Collection: Dragoon Creek

Post Civil War Times at Dragoon Creek

The settlers along Dragoon creek received their mail at the post office of Wilmington until the fall of 1869, when a new mail route was established from Burlingame, running up Dragoon creek, to Alma, the county seat of Wabaunsee county, a distance of about thirty-eight miles. A post office was located on the northeast quarter of section 28, township 14 south, range 13 east. The Post-office Department at Washington, D. C, requested the settlers to designate a name for the post office and nominate a postmaster. At a called meeting of the settlers the name New Lexington was selected for the post office and John Shaw named for postmaster as he was then living on the quarter section designated as the site for the post office. The nominations were sent to the Post-office Department for approval, and .John Shaw was commissioned postmaster, but a new name was requested for the post office. The reason the name New Lexington was selected was that John McCoy had settled on the quarter section now designated for the post office in the spring of 1857, and as he had previously preempted a hundred-and-sixty-acre tract of land he was debarred from preempting a second tract as a farm. One of the provisions of the preemption act was that a company of five or more persons could preempt two quarter sections, or three hundred and...

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Emigration to Kansas

I kept in correspondence with Thompson Blair, and in one of his letters he minutely described the trail from Leavenworth to the settlement where he and his brother Willard were located, and I determined to join them at my first opportunity. After earning a little more than one hundred dollars above expenses, I left my home in Iowa for Kansas, on the morning of September 1, 1857. The nearest railroad station was Dyersville, distant about thirty-five miles west from Dubuque, so father hitched up his team and took me and my trunk some ten miles from home to a point where we met the stage that ran to Dyersville. At Dyersville I bought a ticket for St. Louis, going by way of Dubuque (where I crossed the Mississippi river on a ferry boat) over the Illinois Central and connecting lines in southern Illinois to the terminus of the railroad, on the east side of the Mississippi river. Here I was told by the baggage agent that my trunk would be left at the Planters’ House, St. Louis, and I was taken by stage to another hotel in that city. The stage crossed the river on a ferry boat, there being no bridge at that time. I reached the hotel about seven o’clock in the evening of September 2. After breakfast the next morning I went to the river to...

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Gold Digger’s, Indians, and the Santa Fe Trail

In 1858 and 1859, during the period of the Pike’s Peak gold excitement, large numbers of gold hunters passed over the trail for the new diggings. Some of these were driving good teams and wagons, some were on horseback, others had small push carts, and some even wheelbarrows, loaded with all their earthly possessions tied in a small roll. During one day in 1859 three hundred and twenty-five vehicles by actual count crossed at the ford on Elm creek, near the old mail station. At the height of the gold excitement it was not unusual thing for five hundred vehicles to cross at that ford in a single day. Often the wagons bore the inscription “Pike’s Peak or Bust” painted on the wagon covers, and it is a matter of history that many of these pilgrims returned “busted’.’ – some having never reached the gold fields. Others, however, were successful, and became founders of Colorado towns. A few years since the Kansas Daughters of the American Revolution, assisted by the State Historical Society, marked the line of the trail across the state, setting one or more substantial granite markers in every county through which the trail passed. To accomplish this the legislature made an appropriation of $1000, while the school children of the state raised by penny contributions the balance needed to do the marking. One of the markers...

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Early Vital Records of Dragoon Creek

Early births in our settlement were Samuel M., son of Isaiah and Nancy J. Harris, born August 11, 1858; Frank L., son of Jehu and Mary A. Hodgson; Mary E., daughter of Samuel and Dency E. Woods: Lincoln, son of Allen and Joanna Hodgson. Early marriages as I remember them were Edward B. Murrell and Mary J. Harris, married by Allen Hodgson, justice of the peace, January 26, 1860; Burgess Vanness and Eliza Spencer; Ephraim (?) Jellison and Eliza Bailey. After the rejection of the Lecompton constitution, as previously mentioned, the legislature of 1859 provided for the framing of another constitution and formation of a state government. All formalities having been gone through with, and elections held, the delegates met in constitutional convention at Wyandotte on July 5. On July 29 the constitution framed by them was signed, and on October 4, following, was submitted to the voters of the territory. It was adopted by a vote of 10,421 for the constitution, 5530 votes against it, giving a majority for the constitution of 4891. The members of Congress from the southern states had been desirous of admitting Kansas as a slave state, and they were supported by President Buchanan, who in a message to Congress on February 2, 1858, said: ” Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a slave state as Georgia or South Carolina.” 1Richardson’s “Messages...

