ALPHEUS A. B. CAVANESS GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Baldwin Ledger, Friday, April 21, 1916, Pg. 1
Vol. XXXIII, No. 36
Alpheus A. B. Cavaness.
In the first week of April 1856, U. C. Cavaness and wife arrived in Westport from Indiana. They had four children with them—the eldest being the subject of this sketch.
They walked 10 miles into Kansas and stayed two weeks at the Shawnee Mission. They then went to Lawrence.
Alpheus was a member of the Free State Militia under Gen. J. H. Lane during the border war, and was at the surrender of Lecompton, the “bogus” state capital. He was under, Capt. John Brown when Buford’s men and Missourians tried to raid Lawrence, September 14, 1856.
The family then moved to Anderson county, but Mother Cavaness was so insistent that the children should receive an education that they moved to Baldwin in 1859—just one year after the new college was opened.
He entered Baker university, but gave up his studies and took to the camp and field again when the Civil War began, enlisting in the Third Kansas regiment under Colonel Montgomery.
This regiment was subsequently disbanded or merged with other divisions, and he became a member of the First Kansas Battery, with which he served until the close of the war, having charge of one of its guns. Its operations were chiefly in the Middle West, the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., being one of its principle engagements. It was also summoned to join in the pursuit of Morgan, the raider.
Mr. Cavaness was terribly injured in a forced march from Fort Scott. He was riding on a gun caisson and started to step to the ground. His foot caught and he fell so that a hind wheel of the cannon’s carriage passed over his body.
The injury was so severe that he lay at the point of death for three or four weeks. Eventually he recovered, but internal injuries remained, from which an abcess developed, which had caused him much suffering the past 35 years and finally resulted in his death.
After the war was over he resumed his studies, re-entering Baker university, then going to Northwestern university in Evanston, Ill. He taught for a time in Lewis college, Lewis, Mo., as professor of mathematics.
His physical disabilities increased, however, and he returned to this city. However, during the “grasshopper year” he helped hold the college together when all the teachers deserted for lack of substenance; teaching several classes without pay. He was never married.
In later year he became proprietor of the town book store and afterwards served almost five years as postmaster. He gave the present athletic park to the college.
He had much literary ability, Bishop Quayle declaring that he had written some of the best verse ever produced by any Kansas author. This talent was first revealed while he was attending Northwestern university, where he composed a remarkable poem on “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” Several years since Baker gave him the honorary degree of Master of Arts.
He collaborated with his brother in issuing “Poems by Two Brothers,” which had a large sale and was also the author of “the Rubaiyat of Hope,” well known to all admirers of Kansas literature.
He had also written enough other verse to make a volume, but none of this had ever been assembled and prepared for publication.
He died April 18, 1916, and the funeral services were conducted by Dr. S. S. Klyne from his late residence at 2:30 Thursday, April 20. A large number of friends testifying to his years of patient suffering and sterling fortitude. He was for years a devote member of the Methodist church.