Rassellas M. Gray was a pioneer of 1858 of the old Quindaro that aspired to be the leading city on the Missouri river and the Free State "port of entry." He was a native of Erie county, New York; came west with the tide of Free State men of the territorial days and settled in Quindaro, which had been founded a few months before by Governor Charles Robinson, George W. Veale, Vincent J. Lane and others. Mr. Gray was one of the few survivors of those days and the last of the crowd to desert Quindaro. He resided there until the death of his wife in 1899, being engaged in farming and merchandising. Then he became a resident of Kansas City, Kansas, making his home with his daughter, Mrs. R. E. Ela. He died March 11, 1911, at the age of eighty-eight, leaving two sons and one daughter - Dr. George M. Gray of Kansas City, Kansas; E. M. Gray, of Quindaro; and Mrs. Ela; fourteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
As a leader in the women's clubs for art, education, literary and philanthropic purposes, Mrs. Mary Tenney Gray, the wife of Barzillai Gray, wielded an influence for culture that was felt not only in her home city but throughout the entire state. In the year 1881 a potential effort was made toward a union of the clubs of the state. Up to this time the club life of the women of the state had been purely local and confined to a few cities. At a meeting of prominent western women, many of whom were members of Kansas and Missouri clubs, held at Leavenworth, Thursday, May 19, 1881, the Social Science Club of Kansas and Missouri was organized. This first association of women's clubs in the west, with Mrs. Gray as its first president, was organized by representative women from Atchison, Lansing, Leavenworth, Olathe, Topeka and Wyandotte in Kansas, Kansas City and St. Joseph in Missouri, and Chicago in Illinois.
The preamble to its constitution and by-laws reads thus: "The object of this society shall be to promote a better acquaintance among thoughtful women of this section who are most desirous and best able to raise the standard of women's education and attainments, to enlarge their opportunities, and by frequent meeting bring the highest knowledge of each for the benefit of all." The meetings of this association were held in various cities in Kansas, also in Kansas City, Missouri, two meetings being held each year. The programs at these conventions were comprehensive, embracing the departments of art, archeology, domestic economy, education, history and civil government, literature, natural and sanitary science, philanthropy and reform. Thus Mrs. Gray may with propriety be referred to as the "mother of the woman's culture club movement in Kansas."
Mrs. Gray was a writer of vigor and a clear reasoner. She had read papers before many state gatherings, as well as clubs of the two Kansas Citys.
She had lived in Kansas City, Kansas, more than twenty years and during that time was identified with almost every woman's movement. She was born in 1833; when twenty years old she graduated from a womans' seminary and in 1859 was married to Mr. Gray. A son, Lawrence T. Gray, lives at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mrs. Theo Harriman of Los Angeles, wife of Joseph Harriman, the candidate for vice president at the 1904 election on the Social Democratic ticket, and Mrs. Jessie M. Caswell, are daughters.
In the spring of 1901 Mrs. Gray's paper on "Women and Kansas City's Development" was awarded the first prize in the competition held by the Women's Auxiliary to the Manufacturers' Association of Kansas City, Missouri.
Mrs. Gray's death occurred October 11, 1904, at her home on the beautiful Missouri river bluffs north of Kansas City, Kansas, and at the funeral service the Rev. D. S. Stephens, chancellor of the Kansas City University, paid this tribute to her memory. "It is the lot of very few to reach the degree of helpfulness to their own generation that was attained by her whose departure we mourn. Perhaps no woman in the state of Kansas has exercised so important an influence on the intellectual life of her sex in this commonwealth as our deceased friend. Her life has been intimately associated with every good and uplifting influence among the women of this state. She was one of the originators of the Social Science organization among the women of the state. She has been one of the molding influences in shaping club-life among women. She has been a leader in everything that has touched on the improvement of the intellectual conditions of women. No worthy philanthropic purpose escaped her helpful assistance. While thus active in matters of public welfare, she was equally attentive to the domestic duties of the home."
On May 9, 1909, the Kansas Federation of Women's Clubs dedicated a monument in Oak Grove cemetery, Kansas City, Kansas, to the memory of Mrs. Gray, as one of the founders of that organization. The monument is of Vermont granite and overlooks the Missouri valley, which Mrs. Gray once declared was "the most beautiful and romantic view in America."
Judge Jesse Cooper, a native of Vermont was among the early day citizens of Wyandotte. He was a lawyer and a citizen of high esteem. He was a stanch Free State man, and his advice and counsel was sought by the little band of Congregationalists who came out from New England. One of his daughters married the Rev. Louis Bodwell who founded the Congregational church at Topeka, and she is still living at Clifton Springs, New York. The late Mrs. Byron Judd was also a daughter of Judge Cooper.
