Dictionary of Missouri Biography on Walser

The University of Missouri Press publishes some fine books. The following bio on Walser is from the Dictionary of Missouri Biography by Lawrence O. Christensen. The following is from the Google display of the book which has “permission of University of Missouri Press. Copyright.”

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WALSER, GEORGE H. (1834-1910)

George H. Walser was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, on May 26, 1834, and died in Liberal, Missouri, on May 1, 1910. In 1856, he was admitted to the Illinois bar. Five years later he responded to the appeal of President Abraham Lincoln and volunteered for service in the Union army. He reenlisted for three additional years. By the end of his Civil War service Walser had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Twentieth Illinois Volunteers. When the war was over he moved to Barton County, Missouri, to begin the practice of law in Lamar.

As a Republican Walser entered Barton County politics and served as the county superintendent of schools and the prosecuting attorney. In 1868 he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives where he served two terms. In the area he was known as an effective trial lawyer.

Although Walser was born into a Christian home, he became increasingly critical of the faith after the Civil War. He as particularly impressed with the books and speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll who mesmerized crowds with his eloquent defense of agnosticism and converted many Americans–outraged others–with his writings, such as “Some Mistakes of Moses” or “Why I am an Agnostic”. Walser became convinced that he should take up the challenge of establishing a free-thought community. In 1880 he bought land in western Barton County, platted a new town that he called Liberal, and began publicizing his development.

Walser in the 1880s must have been a bundle of energy as he developed and directed his new community, which had eight city blocks, twenty-five business lots, fifty-seven residential lots, and a city park. (From 1887 to 1889 the estimates of the population of Liberal varied from five to eight hundred.) Walser continued to practice law. He established and published a newspaper called The Liberal. He operated a coal mine. He built a hotel for the community, the National Hotel, which was advertised as operating on “a liberal basis.” He was the founder of Freethought University in Liberal, and the catalog identifies him as the teacher of commercial law. In addition, he found time to write for the magazine the Orthopaedians and also published three volumes of esoteric poetry–full of classical allusions.

Among his other activities, Walser developed a cemetery at Liberal and, of course, sold lots. When he died in 1910 his fourth wife, Esther Jaemison Walser, made the unusual decision not to bury him in his own cemetery. Instead she had the body interred in Lake Cemetery at Lamar.

In the history of Missouri, Walser stands alone as the developer of a community that emphasized that religion was not welcome in the new town. He was vocally anti-Christian, and described Liberal in these words: “We have here neither priest, preacher, justice of the peace, or other peace officer, no church, saloon, prison, drunkard, loafer, beggar or person in want, nor have we a disreputable character. This cannot be truthfully said of any christian town on earth.”

Liberal was distinctive because of its free-thought ties. For example, they used a different dating system. Instead of utilizing the supposed date for the birth of Jesus Christ as the base for their system, they used the year 1600 A.D., to honor Giordano Bruno who that year was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church for his freethinking. Thus, the year 1882, using their system, was called E of M 282 or Era of Man 282. Such a dating system had been recommended by the National liberal League.

Freethought University, which appears to have begun operation in 1886 or 1887 in Liberal, was established to provide a place where freethinkers could confidently send their children. The catalog described it as “the only institution of learning in America that is absolutely free from superstition.” Walser was intent on making Liberal a community where freethinkers would feel comfortable. In his own words, “Liberals should come here because it is the only established Liberal town in the world with institutions for promulgating the ideal advancement of liberated minds.”

Conflict erupted between freethinkers and Christians in Liberal in the 1880s. William H. Waggoner platted and began building an addition just north of Liberal in 1881. He let it be known that he hoped Christians would flock to his settlement. Walser then constructed a high barbed-wire fence to keep Christians out of Liberal. For two years there were verbal exchanges along the barbed-wire fence. Finally in 1883, Walser bought out Waggoner, and the conflict ended.

The declining support for freethinking led to a surprising development in 1889. Walser announced the sale of a plot of land and the Universal Mental Liberty Hall to the Methodist Episcopal Church for the sum of $485. The hall was to be used as a Methodist Sunday school. Its sale marked the end of the freethinking movement in Liberal, less than a decade after the settlement’s founding.

It is interesting to note that in 1889 when the free-thought movement in Liberal ended, a new religious movement, the Spiritual Science Association, was gaining prominence in the town. Spiritualists encamped at Walser’s Catalpa Park in July and August each year until 1903 by which time spiritualism in Liberal also had waned…

Duane G. Meyer

Sources listed are the Lamar Democrat, 18880s.
Liberal Mo. Promotional Booklet. Item H1481.35 W168L. State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia.
Meyer, Duane. The Heritage of Missouri. Springfield, Mo: Emden Press, 1993.
Missouri: The WPA Guide to the “Show Me” State, St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1998.
Moore, James Proctor. This Strange Town: Liberal, Missouri, Liberal, Mo: Liberal News, 1963.

