Every one in Center township and largely throughout the county and state knows and highly esteems Isaac Maris, one of the pioneers of this locality, who, more than four decades ago cast in his lot with the then few inhabitants of northeastern Kansas. His resemblance to our martyr president, Abraham Lincoln, is so marked that strangers seeing him frequently inform him of the fact, and he feels truly highly honored and greatly flattered. Like the immortal chief executive, he is tall, being fully six feet and two inches in height, and possesses the same regal bearing, though quiet and unostentatious in disposition.
In tracing the ancestry of Isaac Maris it is ascertained that his forefather, George Maris, came to this country from England as early as 1680, taking up his abode in Pennsylvania. Our subject's grandfather, Joseph Maris, also lived in the Keystone state, as did several generations of the family, and was prominent in the Society of Friends. Jonathan Maris, the father of our subject, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1800, and in 1820 went with his parents to Ohio, locating in Goshen township, Mahoning county. He learned the trade of a stone mason, but gave his attention to agriculture chiefly. In January, 1864, he was summoned to the better land and was survived a few years by his wife, Thomason, who attained the age of seventy-five years. She was a daughter of Joseph and Rachel (Zilley) Morris, and was born in New Jersey, in 1802. Jonathan Maris and wife lived to see their ten children grow to maturity and occupy honored places in the communities where they dwelt. They were especially proud of the fact that not one of the eight sons used strong liquors or tobacco. Reared as they were, in an atmosphere of loving sympathy and helpfulness, in almost an ideal home, in truth, it is not strange, after all, that without exception they were strong, noble characters, devoted to religion and all righteous enterprises. The eldest son and daughter, Barclay and Ann, have passed into the silent land, Esther, the second daughter, resides in Damascus, Ohio. Joseph came to Kansas in July, 1857, and after remaining here for two years returned to his home in the east, where he subsequently died. Caleb is a farmer and makes his home near Damascus, Ohio. Abraham is engaged in teaching in the Buckeye state. Jesse gave his life to his country in the civil war, while with his regiment in Page county, Virginia. Job, who died at the old Ohio homestead, came to Kansas in the spring of 1866, but dud not long remain here. William, the youngest of the family and formerly a successful teacher, but now in the grain and implement business, resides at West Branch, Iowa.
Isaac Maris was born near Salem, Ohio, July 16, 1834, and received good educational advantages, completing his studies in the high school at Salem. Soon after arriving at his majority he concluded to try his fortunes in the west, and on the 7th of September, 1857, he left the old home and friends. The journey, which was made by railroad and steamboat, consumed seven days. Upon arriving in this county he pre-empted a quarter section of land and thereon built a log cabin. In the course of time this was replaced by a comfortable modern house, and again this was replaced a few years ago by one of the best farm houses in the county. Substantial barns and other buildings have also been erected. The land was gradually brought into fine condition, and in return for the labor expended upon it abundant harvests are garnered each year. In all of his business enterprises Mr. Maris is judicious and energetic, rarely meeting with failure. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, he is actively identified with the Society of Friends and all phases of Christian work, and for over thirty years has been a minister of the gospel, loved for his noble life and high ideals.
After he had established a comfortable, though humble home, Mr. Maris brought to it his bride, Alma L. Buten, whom he married December 7, 1858. She was a daughter of Horace and Anna Buten, deceased, and was a native of New York state, born October 12, 1836. Her father was born in 1808. near Stephentown, New York, and died when in his thirty-second year, leaving a widow and three children. Her mother was born in Berlin, New York, in 1806, and died in Kansas, in 1860. Charles T. Buten, the son, died in this township, August 2, 1899. Kate Buten became the wife of William Perry, of this township. Three children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Maris, namely: Jesse Elsworth, Alice M. and Frederic B. The elder son married Hannah Fogg, of Damascus, Ohio, and their two children are Edwin I. and Alma D. Alice M., the wife of Thomas Eckles, of this township, has one child, Fayette Blaine. The younger son of our subject remains at the old homestead and aids materially in its management. Eva M., an adopted daughter of our subject and wife, married M. C. Grady, of Cuba, Illinois, and has one child, Robert Guile.
Upon his arrival in Atchison, Kansas, on the 14th day of September, 1857, Mr. Maris found a small village situated upon the banks of the Missouri river. He made his way from there on foot over the beautiful rolling prairies until he reached the neighborhood of his present home, and the desire he had felt before leaving Ohio being rekindled in his breast, he resolved to take his place in the first ranks along with others who were resolved to make the beautiful prairie of Kansas a great state. For the past forty-three years he has gone hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder with the noble men and women who have developed the state of Kansas in all its agricultural, mercantile, mechanical, educational and religious interests, so that the state to-day along all those lines stands hardy second to any among the great sisterhood of states. But few have made greater sacrifices in time or means than Mr. Maris to advance the religious interests of his county and largely of adjoining counties, For the past thirty-five years he has been actively engaged in Sunday school work, and at various times has held the position of president of the township, county and district Sunday school associations, and at the present writing is one of the executive committee of the Kansas State Sunday School Association, of which he was a charter member. He was sent as a delegate from this state to attend the Second World's Sunday School Convention, which was held in St. Louis in 1893. He has also been a great temperance worker, taking a life membership in the Kansas State Temperance Union in 1878. He worked hard to secure for the commonwealth a law prohibiting the manufacture, use and sale of spirituous liquors, except for mechanical, medical and scientific purposes, and in the fall of 1880, at the general election, this question of prohibition was voted upon in the state and was carried by some eight thousand majority. The vote was confirmed by the legislature in 1880 and became a part of the state constitution and was carried into effect as a law on the 1st day of May, 1881. Whatever tends to elevate humanity or advance the best interests of his county, state and nation receives the support of Mr. Maris, who is indeed one of the most valued and highly respected residents of Atchison county.