I Went Searching For an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman

I Went Searching for an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman.
I've always been interested in history so when my Uncle Wayne gave me some information about our family roots I had to begin changing the way I've always thought about where I came from. We had always been told, "there's Indian blood in our ancestry, we just haven't been able to prove it". I have been surprised to learn that while searching for an Indian link, I found a Dutchman. Now I'm not saying there may not be some Indian blood somewhere but the prospect looks dimmer the more I find out.
I also have had some general prejudices about folks back east, especially areas like Ohio (I grew up in the Woody Hayes era and couldn't stand Ohio State). What a surprise (and God ordained I believe) to find we arrived in Ohio in the early 1800s, my ancestor fought in an Ohio Regiment in the Civil War, and came to Kansas afterwards. That, and some visits to Ohio, has adjusted my thinking.
And the other reason why-to keep communication between the far flung members of my family and encourage them to drop a note so we can keep in touch with the details of their lives. We miss too much by not being there in the day to day workings of life. So, leave a post for all of us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Trip Down South: My Ancestors History in Winfield, Kansas 2/26/11

Kathi was feeling bad because a friend took his wife south for the winter to St. John’s in the Caribbean so I did the same for Kathi.  I announced on Friday that we would be taking a weekend excursion south too-to balmy Winfield Kansas.  Since I have found that not only was I born there (which I knew but don’t remember) but that my GG Grandparents, William and Sarah, lived there also, I decided it would be a good chance to burn some vacation days and find out some more family history.

Nazarene Church Eureka, Ks
So, I arranged rooms at a quaint Mom-n-Pop called the Sonner Motel and Saturday morning we headed out.  It could be that the freezing rain was telling us something but we were undaunted and mushed on south.  I decided to make it a real history tour for Kathi and not only let her see family sites but also where I have been over the last few years since my job entailed supervising the technician who covered the same areas.  We started south down the Kansas Turnpike to Emporia, cut through town to K-99 and south through the little towns of Olpe, Madison, and Hamilton and on to US 54 and into Eureka.  I showed her where Uncle Willy McCollom was pastor of the Nazarene church across from the Caseys (which had a just-in-time bathroom).  We ran by the Greenwood County Courthouse and Eureka Downs then back east on US 54 to the K-99 junction and on south again. 

Nazarene Church, Severy, Ks
Our next stop was Severy where not only did cousin Russell McCollom pastor the Nazarene church, but also where my old buddy Bill and I went to visit a couple of girls from Climax and went to the Methodist church with them.  It’s funny how my life later mirrored the same locations:  Met the girls from Climax, went to Howard to see a show-got a couple of traffic tickets and lost my license temporarily-cruised the main drag of Eureka for fun and went to church in Severy.  You can’t make this stuff up-it has to be true.

Nazarene Church, Howard, Ks
Anyway, we continued on south on K99 to Howard and cruised around the town to see the Elk County courthouse, where the Nazarene church that Uncle Willy was pastor used to be (it has since fallen down and is a vacant lot), and the old school.  Then back onto the highway and south to Moline.  Just before the west curve to Moline is the turn to Elk Falls where Uncle Mel was born.  We passed west through Moline and continued on to Winfield.

We arrived at the Sonner motel to find it was not a quaint Mom and Pop unless you were from Pakistan.  They lost our reservations (how hard could that be? We were the only ones there) and while there’s not a prejudiced bone in my body, their standard of clean and my good wife’s was not the same.  She gave me the “we can stay if you really want to” speech and I have been married long enough to know what that means.  I said why don’t we look around a bit and then we’ll just check out and head home if something doesn’t change.  She thought that a capital idea and I learned a valuable and relatively inexpensive lesson: When you go looking for your own family history (which isn’t as exciting to HER as it is to ME) get a room at the NICEST place you can find.  She will enjoy the trip more which means YOU will enjoy the trip more.  See, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

So, we went on to the Cowley County Historical Museum where I met a very nice docent named Jerry Wallace who informed me the lady who ran the archives was only available weekdays so I couldn’t look through any files for information.  However, Jerry had written various articles for the CCHS including one I bought called “Remembering Edwin Cassander Manning The Founder of Winfield, Kansas”.  In it was some very good information from the early days of Winfield and also details about why people came to this area.

