Friday, October 22, 2010

Kansas Indians

There were many tribes inhabiting Kansas before the advent of white settlers. The Kansas Indians for whom the state is named were first visited by Lewis and Clark on their expedition in 1802. The Kansas camped along the Kansas River where Lewis and Clark encountered them. Around 1846, they would settle near Council Groves on the Neosho River and a reservation was established. By 1873, this land was sold and the Kansas were relocated to Oklahoma.

Along the Arkansas River where present day Wichita is were the Wichita Indians for which the town is named.Coronado encountered these Indians on his futile hunt for the Seven Cities of Gold in the 1540's. James Mead described his dealings with the Wichita in his book, Hunting and Trading on the Great Plains. the Wichita lived in established communities, living on a mix of agriculture, hunting, gathering, and fishing. See Wichita Indians in Wikipedia for more.

The image to the left (Wikipedia) may not be descriptive of the Wichita Indians. Archeological excavations indicate that originally the Wichita lived in large grass huts, some as large as 30 feet in diameter. And their life styles were certainly affected by the destruction of game by the white settlers.

Soon after Missouri achieved statehood in 1821, the Osage were relocated to Indian Territory in Kansas and Oklahoma. The Osage tribe inhabited a portion of southeastern corner of Kansas including the area near present day Butler County. George Catlin (Chief Tah-le image by George Catlin from the described the Osage as "the tallest race of men in North America, either red or white skins; there being few indeed of the men at their full growth, who are less than six feet in stature, and very many of them six and a half, and others seven feet." The Neosho River was named by the Osage, and the Osage River is named for them. The departure of the Osage from Kansas opened the door to large scale immigration by white settlers in and around the area of Butler County. The Osage ceded their lands to the United States Government in treaties made in 1825, 1865, and 1870.

There were many other Indian tribes living in Kansas. A good description is given in an article by

The article gives a good description of the many eastern tribes who were relocated to portions of Kansas. The article notes the many Indian place names that exist today in the names of counties, rivers, and cities in Kansas. Traveling north along I-35 for instance one comes across the cities of Ottawa and Paola, and travels through the county of Miami.

David Rumsey has online a beautiful map by E. B. Whitman and A.D. Searl of eastern Kansas in 1854 showing several reservations of Indian tribes. There is a drawing of the destroyed Eldridge Hotel on the map that reflects the turbulence of early Kansas history. A reproduction of the image can be purchased from the David Rumsey Map Collection starting at $24.95 and going to $189.95 for a large image.

When the Indians Lived Here

The subject of Indians in Kansas is obviously a large one. There are many issues which historians can write about but not resolve. From time to time I will add some thoughts.

Several great books describe life on the Plains before the settlers moved in. My favorite for this area is James Meads', Hunting and Trading on the Great Plains. The first book I read as a teenager is, the more well-known book by Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail. (I will try to add others as I come across them.)

Mead's recollection is perhaps the better account of the two stories, as he was one of the original founders of the city of Wichita. His book depicts in detail coming to Kansas from Iowa, his encounters with the Indians, and the trials and tribulations of starting a new life then. Parkman's account recalls the heady days of the hunters who first encountered the Indian and buffalo on the High Plains.

There are other histories. We are fortunate to have online the full text of the illustrated History of Butler County, written by Vol. P. Mooney and published in 1916. There are several online sources for this book.

Once Kansas was a land where hunters of buffalo and antelope roamed. Here and there a few Indian settlements existed.  The Wichita, Kansas, and later Kickapoo and Pawnee were the tribes which originally inhabited the area, but they were later joined by other tribes as eastern tribes were relocated forceably west of the Mississippi. Even with the presence of Indians, a person could wander for days across open plains and through wild woods without seeing another human.

Much of Indian life centered around the buffalo hunt. Two major hunts were organized each year - the first in the spring and summer from May until August, and the second in the late fall, from September until December. The hunting followed the migration patterns of the buffalo from southern Oklahoma as far north as Canada. Buffalo once roamed in herds estimated to be as large as 30 million, but these herds were largely destroyed by the late 1870's.

Washington Irving came west in 1832, following the Arkansas River near the present day cities of  Stillwater, Oklahoma City and Norman. He shot elk and encountered bear, buffalo, deer, turkey, and wild horses. It was not uncommon then to see flocks of one thousand to two thousand turkeys.

We can only imagine life as the Indian lived it. There are no known accounts that I am aware of. But, I will look for them. We are only left with the imaginings of the white trappers, hunters, and farmers who first came and then interacted with the native tribes. Mooney in his History gives us his thoughts in Chapter Five at page 64.

