Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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to fail in health and on the 19th day of May she died.

Her granddaughter, Virginia (Keyes) Murphy, w-riting in the Century
Magazine, July, 1891, gives this account:

"It seemed hard to bury grandma in the wilderness and travel on and
we were afraid the Indians would destroy her grave, but death here, before
cur troubles began was providential, and nowhere on the wdiole road could
we have found so beautiful a resting place. By this time many emigrants
had joined our company and all turned out to assist at the funeral.

"A coftin was hewn out of a cotton wood tree and John Denton, a young
man from Springfield, found a large, gray stone on which he carved in deep
letters the name. 'Sarah Keyes, born in Virginia,' giving her age and date
of her birth.

"She was buried under the shade of an oak, the slab being placed at
the foot of the grave, on which were planted wild flowers of the prairie. A


minister in onr party. Rev. A. J. Cornwall, tried to speak words of comfort
as we stood about this lonely grave."

This grave and the slab are on the hill side near Alcove Springs and have
been visited by many people who have not forgotten the story of the death
of Grandma Keyes nor of the ill-fated Donner party. That party, which
left Springfield on that beautiful April morning, suffered to the extreme of
human endurance, only a small number surviving and reaching California.
Among the survivors were James F. Reed and wife, and their four children,
Virginia, Patty, James and Thomas. Their last hours of real happiness on
the trip were buried in that lonely grave near the Blue river.

• A few^ years ago the granddaughters, Virginia and Patty, wrote to Peter
Schroyer making inquiry concerning the grave and were assured that it had
never been molested. It is hoped that steps will be taken to give this grave
proper marking, so that the dead left with us shall not be forgotten.


"Tell me the tales that to me were so dear, •

Long, long ago ; long, long ago ;
Sing me the songs I delighted to hear,

Long, long ago; long, long ago."

From 1869 to 1880 the music best known and most in demand was the
Pecenka Orchestra. When this orchestra first became known to the dancing
folks in and around Marysville, the orchestra contained Ijut two instruments.
John Pecenka, Sr., played a violin and his son John played an accordion.
This old-time instrument has passed beyond the memory of many people,
while the younger generation knows nothing of it; but in those good old
days it was the musical instrument of the settler's cabin, and the accordion
player was classed as a musician and had his place in the orchestral ranks.

Later, as the children of the family advanced in years they took their
places beside the father and the orchestra instrumentation was : Leader and
first violin, John Pecenka, Sr. ; cornet, John Pecenka, Jr. ; clarionet, Milos A.
Pecenka ; viola, Anton C. Pecenka ; second violin, Joseph Sedlacek ; accordion,
Joseph A. Sedlacek.

This was the group of Bohemian musicians known as the Pecenka
Orchestra and, while the members were all musicians of rank, the central
figure was the leader with his rich-toned violin.

To the many gay dancers who listened to its strains, it meant only the


waltz, schottische or ([uaclrille. to which restless feet beat broken time and
plunged waveringly from one tune to another, giving no thought to com]:)Oser
or interpreter. But to the old musician it meant the day when he was old
enough to draw the bow or finger the strings. It meant his first trembling
attempts at the melodies of Dvorak. Smetena and, in later years, the stately
modes and chants of St. Gregory. It meant the liome of his youth and early
manhood, with its lares and penates. It meant his native land, with its
legend of hill and vale, from which he had parted, never more to breathe its
flower-laden air or press with gentle footstep the sacred soil, where slept his


One ni^^ht the orchestra had been playing for a dance in Waterson's
hall in Marysville, and the night had worn almost till morn, when the strains
of "Home, Sweet Home." gave notice of the final waltz and Pecenka with his
violin -left- the hall. The night was dark and stormy and rain was falling.
Pecenka placed the violin carefully \\rapped in a grain sack in the back part
of the wagon and covered it wnth loose hay. Pecenka with his son, John,
were about to start on their homeward drive, when John discovered he had
left his music rack in the hall and returned for it. During his absence the
father tied the team and stepped into the stairway out of the rain. The
team, restless from the cold and the late hour, broke loose and ran down the
street. Someone, who recognized the "gray and bay" team, jumped into
the back of the wagon and stopped the runaways and tied them at the foot
of Broadway. Pecenka's first thought was of his violin and he soon came
to the team and hastily reached for the sack under the hay. Alas, it rattled
like bones and the hallowed wood was stilled.

