EARLY SETTLEMENT IN SILVER CREEK TOWNSHIP
The Burden Times 1937
The following very interesting article relating to the early settlement of Silver Creek township was sent to the Times by Mrs. D. Collins, of Wichita, and formerly of Burden. It will be of much interest to a great, many of our readers, and she has our thanks for the article.
For some time Mrs. Collins has been compiling material to be used in a history of Eastern Cowley County, and she has an extensive knowledge of early events and early settlers in this part of the county. She is a writer of much ability, is a good authority on early history in this vicinity, and her writings are always well written and full of interesting material.
One of the largest and most interesting migrations into Silver Creek township during the foundation days of the county, was from Grainger Co., Tennessee. About twenty-five heads of families were represented, a number of them being relatives by birth or marriage. Their descendants have been numerous and during the half century or more of time that has elapsed many of them have been identified with the business and professional activities of Cowley County, Kansas and Kay County, Oklahoma; the fifth and sixth generations being represented in various localities.
The earliest arrivals of this group who sought homes in the new country were members of the Goforth and Brooks families. The heads of these families engaged in agricultural pursuits and were associated with the early organization of the township and helpful in establishing various community groups. One of these early settlers, Abel P. Brooks was elected as the first Trustee of the township, when organization was perfected in 1873. Members of these families were among the charter members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which they helped to organize in 1877-78. The class was named Shiloh in remembrance of the class by the same name in Tennessee where they had formerly worshiped.
The first meeting place of this congregation was in the "Culp School House" which stood on ground now embodied in the Burden cemetery.
The migration of the West and Dyer families from Tennessee began in 1877. They devoted their attention largely to mercantile activities, and were closely associated with the commercial life of Burden throughout the eighties and nineties.
These families were affiliated with the Baptist church and constant and loyal in its support. They did much toward permanently establishing its teaching in the community.
The Baptist congregation met in a schoolhouse prior to the building of the church and it is recorded that in 1882 the church had twenty members, and the names of L. T. Dyer, James Galyon, John R. Cates, Amanda Goforth, Julia West and Caroline Galyon are listed on the earliest church records.
Although these pioneers from Grainger county, Tenn., were affiliated with different groups spiritually, they' were of kindred minds relating to the civic and educational needs of the new country and cooperated in establishing various beneficial institutions.
In 1870 John B. Brooks (to be known to the pioneers as "Uncle Johnnie Brooks") and his wife Elizabeth Sellers Brooks, accompanied by their two sons, Abel P. Brooks and Nathaniel Brooks, and their only daughter, Narcissa, and her husband, James A. Goforth, all of whom had families, left Grainger county, Tenn., and came to Miami county, Kansas, where they spent the winter. The following spring they continued their journey by the covered wagon trail to Silver Creek Township--then unorganized.
Abel P. Brooks homesteaded a claim on Silver Creek in section 22. This land still remains in the family and a younger son, R. O. Brooks, has had continuous residence here practically his entire life.
James A. Goforth homesteaded in section 24 and Nathaniel Brooks in section 26. While these families sojourned in Miami County, the father, John B. Brooks, sustained injuries that prevented him from continuing his journey to Cowley County with the other members of his family. Some months later he arrived and homesteaded a claim on Grouse Creek north of Dexter. He disposed of this land later and bought a claim father north on the creek in the vicinity of old Lazette. Here his death occurred in 1882 at the age of 76 years. To the earliest settlers this farm is still known as "the Johnny Brooks place.”
In 1872 M. L. (Luther) Brooks, the fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Brooks, and his family came to the township and homesteaded on section 24, the same section in which James A. Goforth had filed. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Brooks was Miss Elizabeth Manley, and eventually her brother, James Manley, came to the township. He later returned to Tennessee and was married and then again became a citizen of Cowley County.
Mr. and Mrs. Luther Brooks Were the parents of six sons and one daughter, all reared on the homestead, which still remains in the Brooks family and Banner Brooks and his family dwell in the home that stands on the quarter section south of the original homestead.
In 1877 T. J. (Jeffy) Brooks and his family joined this growing colony of ex-Tennessee citizens. Mr. Brooks homesteaded on section 20 in the vicinity of Moscow. His wife 'Was Miss Josephine Tate prior to her marriage, and this same year came her brother, John R. Tate, and family. They too located near Moscow, which was to soon become a community center and the location for the first post office of the settlement.
Mr. Tate's wife had been Miss Amanda Dyer, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Dyer and she was the pathfinder for other members of the Dyer family who eventually became residents of the township.
