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 Our Past and Our Future


The Mark Bogue Kinsey History

This account was written several years ago by one of our thousands of cousins, Lucy Bledsoe

Mark Bogue Kinsey was born February13,1838 in Clinton County Ohio. He was the fourth child of Edmund and Matilda Ballard Kinsey. In l849 his parents and their nine children moved to Iowa and to Hardin County near Eldora in 1856.

On November 27, 1859, Mark Bogue married Mary Ann Price in Marshalltown,  Iowa county seat of Marshall County which joined Hardin County on the south.

Mary Ann, the ninth of 11 children of Jacob and Hannah B. Price, was born June 28, 1838 near Alexander, Greene County, Indiana. She was was ten years old in June before her father died, November26, l848. Her mother and the younger children moved to Henry County in southeast Iowa and later to Hardin County where the Kinsey family lived.

Mark Bogue, called "M.B.", and Mary Ann lived in Hardin County where their first child Samantha Rebecca was born March 9, 1861.

On May 10, 1862, M.B., now past 24 years old, and Mary Ann almost 24 with Samantha just past one year, started to California. They went with a group of about 60 persons, traveling in a caravan of covered wagons pulled by teams of oxen over the Oregon Trail. It is not known if any of the others were relatives or neighbors.

They went from Iowa to the beginning of the Oregon Trail at Independence Missouri. The Trail followed the Kaw, now called the Kansas River to the Big Blue River near present-day Manhattan Kansas and turned north along the Big Blue.

An early stopping place was at Alcove Springs near present-day Blue Rapids Kansas. Water and grass were plentiful. The animals were watered, wagons repaired, and often there were dead to be buried. Nearby in a meadow are over 200 graves made during the years the Oregon Trail was traveled. Some names were carved on rock ledges near the springs. The caravan followed the Big Blue into Nebraska and turned northwest to follow the Little Blue to the Platte River at Fort Kearney. The Platte was followed into Wyoming to Fort Laramie, near the present town of Guernsey. Fort Laramie was one place the travelers expected to get mail.

Near Fort Laramie, the river banks are low and the water not very deep. South of the river is a huge sandstone cliff with its north side almost perpendicular, now known as Register Cliff. Travelers carved their names on the face of the cliff; some carved dates and addresses.

Grandchildren of M.B. and Mary Ann have searched at different times but have not found a Kinsey name. To preserve the original names, part of the cliff has been fenced with heavy wire netting. A few miles to the west of the cliff original wagon wheel ruts are preserved. Not many miles west are the historic Warm Springs known as the "bathtub of the emigrants".

The caravan followed the Platte past present Casper Wyoming to south of present Lander where the Oregon Trail forked. Those bound for California took the southwest fork. They crossed the Rocky Mountains at South Pass, elevation 7,550 feet, went southwest to Fort Bridger and on into Utah to Salt Lake City. Going westward from there, they crossed Nevada and went into California, stopping in the Sacramento Valley near Marysville, October 13, 1862.

Many books and articles have been written about travelers crossing the plains. An article in Readers Digest September 1972 "Wyoming Beyond the Plains" by John King told that some of the men rode horseback and were on lookout for Indians. They also scouted for suitable campsites with fuel and water. At night the wagons formed a circle around the campfire and campers. The livestock were tethered outside with a scout on lookout.

In later years Mary Ann told her grandchildren that they often stopped long enough to bake bread and do laundry. She told that one day after the bread was started, Indians were sighted. Camp was broken and the dough left. They must have done much walking, perhaps for exercise and to save their animals. Mary Ann told that she wore several pairs of Indian moccasins on the trip.

M.B. was a crack shot with his .25 caliber Stephens rifle with telescopic sight. In Wyoming prairie chicken, quail and antelope were plentiful. Mary Ann told about stopping at a big rock with a spring on each side, one hot and one cold. Many travelers had stopped before them to dress their fowl because the feathers on the ground would have been enough to make several feather beds. Meat was abundant as they crossed the Rocky Mountains. Rabbits were usually found; they were larger than the prairie jack rabbits. Mary Ann told that after as many as they found were shot, the men fastened their feet together and hung the rabbits on a pole that they had cut. As two men carried the pole on their shoulders the front feet of the bits a1most touched the ground.

Another story always fascinated the grandchildren. Mary Ann told that after they reached Salt Lake City they rested for several days. One day they decided to have a dance. The women brought out their bread boards and put them together to make a dance floor.

The trip from Iowa to California covered approximately 1,800 miles and was made in 156 days or 5 months and 3 days, an average of 12 miles a day. More miles had to be traveled because of the days spent in camp at various times.

