Augusta Historical Society and Museum

Augusta Historical Society and Museum We cannot improve our tomorrows without first understanding our yesterdays.
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12/03/2019

We, at the Augusta Historical Society and Museum, wish to share a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Chili Supper/Pie Auction. THANK YOU to everyone who bid and took home pies/auction baskets. Your dollars and donations mean the world to us and will go toward repairs and maintenance of the C.N. James Cabin.

THANK YOU to our fabulous pie bakers. Your talents are truly yummy and amazing and we couldn't have our evening without you.

THANK YOU to Chuck Korte for being our auctioneer. You make our evening fun and miraculous. You get the crowd to bid higher and higher and keep us entertained with stories and jokes. We very much appreciate you!

THANK YOU to Miss Augusta/ Miss Butler County Organization for allowing us to have Miss Augusta's Outstanding Teen, Annie Turpin, join us for the evening.

THANK YOU to the Augusta Senior Center for allowing us to use their wonderful facility.

THANK YOU to our director, board, and volunteers. We couldn't do anything without your help, support, knowledge, and wisdom.

Dr. Michael P. Corcoran was born on May 29, 1886 in Pawnee County, Nebraska, the son of Patrick and Bridget (Kelly) Corc...
12/02/2019

Dr. Michael P. Corcoran was born on May 29, 1886 in Pawnee County, Nebraska, the son of Patrick and Bridget (Kelly) Corcoran, natives of Ireland. Michael had three siblings, Anna, Mary and John.

Dr. Corcoran received his education in the public schools of Nebraska, eventually moving to Wichita and staying with a physician, Dr. Cave. After completing his preparatory education, Dr. Corcoran entered the St. Joseph Veterinary College in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he took a three-year course and was graduated in the class of 1913 with the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Surgery. During his college courses, he practiced part of the time in Iowa and after graduating he came to Rose Hill where he was engaged in the practice for about seven months. Michael’s brother, John, also lived in Rose Hill.

In 1911, he moved to Augusta and built a sizeable practice throughout Butler County. He was frequently called for professional services in other parts of the State as well. Dr. Corcoran was recognized as an unusually skillful veterinary surgeon.

Vol P. Mooney in his 1916 History of Butler County, Kansas had this to say about Dr. Corcoran: ‘He is capable and painstaking and is recognized by other members of his profession as being a close student of the rapidly advancing science of veterinary surgery, and thoroughly posted in the intricate details of his profession.’ In addition to his veterinary practice, Dr. Corcoran was a member of the Mystic Workers of the World.

In 1913 Dr. Corcoran was united in marriage to Ella Dobbins of Augusta. They had six children, Edward, (Helen) Margaret, Howard, John, Rose and Madeline. Rose died at the age of 2 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. All of the children moved from Augusta, with the exception of Margaret. After graduating from Augusta High School, Margaret stayed in Augusta, marrying Augustan, A. Z. Seaman. Margaret and A. Z. lived most of their married lives in Augusta and had one son, Kevin Seaman, who also graduated from Augusta High School. A. Z. died in 1979 and Margaret died in 1990. Both are buried in Calvary Cemetery.

In 1917, the Corcoran’s were located at 336 Clark, and by 1918 they had moved to 303 Main. In 1919 they moved to 515 Walnut.

Dr. Corcoran died at the age of 59 on April 3, 1946. Ella died in March 1978. Both are buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Photos: Dr. Corcoran's parents and a copy of the 1919 telephone book showing Dr. Corcoran located at 515 Walnut.

Jesse (Jessie) Varner was born in Washington County, Ohio on November 21, 1828. Jessie was born a son to Joseph and Mart...
11/25/2019

Jesse (Jessie) Varner was born in Washington County, Ohio on November 21, 1828. Jessie was born a son to Joseph and Martha (Drumm) Varner. He had 7 siblings, David, George, Martha, John, Rebecca, Daniel and Sarah. He was educated in the public schools of Ohio. In his early years, he was a school teacher in Washington County and then moved into farming and stock raising when in 1861 he moved to Illinois where he bought a farm and continued until 1880.

Jessie was united in marriage on April 4, 1861 in Wayne County, Illinois to Miss Olive Orr. They were married in Wayne County, Illinois at Olive’s mother’s home by the Rev. Mr. Butcher. They lived on Jessie’s farm which he owned before his marriage. To Olive and Jessie were born 10 children, with 7 reaching adulthood: Ed, George, Frank, Charles, Ella, Emma and Dora.