Jerry couldn’t remember our ancestor but he did have some documents in his book so we opened it up and lo and behold, it showed the original town lot holders from September 20, 1873 and number 17 is William Bartlow, Block 107, lot 17.  We couldn’t read the map well enough to see where that was but after consulting a website which by the way has a listing of Winfield characters including everything written about “Bartlow” in the Winfield papers) I found that the lot is the second one from the south on the west side of Main street between 7th and 8th streets.  This could possibly be the lot mentioned in the articles that said he was “excavating for a cellar on his lot on Main Street next to Boyer's. Planning to erect a building on this lot...” (Winfield Courier 10/22/1874).

But back to how we got here.  Jerry told me that Winfield in that day had no old people.  They were all young men who moved west after the Civil War with their families largely due to the Homestead Act of 1862 which gave 160 acres to anyone who would 1) file an application with the US Land Office, 2) improve the land and 3) file for a patent (deed).  They were required to be a family head or person at least 21 years old, US citizen or intended citizen , never borne arms against the US (which precluded all Confederate soldiers), live on the land for five years (or after 6 months buy it at $1.25/acre or $200).  A Union veteran could deduct the years he served from the five year requirement.  They also had to build a house of a minimum of 12 x 14 and clear and improve the land.

So thinking back on how William and Sarah got there I speculate this:  Living in southern Ohio with its limited land and growth opportunities, they decided to take advantage of the special land openings available and packed everything up (some time between 1865 and 1869) and headed west.  They had arrived in Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas, in the Flint Hills for sure by 1869 because our grandfather George was born there.  They also were in the 1870 Chase county census and I would guess he had exercised his rights to the 160 acres there.  Since he had served four years in the war he only had to live on the property one year to own it.  They surely had land there since the census showed their real estate worth at $8000 and personal property at $4100 (both quite a sum in that day).  So why on to Cowley county?

A little more history to help things make sense.  The Kansas legislature created Cowley county on 3/2/1867, carved out of Hunter county, and named in the memory of 1st Lt Matthew Doll Cowley who had settled in Butler county in 1858, served in the 9th Kansas Cavalry and was killed in Little Rock, AR.  Cowley county belonged to the Osage Indians who held a 30 mile wide strip comprising 8,000,000 acres in eight Kansas counties (Mongomery, Sumner, Cowley, Sumner, Harper, Cherokee, Chase and Howard-to be Elk and Chatauqua).  The area was known as the Osage Dimished Reserve.  The land on the north was bordered by Butler county and went south to cover 90% of Cowley county.  South of that was a smaller three mile wide Cherokee Strip that ran along the border of IT (Indian Territory-Oklahoma).  Those already in the county were squatters but could “rent” the property from the Osages for a five dollar fee.

E.C. Manning settled the area at the southeast side of the confluence of the Walnut river and Timber creek in 1869, purchasing said “rent” from the Osages for the privilege.  The town would eventually be named Winfield after a Baptist minister from Leavenworth, Winfield Scott.  The US Congress passed a bill authorizing the purchase of the Osage land and the Osage ratified the treaty on October 29, 1870. The Osage were given land in Indian Territory and on May 11, 1872 the Cherokee portion of Cowley county was opened for white settlement. Winfield could now be called legitimate and after some conflicts with rival Arkansas City, became the county seat.

Confluence of Walnut river and Timber Creek
Location of the Winfield Saw Mill
Into this timeline stepped the William Bartlow family.  Although not exactly sure when that happened, we can guess from what we do know.  The family was in Chase county in 1870 at the time of the census and according to newspaper accounts, had set up a steam powered saw mill at the intersection of the Walnut river and Timber creek (Cowley County Censor, March 18, 1871).  Kathi and I found the location by driving to the west end of 4th street, parking in a gravel lot, and climbing up over the dike that has been constructed.  It’s plain to see the Walnut river coming from the north and Timber creek coming in from the northeast.  The Walnut curves and continues on to the west.  While we don’t know exactly where the sawmill was, my best guess would be on the Winfield side of both which would put it on the southeast side of the confluence.

