Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
RANSOM S. LAFOLLETTE. Some farmers seem to forget that a worn soil is a hungry soil whose breathing is difficult because its organic matter is exhausted, and whose natural mineral elements of plant food have been depleted by constant cropping--a soil that does not furnish a suitable home for the manufacturing bacteria a soil that constantly pleads through its stunted, scrawny, half-nourished plant growth, for material with which to satisfy its hunger, and from which its bacteria may manufacture food for the support of its vegetation. One hundred bushels per acre crops are never grown on such soil, and a resort to stimulants in the form of so-called "complete fertilizers" only hastens land ruin. These things are well understood by Ransom S. LaFol1ette, a farmer of Pond Creek township, Greene county, and he has been careful to prevent his soil from becoming thin by proper rotation and fertilization and therefore his productive and well-kept place yields abundant harvest annually.
Mr. LaFollette was born on June 28, 1861, in Christian county, Missouri. He is a son of Amos M. Lafollette, who was born on March 22, 1833, in Tennessee, from which state he emigrated with his parents to Greene county, Missouri, in an early day. He grew up on the farm and received a limited education in the rural schools. After spending his boyhood days on his father's farm he began life for himself by entering forty acres of land from the government in Christian county, which he cleared and improved in a general way. When the Civil war came on he cast his lot with the Federal army, soon after the outbreak of hostilities, being a private in the Eighth Missouri Cavalry. He proved to be a gallant soldier and was promoted to the rank of corporal. He was attacked by the measles and a fever from which he had not fully recovered when he joined his regiment in a march in Arkansas, during which he took cold which resulted in his death at Devall Bluff, that state, September 1, 1863. On September 9, 1860, he had married Nancy E. Blades, a daughter of R. D. Blades, Sr. She was born on August 2, 1843, in Greene county, Missouri, and her death occurred on February 25, 1863. Thus these parents died in early life within a few months of each other, thereby leaving two small children orphans, namely: Ransom S., of this sketch; and Samuel M., who lives in Greene county on a farm. The father was a Republican, and belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church.
When eighteen months old Ransom S. LaFollette was taken into the home of his Grandfather Blades where he grew to manhood and remained until reaching his majority. He received his education in the common schools of Greene county. He began life for himself by renting one of his grandfather's farms, which he operated two years, then rented another place for a year. His grandfather gave him and his brother fifty-five acres, which they operated in partnership until our subject bought the interest of his brother, and he lived on this place for seventeen years, when he sold out and moved to his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres, which he has placed under excellent improvements and he has a good home. He carries on general farming and stock raising.
Mr. Lafollette was married on October 1, 1882, to Sophronia Fountain, who was born in 1858 at Granby, Newton county, Missouri. She grew up on a farm and received a common school education. When a young man Mr. Fountain learned the blacksmith's trade which he followed a number of years, but devoted his later life to farming. Politically, he was a Republican, and he belonged to the Missionary Baptist church. His death occurred on March 1, 1883. His wife, who was Sarah Crickmur before her marriage, died on July 1, 1902, having survived him nearly twenty years.
Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. LaFollette, namely: One died in infancy; Ella married C. T. Dean and they live on a farm in northwestern Kansas; Mattie is the wife of R. R. Brown and they live on a farm in Greene county; Florence is the wife of Joe Bell, a farmer of northwestern Kansas; Marion H. is at home; Pearl is teaching school in Pond Creek township, this county; Grace is attending high school in Billings.
Politically, Mr. LaFollette is a Republican and has long been more or less active in the work of the party in his community. For a period of six years he filled very ably and successfully the office of justice of the peace in Pond Creek township. Fraternally, he is a member of the Woodmen lodge at Billings. He belongs to the Methodist Protestant church, in which he has been a director at different times.
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