying and shipping large quantities of grain.  He also bought and shipped most all of the livestock, cattle and hogs from this part of the county.  At one time he also conducted a drug store and is actively identified with the business and farming interests of Chase and vicinity, being widely and favorably known and commanding the respect and confidence of his fellow men.

   On the 27th of March, 1875, Mr Fortna was united in marriage to Miss Clara Wardell, a lady of intelligence and culture, born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, and a daughter of George Wardell, a stone mason by trade.  He and his wife were both members of the Methodist church, and died in Ohio.  They were the parents of the following children:  Clara, the wife of our subject; Hattie, now Mrs Mumaw; Victoria, who married F Meese; Melvin; Mack; Laura; Wert; and Cloe, the wife of Casper Belleville.  The father by a former wife had two children, Lue and Jonas.  The union of our subject and his wife was blessed with three interesting sons:  Herbert, born in 1877; Dayton, born in 1882; and Frank, born in 1888, who are yet at home.  Mr Fortna is an active and consistent member of the Christian church, and the children are thus surrounded by all the hallowed influences of a Christian home.  The wife and mother Fortna died in January 1896, and on June 27, 1901, Mr Fortna married Miss Mary E Collins, of Stafford, Kansas.

   Mr Fortna is a self-made man, who, by his unflagging industry, good judgment, excellent business ability and straightforward dealing, has worked his way upward from a comparatively humble position to a place of prominence in business circles.  He has accumulated a handsome competence, has a beautiful home in which are found all the conveniences and comforts of life, and has a fine farm and other valuable property which he rents, all the result of his own efforts.  In his political affiliations he is a stalwart Democrat, doing all in his power to promote the growth and insure the success of his party, and although he does not aspire to political preferment, he was appointed and served as a postmaster of Chase during President Clevelandís administration.  He is a member of the Fraternal Aid Society and is a loyal, enterprising and public-spirited citizen, taking an active interest in all measures for the advancement and progress of the community in which he lives and is held in the highest respect and esteem by all with whom he comes in contact both in his private and public life.