Sedgwick County KSGenWeb

"Death of John Stewart" by R. S. Armour

Submitted by Suzanne Deal Sellers ( to Sedgwick County KSGenWeb, 6 Nov. 1997. [My grandfather, Robert S. Armour, used "hunt & peck"
typing method; I have typed letter as it was. I added the information in brackets--SDS]

[from a letter written on September 14, 1952 near Carmen, Woods Co., OK
from Robert S. Armour to a cousin. Robert S. Armour was born in Vermillion
Co., IN on 1 June 1863 to James and Jane (Stewart) Armour. He resided in
Sedgwick Co., KS from about 1871 until 1903 when he and his wife, Susie
Cora (Wyatt) Armour moved to Woods Co., OK. Robert S. Armour died on 11 May
1957 in Alva, Woods Co., OK.]

"September 14th,--52,[1952]

Dear Cousin, This is not written as a letter of news ,but just to tell
of a little incident in the early settlement of Kansas. Late in the year
1871, Mother's Brother John Stewart, and his Father John Stewart Sr,
seytled [settled] on Government land a mile west of where the town of Clear
Water Kansas Is now located. My Father [James Armour] and Mother [Jane
(Stewart) Armour] located on Government land Eight miles west of where
Sedgwick Kansas is now. The land of the two locations was somewhat
different, and a difference in the law governing the entry of the land,
caused the difference in selection.The two locations were some thirty miles
apart. One was about twenty miles Southwest. and the other about thirty
m9les [miles] northwest Of Wichita,Early in September Father had got a few
days work in a little Brickyardat [brickyard at] Wichita.The proprietor's
wife wished to go back to visit her folks and Father, being a married man
they persuaded him to bring his wife down to cook for the five, or six,
hands in the yard, Father got his hand badly hurt and had to quit, and I
was sent down so that Mother would not be alone.
On the night of September 13th, Grand Father Stewart died and the only way
to get word to the Armours, or to another daughter close by ,was to go and
tell them.
John Stewart drove straight across the county,some thirty milesto [miles
to] tell them but nobody come [came] to attend the Funeral.John Stewart
come [came] back by way of Wichita, Got the Coffin ( We did not say CASKET
than )[then] and took Mother qnd [and] me to the funeral. By the time we
left Witchita [Wichita] it was in the night and we fOllowed [followed] the
famous old Chislm [Chisholm] Cattle Trail that connected Texas with
Wichita. Mother and Uncle John sat on the seat of the Spring Wagon and my
seat was on the foot of the Coffin behind the Wagon seat. The night was
windy but not sto5my [stormy],There were many cattle along the trail as it
was near the Market. A night Herder appeared ,All at once, by our team and
before he spoke Uncle John said " your cow is about a half mile bac [back]
up the trail". He disq?peared [disappeared] in the darkness just as he had
appeared, we got to the little pole cabin just about Midnight, Everybody but me sat
up the rest of the night; This was September 14th, just exactly Eighty
years ago today.
The next morning ( Sunday Morning ) a Scotchman. Mr. McCredie and one of
Grand Father's, [sons] Joe Stewart dug the grave out in the garden, They
were not familliar [familiar] with that work and dug it North and South.

[Page 2]
The grave was finished at about 10-45 [10:45] and the few men there
carried the coffin to the Graveside. Mr. McCridie [McCredie] offered
prayer,Mother tried to sing, I can still see her standing at the head of
the coffin trying to sing

"My flesh shall slumber in the ground,
Till the last joyous trumpet sound:
Then break the chains,with sweet surprise,
And in my Savior(s [Saviour's] image rise. Nobody offered to

help and she could not sing any more. At the funeral was Mr.and Mrs.
McCredie, a young couple; Mr.and Mrs. Ross and five children ; Two of Grand
Father's sons and two of his daughters. Two families of Scotch and one of
Irish. I do not recall any Americans but Mr.and Mrs. Boney Smith may have
been there.
We had dinner and Uncle John Took My Mother and me back to Wichita and
after that would have the lionely [lonely] ride home. As pioneers it was
our duty to assist a neighbor when grief came to a home. I have never
helped to dig a grave but have sometimes been sent for the coffin and many
times hauled the casket to the grave. Those services are no longer
necessary, My old Grand Father was moved from his Garden as soon as a
cemetery had been selected and burried [buried] in the new yard, then the
rail road was bulit through there and needed that plot of ground, and the
new town [Clearwater] established a more permanent cemetery and again he
was moved,The last time I visited the grave the Tomb Stone was broken into
two pieces."
R. S. Armour


Submitted by Suzanne Deal Sellers ( to Sedgwick County KSGenWeb, 6 March 2001

[This is undated, but Robert S. Armour did most of his writings in the late 1930s through the early 1950s.  This was sent to me by Mrs. Ruth Coker of Arlington, TX in Nov. 2000. - SDS]

[John Stewart]
His wife remained his widow for about thirty years and laid down
the burden of life to be laid to rest by the side of her husband with whom
she had passed so many happy years and with whom she had traveled from the village
of Grey Abbey, Ireland to the new Indian country of Kansas. John Stewart was born
on the 17th of March in 1798 and his wife on the 17th of March 1806--that being the
day celebrated by their native country as the birthday of their
patron saint, St. Patrick, we so often met to do them honor and show, or
partly show our love and esteem for them. John Stewart was of medium
stature, slender, very witty and jolly. A general favorite especially
with children. His wife, Susan Stewart was tall and until middle age
stood very straight, but as the years stole over her she was bent over, but
used to declare she would be "Straight in the casket". In studying
their life's history, we their posterity (sic), find much of which we
are proud and not anything but that which we should try to follow.
RSA [Robert S. Armour]

This page created for Sedgwick County KSGenWeb by John Schunk ( Not to be reproduced or redistributed without permission.

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