Publication: Belleville Telescope Thursday, November 24, 1994

You are currently viewing page 18 of: Belleville Telescope Thursday, November 24, 1994

   Belleville Telescope (Newspaper) - November 24, 1994, Belleville, Kansas                                8B THE BELLEVILLE TELESCOPE, Thursday, November 24, 1994 One of Republic County's Pioneers, James Barton Of Cuba Wrote In 1936 About Coming to Kansas In 1871 (Editor't Note: James Barton provided The Telescope witti the foHowing account written in January 1936 about his coming to Kansas in 1871. His account was not turned over to ttie paper until 1951 when Mr. Barton wrote 'In the year of 1951 and we are both getting pretty old. I will be 88 years on November 19,1951. I was bom in Europe. We moved to the U.S. when I was about six or seven months old. I must of bean quits a man when we crossed the ocean. I am the oldest one of nine children and I am the only one alive. I helped to build the Buslington and the Rock Island railroad. My wife was bom in Wisconsin the daughter of John Kumelius, but moved to Kansas when she was one year ok). She was tf)e oktost of six chiMren, one of which was Mrs. Austin Way of Wayne, Kan. The Bartons were married 65 years and lived in Kansas 80, 57 of these years in the Cuba community. Here is the account he wrote in 1936.) I was seven years old when Father, Mother, I, and three younger brothers, Frank, Joe, and Fred, left Marshall Town, Marehall County, Iowa, in May 1871 for Kansas, where free land could be homesteaded. In our group were about eighteen covered wagons, the most of them pulled by oxen with yokes instead of harness, without lines and with only our whip and voice to guide them. Mr. John Kuchera, later citizen of Cuba, Kansas, was our leader. He and his brother Joe had already located farms for themselves in Kansas, and Mr. Kuchera agreed to guide our crowd back with him. Our first day out was a rainy one. We bunched the cattle of all the families behind the wagons, with one from each family to help drive them. I being the oldest boy in our family had to help drive the catde. It was a mighty long and hard walk from Iowa to Kansas for a seven year old, barefoot boy! Our oxen averaged about Fifteen miles a day. Our nightly camping places were always near water an wood, and on Sundays we always laid off, the women folks doing their baking and washing, for we codldn't buy bread and provisions along the road then as now. They had to bake bread enough to last through the coming week. Always we unloaded two or three four-lid stoves for the baking, although for our daily meals we cooked over fireplaces only. By the end of each week our bread was hard and moldy, but there was no help for it We carried no feed for the oxen, so they had to be grazed, morning, noon and night. We crossed the Missouri River at Nebraska City on a ferry boat, we had muddy going through Missouri, there were no bridges, so in places we got stuck and it took two or three yokes of oxen to pull each wagon out in turn. From Missouri we passed into Nebraska, later camping right south of where Fairbury stands today, although then it consisted of only a few shanties. From Fairbury we traveled to Grandpa Houdek's, two miles south of Munden, Kansas, where our little group divided, each family going their sepaiate way in search of their own homestead. After a few days' stay, our family went on to live with Jim Waltman's until fall, eight of us living in a one-room sod house,, roofed with sod. Meanwhile father located his homestead six miles east of Belleville ~ then a village of only a few buildings. While father was going back and forth breaking sod with his oxen, I was herding both our and Waltman's cattle. With no fences, it took plenty of walking - barefoot walking at thati -- to prevent cattle stampeding into growing crops. In the fall we moved nearer our own homestead tot he home of Jim Palmer, a bachelor, where we lived in the basement. In the spring father built our dug-out. Now, you young folks, who think your pretty homes are not comfortable enough, you should have seen our first Kansas home - one underground room, dirt floor, dirt roof, and fleas and snakes for company. You never say so many fleas ~ we always blamed the buffalo and buffalo grass for these fleas, for all sod-house and dug-out families had them. Our first crop was cut by father and a Mr. Zavodsky with a "cradle" scythe, - a hard beginning for our parents, but how we children enjoyed the pretty country - miles and miles of "Blue-Stem" in places three and four feet