The friend who had intercepted the runaway team, had stepped on his
instrument and crushed the plate and sides into splinters. The heart of
Pecenka was pierced with anguish and tears fell from his eyes. His precious
violin, dear to him as a child, was ruined. Across the sea in his childhood
home, in sunny, music-loving Bohemia, he had taken his first lesson from a
master musician on that beloved instrument. On the voyage he had charmed
the passengers on the steamer with its sweet strains and had solaced his
family and friends during the lonely, dangerous hours of the eight weeks
voyage. In Chicago he made it speak to men and women of his own nativity
in the music of the homes they had left beyond the sea. In low'a it had helped
to earn maintenance for the growing family. On the prairies of Kansas,
the first night in the state, he had played for a future governor while the

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children danced with happiness on the grass. And now maimed and crushed,
it lay at his feet.

With Ijroken heart Pecenka gathered together the fragments of his idol.
One ray of hope illumined his despair and as day broke over the eastern hills
he rapped at the door of his friend, Fred Baeuerle, the cabinet-maker.
Baeuerle had fingers that worked magic in wood. Perhaps he could repair
the violin.


A few weeks later a group of men were gathered in Matthias Bendel's
saloon when Pecenka entered with his violin in the sack, under his arm. He
dropped into a chair and with trembling fingers untied the strings and took
out the instrument. Slowly he raised it, lovingly rested it against his face
and, with a gentle stroke, he brought the bow across the strings. The tone
came back sweet and true as of old.

Strong men were in the group, but none felt ashamed of the tears that
moistened their ey€s as the old musician w'ept. Some one handed him a
foaming glass and soon, his composure returned, he rendered with skilful
touch the sweet strains of the "Divci Rozmar" (The Maiden's Waltz.)
Then came other favorites — "The Dnesni" (Of This Day) waltz and the
vivacious polonaise. Occasionally, while Pecenka resined his bow, the group
partook of refreshments and the musician was not forgotten.

It was Saturday afternoon and as was usual everybody had come to
town. Bendel's saloon was the favorite haunt of a number of congenial
souls and among those gathered there that afternoon were : Fritz Baeuerle,
the Schwabian cabinet-maker, who had restored the instrument ; John Kempf,
the village blacksmith ; a soldier from Schwabia ; Tom McCoy, the jolly
harness-maker from old Frin ; Joe Kelley, of the same nativity ; Louis Wyl,
a French soldier ; Henry Schell, a farmer, musician and a Union soldier ;
Anton Huber, a Badenese revolutionist of 1848; George Wohlwend, a soldier
of the Swiss Sonderbund War ; James McClosky, a Scotchman and pioneer ;
Robert Boehme, a homesteader, highly educated, of the aristocracy of Silesia ;
George Bachoritch, a Hungarian soldier, also a Union soldier; Romeo B.
Werner, an Austrian nobleman, artist and inventor, and Christ Ruffner, a
Swiss, six feet, four, basso, dugout homesteader, renowned for strength.

Some were seated on rude chairs, some leaned against the wall, others
stood at the bar with foot on rail and glass in hand. Here comrades and
citizens, men from different lands and of various speech, paid tribute to
music, the universal language of mankind.




W'itli a gladness of licart, born of tlic restoration of his loved violin
after weeks of anxietv. filled with thankfulness that he was in a land chosen
for its rich oi)i)ortnnities. its beneficent laws, and for the highest develop-
ment of individual life, here surrounded by congenial friends, his bow
involuntarily brought forth the strains of "America".

There was a stir in the room, a coming closer together, a clinking of
glasses and then, "Ciod Save the Queen," sang the Irishman. "Heil dir im
Siegerkranz," was the song of the German. "Rufst du mein Vaterland,"
rang out the voice of the Swiss, while all joined, brokenly and stumblingly,
but none the less fervently, in the words :

Our father's God, to Thee,
Author of Liberty,

To Thee w^e sing.
Long may our land be bright.
With Freedom's holy light.
Protect us by Thy might.

