Frank Elwood Stafford – 1996 Inductee

Frank Elwood Stafford was born April 24, 1845, in Greensboro, North Carolina.  At the age of seven he moved with his parents, Milton and Tempa (Cain) Stafford, to Indiana.  Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War the Stafford family moved again, this time to Kansas.  In 1863 Frank went to Leavenworth and worked for a while as a teamster and then enlisted in Company B of the 16th Kansas Calvary.  He was officially discharged in December 1865.

After the war Stafford returned to Indiana and farmed for a while, but then returned to Kansas and on October 4, 1867, he enlisted in Battery B of the Fourth United States Artillery.  He served four years with the Fourth Artillery, stationed at Forts Riley and Hays, where he was an orderly sergeant.  At times he was attached to the famed Seventh Calvary and often rode patrols through what would later become Osborne County, Kansas, before being discharged at the end of his term of service on October 4, 1870.

In 1870 Frank brought his mother and the rest of the family to a homestead near the mouth of Little Medicine Creek in Tilden Township, Osborne County, just west of the village of Bloomington.  A respected war veteran, he was one of the three special commissioners appointed by Governor James Harvey in 1871 to organize Osborne County.  In the county’s first general election the next year Stafford was elected one of the first three county commissioners.  At Bloomington on November 28, 1878, he married LaNette Hart.  The couple had three children, Frank, Nettie, and an infant son who died in 1886.

Stafford did not serve in public office again until 1882, when he was elected Osborne County Clerk.  He served three terms and then retired to his homestead.  The farm was prosperous for many years and Stafford retained a wide popularity among his peers.  He passed away March 30, 1919, in Osborne and was buried in the Osborne Cemetery.

Frank Stafford served three terms as Osborne County Clerk.

The following article was written in 1898 and revised in 1905 by Frank Stafford, being reprinted in the Osborne County Farmer of August 21, 1930, Page 6:

 

REMINISCENSES

” On the 12th of May 1870 four men were killed near where Glen Elder now stands, by the Indians.  A few days later Battery “B” of the 4th Artillery came on the Solomon to protect the settlers from the Indians and camped near the fork of the river. I was a member of that company and did scout duty south as far as Fort Harker up and down the south and north forks of the Solomon River and as far north as the mouth of the White Rock on the Republican River. Settlers on the Solomon from Minneapolis west were few.  Where Beloit now is was called Willow Springs, If there was anything there by way of a settlement I did not see it.   There was a little store building made of logs, on the east side of the Limestone, kept by the “Simpson boys” who were there doing business.  There was a stockade near the forks of the Solomon where one or two families were living.  No settlement on the South Fork except Bullocks’ ranch, located in March [1870] about two miles west of where Osborne now is by William and Charles Bullock, two as brave frontiersmen as ever came to the West.

On the North fork a log house covered with shingles built by Pennington Ray (the first shingle-roofed house in Osborne County) south of where Downs now is.  The old building was still standing the last time I was at Downs; Mr. Ray was not there.  He had gone away and did not return until a year or two later.  The next settlement was where Portis now is, made by Walrond, Wiltrout, Wills and Willis, who built a stockade and lived there during the summer of 1870 (Walrond lived here many years afterward one of our most respected citizens.  Wiltrout now lives at Logan, Wills is dead; I do not know of the whereabouts of Willis).

There was no settlement in Smith County, no settlement south on the way to Fort Harker except a ranch south of the Saline on the Elk Horn.  No settlement north except in and around Jewell City, which later consisted of a stockade made of sod in which the settlers camped at night. I rode into Jewell City during the summer on my way to Scandia with a sick horse which died in half an hour.  I found the settlers, who had seen me at a distance and thought I might be Indians, waiting to receive me.  No other settlement north until Scandia – which was mostly a name – on the Republican was reached.

The first settlers to arrive during the summer were Col. Cawker and others who went up on the hill and started Cawker City. The Indians made a raid down the south fork and up the north on the second of July, killed a colt was the only damage done.  Bill Harris, myself and John Neve (who built the first mill at Glen Elder and afterwards was County Commissioner of Mitchell County) were sent to follow those Indians and see where they went.  We followed them to Bow Creek in Phillips County, where we concluded they were leaving the country.  We went back and reported accordingly.

The next settlers to arrive were the New York colony – William Manning and family, James Manning and family, C. W. Crampton and family and others whose names I do not remember.  They were just from the east, clothed in garments of civilization and looked good to us as it was the first mark of civilization we had seen on the Solomon.  I was talking to one of the ladies afterward and she told me that they were very dirty, they had made a long journey and from her standpoint her statement was probably true but they were so different from anything we had seen for months that they looked fine to us.  The New York Colony settled at the mouth of Covert Creek.  The only one left of the colony in Osborne County is S. Palmer Crampton.

The next settlers were Jeff Durfey, Chauncey Bliss and family, John Kaser and family, Mrs. Leaver and family and others who are all gone.  The next to come were the Tildens who settled around Bloomington, the only one left now is Mrs. Adaline Tilden.  The next were Joe Hart and Calvin Reasoner, L. T. Earl and General Bull and family. Those who came and stayed in Osborne County during the winter of 1870-71 and are here now are S. Palmer Crampton, Jeff Durfey, Willard, Silas, and Merrick Bliss, John Kaser, Sr. and family, John Kaser, Jr., and wife, Dave Kaser, August Kaser, John Leaver, Joe Hart, Mrs. Tilden, Mrs. Reasoner and myself.  Nobody wintered on the North fork during the winter of 1870-71.”

 

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