Pages 323-325, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JAMES L. CHRISTY—One of the most highly esteemed and prominent pioneers of southeastern Kansas is James L. Christy, who came to to this portion of the country during territorial days and took part in the exciting events which formed the history of Kansas prior to the Civil war. With the era of progress and improvement he has also been connected, bearing his part in reclaiming the wild land for purposes of civilization. No history of Allen County would be complete without the record of his life.

He was born in Rowan County, Kentucky, July 12, 1840, the eldest son of John A. and Nancy Christy, who came to Allen County in 1860. The mother died June 25, 1870, at the age of fifty-four years, and the father passed away July 29, 1897, at the advanced age of eighty-five years.

James L. Christy accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois during his early boyhood and also went with them to Missouri. In 1855, thinking that he would like to see more of the wild west he came to Kan-


sas, locating first in Bourbon County, where he was employed on a farm. There he worked for three years, during which time the border troubles broke out and he joined John Brown's party. He was right in the midst of the border difficulties and saw service under Generals Montgomery and Lane, participating in the battle of Osawatomie. He was well acquainted with John Brown, the Abolition leader, whom he says was a very good man and used to preach to his followers every Sunday. When the trouble was over Mr. Christy returned to his work. He was a great hunter and would often accompany the Indians on their hunting expeditions. He also killed, December 27, 1893, the last deer ever shot in this county. When Captain Gordon, the United States surveyor, divided the county into sections, Mr. Christy drove the ox-team hauling the stones used in the corners of the sections. In 1850 he returned to Missouri on a visit, but in 1860 again came to Kansas, where he watched with interest the oncoming tide of events that involved the country in war.

Upon reflection and in the rehearsal of incidents and events connected with the first years of Allen County Mr. Christy adverts to the fact that the first blacksmith shop in the county was located in section 5, town 24, range 18, and that it was established by Reuben Benbow. The first death in the county of which the public and society took notice was that of Tommy Keith. He was buried on the Carpenter place which was, necessarily, the first opened cemetery in the county. The first school house was named for "Uncle Jimmy" Carpenter and was erected on his premises.

In the days of disorganization and before the establishment of Territorial regulations for the county the few settlers were distressed by thieving Indians and white men and were driven to take matters into their own hands. They formed an organization for mutual protection and chose the first officers and established the first seat of government for the county. Cofachique was selected as the county seat and the officers chosen were: A. W. J. Brown, Probate Judge; Jesse E. Morris, Sheriff and William C. Keith, Justice of the Peace. Frank Morris, son of Jesse, was selected to represent the county in the Lecompton Constitutional Convention.

These scenes are long past and few are alive who remember them. Elijah Brown, son of the pioneer Isham Brown, who resides in Neosho County, Kansas, and Robert McQuigg, of Roseburg, Oregon, were among the active participants in these events.

On the 24th of July, 1861, Mr. Christy enlisted in Company F, Third Kansas Infantry, and soon afterward the Third, Fourth and Fifth regiments consolidated to form the Tenth regiment, with which he served for three years, experiencing all the hardships and rigors of war. He participated in nineteen engagements, including some of the most hotly contested battles, among which were Wilson's Creek, Locust Grove, Dry Wood, Newtonia, Ray's Mills, Prairie Grove, Van Buren, Chattanooga and the storming of Fort Blakely. He was taken ill and was forced to remain at Salem, where he was captured by the Rebels, but after two weeks he managed to make his escape by running through the guard lines. He


faithfully defended the stars and stripes and the cause they represented, but when the war was over he gladly returned to his home.

In 1867 Mr. Christy was united in marriage to Miss Martha E. Morris, a native of Missouri, who came to Allen County in 1855 with her parents. She is the second daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth Morris, who located on Deer Creek, in Geneva township. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Christy have been born nine daughters: Louisa E., died at the age of four years; Emma, wife of George A. Smith, of Chandler, Oklahoma; Cora, who died at the age of sixteen years; Mamie, Ruby, Lora, Mattie and Lizzie, twins, and Jessie, the youngest, all at home. Ruby is a teacher in the county schools.

Mr. Christy has held a number of responsible positions in Allen County. He was deputy sheriff under J. C. Redfield and also under Charles P. Twiss. He has also served for several terms as justice of the peace and constable of Geneva township, and discharged his duties with marked fidelity and promptness. In his political affiliations he is a Republican. Whether on the field of battle, in public office or in the walks of private life, he has ever been true to his duties of citizenship and has commanded and enjoyed the high regard of those with whom he has been associated.

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