Captain Thomas Crooks, one of the first horticulturalists in Kansas, settled at Quindaro in 1857. He was one of the men of Quindaro who enlisted in the First Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry with Colonel William Wear and George W. Veale.
Lyman M. Culver, a merchant of the early days of Wyandotte, came out from Pennsylvania in 1860. During the war he was engaged in freighting for the government.
Samuel W. Day, a banker and manufacturer of old Kansas City, Kansas, for many years, was with Kit Carson in Mexico in the early sixties. He assisted in building Fort Union. He came to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1867 and lived there until his death a few years ago.
Frank Holyoke Betton was born in Derry, Rockingham county, New Hampshire, August 1, 1835. His father's maternal grandfather, Matthew Thornton, was president of the colonial convention which met at Exeter in May, 1775, to organize a provisional government; served the following year as a member of the Continental congress, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. At the age of fourteen Mr. Benton went to Boston, and, after some years spent as a clerk in stores there and at Petersburg, Virginia, he came to Kansas in 1856. He lived for a time in Pottawatomie, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties, and finally located in Wyandotte. He engaged in the lumber business, and for several years owned and operated saw mills. In 1885 he was appointed state labor commissioner. In 1874 he was elected grand master of the Odd Fellows of Kansas; was also grand chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. His home was on a farm near Pomeroy, in Wyandotte county, until a few years before his death, which occurred in 1906.
In a cottage at No. 527 Central avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, resides one of the oldest living descendants of the Wyandot Indians. She is Mrs. Tabitha N. Thomas, a widow and a daughter of Silas Armstrong, the Wyandot Indian chief. Silas Armstrong came west from Ohio in 1843. Mrs. Thomas was then ten years old. Her father built a log cabin on the north bank of Jersey creek, now Seventh street and Virginia avenue. At the celebration of her seventy-sixth birthday Mrs. Thomas gathered around her a circle of eleven friends who heard her tell of the early days in old Wyandotte. They were greatly interested as they listened to her remarkable narrative of the Wyandot Indians' invasion of Kansas.
"What is now Kansas City, Kansas, in those days was a solid wilderness," she said. "We crossed the Kaw river at the mouth, which was then near the Armour packing plant. It took us more than an hour to paddle across the stream. The current was swift and the river was much wider than it is now. Then we climbed the hill on the crest of which Minnesota avenue now lies. It was a long and hard climb, but when we reached the summit we could get a fine view of the valley beneath us. My father was so impressed with the sight that he immediately decided to settle there."
Almost forty years of patient self-sacrificing labor for the cause of civic betterment and for the moral, intellectual and spiritual uplift, has been the gift of the Rev. James G. Dougherty to Kansas and particularly to Kansas City, Kansas, where he now resides. Doctor Dougherty was born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1837. He was graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1870, and for two years thereafter was pastor of the Congregational church at Lawrence, Massachusetts. He came out into the west in 1872 and found here a wide field of usefulness. He soon became known throughout the state and beyond its borders as an able minister who dared to stand always for that which he believed to be right. During the sixteen years he was pastor of the First Congregational church in Kansas City, Kansas, his influence was felt in the affairs of the city and its people.
One great service he rendered was in his leadership in a light that led to the extinction of the numerous gigantic swindling lottery concerns that infested the city. Streams of money were coming in from all parts of the continent to pay for lottery tickets issued for "drawings" that were never held, and, even if held, few important prizes were given. Our legislatures had not thought it necessary to enact laws for the suppression of an evil which they did not dream would ever infest the state. Doctor Dougherty went into the fight single handed. He encountered opposition from the start but he aroused the people and, backed by fearless newspapers, brought about the enactment of a measure so stringent that it had scarcely reached the governor for his signature before the lotteries were gone. Doctor Dougherty made the same kind of fight to stop gambling and race betting and it also was largely through his efforts that anti-gambling laws were enacted and the big gambling houses at the state line were closed. Doctor Dougherty helped to organize a Good Citizenship society, and through that medium was enabled to strike a first blow against the open violation of the prohibitory liquor law which for years had received official sanction by reason of the monthly fines paid by the dealers into the city treasury in lieu of license. These and other great reform movements have been led to a successful conclusion by Doctor Dougherty, prompted only by a desire for the welfare of his fellow men and with no thought of glory or reward other than that which comes to the good and faithful servant who performs a duty.
