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Kansas Settlers

The State of Kansas beckoned several of my relatives during the nineteenth century.

Long ago I learned that my dad’s paternal aunt Bertha Evaline Reed (1884-1981) was born in Harper County, Kansas. Her father Samuel Harvey Reed (1845-1928) possessed what the family referred to as “that Reed wanderlust”, and he had taken his new bride to Kansas shortly after they married in Illinois.

Only recently did I discover that some of my dad’s maternal family also settled in Kansas. Two of my grandmother’s great-aunts spent time in the Sunflower state:

  1. Susannah H. Dunbar (1819-1900), her husband Joel Cutting (1816-1886), and their son Dewitt (1840-1920) left Michigan and settled in Cloud County, Kansas in the early 1870’s. Joel had a sister living there. After Joel died, Susannah proved up their homestead before she and Dewitt moved back east to Akron, Ohio near the town where she had grown up.
  2. Laura Ann Dunbar (1829-1899) and her husband Hoxie Fuller (1826-1903) eventually followed the Cuttings to Cloud County sometime after 1880. They lived out their lives in the Miltonvale area and are buried there.

No descendants remain in Kansas today. The Reeds moved on to Missouri shortly after their daughter Bertha was born. The Cuttings also left the state. Although the Fullers remained in Kansas, they had no children.

I have not visited the spots in Kansas where my family lived. Perhaps one day I will stop to take a look at the rural communities that drew my family 150 years ago. Kansas is not so far from where I live in Colorado.

Times must have been hard in the states my people left behind. These folks were all in their 40’s and 50’s when they sought new opportunities in Kansas. Yet the Reeds and the Cuttings did not find a permanent home there. Kansas pulled them into a new life for a time, but it did not last forever for them.

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