George H. Walser’s “The Bouquet”

In 1897 George H. Walser’s volume of poetry “The Bouquet” was published.

Click on image to read online at The Open Library

The book promises that a volume title Orthopaedia would follow.

He will publish during the summer a philosophical work entitled “Orthopaedia” in which he demonstrates taht all the forces of nature, including polarity, gravity, electricity, magnetism, life, mind, atomic intelligence, spirits, etc., are constituents of matter.

The Preface reads:


I shall make no apology for the presentation of this
little volume to the public. I well know its defects will
soon be singled out without my aid in that direction; and
its beauties, if any it has, will not fail to be appreciated
by the refined without special direction; therefore, I cast
it upon the great sea of literature for what it is worth.
If the association of sweet thoughts with fragrant flowers
be the means of lifting some sorrowing heart to the sun-
light of joy, or making the path of duty plainer to any
struggling soul, my labors will not be in vain.

I feel that no one will be rendered any worse in mind,
heart or soul for having companioned himself with the
following versifications. My aim has been to please,
elevate and refine. My hope is to make the world a lit-
tle better for having lived in it; and, to that end I have
kept in mind, in the production of the following poems, to
entwine character building, (at that critical time of life
when the young must choose among the many chequered
pathways before them which to take,) with tender heart-
throbs and a feeling of fraternity for all mankind. I
have intended that each poem should teach a moral, give
warnings of danger, tip to the road of duty, or direct the
mind to higher, nobler and grander achievements. How
well I have succeeded I leave my indulgent readers to say.
I have clustered around my heart the beauties of nature
made hallowed by fragrant flowers and thought aspira-
tions. The production of “The Bouquet” has been a great
harvest of pleasure to me, and I hope it will not fail to
impart pleasure to others. Song, flowers, birds and na-
ture enwrap the true heart with an appreciation of life
that brings the blessings of heaven, ‘mid scenes of earth
made glorious by smiles seasoned with love.

I am an optimist. I believe that life is worth living,
and that we make it about what it is. Half the ills we

have are of our own making. I believe in throwing
troubles away. 1 believe in casting aside the dark clouds
of despondency and looking above to the sunshine of
hope and pleasure. When I say above, 1 do not mean
in the skies, nor after death, but here and now. If we
always keep the “Now” happy, the future will never have
a cross.

I believe in strewing the pathway of life with flowers
of love, Kindness, Charity, Fraternity, and good-will for
all; granting to all their full meed of wage, weight, meas-
ure, rights and privileges as completely and as fully as
we demand for ourselves.

Flowers are typical of thoughts, desires and emo-
tions; and, as thoughts and desires lead to action, and
action to results we should be guided by the purity flow-
ers shed around us, and school ourselves with those
thoughts that will make our lives redolent with purity,
seasoned with love, guided by justice and protected by an
unswerving determination.

It is my hope, in presenting “The Bouquet,” to sow
in the minds of those who read it the flowers of beautiful
thoughts to bear fruitage of noble and useful lives.

Many flowers have names derived from mythical
events and legends which are both interesting and curious;
and I thought it would fill a want not yet supplied to
collate those myths in an appendix which I have clone and
am sure they will be both interesting and instructive.

The labors of my brain I now pass to the criticisms
of others. If they do not elicit admiration I hope they
will awaken a feeling of friendship, for friendship is the
half brother to love, and love is the brightest jewel of

G. H. Walser

Lincoln, Neb., Jan. 6th, 1897.

Walser v. GilChrist

A lawsuit involving George H. Walser, founder of Liberal.



(Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 2.

May 18, 1909.)

Partition 110*>—Renewal Order of Sale – Execution Of Deed.

An order of sale in partition expires with the term at which the sale is required to be made, unless a renewal order is procured, and where Do renewal order is procured, but the court, after the term when the sale was to be made, finds that the sale was made but that the sheriff making the sale has removed from the state without executing a deed, and orders the sheriff in office to execute a deed, which such sheriff does, but there is nothing in

the record directly showing an approval of the sale, the ordering of a deed to be made by the sheriff is not equivalent to a renewal order of the sale, and such deed does not constitute title to the land.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Partition, Dec. Dig. § 110.*]

Appeal from Circuit Court, Mississippi County; Henry C. Riley, Judge.

Action by G. H. Walser against W. A. G11chrlst. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Reversed.

Russell & Deal, for appellant Jno. C. Brown, for respondent.

