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Kansas Family History


Santa Fe Trail Resource

The Heritage Server would like to thank Stephen Chinn for providing this information.

13-Nov-1995                  Family Group Sheet

 Husband: Hezekiah BRAKE   age: 88 
    Born:  4-Dec-1814     in: Sherborne, Dorsetshire, ENG                 
Baptized: Jul 1815        in: Sherborne, Dorsetshire, ENG                 
    Died: 27-Nov-1903     in: Council Grove, MorrisCo, KS                 
  Buried:                 in: Greenwood Cemetery, MorrisCo, KS            
     Ref:                     Occupation: farmer/school clerk             
  Father: Bernard BRAKE  
  Mother: Sarah BURROWS  
  Hezekiah BRAKE received U.S. land patent in Kansas on:
  SE1/4 (160 acres) Section 22, Township 15, Range 8, Morris County in 1867.
  N1/2 of SW1/4 Section 22, Township 15, Range 8, Morris County in 1884.
  Living in Neosho Township, Morris County, KS in 1870.
  Living in Neosho Township, Morris County, KS in 1880.
  Living in Council Grove, Morris County, KS in 1900.

    Wife: Charlotte CRANHAM   age: 82 
 Married: 25-Dec-1846     in: London, ENG                                 
    Born: 29-May-1810     in: Surrey, England                             
    Died: 20-Jan-1893     in: Council Grove, MorrisCo, KS                 
  Buried: 22-Jan-1893     in: Greenwood Cemetery, MorrisCo, KS            

F Child 1 Elizabeth (Lizzie) C. BRAKE  
    Born: 1849            in: Wisconsin                                   
    Died: AFT 1900        in: Washington                                  
  Spouse: Newton H. FISHER  
 Married: 15-Mar-1877     in: MorrisCo, KS                                

     Hezekiah Brake, who was an old settler of Morris County near
Council Grove and resided in Council Grove several years, wrote a
very interesting story book of pioneer days, titled "On Two
Continents" (1896). 

     The old town of Sherborne, Dorsetshire County, England,
noted for its ancient abbey and cathedral, was my birthplace.  I
was born December 4, 1814, and was christened Hezekiah Brake in
the Congregational church of my native town, in July 1815.  I was
one of a family of nine children - six boys and three girls.
     The thought of the expenses attending matrimony made me
economical, and for the second time I walked to London.  It was
poor economy. For in so doing, I wore out a pair of shoes.  I was
now out of work.  Upon reaching the city I bought out a coffee-
shop, which I kept by myself until Christmas day, 1846, when I
was married to Charlotte Cranham (born on May 29, 1810 in Surrey
     A sailing vessel named the Royal Albert was about to leave
for Quebec.  In April 1847, we decided to sail by it to Quebec
Canada, and go from there to the United States.  We hastily
arranged concerning our baggage, and set sail (emigrated) from
London, England the first day of May 1847.
     The captain ordered the steward to allow the Germans only
one sea biscuit, and each passenger a quart of water daily. 
Shifted about by contrary winds, we were filled with great
anxiety for fear of possible starvation on the high seas.

     We entered Quebec on a Sunday, and found jolly people; as we
passed many houses we could hear the sound of music and dancing. 
Of French descent, Roman Catholics in religion, they had probably
attended religious services, made confession, and now, at ease
regarding eternity, were devoting themselves to the enjoyment of
     We traveled by boat from Burlington Bay to Rochester, New
York.  From there we were to go to Albany by way of the Erie
canal, to see as much of the country as possible.  We had a rough
time crossing Lake Ontario.  Every person on the steamboat was
sick.  But after a whole night's travel, we reached the opposite
shore in safety, and Tuesday morning in May 1848, we landed on
United States soil.

