Children of the Prairie



Drowning - 2

Farm Accident

Gunshot - 1

Murder - 1

Snake Bite - 1

Other Accident


Brain Fever - 1

Cholera Infantum - 1

Dyphtheria - 2

Dysentery - 1

La Grippe

Whooping Cough - 1
Other Illness - 1



Living as a child on the Harvey County prairie could be dangerous in many ways.  This page is our tribute to these children who were casualties of early homestead life.  Submissions welcomed. Items otherwise unnoted were submitted by Darren McMannis for this project.

Ainsworth, Harry - Tuesday afternoon, Harry, son of Daniel Ainsworth, while at home and playing around the house, was bitten by a rattle-snake.  Prompt and effective measures were used by Dr. Boyd, extracting the poison, and leaving the little fellow all right again.  (The Newton Kansan, Thursday, August 22, 1872.  Page 3).

Allen, Amasa Burton - Mar. 9, 1890 to Feb. 10, 1905.  "Amasa Burton Allen, son of A.N. Allen died of brain fever last Friday morning about 11:00 at the family residence 2 ˝ miles northeast of Sedgwick, after a sickness of 3 weeks. Everything possible was done to save his life, but he steadily grew worse until death released him from his pain. He was born at the place of his death March 9, 1890 and was 14 years 11 months and one day old. Burton was a good, faithful son and brother and was honored by his companions. His funeral was conducted from the Methodist Church Saturday afternoon by Rev. Dadisman and the body was interred in the Hillside Cemetery."  (The Sedgwick Pantagraph, Feb. 16, 1905.  Copy provided by Patti Unruh).

Blades, Geneva - Sep. 27, 1878 to Dec. 27, 1883.  "Died of diphtheria, Thursday morning, Geneva, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Blades."  (Burrton Monitor, Dec. 28, 1883.  Page 3).  Burial in Burrton Cemetery Block 3 Lot 101 Grave 4.

Blades, Charlie - May 11, 1894 to Jan. 16, 1895.  Son of Albert Blades.  Buried in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 101 Grave 3.

Bonham, Andrew W - Nov. 8, 1860 to Feb. 23, 1871.  Son of FM & JA Bonham.  Buried in Garden Township Cemetery.

Bonham, Bradford A. - Mar. 2, 1873 to Mar. 16, 1875.  Son of FM & JA Bonham.  Buried in Garden Township Cemetery.

Bonham, Cora B. - Oct. 9, 1874 to Nov. 12, 1881.  Daughter of L & MJ Bonham.  Buried in Garden Township Cemetery.

Bonham, Hiram L. - Mar. 17, 1867 to Aug. 26, 1868.  Son of L & MJ Bonham.  Buried in Garden Township Cemetery.

Bonham, Maybell - Mar. 16, 1870 to Apr. 16, 1870.  Daughter of FM & JA Bonham.  Buried in Garden Township Cemetery.

Collins, Johnnie - Jul 11, 1881 to Mar 28, 1884.  "Born on the 22nd of July, a son to Mr. and Mrs. Al. Collins. (Burrton Monitor, July 29, 1881 p. 3).  "Died - Collins.  Tuesday night, Johnnie, aged 1 year, 8 months and 3 days, son of Mr. and Mrs. Al Collins.  The little sufferer had the dreaded disease diphtheria."  (Burrton Monitor, Mar 28, 1884. P. 3).  Johnnie was the son of Albert G & H.R. Collins and is buried next to his father in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 206 Grave 4.

Cookson, Infant - died Mar. 18, 1873.  "Tuesday evening of this week the residence of Mr. Cookson, five and a half miles southeast of this place, was burned up with all their goods, furniture and about $250 in money.  A seven months old child was also burned so badly that it died yesterday morning.  At the time of the fire Mr. Cookson was absent from home, and his wife was a short distance from the house milking, leaving their three small children alone in the house.  How the fire originated is unknown"  (The Newton Kansan.  Thurs. March 20, 1873.  Page 3).

