DEXTER E. CLAPP GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Yates Center News, June 23, 1882:
Honored Citizen Gone.
General Dexter E. Clapp quietly and peacefully breathed his last at the Taylor House in this place a 6:30 a. m. Tuesday, after a torturing illness of several days. The immediate cause of death was brain fever, superinduced, no doubt, by mental exertion and Bright’s disease, from which he had been a continual sufferer for years. He, for the past two years, was prominently connected with some extensive mining interests near Socorro, N. M.., in the success of which he was deeply concerned and from which he had but recently returned, completely broken down and apparently discouraged. On Monday of last week, although suffering extremely at the time, deeming this duty to attend a meeting of the Board of Regents of the State Normal School, of which he was a member, he accompanied by his wife, who has never for an hour left him during this recent serious illness, went to Emporia for the purpose above stated, intending after his labors were completed there to go to Topeka where he also had some unsettled business matters, which he fancied demanded his attention. It is now generally believed that at the time of his leaving home he was partially deranged, yet to humor what seemed to be a whim, and fearing no serious results therefrom, no obstacles were interposed by friends in the way of his going. Arriving at Emporia, his condition became materially worse, medical aid was summoned, and , apparently realizing the gravity of his case, he desired nothing so much as to be where he could rest and receive that attention from his family physician and friends of which he stood so much in need. Without being able to attend any of the sessions of his board he started for home, arriving at Piqua Junction on Friday, where he was detained until the following day, owing to the derangement in the running time on the Wichita road, reaching this place on Saturday evening.
He was at once taken to the Taylor House where everything that affection could command or science could suggest was done to aid his recovery or alleviate his sufferings. On Sunday he lost the sense of vision and although his hearing was greatly impaired, he was only able to recognize his most intimate friends by their voices. He continued to grow gradually weaker, his periods of lucidity became less frequent, his words merged into incoherent mutterings until a short time previous to his dissolution when his great mental powers reasserted their dominion and he conversed in broken sentences, yet intelligibly, with his family and friends, turned his weary emaciated face toward the wall and quietly feel asleep. His departure was so smooth, so quiet, so evidently free from pain or suffering that neither his faithful wife, who held his hand in hers, or the tireless friends who kept watch and vigil around his bed side, realized that his immortal spirit had taken its noiseless, invisible departure for the evergreen shores beyond the dark river, and all that now remained of the once brilliant, meteoric Dexter E. Clapp was but an inanimate form of mortal clay before them. His life was an eventful and often a stormy one, and during his tenure he filled many positions of trust and responsibility under our Government.
Dexter E. Clapp was born in Genesee county, New York, June 7, 1830. He was descended from Captain Roger Clapp, who came over with a colony from Dorchester, England, and established the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts now a part of Boston. His father, Ralph Clapp, graduated in the first class of Amherst College, immigrated to New York in 1827, where he became a minister in the Congregational church and afterward in the Methodist Episcopal church, and for fifty two years has filled worthily his place in the pulpit in that State. He is still living, but has retired from active work. The mother of the subject of our memoir was Mary Dexter, of Amherst, Massachusetts, who died when he was but ten years old. She was a lady of culture, a devout Christian woman, worthily filling the place of a clergyman’s wife and a good mother.
Dexter E. Clapp was educated at Genesee College, New York, graduating in the class of 1854, receiving the degree of A. M. in course, and the same honorary degree from the University of New York. In acquiring an education he spent seven years, alternately teaching and pursuing his studies. On leaving college he entered the ministry of the East Genesee conference of the Methodist Episcopal church and occupied the pulpit until 1862, when he entered the army as captain of Co. C, 148th New York State Volunteers. Under detail from General B. F. Butler, he raised the 38th Regiment United Stated Colored Infantry, which he commanded during the war, except during most of the winter of 1864, when he was in command of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Division of the 18th Army Corps.
He participated in the battles of various campaigns in and around Richmond, and was brevetted Brigadier General of volunteers for gallant conduct at the battles of New Market Heights and Ft. Gilmore on the 29th day of September 1864. After the close of the war he represented our Government several years as minister to the Argentine Confederation in South America. Resigning this position he returned home and finally came to Kansas, settling upon a tract of raw prairie land, now known as Hope Farm, six miles west of Yates Center. Subsequently he was appointed agent for the Crow Indians in the wilds of Montana, in which capacity he served his country honestly and faithfully for nearly two years. Returning to this county, he soon afterward entered politics and was in the fall of 1878 elected as Representative in the Legislature of this State, and was re-elected in 1880, he being a member of the house at the time of his death. By his colleagues in the Legislature he was recognized as a leader, always ready to debate, sparkling, full of quick retort, and although naturally mild, gentle and courteous, a perfect tiger when aroused by an unjust attack. There are few men in the State who are more highly esteemed or whose loss would be more generally felt.
On Wednesday his remains were deposited in Kallia Cemetery near this place with the beautiful rites of the Masonic fraternity of this place, of which body he was an honored member, assisted by brethren from adjacent lodges, the funeral was the most extensive and imposing ever witnessed in this county, the procession being fully a half mile in length. He leaves a wife, brother and a large circle of admiring friends to mourn his untimely death.