On the 16th day of July, 1896, Laura, the three-year-old daughter of James Nation, then of Elwood, now of St. Joseph, Mo., wandered away from her home and disappeared. At first it was thought that she had wandered down to the river and had been drowned. The river was dragged but without success. A few days later the impression became general that the child had been stolen by a band of Gypsies that had been camped near the town. The band was followed and watched for weeks by Mr. Nation but without results. However, the father did not give up the search for his missing child. Receiving now and again, during the next four or five years, reports of the finding of his child, he investigated each report only to be disappointed. He would not give up the search, although considerable of the savings of a lifetime had been spent in fruitless endeavor. At last, after nearly eight years, there came to him from a woman in Illinois, information that actually lead to the recovery of his child. The information stated that an eleven-year-old girl had been abandoned by a band of Gypsies at Florence, Alabama, in December, 1903, and that the abandoned one was his child. Telegrams and letters were exchanged between the police, authorities in the two towns, and eventually the girl was sent from Florence to St. Joseph, where she was met by Mr. and Mrs. Nation, who, from the first, seemed all but convinced that she was really their own child. The Nations took the girl to their home to decide. For a day or two the girl was silent and cross, she being very tired after her long journey from the South, but after a rest she recovered good humor and as soon as she began to talk, she related some very touching accounts of hardships received and endured while in the hands of the Gypsies, showing bruises and old scars on her tender skin to prove the truth of her words. After three or four days of deliberation, Mr. and Mrs. Nation came to the full conclusion that the child was their long lost Laura, and after eight years of wandering life filled with hardships and danger, she was reinstated in the home of her grateful parents.
Sketch of Lewis Tracy, who went into the Union army from this county when a very old man, and whose five sons followed his example, from the St. Joseph's Union, October 21, 1865:
"Mr. Tracy was a native of Kentucky, and one of the early settlers in the Platte Purchase, moving to this city when it was scarcely a village. When Kansas was admitted as a territory he removed there, and during the Border Ruffian difficulties, sided with the Free State men of that section. At the breaking out of the Rebellion, his three (5?) sons went into the army, and the old man, notwithstanding he had passed the age for the reception of volunteers, enlisted as a private in a Kansas regiment and was engaged in several battles. For bravery at Cane Hill and Prairie Grove he was appointed to Sergeant, refusing any higher position and was foremost in every attack. Of a genial disposition, he had a host of friends; of a benevolent nature, he sought not this world's goods, but living upon his farm was satisfied with its income, and no one ever left Mr. Tracy's door upon an errand of mercy unsupplied. His heart beat for freedom, and his life was freely offered as a pledge of his devotion to the cause of liberty and right. His remains were brought from Kansas and interred in Mt. Mora cemetery.
In the fall of 1879 or 1880, patrons of the Troy fair had the opportunity of seeing a band of real Indians in war paint and feathers. About thirty or forty red skins from the Iowa and Sac reservation came down and camped on the fair grounds for a whole week. They cooked and ate their own food in their own primitive fashion, and gave many exhibitions of their war dance which greatly interested many of the younger generation of pale faces. We remember of shaking hands with the old chief, Taraka, whose head was shaved and painted red and green, and whose ears were ornamented with big, rusty, brass rings. We induced him to go through a pantomine illustrating his battle with a Pawnee, and he grew so excited during the performance, striking with his tomahawk so closely to our head that for a moment we were wishing that we had remained at home that day to finish drilling in the fall wheat. The old fellow made a talk to his "white brothers" in his own language, which was interpreted at intervals during the speech by a half breed who knew how to put water on the fire of the old codger's words. The most laughable thing we saw that day in the red man's camp was the sly act of a pretty little Indian girl. Having had her dinner and being susceptible to the inspiration of the god of mischief, she crept up behind her big, fat aunt, who was leisurely picking a bone, and with a grin of cruel joy on her dusky face, she introduced the point of a rusty brass pin into a certain tender posterior portion of the fat lady's frame. Then, with a shriek of fiendish glee, the red little imp executed a war dance on the green within a few feet of her victim who was too fat and lazy to seek revenge. For their services entertaining the white visitors to the fair that year the noble red men and women were given all the old, blind and lame cows that they could eat.
