1894 Robley's History of Bourbon County, Kansas


22HISTORY OF BOURBON COUNTY.[1853

CHAPTER IV.

THE POST OF FORT SCOTT ABANDONED.

FORT SCOTT was garrisoned until April, 1853. The troops were then withdrawn, and the post practically abandoned. The buildings were left in charge of a sergeant, who, it is said, had instructions to permit their occupation by any respectable parties who would take care of them. At any rate, they were so occupied as fast as people came in. H. T. Wilson and John Hamilton and their families were at this time the only residents and constituted the entire population of Fort Scott. Colonel Wilson had the only store in this section of country. It was in a story and a half log house situated near what is now Market Square, about half way between the head of Main street and the lower part of National avenue. The few squatters within a radius of thirty miles or more came here to do their trading, if they had anything to trade. If they couldn't do any better, they would trade stories about happenings "back yonder in Kaintuckey" or "Injianny," or whatever haven of rest they may have come from.

SOME EARLY SETTLERS.

There were, of course, but few settlers up to the time

First Cabin Build on the Osage 1854/Post Sutler Store
First Cabin Build on the Osage 1854/Post Sutler Store


1853]EARLY SETTLERS.23

the Territory was opened for settlement in 1855. What few there were gravitated to the streams bordered with timber. They thought no claim was any account without a timber attachment.

It is impracticable to give the names of all of the earliest settlers, or anything of their biography. Several of them left before and some after the border troubles began; others before the war.

Among the very first settlers was Isaac N. Mills, who located on his farm near Marmaton in 1854. He was born in Kentucky in 1830.

W. R. Griffith also located near Marmaton in 1855. He came from Pennsylvania. He was the first Superintendent of Public Schools. He died at Topeka, February 12th, 1862.

Ephraim Kepley located on the Osage in 1854. He was born in North Carolina in 1825. He built the first cabin on the Osage river, in Bourbon county.

Robert Forbes and his brother David settled near Dayton in 1854, from Illinois.

D. T. Ralston, John Guttry, James Guttry, McCarty, Fly, Mitchell and Coyle located in what is now Marion township in 1855.

J. W. Wells came in 1855 from north Carolina.

Dr. J. R. Wasson, from Tennessee, located on the Osage in 1855.

Bryant Bauguess settled on Drywood in 1855, from North Carolina. Wiley and Jacob Bolinger moved in on Mill Creek in 1855, from Missouri. Jacob Gross came in with the Bolingers and settled on Mill Creek in 1855.


24HISTORY OF BOURBON COUNTY.[1853

William Hinton located on Osage in 1855, from Kentucky.

Dr. T. K. Julian, from Tennessee, first visited Fort Scott in 1854. Then he and his son T. B. Julian came back to Bourbon county and settled near Mapleton in 1855. T. B. Julian afterwards moved to Uniontown.

Joseph Oakley, from New York, settled on the Marmaton near Fort Scott in 1856. He died after the war.

Asa Ward moved in on Moore's Branch in 1856, from North Carolina.

Josiah Stewart located on Mill Creek in January, 1856. His sons, John J. and Amos came with him. John J. Stewart has always taken an active and prominent part in county affairs.

J. R. Anderson came to Bourbon county in 1856, and located near Xenia.

Thomas Osborne, with his sons Robert and James Osborne, moved here from Indiana and settled on the Osage in 1855.

John McNeil settled on the Osage in 1856. Pat Devereux in 1857. James and Timothy Hackett in 1857.

George W. Anderson and his son Jacob settled in Marion township in 1857.

I. N. Crouch went into Franklin township from Missouri. Joseph Oliver moved into Marmaton in 1857. J. R. Myrick located near Dayton in 1857. Joab Teague came in 1857 from North Carolina. Samuel Stevenson and sons, I. S. and S. A., in 1856.

M. E. Hudson, Wm. F. Stone, Adam Boyd, William Deeds, E. A. Roe, Wm. Baker, George Stockmyer,


1854]FROM 1854 TO 1855.25

Michael Bowers, Henry Bowers, E. P. Higby, Ed. Jones, D. R. Cobb, Ben. Workman, David Claypool, Walker, Huffman, Hathaway, Kelso, Atwood and the Endicotts were all early settlers, the most of them having settled in this county as early as 1855.

THE TIME FROM 1854 TO 1855.

Up to the year 1855 were the days of profound peace and quiet. The people enjoyed themselves after the manner of the frontier to the greatest extent. They all had good cabins, raised by the combined efforts of their neighbors, which at once became palaces of hospitality—that hospitality now almost obsolete. They had plenty to eat—game of all kinds—deer, wild turkeys, prairie chickens, fish from the streams, and their gardens and "patches" produced all else necessary.

