Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 90
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
JOSEPH E. PARK
Widely known in Rice county and in other portions of central Kansas, Joseph Ebenezer Park well deserves mention among the leading representatives of agricultural interests in this portion of the state. He was born in Ford county, Illinois, January 31, 1863. His father, Thomas Park, was a native of Jefferson county, Indiana, born in 1819, and the family is of Scotch descent, the grandfather, William Park, having come from Scotland to America. By trade he was a stone mason and followed that pursuit for some time but afterward turned his attention to farming. In his native land he married Jane Anderson, and in 1821 he crossed the Atlantic bringing with him his wife and two children. They were then in moderate circumstances. He followed his trade until his sons were grown and then cleared and improved a farm in the midst of the dense forest. He had one hundred and sixty acres and became well-to-do, but his children started out upon business careers for themselves without his financial aid. They had seven sons and two daughters and all married with the exception of the youngest son. Three of the sons settled in Jefferson county, Indiana; one daughter became a resident of Atchison county, Kansas, and Thomas also came to Kansas. One daughter is now living in Vermilion county, Illinois, and has two sons and a daughter – John, who is living in Vermilion county as is the daughter, while the other son, William, is now in Nebraska or Idaho. The paternal grandmother of our subject died about 1867, in the sixtieth year of her age, and the grandfather, surviving her about nine years, passed away in his seventieth year.
Thomas Park, the father of our subject, was reared in the Mississippi valley and after arriving at years of maturity was married in Jefferson county, Indiana, December 28, 1842, to Miss Jane M Mann, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1824, and was then nineteen years of age. She is still living, in her seventieth year. Mr Park, however, passed away on his farm near Sterling, Kansas, in 1900, at the age of eighty-one years. She is a daughter of Jabez and Mary (Jimmerson) Mann, both of whom were natives of Scotland and came to the new world in a sailing vessel, the former in 1822, the latter in 1823. Mrs Mann was six weeks upon the ocean. They had five sons and four daughters, of whom three daughters and two sons married. Mrs Park, the seventh in order of birth, is now the only survivor. Her brother, Andrew Mann, was very wealthy, making the most of his money in farming in Jefferson county, Indiana. In 1880 he came to Kansas and died in Sterling in 1884, in the sixtieth year of his age. His wife had previously died in Sterling, and as he had no children he left most of his money to his sister, Mrs Park. Her uncle, Ebenezer Mann, was in the army for about one year during the war of the Rebellion and died of consumption, having contracted the origin of the disease while at the front. Mrs Mann, the mother of Mrs Park, died in Indiana, about 1875, when eighty-two years of age, and Mr Mann passed away about ten years later, when eighty-nine years of age.
After their marriage Mr and Mrs Thomas Park settled upon his small farm in Indiana where they lived for three years, and then removed to Laporte, that state, where the father carried on agricultural pursuits for eight years. In 1853 he went with his family to Boone county, Iowa. For two years he conducted a sawmill there and then returned to Kankakee county, Illinois, where he was a tenant farmer for six years. On the expiration of that period he went to Paxton, Ford county, Illinois, thence to Vermilion county, that state, and afterward came to Kansas, settling upon a claim in Kingman county. Eventually he came to Rice county, where he spent his remaining days and where his widow is still residing. They were among the most highly respected citizens of the community, their sterling worth of character winning them warm friendship. They had seven children, five sons and two daughters: James Andrew, the eldest, served in the Union army during the Civil war for more than a year and was held as a prisoner at Belle Isle from January until March. He was then paroled but died in the hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1864, at the age of nineteen years, his remains being interred there. William, the second of the family, is a farmer of Jefferson county, Indiana, and is married and has five children. Thomas A, who is living in Hartshorn in the Indian Territory, has three children. King A died in Kankakee county, Illinois, at the age of ten years; Mary J is the wife of Henry Lakey, of Kingman county, Kansas, and has three children. Margaret is the wife of W R Carter, of Sterling, and has four children. Joseph, of this review, is the youngest of the family.
During the first nine years of his life Joseph Park was a resident of Illinois and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Kingman county, Kansas, in 1872, while in 1878 he came with them to Rice county. The father purchased a hundred and sixty acres of land a mile south of Sterling and there carried on general farming until his death, our subject assisting him as his age and strength would permit. He remained at home most of the time until his marriage, which occurred on the 22nd of December, 1889, the lady of his choice being Miss Annie Schlazer, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, Jacob and Barbara (Alher) Schlazer, now reside about eleven miles from Sterling. They emigrated from Germany to Ohio, settling in Cuyahoga county, and in 1873 they came to Kansas. Unto Mr and Mrs Park have been born two children: Ralph Herbert, born October 12, 1893, and Elsie Maud, born February 2, 1898.
For two years after his marriage Mr Park resided upon the old home farm and then came to his present place of residence on section 16, Washington township, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in 1897. He carried on general farming, raising the cereals best adapted to the soil and climate. He is also a carpenter and builder and a tinner and can construct a house entire from the cellar to the roof. He has built several residences and barns in this locality which are monuments to his enterprise and business versatility. On his farm he grows wheat, having about sixty-five acres planted to this crop, yielding about twenty bushels to the acre, while the corn yields about forty bushels to the acre. He also raises some cattle and is now carrying on a profitable business. His political preference is for Republican men and measures. He has served for two years as justice of the peace and is now assessor of Washington township, having been elected in 1900. He and his wife are members of the United Presbyterian church, in which he served as trustee and in its work are actively interested. They have many friends, for their characteristics are such as everywhere command confidence and good will.