Soon after they arrived in the Sacramento Valley, M.B. chose a quarter section (160 acres) near Marysville north of Sacramento and made application for a homestead certificate. Farming was good but crops had to be protected from wild geese M.B. got a goose gun which was a 12 gauge muzzle loader with a long barrel. A powder horn and shot pouch were used. They had good gardens. Mary Ann used to talk about the Chinese man who helped with the gardening.

In California, four more daughters were born: Hannah Matilda (Tillie) named for her two grandmothers, (October 3,1863) Mary Frances (July 20, 1866) Harriett (Hattie) Ann (June 28, 1868) on her mother's 30th birthday and Clara Emma September 9, 1870.

Before the homestead papers were signed by the president, Congress passed a law giving the Southern Pacific Railroad a 20 mile strip of land down the Sacramento Valley. The president of the railroad company selected M.B.'s place as the site of his headquarters and as his foreman.

While working for the rai1road, M.B. drove a 20-horse team to haul supplies to build the roadbed. He was a good driver, using a jerk line to the lead team. They were controlled by "gee" and "haw" to turn right and left respectively. Wagons were big and heavy with very big wheels.

Mexicans worked for the railroad and there was much trouble among them. Mary Ann told that usually every morning there would be a dead Mexican to be buried.

M.B. was paid in gold dust or nuggets for his driving. The payments were kept in a leather pouch in their house. One day, Mary Ann saw Indians at the gate. Thinking they would probably ask for the gold, she hurriedly dropped the pouch of gold in the kitchen slop bucket. She then grabbed a loaf of bread and met them at the door. That satisfied the Indians and they left. After they were gone, Mary Ann rescued the pouch of gold. She was never bothered again by Indians.

M.B. grew disgusted with having to deal with the quarreling Mexicans and decided to leave California. It is not known why the destination Concordia, Kansas was chosen. Records in the Cloud County Courthouse, Concordia, Kansas in the Register of Deeds office show that Mary Ann’s brother Baily M. V. Price started buying and selling lots in Concordia in 1878. It is not known if he had come before that time. A government Land Office was located in Concordia. Whatever the reason for choosing this location, the family arrived in Concordia in the fall 1872, about 10 years after arriving in California

Before leaving California in 1872, family pictures were made in Lewis J. Stinson's Photograph Ga1lery, Southwest Corner of D. and Third Streets, Marysville, California. Cousin Ella Gray wrote in one of her letters that mother her had pictures of Uncle Mark and the two o1der girls. Those have not been found.

M.B., Mary Ann, and the five girls: Samantha 11, Tillie 9, Mary 6, Hattie 4, and Emma 2 settled on the northeast section in Buffalo Township County, Kansas. The legal description from the Homestead Certificate is: "north-west quarter of section one, in township four south, of range seven west, in the district of lands subject to sale at Concordia, Kansas, containing one hundred and fifty-eight acres and eighty hundredths of an acre". Certificate No. 9365 is signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes and issued by the Land Office in Concordia Kansas. The farm is about seven miles north and one-half mile west of present day Randall, Kansas.

West. Buffalo creek crossed this quarter section toward the northwest corner. The first home was a dugout in the northwest bank of the creek where the winter of 1872-1873 was spent. The Kansas State Record Topeka, April12, 1871 stated that the dugout is an institution peculiar to the frontier. It is not a structure but an excavation made in a bank or a bluff, of the desired size, then covered with a dirt roof built up in front with sod. The dugout was considered good or poor, in proportion as the roof leaked little or much. It was the spring of 1873 when a blizzard raged for 48 hours leaving huge drifts.

This was truly a pioneer county. Settlers had located in the Buffalo Valley a few miles southwest, established Fort Jewell, and organized Jewell County only two years before. Indian raids had been numerous and settlers had been killed in the northern part of the county along Rock Creek. The year before, settlers had homesteaded in Washington Township which joined on the north. Records of one Indian encounter has been handed down with the family history. It was that one day Mary Ann saw an Indian brave approaching. After hiding the little girls she met the Indian at the door with a peace offering of a loaf of bread which he took, leaving the home unmolested.

