The Story of a Kansas Pioneer, by Melissa Genett Anderson

Part V.

Melissa G. Moore     It shall be my task to give some account of my brothers and sisters. My oldest sister, Harriet Louisa, was born September 1, 1842, in Randolph County, Indiana. She was married at Father's home in Coffey County, Kansas, in 1859 to David Henry Hazzard, of Greentown, Indiana. They settled in Allen County, Kansas, near Iola, the same year. Mr. Hazzard served through the Civil War, after which he went back to his farm, but for only a few years. In August, 1876, he passed away, leaving his wife and four children. He is buried in the Iola Cemetery. In 1877 his widow married Hugh Loson White Reagan, also a veteran of the Civil War. Their farms joined, and my sister moved to his farm. Later they moved to Iola, where they built a house. In 1900 he died and lies in the cemetery at Iola. On January 22, 1920, my sister Harriet died, and is now lying in the same cemetery. She left three sons, Theodore Edgar Hazzard, now living on the old farm of his father near Iola; David Leslie Hazzard of San Francisco; and Hugh L. W. Reagan of Leavenworth, Kansas. A daughter, Mrs. Clara Hazzard Wycle, had not long before preceded her mother to the grave.

     Luther L. Anderson was born April 1, 1844, but lived only a day. Since I was not born until May 20, 1845, I never saw him.

     Jerome Augustus Anderson was born in Randolph County, Indiana, July 26, 1847. He was ten years old when we came to Kansas. It would have been hard for most boys to get an education and to make any mark in the world under these pioneer conditions, but not Jerome. He could get knowledge out of rocks, weeds, brooks, and the prairie. We had brought a few books to Kansas with us, the old family Bible, Josephus, Rollin's Ancient History, Comstock's Natural Philosophy, and some school books, and during the long winter evenings he was poring over them, like a humming bird going into the depths of flowers to get all the sweet possible. No newspaper was coming to the home then, but whenever he would see a piece of newspaper blowing over the prairie, he would run to get it and devour every word of it. At seventeen he began to teach school and at twenty, in addition to teaching, he was riding an Indian pony sixteen miles every two weeks to read medicine with a physician living at Iola. After four years he went to a medical college in Cincinnati, Ohio. He expected to return to Kansas at the close of the term, but his money was getting short. An immigrant train was going through to Colorado, and he agreed to go with them as physician.

     After reaching Colorado, since his job was ended, he had a hard time finding anything to do. Colorado was new and full of hostile Indians. One settler had a fine flock of sheep and was hiring men to take care of them. These were taken to the hills every day and brought back in the evening. Within a few days, two of the herders had been murdered by the Indians, and the man was offering an enormous price to anyone who would take their place. My brother accepted the offer and, well-armed, started out with the sheep. When he got to the pasture land, he picked out the highest knoll, where he made a small "fort" out of rocks. This was enclosed on four sides, but there were port-holes for observation and to fire through in case of attack. About sundown, when he was thinking of returning, he saw the Indians coming in war paint and feathers. He began to pick them off and they were soon falling here and there. They finally withdrew out of the range of his gun to hold a council of war, but he knew they would be back, heavy and strong, and that they would get him in the end if he stayed, as his ammunition was nearly exhausted. When it was dark, he saw the Indians coming back, creeping low on their hands and knees. As they neared the fort, he slipped out on his hands and knees also and crept in their midst, trusting to darkness. They thought he was one of them. As they reached the top of a cliff and started down, he managed to loosen a large rock and to send it rolling to the bottom. Thinking it was their man getting away, the Indians went pell mell after it, every one of them. He then started for the village as quietly as possible, not going directly, but in a roundabout way for fear they would follow him. He got in at sunrise, just in time to meet a company starting out to bring in his body for burial, as they had the bodies of the other herdsmen. That day convinced my brother that herding among the Indians was not his trade. Not liking Colorado, he and another young man decided to procure mules and make an attempt to get to California. It was a dangerous undertaking and they were many days on their way. At night they slept on the ground close to their mules. There were many hostile Indians but the mules could scent Indians a long way off and whenever any approached, would snort, and they would move on immediately. Their mules saved them more than once.

     They finally arrived at San Francisco, weary and sick, and with only twenty-five cents. They got a bed for the night, but my brother kept it much longer, as it was days before he became conscious. He was wearing a Good Templar badge and was being cared for by that organization. When able to work, he went into a printing office. In the fall he entered a medical college at San Francisco. He was graduated in the spring and settled in the Sacramento Valley, building up a good practice.

     Here he found the woman of his choice, beautiful and refined, but in poor health. They were married, and he did his utmost to improve her health, but in eighteen months he had to give her up.

     He then opened an office in San Francisco, and from the start had more practice than he could attend to. He became one of the best surgeons in San Francisco.

