Early Times in Kosciusko

Incidents and Anecdotes of Pioneer Days and the Early Settlement of this Region

by Reub Williams

In my last sketch I referred to the Bashford family who at a very early date lived on the ground near the celebrated sulfur springs now known as Winona Park. Some months ago I spoke of perusing the obituary notice in the Troy (Kan.) Chief to M. A. Wilcox--our present county auditor--of Mrs. Hampson, and that I was satisfied in my own mind that Mrs. Hampson was none other than Angeline Bashford, a sister of George Bashford, both of whom in the early settlement of that part of the country removed to Kansas where they probably joined their cousin, Edward S. Davis, elder son of Mahlon F. Davis, one of the early treasurers of Kosciusko county and who, as quite a young man had preceded them to the Sunflower state. My view of the case so impressed Mr. Wilcox that he wrote to a friend in Kansas, and sure enough he discovered, as will be shown in the following answer, that I was correct in my surmises.

The letter is interesting in all its particulars and I believe will prove so to all the readers of these reminiscent sketches and especially so to those who remember the Bashford family. It also goes to show that mankind have little conception of what lies before them in life. Here was a young and beautiful girl who left this county in the first flush of young womanhood, who after leaving the scenes of her young girlhood was afterwards called upon to not only witness the horrors of the "Quantrell raid," but in saving the life of her husband under circumstances that would have so appalled a still young and delicate woman--performing a most heroic act. I have already stated that these two Bashfords--brother and sister--were warm personal friends of the editor of this paper, and his sister, the late Mrs. E. S. Blackford, and how glad the latter would have been to peruse the following letter depicting the bravery of her girl friend during that four years of bloody war that not only tested the endurance and pluck of men, but in this instance showed that women, too, bore their full share of peril and suffering and witnessed many nerve breaking scenes. The letter is as follows:
WICHITA, Kan., Oct. 2, 1901
Melvin A. Wilcox
Dear Sir:
--your favor of Sept. 30th is at hand. It gives me real pleasure to make so much of a reply to it as rapid use of the memory of a busy old man will permit. Joseph H. Hampson was in 1864, chief clerk of the Provost Marshal of the Board of Enrollment, whose office was in the Free State hotel in Lawrence, Kan. With his wife he boarded at that hotel, and when Quantrell and his men raided the town that hotel was their choicest morsel. Hampson, with others were taken out into the street and shot. He fell and was left for dead. Before the ruffians went away from that part of the town, Mrs. Hampson Procured a go-cart, and watching her chances filled it with clothing from the burning building and put her babe on top. Soon a chance came for her to lift her husband into the car, and cover him with the clothing and replace her babe over all. She then leisurely pushed her load to a wooded ravine where doctors were already at work attending to the wounded. Hampson recovered so as to continue in his clerical work, and I was a fellow clerk with him for some 15 months, beginning after he had returned to work.

Then I removed with my family to his home town of Troy, Doniphan county, Kansas and lived as a near neighbor of the Hampsons for some years. Mrs. Hampson died of consumption. They had three children, Joseph H. Jr.; Mary, and a younger daughter born after leaving Troy. The son's body was brought home, I think from Texas, possibly New Mexico, or Southern Colorado, and buried by his mother. He was about 18 years old then. their eldest daughter, Mary, married Jos. Heeney, a prosperous merchant of Serverance, in that county. She also died of consumption, leaving two daughters. The youngest daughter married and died of consumption six months thereafter. Mr. Hampson lived single a number of years, being employed all of the time at clerical work in the county court house; I think he held the office of Probate Judge a term or two. He, a few years before he died, married a widow, Kennedy or (Canady) who was living with her father, a wealthy man named Breckinridge, who gave her a nice home and other property, which with Mr. Hampson's accumulations made them independent. He did not do much office work after that, but kept his home and large and elegant grounds in beautiful condition, himself. All these years his wounds made him a great sufferer, and it was the Quantrell bullet which finally finished his life. Yours respectfully, G. D. BAKER

Thus it is with the human family. Non can foretell what is before us. We are born, grow up, form loving acquaintances, separate, lose sight of one another, and finally arrive at the river over which all must cross. Life thus resembles an endless chain, man-kind being only its links, sure at some time to weaken, break and drop out of the chain and some one else being substituted for the broken link.

The above incident reminds us that in 1854-5 there was a continuous stream of emigration to the prairie regions of the West and this continued for many years. Emigrants to Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and the Northwest passed right through Indiana, jumping over a state whose timber at that time was worth far more than the entire state to which they were emigrating, estimated at the government price of $1.25 per acre. Kosciusko county furnished its full share to this wonderful "flitting," and it can scarcely be doubted that every county in Kansas, and it may be Iowa also, contains at least one or more representatives of this county among its people. Labette county, Kansas, in fact was originally settled by Kosciusko county people, as was also its county seat, LaCygne. Among its first settlers were Bishop Perkins, and if we remember correctly, his brother also. These brothers emigrated from Pierceton, and although "Bip," as he was called, was a member of Pierceton's first baseball nine, he got to be a Senator from Kansas at Washington. One would think it a far cry from the "bat" of a baseball nine to United States Senator, yet it must be remembered that the Pierceton nine was a good one and "Bip" Perkins was one of its best players.

James Johnson--who it will be remembered became the first husband of the late Mrs. Kate Thomas, of this city--was also among the first settlers of Labette county--in fact, all of its first settlers were from Kosciusko. Mr. Perkins, alluded to above, became prosecuting attorney of Labette county, and filled other offices in the county and state ere he reached the United States Senatorship. He may remember the words of encouragement given him by the editor of THE INDIANIAN just previous to his departure, and if he does recall them, he can readily perceive that the forecast given him has proven correct, for it must be born in mind that "Bip" had the pluck to play baseball well, and if so, other things were in sight.

Many Kosciusko county families have children scattered all over the West, while at the same time many of these children have been followed by the "old folks," not because they desired to leave their old homes here, but because they did not desire to be separated from their children, consequently we feel sure that Kosciusko county is as numerously represented in the West as any other county in this state.

Warsaw Daily Times November 16, 1901

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