The newspapers give details that help us fill in the story of the family from that point.   It’s possible that Sarahs’ (nee Daugherty) brother came west with them.  Mention is made of the “Daugherty & Lyons shingle factory” that was moved close to Bartlow’s Winfield Saw Mill in 1871 (Cowley County Censor, July 1, 1871) and a wedding between Ben Dougherty and Maggie Bush “at the residence of Wm. Bartlow, in this city” (Winfield Courier, January 28, 1875).  We also can tell from this that along with the lot on main street, they evidently had a house in town as well as the property with the saw mill.  If we add in the fact that they held a farm auction on March 12, 1877 “one mile east of Sand Creek on the Wichita road in Ninnescah Township” selling 110 acres of wheat, 23 acres of pasture, 10 acres of cultivated land, a house, farm equipment, 2 head of horses, 15 head of hogs, 4 head of cattle and 200 bushels of corn we might also guess they moved to a farm property some time after the wedding in 1875. (Winfield Courier, March 1, 1877)

Other items of interest that we see from the newspapers include the fact that there were troubles at the mill-it caught fire once and William cut off one of his fingers.  William was also busy in Republican politics as one of the delegates to the Cowley County Republican Convention in 1876 (the year US Grant was elected). He build a sidewalk across Loomis street for which he was paid $18.20 (Winfield Courier, March 18, 1875) and took an interest, along with other town fathers, in the higher thinking skills helping to organize a Literary and Scientific Association in 1874.  He was also active at the fair, entering oxen, was a good fund raiser, had some legal tussles (suing C. A. Bliss, one of the commissioners),

He initially made the decision to head for the Black Hills of the Dakotas with his steam saw mill in 1875 but evidently didn’t go for a couple of years.  That must have made for interesting conversation around the dinner table with Sarah.  Evidently things didn’t go smoothly as shortly after the big farm sale in March 1877, Sarah was “permitted to retire from the protective wing of Mr. William Bartlow, and also to take with her four children <probably Anna -14; George-9; Martha-7 and Christopher-4> and $1,000, provided the Sheriff could find that much raw material lying around loose” (Winfield Courier, May 17, 1877).   The only mention of William in Winfield after that is his name appearing on letters unclaimed at the Post Office.

NE corner 9th & Main 
From what I can surmise, Sarah continued on, losing the farm in a sheriff’s sale in May 1878 and buying a piece of property for $350 in 1885.  The rest of the family continues to appear from time to time in the papers, most notably Anna and Benjamin.  Anna must’ve been a good young lady, never missing a day’s school in 1874 and taking a temperance pledge in 1878 after a lecture by Rev. Mr. Rushbridge as part of the Murphy Movement.  Ben was a bit wilder it seems.  He had a near serious horse wreck at the corner of 9th and Main at the age of 13,  was in a fracas with another man over a land lease and got his leg peppered with a shotgun blast at 24,  and accused of sending obscene letters through the mail to a Miss Katie Hixon, one of the dining room girls at Axtell’s restaurant at age 25 (of which he was eventually aquitted).  Ben did seem to have a quiet day job though, as the 1885 Winfield Directory notes he is a clerk at the Commercial hotel and resides there.

We never hear much of the Bartlow clan in Winfield after that but for a few minor puffs of smoke which give us a little insight.  It’s noted in 1881 (Cowley County Courant, Nov 17, 1881) that “Bartlow’s mill and its crew have disappeared” and in 1882 “Messrs. Bryan and Harris have just consummated the sale of the old Bartlow farm, in Ninnescah township, which was owned by W.D. Crawford, to John W. Gibson; for $2,200. Mr.Gibson is from Virginia, and his father is living in this city” (Cowley County Courant, February 9, 1882).   Records of Sarah’s move to Mulhall, Indian Territory indicate at the time she filed in May, 1889, still was in Winfield, but her claim record shows she began living in a hut on the property near Mulhall on November 3, 1899.

As far as I can tell, she, nor William, ever returned to Winfield.  However almost 60 years after she left, one of her descendants was born in Winfield at the William Newton Hospital.  He became the author of this document.  Fact is stranger than fiction.
The author at his birthplace-a little larger
than the last time

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