BURGESS, J. This suit was Instituted under section 650, Rev. St. 1899, for the purpose of determining the title to the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 18, township 23, range 17, In Mississippi county, Mo.

The land In controversy was selected as swamp lands, under Act Cong. Sept. 28, 1850, c. 84, 9 Stat 519, the selection having been approved November 22, 1854. Plaintiff offered In evidence two swamp land patents, dated April 19, 1859, recorded In the deed records of Mississippi county on April 1, 1905, from the state of Missouri to Charles Tucker, each conveying 40 acres. He next produced in evidence a certified copy of a decree In partition rendered by the circuit court of Barton county, Mo., on the 8th day of October, 1869, In a suit wherein the heirs of Charles Tucker were all parties, In which decree the court ordered the sheriff of Mississippi county to sell the land in controversy at public sale for cash, and divide the proceeds of the sale among the heirs, and to execute a deed or deeds to the purchaser of said real estate.

The plaintiff, G. H. Walser, testified in substance that Charles Tucker died In Barton county in the year 1867 or 1808, and that he, plaintiff, was administrator of his estate; that as such he became well acquainted with the heirs of Charles Tucker (naming them), all of whom were parties to the suit In partition In the circuit court of Barton county at the October term of said court, 1869, and that he bought the land In controversy on the 23d day of November, 1870, and was the owner thereof.

Plaintiff next offered In evidence a sheriff’s deed, dated November 30, 1875, from William P. Swank, sheriff of Mississippi county, conveying to him the land In controversy, the said deed reciting, In substance, that on November 23, 1870, George A. Jackson, the then sheriff of Mississippi county, under and In pursuance of the Judgment and order of. the circuit court of Barton county, sold said described land to Charles Tucker, he being the highest and best bidder, for the sum of $10. Said deed further recites:

“And whereas, the said George W. Jackson, the sheriff who sold said land, has left the state of Missouri, and that he failed to make the deed to said Walser for such land in pursuance to said sale;

“And whereas, on the 2Gth day of October, 1875, the circuit court of the county of Barton, on the petition of said George H. Walser, to require me, the present sheriff of said Mississippi county, Missouri, to execute a deed to said land, found that said purchase money had been fully paid, and that said George W. Jackson, former sheriff of said county, had removed from this state, and that said George H. Walser had purchased said land at said sale, said court ordered that I, William P. Swank, execute a deed to George H. Walser for said land.

“Now, therefore, in consideration of the premises and of the said sum of ten dollars paid by the said George H. Walser, and by virtue of the authority in me vested, I, William P. Swank, sheriff as aforesaid, do hereby assign, transfer and convey all the right, title and Interest and estate of the said [here follow the names of Charles Tucker’s heirs] of, in and to the above described real estate, that might or was sold by virtue of said order as aforesaid. To have and to hold the right, title and Interest and estate hereby conveyed unto the said George H. Walser, his heirs and assigns forever,” etc.

Plaintiff also offered in evidence a certified copy of the order of the said circuit court of Barton county, made on the 2Gth day of October, 1875, directing William P. Swank, sheriff, to execute a deed to Walser for the land in controversy.

The defendant offered no evidence, but at the close of plaintiff’s evidence he asked the court to declare the law to be “that the plaintiff has failed to show that he has any title to the property sued for, and the finding should be that plaintiff has no title,” which the court refused to do, the defendant excepting.

The court rendered a decree, which was entered of record, finding that the plaintiff was the owner of the real estate described, and that the defendant has no right, title, estate, or interest therein. The defendant, after an unavailing motion for a new trial, appealed from said judgment.

As defendant contends, the law In force In October, 18G9, when the decree in partition was rendered, provided that the circuit court should be held In Barton county, Mo., on the sixth Mondays after the fourth Mondays in February and August. According to the recitals in the sheriff’s deed, read in evidence, the sale therein described did not take place until the 23d day of November, 1870, which was more than one year after the order of sale was made, and two terms of the Barton county circuit court must necessarily have Intervened between the date of the order and the date of the sale ; that is to say, the terms of court held on the sixth Mondays after the

1870. There Is no evidence In the record that the order of sale was ever renewed from term to term as required by law, and for this reason the defendant insists that the sheriffs sale was absolutely void and conferred no authority upon the sheriff to make the deed.

In Hughes v. Hughes, 72 Mo. 136, it Is held that an order of sale in partition expires with the term at which the sale is required to be made, and If, for want of bidders, no sale takes place at that time, a renewal of the order must be procured before any further steps can be taken, and a sale at a subsequent term without such renewal is void.