     He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, but I suppose that, being alone and not seeing his people for seventeen years, he drifted away. He tried first Spiritism, until he was satisfied it was mostly trickery and fraud. Next he turned to Theosophy and decided it was what he was looking for. He bought all the books he could find on the subject and finally began writing books himself. He took the lecture field, lecturing in Chicago and other large cities and becoming known all over the United States as a Theosophical lecturer. He was the Theosophical representative at the Chicago World's Fair.

     He was married the second time and had three beautiful daughters, Ivy, Jessamine, and Violet. On December 25, 1903, he passed away. His body was cremated in San Francisco.

     Samuel J. Anderson was born August 6, 1849, and died September 24 of the same year.

     Louis Napoleon Bonaparte Anderson was born August 16, 1850, in Spartanburg, Indiana. He came to Kansas at the age of seven, where he attended the public schools and worked on his father's farm until he was eighteen. About this time he had a love affair and became engaged to a young woman of the neighborhood, a choice not entirely advantageous. A short time before their appointed wedding day, however, he received a letter from her bidding him good-bye. saying she was leaving the country and he would never see her again. He recovered from his disappointment with an added incentive to make something out of himself.

     After teaching school for a while, he went to Indiana and became a student at Hanover College. At the end of the college year, being out of money, he went to Arkansas, where he organized a subscription school. He had good success, His fees must have been almost clear gain, since he obtained room and board with an elderly couple for $1.50 a month. As a special favor to his landlady, he would bring her a box of snuff whenever he went to town.

     After closing his school, he started home, riding a pony. He reached Kansas, and stopped one day at a house for his noon meal. The barn was far away, and he insisted on feeding his horse in the yard, saying he was in a hurry to get on. He resumed his journey but had not gone far when he heard a noise. Looking around, he saw several men coming like a cyclone. They surrounded him, saying they were after him. There was a rope in the party -- in those days a horse thief was not always given a trial. He insisted they were mistaken in their man, but they said they had been informed at the place he had eaten that he had been in such a hurry that he had not taken his horse to the barn. It was only after searching his grip and reading his letters that they admitted their mistake. They had been tracking him most of the day, being sure they were on the right scent. Without his letters, he might have fared worse.

     He now entered upon a period of teaching in Kansas, at the same time preparing for his chosen life work, the ministry. In 1876 he was married to a lovely girl, Ellen Taylor, well qualified in every way for her position. In 1878 he entered the South Kansas Conference and was assigned to Buffalo. His charge included an outlying appointment. On his first trip there, he got off the road in crossing the prairie. Stopping at a little house to inquire the way, he found to his great surprise the woman who had jilted him. To all appearances, her lot had not been a happy one.

     The second charge of my brother was at Sedan. During the spring he contracted measles and was left in such bad health that a change of climate was considered necessary. He was transferred to Idaho and spent the rest of his life in the Northwest. He was for a while prominent in the political life of Idaho. In 1896 he was elected probate judge of Latah County in the campaign that cleaned out the old corrupt ring that had dominated the county for years. He was also school superintendent of the same county and later superintendent of schools for the State of Idaho. While living in Boise he was admitted to the bar. In 1901 he returned to the active work of the ministry, becoming a member of the Columbia River Conference. With his knowledge of law, he was able to right wrongs for many who came to him without money or price. And he gave gladly, not only of his time and ability, but also of his money.

     He was a life-long student of the Bible, and the author of "The Relation of Children to the Church ... The New Testament vs. Higher Criticism," "Some Studies in Modern Socialism," "The Pentateuch -- Who Was the Author?" and others. He died May 12,1921, and lies buried in a beautiful cemetery in Spokane, Washington, beside his life-long companion. He left two children, Ellen (Mrs. Asa Fisher of Salem, Oregon) and Paul Anderson of Portland, Oregon.

     Mary Jane Anderson was born in Randolph County, Indiana, March 16, 1852. She was married to Joseph Logue in 1870. She died March 8, 1876, and is buried in the Logue Cemetery. She has no living descendants.

     Josephine Victoria Anderson was born in Randolph County, Indiana, January 25, 1854. She was married to John Stuck in January, 1869. She died in Iola, Kansas, March 22, 1887, leaving besides her husband four boys, who have all followed their mother to the Great Beyond.

     Thomas Anderson was born September 11, 1857, at Greentown, Indiana. He died November 5 of the same year, shortly after our arrival in Kansas.