Doctor Dougherty has long been associated with the educational interests of the state and has been officially connected with Washburn College and other institutions in the state. Miss Lucy Dougherty, eldest of his daughters, is a teacher of English in the high school. Miss Mary Dougherty. the other daughter, also is a teacher and is the library story teller for children. Bradford Dougherty, the son, is engaged in business in Kansas City, Kansas. Doctor Dougherty and his wife have reached a ripe old age, full of experiences and faithful service and they bear the esteem of a wide circle of friends and of many thousands who have been witnesses to their good works in Kansas.
The work of Kansas artists has made its way into other states, while some of it has found recognition and fame in the art centers abroad. One whose place is in the front rank is John Douglass Patrick, at this time residing in Rosedale. His work was admitted to the Paris salon, and at the Universal Exposition, in Paris, in 1889, he was awarded a medal for a canvas, about nine feet wide by eleven in height, the subject being "Brutality." This painting was displayed in the American section at the exposition. When it is considered that it was one of the thirteen among the large number there shown by American artists that earned such recognition by the jury of awards, its artistic worth is beyond question. The noted art critic, Mr. Theodore Child, placed Mr. Patrick among the best of American oil-painters. The press complimented him highly. His picture in the salon attracted much attention because of the simplicity of the subject, the dramatic grouping, and the forceful yet artistic handling. "Brutality" represents a French drayman beating his horse because of its inability to draw a heavy load. This class of subjects was not the natural selection of the young American, who was rather given to painting sweet faces and delicate draperies, but his sensitive nature, which found delight in the purely beautiful, was deeply touched by the cruelty seen on the streets of Paris. Mr. Patrick is a Kansan, his early education being in the public schools of the state; an ardent student of nature, with a love for the beautiful, a tone of realism and an effort toward originality, which, coupled with his power of execution, place him among the strongest of western artists. He is a devotee of art for its own sake.
Mrs. Cora M. Stockton, of Kansas City, Kansas, widow of Judge John S. Stockton, was one of the women of Wyandotte whose literary and artistic talents were helpful to women and, as such, were recognized. Mrs. Stockton was one of Mrs. Potter Palmer's aides on the women's board of the World's Columbia Exposition at Chicago, in 1893, and in that capacity she contributed something of her own talents to the cause of woman's advancement in the arts and sciences. Mrs. Stockton wrote many poems of worth. In 1894 she published a collection of her best writings in a little volume which was dedicated to her friend, Mrs. Palmer. One of these, a description of a night scene at the Exposition grounds, while the great searchlight was thrown on the White City, presents this view of Columbia:
Mrs. Mary H. S. Wolcott, who came to Wyandotte from Ohio in 1857 with her husband, Albert Wolcott, is the only surviving charter member of the old Congregational church of war-time days. Mrs. Wolcott and her husband brought with them six of those Cincinnati "ready-to-set-up-houses" like Doctor Root's "Pill Box," and her stories of the social side of old Wyandotte are delightful to hear.
The chief clerk in the surveyor general's office when it was located in Wyandotte in 1855-6, was Robert L. Ream, the father of Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie, the noted sculptress. He was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, in October, 1809, and died in Washington, November 21, 1885. Another of his daughters married Perry Fuller, a noted Indian contractor in the early days of Kansas. The daughter Vinnie was born in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1863 she began to develop great talent as an artist. In 1866 congress commissioned her to execute a marble statue of the martyred President Lincoln, over eight competitors. In 1874 she was awarded a contract by the government for a statue of Admiral Farragut, over twenty-one competitors. She became a very famous woman, spending much of her time in Rome, engaged in this class of art.
The Rev. Alexander Sterrett came to Kansas in 1866, when he first preached in Junction City. He located at Manhattan. He organized the Presbyterian churches of Junction City, Manhattan, Womego and Kansas City, Kansas, and died in the latter city in 1884. His widow, Mrs. Anna Sterrett, was a student at the Anderson Collegiate Institute at New Albany, Indiana. Mrs. George W. Veale, of Topeka, was also a student in the Anderson Institute.
In Oak Grove Cemetery a beautiful monument marks the grave of Mrs. Mary A. Sturges, who was a noted army nurse, She died in Kansas City, Kansas, December 29, 1892. The monument was erected by the Grand Army of the Republic and Woman's Relief Corps. It is a massive, but plain granite slab, resting on a base of the same material. Mrs. Sturges was one of the army nurses of the Civil war. She was intimately associated through the war with "Mother" Bickerdyke, "Aunt Lizzie" Aiken, and other noted nurses. She entered the service in October, 1861, being at that time a widow living at Peoria, Illinois. She continued as a nurse till the close of the war, was afterward pensioned and for many years lived with her daughter in Kansas City, Kansas. She often spoke of a monument she wanted erected over her grave, and in her declining years saved every cent she could for that purpose.