     I had often dreamed of this free country.  Englishmen
sometimes remarked ironically that it was a land where there was
no imprisonment for debt, but where every rascal found a loophole
of escape from honest payment; but my heart swelled at the
thought of standing upon sacred (to liberty) ground.  Forty-eight
years have come and gone since that May morning.  In all that
time, America, (sacred, as Marryatt says, to the eternal
principles of right), has been my constant home.  But her skies
have never looked fairer, her breezes seemed balmier, than on
that glad day when she first became my "ain countree."
     Once in New York, our attention was engrossed with the all-
important subject, "Should we go back to England, or remain in
America?"  To me, besides my mother's wishes, it seemed folly to
return to England without having gained either knowledge or
experience of a land which thousands boasted to be the best
country on earth for a poor man.  At this time hundreds of
thousands of Europeans were annually coming into this country,
and I believed that among them all there was a place for us.  Our
consultation ended in a mutual decision to remain; for me to
visit the South, learn the character of the people, and the
prospects there of earning an honest living for our family. 
Securing a suitable home for my wife during my absence, I
obtained a ticket for a boat passage to Philadelphia, and started
by way of that city to Richmond.  After a two-days visit to
Penn's old town, where her old governmental buildings and
splendid system of waterworks were duly admired, I left the
Middle States for the South.

     On the way to Richmond, I stopped in the old city of
Baltimore.  It proved a very delightful place to visit, and the
Barnum Hotel a scene of homely good cheer.  The attention of the
waiters, the kindness of the guests and the courtesy of the host
quite enamored me with the Southern people.  I decided to settle
in the South.  Before leaving the city I visited its noted
places.  Of most interest to me were the two monuments of the
Battle of 1814, and Washington.  The first is fifty-two feet
high, of Egyptian architecture, and is surmounted by a female
figure-the genius of the city.  It was built in honor of the
defenders of the city in 1814.  The other monument stands on an
eminence, is two hundred feet high, and surmounted by a statue of
General Washington.  The whole design is of pure white marble.
     It was not long before the evils of drunkenness presented
themselves so forcibly to me that, although in England I had
always been accustomed to bars in public houses, I began to
regret my entrance into hotel-keeping.  Business always ran far
into the night.  My partner continued to drink heavily. 
Opposition companies of drunken firefighters made the night
hideous with false alarms and fighting.  After four months of
this vexatious experience, I settled my affairs, and moved with
my wife (for we had no children) to Bergen, New Jersey.

     My experience in the South had satisfied me that we could
not be happy there, and I decided to look for something to do
after that in the North.  I soon met an Englishman, who told me
there was money to be made in the wool business.  Accordingly I
bought a horse and sent my new acquaintance to buy all the
freshly-skinned sheepskins he could secure.
     The boat by which we traveled was well equipped, furnished
excellent fare and polite service.  The journey of three hundred
miles past the cities of Dubuque and La Crosse, the charming Lake
Pepin, the fertile lands that spread out on either side of the
noble stream, and the grand forests that formed the hunting-
grounds of Sioux and Chippewas, was truly enchanting, and formed
a never-to-be-forgotten beautiful experience.
     On June 24, 1852, our voyage ended, and we stepped ashore at
Fort Snelling.

     Fort Snelling, near the present important city of
Minneapolis, was then the limit of northern civilization.  Its
commanding officer was captain Steele.  The site was on a fine
plateau, stretching out to Crystal and Christmas lakes. 
Magnificent bridges now span the stream over which ferryboats
used to pass to St. Anthony's Falls.  The rapids are used for
running mills which turn the wheat of the surrounding country
into flour and the huge logs of the forests into timber.  The
city of Minneapolis long since included St. Anthony within its
limits, and only the Falls preserve the name of the old village.
     We reached the spot (Purgatory, Minnesota), and to our
surprise were presented with the prettiest child (adopted
daughter) I have ever seen.  The family was poor, and the parents
(born in Maine) had several children.  As our children had all
died in infancy, believing we could support little seven-year-old
(Elizabeth) Lizzie (born in Wisconsin) better than they, she was
offered to us as a gift.  It would be impossible to express our
gratitude.  And to this day the child, whose father died soon
after, has been the crowning blessing of my life.
     As I passed through Excelsior, Minnesota, I realized
however, that my work as a pioneer had not been in vain.  When we
landed on the lake-shore in 1852, the surrounding region was a
wilderness, undisturbed save by the steps and voices of the red
men.  Wild beasts infested the forests, and civilization seemed
afar off.  Now the country was being transformed into a fertile
farming community.  Where I had built the first white man's cabin
six years previous, Excelsior, a thriving village now stood.
     The river was covered with a coating of ice, through which
our boat plowed its way.  By the time Lake Pepin was reached, the
ice was over an inch thick.  We reached St. Louis, however, in
ten days, and put up at a hotel.

