History of D.E. Bondurant Grain Co. Inc.

Periodically, someone will ask, "Why do you call the elevator D.E. Bondurant Grain Co., when it is owned by Gantz family?" Perhaps this article will explain that.

From: A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Vol. 5:

On October11, 1881, the Benton Post Bondurant family arrived in Ness County from Ohio. Daniel Ebenezer (D.E.) Bondurant was then about 19 years of age. Benton Bondurant secured a patent on land in Highpoint Township southeast of Ness City but after a few years, he left the farm and engaged in the feed business in Ness City. In that business, he was succeeded by his son, D.E. The other siblings were John, a farmer in Highpoint township; William H., a postmaster in Ness City; Thomas, a business man in Ness City; George, who lived in Ness City and was a grain buyer in Bazine; and Frances, who was married to Guy McCoy.

D.E. acqired a limited schooling, partly in Ohio and partly in Kansas, with school days being interrupted by labor on the farm. For a term or two he attended school in Hodgeman County five or six miles away from his-home, walking the entire distance, contending with blizzards and other problems of nature. Later, the Bondurants and two or three other families organized School District #2 in Ness County and put up a sod house for a school, which was conducted on the subcription plan.

In 1888, Mr. Bondurant expanded into the feed, grain and cattle business. After his marriage to Ollie Teater, he filed upon a claim that his wife had filed upon, northeast of Ness City, and began raising stock on an extensive scale. The two of them developed a farm of 1100 acres. At that point, he also entered the elevator business and bought one in Ransom and one in Ness City. (The elevator in Ransom belonged to a gentleman whose son had been killed on the truck dump. He was anxious to sell it.)

The D.E. Bondurant children were Chester, who interrupted his college studies at KS Agricultural College (Kansas State) in order to enter officers' training; later, graduating; Fayne, a graduate of Kansas State; and Rita, a graduate of Kansas State.

At this time, D.E. financed a grain elevator at Laird for his son, Chester, (C.D. Bondurant Grain Co.), who by now was married to Melba Horchem. Chester died in 1941. Fayne had married Ernest Gantz. They owned and operated the Big White Cafe' in Ness City for many years. their children were Bob and Jack. (The Big White Cafe' was on the east side of Pennsylvania Ave). Rita had married G.A. Holloway and would live her late years in Dallas, Texas. They had one son, Gordon.

Ernest Gantz died in 1935, from the lingering effects of a car accident. Fayne closed The Big White Cafe' and went back to the elevator to help her dad, who died in 1943. she continued in the grain business until her death in 1971. Eventually, the grain company was operated as a partnership between Bob and Jack. After Jack's sudden death in 1977, the company was incorporated.

Out of respect for the grandfather who had started it all, and because of the respect the company holds in the grain trade, when D.E. Bondurant Grain Company was incorporated, it was decided to keep the Bondurant name. D.E. Bondurant Grain Co. is recognized as one of the oldest continually operated private grain companies in the U.S.