As the manners and customs of frontier life are now things of the past, it may not be out of place to describe something of the mode of living among the pioneers up to the time the Territory was thrown open for settlement. To go into one of their cabins and take a meal with the family was a real satisfaction. The cooking was all done before immense fire-places. Cook stoves were not unknown, of course, but you would rarely see one. Their cooking utensils consisted of a big cast-iron skillet, with a cover made with a flange to hold live coals heaped on top, a tin coffee pot, possibly a bright tin reflecting oven, with legs, and one side open to be set near the fire to catch the heat, a big iron kettle and some smaller iron pots, a long-handled frying pan,


26HISTORY OF BOURBON COUNTY.[1854

iron spoons and knives and forks and some "tins." An ordinary water "bucket" was kept on a shelf in one corner, with a tin dipper or a gourd in it. Quite often they had instead of the bucket what many even quite old people of the present day have never seen. That is a "piggin." A piggin was made like a pail with one stave extending up about six inches with a rounded top for a handle.

Let us drop in on one of these families, say late in the fall of the year, and watch the wife get supper. First, a good fire is made with a back log, and plenty of oak and hickory wood on the andirons, which is allowed to burn down till there are plenty of coals. In the meantime a pot, hanging on the crane, containing the meat, is boiling. The skillet is placed on a bed of coals with coals heaped on the lid, and will soon be ready for baking the corn bread. In this instance it is corn bread and not dodger, the corn meal probably grated on a large hand grater, from new corn. It is made with eggs and shortening. Dodger and hoecake generally were mixed with eggs, venison gravy and milk also, but it was after supper. The meat is now taken from the pot, slashed across the rind, put in the reflector and baked brown. Big potatoes, sweet and Irish, are all this time lying in the hot ashes until their jackets are brown. The coffee pot is on, some "rashers" are cut from the "flitch" of bacon and the grease tried out; eggs are fried, and "dip" is made. Everything is timed to get done all at once, like the "wonderful one-horse shay." Now everything is placed on the white clothed table, together with dishes of cold meats, ves-

Come to Supper and Bring Cheers
Come to Supper and Bring Cheers


1854]FROM 1854 TO 1855.27

sels of rich, yellow butter, cream, sweet milk, buttermilk and honey. Supper is now ready. If, like some now standing on the Osage, the cabin is a double one, with a wide, open porch between; the men folks will be in the "sitting room," and ten-year-old Jimmy will be sent in, and will announce in a loud voice, "Come to supper, and bring cheers." Each man totes in his "cheer," and sits at the table. Probably the man of the house, brought up in the church of Peter Cartwright, will ask a blessing. If so, it may be something like this: "Kind Father, we thank Thee for Thy many mercies. Bless this a-nourishment to our use. Forgive our sins. Protect us from evil. And in the end save us, for Christ's sake." The words sounded like simplicity itself. Heard from the lips of an Edwin Booth, they would well up all the sweet idylic sentiments of Saint James.

Neighborship and hospitality were of the strong tenets of the pioneer's character. All were welcome at his house. No one was turned away hungry. Gold and silver he had none, but such as he had he gave unto all who came, the friend, the neighbor or the unknown stranger.

He had but little communication with the "States." He had no newspapers, and his library contained only his old school books, Pilgrim's Progress and the Bible. He knew but little of politics, but he could easily drive center sixty yards, off-hand, at the neighboring shooting match, where "first choice" was the hind quarter of a beef. He heard more or less of the increasing and ominous growls over the slavery question, but not until he sud-


28HISTORY OF BOURBON COUNTY.[1854

denly found himself surrounded by vicious partisans from the contending sections, did he realize that his season of profound peace was over, that the harbinger of a storm had appeared, which was destined to stain the lintel of his cabin door with blood.

In these lame descriptions of our early settlers—squatters they were to all intents and purposes—an effort has been made to typify that class who kept to the extreme border of our frontiers, a people whose ancestors had steadily moved in westward front from the Atlantic through the "dark and bloody ground," a class then rapidly diminishing and who have now finally disappeared forever.

This seems necessary also, in order that one may realize all the conditions of a given period or situation, and to understand how the people lived in all respects.

THE CLIMATE.

The climate was another feature of those days. It was most delightful and enjoyable, especially in the fall of the year. It has changed in these later years, for civilization seems to have taken out the "wild taste." The atmosphere probably contained no more ozone than now, but it was wild ozone. It did not smell to heaven laden with iron filings and the abrasion of gold.

The immense prairies south and west—larger in extent than all western Europe—were annually burned over. The smoke from the autumn prairie fires permeated the entire atmosphere which came up to us from


1854]INDIAN SUMMER.29

the grand pampas of the southwest toned down into superb Indian summer. But the wild prairies have disappeared beneath the plow, and Indian summer has disappeared with the Indian.

INDIAN SUMMER.

The beauty and grandeur of those autumn days can scarcely be described. One felt a lazy exhileration, and life here seemed the perfect ideal of existence on earth. The woods have unfurled a million banners, blended in all the colors of nature. The broad rolling prairies seemed as if formed by the stilled waves of a former and forgotten sea. The air, soft and dreamy, laden with the scent of wild flowers, went out to meet the coming day, whose rosy faced morn was ushered in by the songs of the mocking bird and the sweet chromatic cadence of the drumming grouse. And


"The grey ey'd morn smiles on the frowning night,
 Checquering the eastern clouds with streaks of light."

The sun makes his daily circuit through a sea of smoky haze, until, hanging o'er the west like a huge illumined globe—shielded by the translucent rays of a glorious corona—he sinks below the horizon to the vesper song of the whipoorwill, and the gentle whisperings of the southwest wind.

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Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
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