     Boat-fare was much cheaper in those days than are railroad
tickets now.  Our passage, including board, only cost us fourteen
dollars.  The trip was a pleasant one.  It was with great
satisfaction that I listened often to glowing praises of St.
Paul, Minneapolis, Stillwater, and Excelsior - all towns of which
I was justly proud.
     Imagine our feelings when the boat, within eighteen miles of
our destination, stuck in the ice, and not amount of pressure
could budge it an inch farther.  There was nothing else to do but
disembark.  The "passengers" went ashore, secured a farm wagon as
a conveyance, a farmer as a driver, and jolted into Independence
about midnight.  As for myself, I was so cold that I put my small
luggage on my back, and walked most of the way.  In the morning,
we went on to Westport where Mr. A. had a fine span of American
mules.  The next day we left for Council Grove, Kansas, the
rendezvous of freighters and traders who were crossing the
plains.  Kansas City stands now near the old town of Westport,
but, save for the Wyandotte Indians, there were few settlers on
this side of the river.  

A TRIP ACROSS THE PLAINS [on the Santa Fe Trail]
     We started February 1, 1858, Mr. A. and myself driving his
mules to a buggy.  We made half the one hundred and forty miles
the first day, sleeping at night with a settler named Barricklow. 
Only a shell of a house, the building was barely inclosed, and I
suffered greatly from cold.  After an almost sleepless night, I
arose and went out to see after the mules.
     On the way to Council Grove (February 2, 1858), at the
present Burlingame, Mr. A. employed a man named Louis Boyse to
accompany us across the plains.  We reached Council Grove that
night, and began our arrangements for the trip to New Mexico.
     Seth Hayes, so well-known as the first trader in the present
county of Morris, Kansas, kept a store and an outfitting station
at Council Grove at this time.  He had in keeping now six small
Mexican mules, a good pony, a large wagon, and various other
necessary acquisitions to our outfit.  It took us four days to
get the animals ready and lay in a supply of everything needful
for our journey.  An old Negress who worked for Mr. Hays roasted
coffee, made cakes, and gave us a keg of pickles and sauerkraut
as relishes.
     On the last night before we started, the prospect seemed
especially gloomy to me.  Far away from my wife and child, and
six hundred miles of constant danger in an uninhabited region was
not a pleasant prospect for contemplation.  But I laughed with
the rest, joked about roasting our bacon with buffalo chips, and
the enjoyment we would derive from the company of skeletons that
would strew our pathway.
     We went off in grand style the next morning.  The huge
prairie-schooner was well filled.  We took with us for planting
and feeding half a ton of shelled corn.  Besides this, we had
Hungarian-grass seed, rifles, boxes of crackers, bacon and sugar,
robes, blankets, and many other articles-about two tons in all. 
Louis Boyse (a great fellow bigger than the mule he rode) and I
(a small man, armed with a "blacksnake" whip, and riding a small
pony) were the attendants.  Mr. A. drove the six Mexican mules,
and the American mules were tied behind the wagon.  On the first
day, we only reached Diamond Springs, about twenty miles from
Council Grove, and there camped on the first day.
     We traveled slowly now, for we were all nearly worn out, but
we were certain if nothing happened, to reach Fort Union in three
or four days.  There were plenty of watering-places during the
last stages of our journey.  Point Rocks, Cold Springs and Wet
Stone Basin were all passed with animals that had made better
time than the mail.  We were only twenty-eight days on the road,
including our delays on the Missouri river, at Independence, and
Council Grove.  We entered Fort Union March 1, 1859.

