During the summer of 1881, W. L. Challis selecting a fine, natural site, in Capioma Township, erected a four-story mill with stone basement, in which he placed an engine of one hundred horse-power, and four sets of burrs. This mill, placed in the charge of J. W. Burt as manager, at once became so far popular as to constitute a nucleus around which a little settlement formed, given by the proprietors the name of Woodlawn. A store building was erected, in which was placed a stock of general merchandise, by W. N. Taylor. A private post- office was established early in 1881, converted to a government office, with Paul Challis as postmaster in 1882. A drug store was opened by Dr. J. B. West, and a hotel of nine rooms thrown open to the traveling public, by Albert Yost. The second floor of Taylor's Store Building is fitted up as a public auditorium, known as Woodlawn Hall. Situated as it is, about an equal distance from Wetmore and from Sabetha, and too far from either to interfere with the moderate growth which it asks, Woodlawn has, undoubtedly, unlike so many of its neighbors, a permanent lease of life.
Woodlawn, a hamlet of Nemaha county, is located in Capioma town- ship, 14 miles southeast of Seneca, the county seat, and 11 miles from Sabetha, from which place it receives mail. Woodlawn was started in 1881 by W. L. Challis, who erected a four-story mill fully equipped with machinery, which became so popular that it became the nucleus around
John N. Humphrey, senior member of the firm, was born in Pendleton county, Kentucky, December 2, 1875, and is a son of Hiram P. and Nancy (Price) Humphrey, who are the parents of six children, as follows : Minnie, wife of N. C. Hurst, living in Kentucky ; John N., the subject of this review; Lydia, wife of S. E. Muse, Enterprise, Miss.; Edgar, born December 4, 1882, in Fleming county, Kentucky ; Huff, twin brother of Edgar; Mattie, wife of H. P. Muse, Enterprise, Miss.
Hiram P. Humphrey, the father, was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, January 11, 1849, and was reared to farm life. In 1878 he located in Fleming county, Kentucky, and worked at his trade and farmed until his retirement from active work in 191 5. He was a son of Emanuel Humphrey, a native of Culpepper county, Virginia, who was a son of Gilford Humphrey. The mother of this family was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, December 4, 1847, and her marriage with Mr. Humphrey occurred in 1871. She died April 24, 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey were members of the Christian Church.
John N. Humphrey was reared on the home farm of the family in Kentucky and began as clerk in a general store in 1901 at Plummer's Landing, in Kentucky. He resigned his situation after a service of four years and four months, and, in partnership with his brothers, Edgar and Huff, purchased a lumber mill in Rowan count)^ Kentucky. They operated this mill for four years, and in 1910, sold out and came to Wood- lawn, Kans., and purchased the general store, which they are now conducting with signal success. Mr. Humphery is a Republican in politics and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
He is the son of Daniel and Eliza (Rufenaclit) Burky, natives of Switzerland, who were the parents of two children, as follows: Mrs. Emma McClain and Emil R., the subject of this review. Daniel Burky was born in April, 1842, in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, and learned the carpenter's trade in his youth. He became a contractor and builder and plied his vocation in Kansas after his immigration to Nemaha county. Kansas, in February, 1879. He first stopped in Sabetha and
from there sent for his family, who followed him to this country in June of the same year. Mr. Burky lived in Sabetha and followed his trade until 1882, and then moved to Woodlawn, Kans. In 1884, he bought an unimproved tract of 120 acres in section 29 of Capioma township, and made his home thereon until 1908, when he retired to a home in Sabetha, where he died in 1909. Mrs. Burky, mother of Emil R., was born in Switzerland in December, 1847, is now keeping house for her son, Emil.
Emil R. Burky. subject of this review, was eleven years old when the family left Switzerland. He had studied in the French schools in his native land and after coming to Kansas he continued his studies while taking care of his father's farm. While he was still a youth the care of the farm devolved upon him, because his father was kept busily employed with his building operations. He became a student at the Baptist Seminary at Morrill, Kans.. in 1900, and two years later he studied at Campbell College, Holton. Kans. This study was under taken with a view to prepare himself for the teaching profession, which he followed for seven years in Brown and Nemaha counties with excellent success. In the meantime he created one of the best improved farms in Nemaha county from the tract of prairie land which his father purchased in 1884. His success as an agriculturist is attested by the fact that he increased the land holdings from the original 120 acres to the large total of 400 acres, and has achieved some reputation as a live stock breeder. Sixty acres of the Burky farm is sown to alfalfa, and the farm produces over 100 head of cattle annuall}'. For the past year Mr. Burky has been engaged in the breeding of sheep, and has proven that sheep are money producers on Kansas land. He has also dealt ex- tensively in mules, and of late has embarked in the breeding of Perch- eron horses, and maintains an excellent stud on his farm. Mr. Burky is an independent Republican, who is one of the leaders of his party in Nemaha county. He served as justice of the peace, school trustee and township clerk, and was a candidate for registrar of deeds on the Republican ticket in 1908, but was defeated by the very narrow margin of ninety votes by John M. Taylor. He is a member of the Baptist Church and is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of Amer- ica and the Knights and Ladies of Security. The Burky farm is a very historic one because of the fact that the old Atchsison trail crosses the south quarter section in section 32, and on the northeast eighty the old north trail was plainly marked in the early days.