In 1863 they bought a farm in Jackson County, Illinois where they moved to raise fruit principally. In 1878 they came to Kansas, traveling westward by covered wagon plus two cows, a mule and a horse. They loaded all onto a steamer and headed for Westport Landing (Kansas City), stopping often to pick up materials to be used for the building of railroads in Kansas. (Railroads would become very important to the Varner family in the early 1900s.) Once unloaded from the steamer, Jessie and Olive traveled southward through Emporia to DeGraff stopping for a short time and soon moved southwest of Augusta where they bought over 1000 acres of land in the fertile Walnut River Valley in Walnut Township. Their sons, George and Ed hauled lumber for the barn which was built in 1893. In 1894, the house was built. Carpenters were paid $1 a day and total cost of the house was around $1,000. It contained 9 rooms and a large utility room. In 1916, after Jessie’s passing, his widow Olive, and children, Frank and Emma built a home in Augusta at 1016 Osage. In 1929 the Jessie Varner farm place was sold to Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Kemper. The Kemper family tore down the old 9-room farm house and built a modern bungalow in its place.

In the History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol P. Mooney, 1916, Mr. Mooney had this to say about Jessie:
‘Jessie was an early settler in Butler County and for a number of years was a successful farmer and stockman. He was industrious and thrifty and not only accumulated a competence and left his family in comfortable circumstances but he was a citizen whose real worth to Butler County was recognized by all who knew him. He was an extensive stock feeder and made money in this enterprise and his career all together was that of a successful businessman who made the most of his opportunities. He had an extensive acquaintance and many friends in Butler County. He was a member of the Masonic lodge at Augusta.’

Jessie and Olive’s sons, Ed and Frank, went on to own the best oil producing land in Butler County. Ed bought the home farm in 1894 and in 1902 he purchased the northeast quarter of section 17 in Walnut Township. He paid Merl Carnahan $2,600 for the 160 acres.

From Burl Allison’s Augusta 1868-1990 book: ‘On September 9, 1915, the first sale of oil from the Varner wells was made. A railroad siding had been run out to a spot close to the wells and the crude oil was shipped via rail in tank cars. As the field expanded and became established, pipe lines were laid out to carry the oil. January 20, 1916, the Prairie Pipeline Company had completed a line to the Varner field and was carrying crude to market. By then the price of oil had increased to $1.20 a barrel.’
And then later in Burl’s book, ‘To provide more play space for the increased student population at Garfield School, the Board of Education on May 22, 1952 bought the (Frank) Varner property at the corner of Columbia and State. Cost: $18,500. This purchase gave the District title to all of the block of State Street from Columbia to High Street…. Later, December 1, 1958, the fence that still surrounds the area, was installed.’

Jessie died on July 29, 1904. Olive lived until March 23, 1932. Both are buried at Elmwood Cemetery. And finally, from the Augusta Gazette, March 24, 1952 in the obituary for son, Ed Varner: ‘When the history of South Butler county is written in the years to come, the name-Varner- will be prominent in the accounting of farming and oil industries in this part of Butler.’

Photos: A photo of Jessie; a photo of Olive; a family photo of Ed and wife, photos of the Varner oil field derricks, Ed and employees, and a photo of the 1905 Walnut Township of Butler County reflecting the Varner property.

Chili Supper is under way. Pie Auction starts at 6:30p.  Join us at the Senior Center. $5 for dinner. You can take it to...
11/21/2019

Chili Supper is under way. Pie Auction starts at 6:30p. Join us at the Senior Center. $5 for dinner. You can take it to go if you'd like.

Your attendance helps with the preservation and maintenance of the Augusta Historical Society and Museum.

One of our favorite photos from our Chili Supper/Pie Auction 2017! Join us this week (Thursday, 11.21.19) for Chili, Cin...
11/19/2019

One of our favorite photos from our Chili Supper/Pie Auction 2017!

Join us this week (Thursday, 11.21.19) for Chili, Cinnamon Rolls, and to bid on some pies! Your support means the world to us at the Augusta Historical Society and Museum! We couldn't keep our doors open and history preserved without you!

