October 10, 1909
GEO. P. OLMSTEAD
DIES AT 80 YEARS.
PASSES AWAY WHILE SEATED
AT BREAKFAST TABLE.
Was Connected With Many Promi-
nent Institutions in Kansas City
Where He Lived Nearly
GEORGE P. OLMSTEAD.
George P. Olmstead, an octogenarian, half of whose life was lived in Kansas City, died yesterday morning at the breakfast table in his home at 1311 Forest avenue. Until five years ago he was a member of the Cady & Olmstead jewelry firm at 1009-11 Walnut street, which still retains his name. Prior to that he was one of the leading lumbermen of the Missouri valley.
Mr. Olmstead had seated himself at breakfast, and was glancing over the morning paper when his daughter, Mrs. Ben F. Qualtrough, was about to serve the coffee. As she came in she noticed his head was bowed, but thought little of it, as he often became drowsy when sitting.
Mr. Olmstead's head fell lower and touched the paper, and Mrs. Qualtrough became alarmed. Unable to awaken him, she called her husband, but they could do nothing and he had lapsed into unconsciousness. Dr. R. T. Sloan was summoned, but when he arrived the aged man was dead.
Besides his wife he leaves a son and a daughter, C. B. Olmstead and Mrs. Ben F. Qualtrough, both of 1311 Forest avenue, Miss Catherine G. Olmstead, a sister, 88 years old, has been at Wesleyan hospital for three years with a fractured limb.
The funeral will be held from the hours Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock with Rev. Burris A. Jenkins, pastor of Linwood Boulevard Christian church, in charge. Temporary burial will be in the vault in Forest Hill cemetery.
Mr. Olmstead was born September 17, 1829, at Little Falls, N. Y., where he grew to manhood and learned the carpenter's trade. Early he made the journey by canal, lake, river and gulf to Corpus Christi, Tex., but did not remain there long.
Later he engaged in the lumber business at Pontiac, Ill, where he was married in 1859 to Miss Cornelia E. Hunt, who survives him. He remained there for several years and again removed to Tuscola, where he lived until they came to Kansas City in 1869. Mr. Olmstead built a home at 800 Jefferson street and lived there until 1887, when he bought the present family home at 1311 Forest avenue. The Jefferson street house was sold at the time of the construction of the cable incline.
On coming to Kansas City Mr. Olmstead became a member of the lumber firm of Leach, Hall & Olmstead, all of the members of which are now dead. Their lumber yard was west of the Union depot and the site is now occupied by a number of large wholesale houses. In 1882 he became a partner of L. S. Cady in the jewelry firm of Cady & Olmstead and in 1887 the lumber firm was dissolved. Four years ago he sold his interest in the business of Cady & Olmstead. For a number of years he was identified with R. M. Snyder, now dead, in Texas and Arizona ranch properties.
Current events drew much of Mr. Olmstead's attention and he took a vivid interest in the happenings of the world at large. His large library attests that he was a wide reader and he was known as a close and intelligent student of the Bible. During the pastorate of Rev. T. P. Haley, he was an active member of the First Christian church at Eleventh and Locust streets. Mathematics and astronomy held an odd fascination for him.
Mr. Olmstead was a close friend of Col. R. T. Van Horn and frequently he would contribute keen and well-written comments on public affairs to the columns of The Journal.
Last fall he was invited to Pontiac to attend the fiftieth anniversary of the Masonic lodge there, which he founded, but he was obliged to decline.
Labels: cemetery, churches, Colonel Van Horn, death, Forest avenue, Jefferson street, jewelry, ministers, New York, Walnut Street
September 14, 1909
'CAP' PHELAN, SOLDIER
OF FORTUNE, IS DEAD.
NAME GRAVEN IN WAR HIS-
TORY AS BLOCKADE RUNNER.
Staunch Irish-American Patriot
Mixed in Many Attempts to Free
Ireland -- Stabbed for Expos-
ing Clan ne Gael Plot.
CAPTAIN THOMAS PHELAN.
The death of Captain Thomas Phelan, Irish-American patriot and soldier of fortune, which occurred at 2:30 o'clock last Saturday afternoon, in Bremerton, Wash., ended a life full of romance and a checkered career in war and politics. Early in life he was bitten with the wanderlust, and during the early 60s and 70s helped to make history, not only in America, but in Canada and Ireland. Captain Phelan was 76 years old and leaves a widow and four children.
Being a native of Ireland, Captain Phelan throughout his life and did all in his power to bring freedom to Erin. He was born near the town of Tipperary and came to America about 1857, locating at Independence, Mo. He married Miss Alice Cox of that city.
During the early part of Captain Phelan's life he was embroiled in many attempts to free his native country from the yoke of England. Shortly after his marriage in Independence he enlisted as a volunteer in the Seventh Missouri regiment of the Union army and fought with that regiment throughout the war. He rose from the ranks to a captain. He was in many of the important battles.
NAME IN WAR HISTORY.
One of his daring acts committed during the progress of the war was at the siege of Vicksburg. It was necessary to take a steamboat loaded with cotton and other products, and munitions of war, down the river and Captain Phelan was delegated to run the blockade.
Transferring bales of hay for cotton around the edge of the boat he succeeded in getting safely through the lines. His name appears in Civil war history as that of the man responsible for breaking the blockade.
In the late 60's he gained fame and notoriety by engaging in the Fenian raid from the United States into Canada in a futile attempt to occupy Canada and make it a base of supplies from which to carry on warfare with England for the freedom of Ireland.
The Irish in America congregated about Ridgeway, Canada, for the purpose of an uprising and gaining a stronghold in the Canadian country. Some 1,400 Irish left the United States for this purpose, but boats on the waterways cut off a portion, and they failed to land in Canada. A battle in which many persons were killed on both sides was fought by the Irishmen against the Queen's Own regiment.
While making a visit to his home country, Captain Phelan learned that the Clan na Gael was planning to blow up an English ship named the Queen. Although against England, Captain Phelan did not believe in destroying innocent passengers, and therefore notified the English ship people. In some manner his part became public, and O'Donovan Rossa, editor of the Irishman of New York, attacked his loyalty in the paper.
