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20 November 2006

Wyandotte County


There is considerable coverage on the Grinter Place in the various Grinter Family Pages, but it seems appropriate to have a page just devoted to one of the key features on the Old Kansas Delaware Preserve. I will, begin to sort out what appears appropriate on the family pages and that which seems to fit better here.


Beginning 22 October 2006, I began entering much of a typescript prepared by Rodney Staab, Curator of the Grinter Place Historic Site 1986-1997, in preparation for an Interpretive Manual of the site 15 June 1997). I do not know whether or not the Manual was ever finished and published and put into use.

Much of the data are duplicated elsewhere, but it, but it puts most of it in one location in this web site. If you know whether or not the Manual was ever completed and published, I would appreciate knowing. As I have to type this in by my slow typing, it may take a while. Editor swiftwater@lenapedelawarehistory.net

Chapter I - Residences of the GRINTER-MARSHALL-KIRBY FAMILIES 1830s to 1950

     Contemporary testimony on the construction and use of the original buildings at Grinter Place is rare. The mid- to late-twentieth century tradition has long been that that the Grinter family began with the marriage of Moses Grinter and Annie Marshall in January 1831, that they lived at or very near this site since the genesis of the Grinters as a family, that the house was built in 1857,and that the construction took two years. Further memoirs maintain that the Kirby family did not move into the house until after the death of Annie Grinter in 1905. In some instances these assumptions can be checked against contemporary sources.

       Presenting the details of the Grinter family history here and in all these chapters, and evidence for the Fort Leavenworth - Fort Scott military road and the connecting ferry in yet another chapter, in general it seems evident that Moses and Annie Grinter began living together or acting as married people by about 1838, with their first child, Frances Catherine Grinter, born December 26, 1839. hat they were a family is confirmed by the 1842 Delaware census, which at No. 101 lists Mrs. Grinter with one male and one female child under age of ten. The ale child would have been their second child, William Henry Harrison Grinter, born 1 November 1841. Moses Grinter himself, not being a Delaware, would have been excluded from the census. No marriage certificate has yet been discovered for the couple. [end page 1-1]

     Locations of the Grinter family home , 1830s-1855

     It is uncertain where the Grinter family lived prior to 1855. In 1929 a Grinter daughter, Mrs. Henry Kirby, born July 16, 1857. recalled that "for more than a quarter of a century the Grinters lived in a pioneer cottage near the Grinter trading post, just above the ferry" prior to constructing the extant brick home (Kansas City Kansan 27 December 1929). Mrs. Kirby's obituary also stated that "her parents . . . occupied the home in which she died when she was two years old." This version of the family story appears in almost all the subsequent histories of the site, and carries the clear implication that this vicinity was from the beginning the only location for the Grinter home. Nonetheless some early evidence locating the family home near or within the drainage area of Marshall Creek in the northern part of the present-day county boundaries should be noted. Much of the dating hinges on the times of birth and death of the Grinter children. Appendix 1, the family group chart for the Moses Grinter family, should thus here be consulted.

     (1) A post-1951 family recollection, of which there is a poor photocopy in the Kirby-Willey collection at the Grinter House, states that the family "lived near present Washington High School [on the north side of Leavenworth road, between 72nd and 75th Streets] for a few years where 3 of their children were born, 3 dying young before the start of the Grinter Cemetery [and] were [thus] buried in the Delaware cemetery, at White Church." Examining the family group chart for the Moses Grinter family, the first three births concluded with their third child, Victoria B. (b. 26 June 1848, d. 4 September 1853, the fifth child, Florence (b. 11 July 1851, d. 24 October 1857) and the sixth child, Prudence (b. 11 July 1851, d. 24 October 1857) and the sixth child, Prudence (b. 26 June 1854, d. infancy). There was another child, James [end page 1-2] Grinter, whose birth and death (in infancy) dates are unknown, but traditionally he is placed as the eight child, born between Martha A. Vashti (the seventh, b. 16 July 1857) and Francis (the ninth, b. 1 July 1862, d. 12 July 1864).

     (2) Somewhat corroborating the above account is another from a news article (in the Merlye Hotujac collection, Grinter Place Museum) telling of the annual Grinter family reunion . This reunion occurred 25 September 1932. The news article, from an unknown newspaper, states that Moses Grinter "married Miss Annie Marshall, a Delaware Indian, in January, 1838. Top that union ten children were born. All now are dead. Five died while in childhood and are buried in the old Indian cemetery at White Church. The other five are buried in Grinter's chapel cemetery, one-half mile north of the Grinter home." The 26 September Kansas City Kansan reprinted below has nearly identical  genealogical information. [end page 1-3]

      The five children who died as adults were, in chronological order: William Henry Harrison Grinter (d, 10 December 1887), Frances Catherine Grinter (d. 9 April 1908); she married John Grinter)), Mary Jane Grinter Defries (d.16 July 198), Cunningham R. Grinter (d. 11 March 1924), and the last. Martha Vashti Grinter Allen Kirby (d. 20 June 1930). Hence this tradition again argues for a pre-1868 affiliation of the family with White Church, today located at 85th Street and Lafayette.

     (3) An account in the Kansas City Sun for 14 July 1905 memorializing Moses R. Grinter states that "when first married, for a few years they lived near Bethel, where heir first child, (Francis C.) [i.e. Frances Catherine Grinter] was born [26 December 1839] but later located  near the [Kansas] river living in a log house until about 1860, when the fine brick residence was erected, which is still standing." The Bethel cemetery, itself more or less at the center of the old Bethel community and located on the south side of the Leavenworth road at 78th Street, it is about 1.1 miles northeast of White Church. Hence this earliest account locates the family near Bethel as early as 1839. Note that the earlier these sources are dated, the earlier they locate the family in the Bethel area. Note, also, that the question of this earliest location is   only  treated in 20-th century sources. No 19th-century cou5ces yet located treat the qu4stion. It should also be observed here that from the heavy reliance upon the births and deaths of children in dating events, it is highly probable that the base-line memories are those of a woman. Moses Grinter died 12 June 1878 and our source material for earliest Grinter homes seems to rely exclusively on remembrances of Annie's recollections. Annie died 28 June 1905.

     (4) Somewhat corroborating an earlier White Church location is an obituary, from an unidentified newspaper, of Mrs. Anna Grinter. The clipping [end of page 1-4] now in te Ora Davis Grinter collection at Grinter Place Museum. The clipping garbles many of the otherwise well-documented facts about the family but reports: "in 1836 she married Moses R. Grinter. Ten children were born to them . . . Mr. and Mrs. Grinter lived o a farm near White Church until the death of Mr. Grinter in 1878."

     Summarizing these four early sources, it seems likely that the first Grinter home was in Bethel or White Church area. and was inhabited from the late 1830s to about the mid-1840s. The second home, also of wood construction, was likely very near the present Grinter Place and was occupied from about the mid-1840s to about 1860. The third Grinter home is the one which now stands at the northwest corner of K-32 Highway and 78thStreet.

     Those first homes were, most likely, log homes; see R. Staab, "Dining with the Delawares: Kansas Delaware Homes and Hospitality, 1830s - 1860s," pp. 354-356 in Papers of the Twenty-third Algonquian Conference (Ottawa, 1992), reprinted with this interpretive manual, for an overview of the literature. Francis Parkman, a recent Harvard graduate in 1846, also noted the Delaware cabins, and left a description of what might in fact be the second Grinter home, although unfortunately he does not identify anyone by name: "A few hours' ride [on 10 May 1846] brought us to the banks of the river Kansas. traversing the woods that line it and ploughing through the deep sand, we encamped not far from the bank at the Lower Delaware Crossing. Our tent was erected for the first time on a meadow close to the woods, and the camp preparations being complete, we began to think of super. An old Delaware woman of some three hundred pounds [Betsy Willaquenaho Marshall?] sat in the porch of a little log house close to the water, and a very pretty half-breed girl was engaged under her superintendence in feeding a large flock of turkeys that were fluttering and cobbling about the door. But no offers of money or even of tobacco could induce [end of page 1-5] her to part with one of her favorites, so I took my rifle to see if the woods or the river could furnish us anything." (The Oregon Trail, ed. Mason Wade, 1943 [the unexpurgated edition], chapter two; see also Barry pp, 581-582.

     Commenting on Parkman's description, it should be added that in the traditional Indian homes, and in fact in many homes of woodland tribes, the grandmother stayed home and babysat, while the mother and father were at their respective chores. Parkman's description would probably suit the majority of Delaware cabin homes at one time or another, so there is no pressing reason to believe that this was in fact the Grinter home. Nonetheless in 1846 this description, vague as it is, would also fit the known demographics of the Grinter Family, for the oldest girl, Francis Catherine Grinter, would then have been six, and the old Delaware woman might have been Anne Marshall Grinter's mother. This would have been Elizabeth Ketchum Marshall, then about 49 years of age, the mother of eight children, and widowed in 1834 (only three of her children survived infancy).