Sod House

In 1873, a sod house was built near the northwest corner of the quarter. The Kansas prairies were covered with short grass, which in 1874 is known as the grasshopper year. It was also a dry year. An account in the Hutchinson News (Reno County) June 2, 1972, "100 Ago" tells a story which was probably about the same in Jewell County. "It was July 26, 1874, and the 132nd day without the much needed rain, that the sun became blackened out and a steady hum could be heard coming from the hazy horizon. The people of Hutchinson thought thought that the long awaited rain had surely begun. What had really begun was the disastrous grasshopper plague. The 'hoppers came at first in dozens, then hundreds, and finally thousands…By July 27, the fields had been stripped, and the insects started in on barn paint and house roofs. Trains were stalled on the tracks because of the crushed grasshoppers, women and children were kept inside, rakes were used to pull the grasshoppers off the roofs." All vegetation was devoured.

An account from the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, tel1s one method used to combat the grasshoppers. The family and friends would sweep the insects in a field toward a pile of straw heaped in the center of the field. "After having thoroughly swept the land, and millions have deposited themselves on the heap it is touched with a match and the whole mass is burned."

On the Kinsey farm, the grasshoppers also ate dents in the handles of pitchforks. In about a week, when the rains came the grasshoppers disappeared as fast as they had come, leaving a barren land. In the fall, M.B. went to Iowa with his team and wagon to shuck corn to earn money to support the family during the winter and to buy spring planting. While he was gone, Mary Ann and the 6 girls, baby Nellie less than a year old, lived mainly on corn bread and milk. M.B. returned with his wagon loaded with flour, vegetables, apples and seed corn.

M.B. started writing letters to officials in Washington, D.C., trying to get help for the farmers. The letter of Mach 22, 1875 has been preserved. This letter may have never been mailed or it may be a copy of the one mailed.

Life was not easy for the early settlers. Sod had to be broken to prepare the fields for planting crops. One incident has been told of an Indian riding by while M.B. was plowing the sod. The Indian said "White man crazy, turn ground wrong side up." Corn, wheat, and the cane to make sorghum were the main crops. M.B. was one of the first to plant alfalfa which he had seen growing in California.

After the 6 daughters were born, there were 3 sons: Frederick (Fred) William born April 10 1876, Frank S. born December 16 1878 and John J. April 13 1881. Fred was born in the sod house and probably the other boys were too.

Schools and churches had to be established for the growing families. The school house, named Pleasant Valley, was built about one and one half miles south of the Kinsey's sod house. It was built by Francis M. Shanklin who had come in October 1871. His daughter Amelia Jane was the first teacher. She married Peter B. Paton and became the mother of Eugene Paton. A later teacher was Freeman Hale who later published the Formoso (Kansas) New Era.

The schoolhouse was the place for education, for social gatherings and for religious services until the Calvary Evangelical church built on the northwest corner of the intersection a mile south of the sod house. Amelia Jane Shanklin was the chorister for the Sunday school held in the schoolhouse and then in the church.

Besides the trip to Iowa in 1874, M.B. made another trip to shuck corn when Fred was 5 or 6 years old, which would have been 1881 or ’82. Again the returning wagon was loaded with provisions, including apples. In later years, Fred told his son Mark that each child was given an apple to eat before going to bed. All were in bed, but little Fred was so hungry for apples that he could not go to sleep. He waited until he thought all the others were asleep and then tiptoed out to get another apple.

Many blizzards and droughts were endured during those early years. One of the most severe blizzards in Kansas history was January 1, 1886. In that blizzard 100 Kansans lost their lives. But there were good years too. In 1889, Jewell County led the state in corn production 8,167,168 bushels.

On February 6,1895 a 14-hour dust storm blocked all trains from Lebanon in Smith County the next county west of Jewell County and about north and west of the Kinsey farm. The same year on April 6 another storm delayed all trains west from Belleville, the county seat of Republic County, northeast of Jewell County, for 12 hours. In October the Abilene Reflector stated that buffalo grass is the only grass that will survive the drought in Kansas. But there must have been some rain that year for thousands of bushels of peaches were sold in Jewell County for 20 cents per bushel.

M.B. persevered during all these years, improving his farm setting out an apple orchard, and making other improvements. One was building a two story frame house near the northeast corner of the quarter. It was located in a bend of another creek in that part of the quarter. It was on the north and east of the creek. The house faced the township road on the north. It was built in the shape of a T with a living room and two bedrooms on the west and a big kitchen-dining room on the east. Porches were on the north and the south. At the east end of the south porch a pantry was built out from the southeast corner of the kitchen. On a platform south of the pantry, there was a cistern pump. There were bedrooms on the second floor with the stairway going up from the west side of the kitchen. There was a basement under the west side of the house. The door was outside near the southeast corner of the basement.

On the ceiling in the living room was a large round design made of white plaster. It had various figures of fruits and leaves. The grandchildren were always fascinated with the design. A nap on the colorful rag carpet on the floor was always pleasant because of the pretty design to be seen on the ceiling.