STABBED THIRTEEN TIMES.
The incident occurred during the term as mayor here of Lee Talbot. Captain Phelan was called to New York to be given an opportunity to explain matters relative to his informing the British of the intended blowing up of the Queen.
Close friendship had before existed between Rossa and Phelan, and the latter did not realize that he was to be the victim of a trap. He went to New York and entered Rossa's office. While there an endeavor to assassinate him was made by an Irishman living in the East. Captain Phelan was stabbed thirteen times and received a broken arm in the attack. He was confined in a hospital in New York for many months on account of his injuries. The news that he gave the information to the English leaked out through a story of the plot printed in Kansas City and written by Frank P. Clarke, a former newspaper man, now living here.
Between the years of 1882 and 1888 Captain Phelan was superintendent of the Kansas City workhouse. He was greatly interested in politics and was a staunch Republican all of his life. When the criminal court was instituted in Jackson county he was appointed clerk of the court and was the first to fill this position. Under Mayor John Moore he served as superintendent of public works. While Colonel R. T. Van Horn was a member of Congress Captain Phelan received the appointment of captain of police of Washington, D. C.
CHALLENGED COUNT ESTERHAZY.
After the civil war he organized Company D of the Third Regiment and was a captain in the regiment for many years. Later he organized Battery B. For the last seven years he had been in charge of a navy yard at Bremerton, Wash., where ships of the United States are repaired. He was holding this position when he died. Captain Phelan belonged to the G. A. R., but was not a member of any other organization.
Captain Phelen also figured very prominently in a duel which was never pulled off. The participants were to have been a Captain McCafferty and Captain Phelan. Rifles were the weapons chosen, and seconds and grounds had been picked when friends interfered.
At one time a number of Irish left America to aid Ireland, whose sons were to rise against England upon a certain day. Chester, England, was the place of the rendezvous for the Irish-Americans. Arms had been secured for their use.
The English troops, however, got wind of the threatened uprising and were sent out in such large forces that the Irish were overawed. The difficulty between Captains McCafferty and Phelan arose out of the means to be used at this time in trying to free Ireland.
Captain Phelan's family resides at 3205 Washington street. Dr. Y. J. Acton of Bremerton notified the family of the death. The body was buried yesterday afternoon in the Soldiers and Sailors' cemetery at Bremerton, Wash., by Captain Phelan's special request.
For many years Captain Phelan traveled over the country giving exhibitions of shooting and fencing. He was a crack shot with pistols and rifles, and was a famous swordsman.
Captain Phelan, while the Dreyfus affair in France was at its height, challenged Count Esterhazy, accuser of Dreyfus, to a duel with swords, to be fought anywhere in the world.
Besides his widow, Mrs. John Young and Miss Annie Phelan, daughters, and two sons, Robert Phelan, a police detective, and Thomas Phelan, survive.
Labels: Civil War, Colonel Van Horn, death, England, history, immigrants, Independence, military, New York, politics, Washington street, workhouse
August 3, 1909
WOULD MAKE IT "VAN HORN."
Superintendent Greenwood Favors
Changing Name of Admiral Blvd.
To The Journal:
I most heartily indorse the suggestion of J. V. C. Karnes to change the name of Admiral boulevard to Van Horn road, and I hope it will be done without unnecessary delay.
Of all the men of large and unselfish views who worked unceasingly to make Kansas City more than a geographical expression on the map of the United States, no other did so much for so long a space of years as did this man, and every citizen who knows his public and private worth, would be gratified to see one of the principal thoroughfares of our city named for him as a just recognition of his services to this city and nation.
Were it left to the people who know Colonel Van Horn to decide the question, they by acclamation would erase the word Admiral wherever it is engraved and write in large letters Van Horn. The future historians will yet write his achievements in the books describing our city and state, but we should engrave his name on the street crossings so that the little children in the coming ages shall know that Kansas City, in its earliest history, had a citizen who was a great public benefactor, and that his name for honesty and fiar dealing stands unsullied in this community for more than fifty years.
Will not the proper step be taken to change the word Admiral to Van Horn?
Let it be done now!
J. M. GREENWOOD.
Labels: Colonel Van Horn, Superintendent Greenwood
June 2, 1909
GROVE OF FAME FOR SWOPE.
Park Board Member Suggests Crit-
tenden Peace Oak as Nucleus.
The peace oak grove planted in Swope park east of the shelter house a year or so ago by the late Ex-Governor T. T. Crittenden, is to serve as the nucleus of a grove of fame in the big park. The idea was suggested at yesterday's meeting of the park board by J. W. Wagner, a member of the board. Mr. Wagner regretted that the city had not been sufficiently far-sighted years ago to ask men of fame visiting Kansas City to plant a tree.
"It is not too late to begin it now," said Mr. Wagner, "and our work will be appreciated by future generations."
He recalled that the battle of Westport during the civil war was fought close by where the Crittenden peace oak is planted, and Mr. Wagner gave notice that at the next meeting he is going to invite Judge John F. Philips and Colonel R. T. Van Horn, who took part in the battle, to plant trees.
Labels: Civil War, Colonel Van Horn, history, Judge Philips, Park board, Swope park
April 25, 1909
WOULD HONOR VAN HORN.
An Old Citizen Reminds the Park
Board of a Timely Duty.
To The Honorable Park Board of Kansas City, Mo.
Gentlemen:-- On September 4, 1908, I had the honor to address you a communication relative to naming one of the city parks or boulevards for our venerable esteemed fellow citizen, the Hon. R. T. Van Horn. Said communication, which was published in the Kansas City Post of the above date, was followed by an editorial in the Kansas City Journal of September 6, strongly advocating the matter contained therein. I subsequently received a reply from the park board that the matter would be taken under consideration when the limits were extended, which was done April 6. So I take this opportunity to renew the request to the new park board, installed April 19.
