Augusta Historical Society and Museum

Augusta Historical Society and Museum We cannot improve our tomorrows without first understanding our yesterdays.
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Jesse (James) W. Williams was born on November 18, 1881 in Spring Hill, Johnson County, Kansas.  Jesse was the son of Ja...
05/11/2020

Jesse (James) W. Williams was born on November 18, 1881 in Spring Hill, Johnson County, Kansas. Jesse was the son of James and Mary Williams. James and Mary had 12 children. Among the 12 who remained in Butler County as well as Jesse were: Violet Schendler of Augusta, Frank of Augusta, Delila Markley of Augusta, and Mrs. Mary Cowen of ElDorado. Their father, James, died in 1913 and their mother moved from Butler County to Edgerton, Kansas shortly thereafter to live with children located in Edgerton.

Jesse received his education in the public schools of Ohio and Johnson County, Kansas. In 1898 the family moved to Butler County and located at Keighley where they stayed for one year. As a young man, Jesse learned the barber trade and served an apprenticeship at Overbrook, Kansas for 3 years. He then moved to Augusta and worked at the plasterer’s trade and cement work in Augusta and throughout Butler County.

On December 29, 1908 Jesse married Miss Pearl Malosh of ElDorado. They had two sons, James Duane and Howard Edward. Jesse and Pearl, along with their sons, lived for a time at 320 Broadway in Augusta.

He worked on many of the important buildings erected in Butler County in the early 1900s include the Butler County court house, Lincoln school in Augusta (the old school building located in the 1000 block of State), the Augusta Post Office building (located in the 500 block of School Street), the McKinley school building in ElDorado, the high school buildings at Leon and Rosalia and the Beaumont Hotel. Jesse was well known in Butler county in his specialized line of work.

At the time of his death, on January 25, 1952, Jesse lived in Wichita and is buried at White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita. Pearl died on January 29, 1978 and is also buried at White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita.

Photos: Headstone of Jesse and Pearl; and, a photo of Pearl Williams.

05/04/2020

We have had interest in wondering if/how Augusta was affected by the Spanish Flu Epidemic early in 1900s. One of our friends, Janice Bates Patterson, of Avon Lake, Ohio, recently shared the following information with us. (Some of you may remember a biographical sketch we did on March 18, 2019 on one of her ancestors, Henry Bates.)

Retrospective: Flu and Family a Century Ago, by Janice Bates Patterson

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic prompted me to collect what I can from 100 years ago to describe the effect the Spanish influenza had on my Augusta, Kansas family’s life. Some pieces I’ve always known, others were found in the newspapers of the day. Our grandmother, Maude L. (Beaver) Bates, died of influenza and pneumonia on February 27, 1920, leaving 5 children and her husband bereft.

Maude’s extended family was already stretched thin by that date because her younger sister, Hazel (Beaver) Tinkler, had died of the flu just a couple of weeks earlier. Hazel and husband Carl had three very young children at that time. Within just a matter of days, Carl Tinkler had another blow – his brother Everett died of the flu too. Everett was survived by his wife Wilma and baby daughter Barbara.

Isaac and Mary Beaver, the parents of Maude and Hazel, had other children living nearby in rural Augusta, most of whom had young children themselves. The surviving husbands both had parents and siblings in the area too, so it’s possible to imagine that the children of Hazel and Maude were parceled out among various families for a while. Hazel’s infant daughter, Julia, was raised by neighbors Permilia and Charles Gelwicks. One can only imagine the scrambled days and nights as these families coped with the circumstances—without electricity, running water, and indoor toilets. (The daily mail containing a local newspaper would have been the major information source.)

Our grandfather, Will Bates, hired a young single woman, Edith Boggs, to tend to his children and to the housekeeping. Life went on. In August 1921, Grandpa Bates married Edith, a kind and gentle grandmother to us, was always called Mom by our dad. Carl Tinkler also remarried in 1921. The 1925 Kansas Census showed Eunice (Bryant) Tinkler as a teacher. Carl’s 7-year-old twin sons, a cousin and Eunice’s sister comprised their household.

