The house I bought in Humboldt had been run as a hotel by OBrien; it was indeed, the only one in town, and while there was much need of a hotel, it seemed hard to close it; and so, I became a hotel-keeper, perforce of circumstances.
We inherited, with the house, two or three regular boarders and cared for such travel as came to us; we, indeed did not solicit customers, but as far as possible, discouraged it; but in spite of all we could do, we were soon overcrowded with travel, as immigration began to turn to this area of Kansas.
About this time, a daily mail service was established between Lawrence and Humboldt, and a hack was put on, carrying the mail and passengers. This hack, with its passengers, stopped with us, and by the Spring of 1866, the house was greatly crowded, and that summer, I built a stone house adjoining and connected it with the old one, and my business grew beyond all calculations.
The business of the Land Office also increased to such an extent as to become a fairly good paying office.
January 18, of this year, another son was born to us, to whom we gave the name of Edwin.
Humboldt, since its partial destruction in 1881, by the rebels, up to this date, had made but little improvement. It now took on new life; the fact that the Osage Lands were soon to be opened up for settlement brought to this part of the state many persons looking for homes on those lands, as well as many other looking for business openings; and Humboldt was the town located most conveniently to those lands.
There was also a large quantity of land subject to entry with land warrants and college Scrip, as well as under the Homestead Law, in the counties of Woodsman, Greenwood and Butler, at the Humboldt Land Office; all of which contributed to make the town a good business place.
Prior to this time, there was not a brick of stone building in the town; but this year, besides the stone house built by myself, there was the stone Catholic Church and a school house, and a brick block on the west side of the public square-used for a time as a hotel and saloon; also, several good frame buildings.
When Congress convened on March 3th, President Johnson, who became President on the death of Mr. Lincoln, and whose policy I refused to support, would not send my name to the Senate for confirmation. Republicans in Kansas were generally opposed to the policy of Mr. Johnson; though Senator Lane supported him. But in coming home in June, and finding most of his party friends bitterly opposing the administration he was so chagrined that, on July 1st, he shot himself with suicidal intent; and on the 11th, he died.
Mr. Pomeroy, our other Senator, was opposing Mr. Johnson, and could not consent to the appointment of other than a radical Republican and so Congress adjourned without the appointment of a Register being made, and after its adjournment, the office was closed.
In July, Col. Thurston, a Democrat, went to Washington and secured the appointment from the President. When Congress met, his name being sent to the Senate, he was rejected; Mr. Johnson then sent the name of John W. Scott, of Iola, a Republican, but seemingly not so obnoxious to the President as I; but he was promptly rejected, also.
It becoming apparent that some sort of a compromise would have to be made, the name of Col. N. S. Goss, of Neosho Falls, a Democrat, was sent in as Register, and that of D. B. Emmert, of Ft. Scott, a Republican, for Receiver; and the Senate confirmed them, and thus ended my first term as Register of the Land Office.
The office had become a good paying one, and I regretted this loss, especially so, as I had bought and improved property in Humboldt.
But by this time, I had found the hotel a very good paying concern.
The ousting of Col. Thurston gave me much satisfaction. And I was pleased that Col. Goss, a warm personal friend, had been given the place. When he took charge of the office, I went in with him, and helped him get hold of the business, as he was wholly unacquainted with the manner of doing the business.
I at once opened a real estate office, in connection with the business connected with land entries, giving attention to contest cases before the land office.
Col. Goss took charge of the office early in the spring of 1867.
Some time during that year S. S. Dickinson came to Humboldt; he was a young man, lately out of the army, and I took him into partnership, in the real estate business, under the firm name of "Stewart and Dickinson" and found him an honest, energetic, and capable man; well suited to the out-door business, while I did the office work.
At that time there were many persons from the East coming to the Land Office with College Scrip and Land Warrants, to locate upon Government land; and Mr. Dickinson took such parties out into the Western counties and made selections for them, and we charged them a fee of $5.00 for each quarter section. On some trips of several days, we would locate ten or more sections of land.
