SIMON HENRY FERTIG
Simon Henry Fertig and Sarah Benfer family:
Front row: Simon Henry and Sarah
Back row, left to right: Mollie May, Abraham Franklin and John Phillip
 
FATHER
S. HENRY
1855 - 1935
MOTHER
SARAH
1855 - 1937
FERTIG
 
Simon Henry Fertig was born on September 2, 1855 in Rockefeller Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, three miles southeast of Sunbury1.  He was the eldest son of John Joseph Fertig and Catherine Welker1,2,3,4.
 
Simon was raised in Monroe and Penn Townships, Snyder County and educated in the Ott schoolhouse in Selingrove, southwest of Sunbury1,2,3.  He assisted his father with farming duties1.  By the age of 23, Simon had accumulated several hundred dollars of savings1
 
On October 18, 1875 in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, Simon was married to Sarah Benfer by Reverend Z.M. Baker5.  Sarah was born on November 1, 1855 in Limestone Township, Union County, the daughter of Philip Benfer and Maydalena Dreese1,5 Simon and Sarah were blessed with five children together: two daughters who died in infancy, John Phillip, Mollie May and Abraham Franklin1,6,7,8,9,10.
 
On April 9, 1878, Simon Henry and his family moved to Pawnee County, Kansas1.  They arrived only three days later on April 12th1.  In August 1878, Simon purchased a 160 acre tract of school land, the northeast quarter of Section 16, Township 22 (Logan Township), Range 15, which was appraised at $4.00 per acre1.  In March 1879, Simon's father also moved to Kansas and homesteaded on the southeast quarter of Section 10, near Simon's property1.
 
Simon constructed a 16 foot by 12 foot frame house, containing two rooms and a basement for his family to reside in1.  Simon pursued farming as a career1.  He purchased a "plug team" of work animals with a harness and plow for $175.00 and began to farm wheat and hay1.
 
In 1879, the farm crops were less than desirable, so he traveled to New Mexico to be employed with the Santa Fe Railroad Company for the year1.  For the next twenty years, the crop production varied up and down1.  Simon occasionally sought outside employment to provide a livelihood1.  He had purchased many work horses and mules for his farm1.
 
During the 1880's, Simon and a friend would usually spend Friday afternoons shooting prairie chickens and jackrabbits1. They sold them to purchase groceries for the following week1. In addition, "chips" were gathered from the fields for fuel1 Simon served as the Logan Township Clerk for a year and was active in the Evangelical Association1
 
Around 1890, Simon paid $900.00 cash to purchase an adjacent quarter section parcel1,11.  The acquisition allowed Simon to farm the entire north half of Section 16, comprised of 320 acres11.  Simon's son, John Phillip, then purchased the southeast quarter of the same section11.  As an inheritance from his father, Simon also received an 80 acre parcel of land located on the north half of the southeast quarter of Section 1012.
 
In the fall of 1890, Simon built a new two-story house, 18 feet by 32 feet in size with a 12 foot by 16 foot wing1.  In 1895, Simon spent $175.00 to build a 16 foot by 32 foot barn and a shed the same dimensions1
In 1916, he replaced his original barn with a new iron barn, 42 feet by 52 feet and a 24 foot by 32 foot shed1.  Simon also constructed a granary with a capacity of 5,000 bushels1.
 
Simon passed away at the age of 79 on February 19, 19355,13.  He was the oldest resident of Logan Township13.  The following year, Sarah moved to Lamar, Colorado to live with the family of her daughter, Mollie Weekly14.  Sarah died on June 17, 1937 in Lamar at the age of 815,14.  The funeral sermons for both Simon and Sarah were conducted by Reverend Herman Grove of St. John13,14.  Simon and Sarah were both buried at the Larned Cemetery in Larned5,13,15.
 
