Friday, October 24, 2014

Ortho Olden Wolf (1874-1944)

Ortho O. Wolf, from the Kansas City Star

   We continue our stay in Kansas to profile four-term state senator Ortho Olden Wolf, who, in addition to his service in state government, was a prominent agriculturalist, veterinarian and farm organization leader, serving as the president of the Kansas Farm Bureau for a number of years. Although a resident of Kansas for over six decades, Ortho O. Wolf's birth took place in Allen County, Ohio on June 4, 1874. The son of Charles and Mary Abbott Wolf, Ortho removed to Kansas with his family in 1884 and his early education took place in Franklin County. As an adolescent, he attended both Baker University and the Kansas Agricultural College and in 1898 graduated from the Chicago Veterinary College.
   After a time spent traveling Great Britain and Scotland to study methods of stock raising Wolf returned to Kansas and over the succeeding years established a reputation as a veterinary surgeon and cattle breeder of "sound judgment and practical experience", making a specialty on short-horn and Jersey cattle breeds. Wolf married on November 11, 1904 to Daisy Sterling (1965) and later had one daughter, a Mrs. Charles E. Funk of Berkley, California. Wolf's status as one of Ottawa, Kansas prominent farmers received extensive mention in the June 23, 1931 Daily Huronite, which notes that:
"In the vicinity of Ottawa he owns three tracts of land, 243 acres, 160 acres and 219 in extent, all of which are farmed under his personal supervision."
    As the owner of over six hundred acres of farmland, Ortho Wolf's name was one of the most recognizable in agricultural organizations of the time. A member of the Kansas Board of Agriculture for over two decades, Wolf also held the presidencies of the Kansas State Agricultural Council, the Kansas State Farm Bureau and the Farmer's Cooperative Elevator Association of Ottawa, and was a member of the Kansas State Board of Veterinary Examiners, the Producer's Commission Association, the National Wool-Grower's Association and the Mid-West Wool Marketing Association.
   Active in other aspects of Kansas public life, Wolf served as an executive committee member for the Franklin County Fire Insurance Association  and for many years was affiliated with the Kansas State Fair Association, serving in 1911 as the superintendent of its "cattle division." 
   O.O. Wolf first entered Kansas political life in 1912 when he won election to the Kansas State Senate from Franklin County. Reelected in 1914, Wolf would serve on the committees on Cities of the Second Class, Commerce, Enrolled Bills, Labor, Live Stock, Municipal Corporations, Military Affairs, Ways and Means and chaired the committee on Drainage. Wolf would be returned to two further terms in the senate in the elections of 1920 and 1923, serving a total of eight years in all.

Ortho Wolf (third from left) at a Washington,  D.C. agricultural meeting, February 1937.

  During his third term in the senate in 1921 Wolf was selected as a member of the "Livestock Marketing Committee of Fifteen" a group of noted agriculturalists gathered under the auspice of the American Farm Bureau Federation to "give special study and consideration to livestock marketing problems" as well as to "submit recommendations". Wolf would become a founding board member of the National Live Stock Producers Association in 1921-22 and was chairman of the board in 1929. Three years later he became President of the Board of Managers of the Kansas State Fair and continued to serve in the capacity into the following year.
   On several occasions, Wolf was sought out to attend agricultural conferences in Washington, D.C., one of these being a meeting with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace in 1937 (portrait shown above.) In January 1939 Wolf again visited Washington as one of two dozen delegates from the American Farm Bureau, meeting with President Roosevelt to discuss its legislative program, as well as labor and wage rates. Wolf maintained a busy schedule in various agricultural organizations until his death, which occurred at a Wamego, Kansas hospital on April 7, 1944. His wife and daughter survived him, with his burial taking place at the Highland Cemetery in Ottawa, Kansas.
Ortho O. Wolf in 1939 at an American Farm Bureau conference in Washington, D.C.

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