By J. F. Glendenning.
Pleasant township was organized March 11, 1873, out of the territory known as township twenty eight, range three.
Election ordered held at the usual time of holding election and voting place to be at the residence of Thomas McKnight.
The following township officers were elected: A. H. Dunlap, trustee; J. E. Milton, treasurer; E. J. Pyle, clerk;
N. W. Runnells and H. G. Russell, justices of the peace; James Stroup and Sam Allen, constables.
In July, 1871, the writer, with another young man by the name of Byron McKinney, conceived the idea of adventure;
so we thought we would take Horace Greeley's advice, "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country,"
so we took the prairie schooner for Kansas.
Traveling at our leisure and enjoying life to its fullest extent (as we then thought) for we were having a picnic
every day until we arrived at a little town by the name of Bazaar, in Chase county, Kansas. Bazaar was located
on a creek called Rock Creek which was at flood tide when we arrived there, so we did not have a picnic but a regular,
or irregular, camp meeting. The camp ground was about all occupied by fifteen or twenty other wagons, emigrants
and freighters. So we located in the suburbs of Schooner City for about three days or till the water ran down so
we could resume our journey, and as we wanted to be fully satisfied before locating we travelled over several counties,
including Butler, Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley, Willson, Howard and Greenwood; and not finding any place as enchanting
as Butler county, so we again pulled for Butler and feeling sure we had found the promised land and as we were
a little particular in our selection of a place for a home and Wanting a garden spot of that most beautiful county
we located in Pleasant township. The name is significant of the township and also of the early settlers of the
township as they were kindly, neighborly, energetic and unsophisticated and as memory is a little treacherous after
a lapse of forty five years, I will perhaps not be able to give many of the things that transpired or the. names
of many of the people, which I regret very seriously.
The first man we met in Pleasant was Henry Freeman, and as we camped by a little creek for dinner and also joining
Mr. Freeman's corn field, he perhaps thought we would want some corn to feed our horses, so he came down to our
camp and sure we did buy a bushel of corn from him for one quarter of a dollar. Mr. Freeman was a Union soldier
during the Civil war (if there is anything as civil war) and was also a man of Roosevelt type, as he reared a family
of ten children who are all doing well. One of the boys, Prof. Harvey Freeman, is holding a good position in the
Commercial College in Wichita, Kansas. And one of the girls, Miss Lizzy Freeman, was married to Byron McKinney.
She was a splendid wife to Mr. McKinney and sure he was one of the best men I ever knew, as we lived on adjoining
farms for twenty years. I knew him to be a true friend. He departed this life about ten years ago and his widow
lives in Wichita, Kansas. Mr. Freeman has gone, as most of the old settlers have; he died a few years ago.
After looking over the country that afternoon we camped for the night at Mr. Lane's, father of George Lane, ex-clerk
of the district Court of Butler county. George is now a resident of Los Angeles, California. One daughter, Mrs.
Alice Baker, lives in Bruno township, Butler county. Mr. and Mrs. Lane are both dead and gone to try the realities
of that happy home that awaits the just and upright in heart. The next man we met was Ephraim Yeager, who had located
some six weeks earlier and had just built a nice frame house to shelter his wife and two baby girls from the storms
that might come; but there was one storm came that nothing combustable has ever yet withstood. That was the prairie
fire which burned his house with all its contents and about three hundred dollars in cash. That fire occurred about
the time (October 7, 8, and 9,) of the great Chicago fire, but this fire started from other cause than the cow
kicking the lamp over, but it surely devastated the country, burning houses, stables, cows, horses, wagons, hay,
etc. It did not burn any barns, buggies, or fine carriages; as they were at that time immune to fire in that part
of Kansas. Mr. Yeager was an old Indian fighter in Oregon and California and also a veteran of the Union army.
Mr. and Mrs. Yeager are both dead, leaving a nice interesting family of six children, most of whom live on or near
the old homestead. I think it was in this fire that a man by the name of Herod lost his life. He was on his way
to his claim when overtaken by the fire. His clothes were almost burned off him but he managed to reach Eight Mile
Creek, near where Mr. Jones, the father of Marion Jones, lived - they took care of him the best they could but
he died four days later. He was a school teacher.
In order to show you the tenacity that possessed the early settlers, I will relate what came under our observation
on our first trip over the township. As we approached the little creek of Eight Mile we discovered an open shd,
and wishing to cross the creek and get over to the shed, were barred by the marshy ground, so one of us walked
over and there found a young man (a bachelor, of course) lying there with a broken leg, and with not a murmur of
complaint and in asking and insisting that we should do something for him, he said that Dr. Hill had been there
and reduced the fracture and some of his near neighbors were caring for him; I believe his name was Osborn.