Eales, Charles Burton - May 23, 1882 to Oct 12, 1882.  "Died - About 8 o'clock pm the 12th last, Charles Burton Eales, infant son of S.J and Barbara H. Eales, aged four months and twenty days.  Funeral service at the family residence today at 2:30 p.m." (Burrton Monitor, Oct. 13, 1882, p. 3).  Burial in the Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 87 Grave 7.

Gooch, Infant - Jan. 14, 1904 to Jan. 20, 1905.  "The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gooch, who resided on the old Newman farm south of town, met death in a peculiar and distressing manner last Friday.  The child was drowned in a common candy bucket which contained only about 4 inches of water.  It seems the mother had left the kitchen in which there were 3 small children and after an absence of only a few minutes returned, and on missing the baby, asked the other children where the baby had gone.  They were frightened, but pointed to the bucket where the little one's feet were protruding.  She at once rescued the baby and attempted to bring it back to life but to no avail.  The child, a baby only a few months of age had evidently toppled over into the bucket and helpless to cry or extricate himself had drowned in this seemingly incredible manner.  The funeral was held at the family home Saturday and the body was buried at Hillside." (The Sedgwick Pantagraph, January 26, 1905.  Copy provided by Patti Unruh).

Hamlin, Claudia Allen. - died Mar 24, 1884.  "Died - Monday the 24th day of March, 1884, Claudia Allen Hamlin, aged 5 years, 3 months, and 9 days, daughter of J.F. and Rachel Hamlin."  (Burrton Monitor, Mar. 28, 1884 p. 3).  Burial in Burrton Cemetery, Block 2 Lot 144 Grave 5.

Hargett, William Gerald - Sep. 13, 1906 to Jan 4, 1907.  "William Gerald Hargett, infant son of Harry Hargett and wife was born September 13, 1906 and died January 4, 1907 aged 3 months and 22 days.  Death resulted from whooping cough which proved more than the little one could withstand.  The funeral services were conducted from the home by Father Niedelpluem, of the Catholic Church at Newton.  The little white casket covered with a profusion of floral offerings from relatives and friends was gently carried to Hillside Cemetery and laid to rest.  The bereaved parents have the sympathy of the community in their affliction, but sympathy when hearts are as sore as theirs cannot heal the wound.  There is something unusually pathetic and touching about the death of a little child.  The bud of promise has not fairly opened, the plans of loved ones are all so rudely shattered when a baby dies.  But back of it all there is the consolation that the little soul has gone but to the God who gave it, purely and spotless white, free from contamination of this earthly life.  If there be a heaven, baby Gerald is there.  His going at this time is but a part of the plan of an all wise God, whose designs we cannot understand, yet who does all things well."  (The Sedgwick Pantagraph, January 10, 1907.  Copy provided by Patti Unruh).

Hart, Myrtle - Jan. 1895 to Feb. 28, 1905.  "William B. Hart, a farmer living for miles north of Newton, shot and killed his 10-year-old daughter Myrtle, as she was dressing, and then went to his room and shot himself through the right temple.  Heart had been acting strangely of late, but the family did not think him crazy.  He seemed perfectly rational before the shooting.  His wife died a few years ago and his youngest child a year ago, and another loss is supposed to have unsettled his mind.  He had lived in Harvey County many years, and was highly respected.  (The Sedgwick Pantagraph, March 9, 1905.  Page 2, Column 4).

McCabe, James Curtis - Aug. 1903 to Sep. 1906.  "James Curtis McCabe, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed McCabe, died last Thursday morning at 2:00 of dysentery after an illness of two weeks, aged 3 years and 14 days.  All that medical skill could do, all that loving hands of relatives and trained nurses could accomplish availed not, and the little sufferer after a heroic battle for life, quietly passed to a better land.  The child’s mother is the writer’s only sister which makes the little one’s going seem a personal loss.  Time alone can heal sorrow for all.  The great God who rules over all has so ordained.  His will be done. The child died at the home of its grandparents where it was taken when returned from Mitchell, Kansas where it was stricken.  Funeral services were conducted from the Cretcher home Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. by Rev. Father McGuire of Newton.  The little white casket was covered with floral emblems contributed by sympathizing relatives and friends.  The body was laid to rest at Hillside Cemetery." (The Sedgwick Pantagraph, September 13, 1906.  Copy provided by Patti Unruh).