Louisa Black was born in March 1852 in Clinton County, Missouri, a daughter of William and Margaret (McClure) Black.  Th...
11/18/2019

Louisa Black was born in March 1852 in Clinton County, Missouri, a daughter of William and Margaret (McClure) Black. The Black family located in Missouri about 1850 and in 1856 came to the territory of Kansas and settled in Morris County where they took a government claim of 160 acres of land and Louisa’s father bought an additional 100 acres. In 1869 the Black family came to Butler County and settled on the Walnut River, near where Gordon is now located. Mr. Black took a government land claim and added to his original holdings until he became the owner of 480 acres. He followed farming and stock raising and was also quite an extensive cattle dealer in those early days.

Louisa was united in marriage to Rufus Kirkpatrick at Eldorado in 1894. Rufus was born in Macon, Missouri in 1852 and was of Irish descent. He came to Butler County in 1868 as well, but died in 1898 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery. Mr. Kirkpatrick brought 2 children to the marriage from a former marriage: Ernest and Ethel. There were no children born to Rufus and Louisa.

Vol P. Mooney in The History of Butler county, Kansas, 1916, had this to say about Louisa:

‘In recounting the trials, hardships and adventures of the early pioneers who, by their courage, industry and foresight, laid the foundation for the development of the great West, it is a common fault of many historians to overlook, in a measure, the part played in that great drama by the American pioneer woman. Following that misconception, we fall into the error of picturing the early pioneer as a man, wearing a buckskin coat and carrying a long-barreled rifle, or driving a team of oxen. We forget that the wives, mothers and daughters, who accompanied the small family expedition across the great plains in the early days, with no particular point of destination, were the dominant factors in the early settlement of the plains. When the women came, settlements became substantial. They were the anchors of the new civilization and from that time on, the permanent settlements, upbuilding and development of the great American desert were assured.
Mrs. Kirkpatrick is one of the few women now living in Butler county who experienced the various vicissitudes and uncertainties of early day life on the plains. She was here during the devastation of the grasshoppers. She frequently saw the prairie fires which was one of the most dreaded enemies of the early pioneers, sweep over the plains, leaving the country a blackened and charred expanse of ruin, to be followed by days of black dust and cinders which made life almost unendurable.
Mrs. Kirkpatrick now resides in her cozy home at Augusta (315 Main), well provided with an ample supply of this world’s goods, being the owner of 146 acres of fertile valley land on the Walnut River, near Gordon, upon which is located several producing gas wells, and one oil well, producing 1,200 barrels per day, and other wells now being drilled.’

Louisa died in 1923 and is buried alongside her husband, Rufus in Fairview Cemetery.

Photo: Black Family land owned by Louisa Black Kirkpatrick and her headstone in the Fairview Cemetery.

One week from today! Join us for chili and cinnamon rolls. YES, you can get it to go. Stay for the pie auction! Fabulous...
11/15/2019

One week from today! Join us for chili and cinnamon rolls. YES, you can get it to go.

Stay for the pie auction! Fabulous pies by talented bakers.

Where: Augusta Senior Center (640 Osage St.)

When: Thursday, Nov. 21st, 2019 at 6pm

Why: To support Augusta's History (C.N. James Cabin, Museum, and historical artifacts)

T. J. (Thomas Jefferson) Fell was born in Trumbull County, Ohio on September 13, 1843.  He was the son of John R. and Sa...
11/12/2019

T. J. (Thomas Jefferson) Fell was born in Trumbull County, Ohio on September 13, 1843. He was the son of John R. and Sarah (Rathburn) Fell, who were parents to ten children. Four of the children lived to adulthood, Winnie, Jasper, Allen and T. J.

T. J. was educated in the State of Ohio and in 1864 moved to Missouri with his parents. The family settled in Livingston County. T. J. enlisted in the 43rd Regiment, Missouri State Militia in October 1864 and was discharged in April of 1865. In 1867 he married Miss Sarah Shifflet. He farmed in Livingston County until 1870 when he came to Kansas and settled in Neosho County. Sarah died in 1872 leaving 3 children: Ida, Walter and Katy. And, in 1872 he returned to Missouri and stayed for 2 years. Then he moved to Harvey County, Kansas and soon came to Butler County and took a claim 6 miles southeast of Augusta near the Pine Grove Post Office. He also rented a farm in that vicinity. In 1876 he married Miss Mary Primm of Butler County and to this union there were 4 children born: Cora, Rose, Mabel and Leah.