During this year I made much more money than I could have made had I been the Registrar of the Land Office.
Mr. Dickinson was in business with me until 1869, and during all that time we did a very satisfactory business.
In September, last fall the "Rocky Mountain Locusts" of a better name, grasshoppers, visited this part of Kansas; and in such multitudes to darken the air, in their flight. When alighting on the fields of corn they stripped the stalks of all blades, in a few hours, and the ears of the green corn of their husks, and ate the soft corn to the cobs. As rapidly as possible, to save any feed, the corn was cut and put into shocks. As to fruit, they ate peaches, leaving only the stones hanging on the trees; apples, they did not eat, but ate all the leaves leaving the apples hanging on the trees without the leaves to protect them from the hot sun. After destroying every green thing, they deposited millions of eggs in the ground, to hatch out in the next spring. As cold weather came on, they disappeared, seeming to die. In the spring of 1867, millions of eggs hatched, but the hoppers did not live to do any harm, as there came on a spell of cold, wet weather, which seemed to get away with them.
On the fourth of April, 1868, was born to us another daughter to whom we gave the name of Mary Ella.
In January of this year, I made an entry on 160 acres--our home place, of "Cottage Grove." I made the first entry on the Osage lands, first of all of that land lying in the south part of the state, comprising a tract of 50 miles in width North and South, by over 200 miles in length, east and west. Samuel made entry No 2, Col. Goss, Registrar of the land office, accorded us that privilege, as being the oldest settlers on these lands. And thus, after nearly twelve years, since settlement upon our claims, without any title to the land, we secured the title of our home. This was under that clause in the treaty with the Indians, by which settlers prior to the date of treaty--September 29th, 1865--were entitled to purchase 160 acres, covering their improvements. Only about two or three hundred settlers were entitled to such privilege.
In the early spring of this year, 1868, a town company was formed for the purpose of locating a townsite at some point near the south line of the state, on the line of the proposed railroad then building down the Neosho river.
The company was composed of Dr. Geo. Lisle, Col. W. Doudna, Col. N. S. Goss, Dr. J. B. Torbert, Mr. John Secrest, Mr. Henson, and myself. We bought 320 acres of land, on which we laid out the town of Chetopa. The company made very liberal donations of lots to secure the building of a school house, several churches, a hotel, and several business enterprises.
We secured the railroad, now known as the Missouri, Kansas & Texas the town built up rapidly, and before the close of the year we had one of the best towns in Southern Kansas.
At the election that Fall, the Republicans elected General Grant President; and in the spring of 1869, Col. Goss, recognizing that "to the victors belong the spoils", decided to tender his resignation to the incoming administration; at the same time, intimating his desire that I should make application for re-appointment to the place. I had not thought seriously of such a thing; was doing very well in my own business and had not given much attention to politics for a couple of years; and it was pretty well understood over the state the P. B. Maxson, of Emporia, had been promised the place by Mr. Pomeroy in consideration of services rendered him during the last Senatorial election. I had not looked on the office at that time as one of very great profit; but I could see that it would not be long before the Osage lands would be open for entry, at which time, as one sold through this office, the business would necessarily be very large.
I was also informed by Col. Goss that Mr. Maxson had accepted a position with the railroad Company then constructing a line of road from Junction City via Chetopa, through the Indian territory to Texas, and that he did not want the office.
On this assurance, soon after the meeting of Congress in March, I went to Washington, with a view of presenting my claims for the place.
Senator Pomeroy and Congressman S. A. Clarke had the control of the patronage in Kansas; the other Senator Mr. Ross, being a "Johnson Republican" and without influence with the administration.
Both Pomeroy and Clarke were my friends, but both informed me of their obligations to Mr. Maxson. I assured them of my information that Mr. Maxson did not desire the place; they told me that they were not so informed by him, but that if I could secure his statement to that effect they would gladly give me their support.