Purcell, Galen - died February 24, 1900, aged 5 years, 7 months, 0 days.  Galen Purcell, son of A.J. & E.P Purcell.  Burial in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 36 Grave 2, next to his brother Herbert.

Purcell, Herbert Fulton - died April 30, 1883.  "Herbert Fulton Purcell, son of A. J. and E. P. Purcell died at the family residence near Burrton, Kansas, on Monday morning April 30, 1883, at the age of 13 years, 4 months and 24 days.  He was sick but a few days, and the announcement of his death was a startling one to a large portion of the community.  The funeral service was held on Wednesday May 2nd at which there was a very large attendance of neighbors and friends.  Rev. D. Kingery, the pastor of the family preached a sermon from the text 2 Kings 4:26.  'Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband?  Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.'  Rev. A. Ellelt assisted in the service.  Bert was a pleasant boy, always cheerful and lively.  And he died in the same pleasant cheerful way as that in which he had lived.  He calmly talked of his approaching death, and showed that it was not a terror to him.  He quietly gave direction as to what should be done with such things as he had and especially that certain things should be disposed of and the proceeds given to missions."  (The Burrton Monitor, May 11, 1883.  Page 3.  Transcribed by Darren McMannis).  Burial in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 36 Grave 1.

Shields, Luella - Jul 5, 1883 to Jul 31, 1884.  "Died - July 30th, Luella Shields, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James S & Iva Shields of our city.  The little girl was taken sick three weeks ago with Cholera Infantum.  At times she seemd to rally but on Wednesday the dread messenger came and bore their darling away."  (Burrton Monitor, Aug 1, 1884 p. 3).  Burial in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 187 Grave 5.  No relatives are buried with her.

Spangler, Raymond - died April 25, 1925.  "Mother Finds Her Little Son Dying.  A few minutes after his mother found him in the barn about one o'clock today strangling from the flow of blood, Raymond, the five year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Spangler, four miles south of Newton, was dead.  How the child met with the injury that caused his death will probably always remain a mystery.  On the child's neck was discovered a small wound that looked as if it might have been caused by him falling on a pitchfork or nail.  Raymond and his little brother were playing in the barn when the accident occurred.  The brother ran to the house after his mother, but he was unable to tell what had happened.  Mr. Spangler came to Newton this morning, and was located and told of his son's death about 2 o'clock.  The fatal accident marks two tragedies that have occurred in the Spangler family.  About eight years ago the little daughter was drowned in a water tank.  Two little boys are left to comfort their parents.  The body of Raymond was brought to the Sprinkler Mortuary this afternoon.  Funeral arrangements will be announced later.  The funeral will be held at the Methodist Church.  Tuesday afternoon at 2:00, conducted by Rev. D. H. Switzer.  Interment will be in Greenwood cemetery. (The Newton Evening Kansan-Republican, April 25, 1925).  Note:  Raymond's wound was later determined to be "accidental gunshot wound."  He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, 2nd Addition, Block 11 Lot 12 Grave 2.  Raymond's sister, Anna Lucille Spangler, drowned September 25, 1914. 

Stone, Harold Guy - died Aug. 9, 1886, age 1 year 2 months 5 days.  "Died - Harold Guy Stone, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph & Anna M. Stone, died on August 8, 1886.  Funeral services on Tuesday.  'Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.' - JM Archer, Pastor" (Burrton Monitor, Aug. 13, 1886 p. 3).  Obituary says the 8th, headstone says the 9th.  Buried in Burrton Cemetery, Block 3 Lot 33 Grave 1.


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