This is an except of a chapter from "Story of The Old Home Town" Jewell City, Kansas by my grandfather, Everett Palmer. As published in the Jewell County Republican in 28 weekly installments beginning April 28, 1933
By John Hoffer, Greenfield, California
The first week in April 1870, I met W H Cameron, John Worick and S R Worick at teachers institute in Freeport, Ill. They said that the following week they were starling for Jewell County Kan., to take homesteads and that I might go with them, I agreed to go.
"When we came to Freeport the following Monday, we met A J Wise, C A Balknap, Samuel Krape, Cyrus Richart, David Rockey and Chris Bender ready to go with us.
After two days journey we arrived in Waterville, Kan., the end of the railroad. Renting a room to store our trunks, we took our guns and bedding and started on our 80-mile trip to Jewell County. When we got to Clyde, which was about half way, people told us we could get good prairie claims there about two miles from town, but we wanted claims with timber and water.
While we were stopping there, J D Robertson came from Manhattan with three wagon loads of merchandise on his way to Lake Sibley, Cloud County, to start a store. He kindly offered to carry our baggage. We stayed at Lake Sibley until next morning.
As this was the last place where we could buy supplies, we had heavier loads to carry on the final leg of our journey. We waded the Republican River about one-fourth mile north of Buffalo Creek. In mid-afternoon we came to A J Davis' ranch in Jewell County. We stayed there until next day.
Mr Davis told us about Bill Street's dugout and that Street had located eight settlers four days before about the forks of west Buffalo Creek: but that Street was not at home now as he and his father, a resident of Clyde, were on a buffalo hunt. A man who lived with Davis said he would go with us and help us find locations. In the morning, when about half way to our destination, we met the Streets - Bill on his pony and his father driving a team hitched to a wagon in which they were hauling a young buffalo calf. Our guide returned home in Street's wagon and Bill went with us and located us that day.
The north line of the first two claims was one-half mile south of the A J Wise claim, and the northeast quarter of the section had more timber than the creek quarter. Mr Cameron said he would file on the east quarter for his father and on the west quarter for his brother-in-law, Henry Wolfe. In the fall he would come with a team and we should try to keep the claims for them.
Mr Krape said he would take the next; Mr Wise the next; and the one west of Mr Wise, I took. Mr Cameron said he would take the claim north of mine. Richart and Rockey took claims on the middle Buffalo. Belknap took the one north of Cameron's. Bender took the next. Fogel the next. We were all getting tired. We could see some big timber about a mile north. Bill Street said that was on the next two claims and S R and J Worik said they would take those. During the day J Fogle shot a large turkey gobbler, which we had for supper. We had buffalo meat for breakfast.
A J Wise, J Worick and Richart started for Waterville to buy a team, wagon and plow and to bring back our trunks. Cameron and I left for Junction City to homestead and file for the rest of the men. We traveled together until below Clifton. We then followed the river and the other three turned to the left.
When I got back from Junction City some new settlers had come in, among them Zack F and J R Dodge,. Bill Street said that we should keep it secret that the Cameron claims were only filed on, and I wrote the Camerons of the danger of losing their claims. In less than two weeks, Father Cameron and Wolfe were here.
When they came back from Waterville we decided to make our camps on three claims: One on Richart's, one on Bender's, and one on the southeast corner of mine. Krape, Wise, Belknap and I put up a log shanty with a stone chimney, fireplace, no windows, sod roof, four-port holes and a splitwood door. The rest built two dugouts. When Cameron and Wolfe came they cut the logs for Cameron's house. Cameron stayed with us until he had his house up.
When Wolfe was ready to start home, three men came along on the way to Topeka. He made a bargain with them to ride to Junction City. But before they got started someone brought a report that 1,000 Indians were on the warpath 200 miles northwest. That scared Wolfe so that he asked Cameron to go home with him. He left Kansas without homesteading. In the fall he came back with his family and took a claim a mile east of W H Cameron's.
When S R and J H Worik went to look at their claims, they didn't like them. The big timber we saw when we were locating our claims was right north of their claims and John Dodge had already filed on it. The Woricks went up on the Middle Buffalo about four miles north and found two good claims with some big walnut trees and other large timber. They homesteaded them. John Worik moved onto his homestead after he married.
About four weeks after our arrival David Matter and Charlies Plowman came and homesteaded the claims that S R and John Worick had filed on. They went back to Illinois and in five months they were back with their families. S R Worick, and they were brothers-in-law. S R was the only married man in the Illinois colony.
The road from Lake Sibley was almost straight until the section line that ran north and south past Will Street's dugout and ran northwest to the south line of the Wise claim. There it crossed into the Krape claim, (And that was the best natural crossing I ever saw at any of the Buffalo Creeks). Thence it ran one-fourth mile west to the south corner of my claim and then northwest as the section line at West Buffalo Creek and crossed.
I was the only one who had a shotgun. The first time our team went to Lake Sibley 1, I bought a rifle that I could shoot five items with one loading. Two of us went to Lake Sibley every week for supplies and mail. We always stopped at the Davis ranch.
1Lake Sibley, a semi-circular body of water lying north of the Republican river, is about 5 miles northwest of Concordia, the county seat of Cloud county. It was formed long before white men settled in Kansas by the river cutting across the bend, and is supposed to have been named in honor of Gen. Sibley. In the early settlement of Cloud county a postoffice was established there under the name of Lake Sibley and a town grew up, which was at one time an aspirant for county seat honors, but both town and postoffice have disappeared. Ref: Skyways
Once when Sam Krape and Joe Fogle were returning from Lake Sibley and were near the Davis ranch, Joe Fogle pulled a gun out of the wagon to shoot something. The gun was accidentally discharged and Fogle was shot in the leg. Joe stayed at the Davis ranch and a messenger was dispatched on horseback to bring a doctor from Lake Sibley. We took turns staying with Joe for a month. After Mr Davis was elected sheriff, he appointed Joe as his deputy.
Bill Street got up a petition for a post office and a postmaster. He asked every one of us to be postmaster but all refused. Then he asked me the second time and I took it. We named the office Jewell but he said it was already named Garley. The department changed it to Jewell and I named Zac Dodge as my assistant. I received my commission early in July 1870. My pay was 12$ a year. I sent my resignation in with my second quarterly report and named Dodge for postmaster. In about two weeks he got his commission. After we had a mail carrier we stopped going to Lake Sibley for supplies.
Rottlady's Note #1: Because this story is getting too long, I've broken it up into two articles, please continue reading over here.
Rottlady's Note#2: This is the included in a series I'm posting. You can find the rest by clicking on the link "story of the old home town".