Tribal Elders “Return to Kansas,” At Least for a Day!
First daylight on Tuesday, June 17 saw ten Elders board a van for their “RETURN to KANSAS” trip. This trip was funded by the Elders Committee.
Our first stop was a luncheon at Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, KS. Here our group grew to fifteen with the addition of Tribal Historic Preservation Director Brice Obermeyer; Josh FallLeaf; and Carolyn and Steve Rowe and Jim Grinter of the Kansas Delawares.
Carolyn presented each of us a gift of tobacco. This is a traditional gift of welcome and friendship.
Brice and Josh were our tour guides, and our Kansas Delaware cousins were able to show us where their ancestors lived and were buried.
Our first stop was our tribal land on the edge of Lawrence. This 99-acre tract is currently used as a sod farm, and has 32 acres on the west side with a large 4BR/4B/2-car garage home with the remaining 60- plus acres across the road to the east being used as the sod farm. We checked out the house and all agreed we could call that home!
Next Josh FallLeaf took us to the Haskell College Campus. Our own Bonnie Thaxton attended Haskell, graduating in 1939. Josh is on the faculty there, having recently moved to Administration. Wynona and Pocahontas are still dorms and the large arched entry to the stadium is still standing. A faculty history professor happened by and Bonnie was able to ask him questions (or maybe taught him a few things!).
Next stop was the Delaware Cemetery along KS Hwy 32. Here Carolyn Rowe’s ancestors are buried. Carolyn and Steve told us a bit of their history.
On to the Sarcoxie Cemetery located at Linwood, KS. Although it is called the Sarcoxie Cemetery, we did not find any Sarcoxie markers.
Grinter Place was our next stop. This was Jim Grinter’s great-great-grandparents’ home, but is also on the Kansas State Historical Registry and the National Register of Historic Places. The house has been restored by the Kansas Historical Society and Brice made it possible for us to get a brief tour of the house. A little further was Grinter Chapel and Cemetery. Jim has relatives buried there.
Our last stop was White Church and Cemetery. To the surprise of Pat Donnell, here we found Delaware Nation graves of Rev. Jacob Ketchum, Rev. Charles Ketchum, William S. Ketchum and Captain Ketchum (chief of the Delaware for 28 years). At the foot of Captain Ketchum was a recent stone for Sharon J. Nolte (fifth generation grand-daughter of Captain Ketchum). Brice had visited with Sharon as she was a history buff. There were also markers for Lucinda M. Ketchum and Hatty Ann Ketchum.
We all were headed our separate directions now but before we headed out, Carolyn brought us two large baskets of home- made cookies and orange slices, individually packaged. One basket sugar free, one regular cookies complete with napkins. Oh so good! A gasoline stop and a sandwich at Love’s in Ottawa, KS and we were headed south. We arrived at the Delaware Center about 10:15 pm, tired but believing everyone thoroughly enjoyed our “RETURN to KANSAS” trip.