Carson v. Hughes, 90 Mo. 173, 2 S. W. 127, was an action in ejectment to recover the same land sued for In Hughes v. Hughes, supra. The court said : “By order of sale, made at the April term, 1803, of the Audrain circuit court, the sheriff was directed to sell the lands at the following October term. No sale was made at that term, but the sheriff, without a renewal of the order either by the clerk or the court, sold the land at the April term, 18G4. No formal order was made approving the sale. To correct some errors a new deed was made out in 1872, and the record entry of the acknowledgment of that deed was put in evidence on the trial of this cause, but not in the former case. It was expressly ruled In the former case that the sheriff had no power to sell without a renewal of the order, either by the court or clerk, and for that reason the sale was void. The production of the entry of the acknowledgment cannot change the result. The certificate of the acknowledgment Indorsed on the deed, when offered in the former case. Imported, prima facie, at least, the existence of such an entry. The deed, If void then, is still void, and on the authority of that case this one Is affirmed.”

Plaintiff, to obviate the force of the defendant’s contention, says that, while the two cases relied upon by defendant have not been directly overruled by this court, the theory upon which they rest has often been repudiated In subsequent decisions ; that section 32, c. 152, Rev. St. 18G5, provides that sales in partition may be renewed by “the court or clerk thereof In vacation,” and that as no notice of the application for these renewals is prescribed, and no adjudication of any kind contemplated, they are not intended to affect the rights of the parties, and therefore the statute prescribing these renewals should be treated as merely directory, and that, if there was a failure to comply with such statute, in the case at bar, was cured by the approval of the sale and the order of the court to make deed to the plaintiff. But the record does not directly show the approval of the sale upon which plaintiffs deed depends ; but conceding that It does show, as contended by plaintiff, that the court made a finding that the purchase money had been paid, and ordered a deed made by the order of the sheriff to the plaintiff, this was not equivalent to a renewal order of sale, because the approval of a sale which was at the time void and dead did not instill new life into it. Plaintiff calls our attention to Bobbins v. Boulware. 190 Mo. 33, 88 S. W. 674, 109 Am. St. Rep. 746, wherein It is held that a failure to advertise the sale of land as required by law was a mere irregularity, not affecting In a substantial degree the rights of the parties, and was cured by the approval of the sale. Substantially the same rule is announced In Cochran v. Thomas, 131 Mo. 278, 33 S. W. 8; Noland v. Barrett, ]22 Mo., loc. cit. 188, 26 S. W. 692, 43 Am. St. Rep. 572; Young ?v. Schofield, 132 Mo. 668, 34 S. W. 497. But these cases are not in point, and have to do with mere irregularities, while in the cases died by the defendant the sheriff’s deeds were held to be absolutely void.

It Is said by plaintiff that the court had Jurisdiction ; but Conceding that It had, that conferred no authority upon it to decide the case contrary to the law. As neither party showed title to the land, the demurrer to the evidence interposed by the defendant should have been sustained.

The Judgment is reversed. All concur.


Joris Jansen Rapalje is an ancestor down the Noyes-Brewer side of the family. We descend through his daughter Jannettje b. 1629, then daughter Hilletje b. 1653, then daughter Jannetje b. 1682, then Aaron Van Cleave b. 1734, then John Van Cleave b. abt. 1736, then Aaron Van Cleave b. 1769, then Rachel Van Cleave b. 1799, then Catherine Hedden b. 1822, then David Nathaniel Brewer b. 1869, then Elizabeth Jane “Bettie” Brewer b. 1877, then Dorothy Nadeen Noyes b. 1908 who married Lloyd Clinton McKenney.


REFERENCES: “New Netherland Register” by E. N. O’Callaghan
“Civil List and Constitutional History of Colony and State” by Werner
“History of Brooklyn” by Henry R. Stiler(?)

from “The Civil List and Constitutional History of Colony and State of New York” by Edgar A Werner
“At a meeting, August 29, 1641, “Twelve Selectmen” were appointed to advise with the Director General of New Amsterdam with respect to the condition of affairs in the Colony.” — Among them being, Joris Jansen Rapalje
Generation No. 10 — Joris Jansen Rapalje

From Albany Tercentenary 1624-1924 p. 36

No List of of the Colonists who came to Fort Orange has been preserved, but it is known that among them were George (Joris de Rapalje) and his wife Catelina Trico, a native of Paris, whose daughter, Sarah, born June 6 1625, was the First White Child born in New Netherland. Some 60 years later, Catelina Trico declared that the settlers, as soon as they built themselves some huts of bark, traded with the Indians, who “made covenants of friendship with (unintelligible) arien jorise, their Commander, bringing him great presents of ber or peltry etc,” but at an early date was laid the foundation of that unbroken alliance between the Indians and the white men of the Hudson, which afterwards became the controlling factor in the struggle between the French and the English for the mastery of the continent.

