J H MOYER
Among the veterans of the civil war now residing in Brown county, is J. H. Moyer, a valued citizen of Walnut township. where he is extensively and successfully engaged in farming. He is one of the leading small-fruit growers in this section of the state, and his well-cultivated fields and gardens indicate his careful supervision and his progressive and practical methods, both in agriculture and horticulture. He was horn in Center county, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1839, and upon the home farm was reared. His parents were Samuel and Elizabeth (Behler) Moyer, natives of Pennsylvania. The former was born January 9, 1810, and was a son of Michael Moyer, who was reared in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, and was descended from German ancestry. The grandfather, Michael Moyer, was a member of the German Reformed church and was a man of high moral character, widely known for his inflexible integrity and his fidelity to temperance principles. His children were: John H., who died on the homestead farm; Mary, wife of Jacob Fishburn; Michael, who died in Pennsylvania; George, who died in Center county, that state; Samuel, the father of our subject; Elizabeth, the wife of Felix Burkholder, and Solomon, teacher and musician, both of whom died in Pennsylvania; and Catherine, wife of D. Dubbs.
Samuel Moyer, the father of our subject, was reared to manhood in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, and there wedded Elizabeth Behler. Her father was drafted for service in the war of 1812 and had to report at Baltimore, Maryland. To reach that point he traveled on foot from Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, but before arriving at his destination the war ended. On the return trip he was taken in and was buried at the place of his death, for there was no means of public transportation wherewith his body could be returned to his former home. Mrs. Moyer was his only child. She was reared by her mother, and after the daughter married the mother made her home with her. She was a strict Lutheran in religious belief and a consistent Christian woman. She survived her daughter and with the family removed to Illinois, where she died in 1868. After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Moyer they took up their abode in Center county, Pennsylvania, upon a farm owned by his father, and there all of their children were born. In 1863 they removed to Stephenson county, Illinois, where Mr. Moyer purchased a farm, becoming one of the prominent agriculturists of that locality. In 1884, however, he sold his property and removed to Hiawatha, Kansas, where he built a residence, living retired there until his death, December 28, 1893. He was a consistent member of the German Reformed church and always took an active interest in its work. Throughout his business career he carried on agricultural pursuits, seeking to make an honest and good living for his family. His well-directed efforts and unflagging industry enabled him to secure a comfortable competence, and therefore his last days were spent in retirement. His integrity in all matters of business was above question, and in all life's relations he was true to duty and right. In politics he was a strong Abolitionist in ante bellum days and gave his support to the Whig party until the Republican party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery, when he joined its ranks. He was very charitable, withholding not the hand of assistance from the poor and needy. For many years he acted as elder in his church and superintendent in the Sunday-school, and he brought up his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. His wife died in 1867, and for twenty-six years he remained a widower, his daughter acting as his housekeeper. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Moyer were born fifteen children: Philip C., a farmer of Illinois; Nancy, who became the wife of Daniel Hockman, and died, leaving ten children; Michael, of Iowa; Elizabeth Machamer, of Sabetha, Kansas; John H., of this review; Priscilla, now the wife of Steven Beader, of Vermont; Catherine, wife of George St. Clair, of Pennsylvania; Mary, widow of Samuel Grose, and a resident of Illinois; Sarah, wife of F. Unangst; Leah, wife of B. F. Swarts, a carpenter and contractor of Hiawatha; Lena, wife of Mando Loveland, of Freeport, Illinois; Harriet E., who acted as housekeeper for her father and is now doing missionary work in the forests of Wisconsin, meeting her own expenses; Lucetta, wife of J. Askey; Rachel and Daniel. Daniel was married, but both he and his sister are now deceased; and Samuel died, aged eighteen months.
J. H. Moyer, whose name heads this record, remained under the parental roof until February, 1862, when he was married and located on the farm with his father, being employed by him at ten dollars per month. The following August he enlisted for three years' service or during the war, as a member of Company G, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, under Colonel Beaver, the regiment being assigned to the Army of the Potomac, with the First Division, Second Army Corps, under General Burnside. Their special duty was to guard the railroads and other points of communication west and north of Baltimore. They marched to Fredericksburg, but were too late to participate in that fight, so went into winter quarters, and their first battle was at Chancellorsville the following year. At that point Mr. Moyer was wounded in the left side of the face, and this has left him subject to apoplexy. In four companies one hundred and twenty-five were killed and wounded. It was a most hotly contested battle, but the Union forces were driven back. Later the regiment of which Mr. Moyer was a member took part in the battle of Gettysburg, his command being stationed in a wheat field during the hot fighting. They then followed the enemy to Virginia and during the fall of 1863 participated in many skirmishes. The One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania was armed with Spencer rifles, and being well equipped and drilled was called into action more than many other regiments of the command. During his service Mr. Moyer was detailed for various duties. For a time he served as one of the buglers for the ambulance train and when relieved of that duty was detailed as stretcher bearer. During the battle of the Wilderness he acted in that capacity and continued to serve in that way until the fall of 1864, thus participating in the engagements at Poe river. Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Reams Station and Gravel Run. In the fall of 1864 he was returned to his company and made quartermaster, with which rank he served until the close of the war, when he received an honorable discharge. While sleeping under a tree shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville he suffered an attack of apoplexy from the effect of his wound and was carried to the hospital, but remained only a short time. When Lee surrendered he was at Appomattox and held some conversation with the rebel troops. A few days later, with his command, he started on the march for Washington, there remaining until the grand review in that city. His regiment, however, was stationed on the Virginia side of the river and at Alexandria was mustered out and transported to Camp Curtin, Pennsylvania, where he received an honorable discharge and was paid off.
