Monday, April 2, 2012

Fannie Webster Miles

Fannie Webster Miles born 1857 in Bleeding Kansas. Fannie would eventually grow up and marry Charles Dallas Miles.

But, before that, ... Fannie was the second daughter of William and Julia Webster, who had lived in California long enough for Fannie's older sister Martha to be born. Fannie's parents, William and Julia farmed 4,000 acres near Garnett in Anderson County, Kansas. Fannie and Martha would be joined by another sister Josephine, who was born in 1859.

What was life like for these three little girls?

Kansas in 1857 was in the midst of the Border War between Pro-Slavery advocates from Missouri and Free-State settlers. In May of 1856, a group of Border Ruffians entered the Free-State stronghold of Lawrence, burned the Free State Hotel, destroyed newspaper offices, and ransacked homes and stores. That same month, John Brown attacked at a pro-slavery settlement on Pottawatomie Creek. Brown and his group, which included four of Brown's sons, led five pro-slavery men from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords.

In August, thousands of pro-slavery men from Missouri marched into Kansas. That same month, Brown engaged 400 pro-slavery soldiers at the "Battle of Osawatomie." Hostilities raged for another two months until Brown departed Kansas Territory.

In 1857, differing Kansas constitutional conventions were convened, with the opposing sides sparring over which was legitimate. One last outbreak of violence was touched off by the Marais des Cygnes massacre in 1858, where Border Ruffians killed five Free State men.

If border ruffians weren't bad enough, in 1860 there was a terrible drought.  No appreciable rain fell the entire Spring and Summer. Pottawatomie Creek ran dry. One family of ten survived on wild plums and the milk from one cow. In July hot winds blew from the southwest, drying the earth and opening cracks that horses and cows would step into. Half the population of the territory left.

When the 1860 U.S. Census was taken, it was recorded that 466 families and 2,398 souls remained in Anderson County. In Monroe Township, just outside the city of Garnett where the Websters farmed, approximately 240 individuals are listed.

From the 1860 U.S. Census for Anderson County, Monroe Township, Kansas, page 27.

Webster Wm. T. 41 M farmer 4,000 1,000 N.Y. REMARKS: middle initial could be "F."
(My note. Could it be William L. Webster? See a History of Anderson County, Kansas below.)
Webster Julia 28 F Mich
Webster Martha 5 F California
Webster Fanny 3 F Kansas
Webster Josephine 1 Kansas
*unkly Frank 24 M Servant 1,000 New Hamp.
Read the History of Anderson County, Kansas online.

From that history at page 72 is a description of a meeting held on the 15th of August, 1857 in the timber near the home of A. Simons. Nominated as delegates to the district convention include William L. Webster. This was part of the Free State Convention.

At page 87, it is noted that on March 9, 1858, William L. Webster and two others were nominated as delegates to the Free State Convention.

The 1870 U.S. Census for the state of Kansas, Monroe Township does not include William Webster or any Websters.


From William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas online.

February 27, 1860, was chartered the State Line, Osawatomie and Fort Union Railroad Company. The road was to commence at some point of Lykins County, and run southwesterly to the south boundary of the Territory, in the direction of Fort Union. Corporators: E. W. Robinson, John B. Schofield, A. Hunt, R. Gilpatrick, W. F. M. Arny, John T. Cox, O. E. Learnard, G. W. Nelson, J. C. Lambden, Dr. Ashmore, Thomas Lindsey, William L. Webster, Penrose Johnston and P. G. D. Morton.

From The History of Anderson County, by W. A. Johnson, online, page 81.

On the 22nd of December, 1857, W.L. Webster was appointed superintendent of public buildings in Anderson county.

The year 1859, County Treasurer, William Webster, page 149.

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