John T. Carver

JOHN T. CARVER, a representative of the pioneer days of Kansas, is a prominent agriculturist of Garden township, and has witnessed the wonderful transformation of this section from a wide stretch of prairie to cultivated farms and populous communities. He was born on Shoal Creek, Newton County, Missouri, April 4, 1840, and is a son of Richard and Mary Jane (Simmons) Carver, the former a native of Ohio and the latter, of Virginia.

Richard Carver came of a well known Ohio family, and of a large family of children but one survives, who lives in Neosho, Missouri, at the advanced age of 92 years. The father of our subject followed farming in his native State until 1838, then came West with his family to Newton County, Missouri, making the trip in a covered wagon. He later moved to what was then known as McGee County, Kansas, then a part of Bourbon County, but now Cherokee County, settling one mile east of Baxter Springs on what is known as Starr Prairie. He lived there, except for the war, and engaged in farming and stock-raising until 1866, when he moved to the farm on which our subject is located in section 36, township 34, range 25, in Garden township. They had visited this claim as early as 1849, and hired a young Indian and a white man named Lee to spear two barrels of fish, which they did at the lake at Cedar Bluff, the fish being so plentiful that they had a great plenty within the short space of two hours. The claim was owned by Ira Goddard, a quarter-blood Cherokee Indian. During the Civil War, Goddard died and the property came into the possession of his son James, who was a 16th-blood Cherokee. He had "head-right" to a tract of 320 acres. The Cherokee Neutral Lands were incorrectly surveyed and upon a new survey being made it was found that the new line was a half mile south of the one established before by the government. James Goddard put in his claim for the 320 acres due him under the treaty, which took up the claim previously purchased by Richard Carver. Thus this tract became an Indian reservation until the Carver family compromised with Goddard, paying him $1,000 to relinquish and give Mr. Carver the right of preemption and immediate possession. Since that time the Carvers have been in continuous possession of this tract of land. Two double, hewed-log houses, now in use as barns, surrounded by a rail fence, were on the place at that early date, having been built by the Indians. This section abounded in deer, wild turkeys, prairie chickens and ducks, and prairie wolves were numerous west of Baxter Springs. Richard Carver was an Odd Fellow and a Mason. He died on this claim March 23, 1872, his wife having died near Lawrence, Kansas, in 1862. Six children blessed their union, namely: William, deceased; Joel, deceased; Stephen, of Quapaw, Indian Territory; John T.; Mrs. Rebecca J. McGinnis; and Almira, deceased.

John T. Carver was reared on the farm and received a very limited amount of schooling, such education as he received being through his individual efforts. In the latter part of June, 1861, when the first Federal soldiers came to Southwest Missouri under General Sigel, he accompanied his father to Neosho, Missouri. Being so well acquainted with the country, he was engaged by General Sigel to act as guide on July 34d of that year. The forces moved north to Carthage and at a forking of the road he was detailed as guide for two companies to go north of Neosho on Shoal Creek. On the morning of July 4th, they went along the Lamar road until Coon Creek was crossed, when they came in sight of the Confederate Army on a high hill. A line of battle was formed and the skirmish following was in favor of the Confederates. General Sigel returned with his army to Carthage on his way to Springfield, and as Mr. Carver was not needed further as a guide he was discharged. In 1862 he engaged as a spy and scout for General Doubleday and continued throughout the remainder of the war in that service. He then returned to his home and has since given his attention to agricultural pursuits. A fine orchard was set out, which is now yielding well, and in 1898 he erected a comfortable home. He has been very successful as a business man and is a public spirited citizen. He was elected township trustee for a term of two years, but did not serve the full term, resigning the office on account of poor health. He was also a school officer, and was clerk of the school district for a period of 26 years. Politically, he is an enthusiastic supporter of the Republican party.

In 1867, Mr. Carver was united in marriage with Clemsey Clark, and after her death married, in 1870, Kate Gandy, a native of Kansas. They became the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy; those living are: Charles, who married Cleo Tindall and has two children,—Lila and Ever; Emma, who married Charles Porter, and has three children,—Roy, Ray, and John; John, who lives at home with his parents; and Myrtle, the wife of Charles Smith, of Joplin, Missouri. Mr. Carver is a member of the Old Settlers' Association of Cherokee County. a picture of the Carver family accompanies this sketch, being shown on a preceding page.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 4/30/97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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