     The day after our arrival in Fort Union, New Mexico, I was
escorted to my new home, which was on a ranch belonging to Don
Aleandro, on the Mora road, about eight miles from Fort Union and
ten miles from the chief town, Mora.
     But I was soon consoled for my losses by a letter from my
wife, who wrote that I might expect herself and Lizzie in a
month, if they were not murdered on the way by Indians.  On June
20, 1859, my dear wife and daughter arrived.  As I clasped them
in my arms and recalled our weary separation, I resolved that
only death should ever again keep us apart for any length of
time; and I have kept my word.
     The thunder of Civil War was heard even in this far corner
of the Republic, and its cloud was threatening to burst any time
upon our devoted country.  I decided to return to the States when
possible, and began to make preparations accordingly.
     I intended to stop in Kansas for a short time, and then go
on to Minnesota to take possession of my property.  I accordingly
gathered for the expedition, an outfit consisting of an
ambulance, the chief's mare, and old gray mare, and two ponies. 
After settling with the contractor at the Fort, I found due me on
my subcontract four hundred dollars.  I did not like to carry it
with me, and I intrusted it to Seņor Weber, who freighted goods
across the plains each year.  He, fearing depredations from so-
called "Jayhawkers," did not follow me for two years.  To the
fact that I stayed in Kansas until I could receive this money, I
may attribute my permanent settlement in that State.
     The first of March 1861, was a gala-day to us.  We felt
happy at the prospect of returning to civilization, though we had
to cross a part of the Great American Desert to reach it.  It was
a fearfully windy day, and we only reached Fort Union.  My
faithful dog watched with me all the night. At last the light of
dawn shown in the east, the wind fell, and with reviving courage
we faced toward our far-off home in Minnesota.

     There is something invigorating in the thought of returning
to long-absent friends, though hosts of difficulties lie in the
way; and, anxious to proceed, before we camped for breakfast that
morning, we were fifteen miles on our way toward the Raton
Mountains.  Here we unloaded, and rested our much-fatigued
horses, and then journeyed on to Ockata, where there was a good
camping-place.  I had decided to return by a different route than
that taken by Don Aleandro in our trip to New Mexico.  We would
go through Colorado into Kansas, and strike the other [Santa Fe]
trail at the Arkansas river.
     We soon passed Lost Springs, and camped in the Diamond
valley.  The next day, May 6, 1861, brought us to the place of
our destination-Council Grove, Kansas.

     Council Grove, Kansas, in 1861, was a very different place
from the same town in 1896.  Only a few houses were on the site
of the village, although it was growing, and throughout Morris
County there was little in the way of improvements.  The Kaw
Indians owned the land on which the town was located, and while
their title was in force it seemed useless to attempt permanent
     We had no home.  A Reverend William Bradford lent us a
claim-house for one week.  We started for our new home-a log
shanty in the midst of a sea of waving grass.
     Indians usually select the best locations.  I decided that
as I must stop somewhere until Seņor Weber brought my four
hundred dollars, it might as well be near Council Grove.
     There were no newspapers to afford information then in
Morris County, except a very amusing sheet known as the Kansas
Press.  This paper was published by Colonel Sam Wood, well known
in the early history of Kansas.  
     Although Kansas was settling up rapidly, people came into
Morris County more slowly than into the adjacent counties,
because of the Indian titles to the land.  Morris County had
taken her part, however, in the early struggles.
     A good person named William Owens, wishing to contribute his
support as a soldier to the Union cause, was attempting to sell
his Morris County land so he could be free to enter the army.  He
had a half-section of land upon which he had "squatted," a one-
roomed log house without a window, and a log foundation for
another shanty.  I bought both quarter-sections, and as it was
not lawful to hold more than one, I gave the other to a
neighboring squatter.  We then moved into the house; the
furniture consisted of one table, one bedstead, and a chair.
     At length (December 1861), a preacher of the Christian
church named Porter Fisher (Newton's father) found us, and came
like an angel of mercy to our relief.  He brought with him
quinine for the ague, articles from which we could make
nourishing food, and his team with which he hauled us much wood. 
He also brought with him men to help cut up the wood, and never
left us until we were as comfortable as sickness would allow us
to be.
     The first relief of this time came to us in March (1862).  A
Mr. William Polk purchased of us eight large walnut trees for a
dollar apiece, and began making walnut shingles-about the first
of the kind made in Kansas.  The eight dollars were a great help
to us.  A little later, although far from strong, I went to work
for Mr. Polk at one dollar per day as a sort of second sawyer in
the shingle business.  
     A plan suggested to me by Honorable William Downing,
Representative for our district, began to take shape in my mind. 
It was to the effect that we remove to Topeka, the lately made
Capitol of Kansas, and educate our daughter in the College of the
Sisters of Bethany.  Being Episcopalians, it pleased us to think
of sending Lizzie to a school of that denomination.
     I decided to take Mr. Downing's advice.  I went to Topeka
and secured a house and twelve acres of land, about a mile
northwest of the business part of the town and south of the Kaw
River.  The house then standing in Topeka was built of brick and
stone.  The grounds were a small nursery and garden.
     Our road to Topeka was over the old Santa Fe Trail.  There
was no railroad, and we went overland with a team, a pony, two
cows, and a calf.  We made half the journey in one day, and
camped at night with the heavens for a canopy and the twinkling
stars for companions.  We were very tired, and congratulated
ourselves on being so near our new home.  A hired team had gone
forward with our goods and a young calf, whose mother we drove
with the other cow.

