Reprinted with permission of Rooting Around, published by the Leavenworth County Genealogical Society. Donated by Debra Graden.

--Scraps of Local History--

Leavenworth 'Increasing With Fabulous Rapidity' in 1859

by George J. Remsburg

John J. Ingalls, writing from Lawrence, Kas., to his father in Massachusetts under date of January 2, 1859, after visiting Leavenworth, said: "Leavenworth is increasing with fabulous rapidity. It has already about 10,000 inhabitants and will undoubtedly be the great point in Kansas. Descending into the city at night from the north one is conscious of that indefinable sensation which indicates the neighborhood of masses of men. The irregular, serrated outline along the dim horizon, the scattered lights, the stir, the impulse--all are here. Since Christmas, a week yesterday, there have been five murders in the city limits, all of the worst description, in the worst places."


Delaware Indians

Mrs. E. C. Minshall, 1518 South Cherry Street, Tulsa, Okla., recently made inquiries about the Delaware Indians, in which tribe she is much interested. The Delawares liven in the Leavenworth area from 1832 to up in the '60s. They left an imprint on the geography of this region in the following names that adorn our map and perpetuate their memory here: The Delaware river, Delaware township and Delaware street; Tonganoxie, town, township and creek; Fall (formerly Fall Leaf), village and creek; Sarcoxie, village; Lenape, village; Pone creek a corruption and abbreviation of the name of Po-na-kah-ko-wha, a noted Delaware chief and guide for John C. Fremont, the "Great Pathfinder"; Secondine, village, a corruption of the name of Sa-gun-dal, another distinguished Delaware chief and guide; Neconoconne creek, a corruption of the name of Ne-guon-he-guon, the last chief by blood of the Delawares; Wild Horse creek and Wolf creek, English for Delaware Indian names; Island creek, from the Delaware term, Mah-not-ta-see-poo; Muncie, or Munsee, from the name of a branch of the Delaware origin.



Gen. George W. Gist died at Weston 94 years ago on February 12 (Lincoln's birthday). Lincoln was then 46 years of age, General Gist was the first president of Leavenworth Town company. He having been an experienced surveyor, he laid off the townsite in 1854. It has been known as "The Gist Survey". Gist has been described as a man of exemplary character, who stood high in public estimation. [some of page torn off]



Stranger Creek Floods

In the letters of Julia Louisa Lovejoy, the wife of Rev. Charles H. Lovejoy, one of the earliest of the Methodist circuit-riders in Kansas territory, which have lately appeared in the Kansas Historical quarterly, she is quoted as writing on November 23, 1858:

"The stage-driver that goes with the daily line from Leavenworth to Lawrence, and two span of horses, were drowned in endeavoring to ford Stranger creek; and down the same creek, not far from here, floated a dead horse, with saddle and bridle on; its owner had been unhorsed and drowned; and how many have lost their lives in that creek within one year, I cannot tell. Your New England readers can form some idea how rapidly that stream rises when I tell them I have repeatedly forded the stream at the very spot where, just before, it was twenty feet deep, and seething and foaming like a boiling cauldron! Mr. L. started for Lawrence, but could not cross the stream, and returned, and waited a week for the waters to subside, and pushed ahead, as he always does when difficulties are to be surmounted."



Dead Towns

It is not generally known that towns by the names of Hardville, Lattaville, Jacksonville and Marburg were laid out in Leavenworth county during the '50s and, in all probability, there is not an old-timer living who recalls them, or where they were located. Is there? Most, if not all of them, were born dead--still-born, or what were called "paper-towns." If you have any information regarding these prospective pioneer populaces or their would-be promoters, please communicate with the writer.


Henry Frankhanel of Horton recently sold his farm in Atchison county and has retired. He was born in Leavenworth 83 years ago, and was reared and educated here, later moving to the Atchison county farm which, his father had originally secured on a debt, in 1858, and who paid territorial taxes on it in 1859 and 1860. The farm had been in the Frankhanel family for 90 years and Mr. Frankhanel has in his possession the tax receipts for all those years.


The Fort Leavenworth post office was established almost 118 years ago, but not under its present name and geographical designation. It was established July 8, 1831, with Alex G. Morgan as postmaster, and its official designation was "Cantonment, Leavenworth, Clay County, Missouri." This was changed to Fort Leavenworth, October 19, 1841, at which time Hiram Rich was made postmaster. The official designation on February 26, 1849, was "Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory," H. T. Wilson having been postmaster then. On March 12, 1862, this was changed to "Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas."


February 26 will be the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Col. William Frederick Cody, (Buffalo Bill). "Buffalo Bill" and James Butler Hickok, ("Wild Bill.") were born in adjoining states and in counties by the same name, the former in Scott county, Iowa, and the latter in Scott county, Illinois.


William g. Hesse

Although we have been away from Leavenworth for 31 years, we remember very distinctly the old Hess wagon manufacturing plant on Pawnee street, which burned a while back, and have in our possession the following biographical data regarding William G. Hesse, the founder of the industry, copied from Andreas' History of Kansas, published 66 years ago:

"William G. Hesse, manufacturer of all kinds of light carriages, buggies and wagons, was born in Prussia in 1838, and was early connected with his present line of business, his father having carried on the same kind in Prussia. In 1853 he came to America and followed his trade in New York, Maryland and St. Louis, consecutively, until 1857, when he came to Leavenworth and located, and has been actively connected with it, principally, since. In 1858, he married Miss Aline Stauber, who was born in Switzerland in 1838, and came to America in 1857. They have a family on one son, Otto, and three daughters, Amelia, Sophia and Louisa. In connection with the establishment of Mr. Hesse's carriage factory, it may be said to his credit, that his was the second factory established in Leavenworth, and that he has so enlarged upon it as to make it par excellence with all others of the kind. It gives employment to 28 skilled workmen, and does an annual trade of $40,000. In 1880, Mr. Hesse began a more extended manufacture of light works and he proposed now to make it his specialty."

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