     Parkman's description would have fit with the chronology of the Grinter homes established here, though the chronology stands on its own. Note, further, that if this home is indeed the Grinter home, there is no particuar connection to the operation of a river-crossing outfit here except through mere geographical propinquity --- and this, too, fits in with what we know of the Grinter livelihood hood. More discussion of the Grinter family and the ferry crossing is postponed for the chapter on that subject.

     Note, finally, that there is a well-known incident which would occasion the relocation of a home site in this region between 1843 and 1846, and this would have been the great flood of 1844. The post-1951 memoir, cited above, states that Annie Marshall Grinter "witnessed both the 1844 flood & 1803 flood [end page 1-6] saying the 1844 flood was the highest water." If, then, the relocation occurred circa 1845. then the Grinter's second home, which lasted until until about 1862, would have stood in the vicinity of the current (third) home" More than a quarter of a century" as Mrs. Kirby said in 1929.

 Documentation of the site, 1860 to 1900

     The extant map of the subdivisions of Township 11 South, Range 24 East, surveyed from 15 April 1861, locates "Moses Grinter" at the present location on the north bank of the Kansas river. We should nonetheless be cautipus in accepting the view that the existing brick building was complete by that time. In the existing northeast corner of the structure, within the exterior wall facing the back porch, and at about head height, there are two bricks which bear pre-firing inscriptions of (a) "Mr. A. Zane May 7 1865" and (b) "A Zane May 7th 1865" in a Spencerian script. These bricks have the appearance of being repairs, but ea5ly repairs, to the original wall. The Zanes were Wyandot Indians; there are several A. Zanes (Wyandots) residing in this area mentioned in Louise Barry's index to the KSHS publications.

     There is a tradition that a man named Bernard Tourtelling actually built the house. The tradition comes fr0m John McClain, who in 1985-1987 was sales engineer for the Missouri Valley Electric Company, 1640 Baltimore, P.O. Box 1640, Kansas City, MO 64141. Jefferson Brown, former curator of the Grinter Place Museum, had written on 17 September 1985, I wrote a letter to John McClain on 11 December 1987 asking about this tradition. McClain had told Jeff that Bernard Torteling [sic] had arrived in Wyandot County before it was a territory, started the first brewery here, and was a mason who could build his own kiln, if need be, to fire the bricks. McClain also told Jeff that he had two letters written in the 1920s by Bernard's son which detailed recollections [end of page 1-7] of having built the Grinter House. I received no reply from Mr. McCain. Partially propping up this tradition, the Wyandotte Commercial Gazette for July 20, 1867, states that "B. H. Tertling is putting up a number of one story-brick houses on Myrtle Street (Or Myrtle Avenue, we are not sure which,) one of which is about completed and nearly ready for occupancy, with a second well under way. We (i.e., he) has purchased quite a tract of Mrs. Walker, has started a brick yard, and burned one fine kiln of brick already, and is, withal, doing quite a land office business in the way of real estate."

     The following item, from the Wyandot Herald  of 11 July 1872, offers a snippet of contemporary information on the house and property: "On Monday evening last (Jul8 8) the inhabitants of Secondine were startled by an earthquake. The shock occurred about 10 o'clock P.M. and traveled from Southeast to Northwest. But one shock was felt which lasted from four to five seconds. But one shock was felt which lasted from four to five seconds. W. H. Grinter, from who we glean the particulars, says that the shock was as severe as the one felt here in 1867. He informed us that the stock on his father's farm was greatly excited, the dogs set up a pitiful howl, the horses neighbed and snorted and the cattle ran bellowing in every direction. He says he sat looking out the window leaning his arms on the same and felt the house vibrating under him. A young man sleeping in the same room was awakened by the trembling of the house and thought that some one was trying to pull the bed from under him. We have had heard whether the shock was felt at any other place."

     The Wyandot Herald for 31 May 1882 reports on the apprehension of a man named Webster in Washington County, Kansas. Webster was brought back to Wyandot County by Sheriff Bowling for having stolen "the Widow Grinter's hogs last winter." [end of page 1-8]

     The 1890 Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas Historical and Biographical volume published by Goodspeed, contains in a biography of Mrs. Annie Grinter (pp. 622-624) the following passage: "Since death has deprived her of the loved companion, Mrs. Grinter resides in here elegant brick residence, and being in good financial circumstances lives happily and quietly, surrounded by a host of admiring friends and her children." There is, of course, a great deal else of biogaphical interest in this account.

     The Bonner Springs, Kansas, Wyandotte Chieftain for July 16, 1897, relates that "The old Grinter homestead near Muncie, is being overhauled by the present tenant, Mr.. Kirby. The furniture is also being remodeled by Mr. Weigelmesser, of this place,." This item calls for commentary. In 1897 Martha Vashti grinter married W. D Alen; he died 27 September 1877. Their child, born 6 September 1877, also died on 27 September 1877, according to one family tree (in the Kirby-Willey collection). Martha Grinter Allen then married Henry Clay Kirby on 30 October 18889. The post-1951 recollection cited above states that several years of Martha V, Grinter's life were spent "from pillar to post going to places where he husband had to preach. At his retirement {he] came to Muncie in 1900 ton her own home n the farm. In 1905 inherited her mother's old home, moved they in 1907." There were a number of Grinter homes in the V=vicinity of Muncie by 1897 so it should not be assumed that "the old Grinter homestead" is in fact the building now t 1420 South 78th Street. Nevertheless the chronology of Kirby family events from 1890 to 1907 with respect to the 78th Street sit is unclear to me.

The circa 1900 photograph of the house

     A very useful photograph of the site, taken from the south and featuring Annie Grinter, her so Cunningham (ordinarily known as Cam), Cam's wife Shirley [end of page 1-9] and two children. Cam and Shirley had five children (born in 1886, 1889, 1892,1895 and 1898) and the children in the photo appear to be about two and four years of age, respectively. Without further knowledge of the precise identities of the children we can nonetheless say with some degree of confidence that the photograph was taken sometime between 1892 and 1900. 

     The photo depicts the white picket fence atop the stone wall surrounding the house, the bulging-out of the top of the chimney above the kitchen, and the west exterior wall off te breezeway, with a door but no windows. Although it is a black and white photo, seemingly the columns on the south porch are painted. The columns in the photo are probably not the columns extant today. Otherwise the architecture of the house seemingly conforms to that seen in the structure today.   

    The 1929 interview with the Kirby Family

     Lincoln Phifer, a reporter for the Kansas City Kansan, interviewed  Mattie and Annie Kirby, granddaughters of Mosses and Annie Grinter, in lat 1929 and learned the following with respect to te construction of the house:  "After the birth of most of the children. the original Grinter house burned to the ground. The[n] Moses Grinter, wealthy by this time, built the large 2-story brick dwelling that remains to this day on the summit of the hill known as Grinter Heights, and comparable to the famous Shawnee Indian Mission further south. Construction of the building started July 1, 1862. and the structure was completed and occupied te following January. The brick for the building were molded and burned on the Grinter farm, the lime used was taken from ledges near the house and burned where it was mined. The frame work was from native timber, sawed in the neighborhood. Finished lumber, the windows and doors, were hauled from Leavenworth, having firth been brought up the Missouri river by boat. [end of page 1-10]  

     "The wall of the lower floor," Phifer continued, "is twenty-one inches thick; of the second floor, seventeen inches. The windows only have two lights to the sash, something that was unusual at the time the structure was erected sixty-eight years ago. At that time it was one of the largest and finest residences in Kansas, and even today it stands outlined against the sky, commodious and very striking.

     "The sixth child of Moses and Anna Grinter, Mrs. Henry C. Kirby, with her husband and daughter and her family," Phifer continued, "still occupies the old homestead. She has lived there ever since, when, a child of 5 in 1863, she moved in with her father's family. The Kirby children grew up in this historic old home, they married and some of them have died. One daughter and her husband reside in the building where her parents still live, but in another section of the house; for the house is abundantly roomy to house two families. A grandson, about 7 years old, whose mother has died, makes his home with his grandparents in the old homestead . . . [[Through the windows facing north] -- beyond the chicken houses, the barns, the bee hives, the orchard -- upon another ridge a mile further on, one can see Grinter Chapel where two generations of the Grinters attended church and school . . . .[Inside the house] one seems in another world. The big clock ticks leisurely. The old-fashioned stove fills the room with the aroma of burning wood. You are seated in a handmade, but comfortable rocking chair; on the bed there is a quilt placed doubtless by some of the older generation and quilted by hand. There is room. much room; for the walls are apparently about twenty feet from each other." (Kansas City Kansan) 29 December 1929).