The house was possibly built in 1885 or in 1887. Records in Register of Deeds office in Mankato Kansas show that M.B. put a mortgage on farm for $1,000.00 on March 12 1885 and another for $3,000.00 October 4, 188

The boys and girls all helped in raising the garden, caring for chickens and the orchard, tending the livestock milking the cows and farming. Mary Ann made the clothes for the girls and the boys, and knitted their stockings and socks. As the girls grew older, they learned to sew and to knit. At first all the sewing was done by hand. Later a sewing machine was bought.

There were also times for fun. A long rope swing was tied to the limb of a large cottonwood tree on the east bank of the creek, which made a bend around the west and south sides of the house. Swinging out over the creek was a real thrill for the boys and girls who were brave enough to venture. A few rods to the north where the road crossed the creek was a bridge with steel banisters wide enough for the venturesome to walk across.

The orchard to the southeast of the house, between the house and the creek, the blacksmith shop with its anvil, forge and bellows and the tools, and the chicken house to the west of the shop completed the area east of the creek. To get to the barn, sheds, lots and windmill, the creek had to be crossed on a narrow footbridge. It had no banisters; to little children, it was a frightening experience as the bridge swayed during the walk across.

Another tale of early days recounted by Fred to son his Mark was the 4th of July celebration at Montrose, three miles north and one mile west of the Kinsey farm. After they reached the celebration, M.B. bought a package of firecrackers. Wanting to save them until they got home to enjoy them all by himself, Fred put the package in his hip pocket. One of the older boys touched a match to the fuse; of course Fred couldn't get the package out of his pocket. Besides suffering of the firecrackers, he had a hole burned in his pants and a burned hip.

As the years passed, the apple trees began to bear fruit. Some were stored in the basement for winter use; others were buried in straw-lined pits in the orchard, covered with straw and mounds of soil. When apples in the basement had been used, a pit was opened for a new supply. Some apples were made into cider. Apples were cut and put into the press. By hand power, the press was tightened to press out the juice. Cider was stored in stone jars and jugs in the basement Also, some apples were peeled, cored and sliced to be put in the sun for winter use. Apple pie was the main dessert during the winter.

One of the pleasures anticipated by visiting grandchildren wintertime was a visit to the basement where Aunt Hattie would dip cider from the big stone jar to fill the cups with cider. Cups were filled until everyone was satisfied.

The family grew up and the girls began to find husbands. The first to marry was Samantha, almost 23, who married on January 21,1884 Jonathan W. Betts, a neighbor. On February 19,1884, Mary married another neighbor, John E. Danielson. Mary was almost 18 and one half years old. Nearly three years later, the next to marry was Tillie, a little past 24 year to another neighbor Clarence Harvey Robinette on December 20,1887.

Tragedy struck the family on February 7, 1888 when Johnnie, the baby of the family died of diphtheria at the age of 6 years, 10 months and 14 days. He was the first of many members of the family to buried in the Greenwood Cemetery located a mile north of the farm. The cemetery was named for the farmer who gave the land: but in later years was changed to Pleasant View. It is a pleasant view from the cemetery to all the surrounding hills and valleys.

For three summers in the early 1890's, Fred and two of the neighbor boys were given the job of herding their cattle in a rented pasture 15 miles south of Beloit in Mitchell County which joins Jewell County on the south. The cattle were driven from the farms to the pasture. They had to ford the Solomon River near Beloit. Almost the entire summer was spent herding. There were three boys and two horses. Each Saturday, one of the boys walked to Beloit to meet a member of his family who had come to take him home for over Sunday. The return trip was made to Beloit and the boy walked back to camp. Occasionally the wagon would make the entire trip to take supplies to the boys. They lived mainly on dried foods and on fresh eggs and milk that they got from a farm wife living nearby. The old rock house where they showed the results of a bandit raid in earlier years. The walls were riddled with bullet holes. When needed, a rock barn was nearby for the cattle; and there was a corral. The boys always had to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. Almost every day a snake was killed. These years were probably when Fred was 14 to 16 which would have been 1890-1892

It was perhaps about this time that the orchard was at its best. M.B. took wagon loads of apples and garden vegetables to Superior, Nebraska, the first town in Nebraska north of the Kansas-Nebraska line. It took a day to make the trip and dispose of his farm products and another day to return home.

On December 18, 1894, Emma, past 24 years, married Amos Clinton Vernon of Decatur County Kansas. A year later, 22 Dec. 1895, Nellie almost 22, married Ora Francis Edwards also of Decatur County. Hattie, afflicted with epilepsy, always remained at home. On Thursday July 28, 1898, Fred at age 22 married Anna Belle Rogers who lived in Washington township, adjoining Buffalo on the north. Frank did not marry.