CHILDREN OF SIMON HENRY AND SARAH:
Infant Daughter, born March 5, 1875
Infant Daughter, died April 25, 1877
John Phillip "Phil", born February 7, 1880, married Addie Hinkle and died October 22, 1965
Mollie May, born October 27, 1882, married Leonard R. Weekly and died April 18, 1946
Abraham Franklin "Frank", born July 15, 1891, married Freida Blume and died February 1973
 
REFERENCES:
1. 1919 History of Simon Henry Fertig.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918, pages 2068-2069.
 
SIMON HENRY FERTIG. A varied picture of Western Kansas life as lived by the pioneers, and one rich in incidents and experiences, is presented by the career of Simon Henry Fertig, a farmer of Logan Township, Pawnee County, who settled there in 1878.
 
He was born September 2, 1855, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Augusta Township, now Rockefeller Township, three miles southeast of Sunberry, and is of German ancestry. His father, John Joseph Fertig, was born in Weisbaden, Germany, and when seven years of age came with his father, Anthony Fertig, to America. Anthony Fertig settled in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, and he had two sets of children. Anthony and Adam were sons of his first wife, and the children of the second union were John J., Francis M., and Mary. Mary became the wife of John Kramer and spent her life in Pennsylvania. It is said that the son Anthony, on reaching New York City, gazed about him rather disgustedly and asked "how soon does the first boat go back," and suiting his actions to the word immediately returned to Europe. Adam and Francis M. both died in Pennsylvania.
 
When Simon H. Fertig was born his father was in the employ of Congressman William Durard. In 1859 the family moved to Snyder County and occupied the Durard farm. The father was a renter, and a year later moved to the Dunbaugh estate nearby, and in April, 1861, went to the J. K. Davis farm a half mile from Selins Grove. In 1878 John J. Fertig moved to the Kreider farm. In the meantime Simon H. Fertig had been growing up in the Selins Grove locality and obtained his education in the Ott schoolhouse there. As a boy he always did his part in the work of the farm, and on attaining his majority started his independent career. When twenty-three years of age he had accumulated several hundred dollars of his own.
 
On the 9th of April, 1878, the same month that his father moved to the Kreider farm, Simon Henry Fertig started for Kansas and arrived in Pawnee County on the 12th of April, three days later. Early in March, 1879, his father followed him here. In this state John J. Fertig continued as a farmer and took as a homestead the southeast quarter of section 10, township 22, range 15. He proved it up and improved and developed a splendid property before his death. He and his wife were buried on the old homestead. He died November 5, 1907, at the age of eighty-one, and his wife passed away February 6, 1917, and would have been eighty-five on the 14th of that month. She was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock, her maiden name being Catherine Welker. She was one of the twelve children of Peter Welker. John J. Fertig and wife had the following children: Simon H.; Wilhelmina, who died unmarried in Pawnee County; Mary, who lives near her brother Simon, John W., who married Virginia Umberger, also of Pawnee County; Catherine and George H., both of whom died in childhood. John J. Fertig lived honorably and usefully all his career, though his vocation was confined simply to farming. He was much interested in religious matters and was active in the Evangelical Association. In politics he was a democrat practically throughout his career. On reaching Pawnee County Simon H. Fertig bought a tract of school land, the northeast quarter of section 16, township 22, range 15, which was appraised at $4 an acre. After making his first payment on this quarter section, on August 17, 1878, he had just $1 left to live on. His pioneer house was a frame structure 12 by 16, containing two rooms and basement, and in this home his children grew up. His first work animals were a "plug team" which, with harness and plow, cost $175. He made no crop in 1878, and worked around at farm labor as he could get it. The year 1879 is remembered as perhaps the hardest year of all the frontier ones. That season Mr. Fertig harvested twenty-one bushels of wheat from eight acres of his own land and fifteen bushels was his share from forty acres of rented land. The rest of his crop that year consisted merely of the hay cut from the prairie.
 
