Posted by: patwogan | March 10, 2009

A Little Bit of History

When I was a young child, I really never gave much thought to how I came to be born in Independence, Kansas.  I also did not think it unusual that I had so many relatives living in the area.  It just seemed very natural.  I studied history in school, but those were just names in a book and facts that had to be memorized.  I didn’t connect them at all with my life which I was busy living.  Nor did I realize that the life I was living was a part of history.

I was an adult before I really became interested in my past and my ancestors.  It was then that I learned that my Great-Great-Grandfather, Samuel Parkhurst, led a wagon train from Johnson County, Indiana, to Independence, Kansas, in 1869.  When this wagon train arrived, it doubled the population of the town.  G-G-Grandfather also arrived with $1000. cash money which was quite a handsome sum in those days.  He apparently loaned out the money at very high interest rates..even to his family…and set about buying land.  I don’t know how many acres he acquired, but I know he at one time owned the land that Riverside Park is on.  He also owned part of what is now Mount Hope Cemetery.  In fact, one of Dad’s cousins tried to get Dad to go to the city and check on the original lease of the land the park is on.  She said the land was leased to the city for a small sum for ninety-nine years and that the lease should be up.  Dad would not do it.

According to the Montgomery County History, the immigrants made shelters of hay for the first winter they were in Independence, giving rise to the name “Haytown”.  My Great Grandmother was sixty-two when she joined her father’s wagon train for the trek to Kansas.  (if my calculations are correct.)  She built the house where we lived when we moved to the farm across the road from Grandma and Grandpa. 

My impressions of Great-Grandmother Hudiburg are those of a very young child.  At the time she was in a big wooden wheelchair.  I don’t know how tall she was, but my impression was that she was very tall and thin.  I think she was in her nineties at the time.   Aunt Winnie (Winifred) took care of her.  Aunt Winnie was a twin to Uncle Wilfred and she never married.  I assume she never married because it fell on her to be the one to care for her mother in her old age.  Anyway, I remember Great-Grandmother looked scary.  Her hair was pulled back severely from her face and braided.  The braid was put into a bun at the back of her head.  So there she was with nothing to soften her looks and I imagine she was a bit senile at the time because I remember she spit on the floor.  She did have a spitoon, but I just remember her spitting on the floor.  (I wonder if she dipped snuff or something like that.)

She had had thirteen children.  They were all “old” by the time I knew her.  My Grandfather was one of her boys.  I wonder what she was really like when she was younger.  I have nothing to let me know that, but she had to be terribly strong.  I don’t know when she was widowed, but have the impression that she lived on the farm after her husband died.  In fact, the house was supposedly built by her….or rather she had it built.  I do know she had extensive land holdings which had been divided with her children by the time I came along.  There was a large farm near Sycamore, Kansas, called “Farm Ridge”.  I don’t really know where it was located, but heard of it as I was growing up.

I wish I had been more interested when I was young enough to have people to ask about all the questions I have now.  I do know that Parkhurst Avenue is the little street on the north side of the railroad track in Independence and is named for my Great-Great Grandfather.  It is at about the 1000 block north.  I know this because Mom and I lived at 1020 North Second Street when we moved to town and Parkhurst Avenue was the first street south of our house.

One of Grandpa Hudiburg’s brother was named Samuel after his grandfather.  I thought he was the “real” Uncle Sam who is the symbol of our country.  He lived in Oklahoma and we did not see him very often.  He, like my Grandpa had snow white hair and really kind of looked like the posters of “Uncle Sam”.

Grandpa’s youngest brother was Uncle Elmer.  He was the baby of the family and after Great-Grandmother Hudiburg died, Aunt Winnie went to live with him.  He and his wife, Aunt Bessie, built a small house behind their home for her.



  1. neat, I didn’t know this.

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