I therefore went to work to find him, using the telegraph; but had no success for several days. I finally located him in the Indian Territory. On finding him, he at once telegraphed to Senator Pomeroy his declination of the office. In the meantime, however, the President had sent in the name of Mr. Maxson; but on the receipt of Mr. Maxsons telegram, Mr. Pomeroy had his name withdrawn, and mine sent in.
The Senate at once confirmed the appointment, and I came home much elated; as a joint resolution was then pending in Congress, provided for the disposal of the Osage Ceded and Trust lands; and I knew its passage would assure a greatly increased business at the Land Office.
The resolution was passed on April 10, and the lands were opened for entry in July or August following.
My commission was issued, and signed by Gen. U. S. Grant, President; and on May 12th, I entered upon the discharge of the duties of the office. In connection with my appointment at this time, I felt the more gratification from the fact that my reappointment came to me as a Lawrence paper put it, "as an act of poetic justice."
I wish also to record my appreciation of the conduct of both Senator Pomeroy and Congressman Clarke, in the matter. The Senator assured me at once that he was pledged to Mr. Maxson, and although he was not on the ground to press his claim he proposed to act in good faith towards him. Much has been said against Mr. Pomeroy, as to his subsequent action, in offering Mr. York, a member of the Kansas Senate, a large sum of money for his vote for a re-election to the U. S. Senate; and, indeed, all the facts as developed in that case, are strongly against him. I have always felt there was a conspiracy among his enemies to put him in a false position. Certainly, in his connection with me, I can truly say that his every act was most honorable. I can also say the same for Mr. Clarke.
Senator Ross, the colleague of Mr. Pomeroy, had been a supporter of the Johnson Administration, and therefore had no influence with the Grant administration, and consequently could do nothing for me; although I had known him for a number of years, and he is my personal friend. Mr. Ross, by the way, was greatly maligned by the Republican Party, for his course on the trial for the impeachment of President Johnson; but I have always given him credit for honesty of purpose in that action. At the same time, it resulted in his political death in the state of Kansas.
In taking the office of Registrar the second time, I found soon after the Osage Ceded and Trust lands open for entry; and a very large number of settlers, since the making of the treaty in 1865, had gone upon these lands, and were anxiously awaiting an opportunity to secure title to their homes; there was a very great rush of business in the office.
The land office had always charge certain fees for filing homestead and other entries, over and above the legal fees; these fees being understood to be the perquisite of the office to cover the expense of clerk hire; for which the Government made no provision.
I adopted the same rule; charging just such fees as had been established by my predecessors, no more, no less.
The business so increased that, in order to accommodate those applying for entry, I was compelled to employ two clerks, at an expense of nearly $200.00 per month; and it was our aim to collect sufficient of these fees to pay this extra expense; this seemed altogether satisfactory to our customers. But as the business increased, certain attorneys asked the office to permit them to make out the necessary proof papers for the entry man, allowing them to charge the usual fee, which they proceeded to divide with the office, we to refused to make out any proof papers on the plea of lack of time. On our refusal to make such an arrangement, these attorneys undertook to make us trouble with the Department, as well as with the settlers.
A couple of young attorneys by name of J. M. Balderson and L. W. Keplinger, had recently come to Humboldt, and they were induced to undertake to work up a case, and bring a suit, against the officers on a charge of extorting certain illegal fees from the entrymen; and in order to secure a basis for such a suit, they went among the settlers and represented that we had charged illegal fees, and in such cases as they could accure an assignment of their claim for a nominal sum, they took such assignments, until they amounted to about $4,000.00 for which sum suit was brought in the District court. Our attorneys filed a demurer, on which the case went to the Supreme court, where the demurrer was sustained by the concurrence of the entire court; in consequence, the case was thrown out of court, with costs on them!
They also succeeded in securing our indictment in the U. S. Court, we never attended the court, but our attorneys had the indictment quashed. The cost of defending, in these suits, was very considerable; and the harassment of mind was much more serious; its tendency was to create a more or less antagonistic feeling among the settlers, which was most unpleasant to us. It was, however, some satisfaction to us, to know that the parties never realized a cent for the time and money spent in the prosecution of these cases, and had all the court costs to pay.