In the fall of 1875 Mr. Fertig took upon himself the responsibilities of a home of his own. He was married October 18th, at New Berlin, to Miss Sarah Benfer, of Pennsylvania German stock. Her mother was Magdalena Dreese. Mrs. Fertig was one of a family of six daughters and two sons. The son Abraham was a Union soldier during the Civil war. Mrs. Fertig has two living sisters, Mrs. Amelia Wetzel and Mrs. Elizabeth Price of Paxinose, Pennsylvania.
 
From his meager crop of 1879 Mr. Fertig took what was necessary for flour for himself and wife during the following year and sowed the remainder. The stalks reached a height of about six inches but the heads were so close to the sod that it could not be cut and the entire sowing was lost. As there was no crop prospect that year Mr. Fertig went to New Mexico and sought employment with the Santa Fe Railway Company on construction as "a bridge and tic wrestler." The Santa Fe Company passed him out and back twice for this purpose. He started work near Las Vegas and worked to San Marchiel, Fort Craig, and then returned home. During August, 1880, he made $39.50 clear above expenses, and that was more money than the whole Township of Pleasant Valley had altogether.
 
From 1880 to 1900 crops in the community fluctuated up and down, some years almost nothing and other years with abundant yields. Altogether there was hardly enough to keep the Fertig family going without resort to outside work, and Mr. Fertig was never slow to accept outside employment when he could get it. Ten years after moving to his farm he owed $10 more upon it than the original purchase price.
 
In the early days it was his custom to select the best of the nubbins of corn for bread for his family, and he ground the meal himself on a "sweep grinder." They had fried mush and water for breakfast often and vice versa for the next meal. Black-eyed peas and rice corn were an important part of their food. A dollar's worth of sugar lasted a year, whereas now it requires four hundred-pound sacks.
 
About 1890 Mr. Fertig was in a position to buy more land, and paid cash, $900, for his first quarter. Up to that time he had bought many horses on time payments, and it taxed his utmost resources to keep a team force. At one time his horses were reduced to one old gray, and making a pair of shafts he hitched this "plug" to his Mitchell wagon and did his hauling with one horse. Later he traded about so as to get rid of this horse and supplied himself with a team of mules, and with that began plowing and sowing wheat. For the mules he had given his note for an additional $160. His wife asked, "now that you have the mule team and more debt, what are you going to do?" His reply was "I am going to sow wheat this fall and if I don't get a crop I am going to hitch the mules to a wagon and we'll drive out of here." Fifty-one weeks after his wheat was sown he had the crop threshed. He sold the crop for more than $1,400. This success encouraged him to try again, and buying a second span of mules, he sowed another big crop and from it got nothing in the way of harvest and not even repayment for wages. That was perhaps a sample of the vicissitudes suffered by him and other pioneers. Later things began to look up, and after he had been about twenty years in Pawnee County he enjoyed witnessing the first general rain, whereas before the country had been favored with nothing more than thunder showers.
 
During the '80s Mr. Fertig and a neighbor usually spent Friday afternoons shooting prairie chickens and jackrabbits. They sold them and bought groceries for the following week. In all those years "chips" were gathered for fuel, sometime varied with corn stalks. He and Charles W. Norris and brother hauled 2,100 bushels of chips out of George E. Ripple's corral one winter.
 
In making permanent improvements Mr. Fertig built as his first barn a structure that cost $175. It was 16 by 32 feet, with a shed the same dimensions. It stood and did good service twenty-one years and one month before it was replaced, in 1916, by a new iron barn, 42 by 52 feet in ground dimensions, 12 foot to the eaves, and 33 feet to the comb. It also has a shed in the rear 24 by 32 feet. Mr. Fertig has a granary with 5,000 bushels capacity, and these are a few of the more important of his permanent improvements. His home is 18 by 32 feet, two stories, with a wing 12 by 16, and this was erected from August to December, 1890. Later a kitchen and bathroom were added. Besides his extensive interests as a farmer Mr. Fertig has a small amount of stock in the Solid Rock Creamery at Larned.
 
He is not a party man in politics, and has kept out of offices of all kinds, except one year as township clerk. He holds his religious membership in the Evangelical Association.
 