Samantha and Tillie and their families lived nearby. At first, both lived a mile south and in the first mile west. Mary lived for a short time in Jewell County and then in Decatur County. Emma and Nellie always lived in Decatur County. Fred and Anna first lived in the three upstairs rooms of his parents home while he farmed with his father. Later, Fred rented a farm in Washington Township, one mile west and three north.

Family gatherings were a source of great joy and satisfaction to M.B. and Mary Ann. One especially happy time was at Christmas 1903 when all the children and grandchildren came home. It must have been a busy time preparing food and gifts for all. For all the little girls Hattie dressed dolls with handmade clothes. Lace edging was crocheted for the petticoats; hoods were crocheted for some and straw matting bonnets were made for others. Cherished possessions of granddaughter Lucy Kinsey Bledsoe include a lace trimmed petticoat and a sunbonnet.

While all the children were home, a family group picture was taken. No other picture of M.B. Kinsey can be found.

The Kinsey home was furnished like most early-day homes with only the necessary sturdy furniture. On the beds were straw filled ticks with feather beds added for warmth in winter. Each year after threshing was finished, the bed ticks were emptied and filled with new straw. Bed covers were hand-pieced quilts and comforters made of woolen scraps from the winter clothing. Sometimes each seam was embroidered with a fancy stitch. An outing flannel lining was made and sewed onto the quilting frames held together with metal clamps. A wool or cotton bat was laid on the lining and the pieced top laid on. This was sewed or pinned to the edges of the lining. Yarn or heavy embroidery thread was used to tie the three parts together. If a quilt was being made, the lining would be material of cotton, the bat a thin cotton, and the quilt would be hand quilted.

Living room floors were usually covered with hand-loomed rag The rags were made by tearing worn clothing into strips which were sewed together for carpet rags. The rags were wound into balls. These balls were taken to a neighbor who had a loom. The rags were woven with carpet warp of various colors into strips 36 inches wide and of the desired length. The strips were sewed together with some of the carpet warp to make the width needed for the room.

The floor was covered with wheat or oats straw. Sometimes newspapers were spread over the straw. The carpet was carefully placed on top of the straw, fastened with carpet tacks on one side of the room. Then it was stretched with a carpet stretcher, and tacked on the opposite side of the room. It was then stretched again and tacked on the other sides. With the many colors of the cloth strips and the contrasting carpet warp the carpets were very pretty. The next year after harvest the carpet tacks were removed, the carpet carried to the clothes line and a carpet beater used to remove the dust. The old straw was removed, the floor scrubbed and dried, new straw laid, and the tacking and stretching process repeated. Sometimes shorter strips were woven for scatter rugs. Also some rags were used to crochet or braid small rugs.

One of the chairs in the living room was a platform rocker with seat and back cushions of tapestry, and with wood coil springs make it rock. The chair has been preserved and is still in use home of granddaughter Grace Kinsey Jacobson. The tapestry has been replaced.

In the northwest corner of the living room was a dresser with a large mirror. On the south end of the dresser was a beautiful china lamp. The bowl which held the kerosene was white with a rose colored border at the base and around the opening. On one side was painted a blue flower and a bud with brown leaves and stems. The globe was similar but without the rose border at the bottom.

At some time the lamp globe was broken. Mary Ann and Hattie the lamp with a clear glass chimney until electricity was available. In 1969, granddaughter Lucy Kinsey Bledsoe had the lamp electrified and a globe painted to match the base. The globe may not be the size and shape as the original, but the painting matches perfectly

In the winter, a wood-burning heating stove was set on a stove board, which was a square board large enough to extend out from all sides of the stove. The board was covered with metal and sometimes had a design painted on it. Then from the stove to the chimney in the wall, the stovepipe had to be fitted. This was often a very difficult task to get the stove in just the right position for pipe to fit. Before time to set up the stove, the stove and pipe might have to be blackened. From the trees along the creeks, the supply of wood for the cook and heating stoves would have to be cut into the right sizes. Usually there was a big rick of wood not from the house. The younger children probably would be the ones to keep the wood boxes in the house filled.

The kitchen was really the family room with its wood-burning cook stove which doubled for heating, and the large dining table and chairs. Ashes from the hearth on the stove were used to scour the steel knives and forks. Soap was made from cracklings left when the lard was rendered after the fall hog butchering. This was soap used for washing dishes and clothes. It was made in a large black iron kettle hung over an outdoors fire. The cracklings, lye and some water were put into the kettle and cooked until the soap was of the right consistency. Soap was left in the kettle until it hardened. Then it was cut into large chunks and stored. Before making the soap, the same kettle had been used to render the lard.

