SCHOONOVER, Isaac (d 1914) - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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SCHOONOVER, Isaac (d 1914)

Source: Lyons, Kansas News Mon 14 Sept 1914 p 1

Isaac Schoonover was born in Warren County, Indiana on April 15th 1843.  His parents had but recently emigrated from Ohio to what was then regarded as the western frontier and he grew to young manhood in the midst of the frontier life of his birthplace.  On Aug 3, 1865 he married Josephine Burch. In less than a year from now they would have celebrated their Golden wedding.  Two children were born to them, Horace Feb 25, 1869 and Perry Carson on Dec 3, 1871. Both sons reside with their families in this county. In March 1871  Mr. Schoonover came to Kansas stopping first at Saline, where his sister Mrs. IA Burch lived. In April of the same year he came to Rice County and preempted a quarter section of land on Plum Creek some 17 miles northwest of the present site of this city.  He hauled lumber for a little home from Salina by ox team and with this lumber constructed the first frame structure erected in this county. After proving up his preemption claim he homesteaded a quarter section of land near the junction of Plum and Cow Creek. This homestead was taken the year the grasshoppers came. A few years ago he conveyed it to one of his grandsons and the records will show he never encumbered it by mortgage or other liens. Starting with two tracts of government land as his only assets he steadily increased his holdings until they became quite extensive and he demonstrated the possibility of accumulating a comfortable fortune by the pursuit of agriculture upon what the generation before him regarded as the arid wastes of the Great American Desert.  In 1889, Mr. Schoonover moved to Salina for the purpose of giving his younger son the privilege of attending Salina HS and the Kansas Wesleyan University. In 1893 he returned to this county and purchased a home in Lyons where he has ever since resided. His death occurred Thursday last, Sept 10 as the result of an accident to the automobile he was driving. These few facts afford but the merest glimpse into the vigorous, fruitful life and sterling character of a man who belonged to that class of citizens who are indispensable to the upbuilding of any new state.  With no resources except courage, faith, rare judgment, restless energy and indomitable will he and his companions dug upon the unwatered plains the wells from which the people of the commonwealth now drink.  In the days when agricultural experts, experiment stations and government bureaus were now available Mr. Schoonover was a student of soil and climate and of breeds of grain and livestock and in the hard school of experience learned how to conver the intractable elements from seeming adversaries into willing and obedient servants of his will.  Only nature‚Äôs strongest could have endured the vicissitudes which he encountered.  But having gained her secrets by patience and fortitude and prudence and perseverance, she rewarded his efforts with the overflowing generosity with which nature delights to reward those who work with her and not against her, and so opened the way to the development a barren region, swept by wind and fire where the prairie wolf howled by night and buffalo roamed at will into its present state of high cultivation, abounding in its plenteous harvests, commodious habitations and happy homes. In due time he helped to start the first school in the neighborhood, helped to build and maintain the first church and in every way was active in the promotion of the social welfare of his community. In the iron days when charity was not a conventional or formal thing but meant actual privation to self, his home and his purse were always open. The benighted and needy were never denied entrance at his door.  When misfortune overtook the struggling settler he was sure of help by the hand of Isaac Schoonover and the day was never too crowded with his own affairs or the night too dark or stormy to keep him from responding to the call of a friend in need. With keen insight into character he was intolerant of sham and pretense, hated littleness and meanness and throughout his long career no business transaction which he conducted was ever tinged with duplicity of discreditableness of any kind.  Although solicited to accept public office he refused to do so, preferring to employ his talents in field where he was most at home and where they were most profitable to himself, his family, his community and his state.  Quiet, modest and unassuming in demeanor, he was a genial and affable companion. To the end of his days he dealt justly, loved mercy and walked humbly with God who knoweth all - kbz

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