William Y. Roberts, one of the founders of Wyandotte, located with a colony at Big Springs, Douglas county, in the summer of 1855, from Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He was a native of that state, and had served several terms as a member of its legislature. On October 5, 1855, he participated in the Big Springs Free State convention, and served as a member of the constitutional convention which met at Topeka the 23d of the same month. The schedule of members gives his age at forty-one, farming as his occupation, and his politics as Democratic. He was elected lieutenant governor under the Topeka constitution. His practical judgment prevented an open conflict with the border ruffians at the time of the Dow murder, though his party of Free State men first gave the ruffians a realizing sense that Yankees would fight. His company was the second to be mustered into the War of the Rebellion from Kansas - Company B, First Kansas - and was led by him in the battle of Wilson Creek, Missouri, August 10, 1861. He was soon promoted to the position of major, and then to the rank of colonel, in which capacity he served during the war. After the war he resumed the occupation of farming, doing some editorial work on the Lawrence Tribune during the summer of 1868. He died on his farm near Lawrence, February 9, 1869, after a lingering illness.
Caius Jenkins, another of the incorporators of Wyandotte, settled on his claim adjoining Lawrence in the fall of 1855, having located it the previous antumn. During the preceding year he had been proprietor of the American House, at Kansas City. He at once identified himself with the Free State cause. On May 10, 1856, he assisted Governor Roeder in his escape from Lawrence to Kansas. The same month he was indicted by the grand jury of Douglas county for treason; arrested at Lawrence May 21st by Deputy United States Marshal Fain, and confined with Governor Robinson and other Free State men at Lecompton. May 25, 1857, with other Free State men, he signed an open letter addressed to Secretary Stanton, offering to overlook the past and participate in the election of delegates to the Lecompton constitutional convention, provided a correct census was secured. On June 3, 1858, Mr. Jenkins was killed in a dispute over the title to his land claim by James H. Lane.
Thomas Hunton Swope was the last of the survivors of the first Wyandotte town company. He was a native of Kentucky, graduating from the Central College, at Danville, in that state, in 1848. The following year he became an alumnus of Yale. Some years later he removed to Kansas City, Missouri, and November 9, 1857, his name is found among the charter members of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1895 he gave to that city Swope Park, a tract of 1,400 acres. He presented, in March, 1902, the sum of $25,000 to Central University, Danville, Kentucky, for the purpose of erecting a library building. The death from poisoning of Thomas H. Swope in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1908, and the trial for murder and conviction of his physician, Dr. B. Clark Hyde, who had married a niece of Mr. Swope, was one of the most celebrated cases in the criminal annals of the United States. The verdict of the trial court was reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court in April, 1911, and a second trial was ordered.
JAMES R. PARR AND OTHERS.
It is a difficult task at this time - more than fifty years after the founding of Wyandotte and Quindaro, to write of all of the pioneers who rightfully should be mentioned as among those who were here when the state, county and city were in the making. Any historical work, however, would be incomplete without the mention of such stanch citizens as James R. Parr, the first mayor of Wyandotte; Nicholas McAlpin, one of the city's founders; William P. Overton, a veteran of the Mexican war; David J. Greist, who opened a lumber yard in the fifties; Judge Barzillai Gray, O. S. Bartlett, John S. Stockton, Martin Stewart, George B. Reichnecker and Arthur D. Downs. Then there were lawyers like David E. James, Governor George Glick and his brother Charles, Charles Chadwick who was secretary to Governor Robinson and afterwards adjutant general. Some of the early German citizens were Charles Hains, Philip Knoblock, Fred Drees, George Grubel, Charles and J. W. Wahlenmaier, G. W. Robaugh, who built mills and machinery for the Indians, and August Jost. Also well worthy of mention are the Woods brothers, Dr. George B. and Luther H., builders of our first street railway line; R. E. Ela, George S. Kroh, W. B. Garlick, O. K. Serviss, John B. Scroggs, Dr. P. A. Eager and his son Dr. J. L. B. Eager; Captain George P. Nelson and George Schreiner, of steamboat fame; R. G. Dunning, who built the Grand Opera House, known later as Dunning Opera House; Prof. Porter Sherman, Dr. John Wherrell, and Prof. O. C. Palmer, of early day school teaching experience; Henry L. Alden, a school principal until he entered the law office of Stephen A. Cobb, and John A. Hale, who was an employee of the Kansas Pacific railroad before he became a criminal lawyer, and one of the ablest before the bar.
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