Old Settlers' Tales by F.F. Crevecoeur

James Bellwood came here with Jacob Mohler, from Illinois, in 1858. His wife, Rebeccs, was a daughter of Mr. Mohler. He had three children when he came: Eliza, (Mrs. Jacob Hoover), Rhetta, and William. He settled on forty acres comprising part of the Tom Wilson farm, and lived east of Mound creek, east of the mound. About 1875 he went, with his wife and son, to California. After leaving, he sold out to Hugh Sutherland. Rhetta married James Sherman about 1873. The family are all passed away now.

Enoch Williams came here from Indiana with his wife, Sarah, and two children, in 1859. He bought out Tom Ledington, who owned the present Lawrence Robbins place. He had been here but a short while when he had occasion to go to Shawver's blacksmith shop, which was on the Charles Allen place, near Havensville. He was driving a yoke of oxen hitched to the hind wheels of a wagon. We wish to digress for a moment. The pioneers of that time used as a pleasure carriage the hind wheels of their wagons, the reach constituting the tongue to which the oxen were yoked. A seat was fixed between the bolsters, and the more pretentious had springs to the seat. This made a much lighter rig than to haul the whole wagon around. As Mr. Williams was crossing the Vermillion, near Eddy's, the oxen took too short a turn near a bank and upset the rig. A dead sapling happned [sic] to lie by the road, one end of which caught in one of the wheels, while the other end hit Mr. Williams on the neck, tore a gash in his throat, killing him. Of his two children, Angelina died of the smallpox during the war, near Kansas City, and Mary Etta is Mrs. Reuben DeGraw.

John Bellwood, a cousin of James Bellwood, came here from Illinois about 1860. He married, that year, Mrs. Sarah Williams, Enoch William's widow. His first home here was in a small frame shanty, near his cousin's house. When the war arose he enlisted in the 11th Kan., in 1862. After the war he moved to the Lige Ledington place, south of George Regar's. He also lived a while on the Joe Stout farm, now George DeGraw's, northeast of Onaga. He moved to Missouri about this time, and returned to Kansas a few years afterward. In the early 70's he bought a farm near Arispie, but did not live there long. About 1873 he lived in Henry Hoover's old house. His older children are: Sherman (of Stafford county), Dora (Mrs. August Reboul, of Holton), Nettie (Mrs. Paul Reboul), and Julia (Mrs. Charles Spangler). His first-born died of smallpox during the war. Mr. Bellwood and wife are now living in Holton.

Joseph Berry came in the late 50's, and located the Wasson farm, northeast of town. He traded this farm to Sam Taylor for the Renbarger place, near Havensville, and afterwards bought out John Cameron, on Mound creek. His family consisted of himself and about six children. He sold out to Alf. Cory and moved to what is now Clyde, Kan., about 1860.

Samuel Taylor, his wife, Nancy (who is a sister to Henry Godlove), and children, Harvey, Perry, and Sarah, came from Indiana in 1859, and located on the Renbarger farm, near Havensville, but soon after traded this farm to Joe Berry for the Wasson farm, northeast of Onaga. He had built a good-sized frame house on his farm at an early day. Sarah, who was to have been married to a young man of Indiana in 1875, was taken with an attack of pneumonia after attending a dance, from which she died. Mr. Taylor removed, with his family, to Oregon, in 1875, where he stayed two years, when he returned to his farm. He has since gone back to the west. He had two children born here, Mary Ann and Martha, the latter now dead.

Dr. Ed (or Clark) Taylor came here about 1859. He was a twin brother of Sam H. Taylor. He settled on a part of the Wasson farm, north of Mr. Wasson's house. His family consisted of his wife and five or six children. He had an office in his brother's house, in which he kept his medicines. Moses Day was saved from a dangerous attack of pneumonia by him. He was elected trustee of Vienna township, the first one the township had. About 1861 Mr. Taylor removed to near Louisville. He died some years afterward on Adams creek, where his widow is still living.

A man by the name of Carter occupied the house that Dr. Ed Taylor built, soon after he went away. While living there a child was born to him, but when they came to dress the child it was found there was no clothes for it, so the women in attendance hunted around and found a few old rags outdoors, in which the young one was wrapped. After the child was born Mrs. Carter had for breakfast only bread, made of grated corn, mixed with water and baked; so the neighbors got together a little better fare for her next meal.