On the Fourth of July, 1872, the citizens of Elwood and some few hundred people from the country witnessed a novel balloon ascension which proved to be one of the most interesting features of the great day. The aeronaut had his balloon ready for the skyward journey about the middle of the afternoon, the day being clear and calm. In the crowd was an ambitious young Irish boy with very red hair and an abundance of freckles to decorate his beaming face. The boy was interested in the aeronaut and his car, and in a bantering way the aeronaut asked the lad to accompany him on his journey to the clouds. The boy expressed himself as both ready and willing, whereupon the man told him to ask the permission of his parents. Of course the permission was refused, and while the boy seemed greatly disappointed, there was hidden in his heart a definite plan. The boy disappeared and no one seemed to know just where he had gone. Many supposed he had gone away to cry with a broken heart, but those were unacquainted with the boy. Some time passed, and the balloonist was ready to enter his basket car. No one knows just how it happened, but the ropes were loosed and the balloon darted upward before the aeronaut had had time to get aboard. When the great air car was several hundred feet from the ground, a small head was seen peeping over the edge of the basket. It was the head of a boy, and it was a very red head. Then it dawned upon the minds of the excited multitude that the ambitious young Irish boy, instead of having gone home to cry with a broken heart, had slyly hidden himself, red head and all, in the balloon basket, thereby giving himself permission denied by loving but misunderstanding parents. The man of the balloon may have known of the presence of the boy in the basket, but certainly he had not conceived of the balloon's abrupt departure from the terrestrial sphere. The balloon arose majestically to a great height. The boy was seen waving his hat in a very self confident and enthusiastic manner, as if he thoroughly understood and was master of the situation. If the boy could keep his composure there was hope for his safety, although great odds were against him. The great air-car rose higher and higher until it seemed to bob against the ceiling of the sky. Then, meeting a current of air, it began slowly to drift. Different currents seized it, each playing with it for a time, but it never passed out of sight of the watching multitude in which there were eyes that were tearful and eyes that were weary, and necks that were painfully awry. At last, however, the balloon began to descend slowly, like a bird alighting on her nest. As it neared the earth it began to lose the dignity of its motion. It swayed and plunged and teetered, but did not colapse. Again the red head appeared over the side of the basket, and some that had good eyesight and better qualities of imagination, say that a very wide grin strained the elasticity of the boy's mouth. The balloon man shouted some instructions to the boy who, still in full possession of nerve most admirable, followed them and soon found himself on the dear old earth and in the arms of a dear mother who punished him then and there before the multitude, by covering his freckled face with the most affectionate kisses. The boy, reaching manhood, still had "high" aims, and soon arose to the dignity of a responsible railroad official with a cozy office in the heart of Chicago.
Joel Ryan was born in Sumner county, Penn., in the year 1819, and was at his death, which occurred on the 4th inst., 60 years old. His father died when he was quite young, leaving him and his brother to support a large and indigent family. They worked faithfully and nobly, and not only made their living but succeeded in educating themselves, and also their younger brothers and sisters, and that too, in this country where there are no free schools. He was an overseer on a plantation at the age of 16, having forty negro hands under him. Being a great favorite among the slave-holders, who were generally sporting men, he early contracted those habits which finally led him to an untimely grave. Mr. Ryan's life was more eventful than most people are aware of. He served as a volunteer in two Indian wars - the first at the age of 17, at the time the Indians were moved across the Mississippi; next in the Florida war. He was also a soldier in the Mexican war under Colonel Doniphan and was one of the first settlers of northwestern Missouri, settling first in Andrew county, where he learned the trade of brick making and brick masonry. He then moved to St. Joseph when the town was first laid out, and built about the first brick building in the place. For many years he was one of the leading men of St. Joseph. In his earlier days he was considered attractive and might have made some good woman happy. He went to California in 1849, during the first gold excitement, but subsequently returned to St Joseph and, in the spring of 1854 located a homestead at Ryan's Station, where he lived a secluded life until his death and where he now lies buried. He was a prominent pro-slavery man during the early Kansas troubles and was a candidate on the Pro-Slavery ticket for the Territorial legislature, but was defeated. He possessed more intelligence than the casual observer gave him credit for. The writer hereof has been edified many times, listening to him tell about the political meetings and bear hunts in early days in the south. Aside from his only besetting sin he was a gentleman, a true friend and a good neighbor. He was a man of excellent social qualities and fine conversational powers, and was most appreciated by those who knew him best. He was a Free Mason but word was received too late to bury him with the honors of the order. A man's good deeds live after him and let us say this will be the case with "Uncle" Joel. Let us bid him a long and affectionate farewell.
"He has crossed the sorrowful river,
That mourns thro' the valley of years,
And the hand of love incarnate
Has wiped away all tears."
