Biography of William S. Tyner

William S. Tyner was one of the early settlers of Kansas, though he lived in the state only a few years, but founded a family which had become especially well known and prominent in Osage County.

The Tyners were an old and prominent family of Indiana. William S. Tyner was one of seven sons and was born on a farm in Rush County, Indiana, September 20, 1820. His parents were John and Nancy (Sailors) Tyner, both Indiana people. William S. Tyner was a consin of James N. Tyner, who served as postmaster-general under President Hayes.

The early education of William S. Tyner was acquired in the district school of Rush County. When he was nineteen years of age his family removed to Wabash County in that state. In 1842 William Hyner married Mary Washburn of Indiana. Six children were born to their union: Milton, deceased; Helen, Mrs. Hiza Wilson of Michigan Valley, Kansas; Jonas of California; Willis H. of Lyndon; Arminda, who lives on the old homestead in Indiana; Edgar, deceased; and Melvin of Arcadia, Tennessee.

The Indiana home of William S. Tyner for many years was a 160-acre farm. There he and his wife reared their family. In 1869 he followed two of his older sons, Milton and Jonas, to Kansas, located on a farm of a quarter section in Douglas County. In Douglas County he became prominent as a citizen and did much to build up that country in the years following the war. He was very active on the farm and in community affairs until the death of his wife in 1884. He then returned to Wabash, Indiana, and lived retired until his death. William S. Tyner was always favorably impressed and an enthusiastic advocate of the advantages and opportunities of the great State of Kansas. This was true despite the fact that he had weathered the storms and vicissitudes of early Kansas farming. He endured the troubles of the grasshopper year, the drought, and practically all the other hardships which the people of that time had to endure. Though a loyal republican, William S. Tyner was no politician and never held an office. He was an active member of the Grange and both he and his wife were devout Baptists and active in church work. During his residence in Kansas he identified himself with the upbuilding of schools and churches and lent a helping hand to everything for community good.

Willis H. Tyner, a son of this old time settler, is one of the foremost citizens of Lyndon in Osage County. He was born on a farm near Wabash, Indiana, January 14, 1852. He attended school there and worked on a farm and was about seventeen years of age when he came with his parents to Kansas. After several years in this state he returned to Indiana. Mr. Tyner married Rebecca Moore of Baldwin, Kansas, but a native of Illinois. Her parents were Leroy and Sarah (Eliott) Moore, who on coming to Kansas located at Ottawa. Leroy Moore was deputy sheriff of Franklin County two terms and had also served as sheriff for two terms in Mercer County, Illinois.

When the plague of grasshoppers swept Kansas during the ’70s, Mr. and Mrs. Willis H. Tyner went back to Indiana, where he rented a farm of 160 acres. Later he rented 300 acres near Wabash, and lived there for twelve years, enjoying a steadily increasing prosperity. In the meantime he had not forgotten Kansas, and his admiration for the state grew apace and finally brought him back within its limits. Mr. Tyner bought eighty acres in Junetion Township of Osage County on One Hundred Ten Creek, and when he retired he had 117 acres of fine farming land which he sold. In 1903 he bought 160 acres near Lyndon, and lived on and managed that place until 1909. After renting his farm he moved into the city of Lyndon, and became the active business partner of L. T. Huseey, now state fire marshal. They were engaged in the real estate and insurance business under the name of Hussey & Tyner, and they were also closely associated in much public-spirited and welfare work. Mr. Tyner served as township trustee of Valley Brook Township for two years, in 1909-10, and was a member of the town council of Lyndon from 1909 to 1915. While township trustee he and Mr. Hussey, who was then mayor of Lyndon, did much to acquire a Carnegie library for the city. While in the council Mr. Tyner was interested in the adoption of the light, water and sewer system, and he also helped to extend the lines of the electric light plant to Quenemo and Malvern, two towns now lighted from the municipal plant of Lyndon.

Mr. Tyner is an active republican, served for nine years as trustee of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church. To their marriage were born two children: Cora Belle is now Mrs. S. B. Read of Barton County, Kansas; Nora May, now deceased, was formerly Mrs. Calvin Leonard, of Quenemo, Kansas. Mrs. Leonard is survived by two daughters, Cora and Ruth.



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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