Mr. Balderson soon after left Humboldt, locating in Wichita; Mr. Keplinger, later, went to Kansas City, Kansas, where he has succeeded in building up a good law practice. He afterwards freely expressed his regret at having had anything to do in the matter, and had shown himself on more than one occasion--my very cordial friend.
Indeed, the whole affair was instigated by Col. Thurston, and one H. C. Whitney, on the part of Col. Thurston, from his personal spite at me, for supplanting him in the office of Registrar, and my refusal to make terms with him for dividing the fees; and Mr. Whitney was simply his tool.
Notwithstanding these suits were in our favor, I think we made a mistake in not conforming strictly to the letter of the law; yet such a course would have resulted in greatly delaying the business of the office, and in subjecting applicants for entries to much more expense in awaiting their turn in the ordinary course of the business of the office; as the Government would not allow us compensation for clerk hire, or if we had hired clerks, as we did, to facilitate the business, and paid them out of our salaries and commissions, we would have but little left for ourselves. The course we pursued, at the time, seemed to us the best for the parties doing business with the office, and for ourselves.
As it was, the business of the office during 1869, 70 & 71, in the disposal of the Osage lands, was very great; the sales amounting to over $1000000.00, for which the Government paid me only about $500.00.
Immigration to this part of the state was very large, and the Hotel was doing a good business. I was unable to give it much attention, and I secured James Brady, an Irishman, to act as clerk and manager, and he proved to be the right man for the place; he was thoroughly honest, and wholly devoted to my interests, at the same time, he was considerate of the comfort of the guests.
During these years, I made money as rapidly as I could desire; Humboldt was on a boom; I invested money in many things.
I was in a company that built a toll bridge over the Neosho river, and was also in a building association which put up a number of houses for rent, and rent was very high.
I think that in 1870 I bought the Pogue farm of 130 acres in the bottom adjoining the 160 acres that I already owned; also bought from Mrs. Amos 120 acres, lying South, and running up on the hill to the East. This I bought with the view of having high ground for a building site, as all my other land was lying in the bottoms.
In 1870, in connection with J. B. Torbert and S. S. Dickinson, I traded land for some flouring mill machinery in Illinois, and brought it out to Humboldt, putting it into the stone mill which we had built on Cole Creek, about a mile south of town. I owned an equal interest with Torbert and Dickinson. We had a good many thousand dollars in this enterprise, which proved to be a bad investment. I gave no personal attention to the mill business, and in the end lost all I had in it.
That year, in April, the M. K. & T. Railroad was completed into Humboldt. To secure the road, the citizens were required to purchase 160 acres of land on the west side of the river, to be laid out as an addition to Humboldt, through which the right of way should be given the road, ten acres for depot grounds, and one half the balance to be given the railroad company. A few of us organized a company, and paid $13,000.00 for the site, $1,000.00 of which I paid.
In the month of November, the town celebrated the completion of the L. L. & G. Railroad as far south as Humboldt.
All these things gave to Humboldt a real boom, and I thought we were to have the principal city of Southern Kansas.
Some eastern parties stopping with me for a few days conceived the idea that the hotel business was about the best thing in sight, and offered to rent my house, furnished as it stood, agreeing to pay me one hundred dollars per month for one year.
I had already commenced building a residence with the intention of quitting the hotel business and this offer seemed too good that I accepted it, and we at once moved to a small house until our own could be completed. I had secured a whole block one of the nicest locations on the town site, and when the house was completed with barn, etc, the cost of the property was about five thousand dollars. We moved into this house in the fall of this year, 1870, furnishing it throughout with new furniture. Our furnishings, however, were not complete until the next spring, when my wife and I bought a lot of carpets and lace window curtains in St. Louis.
Humboldt, was at this time, enjoying unbounded prosperity. It had two railroads and was expecting to get an East and West road from Ft. Scott to Wichita. It had the U. S. Land Office, which brought to it a great number of the settlers from the south and southwest counties, and the course of filing upon, and making entries of their land.
