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Samuel H. Barons

The subject of this sketch is the late Samuel H. Barons, who was a native of Devonshire, England, born in 1829. Mr. Barons was one of nine children, seven boys and two girls, viz: William, Mary, George, Henry, John, Thomas, Samuel, Jennie and James, all of whom were born in England except the youngest, James. When "Uncle Sam"' (as he was universally known) was five years of age, his parents came with their family of children to America, and after living a short time at Rochester, New York, located in the town of Irondequoit, five miles distant and bought a large tract of land, which was covered with forests of pine. This they cleared and put under a high state of cultivation, and which within a brief time became very valuable, and is now a suburb of Rochester. "Uncle Sam" became owner of a large portion of this homestead, which he sold for one-hundred and fifty dollars per acre. A brother, John Barons, still retains a part of the land, which is now very valuable. "Uncle Sam" attended the common schools, and when twenty years of age he realized the need of a higher education, and entered a commercial college in the city of New York, remaining four years. During the early part of his life and that of his brothers, they worked on the farm, making it a very successful and profitable industry.

In 1859 he was married to Miss Frank E. James, of Greece, Monroe county, New York, nine miles distant from the city of Rochester. Her father owned and operated a nursery there, and there she was reared and grew to womanhood. Mrs. Barons is a cultured, refined woman, a graduate of Avon Seminary, and taught school successfully for eighteen seasons. She is one of six children, four daughters and two sons, two of whom are living: Calista, widow of George Bristol, who makes her home with Mrs. Barons, and Miss Lucy, who came west with Mr. and Mrs. Barons, and has ever since been a member of the family.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Barons lived on the farm twelve years, when "Uncle Sam" became associated with E. M. Upton at Charlotte, New York, in the forwarding commission business and was appointed agent for the New York Central Railroad at that point, where he continued for a period of ten years. He was mayor of the city and prominently identified in business and social circles. The firm owned their own docks, elevators, warehouse and cold storage, and did an extensive business. They furnished ties to the New York Central Railroad shipped from Canada, dealt heavily in fruit and grain and were a financial success.

In 1876 they sold to the New York Central Railroad for ninety-five thousand dollars. His health had become impaired and he decided to visit the west, whose wonderful possibilities at that time were being heralded broadcast over the land.

He took a trip to Denver, Colorado, in June, when this country was redolent with fields of wheat and corn and great herds of cattle and hogs. Enroute home he stopped to visit Kansas and was delighted with the beautiful prairies and the great opportunity for stock raising. He returned to his home in New York with the "western fever." full of enthusiasm over the alluring prospects of the great future of Kansas, and the many avenues of business waiting to be developed. His faith was unbounded and led to his investing thousands of dollars in this vicinity. Mrs. Barons opposed taking up a residence in the west, so "Uncle Sam" returned alone, gathered a crew of men together and drove overland into Texas, where he bought eight hundred head of three-year-old Texas steers, drove them through to Manhattan, Kansas, where he fixed up winter quarters for them and returned to New York, spending the winter months with his family, returning to Kansas again in the spring time. "Uncle Sam" was then in prime of his vigorous manhood, and here many years elapsed was a typical westerner. Those who had only known him in his recent years of ill health, together with the changes wrought by "Father Time," the bent figure of the once stalwart, broad shouldered man, full of cherished ambitions-the lack-lustre of his once magnetic keen eye, dark as night-cannot conceive of a character so active in business life, driving herds of cattle and hogs over the prairies and figuring as one of the largest stock dealers in this part of the state. On account of the prevailing high taxes, he kept moving his cattle westward until he reached Clyde, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land adjacent to that town, including the hotel property, which he remodeled, repaired and named "The Pomeroy," in honor, of an old friend by that name in Rochester, New York (and not for Senator Pomeroy, as many suppose). The land he laid out in lots, streets and avenues, and employed a family to manage the hotel, which was a leading hostelry in this part of the country at that time. Shortly afterward he sold the hotel to J. Huntington, who failed to meet the obligations and the property fell back into "Uncle Sam's" hands. He then sent for his wife and brother James to take charge of the hotel that it might not interfere with his stock and grain interests. He had in the meantime erected an elevator, and was largely interested in the grain business.