There is nothing I can add to what has already been presented through the columns of the press. I only desire to reiterate my former statement that Colonel Van Horn should be recognized while he is in the flesh and can appreciate the gratitude of his fellow citizens, for whose interest he has so long and faithfully labored. His memory should be cherished and perpetuated through all time, for he has been the city's chief promoter in ever stage of its development from a struggling village down to the present. How fitting, then, to perpetuate his memory by some enduring token of love and affection, and nothing would be more appropriate or give more general approval than for one of our prominent parks or boulevards to bear his honored name.
R. S. QUINN.
Kansas City, April 24.
Labels: Colonel Van Horn, newspapers, Park board, The Journal
April 10, 1909
EARLY KANSAS CITY SPIRIT.
The Real Turning Point in the
Destiny of Kansas City, U. S. A.
To The Journal:
In the spring of 1866 Kansas City had a population of about 3,000. The community had not yet fully recovered from the disastrous effects of the civil war. The corporation was virtually bankrupt; city "scrip," issued to meet current expenses, sold for 50 cents on the dollar.
The sheriff had exhausted his powers in trying to find property on which to levy. He had sold the furniture out of the offices in city hall -- the city scales, and even part of the market square fronting on Main street. Many old timers can easily remember when a block of one and two-story houses extended from Fifth street to the old city hall, built upon sheriff's titles.
Leavenworth, which was Kansas City's great rival, had at that time about 20,000 population and was really the"City of the West," with bright prospects, good credit and large numbers of very wealthy, public-spirited citizens.
No wonder disinterested observers saw little chance for Kansas City. but with that little chance a great opportunity preceded and followed by a fortuitous chain of events, which changed destiny. Both cities had already (before the civil war) expended considerable sums in efforts to obtain rail connection with Cameron station, about fifty miles distant, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad.
During the previous session of the Missouri legislature, Kansas City had the good fortune to be represented by Colonel R. T. Van Horn, M. J. Payne and E. M. McGee, who, by their untiring industry and perseverance, and in the face of sharp opposition, secured the passage of the necessary legislation for a bridge and branch railroad.
Colonel Charles E. Kearney (who had recently returned to Kansas City from New York city, where he had engaged in the banking business, and where he had made wide acquaintance among financiers and other business men all over the United States), was made president the company , and devoted his entire time and energy until all was successfully completed.
In the meantime Colonel Van Horn had been elected to congress and was then in Washington, where he was well favorably known, and succeeded in getting such legislation as was requisite.
Colonel Van Horn was ably assisted by Colonel Kersey Coates, who was a warm personal friend of Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, who, at that time, was the recognized leader of the Republican party. Mr. Stevens, on many occasions during his career, at the insistence of Colonel Coates, had used his influence and good offices in promoting and guarding the interests of Kansas City.
On the 8th of May a public meeting was held in the city hall for the purpose of providing funds to aid the enterprise. At that meeting $60,000 in cash was raised and the city council turned over $23,000 in notes of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, given for the right of way of that road along the levee.
This fund became the guarantee on the part of Kansas City on going into the contract for the building of bridge and road.
Immediately after that meeting Messrs. Kearney, Case and Coates began active negotiations in Boston, New York and Detroit. The negotiations had to be conducted with great secrecy --the Leavenworth delegations were continually met, the newspapers and public men of St. Louis did everything in their power to advance, aid and assist the interests of Leavenworth and to hinder, thwart and ridicule the efforts of Kansas City.
On May 24th public announcement was made that the contract had been executed by Hon. James F. Joy of Detroit on behalf of the railroads.
From that day the tide turned in favor of Kansas City, and when the bridge was completed, some three years later, the Kansas City branch became the main line.
Many of the subscribers to this historic fund have been classed as "old fogies," and wanting in public spirit. Others were considered visionary, theoretical, impractical, but all came nobly to the front of this supreme occasion and laid the foundation that makes present conditions possible.
"They built it better than they knew."
The city afterwards, when authority had been obtained, and arrangements made for a bond issue, refunded in full the amount paid by the subscribers.
April 8, 1909
Labels: Boston, city hall, Colonel Van Horn, history, Kersey Coates, Leavenworth, New York, pioneers, railroad, St Louis
December 3, 1908
SIXTY YEARS THEY'VE
COL. R. T. VAN HORN AND WIFE
Men Who Helped Him Lay Founda-
tion of This City 50 Years and
More Ago, Gather to
Wish Them Well.
Feasting upon memories of the many years gone by, scores of "during the war" pioneers of Kansas City enjoyed the gathering at the home of Colonel R. T. Van Horn in honor of his sixtieth wedding anniversary, yesterday afternoon.
The large home at Honeywood, Evanston station, was crowded throughout the day and many groups of gray haired men selected quiet corners to pass the gossip of years, and to count grandchildren. stories of the distant past were recounted as if they happened but yesterday. Everybody was so many years young. Nobody was old.
Colonel Van Horn, 84 years young, was the leader in all the reminiscences.
"Don't you remember, George, that little incident on the steamboat Perry, when my wife paid me such a high compliment? he asked of George L. Andrews, one of the old-timers.
"Of course I do," replied Mr. Andrews, and his eyes twinkled merrily at the recollection. "That was forty years ago. You and I were standing on the deck when John Conover called up and held out a knife to us, saying it was for the best looking man."
"And you tried to take it the first thing," put in the colonel. "But that wouldn't do. So we called my wife up to let her decide the matter, and you got the knife."
Then there was a laugh from all, and one story led to another. Things long forgotten were discussed once more and little stories brought long unrecollected incidents to mind, and the gray heads would nod enthusiastically as familiar names were called.
BUT IT WAS GOLD.
"It was in J. Q. Watkins's little brick bank down on First and Main streets that I saw my first gold brick," said C. N. Brooks. "A tall, thin and hungry looking man brought it up to the bank one day and got off the black and white mule he was and handed the gold over to J. Q. It was real gold, too, and how we fellows did stare. The whole street was lined with people who wanted just a glimpse of that brick."