     There were less than eight hundred people in Topeka when I
settled there as a resident.  Yet Topeka was only a village, but
with mighty prospects before it.  But even then Topeka had that
first accessory to the real Kansas town, an excellent college. 
The pastor of the Episcopal church, Reverend Preston
superintended its work.
     I took my twelve-year-old daughter to the school, and she
became a pupil.  We united in the Episcopal church, and remained
this way during our stay in Topeka.  Reverend Peter McVicar was
then the Congregational minister in that little city, and I
greatly valued his friendship.
     August 21, 1863, occurred the terrible guerilla raid upon
Lawrence, Kansas.  The notorious leader Quantrill led his
villainous band into the place.  In cold blood, they shot down
most of the male citizens, burned the principal part of the town,
and left the wailing women and children to mourn their cruel and
untimely losses.
     I received word about this time that my bid on my claim had
been granted.  Feeling that my interest should center upon my
farm, I began, now that I knew it to be my own, to prepare to
return to it.  The contracts were all filled, my goods packed,
and myself and family on our way to our farm in Morris County by
October 8, 1863.

     What was most singular for that time of the year, it snowed
all day; and for twenty miles on our journey there was not a
house for shelter.  Five miles farther, however, was the mail-
house and stables, and here we put up for the night.
     We found our home the next evening in a very forsaken and
dilapidated condition.  One of my renters had gone to the war;
the other, lazy, disgruntled, or idiotic, had raised nothing, and
finally deserted the place.  It had only been through the
kindness of a friend that my right to the place had been secured. 
For, although my bid was the highest, another individual came
near getting it.  As I looked sorrowfully at the forest of
sunflowers, some of which were twelve feet high and had to be cut
with an axe, and at the dense growth of poisonous weeds that
covered every fertile spot, I felt how difficult it was to make a
home in Kansas.
     A school opened about two miles from us, at the place where
Kelso now stands.  During the school season, Lizzie would saddle
her pony, ride to school, and return in the evening as she went. 
Sometimes, frightened at approaching Indians or suspicious-
looking whites, she would ride for her life.  Children did not
find it easy to get an education in the early Kansas days.
     In January 1864, having run out of money, I turned my
attention to the resources of my claim.  I had about forty acres
of fine timber, and I took a contract to furnish the sawmill at
Council Grove with much cord-wood and posts.  This occupied the
winter, and the month of March was taken up in hauling the forest
products over the eight miles to the Grove.  In February, I paid
for my claim in Kaw land scrip, and at last felt that again we
had a home of our own.
     Before we left our first home in Kansas, which we sold upon
buying the other, a terrible freshet occurred.  The creeks and
rivers overflowed. The thundering of the waters and the swirl of
mighty logs in the rapid currents, for two days and nights, were
awful.  The water of the Slough Creek (was so named by the early
settlers because of the many sloughs and pools along its course)
came up around my cabin, and washed the soil away from my corn. 
It was the first experience of the kind we had suffered.  As we
were not sure that our ark of refuge could stand the storm, it