Congress had provided for the sale of the balance of the Osage Lands, known as the diminished reserve lands; and those lands were settling up very rapidly. The two years limit for the sale of the Osage ceded and trust lands, expired April 10, 1871, and the diminished reserve lands were open for entry in the July following.
During the partial lull in business of my office, in May 1871, my wife and I made a visit to our old home in Lafayette, Indiana and also to Troy, Ohio near which place I was born.
We had a most enjoyable visit by our old home place in Lafayette. After an absence of fifteen years, we found, however, many changes in the place and people. Many of the cherished friends of our early married life were gone, some to other parts of the country, others to the bourne from which no traveler returns.
In my old home in Ohio, the place of my birth, but few of the friends of my school days were to be found.
On returning home, I found that on the opening of the new lands, there was unprecedented rush for entries at the office.
I think that within the month of July our business was at its maximum. The sales amounted to about one hundred thousand dollars, and the ensuing two or three months, only slightly less. In the mean time the bulk of the business came from the counties lying south and southwest of Humboldt. Many settlers having to come the distance of from fifty to one hundred miles. An effort was being made to remove the office to some more central point. Independence and Neodesha were making strong efforts to secure the office. Humboldt put up a vigorous fight to retain it, but in the end was ordered removed to Independence, and I was directed to go to that place by the Commissioner of the General Office, and secure office rooms for its use, which I did and in November the office was removed.
I had become so identified at Humboldt that I resigned the office of Registrar, and on the 20th of November, my connection with it terminated.
This was the turning point for Humboldt. The railroads were pushed on south, good towns were built upon their lands, according place of trades for the peoples of the counties in the south and southwest, the east and west road was diverted to run via Iola, and the loss of the land in itself was a very material one.
Travel and trade fell away rapidly, and values of property declined greatly, the parties to whom I had leased the hotel, after a few months, could not afford to pay such a price as had been agreed upon, and I reduced the rent to twenty five dollars a month.
In 1868 Reverend James Lewis came through Humboldt, and organized a Presbyterian Church. He was very popular as a man, had served in the Civil War as a Colonel of the New York Regiment, and he was better known as Colonel Lewis, then as Reverend Lewis. He boarded with us quite a while before his marriage, and became some what as one of the family. We attended his church and the children were in that Sunday School.
In 1872 or 1873 my, wife and four of our boys, united with the Presbyterian Church, under Mr. Lewiss administration. I was not in full accord with them in my belief, and my early education had tended to fix in my mind a prejudice against this church, but I can say that since the time I connected with the Presbyterian Church, my relation with its people has been most pleasant.
Sometime before this I had become a member of the Masonic order.
During these years 1873 I was more or less connected with the city government as one of its councilmen, and was also a member of the school board.
After resigning the office of Registrar I gave some attention to land contest cases before the land office, and though I had never studied law under the taking of testimony before the office, I was able to hold my own with some of the best attorneys of the district. My knowledge of the land laws giving me some advantage over most attorneys in these cases.
On May 11th, 1872, another son was born and we named him Arthur.
During these years, from 1871 to 1874, but little occurred in my life of interest. I was giving some attention to the farm which I rented but from it not much was realized. My holdings in Humboldt had greatly depreciated in value, and all over the country values had also decreased.
On the 24th of August, 1874, our only remaining daughter, Mary Ella passed away in the seventh year of her age. It seemed like the life of our home had gone out. She was a bright and happy child, and I have never said that it was all for the best. It has always seemed like it was an evil to have her life with us cut off in her early childhood. It seems like it would have been better if she had developed into a life of happiness and usefulness here. A life of happiness to herself, and usefulness to her friends and the world. We were situated in such a way as to give her the best of medical aid, and the most loving care, but the disease of typhoid claimed her as its victim, in spite of our efforts to retain her with us, her life was transformed to the spirit plane, where I believe she still lives, and develops to a higher life, and that still she cares and helps her friends on this early plane.