The kettle was also used to heat water for the weekly washing of clothes. Hot water was carried in buckets from the kettle to a galvanized tub on the wash bench. Soap was shaved into the hot water and stirred until dissolved. Dirty clothes were put into the sudsy water and probably soaked for a few minutes and then washed by hand on the washboard. The ordinary washboard had a corrugated metal part fitted into a wood frame. In better boards. the corrugated part was of heavy glass.

The kettle would be filled the second time, soap shaved and dissolved, and the white clothes put into the kettle to boil. After rinsing in clear water, the clothes were hung on the clothes line to dry. If there were not enough clothes pins or lines, some clothes might be hung on the fence or spread on the grass. In winter, a line was stretched across the kitchen near the stove where clothes could be hung to dry.

Mary Ann made her own dresses as long as she was able to sew. Her skirts were always ankle length and had a pocket in the seam on the right side. Winter dresses were always made of gray wool flannel. She always wore a long apron with a waistband and long ties. Her sleeves were long and would be pushed up if necessary when she was working.

Farm work was done with horses, sometimes mules, and at first with walking plows and cultivators. Binders pulled by horses were used to cut the wheat . The stalks were formed into bundles, tied with binder twine and dropped behind the binder. Men walking behind the binder gathered the bundles and set them up in shocks. The grain finished ripening in the shocks. Weeks later the shocks were hauled to a threshing machine which was powered by a steam engine. The machine separated the straw and the grain which poured from a spout and was sacked or let run into the wagon. The straw was blown into a stack or sometimes into a barn.

After the threshing, some of the wheat would be hauled to a to be ground into flour. The first mill that the Kinsey's used was Tanquarry Mill on the Solomon River east of Beloit. The mill was built by a man with that name. Until very recently, a sign on Highway 24 five and a half miles east of Beloit pointed south to the site of the mill on the north bank of the river, one mile south. Some of the foundation of the mill is still there. Later wheat was hauled to a mill in Beloit, and still later to the mill in Jewell. Wheat was exchanged for flour. Part of the flour might be left to get later.

Another fall harvest was cutting the cane to make sorghum. M.B. had a sorghum mill. The cane stalks were cut, stripped of the outer covering and put through rollers to extract the juice. The rollers were turned by horses hitched to a sweep and driven in a circle around the mill. The cane juice was cooked in large shallow vats. The fire below the vats had to be kept just right to evaporate the juice but not burn it. Almost constant stirring was required; big wooden paddles were used. When the juice reached the boiling point, the scum which formed had to be skimmed off. When the right consistency was reached the sorghum was poured off into containers. Sorghum was the only sweetener in the early years. It was used to make wild plum preserves. Later brown sugar could be bought at the stores. Fred was almost grown when he saw the first white sugar in a restaurant in Beloit. After the sorghum making was finished, a taffy pulling party was held to celebrate.

In 1904, M.B. and Fred went to the World's Fair in St. Louis. They went on the Rock Island Railroad from Montrose to St. Louis. It is not known if M.B. had money saved for the trip, but Fred sold a cow and a new surrey which he had recently bought in order to have money for the trip. Anna kept the letters which Fred wrote. They stayed at The Empire Hotel where rooms were 50 cents and up. It was a two minute walk to the fairgrounds gate. Fred wrote, "It's the grandest thing I ever seen".

When all the children except Hattie had left home, and farming became too much work for M.B., the farm was sold to David Elliott and his wife Nettie. The deed was dated April 11, 1910; the price $12,000. M.B. and Fred did some looking for a smaller place but didn’t find what they wanted. M.B. rented the J.H. Thornburg farm a few miles southeast of Formoso Kansas, intending to stay until he found a place to buy. After the farm was sold, M.B.. bought a 1910 five-passenger Buick automobile. He did not learn to drive. Either Fred or Frank did the driving. M.B. and Fred made a trip to central Kansas looking for a farm.

In August 1911, Mary Ann and Hattie came to stay with Anna and the younger children so Fred could take his father to Decatur visit the three daughters and their families. One morning, just as the sun rose above the eastern horizon, M.B., Fred, and his daughters Lucy and Grace started from the farm at the south edge of Montrose on their first automobile trip. The distance of about 125 miles, all dirt roads, was made while the sun was shining. Just as the sun was setting, they reached the home of one of the daughters. All lived on farms between Norcatur and Oberlin, Kansas, within a few miles of each other.