Great God, our King.

Who can tell what magic played upon the heartstrings of these men, as
the music enraptured their very souls and bathed them in its harmonies, as
the moonlight bathes the rough mountain crag and makes it radiant. The
room became a picture. By that law w'hich sets men in the same frame of
mind as the artist, the poet and the musician, the dingy, narrow room with
its low ceiling became to McCoy and Kelley, the hawthorn-scented lanes of
the Emerald Isle, and they heard afar a sweet voice singing, "Come back
to Erin, Mavourneen, mavourneen." Wyl and Schell were in France, and
again marching in cjuick time to the inspiring strains of the "Marsellaise."
Ruffner and Wohlw^end heard the cry of the yodeler from the mountain top
and, from the valley below, the unconquerable spirit of Liberty resounded
in the Kureihen.

The mood of the musician changed, the bow' swept the strings with mar-
tial fervor and the strains of "Die A\"acht am Rhein," resounded through
the room. There were men in that gathering who had served in the Prus-
sian army and they were again on the battlefield. The din of musketry, the
roar of cannon, the moans of the dying were in their ears. They sang tlie
old war-song as they had often voiced it in deadly warfare. As the words


died awav they scarce dared look at one another, so full of emotion were all.
The day had worn to eve and when the glasses clinked for the last time,
memory, libation and music had worked its spell. The dim, ancestral knowl-
edge in men dominated the minds and hearts of all. The old mysticism of
the Rhine with its legends and lore was over them, as the fascinating tones
of "The Lorelei" pervaded the air. Softly and tenderly they sang,

'Teh weiss nicht was soil es bedeuten,
Dass ich so traurig bin ;
Ein Maerchen aus aiten Zeiten,

Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn."

Slowly the group dispersed, going silently from that cheap room, which
for the time being had in imagination, been transformed into scenes of other
lands and other climes. The sun was setting in a blaze of glory as the old
musician turned his footsteps toward his homestead in the golden west.


A local paper, published in 1890, carried the following story:
"A Kansas City drummer received a shock at Blue Rapids recently.
When he jumped into the bus at the Union Pacific depot he trilled a
merry little song as he looked on the other passengers. Tt seems to me I've
met you before,' he said to the man opposite. 'Isn't your name Eaton?' 'No,
sir, my name is Life.' 'Ha, ha! where's Death?' 'Here, sir, answered the
man at his right. My name is Death.' 'Gad, Life and Death!' was his
astonished exclamation. 'And here is the Coffin,' quietly remarked his left-
hand neighbor. 'My name is Coffin.' 'My goodness, let me off, I'd rather
walk than ride in such company.' The bus passengers waited in front of
the hotel until the express wagon came; sure enough there he was humming
his little song. He was informed he had finished his ride with the express
man named Sexton, and in tlie wagon generally used as a hearse. He was
so overcome he went to bed."

The truth of the tale is vouched for. All the persons whose names are
mentioned, lived in Blue Rapids at one time.


Obe French, who was born in Canada in 1844, began blacksmithing in
Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the age of sixteen. He came to Marysville in


Febnian-, 1S71, wliore for forty-six consecutive years he has conducted a
blacksniitli shop. Man}- others have come and o()ne Ijut "Olie" stayed "on
the job". There was no mule too \icious for him to shoe; no day too long
for him to refuse to sharpen the farmer's plow or repair machinery. All of
his work bore evidence of the hand and skill of the master and most of this
was done before the gas engine or electric motor made the trip hammer pos-

O. W. French, has stood at the anvil more years than any other man in
the county, if not in the state. His familiar face going to and from his work
daily for nearh' half a century has been an object lesson in industry to the
generations of boys who knew him. He served the city as councilman for
many years with the same absolute honesty and efficiency wUiich characterized
his own business. A written history of Marysville for the last forty-six
years, without making mention of "Obe" French, the blacksmith, would be

"Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing,

Onward through life he goes.
Each morning sees some task begun.

Each evening sees it close.
Something accomplished, something done.

Has earned a night's repose."


For many years in the history of Marshall county, there were three well-
known points: Frank Marshall's at Marysville. Barrett's, of Barrett Mills,
and Guittard Station.