Mr. Moyer then visited in Center, Dauphin, Clearfield and Lebanon counties and afterward took his wife to Illinois, where he joined his father and the family. He was again employed by his father by the month and remained in the Prairie state until 1871, when he came to Kansas, locating in Brown county. Here he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land and began the development of his farm. He was the fourth of the family to locate in this state. He brought with him three horses, one cow, two pigs, a wagon, some farming implements and household goods and a small amount of money. The last he invested in land, going in debt for the remainder, which was to be paid in eight years. After hastily erecting a small frame residence he installed his family therein and began breaking prairie. He did some farming for others in order to pay for his building material and he hauled his lumber from the Missouri river. Energetically he carried on his work and as the years passed his capital was steadily increased until at the present time he is recognized as one of the substantial agriculturists of the community. He has raised enough stock to support his farm, but has given his attention largely to the cultivating of grain and fruit. In 1876 his table (sic), sheds, two horses and farm machinery were destroyed by fire, and as he had no insurance this was a total loss. With renewed energy, however, he set to work to retrieve his possessions and altogether his career has been a prosperous one. He raises some garden vegetables for the market and has a very extensive orchard, but makes a specialty of the growing of small fruits. His principal crop is blackberries, and in one season on a third of an acre he picked seventy-one bushels of berries. He has a plum orchard of four hundred trees and his sale of fruit materially increases his income. He has made a close study of the best methods of fruit culture and his opinions on horticultural subjects are largely received as authority in the community. He now has one of the best improved farms in Walnut township. His home is a large and commodious two-story residence, built in an attractive style of architecture and supplied with all modern conveniences. In the rear stands large and substantial outbuildings. and these in turn are surrounded by well tilled fields and gardens, four of the fields being divided by well kept hedge fences, with lanes running to the center of the farm. in addition to his farming interests Mr. Moyer is also a stockholder in the National Bank of Hiawatha.
In 1862 Mr. Moyer was united in marriage to Miss Louisa A. Siechrist, who was born in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, November 4, 1837. She was a lady of intelligence and culture, and to her husband proved a faithful companion and helpmate. Her parents were farming people of Pennsylvania and were of German descent. In religious belief they were Lutherans, and they spent their last days in Lebanon county of the Keystone state. Their children were: Daniel E., a farmer of that county; Elizabeth, wife of James M. Ross, of Pennsylvania; and Mrs. Moyer, who was the eldest child. Unto our subject and his wife have been born the following children: Samuel B., a minister of the Presbyterian church now located in Edgar, Nebraska, married Miss Jean Thompson, of Irving, Marshall county, Kansas, and they have two sons, Samuel P. and Francis H.; John E., an electrician of Philadelphia, was married in that state to Ellen Mulrenen, and they have four children: John H., Mariem, Louisa and Francis William; James R., a successful teacher, was married in Brown county to Miss Susie Rubert and they have one child, James H.; Ida M. is her father's housekeeper and her devotion to him and his welfare has made her greatly beloved; Franklin W. is now pursuing a theological course in preparation for the work of the ministry of the Evangelical church; Daniel G. is operating the homestead; Louisa E. is a student of Washburn College, of Topeka. Kansas; Martha M. is a student in the Pennsylvania hospital of Philadelphia; Henry H. is serving as a member of Company H in the Thirty-second United States Infantry Regiment in the Philippine islands; and Ella K. is a student in Washburn College, of Topeka, Kansas, and possesses superior musical ability, which ranks her among the most talented musicians of the state.
The mother of this family was a lady of more than ordinary ability and her Christian character endeared her to all who knew her. In early life she was a Lutheran, but afterward became a consistent member of the Presbyterian church, and in that faith she and her husband reared their children. Together they labored for many years to make a home and ultimately they became the possessors of the finest country seat in the county. The large and commodious residence and its furnishings gave evidence of the refined tastes of the owners. One large room was especially devoted to art and was adorned with beautiful potted plants and flowers, in which Mrs. Moyer took great pride and pleasure, spending many hours in caring for them. On the 29th of October, 1895, she stepped into this beautiful room and when among her plants death claimed her, her demise being occasioned by heart failure. Her six sons acted as pall bearers and in the cemetery she was laid to rest. She was known as a loving and indulgent mother, a tender and faithful wife and a loyal friend. Her daughter, Ida, now cares for the flowers and in as far as possible takes her mother's place in the household, carefully superintending its varied interests. The children were all afforded good educational advantages, all have become church members and are now useful citizens. Mr. Moyer is one of the honored and esteemed residents of Brown county, and no history of this section of the state would be complete without the record of his life.