Biography of Oliver Franklin Winner

Oliver Franklin Winner. The excellent business standing of Oliver Franklin Winner rests upon many years of connection with agricultural affairs in Shawnee County, where he is still the owner of a large and valuable property. Particularly is he known as an authority upon the subject of alfalfa growing, to which he has devoted many years of study and investigation. Mr. Winner is an Illinoisan by nativity, and was born at Belvidere, Boone County, in 1859, being a son of Martin W. Winner.

Martin W. Winner was born in New York, from which state he emigrated as a young man to Bremer County, Iowa, being a resident of Waverly at the time of the Civil war. He was a stanch Union man and endeavored to enlist in the army of the North, but owing to a slight physical disability was rejected. For twelve years he was engaged in the harness business, but eventually turned his attention to farming, in which vocation he continued to be engaged until his death, in 1901. Mr. Winner was married in 1858 to Miss Nancy Farr, of Boone County, Illinois, and they became the parents of two daughters and five sons: Oliver Franklin, of this review; Ida, who died in 1891; Clarence, who is traveling in the South; Albert, who is a farmer at Janesville, Iowa; Millie, who died in 1891; and Walter Harvey and Melvin, who are both engaged in the barber business in Iowa. Martin W. Winner was a man who led an exemplary life, free from bad habits of any kind, and especially strong in his aversion to the taking of alcholic beverages. He was a firm believer in efficiency, and was himself able to carry to a successful conclusion any venture which he undertook. As a father, he had the confidence and affection of his children, and in his community he held the respect and regard of all who knew him. In his death his community lost one of its good and public-spirited citizens.

Oliver Franklin Winner was two years when taken by his parents to Iowa, and there he grew to manhood on the home farm and received his educational training in the public schools. He was twenty years of age when he left the parental roof to seek his fortunes in an independent career, and at that time took up his residence at Holton, Jackson County, Kansas, where he commenced farming. In 1904 he came to Shawnee County, where he purchased the 320-acre farm known as the John Wilkerson place. Within three years, so energetically and efficiently did he labor, he had it cleared and in a salable condition and disposed of it at an advance of $4,000 over its purchase price. When he sold that property Mr. Winner came to his present place, at North Topeka, and here continues to engage successfully in farming, with particular attention paid to alfalfa growing. He is known in this latter connection all over this part of the state as an authority, is frequently called upon for advice, gives occasional lectures before farmers’ institutes, and contributes articles on the subject to leading farm papers, as he does also upon various other agricultural subjects. He has a wide audience and his opinions are respected and bear much weight among men who know. He is a citizen who has done his share in developing Shawnee County in an agricultural way, an exponent of good roads, a friend of education and a supporter of progress in regard to civic betterment.

In 1884 Mr. Winner was married to Miss Hattie Parmenter, daughter of Walter Parmenter, a Vermonter who migrated to Jackson County, Kansas, prior to the Civil war, and, as an ardent Free State man, joined one of the fighting Kansas regiments during that struggle and was at the front for three years. Mr. Parmenter was, as he still is, a bosom friend of W. A. Blossom, and both now reside at Holton, Kansas. To Mr. and Mrs. Winner there have been born five sons and three daughters: Ray, who was deputy county clerk of Shawnee County for four years and is now engaged in farming; Guy, who was formerly principal of schools at Wamego, Kansas, and for the past three years principal at Hoyt; Irene, a graduate of the musical department of Washburn College, now residing at home and teaching music; Benjamin, who is engaged in farming in partnership with his brother, Guy; Viva, who is the wife of Lester Pollum and lives at Wamego, Kansas; Howard, who divides his time between farming and attending school; and Zella and Zera, who are both pupils at the Topeka High School.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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