The Bates’ family tragedies continued into 1920. That summer, Great-Grandpa Henry Bates died while visiting relatives in Michigan. Our dad, Harvey, had accompanied his grandparents on this trip and so, at age 11, had to return to Kansas by train with his grieving grandmother and his grandfather’s body for burial in Augusta.

According to Wikipedia, the Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people – a quarter of the world’s population at that time. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million.

The Spanish flu began claiming lives in America in 1918 and swept across the country in repetitive waves, striking heavily in the Augusta area in the winter of 1920. Records show that Augusta, in Butler County, Kansas, was especially hard-hit in February 1920. This pandemic was widely referenced in the Augusta Daily Gazette as ‘flu’, usually in quotation marks.

Curiously, the 1920 Census was disrupted by the widespread influenza situation just as is occurring in 2020. The official census date had been established as January 1, 1920 that year, in the belief that this date would result in a more accurate count than the previous June 1 dates. Later the Census Bureau reported that the war in Europe plus the flu epidemic were factors that attributed to the lowest rate of population growth from decade to decade in the nation’s history.

Janice also included the following information from the Augusta Daily Gazette, dated February 3, 1920-March 25, 1920:

Feb. 3, 1920 – TWENTY-NINE CASES OF FLU YESTERDAY
Dr. F. A. Garvin, county health commissioner reported 67 cases of Spanish influenza in Butler County. Augusta hardest hit, 28 new cases. Doctors are reporting cases daily. This strain of influenza may not be as severe as last years.
Feb. 17, 1920 – LITTLE CHANGE
Of the 61 new cases of Spanish influenza reported for the last 24-hour period, none were from Augusta. Eldorado, 22; Douglass, 16; Browntown, 9; Whitewater, 3; DeGraff, 1; Rose Hill 10.
Feb. 25, 1920 – ANTI-FLU SERUM FREE
Free vaccinations are available to residents. Few residents turned up last Friday so another session is offered. Next series of vaccinations will be given next Friday, 1:30-3:30 pm, at the Courthouse in ElDorado. Dr. Garvin stated that although no positive serum has been found, this vaccination may lessen the severity of those contracting pneumonia and influenza.
Feb. 27, 1920 – FLU SITUATION IMPROVING
Steady improvement in influenza situation in ElDorado, fewest new cases since epidemic began in January. Butler County Board of Health announced county had reached 1,600 cases of flu and 60 cases of pneumonia. There have been about 20 deaths traced directly to flu and pneumonia.
March 25, 1920 – FLU EPIDEMIC SERIOUS
State registrar of vital statistics reported nearly three times as many deaths in Kansas in February 1920 as in February 1919. October and December 1918 had had influenza death tolls exceeding February 1920. Total pneumonia and influenza deaths for February 1920 in Kansas (minus reports from 5 small counties) were 1,572. In February 1919, 613; in January 1918, 915 influenza deaths. Registrar stated that it was a ‘real epidemic’ even though communities handled the situation so as not to cause unnecessary alarm.

Many thanks to Janice for this insight into how Augusta fared during the pandemic of the early 1900s!

David A. Wallace was born in Union County, Iowa on June 30, 1856 to Samuel and Margaret (Anderson) Wallace.  Samuel was ...
04/27/2020

David A. Wallace was born in Union County, Iowa on June 30, 1856 to Samuel and Margaret (Anderson) Wallace. Samuel was a native of Dublin, Ireland and Margaret a native of Indiana. They had four children, Aaron, Samuel, Thomas and David.

When the boy’s father, Samuel, died in 1873, Margaret brought her four sons to Butler County and settled in Walnut Township. She had about $25 to her name. She rented a farm in Walnut Township and the four boys ran the farm. Margaret died in 1884 and is buried in Cumberland Cemetery.

In 1886, David bought 160 acres of land for $2,000, in the northeast quarter of section 12, Walnut Township. After the original purchase, David added two additional quarters. The last quarter he bought had 3 good producing gas wells. All of David’s land was in the rich oil and gas belt south of Augusta. David raised cattle and hogs, and he ran a successful stock farm.

