KanColl Books


by Adolph Roenigk


     As the title indicates this book contains pioneer history and is written in two parts. The material for the first part was collected and written by John C. Baird, author of several other books. The work began in 1908 and the forthcoming book was widely advertised at that time. Historic contributions were solicited by mail from pioneer settlers living in all parts of the state. The author expected to be able to induce old settlers to write for him and contribute enough material to complete the work and have the book published within a year or two. However, after the work was fairly begun he found unexpected difficulties confronting him. He found that many of the old pioneers who could furnish interesting material for his book were not writers. Some of the old settlers were willing to contribute their life’s stories providing he came after them. To interview these people in different parts of the state meant loss of time, money expended for railroad fare, and other expenses, which, in volume would exceed by far the remuneration expected from the sale of the book; for that reason the manuscript was laid aside and publication postponed for more than fifteen years, while the author followed other occupations.

     In the meantime he became sick, and after lingering for three years, died, Nov. 2d, 1922.

     As I had contributed articles for his book, as also had several of my intimate friends with the promise and expectation that this work would be published, and believing that the contents of the manuscript to be too valuable to be destroyed or lost, I concluded to continued the work and complete the manuscript myself.


     From the beginning, the plan of this book has been to make it a true history of events that took place in our state during the period of the departure of the red man, and the coming of the white man. As to myself I came to Kansas in 1866 when the first railroad reached Manhattan, and since 1868 have resided continually in the state. I believe I am endowed with a good memory, and as a keen observer I feel competent to record history.

     Most of the second part was written while the writer was taking a year’s course of study at the Kansas State University in 1922 and ‘23.

     No attempt at rhetoric is being made or to give this work literary polish, as my life has not been spent in literary pursuits, but I write down the facts as they were related to me, or came under by own personal observation. It will deal with the era of the hunter and trapper, the homesteaders on the frontier, Indian raids and wars; massacres committed by both Indians and whites.
     In these pages a number of pioneers are telling their own stories of the dangers and hardships endured, and are responsible for their own statements.

     Many incidents herein related came under my own observation, and in some of these I had a part myself.

     While interviewing people in regard to historic matter for this work it happened that several persons disagreed on certain points which made it difficult to obtain the facts. At intervals it has been quite a task to straighten out the tangled mass of data, the misspelling of names and places, and keep a reasonably correct line on the matter, because different people tell the same story different, for that reason much interesting detail has been omitted.

     Besides consulting many of the old pioneers I have made use of matter contained in old newspaper clippings, and made reference to historical and other books, for which due credit is given.

     I have endeavored to lay aside all prejudice, and treat all matters with impartiality, and on the whole, the contents of this volume is perhaps as true as history can be written.

     Gathering data for history is expensive, and the writer does not expect financial compensation to justify the effort made; but in the evening of our life, looking back at the track over which we came, it is interesting to think and read about by-gone days; and to write about them we have the satisfaction of having done our duty in recording history for future generations.