was with relief we at last watched the waters subside.
     Although I was given possession of our new estate and the
patent was signed by Abraham Lincoln, I did not secure a warranty
deed until September 17, 1867.  The new house was a good two-
story log building having a large fireplace which connected with
a capacious rock chimney.  In it, we were hardly pioneers any
     I tried diversified farming in the spring of 1867.  Ten
acres each of corn, spring wheat, and oats, five of millet, some
potatoes, buckwheat, and several smaller crops were planted. 
Kansas soil and climate were too uncertain to depend upon one
kind of product.  The season was dry, and crops were considered a
failure.  But I had the value of irrigation in New Mexico, and
there was plenty of water in Munkres Creek (received its name
from J. C. Munkres, who settled on it in 1854).  So, by some
effort, I saved my garden.
     About this time, the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad was
built through Morris County.  Judge T. S. Huffaker, the former
Kaw Indian teacher, had a contract for furnishing part of the
ties for this road.  The settlers had a reasonable hope of making
some money though the crops had failed.  Morris County had waited
a long time for a railroad, and the prospects now opened were
most alluring to the settlers.
     Bonds were voted, and Judge T. S. Huffaker, who was to
furnish the ties from Parkerville to Council Grove, opened a
large store for the accommodation of the workers.  
     Our native timber furnished the ties.  I was to provide two
hundred oak and walnut ones at seventy-five cents apiece.  My
ties were made, delivered and paid for before spring.  A Mr.
Parker and a Mr. McKensie were pushing the grading of the road. 
It was carried forward with so much energy that by the spring of
1868, Council Grove had a good depot, and was a town on the new
     On April 24, 1867, an earthquake shock was felt in Kansas. 
It was accompanied by a deadly roar that sounded like thunder.  I
had an Irishman named Mike Miller working for me.
     A great calamity fell upon us during the summer of 1871.  My
daughter, while climbing into a wagon, twisted her right limb and
slipped her kneecap.  It was some time before her quick steps
flitted through the house and over the farm as usual, and
fretting made her anxious and unhappy.  A physician came and put
the bone in place, but, a terrible storm coming up, he had to
remain over night with us.  When his bill came, it included the
item of detention, and reckoned up to twelve dollars and thirty
cents for one visit.  It was the only time I ever was charged for
entertaining a man, and I insisted to Mrs. Brake that the
character of her famous cooking was at stake, and that her
hospitality must have been fearful in the extreme.
     I had decided to try another experiment in wintering (1871-
1872) stock; so I took for a man named Frank Mecker, ten head of
cattle to feed until spring.  [Editor: Mr. Brake had an English
boy named Percy Ebbutt working for him.]  It was a wet winter. 
Toward spring the cattle tramped mud-holes near the creek, and
would sometimes get into places from which it took much effort to
extricate them.  I lost three head of stock, and Mr. Mecker one,
in this way.  Mr. Mecker insisted that his stock was registered. 
Despite the work I had done, to bring his cattle safely through
the winter, the loss of this one was my fault.  I had to lose the
pay for all of them.  Thus, Kansas cattle involved me as deeply
as did those from Texas.