From the little red brick bank the old men turned their attention to the afternoons spent in the rear part of Mike Dively's grocery store at Third and Main streets, and Mr. Diveley was one of them who brought back the happy memories.
Interest in the afternoon's impromptu entertainment was just at its height when the front door opened and Thomas McNabb entered. With McNabb came visions of the prayer meeting night long ago, in the Baptist church, which was located at Missouri avenue and Walnut street. It was in that little church that McNabb was wont to sing hymns every night, and it was the gathering place of all the young couples at that time.
"One night just after prayer meeting was over," began McNabb after he had gone the rounds of handshaking and congratulations, and had joined the group of old-timers. "I remember that a fire broke out in a little store owned by Alex Holland here. I had just got through singing a solo about meeting again, and Frank Foster, the chief of the fire department -- that hand-cart, volunteer brigade; you remember it boys --had been to church. He leapt up and ran to the old fire house at Second and Walnut streets singing 'God Be With You Till We Meet Again.' And so we all joined in and helped to save Alex a few dollars."
TALES OF OTHER FIRES.
Stories of that one fire brought to the mind other conflagrations in which Mr. Foster, now dead, played a prominent part. Some of the old volunteers were present at the reception yesterday afternoon, and many a hearty laugh was had over some amusing adventures. Frank and Walter Withers figured largely in some of the amusing stories.
And so the afternoon was spent by the old men -- once more as boys. Gray hair and wrinkles were forgotten, and no one noticed an occasional trembling of hands or the thinness of voice which had come over many of those present. It was seldom that so many of the old pioneers could get together that they might live over more of the pleasant days when they were young, and the gathering yesterday was immensely enjoyed.
The Old Men's Club went out to Honeywood, as did some of the McPherson post of the G. A. R. And Colonel Van Horn and his wife were the recipients of scores of hearty congratulations. E. S. Jewett and wife have had the pleasure of attending the twenty-fifth, fiftieth and sixtieth anniversaries of Colonel and Mrs. Van Horn, and they said that never before has such a gathering been held upon such an occasion in Kansas City.
Light refreshments were served at the informal reception, consisting of coffee and sandwiches. Colonel Van Horn and his wife were exuberant in their good, old-fashioned hospitality.
Labels: boats, churches, Colonel Van Horn, Fire, First street, history, Main street, marriage, pioneers, reunions, Seniors, Third street
November 29, 1908
HAVE BEEN HAPPILY
MARRIED FOR 60 YEARS.
COL. R. T. VAN HORN AND WIFE
TO OBSERVE ANNIVERSARY.
From 2 Until 5 o'Clock Next Wednes-
day They Will Be at Home
to Their Legion of
An informal reception on Wednesday afternoon, December 2, from 2 to 5 o'clock will be given by Colonel R. T. and Mrs. Van Horn at Honeywood, their country home in Evanston park, on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage. Ten years ago Colonel and Mrs. Van Horn celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding. Then there were present many persons who were residents of Kansas City when the Van Horns came here in 1855. There were only about 500 persons living here at that time.
Colonel and Mrs. Van Horn were married December 2, 1848 in Pomeroy, Meigs county, O. Mrs. Van Horn was Miss Adela Honeywood Cooley of Pomeroy. Four sons were born of the union, but only one, Robert T. Van Horn is living at the present time. They have two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The ancestors of Colonel Van Horn were from Holland and emigrated to New Jersey about 260 years ago. His great-grandfather, Henry Van Horn, was a captain in the Revolutionary war. Colonel Van Horn's father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother in Ireland. East Mahoning, Pa., was the birth place of Colonel Van Horn. He was born May 9, 1824. After studying law in Meigs county, O., he practiced for a short while and then engaged in newspaper work in Pomeroy, O., where he edited and published a weekly newspaper. Being burned out and not having his plant insured Colonel Van Horn went to St. Louis and worked on a steamboat for his brother. A Kansas City lawyer induced him to come to Kansas City and buy a weekly paper called the Enterprise. He came here in July, 1855, and made arrangements to purchase the paper, paying $250 for it. He brought his wife here in October of the same year and began editing his new paper which he named the Journal of Commerce, now the Kansas City Journal. They lived on Walnut street near Eleventh street until 1887.
As the pioneer newspaper man of Kansas City, Colonel Van Horn has always been known to have worked for a better and larger Kansas City. The people have many times honored Colonel Van Horn with public offices within their gift. At one time he was mayor, and served terms in the state senate and in congress. It was through his efforts that the Hannibal and Milwaukee bridges were secured. At the outbreak of the civil war he raised a Missouri regiment for the Union army. Colonel Van Horn has been named as one of the four great editors in the history of the United States.
Since his retirement from active life he has been living very quietly with his wife at their country home. The reception to be given on the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage is to be very informal at home. They have not issued any invitations or cards but their friends are to be notified only through the newspapers.
Labels: Colonel Van Horn, marriage, Seniors, The Journal
October 24, 1908
JESSE JAMES USED TO
KEEP NEGRO SCHOOL.
J. M. TURNER, EDUCATOR, RE-
CALLS EARLY DAYS HERE.
Former Minister to Liberia Taught
First Negro School in Mis-
souri -- Addresses Negro
From slavery into the diplomatic service cost J. Milton Turner a life of effort, but he had time on the side to educate the negroes of Missouri and help 'em out in Kansas. Turner, who was the principal speaker at the negro Hadley meeting last night in the Rev. Dr. Hurst's church at Independence avenue and Charlotte street, came here yesterday for the first time in a great many years.
There wasn't any reception committee at the depot to greet him, so he strolled up to Ninth and Main streets to have a look at the site of the first negro school in Missouri. Turner taught that school. It was supported by Jesse James, and most of the legal advice and diplomatic stunts necessary to keep a Confederate school board from running Turner out of the community came from Colonel R. T. Van Horn.
