From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Linwood, beautifully situated at the confluence of the Kaw or Kansas river and Big Stranger creek, on the southern boundary of Leavenworth county, is one of the old communities of the county. It dates back to the days of the Delaware Indians, and its original name was Journeycake, given in honor of Charles Journeycake, a noted chief of that tribe, who ruled over the people on the Delaware Reserve, in what are now Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Jefferson counties.
In 1867, the name was changed to Stranger. On January 2, 1875, William A. Harris, leading citizen of the community, who later became United States senator, had the name changed, this time to Linwood, for the native linden, commonly called linn trees, which grew there, and the place has borne that designation ever since.
Early exporters and travelers through the Kaw Valley were impressed with the wild, sequestered beauty of this particular spot, and were wont to remark about its scenic aspect and natural advantages. The writer recalls one of these itinerants who spoke about its being an ideal situation for a town, and in his journal even prophesied that some day it would be a bustling municipality. To what extent this prophecy has become true, is left to those more familiar with the place than the writer, to judge. When he saw it many years ago, it was a struggling village, and while the primeval beauty of the location had, no doubt, been impaired by the inroads of pioneer settlement and rural industry it was still a pretty little spot. It is not the purpose of this article to trace the progress of the community through all the years, but rather to give some facts, not too well known to the average reader about its earliest history. Stranger was laid out as a townsite in 1867, by the Kansas Valley Town Company. In 1882, it had 125 inhabitants and several stores and other business places.
Chief Charles Journeycake's name in Indian was Ne-sha-pa-na-cumin. The name was originally Johnnycake, in Ohio, before the Delawares migrated westward. The late William Elsey Connelley, who was perhaps the best authority on the Delaware and Wyandotte nations, in a letter to the writer, says that Charles Journeycake succeeded Ne-quon-he-quon as chief. The latter was the last chief, by blood, of the Delawares. He was chief of the Wolf Clan for whom Wolf creek in Leavenworth county, was named, and head chief of the Delaware tribe. He died of diphtheria at an advanced age, on the Delaware Reserve, in 1861, and that is where Journeycake steps in as chief.
Regarding this, Connelley further writes: "Ne-quon-he-quon was a good man and greatly beloved by the Delawares. He held to the ancient customs of the tribe, and persistently refused to adopt any portion of the dress of the white people. He was a great hunter. He was succeeded in office by Charles Johnnycake, who got himself recognized as chief by the Indian agent. The Delawares regarded Johnnycake as an interloper and usurper; but it was the old fight against the innovations of progress, and Johnnycake represented the progressive party. He changed his name to Journeycake originated in Ohio, and the family was prominent in the tribe even at that early time, Charles Johnnycake was a good man, also an able man. You can see a good picture of him in the Census Bulletin of 1890, called 'The Five Civilized Tribes.'"
Charles Journeycake was a signer of the following treaties: Washington, D. C. May 6, 1854, relative to the cession of lands and settlement of the Munsee Indians thereon, where the Veterans' Administration Home at Leavenworth, now stands; Leavenworth city, July 2, 1861, relative to lands for the L. P. & W., railroad; and Delaware Agency, July 4, 1866, providing for the removal of the tribe from Kansas to the Indian Territory, and the purchase of part of the reserve by the Missouri River Railroad company; also the allotments and sale of remaining lands of the tribe. Journeycake signed the latter treaty as chief. He died in the Indian Territory the late '90's. Jacob A. Bartles, the founder of Bartlesville, Okla., married his daughter.
A trading post was operated on the site of what is now Linwood for some time in the old Indian days. A ferry was also in operation of the Kaw river between that point and Eudora at one time. The late Charles R. Green, of Olathe, a well known Kansas historian, lived in the vicinity of Linwood, when it was known as Stranger, in the early days, and taught the first school there in the old, deserted trader's store. Green had just returned from the Pacific coast where he had gone as a member of Gen. W. W. Wright's party in making a preliminary survey of a route for the Union Pacific railroad. In a letter to the writer he says: "Returning to Kansas in 1868, I commenced teaching my first term of school in Leavenworth county, that fall, in the empty Delaware Indian trading store, at a station on the Union Pacific, in the Kaw Valley, about 32 miles from Wyandotte, known first as Journeycake, later Stranger, and in 1875, Linwood. Having met the Delaware Indians there the year before, and learning much history about them in my school teaching days up to 1874. I have, in these later years, interviewed many pioneers of that section, and recently (1910) visited the Delawares in their homes among the Cherokees, south of Coffeyville, Kas."
Mr. Green wrote much about the Delawares, and when he died he left much unpublished material, regarding them. He was the author of a number of books on Indians and early Kansas history. For years he was a director of the Kansas State Historical society. In Olathe he acquired an old city jail building which he converted into a private museum filled with valuable historical material. In another letter to the writer he said: "I have pleasant memories of my old school teaching experience, and my association with the pioneers and Delawares in Leavenworth county."
Senator, or as he was sometimes called Colonel William A. Harris, was Linwood's most distinguished citizen. He was proprietor of the famous "Linwood Farm" of 1,000 or more acres there, and specialized in the breeding of the fine live stock. He came to Kansas at the close of the Civil war, in which he serves with distinction in the Confederate army, to take the position of resident engineer in the construction of the Kansas division of the Union Pacific railroad. A little later he became Land Agent for this road, and also took charge of the Delaware Indian reservation lands. He was one of the first live stock sanitary commissioners of Kansas. He served as congressman at large also state senator and was chosen as United States senator to succeed Senator W. A. Peffer, the Populist incumbent. At the time of his death in 1909, he was a regent of the Kansas State Agricultural college. As a stockman he had a national reputation. He was a native of Virginia, and was born in 1844.
The old time country doctor, with his sorrel nag, his old brown bag, his cheery smile, his unending willingness to serve and his equally unending hours of labor, as one writer has described him, is disappearing. Of such a type was the late Dr. J. W. Warring, who served the Linwood community and a large scope of surrounding country, faithfully for about 65 years. Dr. Warring was a Kentuckian and was born August 4, 1847. He located at Platte City, Mo., right after the Civil War, but soon moved to Linwood when it was still known as Stranger, and where he practiced his profession until his death a few years ago. John S. Duncan was the first postmaster when a post office was established at Stranger on August 26, 1867. His son, Frank M. Duncan, was an early merchant at Linwood. Orrin W. Shepherd was an early telegrapher for the Union Pacific at Linwood and later a merchant there. James Pickens, who lived near Linwood, was a government freighter on the plains for years and had a most interesting frontier experience, as did also John B. Frederick, another old timer of the community. John Jewett arrived at Fort Leavenworth June 16, 1857, with a train of eleven emigrant wagons from Illinois. He settled in Leavenworth and engaged in well drilling until 1869, when he began farming near Linwood. He was the first county commissioner from Sherman township. He was a sergeant in the Kansas State Militia. Thomas N. Beezley settled near Linwood in 1868. He was a Tennessean, a Mexican War veteran and a California argonaut. James A. Harness settled at Linwood nearly 70 years ago. He was a Kentuckian, and served in the Third Kentucky Infantry, taking part in some of the important battles of the Civil War, including Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Stony Point, Resaca, Pumpkin Vine Creek, Peach Tree Creek and others. He later moved to Kickapoo where he died a number of years ago. He was noted as a wild goose hunter on the Missouri river.