Isaac Mckee also occupied the same house as did Mr. Carter at an early day. His son Charles was born here.

Labe Brenner was the next occupant of the Ed Taylor house. He was a member of the same company and regiment that Mr. Cory was during the war. He had a wife and two or three children, and came here from Indiana. He is now living near America City.

Mr. Anstadt and wife came from Iowa soon after the war, and lived in the Ed Taylor house a while. He had two sons, Daniel and another, and three daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs. Elberry [sic] Eytchison), Jane, and Maggie (Mrs. Perry Taylor). From here, Mr. Anstedt [sic] moved to near Louisville, from where he went to Winfield, this state, where he and his wife are still living.

Frank Dean and family lived in the above house in the late 60's.

Henry Godlove came to Kansas in 1859, from Indiana, bringing his wife, Minerva, and a young daughter, Nancy (Mrs. Elihu Henshaw), with him. He bought out Solomon Hicks' claim, on which he has since lived. His other children, Calvin, Oliver, Abraham, Grant, Sherman, Walter, Isaac, and John, were born on the farm. Nancy, Calvin, Oliver, Grant, and Sherman are now in Idaho. Mrs. Godlove died last fall, at her home. Mr. Godlove was a member of the 11th Kan. during the war. He built his present stone house in the year 1870.

Jack Price lived on the McBride farm in 1850 or 1857, and sold out to James Points. He removed to California.

Hon. O.J. Grover, who was born in New York, came to this locality with his father, George Grover, his wife, Eliza, and two oldest children, Ora W. and Mary, in June, 1859. They settled on the F.E. Brunkow farm, which was bought of Alf. Cory. He lived in the old log house that stood on the place until 1865, when he built a frame house, made of native lumber, sawed at McKee's sawmill, America City. Walnut siding was used, which had to planed by hand, and made quite a tak before it was done. His younger children, Ella (Mrs. J.W. Dunn), a twin sister who died, and George, were born in the old log house.

In October, 1864, O.J. Grover organized a company of militia of the early settlers, under the laws of the state, and was elected captain of it. Robert Woolley was first lieutenant,and Mose [sic] Day, sr., was the second lieutenant. Among the private members of the company whose names can be recalled are: William Garrett, Marion Garrett, C.B. Huffman, David Callaway, John Moll, Flave Crawford, Sam Taylor, Ernest Henneberg, Julius Teske, Charles Zabel, Fred Hartwick, Jake Hoover, Jim Stewart, John Hupfer, Almon Benton, L.M. Benedict, Tom Giles, and William Kolterman. There were about sixty men in the company. Tom Giles was the company cook, and Sam Taylor teamster. The company was called to the front by the Federal government to suppress the Confederate raider, General Price. While the company was stationed near the Missouri-Kansas line it happened one night that C.B. Huffman and John Hupfer were posted as guards. It was not long till they were approached by a party who wanted to enter the lines, but was commanded to stop. He explained he was the governor of Kansas (Kearney), but the boys had orders to let no one pass, and refused to let him proceed as he wished, although Mr. Huffman knew him well. So one of the two guards was detailed to escort the governor to regimental headquarters, under Col. J.B. Hubbell, who later kept store in Onaga; while the other one stayed by his post until the other should return. The company never saw actual warfare, and doubtless were thankful that they should have escaped its horrors.

Mr. Grover was elected to the state legislature in 1862 and 1864. The legislature set each year then, the members were elected each fall. He then served in the state senate in 1865 and again in 1869, and was returned to the legislature in 1873 and 1874.

Mr. Grover says that the first few years he was here his trading was done at Atchinson, where he drove with oxen, it taking him a week to make the trip.

Mr. Grover's oldest daughter, Mary, was married to D.S. Baker in 1877, and lived with her husband in Iowa for a year or two afterwards, when they they [sic] came to this locality.

A family by the name of Wainscot, consisting of husband, wife and five or six children, lived on the Sutherland farm (Jake Mohler's) about 1863 or 1864.

Hugh Sutherland came to Kansas, from Missouri, about 1854, settling along the parallel in what was then Brown county, but is now a part of Jackson county He lived there about ten years, when he moved to Pleasant Valley with his wife, Hannah, and his oldest children, John, Mary Ellen (Mrs. S. A. Regar), Jeanette (Mrs. H.D. Crum), and George. He bought his farm, now Tom Wilson's, of Jacob Mohler, and lived there until his death, which occurred a few years ago. His wife died, also, soon after his demise. His other children, Lorena (Mrs. Thomas Wilson), Ida May (Mrs. Calvin Godlove), Nettie, and Maud, were born here. Ida, Nettie, and Maud are now living in Washington. Mr. Sutherland served as county commissioner about 1875.

