Biography of Prof. Harry W. Shideler

Prof. Harry W. Shideler. For the reason that the journalistic and educational professions are in many ways so closely allied, it is a happy combination of talents that allows an individual to participate in the work of the schoolroom and at the same time to devote a part of his abilities to the editing of a newspaper. Prof. Harry W. Shideler, superintendent of schools of Girard, Kansas, has for many years been well known in educational circles as a thorough and learned instructor, and in more recent years has entered the field of journalism as one of the proprietors of the Girard Press, a newspaper of acknowledged influence and wide circulation. Both as an educator and an editor he is doing much for the progress and advancement of his community, and his record in public life and as a private citizen is one which gives him merited prestige among the helpful men of this part of Crawford County.

Harry W. Shideler was born in Clay County, Indiana, January 14, 1873, and is a son of Henry and Sophia (Harbaugh) Shideler. The family in America traces its lineage back to the year 1730, when Johanne Shideler, a native of Germany emigrated to this country and took up his residence in Pennsylvania, where he followed farming. Later the family branched out to other states, notably Ohio, where, in 1818, the grandfather of Prof. Shideler, Daniel Shideler was born. He was a farmer and blacksmith in Ohio, later moved to Clay County, Indiana, and finally came west to Cherokee County, Kansas, where his death occurred in the fall of 1881. He was married first to Miss Lowrey, a native of Ohio who died in that state, and among their children was Henry Shideler. The grandfather contracted a second marriage with Miss Culler.

Henry Shideler was born in 1845, near Berlin, Ohio, and when he was but a boy was taken by his parents to Clay County, Indiana, where he lived on a farm and was educated in the district schools. When still a young man he learned the wagonmaker’s trade, was subsequently engaged in teaching for several years and finally turned his attention to farming. In the fall of 1881 he came to Kansas and located in Cherokee County, where he purchased 120 acres of land, and this he has since increased to nearly 300 acres. He still continues to cultivate his property, and is known as one of the substantial agriculturists of his locality. Mr. Shideler is a republican, on the ticket of which party he was elected township trustee while residing in Clay County, Indiana. In Cherokee County, he has served as a member of the county high school board. In 1863, Mr. Shideler enlisted in the Fifty-ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the close of the Civil war, participating in numerous engagements and being with General Sherman on his famous march to the sea. Mr. Shideler was first married to Miss Sophia Harbaugh, who was born in 1853, in Clay County, Indiana, and died in 1885, in Cherokee County, Kansas. To this union there were born four children: Harry W.; Dora, who married Frank Painter, a farmer of Crawford County, Kansas; Daniel W., a farmer of this county; and John W., who is superintendent of the schools of Vermillion, South Dakota. Mr. Shideler was again married to Mrs. Susan (Oglesby) Huffer, who still survives, and they became the parents of two children: Floyd I., who lives with his parents on the home farm; and Goldie May, a teacher in the public schools of Cherokee County.

Harry W. Shideler gained his primary education in the public schools of Cherokee County, and when seventeen years of age began teaching in the country districts. In the following year he entered the Kansas Normal College, at Fort Scott, which he attended for five years, and from which he was graduated in 1896, but in the meantime had not given up his teaching, the greater part of which had been done in Cherokee County, although for one year he was at Swan Lake, Idaho. Thus, combining his work as a teacher with his study as a pupil, he gained an excellent preparation for what he had decided upon as his career. In 1896 Mr. Shideler became professor of economics and history in the Kansas Normal College, and after two years thus spent resigned to enlist, in 1898, in the Twentieth Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He went to the Philippine Islands as second lieutenant of his company, and after a year returned to San Francisco and was honorably discharged and mustered out of the service wearing the shoulder-straps of a captain, in October, 1899. At that time he came to Girard, and in the winter of 1900 became principal of the high school here, a position which he retained for two years. Professor Shideler next went to Fort Scott, where he had his first experience in the newspaper business, but after one year was elected superintendent of schools in Girard, an office which he has retained to the present. He has under his supervision 3 schools, 21 teachers and 800 pupils, and has done much to improve the system and to elevate educational standards. In 1904 and 1905, to fill out the unexpired term of Harry E. Hornaday, he acted in in the capacity of county superintendent of schools. He is a member of the state board of education, belongs to the Kansas State Teachers’ Association, and in 1907 was president of the Southeastern Kansas Teachers’ Association.

In the fall of 1915, Professor Shideler purchased an interest in the Girard Press, a republican sheet which was established in 1866, and which now circulates in Crawford and the surrounding counties, with an exceptionally large foreign list. The paper is published by the firm of Wasser & Shideler, and its modern offices and plant are situated at the corner of Forest and Summit avenues. The Press exerts a strong influence in the territory in which it circulates, and is a well-printed, well-edited organ, giving its readers live and authentic news in regard to questions and happenings both local and national, possessing an editorial page of marked merit, and devoting a good deal of its space to matters calculated to be of benefit to Girard and Crawford County. It has the reputation of being an excellent advertising medium.

Mr. Shideler is a pronounced republican, and has been more than ordinarily active in the affairs of his party. He served as a member of the Girard City Council for four years, and in 1909 was sent to the Kansas Legislature to represent Crawford County. His record in that body was a good one, and his labors were strenuous and fruitful of good results as a member of the ways and means, educational, military affairs and public health committees. Mr. Shideler and the members of his family belong to the Christian Church. He is fraternally affiliated with Girard Lodge, No. 93, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and also holds membership in the Girard Commercial Club. He has been successful in a material way, and in addition to his own residence at 105 Western Avenue, South, and the dwelling next door, owns a valuable farm of eighty acres in Crawford County, located one-half mile south of Girard.

Professor Shideler was married in September, 1897, at Fort Scott, to Miss Iva L. Jessup, daughter of the late Solomon P. Jessup, who for many years was a farmer of Cherokee County. Five children have been born to this union: Harry Kenneth, born June 23, 1898, and now a student at the Kansas Agricultural College, Manhattan; Ralph Jessup, born September 20, 1900, a junior at the Girard High School; Robert Theodore, born October 1, 1902, a sophomore at the high school; Fred Muriel, born September 23, 1904, attending the graded schools; and Frank Jessup, born August 24, 1915.



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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