All the families gathered at one place to visit as often as possible. An incident during a visit at the home of Ora and Nellie Edwards was remembered by Iva Vernon Bixby. While the adults were visiting in the house the children were playing outside. As they gathered around the shiny black Buick, someone suggested that the surface of the back of the car would be a good place scratch names. A shingle nail was found and the scratching began. No one remembered how many names were scratched or the consequences.

After the visit ended the homeward trip began with another passenger. Ina Danielson, age 18, had been hired to teach Rocdale rural school south of Montrose. She rode in the Buick to her first job. The return trip was not so good. Rains had made the roads muddy. By nightfall they were near Lebanon. Fred drove into a farm yard and could they keep five persons over night. The three girls slept in one bed. The name of the family is not remembered. Home was reached the next day.

Sunday morning, October 8, 1911, Fred was planning to drive to the farm southeast of Formoso to get his parents and Hattie and bring them for a visit. They had talked on the phone and made their plans. Before Fred got started another call came telling that Mark Bogue Kinsey was dead. The horses had got out and M.B. went to put them back in the lot. In chasing the horses, he had a fatal heart attack. He had reached the age of 73 years, 7 months and 7 days.

The funeral was held at home Tuesday morning, October 10 with the Reverend Misel of Formoso officiating. Hymns sung were "Rock of Ages" "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" and "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross". Pallbearers were S. L. Slaughter, Perry Haworth, N. B. Greenwood, Robert Higbee, Mr. Kissinger and N. B. Clark, all former neighbors. Burial was in the Greenwood Cemetery beside his youngest son John who had died in 1888.

The obituary was written by Freeman Hale, editor of the New Era. It contained this tribute:

"M.B. Kinsey, as he was Known in the community where he lived for so many years, was one of our earliest settlers in this county, an industrious and a good citizen. We knew him well, when it required sterling courage and manhood to live in this country and support a large family of small children as he had, but he toiled and never faltered. He lived to see his neighborhood develop from a prairie plain to a country dotted with fine residences, modern schoolhouses, imposing church edifices, and busy little cities. His hands were instrumental in painting the beautiful picture our country presents. His task is finished, he rests from his labors. The mourning relatives are not alone in their sorrow".

Mary Danielson was the only one who could come from Decatur for the funeral. Decatur County had dried out that year. Crops were a failure. Letters were written to ask if Ora and Nellie Edwards and their family could come to spend the winter with Mary Ann and Hattie. Finally Ora agreed to come if he could bring his five horses. Before they started, they sold three spring colts, four spring calves, and 150 of their 200 hens. They arranged with a neighbor to take care of three, ten head of cattle, and the fifty hens. Their big barn was full of fodder, cane hay, millet and some wheat straw. The neighbor was to do the feeding, milk the cows, and gather the eggs.

About the third week in October, with the five horses, bed clothing, canned fruit, beans and tomatoes, and other eats for the road, two or three bushels of ground corn for the horses, and all the hay that could be piled on top of the wagon, Ora and son Ray left the farm about noon and drove to Norcatur. They stayed all night with Uncle Jess and Aunt Janie Ault (Ora's oldest sister). The next morning they started east toward Jewell County; and the same day Uncle Jess took Nelie, daughter Mamie and son Howard to Clayton and the Rock Island railroad to take the "Jersey" (the local passenger train, so called because it stopped at all stations to pick up cans of cream). At Montrose they were met by Fred Kinsey, Nellie's brother. After staying overnight, they were taken to be with her mother Mary Ann and Hattie. It took Ora and Ray about four and one half days to make the trip.

After Ora arrived, he surveyed the work that needed to be done and decided the first thing was to get the hay and the cane in the stacks This took about a week. Then he started shucking corn which was finished before Christmas. Next Ora started cutting wood. After he finished on the farm, he cut wood on the shares for a neighbor to the west. They had plenty of wood to burn with some coal which Mary Ann had bought. Ora had eight or nine cords of wood left to sell at Mary Ann's farm sale in March 1912. She sold everything except household goods and the Buick. After a few days of visiting the Edwards family returned to Decatur County the same way they had come.

After M.B.'s death, Mary Ann sold a half-interest in the Buick to Fred. A receipt dated June 24,1912 for $225.00 was signed by D.H. Stafford, administrator of the estate, State Exchange Bank, Mankato, Kansas. The letter with the receipt states, "…the other half to be charged against Mary A. Kinsey as part of her share of the estate".