Our seventh son was born November 20th, 1975, and we named him Allen.
The grasshoppers visited us again the fall of 1875, and in the spring of 1876, the eggs laid in the fall hatched in great numbers, and the young hoppers did much damage, especially along the streams in the bottom lands. I had a field of some thirty acres of wheat that was looking very fine, but as the young hoppers reached it in the movement they were making toward the east, they ate it up in a day and the corn, as it came through the ground was eaten off from day to day until it was destroyed.
In June, we replanted the corn, the hoppers having died or flown away and we raised a fair crop.
Looking around for something to do, I concluded to try the loaning of money for eastern parties, more especially to settlers on the Osage ceded lands, which under the Supreme Court decision were soon to be opened for entry at the land office.
These lands were in the counties of Neosho, Labette, and Wilson, and in the fall of 1876 I started out on horse back and took application for loans, meeting with very good success.
When these lands were opened for entry in the spring of 1877, I went to Independence and opened an office as a general real estate and loan agent, and also gave attention to contests between the land offices.
I succeeded in building up a very good business in a very short time adding fire insurance to the rest. My family in the meantime remained in Humboldt.
I had Joseph, my son with me for some time, and later, when he went into business at Humboldt, Ollie came with me for a time.
In 1880, in company with my Sons Frank and Fred, in August, we went to Colorado. We went on the Santa Fe to Pueblo, thence over the Denver and Rio Grand to Colorado Springs. We went to Manitou, where we got a tent and small camp outfit, and pitched our tent on the fountain creek. A short distance above where Ruxton flowed into it, where at that time, there were no buildings, Manitou being thin a very small village. There was some sort of a building about the soda springs, a bath house, but none at the iron springs.
We explored on foot many places of interest, looking upon the Garden of the Gods, visiting Williams canyon, the Ute Pass, and Rainbow Falls, Crystal Park, South Cheyenne Canon with its Seven Falls, etc.
On the tenth of August, I think, we started in the early morning to make the ascent of Pikes Peak on foot, there was no trail road at that time. We went by the burro trail. The distance of fourteen miles from Manitou to the top of the peak, which we made by about 1:00 P.M. was a toilsome walk, but I stood it as well as the boys, being never conscious of no discomfort from the great altitude of over fourteen thousand feet.
I was quite cold, some snow on the trail near the top, but the view from the top was magnificent beyond conception, and it well repays anyone for any discomfort experienced in the ascent.
We sent a telegram to the home folks from the top, the Government maintaining a signal service station there.
After an hour or two of rest, we started on our return, reaching camp about 6:00 P.M. pretty well worn out, but after taking a soda water bath and a hot supper, we slept well, and in the morning felt all right. Our entire trip was one of great interest and pleasure never to be forgotten, it was my first; I have made two since.
My business was successful beyond my expectations. I had a good real estate, loan and insurance business. Joe having gone into business at Humboldt, I was left alone in the office.
A young attorney by the name of J. M. Thompson, was doing something as a pension attorney in connection with his law business. He seemed an energetic young man, and I took him into partnership in the loan and insurance business, retaining as my part, the real estate, and he the law and pension part, and he and I operating together only in the loan and insurance business. Our firm name was that of Stewart and Thompson.
This was in the spring of 1881. We thought that we ought to get money for loaning direct from the parties in the east, instead of through loan companies in the west, and in August, I made a trip east for the purpose, if possible of interesting eastern capital in western securities. I visited Boston, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia and Westchester in the quest, but was unsuccessful.
On my trip I stopped over a day in Chicago, from there I went over the Grand Trunk road via Battle Creek, Lansing and Flint, Michigan. Crossing the Detroit River at Fort Huron into Canada, and passed through Stratford and Guelph, Toronto, and Lake Ontario and Montreal crossing the St. Lawrence River on the Victoria Bridge, two miles long at St Albans, into Vermont, then through Waterbury, crossing the Connecticut river into New Hampshire, passing through Concord, Franklin to Boston, where I spent two days, visiting various places of interest, as the Navy Yard, Bunker Hill Monument, the State House, Colonial Hall and the Commons.
