NOTE: This file was contributed by Harold
Williams. It is a ".doc" format. Unfortunately, it did
not convert correctly on my computer so some things are missing.
I am sure that if you would like the entire document, you can contact Harold
and I'm sure he would be more than happy to send an attached version to
you in an email.
??ned to his words of experience and warning. He was very friendly and told me I would never be allowed to cross the Missouri River into Kansas with all my eight boys; that owing to the unsettled condition of Kansas on account of the Border Ruffian war the old Missouri slavery party had taken all the good claims near the border and were turning back all anti-slavery settlers they could. 'As spring was upon us, and a crop had to be made somewhere for us to live on, good opportunities for us to rent land right there at Empire Prairie presenting itself, we put in 100 acres of corn and concluded to tarry there for a time. That Platte Purchase is a very fertile section to this day, and a great many northern people live all through that northwestern corner of Missouri. 'That same year, June 2, 1857, my brother, Will Bradford, sold his farm in Iowa for $4,500, and came right down where I was, and we rigged out and took a scout over into Kansas. We crossed at St. Joe, bearing out away from the river south to Jackson county and west to what is now Ft. Riley, where we crossed the Kansas River and went back on the south side by way of Topeka, Tecumseh and Atchison, and back home again--a four weeks' trip. We were not satisfied to move into Kansas then, there was so much discord and contention. 'When we got back we found a colony of emigrants from Michigan and Illinois. Nine families, numbering 50 persons or more, had come into that neighborhood and bought six sections of land by themselves, and we were induced to buy with them and settle there. We lived there nine years, or until after the Civil War. These settlers were all free-state men, and we were strong enough to defend ourselves against our pro-slavery neighbors. 'That first season four new schoolhouses went up in our midst, and these people, mainly from Michigan, introduced and maintained principles new to that part of Missouri. I had 160 acres of land and my brother Will 400 acres. I served seven years as a Justice of the Peace in Platte township where we lived, which was nine miles due east of Savannah. All our important trading was done at St. Joe, 25 miles away. 'The advantages that my boys had here were real good, and when the war commenced the three oldest, Ward, Wm. and Casper, went among the first and served to the close. Moses, 17, and Simeon, 15, did not go until 1863, but they were in the service then over two years, so I had five boys in the war and I was a minute man at home myself. No one at the present day who was not mixed up in border troubles can realize the dangers and experiences that we free-state men had there in the spring of 1861. So many of our side volunteered and left at once to go and help the Union cause in southwestern Missouri that before we were aware of it we had not enough men at home to defend ourselves from the excursions of our rebel neighbors. One hundred and fifty southern sympathizers organized and trained right by my place, and as I had been one of the four men in our township who voted for Lincoln they very early in the strife threatened to hang me. One night a rebel neighbor by name of Mr. Powell came and told me to flee, as mischief was on foot. I got up, hitched up my team, and as my 80-year-old mother insisted on going with me I loaded her in and drove away to our old Iowa home, leaving my wife sick in bed and the balance of the children to mind the home. 'As soon as I got up into Iowa I met union troops, and after leaving mother at some of her other sons' homes, with some others, to the number of 40, who, like myself, had been driven from their homes, I joined Col. Edwards' forces, and in just three weeks we went back into our neighborhood with a force of 4,400 union soldiers. The Iowa regiments were going to meet the rebel forces under Mulligan at Lexington. We cleaned our neighborhood out so thoroughly of the rebel sympathizers that the union men held their own the balance of the war. 'My five boys all lived and came home from the war, but had many misfortunes happen to them. William got wounded in the wrist and was taken prisoner by Price. Ward got five bullet-holes through his coat and hat in one charge, even finding one bullet in his hat. They were all in the Frontier Army, and the first three that went were in the 9th Mo. Cavalry, but that was soon separated and sent in various directions. Will was an orderly sergeant and Ward a lieutenant in this regiment. Casper was on a gunboat up the Red River. Simeon was in the 43rd Mo. Infantry. 'After the war, three of my boys, Ward, Will and Casper, being married and gone for themselves, and Simeon working his way through college there in Missouri, I concluded that I would make another trip over into Kansas to see about locating there. This was in August 1866. "After the war, in August 1866, having been down in Kansas in the vicinity of Ottawa, and liking the country there so well, I rented some ground and sowed a field of wheat. Then I sold my farm in Missouri for $20 per acre, and with my wife and remaining three boys removed to Kansas, the place I had been wanting to got to for so many years. 