Guittard Station was the first stopping place in the county for the Over-
land stage, and it was a favorite stopping place on the rc)ute. The host was
genial and hospitable and an air of gentility pervaded the home life.

George Guittard was born in Bellemagna, Upper Alsace, France, in
1800. The Guittards were an old French family and heads of the family
had served as magistrates for years, one of the name being a member of the
Chamber of Deputies in Napoleon's time. Another came to America with
LaFayette and served during the Revolutionary War. George Guittard
came to the United States in 1833 ^""^1 ^^'ith him came his mother, his wife,
Magdelena. nee Thomann, and their four sons, George, Jr., Francis, Joseph
and Xavier; also Mrs. Guittard's brother, Thomann and family and their


aged parents. They were one hundred and three days on the ocean, suffered
much hardship and food went scarce. They landed in Baltimore, wdiere Mr.
Guittard's mother died from the effects of the voyage, as did also Francis, a
young son. Mr. Guittard found employment in factories in Philadelphia,
New York and Newark, and finally started a factory of his own.


The story of land in the new territory in the West, attracted him and in
1857 they came to St. Joseph by rail and boat. They purchased an ox team
and wagon and coming to Marshall county settled on section 4, township 2,
range 9. on June 4, 1857.

A tent served for a dwelling place until a log house was built. The
Guittards and Thomann families suffered the privations incident to pioneer
life. Settlements were few and far between, and the members of the family
spoke mainly the French language.

Roving bands of Indians often molested them and stole from the scanty
store. But they were of the sterling French type and by thrift and good
management they soon prospered. The father and sons each took up land,
making a section in all.

In 1858 a road was opened up from Ash Point in Nemaha county to
Marysville, cutting off about fifteen miles of the old military road that ran
by Robidoux station, which was situated at the crossing of the main fork of
the Black VermilHon. This turned the travel toward Guittard's, and soon
the place was named Guittard Station and became a landmark in the territory
and throughout the country.

When Ben Holladay assumed control of the Overland stage line, George
Guittard was one of his most trusted agents and many times received from
Holladay substantial tokens of his esteem.


In early organization of the county Mr. Guittard took an active part in
advancing the public interest. He assisted when the county was organized
into townships and Guittard township was named in honor of her first and
best citizen. Mr. Guittard was one of the early county commissioners. He
was a man of refined and gentle, but forceful, character and upright in all
ways. He lived to be "of old age and full of honor". He died on March
5, 1 88 1, and his devoted wife followed him on June 6, 1892. They are


buried in ihc cemetery at Beattie, where a haiulsonic monument has been
erected over tlie resting- place of these two worthy pioneers by their son,
Xavier. CJn the mcmument is inscribed a short and fitting- history of their
eventful lives.

All of Mr. Ciuittard's family were born in France. Francis died in
Philadelphia; George, Jr., is buried in the same lot with his parents. At last
accounts, Joseph was living in St. Louis ; Xavier, in St. Joseph. Xavier
Guittard was the oldest continuous postmaster in the state, having served
from 1 86 1 to 1901, when the office was taken up by a rural mail route.


William Alexander Calderhead was born in Perry county, Ohio, the
eldest son of Rev. E. B. Calderhead and Martha Boyd Wallace. He attended
Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio, at the age of sixteen and when eighteen
years old, in 1862, he enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth
Ohio Infantry. He was discharged on June 27, 1865.

Calderhead was admitted to the bar in 1875 and in 1879 came to Marys-
ville, where he has since resided. He was elected county attorney in 1888,
serving two years and was for several years clerk of the board of education.
He was elected to the Fifty-fourth Congress by the electors of the fifth
congressional district of Kansas in the year 1894. In 1896 he was defeated
for election, because of his unwavering stand for the gold standard, being
the only member of Congress from Kansas who held for sound money.

In 1898 he was again elected and continued to serve the district through
the Fifty-sixth. Fifty-seventh, Fifty-eighth, Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth and Sixty-
first Congresses. Mr. Calderhead was for many years a member of the
committee on invalid pensions and assisted largely in the beneficient pension
legislation which the veterans now enjoy. He was a member of the ways
and means committee which gave the country the Payne-Aldrich Tariff
bill. He has always been a sound-money, protective-tariff Republican. A
man of earnest conviction, a brilliant lawyer, with great political sagacity,
Mr. Calderhead has hosts of friends who enjoy his fine presence and great
personal charm.