high, and just a lot of fun to play and hide in! There were no roads -no towns ~ no churches - no schools - no doctos - and no railroads. Later, I helped build both the Rock Island and the Buriington through Cuba, but at this time our nearest railroad town was Waterville. When father went for provisions, it took him about a week to drive it with oxen, where you young folks now could motor it in an hour and a half. Our only foods were cornbrcad, sorghum for ^ugar and parched rye for coffee ~ considerably burned and then ground. Some folds used parched com, but parched rye made better coffee. While herding cattle we would see lots DRAWING OF CONCORDIA MAIN STREET IN 1873-The above picture of Concordia's main street in 1873 was drawn by early Cloud County resident Albert T. Held, an artist friend of A. Q. Miller of Belleville. Both knew each other in the 1800s. Reid wrote this about the picture on the back of a copy he rnade for Mr. Miller. Reid lived nearer Clyde and Miller closer to Clifton. ReW wrote: "Concor-dia-1873-Just one block towards you and one btock to your left, a very young chap nanied Albert Reid had just arrived. The second white chiW bom in these parts. When you went out the end of that one block tong Mainstreet is was some 400 miles to Denver-nothing between except plains and buffalo-and the toughest Indians in the world-the Cheyennes. Denver was then the county seat of Arapaho County, Kansas (much of Cokjrado was part of Kansas at that time). It took some courage to be born out there, "A.Q.", Rekl wrote. Merle Miller, publisher of The Telescope recently found the picture among some of his father's possessions. This painting was purchased by the Association of University Women. At one time in hung in the courthouse at Concordia- it was just two blocks from where Reid, the Cloud county's most famous earty-day painter was born. Reid wrote his childhood friend Miller that the picture was to depk:t the period in Concordia about one year before he was bom, so Rekl must have been born in 1874. Reid said "The picture shows one of my father's stages asit leavest for Waterville. My father's stores, stables, etc., are just back to right. The sta^e is now in the Smithstonian Institute in Washington, D. C. given to them by Will Rogers and Fred Stone (Winfield.Kan.) Reki wrote Miller. The University of Kansas now has many of Reid's paintings. of buffalo heads and bones, undoubtedly left behind by Indians. Wild game was plentiful, including countless prairie chickens and quail everywhere. That first fall, we saw several deer and antelope grazing on our rye, but our nearest buffaloes were west of the Republican River. However, we often had buffalo meat from the steaks brought back by other pioneer hunters. My father never owned a gun. I don't know what we would have done, had some of our Indian scares developed into reality. Tiiere had been massacres between 1868 and 1870, but after 1871, the year we came, the Indians were peaceful, with only one real threat following the Custer Massacre, which happily was stopped ere it reached our Cpunty. \ 9 ELLEVILLE DMETOWN HRISTMAS,, This Yuletide Season, We're Offering A Special   9^ 70/ I    / 0 Interest Rate On Holiday Loans For Qualified Applicants Borrow Up To $500 and Receive Belleville Hometown Christmas Bucks To Be Used at Participating Belleville Area Merchants Repay Over Nine Months, Beginning February, 1995 The low interest rate saves you money, and the community spending boosts our economy! The season just got merrier! LOANEXAMPLE $500.00 loan @ a rate of 7%* Loan Origination Fee is $5.00 9 Monthly payments of $5 8.09 8.9927 % APR Stop In Jor O^t Cider and      ^ Windozu Qnessity at Christmas Opening !Fridat/,9\[pveniBer2^^6-9p.nt FIRST NATIONAL BANK % "Your Agricultural Financial Center" 1205 18T Street   Belleville, KS   527-2268 i My first remembrance of Indians dates back to Iowa, where we lived near an Indian reservation. My father would often catch him an Indian pony to ride when he wanted to get anywhere quicker than his oxen could take him, and then he would turn the pony loose again - fortunately no Indian ever caught him borrowing a free ride. These Indian ponies were well worth seeing. They were small, mostly buck-skin color, with long, untrimmed dark brown manes reaching almost to their knees and their uncut dark brown tails were so long that often they dragged on the ground. Another interesting sight were the wild Texas cattle as they were being driven through by Texas Cowboys from the south to the northward, crossing our Homestead