from “Documentary History of New York”
Vol. 3 p. 32

Catelyn Trico, aged about 92 years, born in Paris, doth testify and declare that in ye year 1623 she came intil this country with a ship called ye “Unity” whereof was commander Arien Jorise belonging to ye West Indian Company being we first ship yt came here for ye … company. As soon as they came to Manna..ns now called N. York they sent two families and six men to Harford River and two families and eight men to Delaware River and eight men they left at N. Yorke to take possession and ye rest of ye passengers went with ye ship … as fare as Albany which they then called Fort Orange, when as ye ship came as far as … which is half way to Albanie, they lighted ye ship with some boats yt were left there … ye Dutch that had been there ye year before a trading with ye Indians about there … accompts and gone back again to Hollande and so brought ye vessel up: There about eighteen families aboard who settled themselves in Albany and made a small fort; and as soon as they had built themselves some forst of bark; Mahikanders or River Indians, Ye M… Oneydes, Onondages, Cayouges, and Sin… with ye Mahawana or Ottawanes Indians came and made covenant of Friendship with ye Arien Jorise their Commander Bringing him great presents which was concludedpon and ye sd nations came dayly with great multidus of bever and traded them with ye Christians there sa commander Arien Jorise staid with them all winter and sent his sunne home with ye ship ye sd deponent lived in Albany three years all which time ye sd Indians were all as quiet as lambs and came and traded with all ye freedom imaginable; in ye year 1626 ye deponent came from Albany and settled at N. Yorke where she lived afterwards for many years and then came to Long Island where she now lives.

The sd. Catelyn Trico made oath of ye sd. deposition before me at her house on Long Island in ye wale bought this 17th day October 1688

William Morris
Justice of ye Pece

from “Prominent Families of New Nork” by Weeks p. 40
from “Famous Families of New York” by Hamm p. 63
from “Rikers Annals of Newtown”
p 267 Rapalje Family Coat-of-Arms
Dora N. Van Vlack DuRocher
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Nettie Pelaquin (Van Vlack)
St. Petersburg Chapter

Article courtesy Nancy Benton. Transcribed by JMK


William Patrick Hackney, b. 1842 in Van Buren, Iowa, died July 28 1926 at the Sawtelle Soldiers Home in Los Angeles, was the son of Jacob Tivis Hackney and Lucy Chapman and a nephew of this website’s William S. Hackney, and cousin of our Sarah Hackney who married Samuel Kelly Crockett. William Patrick’s father also moved to Cowley county, Kansas with him, they settling a county over from our direct line Hackneys. He came to Kansas in 1870, and located at Arkansas City in Cowley; removed from there to Belle Plaine, Sumner County, in 1871, and remained there until 1873, when he removed to Wellington, Sumner County, and in 1874 to Winfield.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Randy Wright, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 1997.

WILLIAM PATRICK HACKNEY was born in Iowa, in 1842; migrated with his father to Illinois in 1850. Entered the United States Army in 1861 as a private and mustered out as captain of his company four years after. Was in many battles; and wounded twice.

Came to Kansas in 1870; was a member of the lower house of Legislature in 1872 and 1874, from Sumner County; and from Cowley County in 1876 and 1905; was in the upper house from 1881 to 1885.

Owes no man a cent, nor a grudge. Wishes all men well, and enjoys every one of his waking hours.

The foregoing is all that Mr. Hackney desired in this work. His position in Kansas, however, has been one of prominence, and it is believed that there should be some additional material concerning Mr. Hackney’s life in Kansas. He has taken a large part in public affairs and in favor of the best interests of the state. He was the first man to publicly announce himself in favor of the election of Preston B. Plumb as United States senator. He was frequently a member and sometimes chairman of the state conventions of the republican party, and his services were in demand in the party councils and the campaigns. As a lawyer Mr. Hackney has always occupied a prominent place in the Kansas bar.

Mr. Hackney wrote a scholarly pamphlet entitled “The American Merchant Marine.” It was written in reply to an editorial in the Saturday Evening Post. When it was completed it was too long for a newspaper article, and he feared that in the quotations they might make from it the true intent of the pamphlet would not be made clear. He then addressed it to Congress and had it printed, sending copies to the President and all heads of departments, and also sending a copy to each senator and congressman. He supplied civic bodies of the coast cities from Portland, Maine, to Seattle, Washington, with copies of this treatise. He sent copies to the leading newspapers of the country.