Marshall county is his home, and he loves the county and her people, who
have so many times demonstrated their faith in him, and devotion to his


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G. Henry HoUenberg- was born in the province of Hanover, Germany,
December 19, 1823. In 1849 the discovery of .gold in Cahfornia induced
him to sail for this country. He lived three years in California accumulating
some money, then sailed for Australia. He was successful in mining ven-
tures there and with sixty-five others went to Peru, South America. He
suffered great hardships in crossing a branch of the Amazon river and the
Andes mountains, and in fighting Indians. The adventure not proving suc-
cessful, Mr. HoUenberg went to New York, via the Isthmus of Panama.

In 1854 he came to Marshall county and settled on the Black Vermillion,
near what is now the town of Bigelow. There he kept a general store at the
ford of the old Independence and California trail, and did a thriving busi-
ness besides carrying on farming. On May 15, 1858, he was married to
Sophia Brockmeyer and that same year moved to Washing-ton county and
established Cottonwood ranch, which became a stopping point for the Over-
and stag'e. Later he assisted largely in the development of Washington
county and in founding the city of Hanover, which was named for his
native city, and the town of HoUenberg, which bore his name. In politics
he was a stanch Republican and in 1857 cast one of the two free-state votes
which were cast in Marshall county.

Mr. HoUenberg was a member of the Lutheran church, a man of
sterling integrity of character, of great kindness, public-spirited and gen-
erous. He served three terms as a member of the Kansas Legislature and
several terms as county commissioner.

In 1874 he was appointed emigrant consul and sailed for Hanover on
the steamer "Bolivia" from New York on July i, 1874. He was taken
with a severe hemorrhage of the lungs and lived but four hours. He was
buried at sea on the following day, the captain reading the burial service.
He left a large estate.

Mrs. HoUenberg later married Judge William Kalhoefer, of Hanover,
Kansas. Mr. Ernest Thiele. of Hanover, and George W. Thiele, of Wash-
ington, Kansas, are nephews of Mr. and Mrs. HoUenberg.

George W. Thiele was the first white child born in Marshall county,
and close friendships have always existed between the HoUenberg, Brock-
meyer and Thiele families and people of Marshall county.



"The old order cliangeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfills Himself in many ways."

History must be written and read with the thought that the mind of
one is the mind of all. It is not to Ije regarded as a "shallow tale," hut as
the record of the moti\-es and deeds of men and women.

The story of human life is quick with interest. The same hopes and
fears, ambitions and longings dwell within the hearts of all. Sorrow is a
common heritage.

"Never morn wore to eve but some heart did break."

Marshall county, within its circumscribed limits, holds the pregnant
story of humanity. On its soil have been enacted scenes of courage and
comfort, of fortitude and faith, of life and death. The evolution of the
county from prairie and plain to field and farm has been worthy of a people
who have so marvelously stood the test of efficiency and virtue.

The historian and the playwright differ. \\'hen the actors have spoken
their final lines, the curtain falls, the lights are dimmed, the play is over.

But the historian — when the last page is written and the book about to
close, may cry, with fair Portia,

"Tarry a little : There is something more."




Fred G. Bergen, one of the well-known and successful business men of
vSummerfield, Marshall county, and the efificient cashier of the State Bank of
that place, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on June 13, 1865, the son of
George L and Maria S. (Field) Bergen.

The bank of which Mr. Bergen is the cashier, was organized in 1889
with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars. The organizers were
John Gilchrist, R. M. Schriver, C. J. Schriver and Andrew J. Felt, since
which time the personnel of the stockholders has been changed. The bank
has been well managed and has met with much success and is today the third
largest bank in Marshall county. With a capital stock of twenty-five thou-
sand dollars and a surplus of fifteen thousand dollars, the institution is recog-
nized as one of the strong banks of this section of the state and one in which
the people have great confidence, which is demonstrated by the fact that there

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 41 of 104)