Pages 176-179, 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.




JEROME W. DELAPLAIN, who for almost a third of a century has made his home in Allen County, traces his ancestry back to France and finds that many representatives of the family are living in various sections of this country. The orthography of the name has undergone many


changes, some spelling it as dwellers of the plains, De La Plain. Samuel Delaplain, the grandfather of our subject, was born about the 7th of November, 1781, and served in the War of 1812. He married Jane McFadden, a descendant of a patriot of Irish birth who served for seven years in the war of the American Revolution. Some time in 1808 Samuel Delaplain, accompanied by one of his brothers, made the journey on horseback from Ohio to Illinois, also accompanied by their aged mother, a Scotch woman, who died at the age of one hundred and four years. The grandfather was a pioneer Methodist preacher and crossed the Mississippi River to a French village where the city of St. Louis, Missouri, now stands. He was also a carpenter and took a contract to build the first market house there, going to the forest and cutting and hewing the timber and making the boards from which to construct the building. The old French market house long stood as a landmark of that locality.

While Samuel Delaplain and his wife Jane were occupying the French claim in 1812, Joshua P. Delaplain was born unto them, being the fifth of their eleven children. Shortly afterward the family again crossed the Mississippi River, settling on a farm four miles north of Alton, Illinois, where the son Joshua grew to manhood. We find him early taking an active part in the work of the Methodist church, of which he remained an active and consistent member until his death in 1875. Holding a commission from Governor Reynolds of Illinois in a company of State militia when the Black Hawk war broke out, he resigned his military office and enlisted as a private in a company of Independent Mounted Rifles, serving until the old chief and his followers were subdued.

On the 9th of October, 1836, Joshua Delaplain was united in marriage to Mary O. Copley, who was born October 7, 1818, at Oneida, New York. Her parents were of English ancestry. Of this marriage were born the following named: Jerome W., Eugene W., now of Logan township; John B., of Kansas City; Charles L., deceased; Emma J, who in 1871 married George D. Ingersoll, then a merchant of Iola, and died in Moran, Kansas, in 1886, leaving three children; and Ellis P., of Elm township, who come pletes[sic] the family.

In 1868 Joshua P. Delaplain and his eldest son, Jerome W., made a prospecting tour to Missouri and northern Kansas without finding just the location they wanted, and after considering the future of Galveston, Texas, as an outlet for the produce of Kansas by the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad, then talked of, the father in the early summer of 1868, came to Allen County, Kansas, spending the first night after his arrival at the Rodgers farm, southeast of Moran. The next day he met William Buchanan of Iola, who showed him the Snodgrass farm of one hundred and sixty acres, one mile south of Gas City. The farm was purchased and Mr. Delaplain went east for his family who came overland in the last of September, 1868.

Previous to this time, Jerome W. Delaplain, on the 16th of May, 1866, had married Sue F. Gifford, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and whose parents were of English and German descent. Jerome Dela-


plain and his wife came with the family to Allen County and purchased of Oliver Redfern the southwest quarter of section five, township twenty-five. range nineteen, then a part of Iola township, of which James McDonald was trustee. Houses were few and far between and were scattered along the streams. Prairie fires were frequent and often destructive, much time being consumed in guarding against and fighting them. The blanketed Indian still hunted over the prairies and sometimes would get the deer the Delaplain boys were after. Soon, however, the country became more thickly settled with the white people, who purchased farm lands of speculators, railroad companies or of other settlers. The Pickells, Ohlfests, Monforts, Frinks, Johnsons, Crowells, Ports, Remsbergs and others came.

During the period of these arrivals petitions, at first unavailing, began to find their way to the county commissioners asking for the establishment of a new township. Finally, as the result of the earnest effort of Mr. Pickell, the petitions were granted. At the Jacob Sikes school house on Elm Creek, a half mile north of the present site of the Allen Center school house, a general gathering of the voters was held. John Woolems, a Democrat, was nominated for trustee and J. W. Delaplain, a Republican, for township treasurer, but the latter did not like the idea of a fusion ticket, and at a consultation which was held it was decided to cut loose from the fusion movement and put a straight Republican ticket in the field. Accordingly notices were posted for a primary of Republican voters at the old log schoolhouse on the Riley farm about three-fourths of a mile east of the I. N. Port corner. At that primary J. W. Delaplain, refusing any place on the ticket, his father, J. P. Delaplain, was nominated for trustee, J. L. Arnold for treasurer and Alvin Harris for clerk. They were all elected and Mr. Delaplain served for two terms in that office and one term as justice of the peace. In 1874 Jerome Delaplain was appointed township treasurer to fill out the unexpired term of George Hopkins and by re-election held the office for eight years, when he refused to again become a candidate.

The subject of this review passed through the usual experiences of pioneer life. The house which stood on his one hundred and sixty acre farm was a log structure, sixteen by sixteen feet, with rough board doors and one small window, while a split board roof was held in place with the weight of rocks and poles. Between the rough boards of the floor rattlesnakes sometimes made their way into the cabin, and the first winter a small, striped perfumed cat got in. The large rock fireplace in one end of the room, together with a cook stove in the center of the room, did not prevent the young wife's feet from getting badly frosted. Such were the hardships of pioneer life in Kansas! Times were very hard. On one occasion they were eating their last loaf of bread, not knowing how or where to get more, yet it came without calling for "aid."

Mr. Delaplain's mother, now eighty-three years of age, yet resides with him. Unto him and his wife, while they were living in the old cabin, a son was born, May 15, 1869, to whom they gave the name of Charles W.


He lived to young manhood and then died. Another son, Alfred G. Delaplain, was born December 5, 1874. In March 1891, Jerome W. Delaplain purchased thirty-one and a fourth acres of land near Iola, now in Brooklyn Park, and moved from Elm to Iola township that the children, Alfred and the adopted daughter, Nellie, now Mrs. C. D. Eakin, of Gas City, might have the advantages of the Iola schools. There he resided for six years, and about the time of the beginning of Iola's prosperity he sold his property at an advance and, crossing East street, purchased the Chatfield property, little dreaming that it would ever be a part of the new city of Iola.

During the last three years of the great rebellion, J. W., E. W. and J. B. Delaplain served their country as enlisted members of Company D, One Hundred and Twenty-Second Illinois Infantry, which formed a part of the Sixteenth Army Corps, which marched, starved, feasted and fought according to the fortunes of war and all the time loyally promoted the cause of the Union. While a resident of Elm townphip[sic] J. W. Delaplain was a worker for the Republican party, often serving on central committees or as a delegate to the different conventions of county or district. He was prominent in the school work of his district and altogether has held rather more than man's share of the minor offices of district or township—a fact which indicates his high standing among his fellowmen.

Previous | Home | Next