When they first visited Augusta, it was a very small settlement with only 2 stores here. T. J. and his family stayed in Butler County until in 1885 when they sold their claim and moved to western Kansas where the Fells bought a half section of land, but the bottom soon fell out of the boom that Western Kansas was experiencing and they lost their investment. The family then came back to Butler County and after renting land for a few years, T. J. and Mary bought 160 acres east of Douglass in Rock Creek Township where they lived for the next 17 years before moving into Augusta where they lived into retirement.

When T. J. was interviewed by Vol Mooney soon after the turn of the century, he recalled the year of the grasshopper plague when many of the early settlers left their claims and returned east. He also recalled only 2 years later in 1876, Butler county had a ‘frog year’ that deserved honorable mention in connection with the grasshopper carnival that preceded it by only 2 years! He said he didn’t mean just a few frogs, but said that they invaded Butler County by the millions and that on one occasion, he drove for a distance of 25 miles through a veritable sea of hopping frogs!

T. J. passed away on February 17, 1920 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Mary moved to Oklahoma to live with her daughter, Mabel Powell. She passed away on June 3, 1924 and is buried in Enid, Oklahoma.

Photos: T. J. (in his later years); T. J.’s 160 acres in Rock Creek Township; a page from the North American Family History 1500-2000 for John Fell’s family; and, a photo of T. J.’s stone in Elmwood Cemetery.

Mark your Calendars! The Augusta Historical Society and Museum's Annual Chili Supper & Pie Auction is almost here. Join ...
11/05/2019

Mark your Calendars! The Augusta Historical Society and Museum's Annual Chili Supper & Pie Auction is almost here. Join us at the Augusta Senior Center on Thursday, November 21st, 2019 at 6pm. Enjoy a wonderful Chili & Cinnamon Roll dinner and then stay and bid on fabulous homemade pies from our Wonderful volunteer bakers.

$5/person - Cash, Check, & Credit Card Accepted
Available TO GO, as well

James Bruce (Bourgette) Bourget was born August 25, 1865 in Bartholomew County, Indiana.  His parents were Jacob B. and ...
11/04/2019

James Bruce (Bourgette) Bourget was born August 25, 1865 in Bartholomew County, Indiana. His parents were Jacob B. and Anna M. (Thomas) Bourgette. Jacob was left an orphan in the 1840s when his parents both died of cholera at Cincinnati, Ohio. Jacob was reared by an aunt, who brought him to Indiana. James was one of three children, having two sisters, Ida who died as a child and Ella.

James received his education in the public schools of Greenfield, Indiana, where he became interested in newspaper work. He served as an apprentice at the printer’s trade on the ‘Hartford City News’, where his uncle was publisher. In 1887, James came to Kansas, locating at Wichita, where he was employed by the Wichita ‘Eagle’ and other papers. He eventually accepted a position at the Wichita post office as mail clerk. Later he came to Augusta and for several years was editor of the Augusta ‘Gazette’. The 1930 Federal Census finds him at 237 Main Street here in Augusta.

James married Mayme Lee Guthrie, daughter of John W. Guthrie (an earlier historical sketch) on October 14, 1896. James and Mayme had 3 children, Ernestine, Ruth who died in infancy, and John. Ernestine married Virgil Hammond. Virgil was killed in a car accident in February of 1953. John graduated from AHS in 1927.

At the age of 87, James died on October 1, 1952. Mayme died in 1906. Both are buried in the Little Walnut Cemetery, Douglass, Kansas near Mayme’s parents, John and Nancy Guthrie. James and Mayme’s grandson, Bruce and his wife, Connie, are lifelong residents of Augusta.

Photos: John, son of James and Mayme, shown in 1927 AHS Class Yearbook as a graduating senior and also a member of the Orange A staff as Art Editor; and, article from the Augusta Gazette reporting Ernestine’s husband’s death in 1953.

Address

303 State St
Augusta, KS
67010

General information

We always offer FREE admission to those visiting our museum. Come learn about the history of Augusta, while standing in the very first building built in Augusta, Kansas. We are open Monday - Friday from 11a - 3pm. We are open Saturdays from 1p - 4p from April - October. If you are unable to visit during our regular hours, please contact us to schedule a time to visit!

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 15:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(316) 775-5655

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