In February, 1888, he came to Concordia and bought the hotel property of Randall & Crill for a consideration of fifteen thousand dollars, and as soon as the frost was out of the ground the following spring, he began to build and improve, which he continued to do for five consecutive summers, until he had invested from seventy-five thousand to eighty thousand dollars, raised the mansard roof and added another story, building an addition with thirty rooms and another for servants' quarters with spacious kitchen and pantry underneath, and a basement under the building which includes splendid sample rooms, a handsomely, equipped barber shop with hand-carved wood work, a laundry which did a paying business for several years and upward of a dozen other rooms. A gas plant was added that cost three thousand five hundred dollars, the house piped throughout, a handsome balcony with iron columns and railing that cost two thousand five hundred dollars, hot and cold water on each floor, electric bells, and, later, incandescent lights. In connection is a livery stable with frontage on Fifth street and rear extending to Fourth street. The building is a large stone structure with mansard roof erected at a cost of ten thousand dollars. In the hotel are eighty guest chambers aside from the handsome parlors, large dining room, office, etc. The house is well furnished and substantially built with beautiful hard wood finishings. "Uncle Sam" retained the Clyde hotel and ran both for about five years. "Uncle Sam had two brothers who survive him, both his seniors: John and Thomas. The former is a very wealthy and prominent man of Rochester, New York, The latter is proprietor of a large "racket" store in the same city. James Barons died after a brief illness in 1893. He had been with "Uncle Sam" since he came to assist in the hotel at Clyde, and filled the position of steward. He was a hotel man of natural ability and had many friends among its patrons and the traveling public. Since "Uncle Jimmie" (as he was known) died, Mrs. Barons has practically managed the hotel, for from his death dated the beginning of "Uncle Sam's" decline. The strong ties between the two brothers, coupled with the effects of the boom brought about complications which undermined his physical strength. He was a large taxpayer and suffered more than people without property.

"Uncle Sam" left a wife whose patient, unselfish devotion, as she administered so faithfully to his least expression or desire, was beautiful in the extreme, and a son to whom he was deeply attached. Samuel H. Barons was born on the farm near Rochester, September 2, 1868, and came with his parents to Clyde when tern years of age. When fifteen years old he entered the College of Notre Dame, Indiana, remaining two years and later finished a course in the Lawrence University. In 1889 "Uncle Sam" deeded to him a half section of land in Rooks county, Kansas, and he has added other lands until he now owns six hundred and, forty acres, with four hundred acres under cultivation, two hundred and forty acres of pasture land, and raises cattle, horses, hogs and mules. His ranch is twelve miles from Plainfield and five miles distant from Natoma, the nearest shipping point. This is a well watered ranch with good buildings, cattle sheds, windmill, etc. In 1890 S. H. Barons was married to Miss Lizzie Dumas, who died in April, 1901, after an illness of two years.

"Uncle Sam" was a broad minded, well informed man, just, generous, temperate in all his habits and affable in manner. His motto through life was: "If you cannot speak well of a man, say nothing." He was a friend of every little child and never passed them without a kind word or smile, and of every unfortunate person, bestowing charity wherever needed. He was widely and favorably known to all tile commercial travelers, many of whom had patronized him for years. He died June 21, 1901. His remains were taken to Rochester, New York, his old home, and all that is mortal of "Uncle Sam" rests in Mount Hope by the side of his father, mother and brother James.

Mount Hope, with its walks and driveways, bordered with flowers, which skilled hands have made a triumph of art, with its silent tombs and stately monuments, is one of the loveliest spots in existence-a veritable "city of the dead."

In June, 1902, Mrs. Barons sold the "Barons Hotel" to C. H. Martin and under his supervision it will remain the same popular headquarters for the traveling public. The hotel is widely known for its superior comforts and accommodations and is the central resort of many commercial men and the permanent residences of their families.

After the sale of the hotel property Mrs. Barons removed to Lyons, Kansas, where she is conducting a smaller hotel very successfully.

Source: Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas: biographies of representative citizens; published 1903, 915 pgs.

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