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Dragoon Creek During the Civil War

As a result of the admission of Kansas as a free state and the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, seven of the southern states seceded and organized an army in rebellion against the United States government. April 15, 1861, President Lincoln made the first call for soldiers to put down the rebellion, and for the war which followed Kansas furnished more troops according to her population than any other state in the Union. Dragoon creek settlement furnished a large proportion. All the able-bodied men were in the volunteer service, the militia against Price and his raiders, or in the Indian war. The following is a list of the soldiers from this settlement and the regiments in which they served: John Greelish, enlisted November 5, 1861, as first lieutenant. Company E, Eighth Kansas; he was promoted to captain the same day; resigned June 6, 1864. Wounded in action at Chickamauga, Ga., September 19, 1863. Gilmer Young, enlisted in Company F, First Kansas infantry. May 25, 1861, age 32 years. Killed in battle August 10, 1861, at Wilson Creek, Mo. Eli Walton, enlisted in First Kansas battery, July 24, 1861, age 21 years, mustered out September 7, 1864. Merrill E. Cowee, enlisted August 25, 1862, in Company I, Second Kansas cavalry. Mustered out June 22, 1865. Samuel B. Easter, enlisted June 19, 1862, in Company F,...

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Settlers at Dragoon Creek after 1865

Among the families coming into the Dragoon creek settlement after the spring of 1865 may be mentioned Jeremiah Fields and wife Betsey, with their two married sons and son-in-law: Joseph Fields and family of six persons; John L. Fields and family of five persons; James M. Johnson and family of four persons; they all came from Ohio in September, 1865. Caleb J. Harvey, formerly of Ohio, but later a teacher at the Quaker Shawnee Indian mission, came in December, 1865. Squire Cantrill, unmarried, came from Ohio in 1867; he later married a Miss Burroughs. Upon her death he married her sister. John B. Carter and family of three sons and two daughters came from Ohio in the fall of 1867. Enoch Carter, two sons and one daughter came from Ohio in 1868. John Shaw and family; Seth C. Foster and family; George Horton and wife; Asa Gookins and William Horton, unmarried men, all came from Indiana in 1868. Ephraim Elliott and family, Reuben Elliott and family, and Eli Trueblood and family, all came from Indiana in 1869. Albert Lewis and family came from Ohio in 1869. John Smale and family, and Andrew Pringle and family, came from Canada in 1868 or 1869. John N. Barlow, wife and one son came from Ohio in February, 1869. Some marriages during this period were: Henry Thompson and Emlen Harris, married in June,...

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History of Dragoon Creek Cemeteries

In 1860 Jehu Hodgson and wife had a tract of land surveyed and platted for cemetery purposes, James B. Ingersoll and assistants doing the work. This tract as finally platted consisted of eighty burial lots, each twelve by forty feet in size, ample for eight graves. The tract was deeded in trust to the County Commissioners of Wabaunsee County, and their successors in office, for a free cemetery. Eight conditions were named; the first provided that the cemetery should be under the care of a superintendent who might be appointed by the county commissioners, or by friends of the deceased. A record of burials was kept by Jehu Hodgson previous to the time he entered the army, in June ,1864. October 30, 1864, Mrs. Hodgson began keeping the record, but continued it only a short time, as she moved to Americus, Lyon county, the next spring. No record of burials was kept from that time until 1866, when a returned soldier – Stephen J. Spear – procured the original list from Mrs. Hodgson, had it copied into a record book, and from that time kept an accurate list of interments until his successor was appointed in 1873. In 1867 a movement was started for the improvement of the cemetery. A petition asking for subscriptions to place a substantial board fence around the cemetery was circulated, and the necessary means...

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Early Settlers on Dragoon Creek Kansas

During my stay at Mr. Blair’s my health improved, and on the 21st of September I started for Dragoon creek. After walking about four miles I passed through Brownsville, following the Leavenworth branch of the Santa Fe trail, which passed through this place and united with the old Santa Fe trail from Westport at a point where the town of Wilmington was later located. I followed the trail until it was crossed by the road from the Dragoon creek settlement to Council City (later called Burlingame). Into this road I turned, and following up Dragoon creek for about two and one-half miles I reached the home of Samuel Woods somewhere near sunset. No rain had fallen in this locality since the first of July, and the prairie grass in consequence had not made much of a growth after that date. As there had been no frost, the haying that fall was late. When I reached Mr. Woods’ he did not have his hay stacked. He possessed but one pitchfork, and as his neighbors were also engaged in haying and using theirs, and he thought it was too far to go to Kansas City to buy another, he improvised one for me from a hickory sapling. Such hay as he had cut and cured we got stacked by the 22d of October. When Kansas territory was opened for settlement the...

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Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dragoon Creek, Wabaunsee County

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened up the Kansas Territory to settlement, a tide of immigration began as citizens from across the United States, and foreigners, recently arrived in the US, rushed to receive some of the prime property. Stephen J. Spear was one such settler, and this manuscript depicts his life along Dragoon Creek in Wabaunsee County, Kansas.

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