     A sad tragedy occurred on the night of May 14, 1872, at the
selfsame spot where I came near being drowned.  We allude to the
drowning of Annis Baker Somers (was the widow of Judge Baker, who
was murdered on Rock Creek in 1862.  She remained here and made
her home in the family of Judge T. S. Huffaker.  In the Spring of
1872, she had but recently - but one short month - married), J.
B. Somers (a rising young lawyer of our place, and at the time of
his death Morris County Attorney.), a good person named Philip B.
Roberts (was one of our most estimable citizens, a man of strict
integrity and beloved by all who knew him.  He was a brother of
Porter S. Roberts of Council Grove), and Miss Susie Huffaker (was
a young lady of amiability and accomplishments, a general
favorite, and of a happy, joyous nature.  She was born within a
hundred yards of where she met her sad fate, in the Mission
building which had once been used as a school for Indians when
her father was teacher.  The Kaw Indians testified their esteem
for the family by turning out to the funeral to the number of
about two hundred.  Susie Huffaker was the oldest daughter of
Judge T. S. Huffaker).
     Somers, his wife and Susie Huffaker had been attending the
anniversary exercises of the Methodist Church South Sabbath
School, held at Huffaker's Hall, now R. M. Rigdon's store.  About
nine o'clock in the evening, and not long before the exercises
were to close, Mr. Somers goes to P. B. Roberts, who kept a
livery stable and employed him to take a two-seated buggy and
convey the party to the home of Judge T. S. Huffaker, where
Somers and his wife were temporarily staying.  The night was
rainy and stormy, and the Neosho River raising very rapidly. 
Somers directed Roberts to cross at the "Mission Ford," a
crossing place near the old Kaw Mission building above town.  W.
F. Shamleffer and the writer (John Maloy) saw the party getting
into the vehicle and heard Somers' directions about crossing at
the ford.  We immediately represented the danger of such an
attempt, and begged him to cross the river on the main street
     Somers, who was stubborn and unyielding when he once
decided, persisted in carrying out his original intention, and
the entire party were driven into the swollen stream at headlong
speed, the approach to the water being a rapid descent.  The
Neosho river was very high and the water was running like a mill-
race.  When the buggy struck and overturned with the current a
shriek of despair went up, and every soul in the party went down
under the carriage and horses, and drowned to be seen no more
alive.  A man who was living in the mission building hurriedly
ran downtown and spread the news.  The horses had kicked loose
from the buggy and swam out.  Soon the banks were lined with an
anxious crowd, but nothing could be done but construct boats and
rafts and go to work and search for the drowned.  It was a wild,
dark and stormy night, but little sleep came to our people;
watching, searching, praying, was the avocation of this community
on that ever to be remembered night.  Day came but not a body was
found, though the subsidence of the waters during the day enabled
the searchers (citizens with the aid of Indians) to recover all
four of the bodies before night, and restore them to their
     Judge T. S. Huffaker was so well known as the friend of the
Indian and the representative of good government.  Not only
Morris County, but the State of Kansas, sympathized with him in
his sad affliction.  People for miles around Council Grove
gathered and dropped tears of regret.  The funeral took place on
May 16, 1872.  It was the largest attended funeral that ever took
place in Morris County.
     The main streams of Kansas were then bridged, but the
smaller ones were often dangerous.  The pioneers of Kansas
incurred much danger and hardship in crossing these narrow, deep
creeks and rivers.  These filled so rapidly one could hardly tell
whether it was safe to enter them.