     A couple of notes should be appended here. First, from the family group sheet it would appear that Martha Vashtie Grinter Kirby was actually the seventh [end of page 1-11] Grinter child and not the sixth. Second, it cannot be determined which of the earlier two homes burned to the ground, as was claimed in 1929. Third, the 1 July 1862 date of the beginning of construction on the home given here exactly coincides with the dates of Francis Grinter's birth, the ninth child. Again there is a reliance on the birth of the children in dating events. [We might also note here that "Vashti" was the queen, and wife to King Ahasuerus, in the first chapters of the Biblical book of Ester. The name is not believed to be Delaware. ][Nor are any of the other family names. Editor]

Despite the clear statement of the 29 July 1862-January 1863 construction of the brick home in the December `829account, Mrs. Kirby's obituary upon the occasion of her death on 20 June 1930 -- less than six months after the Phifer interview -- stated "Mrs. Kirby had lived all her life at Muncie, her parents having died the home in which she died when she was 2 years old," i.e. in 1859. This 1859 date for the home has been perpetuated in literature since that time.

Three accounts from 1932

     A 1932 news-clipping (from an unidentified newspaper) gives further details. The clipping, now in the Merle Hotujac collection at the Grinter Place Museum. celebrates the upcoming centennial of White Church on the following Sunday. This centennial occasion as Sunday, May 29.1932 (White Church Sesquicentennial booklet) and so the clipping probably dates from a few days earlier. Giving a history of the Delawares and the people associated with the church, the clipping states that the bricks of Moses Grinter home "were made" and burned just south of the house. The lumber was cut on the place and hauled to Mill Creek. The finishing limber was hauled from Leavenworth over the old territorial road. A man named Burns, a brick mason, laid the brick for the home. Grinter's pet hobby was raising bees. He could take a swarm of them [end of page 1-12] anywhere. He was also noted for his fine fruit and orchards. He was the first permanent white settler of Wyandotte county. Mr. and Mrs. Grinter had ten children, five of these children are buried in the Indian cemetery near White Church."

     Another 1932 article, dating probably from 26 September and currently in the Meryrle Hotujac collection at Grinter Place, celebrates the third "Grinter Clan Reunion." The article states: "The brick [for the house] were burned in what is now the front yard. With the exception of two rooms, the original flooring still is in the structure . . . A basket dinner was served at noon in cafeteria style. Every family took a basket of food ands it was spread out on tables. It was said every basket contained fried chicken." Many of the participants at these reunions have told me that at these events a large family tree [genealogy] in the shape of a tree, would be placed in what we would now term the entrance hall, the first room one enters the house. The  "tree" was placed either on the wall beneath the staircase, or the opposite wall./ [I wonder where it is now? Editor] Meryle told me "people came from as far away as Independence, Missouri, and as far far as Topeka, Kansas. just to come to these reunions. [As your editor and the greater Hahn Family did.]  Many people in those photographs still live today.

     A third article from that year is in some respects almost identical with the clipping found in the 26 September Kansas City Kansan. This  Kansan item, partly based on the Lincoln Phifer article three earlier, states that "the old family home at Grinter Heights . . . is a sturdy brick house built not for a day or a year, but to withstand the elements and ears. It is of two stories, built of brick moulded   and burned where it was mined. The framework was from native timber, sawed in [end of page 1-13] the neighborhood. Finishing lumber, the windows and doors, were hauled from Fort Leavenworth, having first been brought up the Missouri river by boat. The wall of the lower floor is 21 inches thick; that of the second floor, seventeen inches . . . [Moses] and his brother, James C. Grinter, married sisters, who were part French and part Delaware Indian. [There is no proof that they were French. They were one-half Delaware, their mother, Elizabeth Willaquenaho being full-blood Delaware]. Moses married Annie Marshall and James married Rose [Roseanne] Marshall. Moses Grinter and wife had ten children, all of whom are dead. Five died while in childhood and are buried in the old Indian cemetery at White church. The other five are buried in the Grinter chapel cemetery, which adjoins the little old Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which was established through the efforts of Moses Grinter.  Moses Grinter died in January, 1978, and his wife in June, 1905."

A post-1951 family account of the construction of the Grinter farmstead

     Te post-1951 remembrance cited above (from the Kirby-Willey collection) also furnishes a valuable account of the construction of the house and farmstead buildings. The relevant portion is reprinted above, edited for clarity but preserving some of the syntax of the original:

     "The home if M and [for] the elevated wall around the house some distance away, making an elevated yard about oses R. Grinter on the hill overlooking the Kaw, northwest of the ferry location, was begun in 1856 under the construction skill of John Swagger. Native stone was used for all foundation work about 100 feet on each side, averaging abut 2 1/2 feet high. A white wicket fence set atop the wall with entrance gates on the south to the west and to the north connected to the house by brick walks and molded bricks of native clay made on the site. Lime for the mortar was burned in a [kin] 200 yards to [the] northwest on [the[ bank of the creek. The 24 x 60 2-story main structure was built first with a 22 inch walls on the first floor and 17 inch walls on the second floor. All partitions [end of page 1-14] were brick supported on stone foundation. Cyprus [i.e., cypress] singles covered the roof which needed no replacement until 1902.  The main structure was put into use in the fall of 1859. The kitchen was built and connecting & enclosures followed. The walnut stair rail was hand made on the job. All finish material, door, windows, etc., were boated from Leavenworth & oxteamed to the site, taking 3 days for the trip. Window & door sills & lintels were walnut. The 5 large fire-places, [large enough to accomodate a 3 1/2 foot log, were the heating and cooking sources. The upper deck porch was a haven for the sleepy in extremely hot weather. It also served to dry peaches, apples, corn, hops & such. The 50 gal. cast iron kettle positioned to the west of the house served for cooking hams, hominy, lard rendering and and soap making. 150 feet west was the original lg barn, another was later built 250 feet northeast. A large stone cave was built in the bank 150 feet east of the house. The Grinter spring was the water source, 200 yards northeast in the creek. The large istren at the east end of the house came later.  fruit orchard occupied the land south & southwest of the house. Two large maple trees, one on either side of the front entrance n the lower yard level, gave extensive shade. Other trees near filled in empty spaces. A large lilac bush was in the S.W. corner of the yard. Another was in the S.E./ corner. A spreading yellow rose was my first memory of this part of the yard. The well, dug in 1870, was 63 ft. deep, riley [riled] water would come from it when the river was above normal. Bill Maupin moved his sawmill from Independence Mo in 1866 to Edwardsville, [and] furnished lumber to the Grinter buildings and others in the locale. This native lumber was used for all buildings until about 1890, when better lumber was badly depleted.

     Another account from the same source. while not specifically pertinent to the history of the structures at the site, nevertheless offers some insight into local agro-environmental adaptations: [end of page 1-15]

Little development of he locale was made until the close of the Civil War. Most settlers were poor & satisfied themselves with a log house & small farm and garden area. Most settled on land near a natural spring for water supply, clearing small areas, [and] later as demands grew, connected these to make large fields. Wheat became a main crop, confined to manual hand harvest with the hand cradle and binding. Wm. H. H. Grinter [died 1887] was among the best experts in this line. By 190 the wheat binder was being used, but [because of] the stumps in the fields, much cradleling still had to be done to save the entire crop. Progress to de-stump the was attempted by any means, mostly by hand work.  Mechanical pullers & explosive came to use about 1900, clearing many of the fields. Much of the fertile was swamps & wet & little farms until [the] 1890's. Water was plentiful at 30 ft. depth in the bottoms. By drainage many areas soon were under cultivation, and homesteads became frequent. Few of the water supply springs survived in the upland due to man's encroachment [by] these methods. Some of these springs) were major as: 76th [street] & U.P.R.R. [Union Pacific Railroad], Secondine spring, Grinter spring east of Grinter house, Searcy spring 77[th street] [north of Swartz Avenue], Newman spring north of 79 & Swartz, W. A. Defries spring south of 79 & Kansas Avenue, A. Defries spring south of Kansas Ave & 75, James Grinter spring north of the old home. Two springs west of 80 & Kaw Drive were the traveler's haven, plenty of shade, and on the highway.

Household Furnishings

     Except for the 1929 article, household furnishings for the Grinters and others of that vicinity are almost completely undocumented. I have never seen any interior photographs. On the positive side, for purposes of reconstructing an "average" household's furnishings for pre-1900 sites, if a head of household in Kansas died intestate (without a will), the Probate Court (end of page 1-16); [ page 1-17 appears to be missing, but Staab was probably going to mention that an inventory of property owned was required.)

