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Rapp, William Frederick (1852-1923) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Rapp, William Frederick (1852-1923)


Historical Note:

Rapp was born in Lee County, Illinois, 17 May 1852.  His parents were John Rapp (1827-1861) and Barbara Fauble (1829-1883), both born in Germany.  William F. was the oldest child, followed by Caroline (m. Edward Guither), Mary (m. George Feik), George (died at age one), Susan (m. Henry Gower), and John.  The family belonged to the Evangelical Church and apparently continued to do so throughout William F.’s life.

Rapp moved to Harvey County, Kansas, in winter 1878 and purchased a farm.  In about 1884 he moved into the town of Hesston and was involved in several businesses (William E. Connelley, <em>A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans</em>, vol. 5 (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1918), 2666-2667.).  He built a hotel and restaurant in 1887 and started a grain storage business before 1891.  He was the founding president of the Hesston State Bank in 1906-1909 and also 1915-1922.  He was a trustee of the cemetery association founded in 1911.  Rapp was also involved in a hardware and a grocery store (Mary Hess, <em>Anatomy of a Town: Hesston, Kansas</em> (New York: Carlton Press, 1976), 28-29, 36-37, 39, 48, 49-50, 61, 87, 96, 120, 288.).

On 25 May 1893 Rapp married Laura Dawson (Harvey County marriage licenses.), reportedly an employee in his hotel (Hess, 120.). Her father was David Dawson, a farmer in Decatur County, Kansas, where Rapp owned an 1120 acre farm (Connelley, 2667.).  Their children were William (born ca. 1906 and died 1 December 1910), May (graduated from Hesston Academy and in 1918 employed at the Hesston State Bank), and Daisy (graduated from Hesston Academy and in 1918 attending Newton Business College; later married a McKinsey) (Ibid., Hess, 96.).

In the late teens, Rapp bought a farm in Texas, apparently at Tuleta.  According to Kevin Kuzel, there was a Mennonite group settlement around Tuleta, although the Rapps were not Mennonites. In 1921 or 1922 he moved there, for health reasons.  (Rapp was not a signer of the petition for Hesston’s incorporation on 11 March 1921, implying that he might have already gone to Texas by then).  Oil was later discovered on the land.

Rapp died in 1923.  Laura Dawson Rapp died about 1942.  In 1952 Daisy McKinsey still owned some land in Hesston and was “the only remaining living one of the immediate Rapp family” (Hess, 96, 120.).  Since there are a number of Dirks family items in the papers, it seems likely that someone of the Rapp family married a Dirks.






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