KSGenWeb - The Primary Source for Kansas Genealogy

Letters, Memoirs & Family Stories
of our
Kansas Ancestors

As told in their own words

Sumner County


CLICK HERE TO SEARCH ALL KANSAS FILES!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
KSGENWEB INTERNET GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  In keeping with the KSGenWeb policy of providing free information on the Internet, this data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied materiel.  These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other gain.  Copying of the files within by non-commercial individuals and libraries is encouraged.  Any other use, including publication, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission by electronic, mechanical, or other means requires approval of the file's author.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Pioneer Experiences as told by Mrs. Katie E. Rucker of Mulvane - Kan. (Katie E. Rucker was Katie E. Austin Rucker, mother of Betty A. Rucker Woodward, mother of Robert M. Woodward)

I was given a handwritten letter by a worker at our public library; the letter was found inside a book of biographies of Kansas Women.
Elaine Nall Bay
Rains County, Texas


On Sept. 18 - 1872 my father and mother J.D. Austin, three sisters and two brothers one team and covered wagon and four milk cows started from Oregon, Ogle County Ills for Kansas.

We stopped over in Oskaloosa Iowa nearly two weeks to rest the team and cows and get cleaned up as we did not expect to make any more visits.  We arrived at a point on the Sumner Cowley County line road at a claim house built by a man by the name of Randall and close to and just across the road from the James T. Chenoweth's farm.  That was on Sunday Nov. 1st and on Dec. 24th we moved into our own house which was situated on the S.W. 1/4 of Sec. 36 - Twp 30 S.R. 2 East.  Our house was 16x20 feet and every foot of it was fine lumber, and it seemed to us all the lovliest place on earth.  We had been living in a warped, twisted cottonwood house 14x16 with an uncles family of ten and we were eight.  You can imagine how crowded we were.  The weather turned very cold and everyone of us had frosted feet as the cracks in the floor were so wide if we dropped anything it went out of sight and after we all had moved they took up some of the boards and found our knives, forks, spoons, stove hooks, pie tins and many things we had mourned as lost, and we greeted them joyfully as long lost friends.  Father traded our wagon bows and cover for hay and corn from a man that had made up his mind to go back east to Gods country and leave droughty Kansas forever.  Our tent and poles and some other things were exchanged for a cook stove and a few other necessary things.  Father dug an embankment barn covered it with poles and hay, made a corn crib pig pen chicken house out of hackberry wood that grew along the creek. 

He had plowed a large square of land and burned it off before he hauled the lumber from Wichita to build the house it was boxed and the cracks battened and a good shingle roof.  On March 11th 1873 there seemed to be a haze like Indian summer, hardly any breeze almost too warm for comfort, about 4: oclock father told my brother Charlie to hitch up and go after a barrel of water, we hauled our water a full mile and father thought it might be going to storm.  He had not gone far when the wind changed to the north and then we could see the flames leaping higher and higher as the wind drove it before it.  Then clouds of black smoke began to roll up and hide the flames when it came over the last high ground it looked like a solid wall of fire.  We had poured all the water we had in buckets got all the old sacks and had them wet and when that head fire came racing across the stubble and the corn stalks where the cows had been fed caught fire and blowed clear over all the fire guards, we ran from one thing to another beating out the flames, it lasted only a few minutes, we untied the cows and saw them going ahead of the fire as wild as deer, when the stable and hay caught we could do no more, but my mother risked her life when she ran into that place and untied the calf and dragged it into a safe place.  The main fire was miles away but there was plenty to do for an hour or two as it seemed as if the whole world was going up in smoke.  The house was safe but everything in the shape of feed was gone all the extra harness, ropes, tools, boxes and the many things put in the stable for shelter were in ashes or ruined.  When my brother came home with the water he looked scared and white he could not tell whether we were alive or not and we were as anxious about him

Gold Bar


Last update: Sunday, March 23, 2003 00:11:00


The Digital Library of the KSGenWeb is a non-commercial entity dedicated to free access to records of genealogical value. All documents contained herein may be freely copied for personal and library use, as long as the KSGenWeb Statement of Use remains attached. These records may not be published in any format, including electronic (web pages or CD's) and print, without prior written consent of the contributor. In order to insure continued free access, violators of this policy will be vigorously pursued.

We invite all contributions of transcribed records with genealogical value. This could range from wills and letters from your personal family records to indexes of your county's marriage records. There are many, many more examples, of course. Anything you have that you are willing to contribute will be gratefully accepted. For more information, contact Kenneth Thomas, KSGenWeb Digital Library Coordinator at kgthomas5@charter.net.

We also accept any non-copyrighted printed materials that you have access to and would like to see transcribed and placed on-line. If the material is copyrighted and you are the copyright holder, please include written permission for use by The KSGenWeb Digital Library. These may be mailed to Kenneth Thomas, 235 SE 111th Rd., Warrensburg, MO 64093-7812.

Sunflower  KSGENWEB DIGITAL LIBRARY INDEX
Sunflower  KSGENWEB HOME PAGE


Blue Skyways LinkHOME PAGE for KANSAS STATE LIBRARY
An Extra special thanks to Blue Skyways, Home page for Kansas State Library, for donating space for the many KSGenWeb pages.


Page Design, HTML Coding and Layout - Copyrightę1998-2003 by Kenneth Thomas, All Rights Reserved.
The KSGenWeb Project logo Copyrightę1996-2003 by Tom & Carolyn Ward, All Rights Reserved.
For the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.  Permission is granted for use only on an Official KSGenWeb Project page.
The Official USGenWeb Project logo designed by Linda Cole.