Let us turn back the hour and traverse the years and the changes.
A panorama touched with the brush of the master artist, the description
of which is beyond the power of the pen. Picture the beginning; the
wilds of the wolf and the coyote, the bounds of the buffalo, the deer, the
elk and the antelope ; the primitive home of the Red Man, his wigwam,
his tribe, the little Indian village planted among the trees at the water's
edge ; the stream where the red children played and grew to the stature
of men and took up the life of their fathers, hunting, fishing, sleeping,
fighting, stealing and passing on to the Happy Hunting Grounds, thank-
ing the Great Spirit for life and opportunity.

Mooney also repeats a story by Mead of an Indian encounter in 1863 in Butler County:

"In 1863 there came from the south camps of Kickapoos, Shawnees, Delawares and others who settled on the Walnut and Whitewater. These Indians were the friends of all the wild Indians of the plains, and so long as they remained, the southwestern frontier was safe from hostile attack. The Kickapoos I mentioned lived in the Indian Territory, or Texas, and were kinfolks and friends of the Kickapoos in Old Mexico.At the close of the Civil war, or about the fall of 1866, they outfitted at my place (Mead's Ranch on the Whitewater, present location of Towanda) and all left for Old Mexico directly across the county. They knew the country well, and were the finest body of Indians I ever met — brave, honorable, noble and were expert hunters. There were not over thirty men with families. Their lodges were models of neatness and comfort. The Shawnees and Delawares I mentioned also lived in the Indian Territory before the Civil war and returned."

[typographical errors corrected]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1840. 1850 and 1860 Federal Census of Carter County, Tennessee

The 1840 U. S. Census for Carter County, Tennessee at page 195, line 12, lists Mathia (Mathias) Van Huss, wife and seven  children. The names and ages of other family members are not given. One child was Valentine.

The U.S. Census of 1850 for Carter County, Tennessee (at page 172, beginning at lines 25) enumerates the family of Valentine and Lucinda H. Van Huss. Valentine, age 23, farms 100 acres. He is married to Lucinda and they have three young children - James, Isaac, and Daniel, ages four, three, and two. Robert Van Huss' grandfather John Finley Van Huss is not yet born.

Ten years later, the 1860 Census for Carter County, Tennessee again lists the family of Valentine and Lucinda Van Huss. The family still farms near the little town of Elizabethton. The census gives Valentine's age as 42, and the ages of the three older children as 14, 12, and 10. In addition, there are four other children Susannah, Matilda, Robert, and one-year-old John. Valentine through hard work now owns 300  acres of farm land.

Tour Elizabethton and Carter County online. The municipal golf course of Elizabethton, Tennessee is located on Buck Van Huss Drive.

Carter County prides itself as the first permanent settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.Carter County was a part of the Transylvania Colony settled as early as the 1760's. The area was explored by Daniel Boone, among others. Carter County today is known for its beautiful scenery and the Appalachian trail which runs through the county.

Goodspeeds' History of Tennessee - Carter County - 1887 gives a good history of the early history of the people who settled Carter County.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frisco Railroad at Beaumont - 1918

The Frisco Railroad All Aboard  November-December 1993 issue has an article at page four on the Beaumont Water Tower and on page 5, this photograph taken in 1918 of the Beaumont junction.

The Historic Water Tower is visible in the back.

John Finley VanHuss

What! Shall I write the history of a township? I, a beardless youth with matted hair? Wait! Hold on, old boy, look in the glass. Well, no wonder, when I stop to think, it was more than thirty years ago since I first cast my eyes on the beautiful prairie that constitutes Glencoe township. My first night was spent in the little village of Keighley. On inquiry I found that this town had been platted and deeded by Moses Turpen and Josephine, his wife, August 16, 1880, the same year the Frisco railroad was built, who, by the way, were at this time living in a dug-out or sod house just south of town. L.D. Hadley writing in a History of Butler County, Glencoe Township, Chapter 10.
John Finley VanHuss

John Finley VanHuss (1859-1939), was son of Valentine Worley VanHuss, and father to Fred VanHuss, the grandfather to Robert J. VanHuss, my wife's father.

With the removal of the Osage Indians to Oklahoma, southern Kansas was opened up to settlement. John, his father and mother and several brothers came to Kansas in 1870. They first settled near Stillwell, Kansas where Lucinda died and is buried in Aubrey Cemetery. Eventually the family settled in Hickory and Glencoe Townships, near Beaumont and Latham, Kansas.

John Finley was born the 25th of April, 1859 in Carter County Tennessee. John was the 7th of 8 children born to Valentine Worley VanHuss and Lucinda Campbell.

The family arrived in Butler County at about the time the Santa Fe built a line with a stop in Beaumont, Kansas. The line is now gone, but a historic water tower remains. The town is home to the historic Beaumont Hotel and a has a landing strip for small aircraft.

detail of Hickory Township, Butler County 1905

This detail of the The Atlas of Butler County, 1905 shows the farm where John and Josie settled down to raise a family. As a point of reference, their home is between the north and south forks of Hickory Creek, between Stony Creek and Flinthills roads, south of 140th street.

