Excerpts from:
Loula Long Combs’ autobiography,
“My Revelation” 1947

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Robert Alexander Long, age 23
Robert Alexander Long, age 23

Robert Alexander Long (1850 - 1934)

          An ambitious youth of twenty-two, Robert Alexander Long had worked hard and saved $700.  He decided to “Go West, Young Man!” leaving the farm near Simpsonville (Shelby Count), Kentucky to seek his fortune.  Arriving at the Kansas City, Missouri home of his uncle, C. J. White, a businessman, R. A. Long’s first business was a butcher shop.  It failed.

          The lure of the underdeveloped West was strong as he ventured on West to the small town of Columbus, Kansas.  As his background was farming he felt the wild hay business might be a success.  With his two young partners, a cousin Robert White, and Victor Bell, that would be their business.  One had only to cut the great quantities that grew wild and protect it with sheds built of lumber.  The hay crop that year was a failure.  So he tore down the sheds and sold the lumber, realizing more from this sale than the original cost of the materials.  (Frame homes were replacing log cabins).

          A new idea was born in his fertile brain – that of dealing in lumber.  And that was how our Daddy became a lumberman, (with his partners) building a vast business which was later to be known world-wide as the Long-Bell Lumber Company.....

Martha Ellen (Ella) Wilson (1856 - 1928)

          Martha Ellen was born on a farm near Oxford, Pennsylvania.  When she was fourteen, her father died.  After consideration, her mother decided the undeveloped West would offer greater opportunities for her nine children.  Martha Ellen’s mother was a Quaker woman of great courage, foresight, and pioneer spirit and the battle cry of the era “Go West!” spurred her ambitions.

          Neither daunted nor dismayed by the hardships such a move would entail, she gathered her family and journeyed to the new and primitive town of Columbus, Kansas in Cherokee County.  It was nature in the raw: sleet, snow, and bitter cold in winter; the deep mud of unpaved streets and roads in spring; and the torrid heat of summer.  It was devoid of the comforts and conveniences they had known in the sturdy brick house on the fertile farm in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania.

          Her Quaker training had given her sturdiness and steadfastness of character.  Her American heritage was a pioneer spirit which could hear the call of the mysterious forces of the unknown.  She and her children gallantly faced nature in all its power in that prairie state of hardships.....

Excerpts from:
Loula Long Combs’ autobiography, “My Revelation” 1947