In 1884 David married Miss Lillie Hamblet, of Augusta. David and Lillie had 5 children: Ruel who married Florence Bottoms; Elmer who married Elma Nuffer; Minnie who married Frank Bergman of Emporia; Byrdie and Winifred.

In 1915, David purchased a home in Augusta at 637 Santa Fe Street, where the couple lived until David’s death in 1927 and Lillie’s death in 1945. Both David and Lillie are buried in the Elmwood Mausoleum, Elmwood Cemetery, Augusta.

Photos: 1905 Map of Walnut Township showing Wallace farmland; 1921 Augusta telephone book; headstone of David’s mother, Margaret Stipp, in Cumberland Cemetery; and, 1919 AHS Yearbook, showing Winifred Wallace, David and Lillie’s youngest daughter.

Nathan Richard (Rich) Chance was born on February 9, 1844 in Grant, Indiana to (William) Theodore and Judah Ann Chance. ...
04/20/2020

Nathan Richard (Rich) Chance was born on February 9, 1844 in Grant, Indiana to (William) Theodore and Judah Ann Chance. He was one of 4 children born to Theodore and Judah. Rich moved with his parents to Iowa when he was a boy and received his education in Lucas County, Iowa. He served as a member of the 46th Iowa Infantry, enlisting in 1864 at the age of 20. He was mustered out of service at Davenport, Iowa and returned to the farm in Lucas County.

Rich married Miss Mary E. McKnight on December 24, 1865 in Lucas County, Iowa. Two sons were born to Rich and Mary: Mack, who eventually began to work as a traveling salesman for a Drug Company and moved to Wichita and Charlie, who grew to be a farmer and dairyman in Sedgwick County.

In 1874 Rich and Mary came to Butler County, homesteading 7 miles southwest of Augusta in Bruno Township. Rich bought his claim from Daniel Golden, for which he paid $1,000. The place was slightly improved with a small 4-room house with about 20 acres of prairie broken and some hedge planted. Rich successfully engaged in farming and stock raising until 1899 when he and Mary built a comfortable home at 250 Broadway. They lived there for the next 17 years at which time they moved to Wichita to a home at 251 N. Erie for the next 25 years. As time went along, they purchased more Butler County acreage eventually massing 640 acres.

You may remember that 1874 was the year of the grasshopper infestation. Many settlers were discouraged and left the State but the Chance family was not the kind of pioneers to be driven from the plains of Kansas.

Rich was a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security and both he and Mary were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their son, Mack, experienced a disastrous fire in March 1900 that destroyed the Chance Drug Store (See photo of Chance and Bigger Drug Store). In 1897-98 Mack served on the Augusta City Council as well.

Rich died on July 22, 1940 at the age of 96, and Mary died later that same year on November 26, 1940, having been married for 74 years. Both are buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Photos: 1885 Bruno Township Map; photo of Rich and Mary; Chance and Bigger Drug Store; and, of their home at 250 Broadway.

Augusta Senior Center
04/17/2020

Augusta Senior Center

Saturday April 18th 8am-11:30am.

The commodity food box is a government program, totally separate from the Caring Center food boxes. We will be giving out these boxes one a month ( every month). Anyone who has lost their job due to the Corona Virus but does not meet the guideline for the commodities will receive a box of food from the Caring Center on Saturday 8am-11:30am. PLEASE NOTE: Caring Center boxes are distributed to Augusta residents ONLY. Commodity food boxed are for anyone living in Butler County. Any Questions call the Caring Center at 775-3342

Mortimer Monroe (M. M.) Gregg was born on May 21, 1847 in Washington County, Missouri to John and Elizabeth Gregg.  M. M...
04/13/2020

Mortimer Monroe (M. M.) Gregg was born on May 21, 1847 in Washington County, Missouri to John and Elizabeth Gregg. M. M. was one of 9 children. M. M. received his education in the common schools in Arkansas where the family resided until the Civil War broke out. The Gregg family was loyal to the Union which caused the family to experience considerable hardships and financial loss on account of their loyalty to the Union. Their home was burned and various other depredations were committed against them by the secessionists of Missouri and Arkansas.

