Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
LIBERTY L. RATLIFF is a man who,
having experienced various vicissitudes in both the middle west and west,
may well be proud of the resoluteness that brought him through the privations
of pioneer life to the prosperity of his present home. Mr. Ratliff
resides on his farm six and a half miles east and one mile north of Creston.
He was born November 17, 1859, in Osceola, Clarke county, Iowa, the son
of Tipton H., and Jane (Collier) Ratliff. The father, a native of
Indiana, was one of the first settlers of Clarke county, and a soldier
from its ranks, enlisting at the outbreak of the Civil War, in the Twenty-fifth
Iowa Volunteers, and dying from a wound received in battle. The mother
was born in Kentucky and removed to Iowa in an early day. She is
now living in Cedarville, Dade county, Missouri. Mr. Ratliff has
one brother, Lloyd, of Alva, Oklahoma, and one half-brother, Fred Morrison,
of Dade county, Missouri.
At the age of thirteen, Mr. Ratliff left Iowa
going to Barton county, Kansas, arriving there in time to pass through
the buffalo and Indian stage of the state's development, and later the
grasshopper period. In the fall of 1878, his crops having been destroyed
by the last named, in the memorable plague, he went to railroading on the
Santa Fe railroad in New Mexico. Soon after he worked in the smelter
at Pueblo, Colorado. In July, 1889, he came to Lincoln county, where,
with his wife and five children, he took up a pre-emption claim, then a
homestead and a timber culture. In the interval between 1880 and
1889, Mr. Ratliff traveled throughout the west, visiting Kansas, California
Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Indian Territory and Montana.
Arriving in Lincoln county with little but health and grit, the family
endured the usual privations of the pioneer. Mr. Ratliff worked for
a small salary to support his family while he was preparing his ranch for
planting. He finally succeeded in fencing his entire farm, four hundred
and eighty acres, plowing the most of it, and building his house and barn.
He suffered heavy losses in the panic of 1893, but, though badly crippled
he was not discouraged, and entirely regained his former footing with the
heavy crop and high prices of 1897. In the spring of this year he
removed his family to Bachelor prairie, where he now lives. His present
holdings are about eighteen hundred and twenty acres, three-fourths of
which is good grain land, eight acres in orchard, the balance being timber
and pasture land, and a good home. His specialty is raising grain
February 15, 1881, Mr. Ratliff was married
to Loretta J. Durham, at St. Johns, Kansas. Mrs. Ratliff was born
in Oakland, Illinois, daughter of Edwin and Jane (McDowell) Durham.
To Mr. and Mrs. Ratliff have been born ten
children: Bessie, wife of John M. Hostetter, Reardan; Jesse, married to
Ida Rose, Lincoln county; Clyde C., Tipton R., Ruby S., Pearley M., Naomi,
Penelope, Liberty L., and Claud, deceased.
Mr. Ratliff is a charter member of Creston
lodge, I. O. O. F., of which lodge he is also a past grand.