Court In The Old Days, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Barber County Index, February 4, 1937.


Lawyers frequently find some remarkable court records. A. L. Orr, local attorney, recently found an entry in the record of the district court that is somewhat out of the ordinary. This entry may be found on page 301 in a journal now in the office of the clerk of the district court for Barber county. The divorce case was to be heard at the term of court soon after the terrible Elm Creek flood here in 1885. Here is the journal entry:

"And now to-wit: On this 21st day of April 1885, the same being the first day of the regular April term 1885 of the said District court the said cause was duly called for hearing.

"Whereupon E. Sample, Esq. presented a motion asking a withdrawal of the petition in said action filed and the dismissal of the said action. On consideration the Court doth find that the said action was an action for divorce, that upon this day and prior to the assembling of this court a summons bourne by the swift and silent messenger of the Great Tribunal had been served upon this plaintiff that as the night died away she floated out upon the ocean of eternity up to the throne of judgment; That the prayers addressed to this court have been answered by another, that the Supreme Court has summairily disposed of all the issues in this action by granting the decree of divorce and taking said plaintiff and her minor child from the jurisdiction of this Court to one from which no error lies and whose rulings are wisdom. It is ordered therefore that said cause be dismissed and that no costs be taxed in this action."

"Hi, just wanted to tell you I was really pleased to see the information you had on the Kansas flood. An ancestor, Jerry Gibbs, died in it there in Medicine Lodge. I have been trying to learn where he is buried. I think the divorce action must refer to his daughter Julia Harris and his granddaughter Ella. I know that they were living with him when the flood hit. Do you happen to know if the divorce was for John R. and Julia Harris?

The reason that I think the divorce might have been for John R. Harris and his wife Julia are that she was living with her father and that the lawyer Sample lived two doors from John in 1880. Also that the guy in the divorce lost wife and child."

-- Roberta Hofmann, from a 5 May 2007 e-mail to Jerry Ferrin.

"Jerry Gibbs, his daughter and niece, living together, with their horse have all disappeared. The bodies of Mrs. Harris and her daughter aged eleven years, have been recovered. G.W. Paddock and family, consisting of his wife and four children have all disappeared and are supposed to be among the victims of the awful calamity." -- The Great Flood of April 21, 1885, Sharon News, April 29, 1885

"Jerry Gibbs' body was recovered yesterday morning. Mrs. Harris and daughter were also taken from the creek Tuesday." -- Flood. Loss of Life at Medicine Lodge. Twenty-one Bodies Found up to 8 o'clock Yesterday morning., The Kansas Prairie Dog, Lake City, Kansas, April 23, 1885.

Also see:

The Great Flood of April 21, 1885, Barber County, Kansas.

Lines, a poem from Musings of the Pilgrim Bard by Scott Cummins, "Rehearsed at the "Old Settler's Picnic in Paddock's Grove on Upper Elm Creek, Barber County, Kansas, September 16, 1886, on the grounds where Esq. Paddock and his entire family drowned in the flood of 1885."

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

This article was featured in RootsWeb Review, 24 August 2005, Vol. 8, No. 34.

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 14 August 2005 and was last updated 5 April 2007.