Scraps of Local History Picked Up Here and There

by George Remsburg

The October number of the Pony Express, of Placerville, (Old Hangtown") Calif., is devoted largely to Col. Wm. F. Cody, ("Buffalo Bill.") It contains many interesting articles and illustrations which directly or indirectly concern the famous frontiersman and showman, and one of Leavenworth county's favorite sons. Next February 26th will be the centenary of the birth of Colonel Cody and great preparations for its celebration are being made.


John Colter is credited with having been the first white man to have entered the country that is now Wyoming. He was a noted frontiersman and as a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition and on other occasions, he set foot on what is now Leavenworth county soil almost a century and a half ago. Colter made many trips both up the Missouri river and overland.


Did it ever occur to you that Leavenworth county has two Plum creeks: One in the northeastern corner of Kickapoo township and is a tributary of Salt creek. The other is in the western part of Reno township, in the southwestern corner of the county and empties into the Kansas river. Both derived their names from the luscious wild plums that grew along their banks in abundance, in fact all over Leavenworth county, in the early days, but which have greatly diminished with the passing years.


George E. Kaufman, an Atchison philatelist, says in the Globe:

"The American Philatelist for October, 1945, official publication of the American Philatelic Society, contains several postmark facsimiles for Kansas during the territorial period of the state. Included in the illustrations are postmarks from Atchison, Doniphan, Sumner and Grasshopper Falls, the date on the one from Atchison is September 21, 1859."

Do any Leavenworth philatelists have any postal oddities of early Leavenworth; if so, let us hear about them.


Wilder's "Annals"

It is announced that Daniel Webster Wilder's "Annals of Kansas," one of the earliest and most important compilations of early Kansas happenings is to be brought up to date, which is a commendable move. Historians generally regard the "Annals" as one of be best sources of accurate historical material for the period it covers. Two editions of the work were gotten out by Mr. Wilder. One brought the record of Kansas evenets down to the year 1875, and then that part was reprinted, with the records brought down to include the year 1885.

The late William elsey Connelley himself one of the best Kansas historians, called Wilder the "Father of Kansas History and Literature." Connelley said it was Wilder's desire that he (Connelley) should bring his "Annals" down to date, but that he had never found time to do the work. "It should be done," Connelley continued, "for the book is the greatest authority on Kansas history. In his field no man has equaled him. In his day he was not appreciated, but future generations will give him full credit for what he did for this great state."

It is gratifying to learn that the Kansas State Historical Society at last is formulating plans for the furtherance of the great work started by Wilder.

Wilder was one of the founders and editor of the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, and when Col. D. R. Anthony entered the Civil War, he purchased the latter's interest in the paper, and became the sole proprietor. He continued as such for several years.


There has fallen into the writer's hands a pocket atlas of the world issued by the Challenge Machinery Co., of Grand Haven, Mich. On the United States map the only cities marked in Kansas are Topeka, Wichita, Atchison, Salina, Great Bend, Fort Scott and Liberal. Leavenworth is not designated. How come? I do not think much of an atlas that has failed to recognized dear old Leavenworth, one of the oldest, most historic and best known cities in Kansas.


Mrs. Ross May Faris, widow of John w. Faris, died at Iatan, Mo., recently. She was born at Oskaloosa, Kas., on the Fourth of July, 1873, a daughter of the late John and Mary Willits. She had lived in Iatan since 1890. She was a sister of Mrs. Belle Edgell and Mrs. Dorothy Taylor, of Leavenworth.


Delaware Village

The real or original tribal name of the Delaware Indians, who once occupied a large portion of what is now Leavenworth and adjoining counties, was Lenni Lenape. The old town of Lenape in Leavenworth county was named for these Indians. I have received from a friend in the East a clipping giving an account of an old village site of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians recently discovered near Darby, Pa. I will quote from the clipping, believing that while it may not be of interest to the layman, it will at least be to students of these Indians and our own local history. Among other things, it says:

"Three amateur archaeologists recently went on a picnic near Darby creek with nothing in mind but food and rest. Then they got thinking: If their picnic spot was so pleasant to them, would it not have been equally agreeable as a stopping place for Indians? They began digging. The hunch paid off. The picknickers uncovered the remains of a winter village used by the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indians in hunting expeditions in the 1600s. The excited amateur archaeologists dug up arrowheads, knives, a clay pipe, scattered Indian grinding corn and broken pottery in the shelters. Officials at Penn University Museum thought so highly of the find, they sent archaeologists to look further into the site. A skeleton of a 39-year-old woman was found. Then they uncovered finely-polished ornaments and pottery vessels and bone awls. This entire exhibit representing relics of the first Indian shelter to be excavated in this area, is now on exhibit at the museum. Officials said the remains are sufficient to enable them to reconstruct a picture of life in the shelter. The picknickers who were credited with uncovering the cache were J. Frank Sterling, Broomall, a telephone repairman, Paul Delgrego, Kirklyn, employed by a wholesale distributing firm, and W. W. Yenney, Springfield, a war plant expediter."


Thomas Manson Robinson, who died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Ethel Ballinger, at Osawkie, recently, at the age of 86, had lived in Jefferson county all of his long life. He was born near where Nortonville now stand, in 1859, and saw that thriving prairie town started and developed. He lived at Meriden for four years, and the last two years had resided at Osawkie. He was affectionately known as "Uncle Tom." He was laid to rest in the Nortonville cemetery.


Levi Houston

Mrs. Burton Wands, of 1545 Cotner Avenue, Los Angeles, is endeavoring to locate some descendants of Levi Houston, who, she says, came to the Leavenworth section from Ohio over a hundred years ago. "Some of the descendants," she says, "want to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, and we are trying to trace the line back. Likely any Houstons there will be of this family."

The writer has no record of a Levi Houston in the Leavenworth area, and if he came here 100 or more years ago, he must have been located at Fort Leavenworth or one of the Indian mission stations in this vicinity, as the country was not settled up yet.


The town of Tracy, in Platte county, MO., was founded 76 years ago this month, by Col. James N. Burnes.

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