Page 860-861, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Mrs. Mary Sturdyvin, a Kansas pioneer woman and one of the early hotel keepers of Whitewater, Kans., was born on a farm near Pittsfield, Pike county, Illinois, July 25, 1866. Her parents were William and Maggie (Chambers) Strawmatt. Her mother was a native of Indiana, and a member of a pioneer family of that State. She was a daughter of John and Margaret (Adams) Chambers, the former of English and the latter of German descent. They probably came from Pennsylvania to Indiana. William Strawmatt, the father of Mrs. Sturdyvin, was born in Pike county, Illinois, August 4, 1827. His father was a boatman on the Mississippi river, and was drowned when William was about five years old.

William Strawmatt grew to manhood on the Illinois prairies, and was married on January 8, 1859. He enlisted in August, 1862, in answer to President Lincoln's call for volunteers, and became a member of Company G, Ninety-ninth regiment, Illinois infantry, and served for three years, during which time he saw much hard service. He participated in the battles of Second Bull Run, Shiloh, The Wilderness, siege of Vicksburg, Fort Donelson and many others. He was captured and confined in Libby prison for a time, but escaped a few weeks later, only to be recaptured and sent to Andersonville prison. He was wounded twice at the second battle of Bull Run, and the close of the war he was mustered out of service and honorably discharged and returned to his home in Illinois.

In 1870 Mr. Strawmatt and his family left Illinois and drove to Holt county, Missouri, where he bought a farm and remained there for eight years. In 1878 he migrated to western Kansas with his family, and homesteaded a claim in Rush county. Three years later he sold his claim there and came to Butler county, settling in Murdock township, and was successfully engaged in farming and stock raising here until April 19, 1893, when his wife died and he disposed of his farming interests and spent the balance of his days in retirement with his children. He died at the home of Mrs. Sturdyvin on March 19, 1907.

Mrs. Sturdyvin was about twelve years of age when the family came to Kansas, and saw much of the pioneer life of the western part of the State. She remembers having seen buffalo on the plains, and Indians were no uncommon sight during her first few years in this State. She was married on September 25, 1881, to George H. Roach, whom she met at a ball at La Crosse, Kans. George H. Roach was born in Washington county, Illinois, May 14, 1858, a son of William and Mary (Cochran) Roach, natives of Ohio, both of whom died when George H. was a small child. He was reared by his grandparents, and


when a young man went to western Kansas and was engaged in the cattle business, where he met his future wife. He homesteaded a quarter section south of Brainerd, and here Mr. and Mrs. Roach lived for over two years. Their oldest child, George W. Roach, was born January 29, 1884. He now resides at Hutchinson. Another son, Glenn H. Roach, was born at Edgecomb, May 1, 1886, and lives in San Francisco, Cal. After residing on their claim, near Brainerd, they moved to Edgecomb and conducted a general store, blacksmith shop, feed stable and kept the postoffice. Four years later they removed to the new town of Brainerd, where they remained until 1890, engaged in the mercantile business. They then moved their stock of goods to Whitewater, which was then a new village. Here George H. Roach died on December 8, 1900, and Mrs. Roach continued the business for two years, and for six years prior to this time had also conducted a hotel at Whitewater. In 1902 she removed to El Dorado and the following year returned to Whitewater and engaged in the hotel business again, which she conducted about six months.

On September 11, 1903, Mrs. Roach was married to Edward F. Sturdyvin. They spent the winter of 1903 and 1904 in St. Louis, Mo., and from there went to Madisonville, Ky., where Mr. Sturdyvin was superintendent of a mine for a time, when they returned to Whitewater. After remaining there for some months they went to Oklahoma, where Mr. Sturdyvin bought a farm in the foothills of the Ozarks, and after remaining there about a year they returned to Whitewater and engaged in the hotel business. This was in May, 1911, and Mr. Sturdyvin died on September 1, 1912. Mrs. Sturdyvin conducted the hotel until April, 1914, when she sold it. Mrs. Sturdyvin is an extensive land owner and has accumulated most of her property by her own efforts. She is a capable business woman, and has been very successful. She owns a half section of land in Oklahoma, which is rich in coal and oil deposits, as well as timber. She also owns a quarter section in Scott county, Kansas, and is a stockholder in the Anticline Oil Company of Oklahoma City, and she also owns a cozy home in Whitewater.

Mrs. Sturdyvin is a member of the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 178, Whitewater, Kans., and has held all the offices in that lodge. She is also a member of the Daughters of the Revolution, and has been vice grand, noble grand, chaplain, secretary and district deputy, and has been a delegate to the grand lodge several times. She is also a member of the Whitewater Commercial Club, and takes a keen interest in local affairs.

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