Chapter 2. Dining with the Delawares: Kansas Delaware Homes and Hospitality, 1830s-1860s

This chapter is based on a paper by Rodney Staab entitled "Dining with the Delawares: Kansas Delaware Homes and Hospitality 1830s-1860s," that was published in Papers of the Twenty-Third Algonquian Conference by the Carleton University, Ottawa, 1992, William Cowan, Editor

     The treaties of 1829 and 1867 give us usable, if imprecise, dates for the arrival from Missouri and Indiana, and the departure to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), of the Kansas Delawares, Weslager 1972:370-427), The years between, then, count for about a tenth of the time the Unami-speaking people have been known to Europeans. Although the dispersal and loss of Kansas Delaware lands and te gradual Christianizing of the tribe have been the subject of several historians'' inquiries, less has been written about the ephemeral details of Delaware home lie during this period. For example, the two most useful surveys of housing have hitherto been Lewis Henry Morgan's 1859 description and anther list complied about 1862. Morgan wrote:

When Mr. Pratt [a Baptist missionary] came among them 12 years ago, they were living in bark houses. Now many of them are living in frame houses two stories high, some with a veranda in front the whole length, and the have good barns and outbuildings. Some of them have herds of cattle from 25 to 100 and have 5 to 20 swine, sheep, wagons, and all kinds of implements (Cited in Thurman 1973:200)

     The circa 1862 list indicated, of 27 Delaware families, the number living in particular types of homes: log cabin 11; two cabins 5; three cabins 2; double cabin 3; small frame house 3; three houses 1; large frame house 1; two story house 1 (cited by Thurman 1973:200)
     But dozens of brief notices and accounts in contemporary periodical literature allow us to sharpen our focus on Delaware domesticity from the 1830s through the 1860s. Of the extant accounts of travelers who dined with their Delaware hosts in early Kansas, one of the most representative was left by Byron, and otherwise unnamed soldier of the Ninth Kansas Cavalry. While en route from Fort Riley to Quindaro during late January, 1862[end of p. 354], Byron and another visitor stopped at a Delaware home to inquire after food and lodging, and left this account:

[We inquired] of the inmates (eight persons of various ages) whether they kept travellers or not. After considerable palavering, without understanding a single word, we were motioned to the barn, where we left our tired horses. As we were returning to the house, we discovered an old Indian woman "packing" a large log upon her shoulders, which she carried into the house and placed on the fire with [a] quantity of small sticks, and we were soon made comfortable. While supper was preparing, we amused ourselves by interrogating a little half breed of a half dozen summers, who had received some education, and could digest very good English. . . While we were there, he brought in a half dozen rabbits which he had killed with the bow and arrow. We expected poor fare, but were very agreeably disappointed to find good coffee, with plum preserves, good biscuit, roast turkey and a fine roll of butter upon the table. (Byron 1862)

     The references to wild or foraged foods such as rabbits and plums, cultivated or purchased grain for the biscuits, domesticated cattle, domesticated or wild turkeys, purchased coffee, the domestic arrangements for the house and barn, the number of inhabitants per dwelling, and the varying degrees of ability or willingness to discourse in English are all echoed in contemporary accounts, affording the synoptic reader an unintended ethnographic sketch of Delaware domesticity.
     Albert D. Richardson, a political reporter from the Cincinnati Gazette and the Quindaro, Kansas Territory, Chindowan, from June 1857 to early 1858 left five separate accounts of stopovers at Delaware homes. On his first such visit to a "half-way station kept by Indians" on te Delaware Reserve, dated to June, 1857. he and his companion were dismayed by a "view of our copper-colored cook picking up the corned beef with her stout, bony fingers." (Richardson 1857a). Late that summer, however, the Delaware log or frame houses, barns, and the surrounding few acres of "cornfields and wheatfields, and fields of other grains, growing where there was once a heavy forest" reminded him of scenes common in the States (Richardson 1857b).
     Just prior to Richardson's second stopover, dated to August 25, 1857, his traveling companion "For a big price got some very small, very tart, half-ripened apples, which tasted unlike green persimmons" but could find no melons for sale. At the "well known Indian tavern on the edge of the prairie, on the Fort Leavenworth road thirteen miles from Quindaro" where Richardson and his two companions dined that day, they feasted on tough beef, cold potatoes, boiled corn, wild honey, bad bread and good butter" (Richardson 1857b)
     Richardson's third stopover that year is dated to early December. While traveling along in a rainstorm and 15 miles from Lawrence, en route to [end of p. 355] Quindaro he detected light shining through the chinks of Four Mile's log cabin Detected [?] by the clamor of "half a dozen noisy dogs", Richardson asked at the cabin door for lodgings for the night. The three men dress in coats and pantaloons sitting upon stools around the table finishing a meal Richardson learned, were Four Miles, Fall Leaf and another unnamed man. The others in the cabin Richardson described as follows:

A stout squaw, cheery and open-faced, who wore zinc ear-rings as large as silver dollars, sat humbly waiting for the nobler sex [HA!] to finish their repast. Crouching beside her was a girl of about eight years also wearing the metallic ear-rings . [In a hammock swimming in a distant corner was] an Indian papoose of American descent screech[ing] so lustily that his dusky mother seized him, dandled him on her knee, and soothed him with the sweetest talk of the Delaware tongue. He looked like an infant mummy. He was on his back, bandaged so tightly to a board that he could only scream, roll his head and wink;. . . . His lips were at last silenced by application to 'the maternal fount;' and then he was set up against the wall like a fire-shovel, to inspect the company.
     Supper over. the little girl filled and lighted an earthen pipe with reed stem a foot ong. Smoking a few whiffs she handed it to her mother. That stolid matron finished it; and we all sat staring silently into the fire. The girl. true to her sex found courage to scrutinize my gold-sleeve buttons, watch and chain, and every other glittering article she could find about me, greeting each with some fresh ejaculation of delight. Then she kissed the papoose, and crept to her straw nest in another corner. Richardson described the cabin  as being ten or twelve feet square, with "open cooking utensils" on the log fire in the great stone hearth. His bed. adjacent to a wall from which a log was missing, was "of plank, well covered with blankets." (Richardson 1867:89-92)

Two further visits are mentioned in Richardson's popular 1867 compilation of his adventures of the previous decade, Beyond the Mississippi. His fourth visit to a Delaware home (and his second to Four Mile's cabin) occurred in late December 1957 or early January 1858, but he left no details. His fifth visit was to a cabin six miles from Sarcoxie's house, itself four or five miles north of Lawrence. This undated visit was described as follows:

The found the good accommodations of the cabin to consist of a single room with earth floor, which could only be entered trough a filthy hen-house. Upon one of the beds sat a stolid squaw in a bright red calico frock, nursing a little papoose, who greeted me with an infantile whoop. Three more tawny children were playing in the mud; four scurvy dogs lying in corners, and a dozen chickens pervading the apartment. It contained three bunks, a table, four or five chairs, a rifle, a broken looking-glass, various kitchen utensils, and an enormous fire-place in which I could stand upright. . . My supper was of fat pork, corn bread and strong coffee. My couch of straw was deluged with rain and pre-occupied with bedbugs. Early in the morning I indulged in a repetition of the evening bill of fare, discharged the required 'six bits,' (seventy-five cents.) and bade a glad adieu. (Richardson 1867:95)

The home of Capt. Anderson Sarcoxie, chief of the Turtle clan of the Delawares, n doubt because of its nearness to Lawrence received much notice. Sarah Robinson over the winter of 1855-1856 could see "the smoke from the Indian houses over in Delaware Reserve , five miles away. . . gracefully curling and rising above the trees", recalling also that "Sicoxie's dwelling, across the river, has been open to visitors from Lawrence, and an occasional party, of a winter's evening. has shared the hospitalities of his house" (Robinson 1899:197, 212; cf. also Ropes 1856:168; Cordley 1903:53; Connelley 1910: 104; He-No 1855). According to a correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette (possible Henry Villard or A. D. Richardson),

[Sorcoxie's] principal house  is a log-cabin, about 1ighteen-feet square. of hewed logs and chinked. . . His wife and daughter prepared super for me of 10 eggs, pork chop, and warm bread, nor bread, no butter, and no mil. A good natured. bare-footed,  Indian girl. . . poured out my tea. She appeared about fourteen years old.  
      I slept in an out-house, which after turning out  a lot of Indian dogs, and barricading the door wit an old musket, I thought I had to myself. but after I got fairly into bed, the dogs got in by getting in under the cabin, and pushing up the floor boards. . .
     While eating breakfast [the next morning] I observed the girl in whom I had been interested the previous evening, sitting by the fire with a papoose in her arms.
     It was a bright little one and though only two months old, had its ears pierced, and pewter rings in them. (Finley 1857:115-117)

     Clara Gowing. who arrived in Kansas Territory during October 1859, left this description of a Delaware home, which she visited April 2, 1860:

The house [of "chief Ketchum". of one story, with the roof coming down over the piazza. was situated in a clearing. and around the door were ponies and cattle, pigs, and fowls. The door  opened into a small room. in which was a bed, a cooking stove, table and chairs. On the bed was a hen, laying her egg. The next room was small also, with a large fireplace, a bed and lounge and two bureaus. On the lounge lay the chief. (Gowing 1912:183, 188)

     Since, however, Chief Ketchum died July 121857 (Weslager 1972:388), it is unclear whose home Gowing here described. Another account of "head chief of the Delawares, Ketchum", dating from about December 1854, found the chief speaking English only when referring to "a particular kind of sauce, which he pointed to, and called 'good funkin' " [I don't think he had a modern :"F" word in mind. Editor] (He-No 1855). But Phillips (1856:56) found a similar Delaware home to be a "double, hewed log house, with a covered hall or opening between, and a porch running the whole length."

