Scraps of Local History Picked Up Here and There

by George J. Remsburg

published in the Leavenworth Times July 20-21 (WWII)


George Goodwin, who died at Horton recently at the age of 84 years, lived in Leavenworth in the early days, coming here with his parents in 1859. His father was a brickmaker and made brick for some of the first brick buildings in Leavenworth. Later the family moved to the vicinity of the historic old stage and pony express station and Kickapoo Indian agency, at Kennekuk, at the junction of the Fort Leavenworth military road and Oregon trail, in Atchison County, where they spent the rest of their lives.

The recent announcement in The Times of the death of Fred Kisker, formerly of Farley, Mo., at Montrose, Colo., recalls that John Kisker, his father, was run over and killed by railroad cars near East Leavenworth, February 8, 1889.

Where was Russell's mill, on the Lawrence road out of Leavenworth, and who was its proprietor? We recently came across a mere reference to it, but can not find any further record on it. Does any old-timer know anything about it?

Peter Cadue.

Peter's creek, which empties into the Missouri river at Wathena, in Doniphan County, go its name from a pioneer Leavenworth County character, Peter Cadue, who moved from Kickapoo to that locality, at an early day. Cadue was a French "squaw-man," who spent most of his life with the Kickapoo Indians as a trader and interpreter. He came to Kickapoo with this tribe in the '30s, and spent many years there, following Chief Wathena's band to the Peter's creek area. He once laid out a town called Petersburg, near the present site of Wathena, but it never materialized. He was killed by being thrown from his horse near Kennekuk, during the 60's, and has descendants still living on the Kickapoo reserve near there.

July 21 will be the 116th anniversary of the birth of one of the most distinguished soldiers that Kansas ever produced and July 25 will be the 61st anniversary of his death. He was General James G. Blunt, who lived in Leavenworth for some time after the Civil war, later moving to Washington, D. C., where he died insane, in 1881. He had previously lived in Anderson County, Kansas, where he settled in 1856. He was a physician early in life. His military career was a brilliant one.

General Jim Lane.

It seems that General Jim Lane originally intended to locate at Leavenworth when he first came to Kansas in 1855, judging from a statement made by the late William Elsey Connelly, Kansas historian, in his paper on the "Lane-Jenkins Claim Contest," printed in volume 16 of "Kansas Historical Collections." Connelly says:

"Early in April 1855, Lane began his preparations to move to Kansas. He came by way of St. Louis where he took boat for Leavenworth. John Armstrong, one of the founders of the city of Topeka, had spent the winter in St. Louis, where he had gone, after his visit to the site of Topeka, to look after some nursery stock which he had shipped from New York. By chance he took the boat up the Missouri river upon which Lane and his family had embarked. There was with Lane, Thomas C. Shoemaker, who had been appointed to a position in the public land office of the territory. Mr. Armstrong said that both Lane and Shoemaker had their families with them. In conversations held with Lane as the boat ascended the Missouri, Armstrong convinced Lane that Lawrence was a better location than Leavenworth. He left the boat at Kansas City, and he and Armstrong went to Westport to secure a conveyance to Lawrence. By stipulation with the keeper of a livery stable, a light conveyance was secured for the members of the party and the household effects were forwarded within a day or two."

While Lane did not locate in or near Leavenworth, he was here often, and ended his life here with a self-inflicted bullet wound in the head 76 years ago on the 11th of the present month.

Thomas C. Shoemaker, mentioned above, was the first receiver of public moneys in Kansas Territory and lived in Leavenworth for many years. At one time, in partnership with Jarrett Todd and S. D. Pticher, he operated a ferry across the Missouri river here.

More About Dr. Fryer.

In an article which we presented in The Times of June 28, under the caption of "Major Fryer Was a Famous Surgeon at Army Post Here," Dr. Fryer's record up to the year 1882 was given. As to how much longer he remained at this post after hat we had no available data, nor did we have anything regarding his later career and death. Since then Mrs. J. L. (Carrie A.) Fryer, of 4011 Baltimore avenue, Kansas City, Mo., a daughter-in-law of Colonel of Doctor Fryer, has furnished this information. She writes:

"Your article in The Leavenworth Times of June 28th had more than a usual interest for me, for I am the daughter-in-law of Dr. Blencowe E. Fryer. I married his younger son, the late John L. Fryer, himself a major and stationed at Fort Leavenworth during World war I. He told that he frequently ran across his father's records in the hospital there.

"It has occurred to me that you might like to know something of my father-in-law's career subsequent to the date of 1881. At his own request, in 1887, he was retired, with the rank of colonel, from active service in the Army. He located in Kansas City, confining his practice to the eye and ear, and enjoyed one of the largest, if not the largest, practices in the city. He died August 11, 1911, at Sault Sainte Marie, where he had gone for a short vacation.

"Colonel and Mrs. Fryer are buried in the National cemetery at Fort Leavenworth. Their three children are not living. My son, John Blencowe Fryer, is their only descendant carrying the Fryer name. He is a selectee and in the medical department of the Army.

"In an article written at the time of Colonel Fryer's death were these sentences: "The doctor's standing among his profession was the very highest. If the medical profession could make a close study of Dr. Fryer's life there would be little use for codes of ethics.' And in a letter in my possession, written by General Nelson A. Miles to the Honorable John Sherman, secretary of war, is this paragraph: "This will introduce to you an old friend of mine, Dr. e. B. Fryer, one of the most accomplished and scientific officers, and thorough gentlemen in the service.'

"Dr. Fryer filled all positions he was called upon to fill with honor and ability. We were very proud of him."

Seventy-four years ago on July 16, three great Union leaders of the Civil war--Generals Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, met in a reception at Fort Leavenworth.

Who remembers the old cracker factory at the corner of Shawnee and Third streets in Leavenworth? It was established 60 years ago this month by F. A. Rolfs, who invested about $12,000 in the business.

"White Alloe."

More than a century ago a French-Canadian trapper and hunter named Alloe lived in a "dug-out" on the bank of a small stream which empties into the Missouri river at Parkville, below Leavenworth. He hunted and trapped all over this section of the country--along the Platte river and Bee creek, in Platte County, Stranger, Salt and other creeks, in Leavenworth County and elsewhere. He was a close friend of the Kickapoo and Delaware Indians, on this side of the river, and the Sac and Fox on the Missouri side. The Kickapoos called him "White Alloe," and gave to the stream on which he lived that name which it bears today. It has not been definitely learned what became of him, but the writer has always had a "sneaking idea" that he followed the Sac & Fox or Kickapoos to what is now Doniphan County, Kas. A French Canadian, who was known to the whites as "Alley" (probably a corruption of Alloe) lived among the Indians near what is now Highland in the early days and a landmark there called "Alley's Grove" was named for him.

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