two or three different times. Their horns had a spread of from four to five feet. They were driven in herds of three or four thousand. All the lamed and sick ones were left behind and "broken" by pioneers. They made good work oxen for they were speedier than our own heavier breeds, but they were not much good for meat or milk either. During the big prairie fire of Saturday, April 12, 1873, the Crane family, living where Henry Havel now lives right east of Jefferson Center School, lost their home and everything they had. Mr. Crane being away from home, his wife and four children went to stay with their nearest neighbor, James Bennett, living where George B. Lesovsky lives now. The next day, Sunday, began the great Kansas "RAIN-HAIL-BLIZZARD-WIND" Storm which lasted until Tuesday noon. However, before it ended, on Monday it blew the roof and stone gable end in the Bennett Home, crushing the Hoor down into the basement where the two families had taken refuge. Mr. Bennett moved his family and the Crane family into a straw shed, and, taking one of his boys on his back, went to a neighbor's for help which was refused. Returning to his own straw shed, he found everyone frozen - his wife, week-old babe, older child, and also the boy on his own back, together with all the Crane family with the exception of one girl, whom they had forgotten in the basement. Fortunately, a Mr. Connell who was on his way to our Prairie Home Post Office (where Grandpa Phelps was Postmaster at that time) passed the wrecked home, and hearing an unusual noise in the basement, found the Crane girl wrapped in old quilts, so he took her with him to the Post Office where she lived with the Phelps' family several years and went to school with us, but I don't know where she is now, if still living. All the eight dead -- four Bennett and four Crane - were brought to the John Campbell Farm, where Elmer Leshovsky, Jr., lives now, and one of our good Pioneers preached the funeral services from there. Since this tragedy occurred but three-quarters of a mile from our Homestead, Father and I were among the first there. All these unfoitunate folks were buried at the Farmington Cemetery. Two large graves like small cellars were dug and each family was buried together in one grave. The day of the fuiieraJ turned waim, the snow was melting and it was � sloppy, but we all went to the funeral. Poor Mr. Bennett was the only mourner present, since Mr. Crane didn't get back in time for the funeral. The first year, school was held in the Prairie Home Post Office, and the second year in the home of Ernest Cole, living where Frank Shima, Jr., lives now. Perry Heaton was our teacher until Prairie Home School was built. There was a stage coach from Waterville westward through Belleville. They built a "Government Sod Bam" on the now James Kesl farm which Al Brown homesteaded and lived on then. Here horses were changed and the coach proceeded westward. In July 1873, our new one-room stone house with basement was finished, so we decided to celebrate 4th on our farm - my first 4ih of July Celebration in Kansas! People came from all around, some horseback, others with ox teams, and I remember how days before my father and I went to Hanover for food and beer. Driving our ox team, it took us four days to go and return, so you might know how warm that beer was, and there was no ice to cool it with! Hanover, at that time, had no raihoad, but it had a small brewerey of its own. There's another memorable day --Sunday, July26th, 1874 -- that I remember plainly. At about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, a black cloud formed in the Northeast and lost no time getting here. Very shortly the sun became obscured, and going outdoors, were caught in a "hail-storm" of grasshoppers. They came down as thickly and as forcefully as the thickest hailstorm you can imagine ~ the air was full of them - the ground was alive with them.  