     Rev. Richard Cordley's visit to a Delaware home during late November, 1857, came by way of a black teamster driving him from Quindaro to [end of page 357] to Lawrence. The teamster, who had lived among the Delawares and was well acquainted with them, brought Cordley that evening to

an Indian hut where he was evidently well known. He soon made our situation understood and we were taken in, thought [sic] the hut seemed more than full already. The old squaw busied herself setting supper for us. She cooked a chicken in an iron kettle on the open hearty. The fireplace consisted of a few stones piled around by a wall, and an opening at the roof through which most of the smoke found its way. At last we sat down to supper and I tried to eat. The chicken was just warmed through as was as raw as when put over the fireplace. I tried to swallow the first mouthful I had taken in but but it was out of the question. I watch my opportunity to throw it under the table. It was a mud floor and dirty at that, so the morsel I threw down would never be noticed. I made my supper on a few crackers.

     For about an hour that evening the cabin hosted "a company of young fellows ornamented with feathers and paint" who wrestled and scuffled with each other, but who then mounted their ponies and galloped away as wildly as they had arrived. The host and his family, Cordley noted, neither joined in nor checked them, but looked stolidly on as though it were an everyday affair. After Cordley paid his bill, he bedded down on

a shelf on the side of the cabin supported by pins driven into the logs. There were several such selves around the walls on which the rest were to sleep' My shelf looked neater and cleaner that the other as was evidently the spare bed of house. it was about a foot and s half wide and four feet and a half from the floor, and had some sort of blanket on it.
                    The cabin was about fifteen feet square  and if a simple construction, There was no chinking between the logs and I could almost roll through through the openings into the yard. I could look out and see see the ponies and the pigs and the cattle, and could hear the chickens. (Cordley 1903:31, 48-53)

     Another Delaware who often hosted whites at his home was Tonganoxie, whose "village: in 1860 was a few log huts by the wayside dear a creek: (Williams 1912:134-135). "Viator, who stopped Tonganoxie's half way house on September 24 or 25, 1854, and noticed the large fenced-in cornfield surrounding the house left this account:

Madame Tonganxey in the absence of her spouse, readily made arrangements to accommodate us, though we could not speak her language or she ours. Our horses regaled themselves on unthreshed  oats, One of the little Tonganoxie's and a dog made chase after two tolerable-sized chickens which were soon overcome and slaughtered for our benefit, These, a little pork some plain flour bread, with tea and coffee made our repast. It was very well cooked and though we had no mil nor butter (for they had no cows), notwithstanding the facilities for keeping stock) the dinner was agreeable. .. We paid "four bits" each. (Viator 1854)"

     Another Delaware who. like Tonganoxie, kept a halfway house or in  was George Washington. who apparently charged a dollar a day for room and board, primarily for soldiers from nearby Fort Leavenworth (Gowing 1912; Mallery 1988; Washington 1937)
     During the night of May 12-13, 1858, while lost in the forest between Fort Leavenworth and Lawrence, William Tomlinson accidentally stumbled into a Delaware "war dance" held for the guides soon to leave for the Rocky Mountains on a gold-seeking expedition outfitted by William Pearsons. Although badly scared, Tomlinson was reassured by one of the older Delawares present that he was in no danger, and that in fact he was only six miles from Lawrence. After watching the dance for hours, Tomlinson threw himself "upon the pouch of skins prepared for me in the ht of my Indian friend", and that morning breakfasted on "coarse corn cake and smoked venison" (Tomlinson 1859:34-37; Parsons 1871)
     Another account of Delawares dining on venison comes from September 23, 1834, journal entry of Rev. John Dunbar. who on that date found an encampment of Delawares about a day's journey north of Cantonment [i.e. Fort] Leavenworth. They had come there to kill deer and other game, the Delawares told him, and "kindly furnished [Dunbar's party of four people] with a savory piece" of venison (Dunbar 1918:593)
     Briefer accounts referring to Delaware foodstuffs tell of a large flock of turkeys tended just beyond "the porch of a little house" on the bank of the Kansas river in May 1846 (Parkman 1943:15), and of the corn, bread and beacon served to Robert H. Williams by "Johnny Cake" (either Isaac or Charles) during February 1855 (Williams 1982:74). Rev. N. S. Harris found that "after dark, torches were lighted, spears seized, and fishing parties organized" by Delawares at the rapids of the Marais des Cygnes River, in southeast Kansas, During April 22-25, 1844 (Harris 1844:36-37), but such fishing may have been seasonal.
     All these accounts supplement two agricultural and horticultural census taken in mid to late 1840s, published in 1853 (Schoolcraft 1853:(1):488-497; (3):621-628). The number of bushels per crop, taken from Schoolcraft's volumes, may perhaps reveal a typical Delaware harvest or annual yield. Totals are given in the tables below (Note: n. g. = not given)
            corn        wheat    potatoes    oats       beans    peas    buckwheat    turnips
Vol. 1   26,169    822        4,116        1,990     580      67       15                895
Vol. 2   27,620   1,043      2,776        2,215     620      n. g.     n. g.             n. g.

     Other harvest totals from the two censuses are given here, from Vol. 1 and Vol. 3, respectively: pounds of cotton picked, 25 and n. g.; number of fruit of all kinds, 2,679 and n. g. ; number of melons of all kinds raised, 42,130[on word garbled] 89,860; pounds of butter made, 7,817 and 10470; pounds of maple syrup made, 4815 and n.g.; and pounds of honey (wild or domestic), 11,833 and n.g. Livestock totals in the two censuses are are follows:

             beef cattle killed/sold    horses    mules    oxen    milch cows   neat cattle   sheep   hogs
Vol. 1              212                   1,480       27         158      376               807          128    2,639
Vol. 2              n. g.                  1,353       12         153      419               619           117   1,257

     Total acreage of all land in cultivation was given as 1.582 and 1,381 acres. respectively, and the total estimated value for all agricultural and horticultural products was given as $18,311.50 and $10,286.00 in the two censuses With tribal population given as 903 and 1,132 acreage per person works out to be 1.75 and 1,222, respectively. [I do't understand these figures. Editor] Two accounts of farmstead acreage given here are perhaps representative (but cf. Thurman 1973:218-220 for size of 1862 and 1867 Kansas Delaware households). A '49er saw tem as very respectable log Houses [each with] a Field of about Eight or Ten Acres which had generally been in corn" (Foryth 1849). And Ta-chou-wha's homestead on Stranger Creek, probably one of those enumerated on the circa 1862 list above, included ten plowed acres and sixteen fenced acres along with "a good house and stone chimney on it." (Fall Leaf 1863).
     Finally, it should be noted that a small number of Delawares adapted to the fur-trapping life of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains as early as 1824, when most tribal members still lived on the White River in Southern Missouri (Weslager 1972:364-366; Lafleur 1831). Although Thurman (1973:181-185), Carter (1969) and Barry (1972: passim) relate the geographical rage and activities of perhaps a score of Delaware mountain men, the subsistence pattern of these parties, however, suggests a rule of one family or woman per tent, and otherwise up to 10 men per tent. An inventory of goods lost bya Delaware hunting party in December 1824 on " the Big B[e]nd of the Arkansas River" to Osages mentions "1 Large Tent or marquee" apparently as the sole lodging for the three Delawares in te party (LaFleur 1831), Similarly, a beaver-trapping party of nine Delawares and one Shawnee on the River, 300 miles southwest of Bent's Fort, during the late summer or early fall of 1835 all apparently lodged in a single tent. (Cummins 1835), and an 1852 trading party of three Delawares --a 17-year-old young man and a married couple -- occupied a single tent (Moseley 1852). Bu the presence of several women seems to correlate with the presence of a number of tents in traveling encampments. In 1838 Francesco Arese found a Delaware camp [end of page 360]lodged in a single tent of seven or eight "buffalo-skin tents supported by trees" a few leagues from St.Louis. Areses stated thatb "the game they kill themselves provides their food, and the skins they sell are exchanged for bramdy, gunpowder, tobacco for te men, beads of glass or chinese vermillion for the women." Arese saw saddles, guns, utensils, and "women preparing deerskins or taking care of babies" (Arese 1975:57-58).  This encampment was possibly an entourage of tribal elders visiting the Department of Indian Affairs Superintendency Office in St. Louis (Barry 1972:271). In another account Thomas Henry Tbbles encountered "the old chief. Johnny Cake", an acquaintance, at a camp of eight or ten tents during late October 1856 in Solomon River drainage, north-central Kansas. A woman served Tibbles black soup, and hominy (Tibbles 1957:55, 67-68)
     Although it is hardly descriptive of Delaware domestic arrangements, a published sketch of Delaware scouts in an 1861 Civil War camp in central Missouri depicts knife sheaths, a two-gallon metal cooking pot, a two-quart pan, and a stone pipe with reed stem (Roetter 1861: cf. Powell 1948).