We find the following highly colored account of the marriage of Princess Cammanche Jubilina Susan White Cloud to the Irish Knight, "Patsy" McGuire, in the White Cloud Leader, August, 1875,
"Quite a sensation was created in our city last Friday by the announcement of a grand wedding between a gallant son of the Emerald Isle named "Patsy" McGuire and a no less distinguished personage than the daughter of White Cloud after whom our city was named. Pat and his dingy bride attended by a large concourse of people, mostly boys, took deck passage on the ferry boat to the Missouri shore, where no license or certificate of good moral charcter are required, and there beneath a shady cottonwood tree they were bound in holy bonds of padlock in real orthordox style. The bride exhibited considerable emotion, blowing her nose several times, but the groom maintained his composure like a true Knight, answering the marriage vows with a mental reservation like a congressman taking oath. Any description of the bride which we can give must, in the nature of things, be imperfect, since imperfection is indescribable, even the perfection of ugliness. Her form was tall and graceful as a sunflower; her hair was raven black and hung in graceful confusion over her dumpy shoulders; her eyes were black as sloes and set at an angle; her nose was short and chubby; she had a splendid mouth for eating pawpaws; her upper lip was thick and pouting; her cheek bones were high, and her forehead was very low. Her bridal trousseau was very simple, a faded calico gown hung loosly over her graceful form and her dainty feet were incased in beaded moccasins that might have been number eights. A few strings of beads and some brass rings completed the costume. The gallant Pat was robed in the same garments he had been accustomed to wear when on duty on the gravel train. On their return to town they started for the reservation, where, unmolested, they can enjoy the sweets of love in a wigwam."
Here is Sol Miller's answer to the above: "There is a great deal of rabbittrack about the White Cloud Leader's story of the marriage of Pat McGuire to the daughter of old Chief White Cloud. We think there were but two of the White Cloud girls and Tesson is married to them both, and they are nicer looking women than the Leader describes."
On the 15th of May, 1867, a charter was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of Kansas, for the Atchison & Nebraska City Railroad company, with corporators as follows: Peter B. Abell, George W. Glick, Alfred G. Otis, John M. Price, Will W. Cochran, Albert H. Horton, Samuel A. Kingman, Junius T. Herriford and Augustus Byram. The charter authorized the construction of a railroad from some point in the city of Atchison, to some point on the northern line of the state of Kansas, not farther west than twenty-five miles from the Missouri river, and the length of the proposed road not to exceed forty-five miles. Upon the organization of the company its name was changed to Atchison & Nebraska Railroad Company. Municipal subscriptions in bonds to the capital stock of the company were made as follows. Atchison county, $150,000, and Doniphan county, $200,000. Individual subscriptions amounting to $80,000 were made in Atchison county and $10,000 in Doniphan county. Work was commenced on the road at Atchison in the summer of 1869, and in the summer of 1871 it was completed to the northern boundary of the state, three miles north of White Cloud, The Atchison stockholders graded the road bed to the state line, constructed the bridges and furnished the ties for that distance, when the entire property was donated to a Boston syndicate, represented by James F. Joy, in consideration of the completion and operation of the road by the said syndicate. On the 3d of November, 1871, this company was consolidated, with the Atchison, Lincoln & Columbus Railroad company, of Nebraska, which had been authorized to construct a road from the terminal point at the state line, of the Atchison & Nebraska railroad to Columbus, on the Union Pacific railway by way of Lincoln. From the state line the work was prosecuted vigorously and the road was completed and in operatiion to Lincoln in the fall of 1872. In January, 1880, the road was purchased by the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad company, and since the consolidation of that company in 1880, with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad company, it has been officially designated as the Atchison & Nebraska, division of the Burlington, & Missouri Railroad Company in Nebraska. Distance from Atchison, Kansas, to Lincoln, Nebraska, 146.6 miles. Number of miles in Kansas, 37.24.----From Andreas' History of Kansas.
Before the building of the stone church at St. Benedict's, in 1864, the Mass was celebrated in a house on Independence creek, belonging to Edward DyIe. Father Henry Lemke, who was the first pastor at Doniphan, in 1855, came once a month to celebrate Mass in this humble dwelling. This journey was often made on foot. His parishoners were few, and some of them very poor. They came to Mass on foot and in ox-carts; all of the family that could be spared from the duties at home, and their regular attendance encouraged the zealous pastor to continue, winter and summer, in his struggle for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the congregation.
Early in 1857 Father Lemke was succeeded by Father Edmond, whose ministry in the parish continued only a few months. Between 1857 and 1860 the parish had no regular pastor, there being many different priests there during that time, all having been sent from St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison.
In 1860 Father John Meurs was placed in charge, He it was who began the movement which led to the erection of the first church. He remained in charge but a few months, however, and the work rested for a time. In 1861, the first resident pastor was appointed, he was Father Thomas Bartl, loved, honored and remembered by the children and grandchildren of parents whom he comforted in the trying years when war's red wave swept over the land. He at once resumed the work of building the church which was left off by Father Meurs. The work was mostly done by members of the congregation, all hands willingly turning to help. Father Bartl did not confine himself to the exercise of his priestly duties. He joined a small army of workers, assisting in quarrying rock, mixing mortar, and even carrying the hod. He appeared a frail man, but he had the zeal of Paul and the industry of Patrick. The church, the dimentions[sic] of which were 70x40 feet, was completed in 1865, and at last, after ten years of patient waiting the congregation had a house of its own in which to worship. Two years later a brick parsonage was erected near the church, and the good Father was made comfortable in his well earned home. In 1874, after thirteen years of faithful duty, this zealous and self-sacrificing pioneer of the cross was removed to another parish. Eleven years later, on the 30th day of November, 1885, he was called from this earthly vineyard to hear the all compensating words: "Well done, good and faithful servant."