Mother hurried out and wrapped all her cabbage and vegetables, but they ate cloth and all. By night the grasshoppers had harvested all our crops with the exception of what little rye we had cut and shocked, this they didn't bother. We heard that they even stopped tundins by getting on the rails and preventing wheels from pulling. What a sad year for us - that grasshopper year! That fall the grasshoppers laid (heir eggs and next spring one sunny day while plowing, I plowed up some of the egg shells. They were ahnost an inch long and about as thick as my little finger, and filler full of little eggs. By the time I plowed another round, the warm sun had hatched these eggs, and the little hoppers were alieady jumping. But they didn't bother much that year, flying away before they could destroy crops. But there are happier memories, also. Dances were frequent, an since I played an accordian for dancing, I always went. We walked or rode in four-or-five seated lumber wagons, drawn by either horses or oxen. Oxen were tricky, sometimes in hot weather if passing ponds, they decided to cool themselves by running off with us into the middle of the pond. Then it was up to the men folks to carry the women folds out to dry land. Sometimes this spoiled our fine "Sunday clothes." Our trousers were hand-stitched of blue or gray denim. Our shirts were also hand stitched, i^ut our women folks were just as pretty as the prettiest today, in their hand-stitched calico dresses, cut by the very latest pioneer pattern - back and front alike, slightly shaped and gathered at the waist line, with full skirt, and a round hole for the neck, open and buttoned down the front to the waist" styles ahnost alike for young and old. All children and some men went barefooted all summer until the soles of our feet got like shoe leather. I have lived in Republic County and the State of Kansas for sixty-five years this coming May, coming here when only a little past seven years old and being seventy-two years old today. My wife and I were married in this County forty-nine years ago this coming fifth of June. How well I remember our courtship -1 used to go to see her and then W would go horseback riding: we needed no new automobile then for happiness! I have enjoyed writing down these old-time memories for my children, my grandchild, my great grandchildren, my relatives, and all my friends - May you enjoy reading how my Father, my Mother, my wife, and I helped build Kansas! Local ASCS Gets Name Change The Republic County Agricultural and Stabilization Service is now known as the Republic County Farm Service Agency. The name change was brought bout due to the reorganization of the United States Department of Agriculture. FS A is the con-solidalion of ASCS, Federal Crop Insurance and the farming lending of Farmers Home Administration. The reorganization did not eliminate any programs, says Republic County Director David McMullen. Republic County FSA county committee members are Lany Larson and Larry Hobson, Scandia, Lowell Cossaart, Narka. Haddam Cynthia Volk November 14 - Anna Skupa, Willis Razor and Sharon Razor, Chicago, 111., went to Houston, Tex., and visited Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pulido, Robert III and Ryan. Ella West visited Willie, Karen, Jami and Mindi Tolle, Galva, November 11-15. The Doing Dozen FCE members, husbands and guests had their annual fall supper at the Bel Villa, Belleville. They returned to Dorothy Fencl's home for cards. High winners were Dorothy Fencl and Glenn Pelesky, low winners were Peggy Iwert and Dean Cox. Attending were Mr. and Mrs. Bohman Kunc, Belleville; Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Pelesky, Dorothy Fencl, Ermal West, Mr. and Mrs. Dean Cox, Mr. and Mrs. David Iwert, Mahaska; Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Zenger. Bridge Party was held at Mabel Lallak's. Highs went to Dean Wranosky and Vivian Kolars, second high went to Christine Cooper and lows went to Anna Skupa and Kora Brown, Belleville. The next party is December 9, at Dorothy Fencl's. Charles Ryser helped Bob Cline move 2400 bales November 7-8. The new administration building for North Central was moved on November 10, by Kan Build of Osage City. Active Parenting for Teens class is being sponsored by the Site Council November 8. Three more classes will be held November 15,22 and 29. Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Duey attended the funeral of Herman Baloun November 10, in Belleville. Teens for Christ met November 4. to collect food items and money foe the Washington County Food Pantry, They collected 352 pounds of food and $35 in contributions. Rhonda and Angela Cure, Salina, visited Mr. and Mrs. Bill Chambers l^ovember 11-13. Loetta Duey visited Ckuence Palmer at the Belleville Health Care Center November?. Robert Duey was a November 7 guest at Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Duey's. The Haddam rural volunteer fire department was called out November 9, to Taylor Street in Haddam. The town council met Noventber 7. Items discussed were paying tiie bills and a family monument to be placed in the Haddam Cemetery in the fViture.   
Browse Articles by Decade: