From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1420
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   The subject of this review is a self-made man who, without any extraordinary family or pecuniary advantages at the commencement of life, has battled earnestly and energetically, and by indomitable courage and integrity has achieved both character and fortune.  By sheer force of will and untiring effort he has worked his way upward and is now numbered among the leading agriculturists of Rice county.

   He was born in Clermont county, Ohio, near Boston, January 2, 1857.  His father, Joseph Rapp, was born in the same neighborhood and was a member of an old and prominent Ohio family.  The grandfather, Joseph Rapp, Sr, was born in Pennsylvania.  Joseph Rapp, Jr, followed farming as a life occupation and was a Republican in his political views.  He married Elizabeth Hill, who was born in Clermont county, Ohio, a daughter of Samuel Hill.  Mr Rapp was called to his final rest at the early age of twenty-eight years, leaving a widow and three sons, - J B, our subject; Chester, a resident of Clermont county; and Joseph.  The mother is now living in Ohio, at the age of seventy-four years.  She is a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which her husband was also a member.

   J B Rapp, the immediate subject of this review, was only four years of age when his father died, and as he was the eldest child he was obliged to assist in the care of his mother and younger brothers.  His education was therefore somewhat neglected, but through reading and observation he has become a well informed man.  He remained in the state of his nativity until 1881, when he removed to Macon county, Illinois, where he remained for six years.  On the expiration of that period he came to Rice county, Kansas, and here he has since made his home.  The farm on which he located was only partially improved, and on the place was a sod house and a rude barn.  Its first owner was Henry Evans, who entered it from the government.  His farm is now under a high state of cultivation, being improved with all modern conveniences and accessories, and his fields annually yield to him a golden return for the care and labor which he bestows upon them.  He has a good residence, which was erected at a cost of one thousand dollars, and his large barn, costing seven hundred dollars, furnished accommodations for twelve horses and the same number of cows.  His farm is one of the best in Victoria township, and there he is engaged in general farming and stock-raising.

   At the age of twenty-three years Mr Rapp chose as a companion for the journey of life Miss Martha Belle Hair, who was born, reared and educated in Clermont county, Ohio, a daughter of Thomas Hair, a native of the old Dominion.  Mrs Rapp’s great grandfather, Ezekiel Dimmitt, made his way on horseback from Virginia to Ohio in 1797, locating in Clermont county.  His wife was in her maidenhood a Miss Guest, and they erected the first cabin in the township where they settled.  They had several children, and among them was Delilah Dimmitt, who married Jonas Hair, the grandfather of Mrs Rapp.  They had six children, - Thomas, Jonas, John, Phoebe, Sarah B and Mary F.  Thomas, the father of Mrs Rapp, married Mary Ann South, of Clermont county.  The Souths were from New Jersey, and she was related to the Browns, who in turn were related to the Parkers and Balls, of Virginia.  They were also related to Mary Ball, who lies buried near Bethel, Ohio.  Mrs Rapp is an heir in the Ball estate.  Mr and Mrs Thomas Hair became the parents of five children, namely:  Elizabeth Knott, who died at the age of fifty-three years; Mrs Martha Belle Rapp; Luella Dew, a resident of Ohio; John Dimmitt, also of that state; and Thomas Newton, of Kansas.  The mother was a member of the Church of Christ, and died June 8, 1901.  The father affiliated with the Democratic party, and his death occurred February 24, 1902, both passing away in their seventy-seventh year.  Unto Mr and Mrs Rapp have been born one son, Vernon L, born October 20, 1895, and a daughter, Luella Rapp, born May 17, 1902.  The parents hold membership in the Church of Christ at Geneseo, Kansas.  Mr Rapp supports the men and measures of the Republican party.  He is an upright and reliable citizen, true to the duties of business and private life, and his sterling worth has gained him high regard.