     James Watson (Dot) Anderson was born in Coffey County, Kansas, within five miles of Le Roy, March 3, 1859. From early childhood he was proud that Kansas was his birthplace. As a boy he was rather small for his age, but was a wiry little fellow who liked to show his muscle and who was always getting into scraps, even if he did usually get the worst of the tussle. When he was about five years old, he was out one day when it was very cold. His mother called for him to come in. When he did not come, she called again. Finally she threatened to come out with a switch. "Oh, no, you won't," he replied, "you will come out and blow around and say you will do it next time." He came in in a hurry, with a little switch following him. On another day, when he undertook to jump a ditch full of water, he went under, and a larger boy had to get him out. When he reached home, Mother said, "Dot!" (as he was always called) "Aren't you wet?" He answered that he was a little damp. He was extremely fond of looking at the pictures in Comstock's Philosophy, which were familiar to him long before he could read. When his lessons began, Mother would often call him away. "Come on, Dot," she would say, "you must learn your letters."

     "Aw, I'd rather study Comstock's Philosophy," was the amazing reply.

     He was bright and active, with great ambitions for the future. He early felt the call to enter the ministry, and began to study with that end in view. In the meantime, he taught school. When only sixteen he attended a county normal at Burlington, obtained a certificate, and started out to find a position. Meeting another boy, he inquired about vacancies. The boy looked him over. "Be you a school teacher?" he inquired. "Well, you needn't try for our school, we've got half a dozen who can whip you." The ability to thrash one's pupils was evidently regarded as the prime qualification of a schoolmaster. Dot soon found a position. I do not know how many boys he had to thrash that winter, but I know that he had no serious trouble.

     About this time a farmer one mile south of us was getting ready, unbeknown to his neighbors, to start a livery barn at the flourishing town of Wichita, which was then on a boom. With the help of his two sons he was gathering the necessary equipage in the darkness of the night. But they came to grief, and all three were sentenced to Leavenworth. About three miles east of us another farmer, also assisted by two sons, was engaged in riding other men's horses to market. These three encountered a like fate. Some time later my husband made a business trip to Leavenworth, and while there went through the prison. "Well, I saw Baker and his two boys, and Waterman and his two boys," he said when he arrived home. He was very much affected, and could hardly talk about it.

     Soon afterward he heard for the first time that Dot was going into the ministry. "Well, well," he said, "it seems that some families run into horse thieves, and other families into preachers."

     I was glad it was my family that turned out the preachers.

     My brother entered the South Kansas Conference in 1880. His first appointment was Garnett. On June 14, 188, he was married to Harmine Donnerburg at Yates Center, Kansas. In 1884 he moved to Baldwin and entered Baker University, carrying on his studies while supplying the Baldwin Circuit. Although "Dot" was only a nickname, he had begun to sign himself "J. W. D. Anderson," to distinguish him from another "J. W. Anderson," and this superfluity of initials earned for him the college nickname of "Alphabet Anderson." He was graduated with the class of 1889. He then served Elk City for a few years.

     One year when the Conference met at Ottawa, the Bishop sent him to the Y. M. C. A. Building to preach to a large audience. After the service a man stepped up and introduced. himself. He had been sent from a charge in South Dakota to get a preacher, he said, and my brother was the man he had chosen.

     So my brother went to South Dakota, where he remained two years. Then a man was needed for the Omaha Christian Advocate, and he was sent to take charge of that. This was the work he liked best.

     One of my brother's hobbies was the collection of Kansas books. Before his death this collection passed into the Kansas University Library. The collection was a noteworthy one, and Noble L. Prentis, a Kansas historian, makes this reference to it: "Mr. Anderson was a native Kansan of literary taste and feeling, and the gathering together of all the books of or about Kansas, was with him a labor of love, which he performed with great fidelity.... Many additions have been made in all departments since the day of the 'Anderson Collection,' but the best and most sufficient estimate of the literary work done in the first thirty years of the life of Kansas may be formed by an inspection of its volumes."

     While at Omaha he contracted the measles and died on March 21, 1894. By his request, his body was taken to Baldwin, where his widow and three children were to make their home. The widow still lives there. The three children, Espar, Agnes, and Jerome, have all graduated from Baker University. Espar married Mr. B. H. Stover, of Wellington, Texas; Agnes, Mr. Joseph W. Murray, of Lawrence, Kansas; and Jerome, Miss Bessie Emery, of Elkhart, Indiana.

     John Randolph Anderson was born June 27, 1861, in Allen County, Kansas. He was a big, manly boy, never known to pick a fuss, but always ready to help the weak against the strong. He was to be Mother's farmer. An accident, however, prevented this. When seventeen years old, he was gathering corn one day with a hired man. The wagon box slipped forward and as they were lifting it back it fell, making such a crash that the horses started to run. John's foot was caught and crushed between the double trees and a stump. It had to be amputated. Mother then left the farm and Johnny turned his attention to law. But after two short years he contracted the measles and died, March 22, 1880, and, with so many of his family, lies in the Logue Cemetery.

     George and Willis Anderson, twins, were born February 4, 1864. George died four days later, and Willis on March 24, of the same year.

     Susan Alice Anderson was born March 8, 1865. She died in Neosho Falls, August 16, 1879, a sweet girl, just budding into womanhood, and was buried in the Logue Cemetery.

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