As a result of his efforts, a wide discussion of the matters treated was had throughout the country. The sentiment created by the pamphlet and these discussions, no doubt caused the present Congress to pass a law for the upbuilding of our American merchant marine, and the appropriation of $50,000,000 to aid in that important matter. In the future history of ship building in America, the work of Mr. Hackney will be considered as a beginning of the agitation for the rehabilitation of the shipping industry. It is a complete review of the whole question. The book was timely and important to a people with a coast line of 25,000 miles, and the largest overseas freightage in the history of the world.

Mr. Hackney tells of the day when we had statesmen instead of politicians, and how these statesmen legislated for us and gave us the greatest marine tonnage per capita in the history of the world. He also makes plain how their successors permitted England to influence our Legislation on marine subjects until we had been deprived of our shipping facilities and privileges.

It is the opinion of his friends that something more ought to be said of his army record. No better soldier ever lived in Kansas than W. P. Hackney. He was in the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson Shiloh, Corinth, Nashville, Altoona Pass, Wise’s Forks and in many other battles. He was wounded at Altoona Pass on the 5th of October, 1864, one ball passing through his right cheek and one through his body. He was not mustered out of the service until July, 1865. He is an influential member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is one of those who fashioned the State of Kansas–one whose memory the people will ever cherish.–Editor.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Randy Wright, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 1997.

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W. P. HACKNEY, State Senator and attorney at law, was born in Van Buren County, Iowa, in 1842, son of Jacob T. and Lucy Chapman Hackney. At the age of eight years he removed with his parents to Logan County, Ill., where he was educated. At the age of eighteen, in 1861, he entered the army; enlisted in Company H, Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers. Entered as a private and at the end of three months was promoted to Corporal, after nine months to Sergeant and subsequently to Orderly Sergeant, which position he held for nearly two years. In January, 1865, he received a commission as Captain, commission dating from October 5, 1864. He participated in the engagements of Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, taking of Corinth and the battle of Corinth, Nashville, Altoona Pass, Wise’s Forks and other engagements of his command, and was wounded at Altoona Pass on the 5th of October, 1864, by a ball through his right cheek and one through his body; was disabled until the battle of Nashville, and was mustered out in July, 1865. On returning to Illinois, he engaged in farming until April, 1867, when he commenced reading law at Lincoln, Ill., with Col. W. D. Wyatt; he was admitted to the bar in the fall of the same year, and commenced the practice of law. In January, 1868, he was married to Miss Callie L. Vanderventer, daughter of Andrew and Nancy Vanderventer, has had two children – Lyonel V., deceased, and Clyde W. Hackney. He is a Republican in politics. He was Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for the Eighth District of Illinois. He came to Kansas in 1870, and located at Arkansas City, this county; removed from there to Belle Plaine, Sumner County, in 1871, and remained there until 1873, when he removed to Wellington, Sumner County, and in 1874 to Winfield. He has devoted his time exclusively to the practice of his profession. In 1872 and 1874, he represented Sumner County in the State Legislature, and represented Cowley County in 1876, and represented Cowley County as State Senator in 1881-83. He is a member of the G. A. R. Post, No. 85.

SOURCE: William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas

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Cowley County Censor, March 18, 1871.

Mr. Barton, a live and enterprising man and one of the leading citizens of Belle Plain, paid our town a visit this week with his carriage and mules. He reports Hackney and wife as contented and happy in their new home. We are sorry to lose Hackney from Cowley. Cowley ain’t Cowley without Hackney anymore than a tender is a tender without an engine. But then Hackney will come over here to do his courting in the future, by permission of his better half, whom we hope he will always bring along.

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Winfield Courier August 14, 1879.
We give M. L. Read, M. L. Robinson, and W. P. Hackney the credit of securing the depot where they desired. There had been a desire on the part of some to locate it east of town, but no proposition was made in that direction. The only proposition made to Mr. Strong other than that of Mr. Read was for the location west of town between 9th and 10th streets, but this proposition was not put in form and therefore probably not considered. Mr. Lemmon took no part in these matters. If he holds his office by accident, lightning has struck twice in the same place.

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Cowley County Courant, November 17, 1881

HACKNEY & McDONALD, ATTORNEYS AT LAW. North side of 9th avenue, between Main and Millington streets, Winfield, Kansas.

Cowley County Courant, November 17 1881.