Most of the accounts cited above indicate that the typical Delaware home was a  one or two-roomed log cabin with each room measuring from ten to eighteen feet square, with our without chinking between the logs. Chick coops were often adjacent to the main room, This structure was usually but one of several out buildings at the home site, the others serving as barns, stables or outbuildings. Hearths were occasionally almost large enough to stand in, but stones in smaller hearths may have been unmortared, In many homes hearth smoke escaped through a hole or openings in the roof; a smaller number of homes had chimneys.
     Home furnishings were sparse but usually included a table, stools or chairs, a musket or rifle, kettles, cups, plates, or bowls and the occasional cooking stove and bureau, The variety of cooking utensils is indeterminable., although knives seem to have been always available. Coff, tea, and flour were common purchases, though there method of storage is unknown; Ropes(1856:175-176) describes a Delaware family's buying trip to Lawrence and a contemporary newspaper (Herald of Freedom 1855) urged Lawrence merchants to deal fairly with the Delawares when they came to buy gods and provisions. Hammocks and cradleboards were present in some Delaware homes, Dress and accoutrements of the Kansas Delawares, however, are neither discussed nor exhaustively represented here.
       The diagnostic feature of these houses is the bench-bed or shelf built into the cabin walls, described by Richardson (1867:92, 95) variously as a plank bed adjacent to a wall, or as a bed, or as a bunk, all of which he [distinguishes?] from the stools, tables and chairs in these homes. Tomlinson (1859) describes this feature as a "couch of skins", Gowing (1912) as a lounge, while Cordley (1903) offers us its precise dimensions.
     Cultivated grain crops were principally corn, oats and wheat. while the livestock and poultry principally encountered were horses, cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys. Dogs were never present. The Delaware words for hog, chicken and other animals and items of farm produce originally of European origin, interestingly, derive from Dutch, indicating that these animals were know to, if not domesticated by, Delawares well before 1700 (Goddard 1974).
     The late September date for the Delaware deer-hunting party encountered by Dunbar and the paucity of other such accounts, may indicate that these hunters were participants in the twelve-day BIG House ceremony annually observed by the Delawares in late September and early October. Such hunters would have departed  on the fourth day and returned to the Big House about the seventh day of the ceremony (Prewitt 1981). The only other occasion at which venison was available was Tomlinson's "war dance" (Tomlinson 1859)
     It seems to have been the Bog House ceremony that a Lawrence correspondent described in the following, entitled "Heathenish Exercises":

The Delaware Indians to the number of above 400 are now engaged in a religious performance, about 8 miles from this place on the North side of the [Kansas] river. They have been in meeting about 5 days, and will hold a week longer. --They perform chiefly at night, their exercises consist principally in dancing, whooping and singing. Some of our boys who attended one evening report it as an interesting experience. They have their tents and all the paraphernalia of a regular camp meeting. (Anonymous 1857)

     Another Lawrence correspondent reported that at a September 1857 "genuine aboriginal 'pow-wow'" held in town by a group of Delawares, rhythm was provided by a drum made of "a piece of deerskin drawn over the head of a nail keg." (Anonymous 1857)


     1855   Heathenish Exercises. Kansas Free State, Lawrence, Kansas Territory, October 22:1.

     1857   [Delaware "pow-wow" in Lawrence.] Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, Kansas Territory, September 19:3.

Arese, Count Francesco
     1975     A Trip to the Prairies and in the Interior of North America (1837-1838). Trans. Andrew Evans. New York: Cooper Square.

Barry, Louise
     1872     The Beginning of the West: Annals of the Gateway to the American West 1541-1854. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society.

     1862     From the Ninth Regiment. Quindaro, Feb. 1, 1862. Smoky Hill and Republican Reunion, Junction City, Kansas, Feb. 6:3.

Carter, Harvey L.
     1969     Jim Swanock and the Delaware Hunters. Pp. 293-300 in The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade in the Far West, Vol. 7. LeRoy R. Hafen, ed. Glendale, Calif.: Arthur II. Clark

Connelley, William Elsey
     1910     Quantrill and the Border Wars. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Press.

Cordley, Richard
     1903     Pioneer Days in Kansas. New York: Pilgrim Press.

Cummins, Richard W.
     1835     Letter [to William Clark], Northern Agency, Western Territory, November 21, 1835. In National Archives Microcopy 234, roll 300 (Letter Received, Fort Leavenworth Indian Agency, 1824-1836) frames 770-771.

Dunbar, Rev. John
     1918     [Journal, May 23, 1834-May 27, 1835.] Pp. in Letters Concerning the Presbyterian Mission in the Pawnee Country, near Bellevue, Nebraska, 1831-1849. Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society 14:570-784.

Fall Leaf
     1863     Petition of Captain Fall Leaf and others to General James C. Blunt. P.278-289 in Richard C. Adams Letterbooks, vol. 2. Lawrence, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Finley, Rev. James B.
     1857     Life Among the Indians. Cincinnati: Cranston and Curtis.

Forsyth, John R.
     1849     Journal entry for May 16, 1849. Microfilm copy of typed excerpts. Topeka: Manuscripts Div., Kansas State Historical Society.

Goddard, Ives
     1974     Dutch loanwords in Delaware. Pp. 153-160 in A Delaware Indian Symposium. Herbert C. Kraft, ed. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Gowing, Clara
     1912     Life Among the Delaware Indians. Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Harris      N. S.
               Journal of a Tour in the "Indian Territory." . . . in the Spring of 1844
. New York.

He- No
Letter from Our Tourist. Nos. 2, 4, 5. Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, Kansas Territory, January 13:1, January 27:1, February 3:1.

Lafleur, Peter
     1831     A list of Skins and Sundry Articles Stolen from a party of Delaware indians under Capt Shewhanack, Naircoming, and Capt. Patterson, which skis where [sic] left in the care of Peter LaFleur above the Big Bend of the Arkansas River in December 1824. [Deposition made before Samuel Weston, Justice of the Peace, Jackson County, State of Missouri, September 28, 1831.] National Archives Microcopy 234, Roll 300 (Letters Received, Fort Leavenworth Indian Agency 1824-1936), frames 259-260.

Mallery, James P.
     1988     "Found no Bushwhackers": The 1864 Diary of Sgt. James P. Mallery. Patrick Brophy, ed. Nevada, Missouri" Vernon County Historical Society.

Moseley, Thomas
     1852     Inventory of property in possession of John Wilson, a Delaware [furnished by] Mar-ma-te-se-o wife of Jim Dickey a Delaware . . . at, and since, the examining trial of Joseph Dodge et als . . . Septr.6th,1852. National Archives Microcopy 234, Roll 364 (Letters Received). Kansas Agency 1861-1856), frames 323-325.

Parkman, Francis
     1943     The Oregon Trail. Mason Wade, ed. New York: Heritage Press. [1848].

Parsons, William B.
     1872     Pikes Peak Fourteen Years Ago. Kansas Magazine 1:552-561.

Phillips, William

      1856     The Conquest of Kansas. Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Co.

Powell, Mary
     1948     Three Artists of the Frontier. Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 5:34-43.

Prewitt, Terry J.
     1981     Traditions and Culture Change in the Oklahoma Big House Community: 1867-1924. Contributions in Archaeology No. 9. Laboratory of Archaeology, University of Tulsa.

Richardson, Albert D.
     1857a     First Impressions of Kansas. Quindaro Chindowan, Quindaro, Kansas Territory, July 4:1.

      1857b    Trips in Kansas. Quindaro Chindowan, August 22:1, September 5:1.

     1867  Beyond the Mississippi: from the Great River to the G. Ocean; Life and Adventures on the Prairies, Mountains, and Pacific Coast. Hartford, Connecticut: American Publ. Co.

Robinson, Sara T.
     1899     Kansas: Its In6erior and Exterior Life. 10ed. Lawrence, Kansas: Journal Publ. Co. [1856]

Roettter, Paulus
     1861     Indian Scouts in Gen. Lane's Camp. Harpers Weekly, November 23: cover illustration.

Ropes, Hannah Anderson
     1856     Six Months in Kansas. Boston.

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe
     1853     Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States, vols. 1 and 3. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co.

Thurman, Melburn Delano
     1973     The Delaware Indians: A Study in Ethnohistory. PhD thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tibbles, Thomas Henry
     1957     Buckskin and Blanket Days. Garden City, New York: Doubleday.

Tomlinson, William P.
     1859     Kansas in Eighteen Fifty-Eight. New York: H. Dayton.

     1854     A horse-back ramble through Delaware County. Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth Ty., September 29:3.