I then went to Hartford, stopping off a day and visiting the races at Chester Oak Park, where the trotting horse Humboldt, won the trotting in two-twenty the miles, and little Brown Jug made a mile pacing in two eleven and three fourths, the fastest time made to that date by any horse. Jaude S. was to have trotted, but was lame so as to be unable to do so. She had made the best time on record at that date, but I dont remember the time.
I went on through New Haven by rail, and there took Steamer to New York. This was a very enjoyable ride, down Long Island Sound a ride of about five hours on the briny deep.
I went immediately to Philadelphia, where I stopped a day, visited Fairmount Park, where the Centennial fair was held five years before. After going to Westchester, I returned to New York, where I stopped a day and visited Central Park, and the old Trinity Church, climbing to the top of its steeple, 280 feet high, from which a fine view of the city was had. The next I took a steamer for Long Branch the great summer resort, had a fine view of the mighty ocean, and took a bath in its water.
Returning to New York, I came via the B. & O. to Chicago and then to Kansas City.
I think that Mr. Thompson, was with me about two years, when, in a business transaction of his own, he appropriated some funds collected for a client, and on being hard pressed, he skipped out of the country. The firm was not involved in the transaction, but he left in my debt about one hundred dollars, part of which I secured by taking a buggy and some books for it. I did well enough to get rid of him on as easy terms as this, as I found that he was reckless in his expenditures and his word was not to be depended upon.
After he left me, Ollie came down and remained with me for from one to two years, when he left me to accept a position with Moses Neil, at the Sac and Fox Indian Agency. He had been appointed by President Cleveland during his first term as agent for those Indians.
In 1884, I bought a tract of about five acres, in Holemans addition to the city of Independence and built a neat cottage of about five a cost of about eighteen thousand dollars for a lot and garden, and in the summer I moved my family there to reside.
Fred and family also came to Independence to live, with a view of assisting me in my business. He afterwards built a house on about two acres of the land I had bought. When the Missouri Pacific was built to Independence, he was appointed as its agent, and later he had accepted an agency with the Rock Island and moved away from Independence.
I improved our place by setting out fruit and small fruits and cultivating a nice vegetable garden, so that we had a very pleasant home place. My business has been fairly successful, and my standing in the city and county was good.
I transferred my membership with that of my wife, to the Presbyterian Church of Independence; also my membership in the Masonic lodge.
I was a member of the school board for a number of years, and one of the Trustees of the Presbyterian church.
I was situated favorably for the enjoyment of life, my only drawback was the failing health of my wife; she was much afflicted by rheumatism, and we did not seem able to secure any remedy at all effectual for her relief. In the later eighties and early nineties, times became hard in money matters. The Populist party was crying "Calamity", until parties in the east declined to loan money in our country; and mortgages were foreclosed. Immigration fell off, greatly; altogether, these things affected my business disastrously.
My son Arthur was married in 1892, and left home, and soon after, Allan left us to take a position in the First National Bank in Parsons, Kansas. Thus, my wife and I were left alone; her health became so poor, that much of my time was required at home to care for her, which greatly interrupted my attention to business.
Both Oliver and Allan were living in Parsons, Allan was there, young and without a home. My business was not paying, and on the solicitation of both Oliver and Allan, I sold out in Independence, and in the fall of 1894, we removed to Parsons.
I very reluctantly consented to make this move, as it was a financial loss, in the disposal, at that time, of the property of which I was possessed. Besides, our home place, I owned with Mr. W. T. Yoe, a farm of 640 acres on Fawn Creek--with incumbrance of $1,000.00. It was reasonably worth $10,000.00 but could not be sold just then at any price; and as Mr. Yoe had advanced some interest payments on the mortgage, I deeded the farm to him, taking a bond for a deed, on condition that I would, within two years, repay him the amount advanced, and any further amount he would be required to pay upon it in the meantime.