Turner said last night that he came here in '67 to get the Republican separate school law into effect. There wasn't a negro school in the state when he landed, although the law provided that there should be in every district where there were over twenty pupils. The school board of '60 and '61 had gone off to join the Confederate army, and had returned and arbitrarily taken up their old duties and were then finishing up their terms in office. They got back to duty just in time to confront the separate school law, which Republicans had placed on the books and which the Democrats have been claiming credit for ever since.
JESSE JAMES CONTRIBUTES.
Turner wanted to start a school, but the Confederate school board here wouldn't recognize either him or the law. Turner said yesterday that Colonel R. T. Van Horn secured a carpenter shop for him at Ninth and Main streets and told him to get busy. Turner had a wife, but no furniture, and a generous storekeeper gave him cloth to make a partition and goods boxes to make tables. The board refused to pay his salary and he lived in the carpenter shop and taught school in a corner of it the entire winter without pay.
"Jesse James used to ride in and shoot up the town," said Turner. "He was in sympathy with the school. When he was ready to leave the town he used to ride up and demand to see the n----- school teacher. I would go out trembling and admit that I was the teacher.
"Are they paying you?" Jesse James would ask. When I told him no he would hand me a $10 bill and ride away. He was about the only cash patron I had."
In the spring, after his first term, the carpenter returned and offered to sell Turner his place, 200 feet on Main street and seventy-five feet on Ninth street, for $300, and offered to trust the negro for the money. Turner thought the carpenter was crazy and declined, taking a summer job as a bootblack in a hotel on the Kansas side of the border.
GETS HIS BACK PAY.
Getting into Kansas got Turner into more trouble. Susan B. Anthony and Mary Cady Stanton and Jim Lane and a bunch began to espouse woman's suffrage about that time, and the issue became woman's suffrage against negro suffrage. But Turner extricated himself and got back to Kansas City, where, he said yesterday, a Dutchman who had been elected to the school board settled up with him for all the back salary and rehired him for teacher.
Then Turner went down the river on a steamboat, and Joseph L. Stephens got him to stop off at Boonville and teach the second negro school in the state. Stephens paid the bill. Stephens afterwards got to be father of a governor of Missouri. Thomas Parker, then state superintendent of instruction, heard of the negro educator and sent for him. He appointed Turner second assistant, but said he did not have an y money to meet his salary. Turner worked for nothing until he was also named second assistant by the Freedman's bureau at Washington and assigned to Missouri and Kansas territory. This paid $125 a month. The Missouri Pacific railway gave the transportation and Turner began to travel about establishing negro schools. He put in 140, and then discovered there wasn't a negro in his territory who could read or write, and he was up against it for teachers.
News didn't travel fast in those days, and it was a long time before Turner learned that a negro regiment on the battlefield had voted to appropriate $5,000 to build the Lincoln institute at Jefferson City. Turner got busy and called a convention at the state capital, had 790 negroes there, and invited the general assembly to look on. That night members of the general assembly went down and donated $1,000 toward negro education.
A THAW GETS INTO THE GAME.
The outgrowth of Turner's Jefferson City convention was a bill in the general assembly to appropriate $15,000 to the negro educational movement, just as soon as the negroes themselves could certify to having a like capital in cash and real estate. The negroes sent Turner down East to beg money, and he got $1,000 in cash from a fellow named William Thaw down in Pittsburg, whose son afterward got into print for killing Stanford White on a New York roof garden. Begging did not suit Turner, and he returned to Missouri.
"This brings us to the convention of '70, when we Republicans got the balance of power in Missouri," said Turner with a chuckle, as he rubbed the rheumatism out of his aged joints. "That's where I met Carl Schurz of St. Louis. Mr. Schurz was in the senate. That's when the fifteenth amendment was put in operation.
"I was in that convention, backed up by 200 negro delegates, and I was in joint debate with Carl Schurz for three days. He wanted to enfranchise the Confederate veterans, and so did we negroes, but we kicked when Schurz wanted the bill to read for the benefit of white men only. With my 200 negroes I held the balance of power, and Mr. Schurs bolted the convention and the party."
This convention and the memorable three days' debate with Carl Schurz got Turner into the limelight. Colonel R. T. Van Horn of Kansas City recommended him to President Grant, and the negro was sent as minister to Liberia. He stuck it out there for eight years, and then returned to St. Louis, where he was born into slavery, and became a lawyer. For twenty years he has been an attorney for the negroes of Indian Territory, and secured for them their treaty rights there.
Labels: churches, Civil War, Colonel Van Horn, history, James Gang, Jefferson City, Main street, ministers, Ninth street, politics, race, schools, St Louis, suffrage, veterans
July 4, 1908
PACKING HERE WAS
JUST AN ACCIDENT.
ARMOURS CAME TO TRY OUT
Found They Could Kill Earlier and
Cure Meat Faster and Save
Shrinkage and a
Col. R. T. Van Horn of Evanston says Kansas City became a great beef packing center by accident. Many year ago the colonel took a visitor to the site of the persent Armour plant and heard John Plankinton, Phillip D. Armour's first partner, explain how he discovered the meat could be cured faster here than on the lake front and how, with the crude equipment of the day, he could kill earlier in the season.
"The manner in which the Armour plant came into existence is fresh in my memory as if it were yesterday," said Colonel Van Horn. "It was sometime in the '60's -- the exact date could be found in The Journal files.
"There was no hog killing, and as refrigerator cars were not in use, the business was packing mess beef, putting the product in barrels; steamboats taking it aboard at the river bank nearby.
"It was in October, the most salubrious and beautiful month of all the year in this midcontinent region. The firm name then was Plankinton & Armour -- John Plankinton and Philip D. Armour -- and the locality was about where the great Armour plant is now. The incident was as follows: Hon. William D. Kelley (Pig Iron Kelley), member of congress from Philadelphia, had been on a Western trip as far as Denver, and returning, stopped over at Kansas City on a visit to Colonel Morton, whose fine farm is in the Clay county bluffs, north of Harlem. Mrs. Kelley and Mrs. Morton had been school girls together and the stop over was to afford them a visit and an old-time reunion.