Washington, Cyprus
     1837     Interview with Cyrus Washington (Three Quarters Delaware Indian), Packing House Road, S.E. Miami, Oklahoma, Pp.239-249 in Indian Pioneer History Collection 2. Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Weslager, Clinton A.
     1972     The Delaware Indians: A History. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Williams, James
     1912     Seventy-Five Years on the Border. Kansas City: Standard Printing.

Williams, Robert Hamilton
     1982     With the Border Ruffians: Memories of the Far West 1852-1868
. E.W. Williams, ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska.

[Several chapters have been temporarily skipped for the time being. They may be inserted later. Editor

 Chapter 6- The Grinter Place as an Early Farmstead.

     Although the Grinter-Kirby residence is one of the oldest farmhouses in the state of Kansas, little can be said of the farming practices at this place. The acreage in question was administratively within the Delaware Reserve land at least until 1866, and about 1869 patented to the Delaware Indians who chose citizenship in the U,S. over status as a tribal member. Thus we can turn to the decennial Kansas state agricultural censuses of 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1925 to describe the productivity of this acreage during Moses Grinter's lifetime and into the twentieth century, A few other meager comments on farmlife at this site supplement this statistical information.
      As described in the prior chapter, the Grinter family lived in a farmhouse in the Bethel-White Church-Washington High School vicinity from the late 1830s to the mid-1840s, at a location well within the drainage of the Missouri river. Their second home, in which they lived until about 1863, was on the banks of the Kansas River, and was most likely within the close proximity of their third home. It is this third home which is no memorialized as the Grinter House.
     The botanical geography of the area at the time of the construction of the third home is well described to the Wyandott Argus of 14 October 1860. "About four-fifths of the county," the account reads, "was originally covered with timber- - - several varieties of oak, with hickory, walnut, sycamore, elm, cottonwood (poplar)  linn (lime), locust (acacia), ash, mulberry, cherry, maple (soft) box-elder, hackberry (nettle tree) willow, and some red cedar (juniper), are the principal forest trees; those not so numerous and of a less [end of page 6-1]size, are the thorn, red bud (judas tree) sassafras, coffee bean, paw-paw, persimmon (ebony), plum and crab apple; also, the hazelnut, gooseberry, raspberry and the tangling vines of the blackberry and the grape &c., form jungles, as impenetrable as those of the Indies on which a vertical sun looks down presenting to the casual observer many of the characteristics of tropical vegetation. The prairie lands lie at the west end of the country, where numerous groves and open woodlands, diversify the landscape and present views rarely equaled for varied beauty, richness of coloring and depth of shade." There are numerous other comments on the biography of this county; one is te 1883 Andreas history at p. 1226, the first page of the section on Wyandotte County.
     The same account from the Argus of 14 October 1860 (now catching its breath) continued, this time perorating on the theme of the "vindication of the plow" (on this theme see chapter Xi of Henry Nash Smith, Virginia Land [Vintage, 1950]. "Our country is filling up rapidly with a good class of thrifty farmers," the Argus maintained, "whose industrious habits and intelligent labor are opening up, farms and subjecting the lands to the plow and hoe. The less civilized portions of our aboriginal population are selling their allotments as fast as the laws will permit, and the frame house and varied products of civilization are taking the place of the hut and the corn field of the Indian. Notwithstanding the seve4 drought [of 1859-1860] and the subsequent injury to the crops throughout the whole region lying west of the Mississippi, the farmers of Wyandot County have little cause to complain of light crops. Early gardens vegetables were scarce, and the small quality of wheat sown yielded very light, and inferior in quality, but we have a reasonable good crop of potatoes. Corn is plenty, in places averaging one hundred bushels to the acres, and the vine [end of page 6-2] crop of melons, pumpkins,  &c., is large and good. On Kansas Delaware Horticultural and Agricultural productivity see my article on "Dining with the Delawares," reproduced with this interpretive manual; for Shawnee of County "selling their allotments as fast as the laws will permit" see my article of "Taxing Questions" on the 9th and 10th installments of "New Views of Shawnee Mission," published in the Friends of the Mission newsletter in the issues of May and August 1995.
     The original acreage of this farm was almost certainly gained through patents of land made outt to those Delawares who chose U.S. citizenship. Lots 7 and 8 of the southwest quarter of section 21. Township 11, Range 24, containing 78.40 acres, were patented to Annie Grinter as of November 19, 1868 per an action of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Tis action was recorded in Washington on March 2, 1869; locally this transaction is recorded in Vol. 72,pp.353-354 of the Register of Deeds Office, Wyandotte County Court House. In some form this transaction was formalized on June 18, 1887. In te microfilm edition of the John G. Pratt Paper at Roll 9, frame 270, we find that on November 8, 1861, Betsey Marshall ( a Delaware) was allotted lots 5 and 6 of Section 21, Township 11, Range 24. Betsey was Annie Grinter's mother, and it's likely that Annie later inherited this land upon the death of her mother. Further searching through the Pratt papers both in this microfilm edition and among others now house at the Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum, and through country deeds, will no doubt further elucidate the question of how the Grinter lands were obtained.
     Before the 1875 census there are bare indications of the kinds of produce Moses Grinter raised on this farmstead. The Wyandotte County Historical Society and now Museum is now custodian of Vol. A. of the Inventory of Estates containing records or personal possessions dating from the 1850s and 1860s. At pp. 160-161 [end of page 6-6] of this volume we find in the estate of Tomas McClatchley, monition of "Moses Grinter order for corn $30" and "claim on Moses Grinter settled." It would seem that McClatchley had previously lent Grinter $30 worth of corn, and that after McClatchley's death the claim was settled. Ironically enough, according to the Wyandotte Western Argus of June 16, 1860, "on Monday afternoon, Thomas F. McClatchley was shot, while plowing corn in his field." William Ransom was subsequently arrested for the murder. The Wyandotte Commercial Gazette for November 3, 1860, in a listing of criminal proceedings of the District Court, stated that the case of "Territory vs. W. Ransom , charged with the murder of Thomas F. McClatchley June 11, 1860" would be continued to next term, and prisoner admitted to bail in the sum of $2,000, on the ground that the presumption of his guilt is not great." I have no further notice of the fate of Mr. Ransom.  The McClatchley estate was finally settled at the October 1863 term of the Probate Curt of Wyandotte County, according to the Wyandotte Commercial Gazette of December 26, 1863. The great drought of 1859-1860 quite likely contributed to this shortage of corn.
     Yet another bare notice of the produce of this farm is in the Jon G. Pratt Papers, microfilm edition, at Roll 9, frame 408, in a "list of stock stolen by whites [recorded in accord with)] Treaty [of] July 4th 1866." Article 14 of this treaty holds that "inasmuch as the Delawares claim that a large amount of stock has been stolen from the whites since the treaty of eighteen hundred and fifty-four, the United States agrees to have a careful examination of such claims made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and when value of such stolen stock shall have been ascertained, the same shall be reported to Congress with a recommendation for an appropriation to pay for the same; and all moneys appropriated for such purpose shall be paid to the owners of said stock." The aforesaid Pratt document states that as of November 25, 1864, Annie Grinter lost one red spotted bull, a three-year-old, valued at [end of page 6-4] $40,00; one large speckled ox, nine years old, $80; one brown steer three years old, $25; one black and white spotted steer, three years old, $25, Altogether the Delawares lost 418 horses and 117 cattle. By comparison, Rosanna Grinter (Annie's sister) lost one eight-year-old dark bay mare, valued at $150, and one seven-year0old mouse colored jack, $75. There is yet another list of losses as of 1862 (at frames 392-407) of the same roll), and according to my notes the Grinters are not listed on it. A few years ago Glenn Books, the primary antiquarian book store in Kansas City, offered the original Pratt papers regarding the thefts and losses of Delaware livestock in the early 1860s, and Charlie Goslin, the famous local artist and historian. purchased those papers. He may well eventually contribute them to the Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum.
     The table on the following two pages lays out in tabular form the hard data on the Grinter farm. It is based on the cited pages with the respective years of the Kansas State Census for Wyandotte Township within Wyandotte County, 1875, Schedule 1, pp. 1, 22 and Schedule 2, p. 1; 1885, Schedule 1, p. 26and Schedule 2, pp. 25-32; 1895, Schedule 1, p. 79 and Schedule 2, pp. 339-350; 1905. Book 2, Schedule 2, Schedule 1, p. 98 and Schedule 2, pp. 67-75.Note that n.a. = not asked, or not available. Censuses for later years always asks more questions than those of the earlier years. Thus is should not be inferred, for example, that the Grinters owned no horses or cows in 1875; the question was simply not asked on the forms for the 1875 census. The "yield" is generally that quantity obtained during the entire twelve-month period preceding the date the census was taken. The Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum does not hold the 1915 or 1925 census returns; perhaps Dale Watts can look these up in Topeka. [end of page 6-5]

       [Page 6-6]

Bee stands                                 n.a.                                           ---                        8
Lbs, honey produced                 n.a.                  ---                     ---                      80

Total value of::
Machinery                                 n.a.                $ 0                     $0                     $50
Buildings                                    n.a.                n.a.                     n/a.              $1,000  
Improvements                            n.a.                n.a,              $10,000                   ---
farm                                     #3,500          @20,000                  ----           @13500

     Post-1875 notices on the Grinter farm, other than the above, are few in numbered. Many citations offered in the chapter of this  manual regarding the home contain scattered references o the products of this farm, an should be sought there.