Josie Brewer is buried in the Brewer family plot at Brownlow cemetery. This cemetery is down Munson Hill road and then east a little bit after 130th street.

The railroad spur on the map that once lead from Beaumont to Latham is now gone.

The deeds to the land can be found in the county courthouse in El Dorado.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hickory Township

The Kansas Historical Society has preserved a 1905 Standard Atlas of Butler County Kansas. Page 97 is a map of Hickory Township, just south of present day Highway 400 and Beaumont, Kansas. A plat of Beaumont is attached to Union Township below.

With a click and you can see the property claims of several Van Husses and two Brewers. Hannah and Will Davis, Abby and Alex Fletcher are the descendants of the clans of Van Huss, Brewer, and Phillips, thanks to Bob and Mary Van Huss.

To the north of Hickory Township is Glencoe Township with Beaumont, Kansas. The William Phillips property can be seen just to the southwest of Beaumont.

To the south of Hickory Township is Union Township and Latham, Kansas. Little Walnut Township and Leon, Kansas are to the west.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Complete Family Tree

I hope to fill in the missing blanks..

Jan Fransse Van Husum and Volkje Juriens.

The quickest overview of how the family name came to Kansas is this. Jan and Volkje from Husum and the island of Nordstrand in Schleswig and North Friesland to Amsterdam to New Amsterdam. From Beverwyck in upstate New York, ancestors left to briefly join the Quaker communities around Tulpenhocken, Pennsylvania. From there, around 1750, ancestors moved to Rowan County, North Carolina. Then it was to Wythe County Virginia along the Appalachian Mountains. Next, by 1795, was a short hop over the mountains following the Daniel Boone Trail to eastern Tennessee and Carter County. In the 1870's Valentine Worley Van Huss and his five sons found homes in eastern Kansas, mostly in Butler County, Kansas.

Of course there are other Van Husses who stayed or moved on to other states like Kentucky, Texas, Ohio. There are also variations in the spelling of the name such as Vanhooser, Vanhoesen, Van Hoesen, that occurred over the centuries.

1. Jan Fransse VanHoesen (1608 - 1667?)

Jan Fransse VanHoesen was born 1608 in Husum,Schleswig. Read a short bio.

2.  Johannes Van Hoesen -VanHooser

3.  Johannes Van Hoesen -VanHooser (1697 - 1763)

Johannes Van Hoesen was born in Claverack, Albany (now Columbia), New York on land that was purchased from his grandfather, Jan Fransse Van Husen in 1662. He was the son of Johannes Van Hosen and his first wife, Jannitje (Jane) Janse de Ryck. He was christened 1 Aug 1697 at the Dutch Reformed Church at Kingston, Ulster, New York, which is across the Hudson River and down the river a ways. In those days, the people went where the traveling minister was, who happened to be Justus Falckner. The book, The World of Justus Falckner by Delbert Wallace Clark tells about the minister's travels in the early days of New York's settlements; SOURCE: Van Hooser in America, by Joyce Lindstrom, page 7; RESEARCH: Sherry Smith.

4.  Valentine VanHuss (1721 -.1781).

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Valentine was loyal to the British and became a known Tory. He took up arms against the colonists and fought for General Cornwallis, dying in the year 1781 at one of the last two battles Cornwallis fought in--the Guilford Co., North Carolina county court house, or at Yorktown, Virginia, where Cornwallis surrendered. Hence, the reason why there's no will or probate records for Valentine Van Hooser.

Source: "The Van Hoose, Van Hooser, Van Huss Family in the United States", by Joyce Lindstrom

Valentine Van Huss was born about 1721 in Claverack, New York. He moved to Tulpehocken, where he married his wife Maria Barbara Zerbe  in 1746. Their 12 and last child was Valentine Van Huss who was born in 1768 in Rowan county, North Carolina.  TEBBETTS - COURTNEY - JERNIGAN
One posting notes Valentine "Felty" Van Buren Van Huss, changed his name from Van Hooser. Post, bottom of page ten, top of page eleven.

5.  Valentine Van Huss (1768 - 1857).

The post of William Myers from Jan. 2003 lists Valentine Van Huss, born 1768 in Rowan County, N. C., and died 1857 in Johnson County, Tenn. This Valentine married Catherine Worley. They had six children, several of whom were born in Wythe County, Virginia. Posting.


The 1850 Census of Carter County  lists Valentine Van Huss, then 23, and his other family members.

J. P. Van Huss (1833  - )

Goodspeed's History of Carter County Tennessee, (published 1887) then lists J.P. VanHuss son of Mathias, grandson of Valentine and gives a short bio. J.P. has several children, including James, Daniel and John, all of whom traveled to Kansas in the 1880's to homestead.