"Judge Kelley came over every day, and, as I had made his acquaintance in the house of representatives, I was the only person he personally knew here, and I took more than ordinary pains to show him the hospitality of the city, which he kindly returned by a public address in the old court house. His address can be found reported in The Journal of the time.
"Then, as now, the packing business was the great enterprise of the city, and was the point of interest to show all visitors. One day I took Judge Kelley up to the Bottoms to see it. There wsa then no structure that could be called a building -- a frame to cover the killing beds, and a long covered runway for the slaughtered carcasses of beef.
"It so happened that John Plankinton himself was present and, when Judge Kelley was introduced to him, Mr. Plankinton gave him that attention and consideration due a man of eminence and national reputation. Judge Kelly was astonished at the magnitude of the business, was profuse in his compliments and questions, and said: 'I am astounded, sir, at the existence of such an immense business away out here in the wilderness, and so much greater than any of like character in our Eastern states. How does it come and what induced its establishment?'
" 'Well,' said Mr. Plankinton, 'it was what you might call an accident. As you perhaps know, we have been packing beef in Chicago and Milwaukee for some years. Many of our cattle came from the country south of this. The common name was Cherokee cattle, being brought mostly from the Indian Territory. Our method was to drive the cattle to this point, as it is the nearest Missouri river locality, the river being narrow and deep and the banks solid, swimming them across by driving to Quincy, and by rail to Chicago.
" 'It was when I was here on one of those occasions, while stopping at the hotel in Kansas City, that I heard of some cattle over in the Delaware country and, getting on my horse one morning, came across the bottom here to cross the Kaw at the Wyandotte ferry. As I was riding along, not far from where we now are, I saw a dead steer lying at the road side and thinking I would find a strong odor from it I began looking for a way to ride around it, but the under brush, as you may see in places, was so dense that only the roadway to accommodate a single wagon was to be seen. But as no stench was noticed I concluded the air was moving toward the other side and that I would get the benefit of the dead carcass after I passed it. But there was no difference and my horse did not seem to notice it. The facts excited my curiosity and I rode back to the dead carcass and struck it with my whip. It sounded like a drum.
"The incident set me to thinking and I concluded that if the climate here would so cure a dead steer, the carcass of a slaughtered one ought to keep for a longer time than on the lake shore. And then I thought of the jerked buffalo meat cured from time immemorial without salt. And so we concluded to triy it as a packing point, saving the drive to Quincy, the railroad charges from there, and the shrinkage in transit.'
" 'And so we have found it. Today, Judge Kelley,' said Mr. Plankinton, pointing to the immense rows of dressed carcasses on the runways, 'we are killing 1,200 head of cattle and, with the thermometer at Chicago thee same as it is here, all of that meat would spoil, and we can kill two and three weeks earlier than there. And thus you have the reasons why we are here.'
"The facts are exact as I have given you and the words, as a rule, as they were uttered. The points covered are all literally presented -- particularly as to the dead steer and its results. It is all faithful history.
Labels: Armour plant, Chicago, Colonel Van Horn, food, history, The Journal, veterans, visitors
June 25, 1908
FORMER MAYOR HUNT
DIES IN LEAVENWORTH.
HE WAS QUARTERMASTER OF
NATIONAL SOLDIERS' HOME.
In 1879 He Served This City as Mayor
and Began Many Improvements.
His Experiences Here in
the Early Days.
After two weeks' illness from uraemic poisoning, Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Hunt, a former mayor of Kansas City, died at the Soldiers' Home in Leavenworth yesterday morning. Colonel Hunt was 68 years old, and up until his last illness he had been a man of marked vitality.
About one year ago Colonel Hunt was appointed from private life to the post of Quartermaster at the Soldiers' Home, and he was serving in that capacity when he died. Colonel Hunt was a widower and is survived by two nieces. They are Mrs. John Stearns of Kansas City and Miss Mamie Hunt of St. Louis.
Funeral services will be held Friday morning in the chapel at the Soldiers' Home in Leavenworth. The burial in the national cemetery will be attended with regular military honors.
Special cars will be run to the Soldiers' Home tomorrow morning to carry friends to the funeral. The cars will start from Tenth and Main streets at 8 o'clock.
Robert H. Hunt was born in Shannon, Kerry County, Ireland, in 1839, and came to America at the age of 10 with his father. Kansas City was reached even in very early days, and the spirit of individuality which all his long life afterwards made him conspicuous, asserted itself in the father and son, for they left Kansas City for Western Kansas to get where they could not see slaves. The father soon went on about his business, leaving the boy to make a living for himself.
This he first did by carrying the water pail on a section for the construction of the railroad. Twenty years later, he was working 2,000 men himself, one of the big railroad contractors of the West. Between the time of his carrying the dipper and building part of the Rock Island, the Santa Fe and the Missouri Pacific, young Hunt went to a college. He worked his passage through it, and got out in time to go into the war to serve with Rosecranz, Thomas and Grant; to join Ewing and to become chief of staff under General Samuel R. Curtis.
IN LOCAL BATTLES.
Most of his service with the colors was on the border between Missouri and Kansas. Hereabouts, with General Curtis, he directed the artillery movements of the fights of the Little Blue, Big Blue, Westport, Osage, Newtonia and Mine Creek. It was at this last battle that General "Pap" Price was crushed and General Marmaduke was captured.
Colonel Hunt enlisted in a Kansas regiment, but left it during the war and became a staff officer. Afterwards he got back into a Kansas regiment, the Fifteenth cavalry, of which he was Major. The regiment had two colonels, C. R. Jennison and afterwards Colonel Cloud, while George W. Hoyt, afterwards a brigadier, was the lieutenant colonel. Robert H. Hunt was the senior major of the command.
There is a book published on "The Battle of Westport" by Rev. Paul B. Jenkins, formerly of this city, in which no mention whatever, in the slightest word, is made of Colonel Hunt.
