N.W. Murphy Settles Kansas Homestead

N.W. Murphy did much in the way of developing community around his northeast Kansas homestead.

| Good Old Days

My grandfather, N. W. Murphy, left his trade as a carpenter, sold his farms, built his covered wagon, and left Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1860. He came to a Kansas homestead to help make it a free state – or so he told his wife.

With daughters, 12 and 8 years old, and a son, 2, the Murphys spent the first winter at Shawnee Mission with the Native Americans. Grandmother, formerly a schoolteacher, helped with the teaching. The little girls, who attended the school, had time off when the Native Americans went on the warpath.

In the spring, the family purchased land from the Indians in Johnson County, west of the Missouri border. Native Americans were friends and neighbors.

Having completed his house, Grandfather next built a log cabin schoolhouse, declaring he would not have his children grow up in a land without schools. His wife's maiden sister came to be the teacher.

Then the Murphys said there must be a worship service, and they held the first church service in the township in their house. A circuit rider came from Lawrence, riding a pony and carrying in his saddlebags a change of clothing and any donations that were given for his services.

As soon as he had chosen his land, Grandfather started an orchard. Grandmother laid out her garden, planting sage and herbs brought from Iowa. The herbs grown there produced many of the ingredients for her tonics and salves.

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