Mrs. Nathaniel Brooks was Miss Helen Livingston before her marriage in 1858, and in the years that followed her two brothers, George Livingston and Jacob Livingston, migrated to Cowley County and were associated with its early development.
Mrs. Abel P. Brooks was formerly Miss Mary Jane Goforth, a sister of James A. Goforth, and in the course of time their parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Goforth, came to the community, as did their two sons and their families. Robert Goforth, Sr., and his family arrived in the spring of 1878. He purchased 120 acres of land from a Mr. Fisher in section 27. This land had been 'homesteaded by Richard (Dick) Fitzgerald in 1872. The year after Mr. Goforth became the owner, the K. C. L. & S. K. railroad was surveyed through Silver Creek township, and the town of Burdenville was founded at the cross roads, Isaac Gattan having owned the northeast corner, Thomas Wood the southeast, J. P. Hatchett the southwest and Robert Goforth, Sr., the northwest corner of the chosen town site.
Mr. Goforth then located on section 23 across the highway from the Burden cemetery, here his death occurred in August 1879. For many years his widow and children continued to live on this farm.
S. A. (Andy) Brooks, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Brooks, came to the township in 1883, being the last of the family to leave Tennessee. In 1857 Mr. Brooks married Miss Lucy Tate, daughter of D. N. and Mary Tate. She was a sister of Mrs. Taylor Dyer and Mrs. T. J. Brooks and John R. Tate, all of whom had previously located in the township. Soon after the arrival of Mr. Brooks the Brooks Brothers Bank was established in Burden with a capitalization of $20,000.00. The five brothers constituted the board of directors, and S. A. Brooks was elected president and Nathaniel Brooks cashier. This was the second bank to be organized in the town. The Brooks Brothers operated it successfully several years before they disposed of it and again devoted their time and energy to agricultural pursuits.
In 1879 came L. T. (Taylor) Dyer and his family to spend the remainder of their lives in Silver Creek Township. Mr. Dyer was born in May Springs, Grainger County, Tenn. His wife was Miss Victoria Tate, a sister of John R. Tate. Mr. Dyer located in section 34, one mile west of Burden on land that has been occupied by some members of his family for about six decades and is now owned by his son J. C. (Cal) Dyer.
Coming to Kansas with the Dyer family was Mrs. Sarah J. Galyon (widow) who was the niece of Joel Dyer. She was accompanied by her son, James, and three daughters, Amanda (Goforth), Caroline and Julia Galyon. They located near Moscow where they resided for many Years prior to moving to Burden. Mrs. Galyon died Dec. 31, 1935, at the age of 93 'years.
The next of the Dyer family to seek a home in this vicinity was Thomas Dyer, a son of Joel Dyer. He engaged in the mercantile business in Burden and was closely associated with the early business affairs of the new town.
Soon after his arrival came his brother, Henry Dyer. He was connected with railroad industries and was engaged at various points as station agent and telegraph operator during the pioneer period of railroading.
Mrs. Thomas Dyer was Miss Parthena Cates, and her brother, John Cates, migrated from Tennessee soon after her family became residents of Burden. Thomas Dyer's death occurred in 1886, aged 35 years. Two sisters of Thomas and Henry Dyer had married brothers, namely Temple West and Alonzo G. West and they with their families came to Burden during the boom days of the eighties and were associated with the civic and commercial life of the town for a number of years, conducting a boot and shoe store. Later their brother, Jesse L. West, who had married a third daughter of Joel Dyer, came and engaged in the grocery business and soon after his arrival two other brothers, William West and James West, and their families became residents of the town.
In 1887 Mr. and Mrs. Joel Dyer, accompanied by three daughters, Mary Elizabeth, Louise Magnolia and Maud, and their two youngest sons, Joel H. Dyer and Lee Dyer, came from Tampico, Tennessee, completing the migration of this worthy family from their native state to Cowley County Kansas.
Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Dyer was Miss Mary Elizabeth Ore, and she was related to Mrs. W. T. Gilmore and James C. Ore, both longtime residents of this County. Mr. Dyer engaged in merchandising until failing health prompted him to retire from business activities. His death occurred in 1913, aged 89 years.
His two sons, Joel H. Dyer and Lee Dyer, were associated with him in business for a number of years, but soon after the town of Blackwell, Oklahoma, was founded the exodus of the Tate, West and Dyer families began, and one by one they became citizens of that newer country, and were prominently identified with the pioneering period of Kay county, Oklahoma, and within the past month has occurred the deaths of Mrs. Temple West (Julia Dyer) and her sister, Mrs. J. A. Willison (Louise Magnolia Dyer) in Blackwell.