From the spring of 1874 to 1875, Father Suitbert de Marteau was the resident pastor. During his stay the brick floor of the church was replaced by one of substantial pine, a belfry was erected and a bell purchased and put into place. We well remember the Sunday when this, the first bell, was blessed. James Kirwan and Keren Devereaux stood godfather, and their wives, Mrs. Ann Kirwan and Mrs. Devereaux, stood godmother to the bell. All are long since dead, tolled to their last resting place by the same bell.
Father Pirmin N. Koumly was appointed pastor in October, 1875, and remained until 1886. He found the church in debt, but by energetic work the debt was soon discharged. Father Koumly was a close student of nature, giving special attention to the study of ornithology and botany. A number of his manuscripts on the migration of birds are preserved in the Smithsonian Institute at Washington. For some years he had been engaged in writing a history of the Benedictines from the foundation of the order in the sixth century to the present time, but while still engaged in the undertaking, the death summons came and he passed to his reward on the morning of July 27th, 1904.
In September, 1886, Father Ferdinand Wolf was appointed pastor and remained until September, 1888, when he was succeeded by Father John Stader. Father Stader was left in charge until June, 1891.
Collecting for the building of a new church was begun in 1891, shortly after the appointment of Father Thomas Burk. Father Burk was a tireless worker, but he did not succeed in his undertaking. However, he collected for the proposed building a fair sum of money which he left to his successor, Father Augustine Baker, who came to take charge of the parish December 10th, 1893. Father Baker continued the work of collecting for the new church, and at last, in the summer of 1894 the work of building began. But it was not for this worthy man to finish the work. On December, 6th, 1894, Father Matthew Bradley, "the church builder," became pastor of the congregation. December 21st, 1894, the contract for the building was let, and it was to cost $10,000. The old church had stood for nearly thirty years, and was in a dilapidated condition. Mass was celebrated in it for the last time on February 24th, 1895. There was sorrow in the hearts of many of the old parishoners who, in their younger days, had given their means and strength to erect the dear old building, for they were kneeling for the last time between the hallowed walls. Many gray haired fathers and mothers kneeling there counted up their joys and sorrows---their joys, the baptism, and later the marriage of their children; their sorrows, the death and burial of sons and daughters and friends then quietly sleeping away the hours till the resurrection morn, in the old graveyard on the hillside in the direction of the sunrise.
The doors of the new church were soon opened. March 21st, the feast of St. Benedict, the first rock of the foundation of the new church was laid. April 14th, the corner stone was solemnly blessed by Father Boniface Verheyen, assisted by Fathers T. Fitigerald and Aloysius Bradley. August 11th, the beautiful new church was solemnly opened. The celebrant was Father Michael Rank, assisted by Father Bernard Uhlbrick as deacon, and Father Anthony Baar as subdeacon. Father Bradley preached the sermon. October 9th, the church was solemnly dedicated by the Right Reverend Louis M. Fink, O.S.B., D.D., Bishop of the Diocese.
At the completion of the church there was a debt of $4,500 to be paid. Father Bradley would not have his congregation bear this yoke. His resourceful mind at once conceived a plan by which sufficient money could be raised to cancel the debt. His plans were communicated to the congregation and the church committee and received their approval. The entire congregation responded to the call, and on December 1st, 1898, the last dollar of the debt was paid.
In 1899, the old parsonage erected in 1867, was torn down and a handsome new one erected in its place. This was the people's gift to their worthy pastor, Father Bradley.
On the night of May 25th, 1903, the church was totally destroyed by a tornado. As Father Bradley stood over the demolished building which had cost him so much time, care and labor to have erected, he folded his hands calmly and said. "The will of God be done! With His help we can build again." Sad, but not discouraged, this man of good faith and brave heart, went immediately to work to rebuild, and within a short time a new building, almost as fine as any other church edifice in the state, stood upon the site of the one swept away by the wind. The new church was dedicated May 10th, 1904, a little less than a year from the date of the destruction of the old one. Father Bradley, the quiet, unassuming man, had, within the nine years of his residence in this parish, built for the congregation two fine churches and an elegant parsonage, the total cost representing nearly $40,000.
Transcribed from Gray's Doniphan County history: A record of the happenings of half a hundred years. By P. L. (Patrick Leopoldo) Gray. Bendena, Kan.: The Roycroft Press, 1905. 3p. l. -84, 166,  p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.
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