'On account of so many Indian tribes still in Franklin and Osage counties in those years after the war, improvement had not progressed here as in some other counties. Ottawa was a new place and I settled there, buying six acres, where the machine shops and railroad are, near Forest Park, of Chief Wilson for $50 an acre. I bought four resident lots, where the depot now is, for $300. I only lived here about 18 months, but kept my property three years, selling it for $1,100. My wife began to fail in health and died of consumption, November 1869, at the home of our son Moses, who had a farm about six miles east of Ottawa, and we buried her at Peora. "This broke up my family and house-keeping, and in the spring of '70 I sold my Ottawa property and May 4, I came to Lyndon. I was all alone and lived at Hall's Hotel. That was a big time for Lyndon that season--the biggest boom for a town without a railroad that I ever saw. There were more than 40 carpenters and stone-masons working on the buildings. E. A. Barrett and myself one Sunday in October counted 132 new buildings, nearly all frame and box houses. "Being among the oldest of the men, they called me Dad Bradford. I helped Barney to survey his addition in the east part of town, and helped Judge Bailey on his fair-ground, out on Carney's land west of town. 'A large proportion of the men who worked here were old soldiers and my son Simeon gathered a company of 40 or more together, and in the evenings Capt. Edie marched and drilled them up and down the grass-grown streets (scarcely anyone had done any plowing). 'Simeon had married a daughter of Mr. Gray, near Ottawa, a year or two before. He came to Lyndon about October 1870, with his family, and built him a little house about where the Presbyterian church now stands, and, having a diploma from the State University of Missouri, went to studying law. In a year or two he was elected Justice of the Peace. "One of my carpenter jobs that season was for Benj. Hall, who in July had an addition 16 x 32, with 16-foot posts, built to his hotel, preparatory to renting it to Capt. Edie for a year. "During the latter part of the season I got acquainted with a Mrs. Crumley, who was a sister of John Courtney and Mrs. Henry Howell. Her husband had died back in Indiana, and with her child, Clara, she had come out to this western country and was making her temporary home at John Courtney's, who had built a house on Olivet street, block 41, afterward ocrupied for many years by the Bodines, and now by Geo. Wiggington. "I was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Crumley, October 4, 1870 at Mr. Courtney's residence. This was the first wedding in Lyndon. Just as we were about to be married, by Elder Barker, Melissa and May Smell came in, and after the ceremony all of us went to the Baptist church preaching, which was held in Averill's Hall. After the service we all went home and had our wedding supper. My wife had gotten up a fine one. For fruit we had grapes from Vineland, which in those times cost 15 cents a pound. "Amos Gardner had been waiting on Sarah Thomas that season and folks expected them to be married by fall, but Amos died, and after a while Lafe Gardner went to courting her and they were married the next year. "My son Simeon's boy, Lewis, was the first boy baby born in Lyndon. He is now in the government employ in New Orleans at $150 per month, and Simeon is a successful lawyer in Topeka. "After I was married my wife and I concluded to remove to the country, so January 5, 1871, 1 bought out the pre-emption right, for $320, on 40 acres that belonged to Dan Herron, see. 33, T. 15, R. 16, two miles east of Lyndon. I got the patent with Grant's signature on it. I built a small house, put out an orchard, and lived there 10 years. Our family at first consisted of two of my boys and my wife's girl, Clara. We had two children born to us, Corwin and Mary Bradford, who, with Clara, still make their home with us, though working for themselves. I sold out to Lieurance about 1881, for $800, and moved to town. Abram Primer now owns the place and has lived there several years. 'Those early years here in Lyndon I remember well. Speaking of the company of militia drilling reminds me of many doings here in the evenings. One night when Zieger had got the foundation wall laid for the Central House, where it stood still for a while, Dr. G. W. Miller stood on it and preached to the crowd. He was a U. B. preacher, as well as a doctor. Over in the adjoining street there was fiddling and a dance going on- men for partners; young ladies were scarce here then. Those moonlight nights were lively ones. 'In these days we had our first county-seat election, and the fair brought a great many strangers here. Board was $5.00 per week, pork 10 cents a pound, corn 60 cents per bushel--and we had to go to Willow Springs to get it at that. Carpenters got $3.00 per day, and masons and plasterers from $4.00 to $6.00 per day. In May 1870, a man named Terry built a house in block 21 on Carbon Street, now occupied by Mrs. Dr. Penn, and kept boarders. He was great on fishing and fed his boarders pretty liberally on fish. A catfish of 13 pounds, caught here in Lake Lyndon, was one of the attractions. Money was plenty. Fourth of July, two little boys, sons of some man living down south of Jim Kennedy's, danced. Oh! how they could dance on the floor. Men would walk up and got so pleased with the little fellows that they would throw down dollars to them; they must have got a purse of $25. The lemonade and peanut stand where I helped that day took in $400. MOSES BRADFORD Who came to Kansas first in 1857, and moved here in '66; who had five boys in the Union Army and he in the Home Guard Service in Missouri. Moses Bradford Who came to Kansas first in 1857, and moved here in '66; who had five boys in the Union Army and he in the Home Guard Service in Missouri. A Pioneer at Lyndon, and at his death, June 8, 1909, at the age of 91 yrs. and five mos., next to being the oldest man in Lyndon; E. Norris being over 1 year old.
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