One of the most prominent of the old settlers of Elk township was the late Randal Honey, born at Windsor, Vermont, February 2, 1820. Mr. Honey came of hardy, loyal New England stock. His grandfather served in the Revolutionary war and his father, Joseph S. Honey, fought under General Wade Hampton with the Army of the North in the War of 1812, taking part in the famous battle of Plattsburg on Lake Champlain, in the autumn of 1814, when two thousand British attacked the American forces numbering but fifteen hundred, and were repulsed and driven back. In 1838, when eighteen years of age, Randal Honey moved with his parents to Trumbull county, Ohio; the trip was made by way of the Erie canal and lake steamer. After locating at this point he learned the carpenter trade; though he did not follow it through life, it served him well in after years in helping build up and improve a new country.
On February 3, 1842, he was married to Miss Polly A. Phillips, of Trumbull county, Ohio. The hearts united on that day remained linked together not alone by the laws of the land, but by bonds of love and tenderest affection which grew stronger, tenderer, sweeter as the years rolled by till death bid them part more than three score years later. For sixty eventful years this couple journeyed side by side along the pathway of life; strongly up the steeps of life, bravely along the crest of middle age, trustingly, peacefully, serenely, down the western slopes toward the setting sun. In 1856 Mr. Honey and his family moved overland to Wisconsin, locating in Jefferson county. Here they made their home until March, 1864, when the homestead lands in the great new west prompted another change and they came to Kansas, locating in Cloud county (then Shirley). Mr. Honey took his homestead on the Republican river at the mouth of Elm creek, eleven miles east of where Concordia was located several years later. The homestead taken at that early day was still his when called to his eternal home thirty-eight years afterward. When Randal Honey and his little family arrived there were but eight families located in the little settlement on the banks of Elm creek. The vast stretch of prairie on all sides furnished grazing ground for countless thousands of buffalo. The nearest postoffice and the nearest store were sixty miles away. Every family within forty miles were neighbors. Only people who have helped develop a new country can appreciate the homes obtained by these pioneers who risked their lives and braved the hardships and privations incident to the frontier. Mr. Honey built for himself a hewed log house and laid therein a puncheon floor. That house stands today, but with its shingled roof and siding over the logs it would scarcely be recognized by those who saw it a third of a century ago when it was the most commodious house in the county, and sheltered all the inhabitants of the settlement on those nerve-trying nights when Indian rumors filled the air and it was uncertain whether or not the morning dawn would find all scalps in place. In those early days Indian raids were common, bountiful harvest uncommon and tried men's nerves and tested their courage and resourcefulness. Through all those years of danger, hardships and privations, through Indian scares, hot winds, grasshoppers and other discouragements, the subject of this sketch never wavered; with unshaken faith in the future of the country, with calm determination and a resourceful nature he bore his full share of the burdens and with a willing hand lent courage to others.
A great reader he kept posted on the events of the times and took a lively interest in politics, but quiet and unassuming, he never sought political preferment. To him, home was everything. Probably the only office he ever held was that of postmaster at Elm Creek before and during the time of the Waterville-Beloit stage line. Ever brave hearted and cheerful, always good natured and generous to a fault he had no enemies and his friends were limited only by the extent of his circle of acquaintances. Such in brief was the life of this good man and when the summons came March 5, 1902, he met his death as he had met the difficulties of life, calmly, peacefully, and with a heart as pure and a faith as simple as that of a child.
His aged wife, his companion for sixty-two years, two daughters and two sons survive him. The four children are Mrs. Rosella Wilcox and Mrs. Kitty Zedeker, both of Cloud county; Elson H. Honey, of Cuprum, Idaho, and Henry R. Honey, of Mankato. His eldest daughter, Rosella (Mrs. Matt Wilcox), taught the first school, and hers was the first wedding solemnized in the county. - [The above in substance was taken from the Mankato Advocate. - Editor.]
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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