When M. M. was about 19 years old, he came to Kansas and settled in Jefferson County on the Delaware Indian reservation. In 1869 M. M. and Miss Mary E. Seed were united in marriage at Harris Grove, Jefferson County, Kansas. M. M. and Mary had 5 children: William H., who became an electrical engineer in Kansas City; Angie May who married Cyrus Thomas and lived in the Bloomington Township; Minnie Effie who married William Clark and lived near Haverhill; Mattie, who married Asher Morris and lived in Winfield; and, Henry Philip who became a tool dresser in the oil field and married Miss Nora Fanning of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

In 1871 they moved to Marion County where M. M. filed for a homestead. In 1877 the family came to Butler County and settled in Rock Creek Township near Muddy Creek. Pine Grove post office was established there and M. M. served as postmaster for 7 years. When he took the position, the mail service in that section of Butler County was meager and irregular, but through his efforts good service was soon the norm and he served as postmaster until 1885 when they moved to Augusta in order that their children might have a better education. It had been one of his ambitions that his children might have every opportunity to obtain a good education, a privilege that was denied him in the wilds of Arkansas where he spent his boyhood days. In Burl Allison’s History of Augusta 1868-1990, there is a listing of 16 graduates from Augusta High School on May 22, 1900 which includes M. M.’s and Mary’s daughter, Effie Gregg. The commencement exercise was held at the Opera House and the admission was $.15. As a part of the program, Mr. and Mrs. Davis danced a ‘very pretty two step’ and their contribution was followed with singing by a lady’s quartet. ‘Both were well received.’

After coming to Augusta, M. M. followed stone construction work and plastering. M. M. and Mary came to Kansas at a time which gave them an opportunity of experiencing much of pioneer life on the plains. M. M. shared with Vol P. Mooney in 1916 that during a really bad year in the early 1880s, like many others, he was hard up and although he and his family had plenty of food, they had no money with which to buy clothing. A friend of theirs, James Bell, who resided on Rock Creek, told M. M. that he could have all the walnuts on his place which were in abundance, if he could make any use of them. M. M. immediately proceeded to gather them up and hauled about 40 bushels to Wichita which he sold for $1.00 a bushel with the hulls on, which tided their family over the winter. M. M. said that as soon as his neighbors learned of his lucky strike, they all proceeded to gather walnuts and within a week, they were hauling walnuts to Wichita and flooding the market, to such an extent that they were absolutely worthless!

Mortimer died on November 25, 1935 while in Girard, Kansas. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Mary died a number of years earlier on May 24, 1919 and is also buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Photo: Mortimer M. and Mary (Seed) Gregg; Gregg headstone from Elmwood Cemetery; and, 1885 Map of Rock Creek Township reflecting M. Seed’s property (Mary’s maiden name).

(Ezra) Clark Haskins was born in Loveland County, Vermont on July 7, 1831 to Ezra and Phoebe (Grandy) Haskins.  They wer...
04/06/2020

(Ezra) Clark Haskins was born in Loveland County, Vermont on July 7, 1831 to Ezra and Phoebe (Grandy) Haskins. They were the parents of Weitha, Sarah, Charity, Elizabeth, Edward (who died while serving in the Union army during the Civil War), John, Edwin (who served in the Union army during the Civil War), Edmond (who served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War and was a Christian minister), Edgar who served in the Union army during the Civil War) and Clark. Clark went to Iowa and settled on a claim of government land in Madison county, engaging in farming. In 1864 he enlisted in Company A, Third regiment, Iowa calvary and served for 18 months when he was honorably discharged at Davenport, Iowa. After mustering out of the army, he came to Kansas, locating in Walnut township of Butler County south of Augusta.

Before entering the Civil War, Clark met Almira Purdy in Wisconsin where they married in 1855. Clark and Almira had 8 children, Charles, Lydia, Alida, Frank, George, William, Wilson and Herman.