"But he was there," said Colonel Van Horn yesterday, "and directed the artillery. I was related by marriage to General Curtis, commanding the Union forces here. He appointed me to his staff and directed me to prepare fortifications for the city. In that way I located and had the rifles ready and the encroachments dug. I saw a handsome young officer riding in and about, coming frequently to general headquarters for orders or with supports, and, struck by his magnificent bearing, asked his name. I was told it was the chief of staff, Colonel Hunt. What began as an acquaintance has lasted until now. As there is no battle in which the artillery is not the objective point, and as Colonel Hunt was commanding the artillery at the Battle of Westport, as I know from my own observations then, I know that he was in the fight; yet Mr. Jenkins made no mention whatever of him in what he declared to be a record of the battle."
The obscuring of Colonel Hunt by the Jenkins book is not unique. Other leaders in the engagement were similarly treated by the local historian.
A PRIEST HIS TUTOR.
The end of the war saw Colonel Hunt located in Kansas City, to engage in contracting. When first young Hunt landed in this country the priest of the parish they settled in took him up and began training him for service on the alter.
The good priest in this way taught him Latin. To the last days of his life Colonel Hunt kept his Latin fresh and, by means of a dictionary he would read Latin books. He regarded it as an accomplishment and was proud of it. But he never boasted of it. Reading Latin, born a Catholic and Republican in politics though an Irishman. Colonel Hunt made the acquaintance of the Rev. William J. Dalton, native of St. Louis, child of Irish parents, a Latin scholar and a clergyman of the church of Rome. The two remained friends to the last.
Father Dalton is a Republican in politics. Father Dalton came to Kansas City just as Colonel Hunt was closing his term as mayor, "but I was here early enough," said Father Dalton yesterday, "to hear the whole town commending him for his tremendous strides. Energy had marked every week of his administration, and today we have substantial evidence of it. With but little to do anything at all with, Mayor Hunt did much. He was at the very forefront of everything, calculating on the future warranting all his energy."
HE STOPPED A HANGING.
"At the very forefront of everything," says Father Dalton, and so it would appear. There walks about town today a little old man with a scar on the back of his neck. He built the retaining wall which keeps Bluff street from sliding into the Missouri river. There was trouble one Saturday afternoon about the pay, and the men undertook to lynch the contractor. They actually got a rope around his neck and started with him to throw him over his own retaining wall.
The city hall then was where it is now, only in a one-story brick that might have been a country feed store. Mayor Hunt got word of the crisis, picked up a pamphlet he had in his scant library, jumped into a saddle that was not his own and soon was in the ob. He literally rode into it and from the back of his horse read the riot act. That constitutional performance made him a summary marshal and there was no lynching. If there had been there would have been a wholesale killing by the force of twelve marshals Kansas City then had, old "Tom" Speer their chief.
During Colonel Hunt's administration Kansas City was the head of the Fenian movement. "No. 1," a mysterious Irish patriot, and Captain "Tom" Phelan, well remembered here and today alive in a home somewhere, were to fight a duel with broadswords over the troubles of Ireland. Colonel John Moore and Colonel John Edwards, both newspapermen, were to act as seconds. The principals went into training in rooms in a store on West Twelfth street. The morning the duel was to have been fought Colonel Hunt personally smashed in the doors of the training rooms and arrested the belligerents. There was an encounter, but he mayor, being a peace officer and a fighter himself, won. There was no duel.
HIS RIOT ACT AGAIN.
The forum of Kansas City in those days was Turner hall, afterwards Kumpf's hall, standing as late as 1886 where Boley's clothing store now stands. A political row there sent Mayor Hunt to that place with his copy of the riot act. He would tolerate no mob law while he was mayor. He always asserted his authority to the utmost.
When the figures are all totaled up it will not be found that Colonel Hunt left much of an estate. He married a Miss Hoyne of Chicago. In the '70s Colonel Hunt was worth so much money that he was able to borrow $50,000 from the late Thomas Corrigan for a period of ten months. He was able to pay it back within two weeks. He might have been worth $200,000 or $500,000. Estimates made yesterday ran from one to the other of these figures. He built a mansion at Independence and Highland. The house is there now, a pastel in dull red of what it once was. The plot has been nibbled down to next to nothing.
BRILLIANCE OF HIS HOME.
Colonel Hunt's father had been a small farmer in Ireland. All of his days in this country had been spent in railroad camps or in the field with troops. When Colonel Hunt opened his mansion on Independence avenue he did so with the brilliance of an hereditary aristocrat. Handsome in person, he had handsome ways. There was a wine cellar where it ought to be, and the drawing room, and from one to the other of the Hunt mansion was complete. Kansas City has never seen brighter scenes than those witnessed while Colonel and Mrs. Hunt kept open house on Independence avenue.
Nobody knows where Colonel Hunt's fortune went. It went like the summer wind that sinks with the sun. There was no speculation, no wheat end to the story, no boom collapse, no expensive household bills. The fortune simply disappeared, though Colonel Hunt always, to his intimates, lately insisted that he held valuable securities which would in a few years put him on his feet. But he did not get on his feet.
Times did not prosper fast enough Colonel Hunt stood in need of a billet and Senator Warner gave it to him. He had him appointed quartermaster at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, near Leavenworth, a position he held for about a year. Within a year of three score and ten, Colonel Hunt walked like a youth. Almost six feet in height, no man in his forties and of similar physique walked straighter, faster nor further. His hair and long beard were merely turning gray. He could pass for a man of 55. He lived as he moved, energetically. He liked young people; old people with old stories troubled him. The young people would not take him up because they did not know about the things he knew most of, and the old ones -- his own years -- were too old to take anybody up. So Colonel Hunt was neither here nor there. That was why he had to ask an asylum at the hands of his old military, political, professional and personal friend, Senator Warner.
TOO SLOW FOR HIM.
"It killed him," said Father Dalton. "The life was too dull for him. He wanted to beat sixty times to the minute and he found himself in a clock which had a pendulum going twenty to the minute.