     Oddly, William Henry Harrison is listed at p. 18 as a bachelor in the 1875 census, but the farm is listed in Section 2 in his name. Te family is listed at p. 22 as composed of Moses Grinter (age 66, born in Kentucky [incorrect], Ana (age 55). born in Ohio), Mattie [not Mattie DeFries] (age 17) [actually 27], born in Kansas), Rose Marshall (age 25, born in Kansas) [the son (daughter) of Annie's brother John Marshall]), Polly Marshall (age 17, born in Kansas [Rose's sister], and Cunningham Grinter (age 11, born in Kansas). In 1862 the family consisted of Annie, age 40; William Henry Grinter, age 20; Martha, age 5; Rosanna Marshall, age 12; and John Marshall, age 9. [Because he was white, Moses was not listed among his family members, all of whom were Delaware.) Rosanna and Jon Marshall were the offspring of Annie's brother, John Marshall, who died or disappeared about 1860.
     Of John [died after 4 March 1907] and Lucinda's five children (1. Rosanna, born 8 June 1849); 2. William H. Marshall, born circa 1852; 3. John Marshall Jr., born 20February 1854; 4. Annie, born circa 1855; and 5. Polly Marshall, born circa 1859, in 1862 Annie, age 8, was living with Rosanna Grinter (sister of Annie and John), while the fourth child, William H. Marshall, was living in the James Connor household. The fifth child, Polly, two or three years old in 1862, lived that year in the household of Mary Jane Defries, age 19. Mary Jane Grinter [end of page 6-7]Grinter







This Image is of the Grinter House at the Time of the Annual Reunion in 1935. I haven't identified any of the people in it and am curious about the man sitting in the chair and why he is there? (The photo was probably taken by Grinter Descendant, Walter Hahn.)                      

A contemporary image of the Grinter Place, the home of Moses and Anna Marshall Grinter, overlooking the Kansas River. They built about 1857. It is now a property and museum of the State of Kansas. The house is located at 1420 South 78th Street in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas.  Photograph taken 1996  by Thomas Swiftwater Hahn~~~.

This is thought to be the house after which Moses Grinter patterned his house. It was the house of Samuel Grinter (1797-1876), son of John Grinter, the brother of Francis Grinter, hence, Samuel Grinter was the uncle of  Moses Grinter. Moses would have been in this house many times as a boy. The house was located a few miles west of Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky, but it was demolished in a fire many years ago. Samuel Grinter is probably the figure to the left. The female to the right may be his wife, Nancy Carter Hill (1797-1871) and his children  or a daughter and his grandchildren. (The image is from a poor photo copy at the library at Russellville.)

William Conner's House in Indiana in 1823. Anna Grinter's father, William Marshall, was a partner of John and William Conners. This house of William Conners is quite similar to the house house that Anna and her husband, Moses Grinter, built in Kansas overlooking the Kansas River. Is it possible that Anna remembered this house of Conner's when she and Moses built their house? The house is a rather common type of the day, so perhaps it is just a coincidence. This drawing of the Conner Homestead was made by Frederick Pollux and was taken from the book, Sons of the Wilderness: John and William Conner, by Charles N. Thompson, available from The Conner Prairie Press at Noblesville, Indiana.

The house of Moses and Annie (Marshall) Grinter has been a familiar Kansas Territory - Kansas Delaware Reserve - Wyandotte County landmark since about 1857. Some have wondered why Moses Grinter designed the type of house that he did. This summer when your editor visited the library in Russellville, Logan County, County to find this photograph, it became quite clear where the design originated. This house in the image shown is that of Samuel Grinter, Uncle of Moses Grinter and the brother of Moses' father, John Grinter. Take off the porches of the Grinter Place and this is what you see is almost the same as the image above.

Other views of the Grinter House will be added shortly, for comparison, and for general interest.

* * *


1420 South 78th Street, John Swagger, Builder, Kansas City, Kansas Historic Landmark:  August 26, 1982
Register of Historic Kansas Places:  July 1, 1977 . National Register of Historic Places:  January 25, 1971    

(Source:   Kansas City, Kansas Planning and Zoning) 

Moses Grinter built a log house for himself on the north bank of the river near the ferry, on the lands of the Delaware Reserve.  In January 1836, he married a sixteen-year-old Delaware girl of mixed parentage named Anna (or Annie) Marshall . . . In the summer of 1844 there was a great flood on the Kansas River following six weeks of rain in May and June.  The Grinters’ cabin was washed away, as was the Delaware mill on Mill Creek a short distance to the east and the village called Anderson's Town to the west where Edwardsville is today.  Both Anderson’s Town and the mill site were abandoned, but the Grinter ferry was soon back in operation. The Grinters then built a second, more substantial cabin higher up on the north bank, well above the flood level. As a reflection of their increased prosperity, the Grinter family erected a new home (their third) on the hill one quarter mile to the north of the ferry and just east of the previous log house.  In the fall of 1856, with summer work out of the way and winter preparedness completed, the job of construction was commenced.  John Swagger, another immigrant from Kentucky, was head of all supervision in the construction.  Some time elapsed before total completion, and since most of the building was done during 1857, that is the date usually given for erection.The house that Swagger built was in the Greek Revival style, a two-story, gable-roofed, rectangular brick structure with a central pedimented entrance porch and a one-story service wing forming an "L" to the rear.  An open "dog run" separated the service wing kitchen from the main block of the house, reducing the risk of fire.  In both layout and appearance the Grinter house was quite similar to other Greek Revival farmhouses built in the Kansas City area by transplanted Kentuckians, most notably the John Harris residence of circa 1855 and the John B. Wornall house of 1858.The Grinter house was built of brick that was molded and burned on the premises.  The lime kilns and depressions in the soil where the clay for bricks was taken were still visible in the early 1900s, located about 250 yards northeast of the house.  The main structural members, such as floor joists and roof rafters, were made of walnut, presumably cut and sawn in the area.  The finished lumber in the interior, that made up the window and door trim, was of white pine made in St. Louis and hauled by ox teams from Leavenworth.  The floors were of linden wood, which was found in this area in early days.  The first Grinter barn was of logs and was located west of the house.  It was while working on its construction that Moses Grinter received a broken leg and other injuries that were to handicap him somewhat in later life.

Moses R. Grinter died on June 12, 1878, at the age of 69.  He was buried in the Grinter Chapel cemetery a quarter mile to the north of his house on ground that he and Anna had donated to the Methodist Episcopal Church South ten years before.  Anna Marshall Grinter died June 28, 1905, at the age of 85.  The house was purchased from her granddaughters in March, 1950, by Harry E. and Bernice A. Hanson.  The Hanson's established and operated a chicken dinner restaurant in the house from 1950 to 1970, highly aware of the treasure they possessed and concerned about its preservation. Through the efforts of the Kansas City, Kansas Junior League, and The Friends of Grinter Place, Inc. that they organized, the house was acquired from the Hanson's by the State of Kansas in 1970.  It is now an historic house museum, administered by the Kansas State Historical Society and open to the public.  The property is now divided, with the northern half owned by the Friends organization. The Friends have erected a two-story “barn” on their half of the property, used for meetings and a variety of activities.  Of particular note, each October the property is the site of the Grinter Apple Fest, a fund-raising event which draws large numbers of people to view the house and participate in the festivities.

The Grinter House, now known as the Grinter Place State Historic Site, is open to the public without charge, but a donation of $2 for adults and $1 for children is suggested.  Open hours are 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00 - 5:00 pm Sunday, closed Mondays, Tuesdays and State Holidays. It is located at 1420 South 78th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66111. telephone: 913-299-0373. Special programs and guided tours are available. Call the site for specific information and to make reservations.  Directions to Grinter Place: From I-70, take the 78th Street Exit (Exit 414) south two miles. From I-435 take K-32 east two miles. Access more information about the Grinter Place at www.kshs.org . That site also provides a recent view of the Grinter House. The days the site are open and the admission price needs to be checked. Editor.


Dykes, Pam. Old Grinter House, 1957: Down by the Riverside. Kansas City, KS: Grinter Place Friends, Inc, 1975. (K978.1/G357).

Hanson,. Harry E. A Historic Outline of Grinter Place from 1825 to 1878. N.p.: n.d. (K978.1/-W97/H198)

N.A. Old Grinter House, 1857. N.p., n.d.(K978.1/-W97/Pamv.v/no.20).


Times New Roman. Copy 10 December 2004. Photo check A. TH