KING - [The Atchison, Kansas, Champion] - Mr. Samuel King died at Seneca, Kansas, on the 15th instant [15 June 1886]. Mr. King was born in Tioga county, Pennsylvania, in May 1836, and consequently was fifty years old at the time of his death. He came to Kansas in 1864, and during that year was in the service of the Overland Stage Company. During that time he made his home in Atchison. He returned to the East and remained there til 1870, when he came back and located in Netawaka, removing in 1871 to Seneca, where he continuously resided until his death. He was by trade a blacksmith and a fine specimen of the American mechanic. His shop came to be a land mark in Seneca, and he himself became known to a wide circle of acquaintances who greatly esteemed him. He did his part in building up the beautiful and prosperous city of Seneca. He married in Pennsylvania Miss Maria L. Root, sister of John C. and Harry Root both of the Champion, and Frank A. Root now of Gunnison, Colorado. She with a daughter, survives him. - Wellsboro Agitator, 29 June 1886
Unknown cemetery in Kansas
ROOT - Frank A. Root, aged 89 years, pioneer newspaper man and author, died Monday at his home at Topeka, Kansas. He formerly resided in Wellsboro. He was a brother of Henry [Harry] C. Root, of Topeka, well-known here. - Wellsboro Gazette, 24 June 1926
Friend Cobb: - Having been requested by several different persons before leaving home, to write them some account of what I should see in the far west, I take this method of writing to all at once. The opportunities for writing letters, possessed by travelers over these vast plains, are meager enough, as all know who have any experience of this kind of life. If therefore you find by epistle worthy of a place in the Agitator, each of my friends will please consider it addressed personally to himself; and as for the general public, they can read it or pass over it, as best suits their own convenience.
It was Saturday, the 19th of May, when I started from Atchison, Kansas, for Denver, and perhaps the regions beyond. My outfit was simple enough – being only a wagon drawn by one yoke of oxen, and carrying, including provisions, something less than 1600 pounds. With this load our cattle, being splendid fellows, are expected to "walk thro” a hundred miles a week, without the least inconvenience or injury to themselves. This expectation thus far, however, has not been realized, for a good and sufficient reason hereinafter to be mentioned. We hope it may be in the future. While upon the subject of “outfit,” I may just state that my traveling companion is a Presbyterian clergyman from Detroit, who, having read, both in the pulpit and out of it, more than the laws of nature allow to a man of his physical constitution, is now paying the penalty in a protracted struggle with “preachers’ sore throat” and other kindred afflictions. The advantage of invalids traveling together thus, is, that though they cannot always help; they can at least have an abundance of sympathy for each other. And sympathy, Mr. Editor, is a great thing, sometimes.
Never was there a more beautiful morning than that on which we two invalids bade farewell to the Missouri River, and started “over the hills and far away” to the land of pure air and clear water, of bright skies and lofty mountains, and distant, golden Colorado. – And never was there a darker storm of wind, and rain, and thunder, than that which met us a few hours later upon one of the wide prairies of Kansas, and gave us a thorough drenching, in spite of wagon cover and buffalo robe. We camped that evening, after dark, kindling our fire in the wet grass, with wet brushwood, at nominal expense of lucifer matches and of that more valuable commodity, patience. After the fire however cam supper, and after supper sleep, which you may suppose was refreshing enough, notwithstanding its association with dampness and mud. – Let this day’s experience serve as a specimen. It was repeated every day for a week, with the single exception of the Sabbath, when we did not travel. On every day besides we had more or less rain. Without going into a particular account of this dreary week, it may be enough to say that we came out of it apparently uninjured, and with spirits and appetites rather augmented than otherwise. The last week has been pleasant, and free from rain until this morning, when another shower struck us, and seems disposed to abide with us during the day. We have consequently taken refuge in a “ranche,” and are improving the time writing letters.
The rains, with which northern Kansas is visited at this time, though not peculiarly agreeable for travelers, are a Godsend to the country. For seven years the soil, in a large part of that State, has not been thoroughly saturated with water. Every one knows that for two or three successive seasons, famine and wide spread suffering were the result. There will be no famine however this year. At least so it seems now. And if, as is extensively believed, the years of drought and of sufficient rain proceed in cycles of sevens, at least in the West, we may expect six more “plenteous years” after this, to bless this beautiful land, before another of the lean kind approaches to ear out its fatness and fill it with want. Farmers expecting to seek a home in this region, but not decided when to come, will please take notice.
Our road thus far running in a northwestern direction from Atchison, we have seen only a strip of the northern part of Kansas, with a few miles on the southern border of Nebraska. I speak of what I have seen, to this point, which is 147 miles from Atchison. And in regard to the country already passed over, I say freely that I am unable to conceive of a more beautiful region. It consists chiefly of extensive prairies, higher and more rolling by far than those of Missouri or Illinois, and as a general thing presenting a soil which seems quite equal to any I have seen elsewhere. The one drawback of the country, is its want of timber, which on the largest prairies will afford a formidable barrier to settlement for years to come, until hedges can be generally substituted for fences, and settlers have time to raise their own firewood or dig into the vast coal fields which are said to underlie the whole of northern Kansas. On the numerous streams however which intersect this country, this trouble does not exist. – Wood is to be found on all the creek and river bottoms. In some places the forests are extensive. And everywhere on these streams settlements are springing up and in many of them considerable communities are being formed. And at the present rate at which population is pouring into the State, it will not be long before these valleys will all be occupied. At present however there is room for very many more. It may not be known that a considerable amount of public land can still be bought at Congress prices, or taken up under the Homestead law, no farther west than the Big Blue, which is a tributary of the Kansas river; flowing south, at a distance of about 100 miles west of Atchison. This is a fine stream, and its banks will ere long be crowded with a busy and intelligent population. Maryville, the chief town in northwestern Kansas, is upon its eastern bank, 104 miles from Atchison, and already is putting on city airs and cherishing “great expectations.”
It only remains to be said, that two railroads, one from St. Joseph,
Missouri, and the other from Atchison, are already in process of construction
through northern Kansas, which are not only to afford abundant facilities
for transportation to the region through which they pass, but somewhere
far in the west are to join their iron hands to the Great Union Pacific
railroad, which is to connect us all by and by with California. But that
is in the future. For the present, and until another rainy day, good-bye.