     I had always been greatly interested in the education of the
youth of the State.  At this time and for several subsequent
years I served as clerk of our school district in Neosho
Township, Morris County, Kansas.  Some pleasant memories of my
life cluster around the educational work.  I well remember Isaac
T. Goodnow, the State Superintendent from the year 1861 until
1864.  During the first year of his work, he traveled over the
sparsely-settled State by team, visiting its every settled
county.  Doctor McVicar, another Superintendent, was also a
valued friend, and one to whom the youth of Kansas owe much
gratitude for the splendid work he did for the schools of the
     An event of interest to the entire State and to Morris
County in particular, occurred in 1873.  The Kaw or Kansas
Indians, our native tribe, were removed from the State.  The
Government of the United States had long promised to send them to
a reservation in the Indian Territory, but so far had failed to
do so.  There was only about two hundred of this once large tribe
left.  There was very little sentiment wasted upon them when they
bade their longtime home farewell, and left Kansas for good.
     In October 1876, our daughter, who had been visiting friends
in the East for ten months, returned to her Kansas home.  She had
made the journey alone with true Kansas pluck, and on the return
trip had stopped in Philadelphia, and visited the great
Centennial exhibition.  We were so overjoyed to have her with us
after her long absence. The labors of harvest seemed wonderfully
lightened by the thought that any time we could look into her
pleasant face, and listen to her cheery voice.
     January 1877, was a snowy, hard time, but February was a
most delightful month a Kansas winter had produced.  On March 15,
1877, occurred the wedding of our only child, Lizzie C. Brake -
28, in the log cabin where she had passed her happy youth.  A
Christian minister named Reverend T. Hutton joined her hand with
that of Newton H. Fisher - 36 (who owned land on Munkers Creek
near Council Grove), and pronounced the sacred words that made
them husband and wife.  When the supper her loving mother had
prepared was over, we bade our darling farewell.  She would not
be far from us, but to say that we missed this person who had
been the crowning blessing of our lives, would feebly express our
feelings.  Although happily and prosperously married to the son
of our early benefactor, Porter Fisher, we vaguely felt she could
never be quite the same to us as before her marriage.
     Ah! We cannot see into the future.  The time came afterwards
when I was a stricken, widowed, childless mourner.  Lizzie, then
a widow (Newton Fisher died December 9, 1883, six years nine
months after their marriage) with two lovely children (Charlie &
Laura), came back to me the stay of my declining years.  I cannot
even think what life would be without the happy faces and merry
voices of my daughter's children.
     After long years of toil at farming, I decided to rent my
land out during the year 1878 and fill a contract I had taken to
supply a brick manufacturer with a hundred cords of wood. 
Accordingly, I rented my farm on the shares to two brothers named
Johnson, who, by delaying their corn-planting for rain until too
late, raised nothing.
     The next year (1879) I rented my farm to a widow who
expected to buy it when she received a pension for her dead
husband's service as a soldier.  She gave up the place in a short
time.  I leased it for three years to a man named Simmonds, for
half the peach and one-third of all other crops.  Mr. Simmonds
soon sold out to a Mr. Dent.  Peaches were of a great size that
year, and were very plentiful.  My orchard yielded over five
hundred bushels.
     For the year 1881, I let the farm to an enterprising
bachelor named Crowley, who kept bachelor's hall in the old log
house.  Excellent results followed his efforts at farming.  I
gave him possession of my new home and moved with my wife to the
house on the Kaw land.
     A well was dug, a pasture fenced, trees set out, and a
garden was planted with vegetables and flowers.  We soon found
ourselves at home on the sunny hillside, and greatly relieved by
having the responsibility of the larger farm off our hands. 
About this time, a man named Collier bought one of my eighties
for fifteen hundred dollars.  There was a mortgage on the
quarter-section, and he agreed to pay it off as part of the price
paid for the land.  So at last we were practically free from
debt, and could enjoy life without adversity constantly staring
us in the face.
     But we were aging, and I decided now to give up farming and
remove to Council Grove, where I had built us a house.  So, when
Providence seemed to favor our wishes and a man offered three
thousand five hundred dollars for the farm, I accepted his offer.
     The crops did not pass with the land.  I did not have to
give possession until March 1, 1885, when I was to receive my Kaw
land patent.  There were no mortgages, taxes or other debts to
settle, and we had plenty of leisure to get ready for our new
home.  Looking forward to this time, I had built two houses in
Council Grove, and as one of them was unoccupied, in November
1884, I built a kitchen to it, had it cleaned and papered, and on
November 25, 1884 we moved into the house, where today I am
writing the simple story of my life.

     As my principal and interest came in, I laid the money out
in improvements in Council Grove.  The long years spent in Morris
County, the many warm friends about us, and our unwillingness to
form new ties at our ages, would have made it impossible for us
to invest in property in any other Kansas town but Council Grove. 
In 1886, I built a third house.  My now widowed daughter left her
large farm to tenants, and came with her children (Charlie &
Laura) to reside in the new cottage.
     Grief came to me in her saddest form in the year 1891.  For
I could not blind my eyes to the fact that the time when I must
be separated from my lifelong companion was nearby.  She was
taken down with la grippe, and from this time rapidly failed in
health and spirits.  On January 18, 1893, I carried her into the
dining-room for the last time.  After hours of unconsciousness,
she recovered, and spoke in her old sweet tones, asking for
Charlie - her grandson.  On the morning of January 20, 1893, in
the arms of her loving daughter, with her eyes fixed upon my
face, a purest of mortal spirits passed from the earth to be with
the one Lord and His Father in whom she implicitly trusted. 
January 22, 1893, Charlotte Cranham Brake's dear remains were
laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery, Morris County, Council Grove,
     An oldest and fairest of Kansas towns, Council Grove has
before her a future whose prosperity can only exceed the interest
of her history in the past.

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