But I never was able to comply with the conditions; any time after four or five years, my half interest would have brought me from $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 over the incumbrance. My residence property was also fairly worth $1,000.00 more than I realized in the disposal of it at the time. Both these properties were acquired at conservative prices, but all property was greatly depreciated in values, at that time.
Allan rented a house for us, and made his home with us. I did not engage in any kind of business.
In the Spring of 1895, my wife and I went to Washington D. C. to visit with our son Joseph and family. While there, my wife, when walking through a store where there was a step down, made a misstep, and, falling strained one of her ankles, from which she was laid up for over a month, before we could return home, and could walk then only with crutches for long thereafter.
Soon after returning from Washington, my wife had a paralytic stroke from which she never fully recovered. The paralysis was on her right side somewhat affecting her speech, and, in a measure, her mind. However, she so far recovered as to be able to walk about and do some work about the house.
In December, Allan was married, and continues to live with us, for a time.
About this time, Ollie and family removed to Humboldt. In the spring of 1896 my wife and I visited our son, Arthur, and family, in St. Louis at the time of the meeting of the National Republican Convention, which nominated William McKinley as president; I was privileged to attend several of the sessions of that Convention.
In the summer of 1897 we removed to Kansas City; rented up-stairs rooms, living there about six months. In the meantime, the health of my wife had so much improved that I thought I would return to Kansas and again engage in business. I thought favorably of our old home place, Humboldt. But after looking over the ground, I decided upon Erie, where, late in the fall of 1897 we took up our residence, renting a small house with large gardenpat (sic) and quite an orchard of apple trees. I rented an office, and opened up as a Real Estate and Loan Agent, with fair prospects as to business.
My wife seemed to have, in a large measure, recovered from the effects of her paralytic stroke. However, during the spring of 1898 she and I were returning home from church, when she made a misstep by reason of a defective sidewalk, and fell on her face, bruising her face considerably, and no doubt jarring her brain badly.
On the second night there after, she had another stroke, after which she was never able to walk, or turn herself in bed.
She continued in this helpless condition for more than a year. I procured a wheel-chair, in which during pleasant weather, I placed her and wheeled her about the town; and sometimes would call upon a neighbor, all of which, she enjoyed very much. Late in the fall, I took her, with a nurse, to visit with her son Fred and family, in Washington, Iowa. I returned home, expecting her to remain for a month or more; but in a few days she became very anxious to get home and she returned.
I was compelled to give her the most of my time, in consequence of which, my business was neglected.
During the season of 1899, I made garden, as usual, my wife continuing in the same helpless condition.
I had a nurse with her all the time, and the neighbor women were most kind and helpful through all her illness. She was, considering the long period of her helplessness, quite cheerful and patient; such comfort and loving care possible to be given, was cheerfully accorded her by husband and absent children, and her loving appreciation was constantly shown.
On the 28th of May 1899, at about the noon hour, she quietly and peacefully passed into the better life, leaving a husband, seven sons, and seven daughters-in-law, besides numerous other relatives and personal friends to mourn her loss. She was in her sixty-seventh year. She had been a sharer of my joys and sorrows, as my wife, for more than forty seven years; a loving and faithful wife; a kind and tender mother.
She was a domestic woman, caring more for her family than for society. In my earlier life, I had felt very keenly the loss of our three daughters but in this bereavement, I have experienced the crowning sorrow of my life and yet, I grieve not "As without hope" I live in the full confidence that her real self still lives, and that she cares for me, and is much with me even now, and that she is happy in the society of her children and others with her.
And when I shall pass into that life, I shall find her and our children, waiting to welcome me to that blissful state, where we may ever be together. After the internment of the body, in the Humboldt cemetery, I returned to Erie and disposed of most of the furniture. I went to Washington, Iowa to make my home with my son Fred and family.
Here I brought such things as were necessary to furnish a room for myself, and with them I have since had my home, in Washington, until the fall of 1901; and since that time, in Davenport.