Death of Old Settler - R. A. Neely Was a Pioneer In Wichita.

Wichita Daily Eagle 1903-08-22 p6 (Neely, R A obituary).png


Death of Old Settler - R. A. Neely Was a Pioneer In Wichita.


Wichita Daily Eagle


Wichita Daily Eagle
Wichita, KS
Aug. 22, 1903
Page 6
Accessed at


Public Domain




“Death of Old Settler.”
R. A. Neely Was a Pioneer in Wichita.

Another one of the early settlers of Wichita has joined the larger number who have passed to the beyond. R. A. Neely died at his home, 1431 North Market street at 7 a. m. yesterday. Notice of the funeral will be given later.

R. A. Neely came to Wichita in the summer of 1870. He took a claim on the east side of Chisholm creek, south of the Black place, and proved it up. He afterwards sold the place and went to derby to engage in the grocery business with L. E. Vance.

Neely & Vance did a large business with the first settlers in that section of the county. After Mr. Neely went to Derby, then called El Paso, he was elected to the office of county commissioner, which was the only office he ever held. His success as a merchant in these early days was limited because of his liberality. Many of the early settlers were not very well fixed in the wealth of this world’s goods, but they all had credit at R. A. Neely’s store.

In the early seventies the business men of Derby were John Hufbauer, J. Haut Minnich, Albert Minnich, R. A. Neely, L. E. Vance, Dr. H. C. Tucker and George H. Litzenberg. Hufbauer, Neely, J. Haut Minnich and Dr. H. C. Tucker are dead. Albert Minnich is in Ohio and George H. Litzenberg lives in this city. L. E. Vance came to Wichita with a team in the early eighties, since which time he has never been heard from.

In the early days when the merchants above named held forth in Derby it aspired to be the big city of the Arkansas valley. They have a rock bottom in the Arkansas river at that point in the early seventies the Derbyites used to worry the Wichita town builders by writing letters to the Eagle and claiming that all of the railroads that came into this valley would have to come to Derby to cross the river at the only rock bottom ford on that stream between the mountains and the gulf of Mexico. The people actually had faith in that rock ford and were surprised when the Santa Fe finally came and crossed the Arkansas where Mulvane is now located and at the widest place in the stream. They found out that the railroads did not care for rock fords and did not go an inch out of their way for the Arkansas river, but crossed it wherever they pleased.

R. A. Neely finally, like many others, concluded that Derby, or El Paso, was not going to make the big city of the Arkansas valley and he sold his property there and moved back to Wichita and went into the nursery business. He was generous and made friends wherever he went and has many of them in this county and city who will regret to hear of his death.

R. A. Neely was born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1836. He leaves a wife and three children to mourn his loss—William Neely of the Johnston-Larimer Dry Goods company, Harry C. Neely, commercial traveler, and Mrs. Gene Ketzler.

Mr. Neely came to this part of Kansas at the time when men who did not possess nerve of the necessary strength for a frontiersman remained in the east. He was here when such men as Ledford, Curley Marshall, Rowdy Joe and Red were characters of the town, and he was an eye witness to some blood curdling scenes in the early frontier town. He was never the man to take the life of a fellow man, but the men who did not value human life were all about him. He had associated with the worst men on the frontier but he never lost that goodness of heart which was a part of his nature. When R. A. Neely is laid to rest the soil of this valley will cover the remains of a man who never betrayed a friend or intentionally injured a neighbor.


Wichita Daily Eagle, “Death of Old Settler - R. A. Neely Was a Pioneer In Wichita.,” Derbykshistory, accessed March 1, 2024,

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