Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 229
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
ALVIN E. SUMMERS
Among the prominent and enterprising agriculturists and stock raisers of Rice county, Kansas, is numbered Alvin E Summers, who was born in Putnam county, Indiana, January 30, 1872, his parents being William C and Mary (Lake) Summers. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Kentucky and a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church who came to Indiana at a very early day and settled in Putnam county, where he improved a good farm, which he carried on in connection with his ministerial duties until called to his final rest. He was the father of five children, namely: James H, of Mitchell county, Kansas; Daniel T, deceased; William C, the father of our subject; Amanda, and Almaza. William C Summers, the father of our subject, was born in Kentucky, in 1830, but was reared in Putnam county, Indiana, where he married and engaged in farming until 1872, when he came to Kansas, locating a homestead in Rice county, on which our subject now resides, and in the spring of 1873 he built a farm house upon it and moved his family into it. He then commenced making permanent improvements. There were few permanent settlers in that locality at that time and the land was a vast unbroken prairie, but with characteristic energy he plowed and prepared a portion of his land for cultivation and in 1874 he planted his first crop, but the grasshoppers appeared and destroyed all vegetation. This was enough to discourage most men, but with determined purpose he persevered in his efforts to make an honest living and finally his labors were crowned with success. He engaged in general farming and stock raising and became well and favorably known, commanding the respect and confidence of all that knew him. In 1861 he enlisted in Company C, Fifty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under command of Captain J W Sheete for three years’ service or during the war. His regiment was assigned to the army of the Tennessee and he participated in some of the most important battles of the war, Shiloh, Stone Ricer and Day’s Gap in Alabama, and many other minor battles and skirmishes. He was never wounded but was made a prisoner and placed in Libby prison, where he suffered from hunger and disease so severely that he never recovered his health. Later he was exchanged and at the expiration of three years received an honorable discharge November 12, 1864. for a few years after his return home from the war he was not able to perform any manual labor and never regained his full strength and vigor. For this sacrifice to his country he receives from the government a small pension. He was married in Putnam county, Indiana, to Miss Mary Lake, a native of that state, born in 1833, and a daughter of Elisha L Lake, of New Jersey, who became a farmer and early settler of Indiana, remaining on his homestead there until his children married and scattered to homes of their own, and his wife died, when he came to Kansas, finding a good home among his children, and died in this state at the home of his daughter, Mrs Wright.
Unto Elisha Lake and his wife were born the following children: Caroline, who married Dr Collings, and he died in the Mexican war; Mary, the mother of the subject of this sketch; Hannah, the wife of S Wright; and Martin, who died in childhood. William C Summers was a very energetic and progressive agriculturist and by his hard labor and honest dealing accumulated a handsome competence. In manner he was very genial and delighted in gathering around him his friends and neighbors for social converse. He was kind-hearted and charitable, ever ready to lend a helping hand to the needy or distressed. Socially he was connected with the Masonic fraternity and with the Grand Army of the Republic. He and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church and were actively interested in all of its work. Their home was blessed with eight children, namely: Ethan B, of Indiana; Elisha L, also of Indiana; Daniel T, of Chicago, Illinois; Mattie F, the wife of E N Curts; William C, a druggist of Wheaton, Kansas; Sarah E, the wife of F A Becker; and Alvin E, the subject of this sketch. The father of this family died November 26, 1898, and was buried in Lyons cemetery, but his wife still survives him and has a good farm and home in Kansas.
Alvin E Summers, whose name introduces this review, was about a year old when his parents moved to Kansas, where he was reared among the pioneers of Rice county, where he still makes his home. He was educated in the common schools of Kansas and remained under the parental roof, assisting his father in the work of the home farm, until the latter’s death, when the property was divided and our subject received eighty acres of the original homestead tract and later he bought the other eighty from his brother and now owns the original one hundred and sixty acres of the homestead. His father had also given eighty acres of land to each of his other children, and built his residence on another quarter and the homestead land had no buildings upon it. In 1895 our subject married and settled on one of his father’s farms and after the latter’s death he built a good house, barn and outbuildings on the homestead and is carrying on the work inaugurated by his father. He has placed the fields under a high state of cultivation, and carries on general farming and stock raising.
In 1895 our subject was united in marriage to Miss Mina M Hill, a lady of intelligence and culture, born in Sullivan county, Indiana, October 3, 1875, a daughter of W F and Elizabeth (Norrick) Hill. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania and her mother of Ohio, where they were married. He was a carpenter by trade and also engaged in farming. In 1864 he enlisted for service in the rebellion and served until the close of the war, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home in Ohio, there remaining until 1872, when he removed to Sullivan county, Indiana, and bought a farm. In 1878 he sold the farm and moved to Kansas, locating in Rice county, where he rented a farm and later bought a farm, upon which he remained a number of years. He then again sold his place and moved to Oklahoma, where he took up a claim, which he has since sold and is now living among his children in Oklahoma. His wife died in Rice county, Kansas, in 1888. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a most estimable woman. He is an industrious, honest farmer and mechanic, plain and unassuming and does not desire notoriety or public office, though he was formerly a Republican and now votes independently. He is a class leader in the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a consistent member. He and his wife were the parents of ten children, namely: Serepta J, the wife of R D Hall; Ida, who married J W Tarr; Daniel N, of Lyons; Grant, now living in Perry, Oklahoma; Rose R, who married George W Pancoast; Anna E, who is yet single; Mina M, the wife of our subject; and Jessie B, who became the wife of C Bailey.
Mr Summers, of this review, is one of the most prominent agriculturists and stock raisers of Rice county, who by his unflagging industry, determined purpose, enterprise and capable management has won a comfortable competence for himself and family. As a citizen he takes a deep and active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community. He and his wife are consistent and worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take an active interest in the work of the church and charitable and benevolent enterprises. They have no children, but their pleasant home is noted for its gracious hospitality and the circle of their friends is co-extensive with that of their acquaintance, and they well deserve the respect and high regard in which they are held by all who know them.