It is impossible at this writing to give all the early settlers' names as only those that I was best acquainted
with do I remember. I hope no one will feel slighted or offended if they fail to see their names here, for I would
not wound the feelings of one of those brave hearts that endured the hardships and suffered the privations of frontier
There was the very interesting family of A. H. Dunlap, and as they were all musicians they organized an orchestra
and gave us splendid music at our literary society at Old Harmony school house, which was destroyed by cyclone
on the last day of March, 1892. L. S. Dunlap was trustee of the township for several years and surely made a splendid
officer. Rev. A. H. and Mrs. Dunlaphave long since departed this life and we hope and trust they occupy mansions
above. And there was John Dunlap and his very estimable wife, who took a prominent part in things to make a better
There on the banks of the beautiful stream of Four Mile Creek resided the families of Nathan Hide and the Russells.
The Russells girls were some of Butler county's best teachers. There also lived John Q. Chase who was trustee for
several years and John Kibby, the great cattle king of the township.
I thought I had got so far from home that I would not see any one that I had known but I had just got located and
passing a house or rather a hay shed I met a man that had freighted for us in Iowa and I said "Hello, Mr.
Snook," and he looked at me in great surprise, and said, "It's Frank." I said "Yes, but I am
surprised to see you here;" he said that he could not make a living on those poor hills north, so he had to
move and he said, "By golly, I've found the garden spot of earth," and he also believed in that command
in the Scripture to Adam and Eve, "Multiply and replenish the earth." Mr. and Mrs. Snook are long since
dead, and their ten children are scattered.
The name that will perhaps live longer in the minds and hearts of the good people of Pleasant township is Theodore
McKnight, as he was always noted for his good words and works; and as he was left to travel the road toward the
setting sun alone, he made his home with his daugher, Mrs. Nathan Chance of Augusta, one of the estimable ladies
and strong characters for purity and uprightness of Augusta. One of his sons, Thomas McKnight, was one of the rustlers
of Pleasant township and a veteran soldier of the Union army, with his energy and indomitable will, succeeded in
building a fine home. W. A. McKnight, another son, was sure one of the strong men of the township and was as faithful
a friend as it ever was my pleasure to meet. If any one had told me that W. A. McKnight had done a mean act, I
would not have believed it. His daughter, Ola, was married to Will Cummings, Jr., who had made a success in life
and by his uprightness of character has won the confidence and esteem of the entire community.
Another one of the substantial citizens was Joe Hall, and Mrs. Hall was his equal in stability of character, for
they are sure as true as steel and as faithful in performing their life work as the Lord wanted them to be. Joe
was a veteran in the Union army and was wounded in battle. They are spending their declining years in a nice home
in Rose Hill; and we hope and trust that their lives will be fraught, with all the joy and happiness that is man's
lot to receive here on earth. T. F. Hall was another of the substantial citizens and his wife, a very estimable
lady, was the daughter of Captain Webb, and sister of U. S. Webb, now attorney general of California.
There was the Webb Reynolds family who were always ready to help in every movement for the bettering of the community
in which they lived and I believe they really enjoyed frontier life, as they seemed so cheerful and happy at all
times. The Matt Skinner family was numbered with our dearest friends who helped make Pleasant township and also
Butler county, as Mrs. Skinner was one of Butler's best school teachers. The William Cummings family were our near
neighbors and dear friends and as they believed in preparedness they raised a family of two girls and seven boys,
two of whom are now in the front ranks fighting for King Emmanuel. And there was the William Simmons family who
enjoyed in building a nice home of their own in the land of peace and quiet. And there was another man that was
true to the principles of democracy and that was the dear old boy, Cale John, one of my substantial friends. There
are many others, that I would like to tell you of their good qualities and true friendship, but I must bring this
to a close by mentioning a few names of the early settlers: There were the Billows, Prays, Pyles, Dinnets and Johnstons,
and a man by the name of Marion Franklin who located in what is now Pleasant township in 1869.
I haven't told any funny stores as I thought I would, for when my mind was carried back to those happy days and
then down to the present time, it rather saddens my heart. I don't like to live too much in the past, as they say
when a person begins to live in the past, he is getting old and as I expect to stay young for years I will try
to live in the present and enjoy this life with a glad heart and look to the future for a happy home where there
will be, no more good byes said, and we will never grow old. The names given here and many more are among the men
and women that faced the trials of frontier life and made the desert bloom as the rose. The dark day of the grasshopper
raid I shall leave for a more able writer to describe.
Wishing you all a happy life here and a happier future, I bid you good bye. I am your friend.