Henry D. Crum came to this locality, from Netawaka, in 1877. He was married to Jeanette Sutherland the year before.

Mrs. Susan Pearson and her two oldest sons, B. Frank and Joseph, who were natives of Kentucky, and two younger children, Henry and George Pearson, came here from Missouri in 1868, and bought the John Cameron place of John Bellwood. She lived here until 1871, when she removed to Elk creek, near Circleville, where she died in 1875. Frank died at America City, Oct. 17, 1896, while Joe is living at Goffs.

Arnstead Hall and wife, Rebecca, a daughter of Mrs. Pearson, came here about 1868, and bought the Dave Cameron place. He built a frame house--the one Mr. Crum is now living in--just west of the creek, at the foot of the hill where it now stands. He had two children born here, Emma and Marion. Emma is in Goffs and Marion is a resident of Denver, Colo. His wife died on the above farm not long after coming here. Mr. Hall is living near Ontario, Kan.

Stanford McDaniel came here from Missouri, with his wife, Phoebe, and children, John, Vina, and Jane. He bought out Frank Green, and lived on the place until about 1875, when he sold out to John Sutherland and moved to Cow creek, southwest of Havensville. Rosa and another little girl were born on the Mound creek farm. His wife died soon after moving away from here.

A preacher blacksmith, by the name of Murch, lived and had a shop on Mr. Honig's farm, and when he moved away the house was left vacant. A man, whose reputation was not of the best and who was said to beat his wife, intended moving into the empty house, but the neighbors didn't care to have him in the community, so they gathered in the night and tore the house down.

A family by the name of Lemon lived on the Rebecca Cross farm in 1867. He moved to near Westmoreland.

The John Vannote, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Cross, moved onto the place, and stayed two years. He came here from Iowa with his wife, Lydia, and children, Sarah, Frank, and Florence. He is now living near Soldier city.

John White, a brother of Mrs. R. Cross, came to Kansas, from Iowa, in 1865, and settled east of America City, in Jackson county. He moved to Mrs. Cross' farm in 1870, with his wife, Mary Ann, and children, Thomas, Perry, Charles, Abraham, and Francis. James and Ida were born in Kansas. Also, a little boy, Willie, who died about 1872 or 1873. There was a prophecy that the world was to come to an end the 12th of August, 1872. It made many of the younger people quite nervous, the writer being among the number who dreaded the coming of that fatal day. Whether the older people, who had already passed through such experiences and had become used tosuch rumors, stood in awe of the day, was not learned. The little boy of Mr. White's, Willie, we were told, had cried when he heard the world would come to an end so soon, and it did come to the poor little fellow sooner than it did to many of his companions. Mr. White had a flock of two or three hundred sheep--the largest flock, by the way, that ever was kept in the neighborhood. When the sheep were turned out to graze of a morning in the spring, each dam calling her lamb and the response of the latter, made a music that it would take a dozen or two of brass bands to equal. Mr. White went back to Iowa about 1874. Two of his sons, Perry and James, are dead.

Rev. James Q. Buffington, of Westmoreland, with his wife and a son, Daniel, lived on the Ed Taylor farm (Wasson's), from where he moved to the Eytchison farm, living across the creek from Steve's, about 1867 or 1868. His son died while living here and was buried in the Pleasant Valley cemetery.

Charles Musick came here, from Kentucky, about 1868. He had served in the Union army from that state. In 1870 he married Rhoda Eytchison. He lived on the Calloway place (O.W. Grover's) about 1872. He then moved to Rock creek, and traded for the J.B. Chambers farm of a man by the name of Ayres. He had several children born to him when living on Mound and Rock creek, who died in infancy. He is now at the Soldier's home, while his family is in Oklahoma.