"Where he was accustomed to moving cannon, they set him buying buttons, and able to move troops all up and down the border with the celerity of Forest, they put him to watching veterans crawl across their parade ground. Mops and counting cases of blouses to the tune of a droning beat made Colonel Hunt settle back in a chair that most men look for at sixty, and conserve themselves till riper in years, and so he collapsed. I saw him on Monday, and then he showed he was going away.
"He entered the army at Leavenworth in his young life, left the Fort and the army in his middle age, and went back to Leavenworth and the army to die in his old age. May his soul rest in peace."
And so he is to be buried in Leavenworth, in the military grounds there. Only members of the home may be buried in the military cemetery, excepting by express permission, and that permission is granted sometimes in the instance of officers. Yesterday application was made to Senator Warner, one of the board of managers and it was promptly given. Internment is to be made on Friday, at ten o'clock. Those desiring to attend the funeral will have to leave Kansas City by the 8 o'clock trolley car. President C. F. Holmes has arranged to run a special car at 8:01 Friday for the accommodation of Senator Warner, Surveyor C. W. Clarke, General H. F. Devol, Brevet Brigadier General L. H. Waters and a number of other high officers of the civil war.
Labels: Bluff street, Chicago, Civil War, Colonel Van Horn, death, Father Dalton, Highland avenue, history, immigrants, Independence avenue, Leavenworth, Main street, ministers, railroad, Senator Warner, streetcar, Tenth street, Twelfth street, veterans
June 15, 1908
FIRST DAILY FIFTY
YEARS AGO TODAY.
IMPORTANT ANNIVERSARY IN
Col. R. T. Van Horn Acquired Week-
ly Enterprise in 1855 and After
Changing Name Issued First
Daily Edition June 15, 1858.
Fifty years ago today the first copy of the first daily paper in Kansas City was issued by Colonel R. T. Van Horn, who had conducted a weekly paper here for three years previously. Colonel Van Horn came to this city first on July 31, 1855, and perfected plans for taking charge on October 1 of that year of the Enterprise, a weekly paper published for an association of Kansas Cityans. The Enterprise had been established October 1, 1854, and Colonel Van Horn took charge of it on the first anniversary of its publication. He soon changed the name to the Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, and it was under that name that the daily was published. Afterwards Colonel Van Horn dropped the "of Commerce," and for fifty years and more the paper has been known as The Journal.
The story of how Colonel Van Horn cast his fortunes with the struggling little hamlet and entered upon the long and distinguished career in which he has filled many offices of trust and honor, has been often told, but it is a story that bears frequent telling. Colonel Van Horn was a young man of 30 years when he was the victim of a fire which destroyed his printing plant in Pomery, O., and he spent the next few months assisting his brother-in-law, Captain Cooley, in his various steamboat enterprises. In the course of his trips he found himself and St. Louis and a guest of the Virginia hotel. Here occurred an accidental, but for Kansas City a very fortunate, meeting between the colonel and Judge William A. Strong, one of the principal editors of the Weekly Enterprise, who had been commissioned to go to St. Louis and find somebody who was able and willing to take charge of the paper.
It is possible that all this combination of circumstances might have occurred without Colonel Van Horn coming to Kansas City had not Judge Strong been the recipient of the colonel's kindly consideration and care on the occasion of Judge Strong's illness. This threw the two together and developed an intimacy which resulted in Judge Strong proposing to the colonel to come to Kansas City and look the situation over. Colonel Van Horn had been a practical printer and an editor for a number of years and was ripe for just such a proposition, but his knowledge of Kansas City was not quite so extensive as it is to-day.
RETURNED WITH $250.
Arriving here July 31, 1855, Colonel Van Horn consulted with the proprietors of the Enterprise, and departed with the understanding that he would return October 1 of that year with $250 in cash, give his note for the other $250 due in one year and take the paper. Many people made fun of Mr. Jesse Riddelbarger, who represented the owners of the paper, for taking the unsupported word of an utter stranger, but those were the "good old days," when a man's word was as good as his bond. Then, too, the man was Colonel Van Horn and Mr. Riddelbarger and his associates were not in nearly so much danger of missing a sale as perhaps they themselves believed down in their hearts.
At any rate, Colonel Van Horn arrived on the boat that reached here October 1 and somewhat astonished even Mr. Riddelbarger himself by walking into his store and calmly announcing that he had come to take charge of the paper, producing the $250 in money and the note for $250. The colonel was very warmly greeted and without much ceremony was introduced to the very limited staff of the Enterprise as "the new boss." In those days the paper had only about 300 or 400 subscribers and a single ream of the paper lasted for nearly two issues. A supply of paper sufficient for a month was the biggest financial transaction of the year. Kansas City had less than 500 inhabitants and Missouri avenue was the southern boundary of the "city." The town was only a "string" along the river bank and was rather contemptuously alluded to as "Westport Landing" by its malicious rivals. Colonel Van Horn denies on the best of authority the statement that Kansas City was ever seriously known as "Westport Landing" or that the people themselves ever accepted that name. Westport was considerable of a town, as were Independence, Leavenworth and other river towns.
WHY NAME WAS CHANGED.
For nearly two years and a half Colonel Van Horn ran the Enterprise as a weekly, under its original name, and its later name of The Western Journal of Commerce. The latter name was given to it largely for the reason that there wasn't much commerce here in those days and the name crystallized the purpose of the paper to build up the city along industrial lines, as well as all others. The paper had a number of homes during the first fifteen or twenty years of its existence, following the growth of the city and always keeping on the "firing line." The advent of the first daily paper was a very important event in the history of the little city, but even this event, important as it was, was overshadowed by the other achievements of Colonel Van Horn in giving the city its first and invincible "start" over its rivals. Nature probably did most of all, but Colonel Van Horn had the foresight and the ability to take Nature's "tip" and to make prophesies realities, in all of which the struggling little papers out of which has grown The Journal of today, for nearly half a century under the absolute control of Colonel Van Horn, had their full share of work and glory.
Labels: Colonel Van Horn, history, The Journal
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