Mr. Fertig and his wife have three children: John Philip, the oldest, was born February 7, 1880, and by his marriage to Addie Hinkle has two children, Donald and Kenneth. Mollie May, the second child, is the wife of L. R. Weekley, of Bent County, Colorado, and has two children, Gretchen Marie and Emmet Henry. The third and youngest has shown ability not only as a practical farmer but as a machinist and he is now in the army, a machinist in the aviation corps.
 
Mr. Fertig is the oldest settler left in Logan Township. He possesses a keen comprehension and memory of incidents and conditions that tried the wits and mettle of pioneers while laying the foundation of society and agriculture in the heart of the great American desert which his school geography told him of back in the Ott School in Pennsylvania when he was a boy.
 
2. 1860 Census of Monroe Township, Snyder County, Pennsylvania, John Joseph Fertig family.
For more information, see the reference section for John Joseph Fertig.
 
3. 1870 Census of Penn Township, Snyder County, Pennsylvania, John Joseph Fertig family.
For more information, see the reference section for John Joseph Fertig.
 
4. 1885 Census of Kansas, John Joseph Fertig family.
For more information, see the reference section for John Joseph Fertig.
 
5. Ancestral Chart for John Phillip Fertig.
HUSBAND'S FATHER'S FULL NAME: Simon Henry Fertig, born Sept. 2, 1855 in Northumberland Co., Pa, died Feb 19, 1935 and buried at Larned Cemetery, Ks, married Oct. 18 1875 at New Berlin, Penna, occupation Farmer + Railroader, Homesteaded 16-22-15, Pawnee Co. Kansas
 
HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Willhimina, born 11/2/1857, died in Pawnee County
Mary Ellen, born 1860, unwed, 73y, 2 mo, 28, Died Aug 18, 1934
John William, born June 20-1861, died 1945, married Virginia Umberger, 1867-1950
Sarah Catherine, died in childhood
George Hunter, died in childhood
 
HUSBAND'S MOTHER'S FULL NAME: Sarah Benfer Fertig, born Nov 1, 1855 in Limestone Twp, Union County, Pa., died Jun 17 1937 and buried at the Larned Cemetery, Ks., married Oct. 18, 1875 at New Berlin, Penna., married by Rev. Z.M. Baker in presents of Rev. Z.M. Baker and Lizza Baker, 1 of 9 children, baptized Jan 1870
 
6. 1880 Census of East Pleasant Valley Township, Pawnee County, Kansas, Simon Henry Fertig family.
Henry Fertig, age 25, head, married, farmer; Sarah Fertig, age 25, wife, married, keeping home; John P Fertig, age 4/12, born February 1880, son
 
7. 1900 Census of Logan Township, Pawnee County, Kansas, Simon Henry Fertig family.
Simon H. Fertig, head, born Sept. 1855, age 44, married 24 years, farmer, owned farm free; Sarah Fertig, wife, born Nov. 1855, age 44, married 24 years; John P. Fertig, son, born Feb 1880, age 20, farmer; Molly M. Fertig, daughter, born Oct. 1882, age 17; Abraham F. Fertig, son, born July 1891, age 8
 
8. 1910 Census of Logan Township, Pawnee County, Kansas, Simon Henry Fertig family.
Simon H. Fertig, head, age 54, married 35 years, farmer, owned farm; Sarah Fertig, wife, age 54, married 35 years; Abraham F. Fertig, son, age 18
 
9. 1920 Census of Logan Township, Pawnee County, Kansas, Simon Henry Fertig family.
Henry S. Fertig, head, own farm, age 64, married, farmer; Sarah Fertig, wife, age 64, married
 
10. 1930 Census of Logan Township, Pawnee County, Kansas, Simon Henry Fertig family.
S.H. Fertig, head, house owned, age 74, married, age 23 first married, farmer; Sarah Fertig, wife, age 74, married, age 22 first married
 
11. Property Map of Logan Township, Pawnee County, Kansas.
For more information, see the reference section for John Joseph Fertig.
 