Every new building erected on Main street now is not, as then, dedicated with a dance, nor do married women attend them with children in arms, nor do they deposit their kids in the laps of blushing bachelors and join in all hands around. Our Justices of the Peace, when about to unite a loving couple, don’t tell them to “stan” up thar an’ I’ll fix you.” Our butchers, now, don’t go down behind Capt. Lowery’s house, shoot a Texas steer, cut him up with an axe and sell out the chunks before they are done quivering. The writer does not, on nights like Thursday last, rise up from his bed of prairie hay and water, in a little wall tent, and light out for the log store to get out of the wet. All of that kind of fun has passed away and we have had a new deal all around. Some of the men that in those days were frying bacon and washing socks in their bachelor shanties, are now bankers, postmasters, district judges, and palatial hotel keepers. The vigilantes are not now riding over the country every night making preparations to go to Douglass and hang its principal citizens. The bad blood stirred up by the memorable Manning-Norton contest for the Legislature has long since been settled. Winfield and Arkansas City have buried the hatchet; Tisdale, ditto. Our merchants don’t sell Missouri flour for $6 per sack, corn for $1.50 per bushel, and bacon for 33½ cents per pound. Bill Hackney (now the Hon. W. P.) does not come up every week to defend Cobb for selling whiskey in Arkansas City without a license. Patrick, the editor of the Censor, (our first newspaper) and Walt Smith, the proprietor of the “Big Horn ranch” on Posey Creek, have both gone west to grow up with the country. Fairbanks’ dug-out has been in ruins for years. Dick Walker is still running conventions, but not here. A. T. Stewart is no longer one of the boys. Speed, with his calico pony and big spurs, is seen no more on the Baxter Springs trail. Jackson has laid down the saw and plane and joined the ranks of the railroad monopolists. Colonel Loomis has shed his soldier overcoat. Zimrie Stubbs has climbed the golden stair, Nichols is married, Oak’s cat is dead: in fact, Bent, there is nothing anymore like it used to was in Winfield.

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A GOOD ONE ON HACKNEY. We take the following from the Wichita Beacon in regard to Hon. W. P. Hackney, the great temperance reformer of Cowley county.

“Mr. Hackney, of Winfield, the able prohibition legislator, having succeeded, he thinks, in driving whiskey off the streets into the houses of Winfield, determined to try his hand in the village of Douglas, Butler County. He employed a small boy to go to a drug store and purchase a pint of “tea,” furnishing the lad with the money. The boy followed the instructions, went to the drug store and asked for a pint of “tea.” The proprietor replied that he was busy, and for the boy to call again in a few minutes and he would get it for him. The boy returned and the flask of “tea” was handed to him. “How much?” asked the boy. “It is high, but there is a good deal of trouble now in the “tea” trade, and we have to put on the price.” The boy took the “tea,” paid the money, and delivered the package to the Great Reformer. Bill smelt of it and then asked the boy, “What in the h___l did you ask for?” “Tea,” said the young cat’s paw of this honored reformer. “Well, by g__d, you got tea.”

This, indeed, is a good joke; told in good style and takes wherever it is read, but for fear it might mislead the public by being taken for a fact, we have to say that the Hon. Wm. P. Hackney has not been in Douglas for three years, and at the time the story is credited, he was in Colorado; besides he never sends boys on important business, and is too good a judge of human nature to make a mistake in a man. As a joke it is well enough, but for a fact the story is without any foundation whatever. It won’t hurt Mr. Hackney, however, as he is used to being lied about.

The Morning Glory by George H. Walser

From Poets and Poetry of Nebraska, Contains Biographical Sketches and Choice Poetical Selections from the Leading Poets Now Living, issued 1902 by the American Publisher’s Association in Chicago.

Walser was then living in Nebraska.

The Morning Glory
by George H. Walser, of Liberal, Mo

First to greet the morning sun,
First to smile on day begun.

When the sun has reached the noon,
Still its smiles are fresh in bloom;

But when the sun descends the skies,
Then the morning-glory dies.

So do many folks pretend,
When Fortune smiles, to be your friend.

Should good fortune turn away,
Or a cloud o’ercast your day,

Away will then their friendship fly,
And like the morning-glory, die.


My grandfather sent this to me in 1978, which concerns the family farm in Chautauqua county, Kansas that was shared by the McKenneys and Samuel Kelly Crockett and his wife, Sadie Hackney Crockett. The Crockett school is mentioned and my grandfather showed me an old photo of it once, from when he was a boy, and I would imagine my cousins in Kansas have that photo somewhere.

Does the limestone rock survive into which was chiseled 1871, the date the land was purchased by the James Kelly Crockett?


