27 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dr. Edward & Mrs. Smith - Oxford, Kansas

Photographer is George H. Dresser, Winfield, Kansas. 

This photograph of Dr. Edward and Mrs. Smith, Oxford, Kansas, is located in the Beals Family Files in the Pioneer Settler files at the Sumner County History and Genealogy Center in Wellington, Kansas.
 While only a few of the Family Files contain photographs, the files are rich sources of information and family stories, and in many cases the family trees in them contain generations that reach back to the first immigrant ancestor's homeland.

12 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Georgie Gustler

This great photograph of Georgie Gustler was probably taken by his father, who was a professional photographer in the small picturesque Arkansas River town of Oxford, Kansas.

It's certainly not your everyday photograph with all the many things that are hanging on the tree and Georgie with a pair of scissors, so I have to wonder what the symbolism is about the photograph.  Was it just a fun photo that Georgie's father set up?  Or is it some kind of advertising photograph for his photography business?  Any suggestions would be most welcome!  

This photograph is located in the Beals' Family Pioneer Settler File at the Sumner County History and Genealogy Center in Wellington, Kansas.

Oxford, Kansas is home of the picturesque Oxford Mill, now on the National Register, photographs here,

More photographs here where the young people of Oxford have gotten involved with the preservation and promotion of the Mill.  Recently, two new walking trails were constructed near the mill.

11 May 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Part Three - Postscript to April 1849 Gold Rush Letter

Letter to Mrs. Mary Arnspiger, Jersey County, Jerseyville, Illinois
Postmarked April 28th, 1849, St. Joseph, MO
From Jno Arnspiger, staying at St. Joseph, Missouri

April 27th

P.S. Receipt for preserving butter.  Prepare your butter as usual. Work out the milk well. Take the same quantity of salt as usual, the same amount of loaf sugar as salt and half the amount of saltpeter or less as either of salt or sugar, pulverize it all together, put it up in jars kegs or boxes as usual.

I got the receipt from a Verginian on the boat. He says at the end of 9 or 12 months no person can tell it from butter cherned the day before if any odds it is better.  He has preserved thousands of pounds in the last 12 years.

I put off closing my letter till today as the mail comes and goes today.  Our teams and Abraham and the Doctor have not come yet.  We are looking for a boat every hour.  Tell Barbara she need not be uneasy about Abraham as their has no boat come since we arrived but one that we passed.

 Dear wife and children my encouragement is so great that I would positively not be back for one thousand dollars although there are hundreds that came here to get their outfeit and have drank and gambled and spent their means that can’t go.

You may look for another letter soon.  Tell Henry when he goes to Alton again to call at Parkers.  I left my old shoes in the corner by the stove and our coffee was all forgot.  We had one mess out of it a boat came down about 10:00 11 o’clock and we were all in a hurry and bussled.

07 May 2010

Ida Gustler and Son

While indexing the Pioneer Settler files, we are finding so many historic treasures: Gold Rush Migration letters, stories of Indian Raids and Massacres, and even some photographs.  

This photograph Ida Gustler and her son, George, located in the Beals Pioneer Settler Files, made me realize how much info can be shared just on the back of photographs.

Caption on back of photograph:

Ida Gustler & son George.  Her husband Louie was the photographer in Oxfrord.  She and Sarah Kerr were room mates in Colorado Springs while both spent time there recovering from T. B. illness.
Photographer info:
Iron Spring Pavilion
J. G. Hiestand
Manitou, Colo.
 It's wonderful to know that in the future, thanks to the generosity of one family, many descendants will be able to locate family photographs, read tidbits of their ancestor's lives, and also see photographs.

The back of this photograph, or perhaps in a detailed family history, may be the only place that descendants of Ida Gustler can learn that she spent time in Colorado recuperating from tuberculosis, and that her husband was a photographer in Oxford, Kansas.

02 May 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Part Two - 1849 Gold Rush Letter from John Arnspiger to His Wife Mary

Dear wife and children and grandchildren,

I wish to see you very much and we must trust in God that we will see each other one day.

We have the most incouraging news from California that cannot be doubted. Mr. Cutting is here on his way out. Among the thousands that I have saw then is not one that I knew but our neighbors. ? check on

Mr. Trescot and Smith Seward are here they are starting out on the plains with their mule teams carry feed.  I could write a great deal about the number and other things but you will get it in the papers perhaps more correct than I can give it.

I saw and conversed with one man this morning from Lexington, KY by the name of Miller that has lived near Nicholson that told me a goodeal (good deal) about our old acquaintances which was a great satisfaction.

Of all the sights that ever I saw in my life of people wagons oxen and some horses they are crossing every day from 30 (to) 40 teams to go out on the plains 6 or 8 miles to graze their teams a week or 10 days.

Before starting we will go over as soon as our teams come and we all get together.  I am very anxious to get away from here as quick as possible on account of sickness and expenses.

Flour is $2.00 per hundred (?), bacon for sides $5.00, hams $4.50, corn 50 cts from store, 20 cts (if you go outside the city for) 15 or 20 miles.  I will write again before we start.

Now Dear wife and children try and live in peace and may God bless you all.

Dear Son do the best you can on the farm and for the family and if I live to return you shall be rewarded and if I do not I hope that God will give my best wishes to all the dear children and inquiring (?) friends and may

God Almighty bless dear little Luke and Rebecca Ellin.
                            Your affectionate husband
                                Jno Arnspiger

Notes: From the letters, it appears that John's son Henry is married and has children of his own, and is caring for his farm and his father's and mother's farm as well.  I think perhaps John had some younger children left at home with his wife, Mary, also.

Later on, Henry could be found in the Sumner County, Kansas Census.

 Part Three - The Postscript - coming soon.