Clark purchased 240 acres of land and later bought additional acreage. He built a small cabin on his claim which served as the family home for 12 years, at which time he built a substantial residence. However, before building his new home, Clark built a new stone barn on his homestead in 1882. In those days, it was important for farms to take care of their stock for the livelihood of the family. Clark owned 6 horses, 2 milk cows, 11 head of cattle and 8 pigs. In 1875 the family sold $3.00 worth of chicken and eggs and $50.00 work of stock and made 100 pounds of butter. They also had a quarter acre orchard. Over the years, the large barn has been remodeled; however, the 1882 date engraved in the limestone is visible to this day. Clark’s son, Charles, hauled the stone to build the barn and later the house, with a team and sled. It was quarried from a hillside located on the farm. Henry Thompson served as stone mason.

The home, built in 1884, has 3 chimneys, 3 large room upstairs, 3 rooms downstairs, plus a pantry and cellar. The home was owned by Clark’s descendants until 1982. In 1913 Clark and his son, Charles, signed a lease with Wichita Natural Gas Company for gas wells to be drilled on their property. Drilling began on Haskins’ land soon after the first well was brought in on a neighboring farm in 1914. Houses began to spring up in the area. Soon Wichita Natural Gas Company’s name changed to Empire Gas and Fuel Company, simply called ‘Empire’ by the locals.

It became necessary for Empire to build accommodations for their employees around 1917. That is how ‘Haskins’ Camp’ came into being. It consisted of more than 25 company houses built on both sides of the north/south road which ran by Clark’s home. Board sidewalks lined the street. At one time it was estimated that up to 1500 people lived in the Camp and surrounding leases at one time.

Students from Haskins’ Camp attended the one-room Floral School District No. 120, which was located about 2-1/2 miles northwest of Haskins’ Camp. It was established October 13, 1874. With the influx of oil worker’s families, enrollment began to climb in 1916. Soon after, the original school house burned and a new building was built and enlarged to two rooms. Enrollment increased from 24 to 45 and again increased in 1919 to 110. Attendance fluctuated through the 20s-30s from 35-98 and continued as a rural school until 1965. Floral School reunion attendees remembered the building as a community center, with box suppers, pie suppers, plays, ’literaries’ with skits and recitations, programs and last day of school affairs.

Within Haskins’ Camp, Empire had their office, a warehouse, a boarding house, 2 bunk houses, a fire house, a general store, a tool house, a blacksmith shop, a company barn and a church. A sub-post office from Augusta was installed in 1918 in the grocery store, later taken out in 1924.

As the oil and gas supplies were depleted, fewer workers were needed and they were transferred to other locations. The houses were sold and moved, however a few remained until the 1960s. The last business, a grocery store, closed in the late 1930s.

As was common in that day, a family cemetery is located on the Clark Haskins’ property south of the house. The first grave in the cemetery was their son, George, buried in 1878 at the age of 13. Almira followed in 1906 and Clark in 1923. A grandson was also buried there at an unknown date.

Today the company houses are all gone. Only the sturdy stone Haskins’ house and the barn remain. Most of the land has returned to farming with only a few oil wells remaining.

Photos: Clark and Almira Haskins; Clark Haskins’ headstone; Walnut Township Map 1885; Walnut Township Map 1905; 1917 Model T Ford leaving Haskins’ Camp for California; Haskins’ Camp 1919; Haskins’ Stone Barn; and, Haskins’ Stone House.

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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Comments

And another Augusta blog post:
I'm so pleased to have found this page. I write a family history blog, and have several posts relating to Augusta that might be of interest to your followers. Here's the most recent:
My great grandfather, Richard W. Stephenson (1874-1960), started the Stephenson's Men's Store on State Street in about 1909. The store continued under the ownership of my great uncle and aunt, Paul (1902-1972) and Do Stephenson, probably until about the late 1960s. Does the Historical Society have any photographs of the business or information on my family? Thanks!
Keep the interesting stories coming.
BOSTON LINCOLNSHIRE "GRANDFATHER OF BOSTON MASS USA ", ENGLAND UK MUSEUM WALKING TOUR
Hi every one , my name is Ray Freeman ,I live in England ,and together with my cousin Geoff ,we are looking into our family history ,We know that our great uncle had a business in town ,his name was Joshua Duncan Robson , we know that he has a grand daughter still living in the area ,and we are in contact with her , but what I was wondering is ,are there any old photographs of him or his store ,which was we think ,a Racket store situated at 432 State street , any help would be appreciated Thanks Ray