Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beaumont 1905

Beaumont, Kansas from the Kansas Atlas of 1905
The Standard Atlas of Butler County, Kansas, 1905, contains the plat map for Beaumont, Kansas as well as for all the townships and cities of Butler County.

John Finley Van Huss (born 1859, Elizabethton, Tennessee) is the great grandfather of Robert Van Huss. He settled in Butler County in 1885, purchasing a claim near his brothers in Glencoe Township for 160 acres from the Osage Trust. This deed is found in the Register of Deeds office in the county courthouse in El Dorado, Kansas.

On June 4th, 1903,  John Finley Van Huss purchased four lots in Beaumont by tax deed. The deeds are for lot 2, block 5 of Cooper's Addition; and for lots 6 and 7 of block 5 of Summit, and lot 10 of block 6 of Summit.

Beaumont 1905 Kansas Atlas

I have also included a portion of the map revealing the location of the old round house. Note the residence of Dr. William James Phillips, bob's maternal grandfather and the Beaumont town doc.

Latham Kansas 1905
I haven't yet found an image of Beaumont Kansas in 1905. Instead, I have one from Latham, a town where J. F. Van Huss bought lots in 1902.

Van Huss

Approaching Beaumont, Kansas from the west on Highway 400, just before you get to Beaumont, look to the left and there sits 480 acres of land (or is it 640 acres?) which once belonged to four or five brothers with the last name Van Huss. I say four or five because I am uncertain of the property records found in the county courthouse in El Dorado. The claims are there, reflecting the purchase of land from the Osage Indian Trust, but the deeds were filed over several years, and there was a little give and take between brothers.

This  land is pasturage, lying as it does at the top of the Flint Hills between Butler and Greenwood counties. The Google Map of the property shows the beginnings of a creek that eventually becomes the Little Walnut River.

One can walk the land and find a stone foundation for a house long gone. Near by stands an iron pump made in Rockford Illinois.

Google Map Glencoe Township

In the early days of my marriage, my wife's family would make numerous Sunday outings to Beaumont. We traveled by car from Wichita, heading east past Augusta, then Leon, and out into the treeless Flint Hills. Today, the trip takes perhaps 40 minutes, and in Beaumont, you can enjoy the serenity of the Flint Hills and good food at the historic Beaumont Hotel.

In olden days, we went on the Sunday before Memorial Day. First, there was a visit to the Beaumont Cemetery and the family graves. Then we enjoyed a softball game in Bob's front yard - Bob owned two houses on Main Street. Occasionally, we made a short fishing trip to the local pond where the fish never seemed to bite.

In Beaumont, my wife's father, Robert (Bob) Van Huss kept two homes. They were not grand homes, Beaumont has few of those, but they were sturdy, attesting to the values of the early settlers. Among those early settlers were Bob's father and grandfather who arrived by covered wagon and horse in the 1870's.

Bob proudly mentioned that his grandfather on his mother's side, Dr. James W. Phillips, was the doctor for Beaumont and the Frisco Railroad, which made Beaumont a hub. He also spoke of the farm that his father's father once had off to the south and east of Beaumont. But never did I hear him speak of land to the north of Beaumont. So, what am I to think of this Butler County Atlas of 1885, which identifies a Van Huss owning 480 acres.

Detail of Kansas Atlas, 1885, Butler County, southeast corner of Glencoe Township

The property is pasture land today. The land drains from the south and north into a creek which crosses the land to the west, eventually forming the Little Walnut River near Leon, Kansas. A dike at the west end of the property forms a lake that centers on Summit Road.

I parked the car just off Highway 400 and on Summit Road, just before one gets to the lake. I took the dogs Sammy, a German Shepherd, and Tobie, a Australian Shepherd and Mountain Cur mix, on a walk. The cattle were gone, but they had left reminders of their presence.  We headed east avoiding the cow droppings early settlers prized when their was no wood to be found. One can follow the shallow creek bed or head out into the field which still contains chert here and there. It is the chert, which settler called "flint" that gives the area its name, the Flint Hills.

On the south side of the creek is an old pump and the stone outline of the foundation of a building. Perhaps, it is the house of old man Van Huss and his family.

Looking east toward Beaumont, property of old man Van Huss


1. If you examine the map for Glencoe Township, you will notice the initials "J.W.P" which in all certainty stand for James William Phillips.

2. The pump is made by Ward of Rockford, Illinois. I can't seem to find out much information on the pump other than a listing for "Ward Pump Co. Manufacturers of Iron Pumps and Cylinders. Frank Ward, President. Frank Lane, Secretary" from a map of Rockford, Illinois, 1891.

Ward Pump, Rockford Illinois
Now I need to go back to the Register of Deeds Office in El Dorado, Kansas amd search the title records for this property.

Beaumont Cemetery

Beaumont cemetery is one of two cemeteries in Beaumont, Kansas. It lies at the northeast corner of the city on the north side of Highway 400. The cemetery is perhaps an acre in size. It is the resting place for almost 200 souls. (Beverly Horner has recorded the names of 194 individuals in the Beaumont Cemetery. See

The cemetery serves the pioneer families who settled Butler County near the headwaters of the Little Walnut River. This includes the townships of Glencoe and Hickory and the city of Beaumont. Included in those families are the ancestors of Robert and James Van Huss and their extended families. Other families include the Phillips, Edgars, Ferrells, Wassons, Northingtons, Axtells, Burrises, and Robinsons, to name but a few.

The date of the cemetery's opening is unknown, but early tombstones include  Elizabeth Wails (died January 8, 1887, age 56, 4 months, 21 days)  and Thomas Wails, (died December 17, 1887, age 59, 4 days). *

Thomas Wails, Beaumont Cemetery, died 1887

Settlement of Butler County and the Walnut River Valley began as early as the 1850's, but title to land was always uncertain until the final removal of the Osage and other tribes, which did not take place until the early 1870's. ** The historic Beaumont Hotel was built in 1879, and previous to that the location served as a stagecoach stop for the route between Fredonia and Wichita, Kansas. The post office came to Beaumont in 1880. And in 1885, the Frisco railroad come to town, connecting St. Louis to the east and Wichita to the west. Beaumont served as a refueling and service center. Its location at the top of the climb though the Flint Hills and Greenwood County making it ideal.

If cemeteries could speak they would reveal countless tales of heartbreak and sadness. For instance, there is the headstone of Orville and Mary Northington. Orville lived from 1889 until 1969. His wife Mary Kellie from 1890 until 1967. Next to their beautiful granite headstone are three well-preserved concrete headstones marking the deaths of Clara Northington, born May 15, 1934, died May 19, 1934; Irene, born November 25, 1931, died July 22, 1934, and; Oliver, born September 1930, died January 1932. Their stories are lost to time, but it is well to remember that Kansas in the 1930's was a decade of drought and dust storms.

Clara, Irene, and Oliver Northington, Beaumont Cemetery

*William Thomas Wails had at least one daughter, Mary Ann Wails (1883 - 1962).  She was born in Beaumont, Kansas, USA on 1883 to William Thomas Wails and Lettie Jane Mead. Mary Ann married John Oscar Strader and had 8 children.

** The Osage Indian settlements in southeast Kansas were primarily in Montgomery County, near present day Independence. However, the Osage Indians crossed Butler county in a well marked trail on their way to hunt the plains buffalo. Read more about the Indian Reserves in Kansas.