Joel Job, his wife, Melissa (a sister to Mrs. Eytchison), and his children, Sarah, Mary, Peter, and Robert, came from Indiana, in November, 1870. The next year (1871) he lived on the Hall farm (H.D. Crum's), and in 1872 moved to the Barrett farm, on Coal creek, in Nemaha county, which he homesteaded. In 1874 Mr. Job and John Bellwood went to California, to see what the prospects were for bettering themselves, but only stayed about four months, when they returned. Mr. Job died on his homestead in the early 80's, and his widow and Peter are living in Iowa, while Robert is in South Dakota. Sarah married William Collier the 12th of March, 1871. Her husband helped his brother, James, to run a sawmill in these parts for several years. Mr. Collier is now at the Soldier's home. Mary married Charles Souleret in 1873. When the Souleret family returned to Pennsylvania, in 1874, Charles' wife did not go with him. In 1875 she was married to Jules Leroux, and went to California, where she is now living.

Henry Krouse, who is a native of New Jersey, came to Kansas in 1854. He settled at Baxter Springs; from there he moved to Humbolt, Kan., in 1862. There he joined Company C, of the state militia, and helped drive Marmaduke and Price out of Fort Scott in the winter of 1863 and 1864. While living at Humbolt he was married to Mrs. Sarah E. Winsted, and came to Mill creek in 1874, living for three years on the Mrs. Cross farm. In 1877 he bought his present farm of Reuben DeGraw. He had a son, Leonard, who was brought here and who died in 1878, at the age of 5 years. Another son, Arthur, was born at Vienna, who at the age of 20 months. His stepson, Harvey Winsted, came with his mother to Mill creek, also. He is now in Phoenix, Ariz.

Lorenzo Krouse (Bob) came to Mill creek with his brother, Henry, and made his home with him. In 1877 he was married to Eliza Groutte, a half sister of Mrs. Henry Krouse, who came here with Mr. Krouse. Lorenzo stayed on the Cross farm a couple of years after his brother, Henry, left, when he moved to Sherman township, where he is now living.

In 1875 and 1876, while S.H. Taylor was gone to Oregon, A.J. Jackson and family occupied his farm. Three of his children attended the Pleasant Valley school, Henry, Rosa and another, in 1876.

In 1859 the pioneers of this locality celebrated Independence Day for the first time in their new home. The high hill northwest of Henry Hoover's house was selected as the sight [sic] for the festivities, as it could be seen for miles around, so it would be an easier matter for the people to find the place of celebration. To still make the place more prominent, and also through the spirit of patriotism pervading the bosoms of the early settlers, a high pole, 60 or 70 feet tall, was erected and placed on the highest point of the hill, from which Old Glory was flung for the first time to kiss the breezes that blow over northeast Pottawatomie county. The pole was made of cedar trees, taken at Cedar Bluffs, near W.D. Robbins' place. Several of them were spliced together so as to make as pretentious an object as possible. People gathered to the spot selected from miles around. They came from America City on the east, from Lincoln and Vienna townships from the south and southeast, and from Neuchatel from the north. Ezra and Steve Lot, of the last-named place, had fixed a rack with seats on a wagon, to which they hitched four yoke of oxen and brought a goodly load from that burg. Many others drove oxen, while others came on foot. Five horse teams were all of that sort that came to the celebrations. These were those of Jack Price, William Eytchison, George Grover, Moses Day, and Obil Beach. Many of the men and boys were barefooted on this occasion. Estimates vary as to the number in attendance, from 125 to 300 persons, so that perhaps 200 is a fair estimate of the number who were on the grounds. A stand was erected, which was covered with green branches of trees, and as the crowd was not extra large sufficiently sufficed to accomodate them. O.J. Grover made the address of the day, which was so well received that it helped to seat him in the legislature a year or two later. They had a general dinner on the ground, to which each one contributed his portion and in which each and all were permitted to share. Among the delicacies they had for dinner were chicken, cake, pie, and corn bread. Jells and preserves, made of wild fruits, were plentiful, but the great dish, the dainty luxury par excellence, was a mess of green beans that some one had brought. It was something new to see grean beans so early, and O.J. Grover and Alfred Bonjour appropriated the dish to themselves, as they were among the most prominent people present. Water was hauled from Hoover's springs. Long after the celebration was forgotten and many who had died or moved away, the flag pole still did duty to show to the newcomers the spot where our pioneers had simply and joyously met together to commemorate the day when other pioneers had taken upon themselves the responsibility of making a home in a free country in a strange land. Finally, after a dozen or fifteen years, the pole was taken down and its wood distributed for relics. Henry Hoover has about four feet of the stub in his possession, and also a cane made of the wood.

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