Biography of William H. Edelblute

William H. Edelblute. In recalling the worthy pioneers of Kansas, in order to do them due justice and honor, none more deserving of mention in Riley County could be found than the late William H. Edelblute. For many years he was a prominent farmer in Wild Cat Township, a useful and influential citizen, and a veteran of the great Civil war. He was born September 15, 1829, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, and died at his farm residence in Riley County, Kansas, May 28, 1908, in his seventy-ninth year. He was a son of David and Lydia (Conrad) Edelblute.

In tracing genealogy of the Edelblute family, the fact is disclosed that it is of German origin and the name signifies “noble blood.” There is a tradition that many, many years ago, a prince of Germany espoused a peasant maid and thereby lost his rank and estates.

Probably before the Revolutionary war the first of this name came to the American colonies and it is found early in the State of Pennsylvania. In that state, David Edelblute, the father of the late William H. Edelblute, was born October 11, 1803, and died in Riley County, Kansas, January 19, 1879. He came to Kansas in 1857 and settled in Riley County in the vicinity of the present Village of Keats. In his native state he had been a charcoal-burner but after coming to this state devoted himself exclusively to agricultural pursuits. In Pennsylvania he was married February 3, 1825, to Lydia Conrad, who was born there November 10, 1809, and died in Riley County, Kansas, September 19, 1866. Their children were as follows: William H.; Nancy Jane, who was born April 29, 1831, is now deceased and was the wife of John Murphy; Eleanora, who was born October 4, 1834, is now the widow of W. W. Walker; Nathan G., who was born June 24, 1837, died in Pennsylvania; Samuel R., who was born February 15, 1840, is deceased; David Henry, whose personal sketch appears in this work; Catherine, who is the widow of William Silver, was born April 10, 1843, and her husband was a Union soldier in the Civil war, a member of Company G, Eleventh Kansas Infantry; Rebecca, who was born October 24, 1847, married George W. Barns and they reside in California; Mary Elizabeth, who was born July 12, 1850, is the wife of W. H. Ashton, of Manhattan, Kansas; and John George, who was born September 11, 1853, is a resident of Idaho.

William H. Edelblute came first to Kansas in 1854 but did not at that time tarry long, going on to Iowa. In 1856 he returned to Kansas and took up a claim in Wild Cat Township, Riley County, where he developed a fine farm from primitive condition, prospered through his industry and at the time of his death owned 400 acres. In 1867 he erected a beautiful residence of stone which stands as a monument to his toil, thrift and enterprise, and it continues to be the home of his widow.

Scarcely had Mr. Edelblute made much in the way of improvement on his Riley County property when war clouds began to gather, times became a little harder and consequently more troubles had to be faced than usually attends pioneering. The Civil war was finally precipitated and Mr. Edelblute soon determined that he would do his full share in preserving the Union, and in August, 1862, he enlisted as a private in Company G, Eleventh Kansas Infantry and served in the struggle until its close when he was honorably discharged. He was a worthy and enthusiastic member of the Grand Army of the Republic, always interested in its affairs and ready at all times to recognize the claims of old army comrades.

On March 4, 1869, Mr. Edelblute was married to Miss Artissima Vashti Ryan, who was born in Clark County, Indiana. She is a daughter of Joseph P. and Elizabeth (Whitson) Ryan, of Irish lineage but born in Indiana. Their respective parents moved to Indiana from Kentucky, originally from Virginia. In 1854 Mr. Ryan removed with his family to Iowa and in 1859 to Kansas and settled first in Riley County but later in Clay County. There he died when aged sixty-one years and there the mother of Mrs. Edelblute died also when aged sixty-nine years. They were the parents of eight children, namely: Thomas G., Athan W., Artemissa Vashti, Elizabeth, Mary, Malcomb, Belle and Edward. Mr. Ryan was a carpenter by trade but also followed farming. In politics he was a republican. For many years he was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

To Mr. and Mrs. Edelblute were born sons and daughters as follows: William Harvey, who was born September 6, 1870, was graduated from the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1892 and is now following his profession of civil engineer at Rathdrum, Idaho. He has a large ranch in Idaho and he is at this time, November, 1916, colonel of the Second Idaho Infantry on duty on the Mexican border; John Albert, who was born July 16, 1872, is a resident of Manhattan, Kansas; George Clarence, who was born September 4, 1876, resides on the homestead with his mother; Mabel, died in infancy; Merrill Ray, was born September 2, 1885, and Mary Belle, was born June 28, 1888.

William H. Edelblute was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and led a consistent Christian life, being kind, considerate and helpful to everyone and honorable and upright in all his business and personal relations. His memory is tenderly cherished by his family and his community can point with pride to a score of his achievements that were for the permanent benefit of the section in which so much of his life had been spent.


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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