Mary Ann and Hattie spent some time with the Robinette family and then spent the winter of 1912-1913 with Fred's family. They were given the north room of the house which had 3 rooms, a pantry, and a floored attic room above the kitchen where the four girls slept. Fred, Anna and son Mark, not yet two, slept in the south room. Houses in those days were not built to keep out the winter cold. They were heated with wood burning stoves. Sometimes a little coal was added. When the severe cold days of winter came, Mary Ann and Hattie stuffed cracks between and around the window sashes with strips of cloth. Then they poured water on the strips between the sashes and and sills. The water froze and kept the cold air out.

In the winter, Mary Ann liked dried codfish which she soaked in cold water in a crock overnight. She kept dried prunes in a cigar jar for her snacks. For breakfast she liked buckwheat cakes made with yeast. She kept the batter in her room. She was a late riser and got her breakfast in the kitchen after everyone else had eaten. After her children were gone from home, M.B. always got his own breakfast and went on to work while she slept.

With the lack of fresh air, the codfish, and the soured buckwheat batter, the room had its own distinctive odor during the winter. Of course, there was always the odor of Horseshoe plug tobacco which Mary Ann and Hattie used. That was one reason for the pocket in seam of the skirts. When someone would come to visit, the chewing tobacco was taken out of the mouth and put into the pocket in skirt for later use.

Mary Ann and Hattie decided to move to Oberlin to live. Mary Danielson, then a widow, and the Edwards family lived in Oberlin. The Vernon family still lived on the farm east of Oberlin. After visiting the three families for a time, they bought a house near Mary's home and lived there for several years. Son Frank lived with them part of the time, but decided to go back to Topeka.

Mary Ann was afraid to be alone with Hattie when she had a seizure so they decided to sell the house in Oberlin and move back to Jewell County. They spent some time visiting with all the families before leaving. On one visit at the Vernon home, a picture was taken of Mary Ann and her children who were there that day.

During the time spent in Oberlin the M.B. Kinsey estate was settled. A letter which Fred received from D. H. Stafford dated May 4, 1915, enclosed a check for "$532.66 payment in full of your share of the final distribution of the Mark B. Kinsey estate. The total payment to the heirs has been $lO,705.01. Total expenses; Probate court $50.35, Administrator Fee $25.00, total $75.35. Kansas law gave the widow half of the estate which would have been $5,352.50. Each of the eight children would have received $669.06. Evidently each had received a preliminary payment of $136.40.

In the envelope with the letter about the final settlement of the estate is the receipt for the half interest of the Buick purchased by Fred on June 24,1912 and a Bill of Sale dated December 1, 1924 from "Mary A. Kinsey to Fred W. Kinsey for Buick automobile, Model 19, 4 cylinder, 5 passenger by Mary Ann Kinsey. The printed Bill of Sale had no place to record the price. It was for the change of registration only. Evidently this paper had been carried for many years in a billfold as it is very discolored and worn.

A letter to Lucy Kinsey from Aunt Hattie dated 13 Sept. 1921 said that the house in Oberlin had been sold for $1300.00. Another letter dated 7 December1921 said that they (Mary Ann and Hattie) were planning to visit in Jewell County.

There is no record of the date that they moved from Oberlin Jewell County, but it probably was in 1922. Soon afterwards, Fred built a two room house, with built-in cabinets across the west side of the kitchen and a big closet in the bed room. It was built on the east side of the orchard and just a few rods north of Fred's house. Ann would have been 84 and Hattie 54 that year in June.

Mary Ann lived to be over 90, more than 17 1/2 years as a widow. During her last days of illness, granddaughter Hazel Danielson came to help care for her. She died April 21,1929 at age 90 years, 9 months and 23 days. The funeral service was April 23, 1929 in the Methodist Church in Montrose, conducted by the Reverend Fred Blanding. The published obituary contains this paragraph:

"Mrs. Kinsey has lived to a ripe old age, yet a loving mother will be sadly missed. In the later years of her life she renewed her early faith spending time in prayer and reading her Bible, dying in the full faith in Christ". She was buried beside her husband M.B. in the Pleasant Cemetery.

Besides Hattie and Fred of Montrose, her surviving children were Samantha Betts, Brownville, Nebraska; Tillie Robinette, Jewell, Kansas; Mary Danielson, Atwood, Kansas; Nellie Edwards, Oberlin, Kansas; Frank Kinsey, Topeka, Kansas.

Daughter Emma Vernon had died 28 days before her mother on April 1, 1929

There were 30 grandchildren and 53 great grandchildren.


Dennis ~ Debbi, First Cousins

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Last update on 12/30/03