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Kansas Roots

Kansas turned 160 years old today!

Happy Birthday, Kansas

My Kansas roots run deep. My parents, grandparents and a couple of great-grandparents were all born in Kansas. While my 5 generation birth chart shows a lot of different states in the fifth generation, my chart of death places shows mostly ancestors dying in Kansas. (births on left, deaths on right)

If all of these ancestors were in Kansas prior to their death, what is the earliest record of them living in Kansas?

Washington Marion Crawford and his wife, Mary Foster Crawford, arrived in Dodge City, Kansas around 1884. According to several newspaper accounts, James H. Crawford was expecting the arrival of his brother, Washington Marion Crawford in June of 1884. In March, 1885, Washington Marion Crawford paid $2 at the Garden City land office to file a homestead claim. Later in May of 1885, Washington Marion Crawford was accepted as a member of the Lewis Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Richmond Fisk Hammond is listed on the 1886 post report as a member of the Lewis Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. Thus, Richmond Fisk Hammond and his wife, Sarah Ellen Ralston Hammond were living in the Dodge City area by 1886.

Hiram M. Currey married Angelina Jane Burke in Weston on the Missouri side of the state line in August 1856. In 1860, Hiram Currey is listed on the territorial census living in Kickapoo, Leavenworth County, Kansas. An illustration showing pro-slavery men from Weston voting in 1855 at Kickapoo. This illustration was published in 1867. It is unknown whether Hiram Currey was part of this cross-border battle to determine whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state. Since Hiram Currey would serve under Captain Samuel Hollister in Company B of the 12th Cavalry Regiment of the Kansas State Militia in 1864, I do not believe he was a pro-slavery voter.

Albert Hutchinson and his wife, Julia Harding Hutchinson, were living in Mitchell county Iowa in 1880. In 1890, Albert is shown on a census of veterans in Clay County, Missouri. According to this military pension record, Julia passed away in 1892 in Doniphan County, Kansas. Albert then married Honore Eliza Van Valkenburg ibn 1893 in St. Joseph, Missouri (which is across the Missouri River from Doniphan County, Kansas). In 1895, Albert is found living in Doniphan County. He died in Doniphan county in 1896.

Alexander Briles purchased land lying in Coffey County in 1858. He is shown on the 1859 Kansas territory census living in Coffey County with 8 minors in the household. The family, including his son, Noah Briles, were all listed on the 1860 territorial census living in Coffey County, Kansas. Noah Briles would go to Iowa to work on a farm. While in Iowa, he served in Company I of the 1st Regiment of the Iowa Cavalry Volunteers. After the war, he married Sarah Thompson in Iowa. In 1872, Noah purchased land in Coffey county, Kansas. By 1875, Noah, his wife and their family had moved to Coffey County, Kansas.

James Marshall Ricketts married his wife, Rachel Elmeda Christy in 1866 in Clinton County, Indiana. In 1879, James Ricketts purchased land in Woodson County, Kansas. By 1880, the family was living in Everett Township, Woodson County, Kansas.

George Mentzer is said to have helped establish the first hotel in Kewanee Illinois prior to 1860. However, he must have returned to Massachusetts by 1860 since he is shown on the 1860 census living in his brother’s household. George served in Company C of the 24th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. In 1866, George purchased land in Henry County, Illinois. In 1867 George married Emeline Minnick in Kewanee, Henry County, Illinois. In 1870, George purchased land in Woodson County. However, the family was still living in Illinois in 1870. In 1871, George Mentzer and his friend, George Allen, moved their families from Illinois to Woodson County, Kansas.

Thurston Kennedy Wells was likely living in Miami County, Kansas when his son, William Hall Wells was born to Thurston and his first wife, Sarah Hall in 1857. In 1860, a K. T. Wells is listed on the census in Lykins County, Kansas. Little is known about the family at this time, but Sarah likely died between 1857 and 1861. In March of 1861, Thurston Wells marries Salome Crandall in Van Buren County, Iowa. In 1875, Thurston and Salome are found living in Woodson county, Kansas on the 1875 census. Also listed in their household are Thurston’s two sons by his first marriage and the two younger daughters he had with Salome.

Thus, all of my great-great grandfathers had brought their families to Kansas prior to 1900, with three of them being in the state prior to statehood. Thus, my Kansas roots run deep.