Recollections of Lloyd McKENNEY
13 December 1978

My first and very faint recollection is of a farm home on the limestone prairie on east side of the road about three miles north of Chautauqua, Kansas, and about four miles south of Sedan, Kansas in Chautauqua County, Kansas. My date of birth is 1/29/19. When I was about 4 years of age, we moved to the CROCKETT farm, to make our home with my mother’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. K. CROCKETT. The farm was purchased by my great grand-parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. CROCKETT in 1871. The date is chiseled in the face of one of the large limestone rocks that are the rimrocks of the hill behind the house location. Their farm where they lived prior to the move was near Nevada, Missouri. They had owned slaves, who were freed after the Civil War. Grandfather CROCKETT told me one of his early recollections was that of playing with the children of the slaves, in a road or play area that was in front of their homes. And that it was a pleasant memory. Our farm house was a two story, frame structure, with a kitchen one or two steps lower than the living-dining area, of about ten foot width and possibly thirty feet long (width of the house). A door opened from the kitchen into a large cellar area. The yard was divided into an upper and lower area with a mall separating the two areas. And there was a house over the cellar, with a porch and steps up, to walk across the flat roof over the kitchen into the upstairs of the house. The cellar house was for storage and living quarters for hired men etc.

Great grandfather CROCKETT apparently constructed a second set of barns and buildings needed when my grandparents moved there. The land owned by Great grandfather CROCKETT had been divided between the two sisters and my grandfather. There were some shallow oil wells and one gas well on the farm. They were pumped by a pumper who lived in the lease house on the portion of land owned by Mrs. W. E. LEMON (one of the sisters), and her husband, he was a lease operator and attorney who lived on a lease three or four miles east of there and had that lease along with others. A gas line about a half mile long to the well provided gas for our lights and heat, and cooking for all the years I know anything about.

The combination of incomes…oil field work (my father kept one team that he drove and sometimes a second and/or third oil field team at work in the oil fields…hauling, pulling, rods, casing, etc., for most of the time I lived at home). When not needed for oil field activity, there was the farming that was never without need for more work and activity, over and above the planting, cultivating and harvesting. It was a very busy…, more work than could be accomplished, time.

The school, originally known as the CROCKETT School, was on the land out of one corner of the CROCKETT land, a quarter mile east of the house in which we lived, and we drove down our road to the school grounds and around the north and of the two room, two teacher school house and out to the road in front, where our mail box was located along the road. It was a good school, paid the highest wages of any rural school in the county at one time (so I was told back then). Grades 4 through 8 were taught by the principal of the school, 1 through 4 and kindergarten by the other teacher.

The valley in which we lived was surrounded on north, west and south, from where we lived, by hills. Our farm buildings and house were on a mostly sloping area…flat where the house located and a flat parking area to the south…sloping where the south barn located (sloping to the east) and sloping from the north barn, mostly to the south. There were quite a number of buildings on the land around…to the north and northeast of the house…yard, directly east, parking to the south…several chicken houses including main chicken house and roosts, a newer addition to the east consisting of laying house and area for the layers in the house, and fenced in chicken yard…a fenced in area north of the chicken house containing another laying house (roosting house) for the best of the Rhode Island Reds (all of that breed) hens and roosters that were selected for breeding stock…from which chickens were added. There were possibly 50 hens and a few roosters in this area during part of each year…and open for all during other periods. And north of that larger area fenced in with possibly 12 foot high posts and chicken wire…numerous smaller individual houses or coops for each hen and a group of chicks during incubating season. Other far buildings, in addition to those mentioned included a combination carriage house…garage, with vise, forge and shop area in front portion, a milk cow area to east of that with cattle stalls on east side of carriage house, basically milking stalls and surrounded by a tall fence. To the north of that area was the hog pen area, with a hog shed and feed and water troughs along the north side of this penned in area…and they could be kept in the north area, or given the run of the entire area hog fenced. The north barn was to the northwest of that area, on level land and consisted of barn…stalls on each side, aisle between…a covered driveway at back of those portions and granaries north of the drive way…equipment etc. stored in the driveway and animals could be kept there also, and another fenced in area to east of that had a cow shed in it. To west of that barn was the windmill (no longer operative in later years, area, with gas engine and tanks for stock water…a rather deep well. Outside the fence on the north was the cattle feeding area for cattle outside the housing area, part of the time a feeding rack made of poles, and another area fenced, in which bundled feed was kept…also stacked feed or hay…to be carried out of there to the stock during winter. South of the north barn was the carriage house, in which the automobile was kept on east side and buggy and surrey on the other side for a long time. A water tank was half on each side of fence dividing the two barn areas, gravity flow water from big tank at north well. Another well with pump, hand operated, was in the south barn area. The south barn also had stalls on both the east and west sides, mangers and feed boxes between…hay loft above in same manner as north barn…and a feed building to south…and a machinery shed with partially covered area for equipment and building containing areas divided by partitions for grain and feed…also front part had harness repair area. Binder was usually under the covered area for implements and a spring wagon. The heavy oil field wagons chains, boomers etc. The vegetable garden was between chicken house and south barn area just north of yard area east of house…other yard area and automobile parking area was to south of house.

Transcribed by JMK 2001