12. 1905 Will of John Joseph Fertig.
For more information, see the reference section for John Joseph Fertig.
 
13. 1935 Obituary for Simon Henry Fertig.
HENRY FERTIG DIES
Death of Oldest Resident of Logan Township Occurs Tuesday Morning
Simon Henry Fertig, the oldest resident of Logan township, died Tuesday morning at the age of 80.  Since his arrival in Pawnee county almost 57 years ago he had never left the original farm which he purchased as school land appraised at $4 an acre.  Mr. Fertig was then 23 years of age and after making his first payment on his farm, he had just one dollar to live on.  But with this to go on, he stayed in Pawnee county, the home of his choice, and never once lost faith in the future.  He is survived by his widow; two sons, J. P. Fertig of Logan township and Frank Fertig of Garfield; one daughter, Mrs. Mollie Weekly of Bent county Colorado; and one brother, John W. Fertig of Pawnee county.
 
FERTIG RITES TODAY
Services Held at 2:30 P.M. From Vernon Memorial Funeral Home
Funeral services for Henry Fertig, who died Tuesday morning at his home in Logan township, are being held this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the Vernon Funeral Home.  Rev. Herman Grove of St. John will preach the funeral sermon.  Interment will be made in the Larned Cemetery.
 
14. 1937 Obituary for Sarah (Benfer) Fertig.
The Daily Tiller and Toiler, VOL. NO. 4, LARNED, KANSAS; FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 1937, NO. 190
MRS. HENRY FERTIG DIES
Resident of Pawnee County for 50 Years, Passes in Lamar, Colo.
Mrs. Henry Fertig, a resident of Pawnee county for more than 50 years, died Thursday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. L. R. Weekly in Lamar, Colo.  Mrs. Fertig was 81 years of age.  She had been in failing health since last November.  Mr. Fertig died two years ago in February.  Mrs. Fertig has made her home with her daughter in Lamar for the last year.  In addition to the daughter, Mrs. Fertig is survived by two sons---Phil Fertig of Ray and Frank Fertig of Garfield.  Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 from the Vernon Memorial Funeral Home.  Rev. Herman Grove of St. John will be in charge of the services.
 
Sarah Benfer was born November 2, 1855 in Schneider county, Pennsylvania, and died at the home of her only daughter in Lamar, Colo. on June 17, 1937, aged 81 years, seven months and 15 days.  Sarah Benfer spent her childhood in Schneider county, Pennsylvania, where she met and married S.H. Fertig who died two years and four months ago.  The marriage took place October 18, 1875.  They remained in Pennsylvania about three years, then came to Pawnee county, Kansas in the spring of 1878.  They bought a farm in Pawnee county where they lived for nearly 50 years. Mrs. Fertig endured the hardships known to all pioneers of this country.  Three children survive: J.P. Fertig of Larned, Mrs. L.R. Weekly of Lamar, Colo., and A. F. Fertig of Garfield.  Seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren also survive.  Mrs. Fertig had no outside interests except her home and family with the exception of her church affiliation.  Since childhood she has been a member of the Evangelical church.  The funeral services were conducted Sunday, June 20 at 2:30 in the Vernon funeral home at Larned, in charge of Rev. Herman Grove, pastor of the St. John circuit, United Brethren churches.  The funeral hymns were sung by Mrs. D.E. Johnson, Mrs. Ed Prescott, James and Raymond Tanner, accompanied at the piano by Mrs. Oscar Johnson.  Interment was made in the Larned cemetery.
 
15. Larned Cemetery Record Book.
NE 175; FATHER, Simon HENRY FERTIG, B: 2 Sep 1855 PA, D: 19 Feb 1935; MOTHER, SARAH H. FERTIG, 1855 - 1937, (Betw: 18 May - 30 Jun 1937)
 
Home Page   I   Are You A Good Person?   I   Contact Us