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The Family of John & Lizzie Platt

Roy J Platt, Beverly P Platt, Robert M Platt, Mrs J W Platt '91', Lucy Platt Stants. 
Taken on mothers 91st birthday. March 14, 1949. 438 S Grove, Wichita, Kansas. 

(Caption information from the back of the photograph. Thanks to Teresa Chapman for contributing this image.)

Roy J Platt, Beverly P. Platt, Robert M Platt, Mrs J. W. Platt '91', Lucy Platt Stants. Taken on mothers 91st birthday. March 14, 1949. 438 S Grove, Wichita, Kansas. (Caption information from the back of the photograph, which is from the collection of Ada (Rumsey) Jackson. Thanks to Teresa (Rumsey) Chapman for contributing this image.)

John came from Savona, New York to his uncle Mortimers' in Kansas City, Missouri. That family owned a house and mule barn in the Kansas City Stockyards and one son later built the first "high rise" apartment in Kansas City on the crest of the hills above the yards. Their grandeur is gone but they are a forerunner of today's apartment life.

John and his Uncle came to Comanche County in 1884, buying shares in the old Comanche Pool. In October his bride Lizzie Tennyson came by train to Attica where he met her, and they drove by wagon to spend the night in Comanche County with Uncle Bob and Aunt Lyde Estille in the Dave McIntire house, the first house built in the county. Lizzie was one of thirteen children, and her father was a Methodist minister, as was his father. She told us of visiting the overnight camps of returning Civil War veterans when she was a small child in Lenexa. John and Lizzie then lived in Rumsey township in a house near Mule Creek, a short distance south of the present Jim Brass home. The present home incorporated their small home. They are buried in the Aetna Cemetery.

A cousin, Virgil Platt, was a partner in the Platt-Gilchrist Lumber Co., and built a house, still standing, a few blocks east of 160 highway and one or two blocks north of Main Street in Coldwater.

John and Lizzie's four children, Robert, Lucy Stants, and Roy, all deceased, and Beverly, living in Wichita, were born in the Mule Creek house and lived there until about 1905. At that time, John and Mortimer dissolved their partnership and John's family moved to the Barber County part of the ranch, leaving the land they homesteaded in Comanche County. The west boundary of the ranch is the county line, and we always thought of ourselves as Comanche Countians. The ranch is now operated by Roy's son, Mike Platt, who lives in Medicine Lodge with his wife Betty, sons John and Mike and daughter Cindy.

Roy married Ellen Moffett, deceased, who was reared by her Uncle Dick Matthews, a Comanche Pool rider in his youth. Ellen taught school one year at a school southeast of Coldwater, and the names she mentioned were familiar ones in the Western Star News of yesterday and today, but I cannot recall the families in her district.

Robert practiced Veterinary Medicine in Comanche County in the 20's, moving to Kim, Colorado for a number of years. He returned to Protection in the 30's and practiced in the county, working the Coldwater Sale until his death. A son, Robert, died in 1977, and his wife, two sons and a daughter reside in the Kim and LaJunta vicinity. Elzeen Wood, a daughter, lives in Nevada City, Colorado. Their maternal grandparents were the Hodge family of Aetna.

Roy's son, John (deceased in 1960) graduated from Coldwater High in 1934. His son, John, lives in Alva, Oklahoma and operates a ranch and the Kiowa Sales Barn. Joyce Reed, Topeka, Kansas transferred from Coldwater to Medicine Lodge High in 1934, later earning degrees from KU and Missouri University. She and her husband, Bill, and Steve, live in Colorado and spend summers at the Ranch and regularly bring their children back to Mike and Betty's to learn what the wide-open spaces really mean.

The Platt Ranch was a gathering place for the lower Mule Creek neighborhood; the Painted Post Picnics with a merry-go-round, were held in the timber north of the house. The ponies and chariots were later used as yard toys for us children. Mike and I recall our exciting trips to Coldwater, not more than once a month, to buy groceries or maybe see a movie. The library was our favorite spot. Mrs. White was my piano teacher and her patience and warmth are still remembered. The drought and dust are vivid to us, particularly a day the two of us drove the entire cow herd to the Arrington Ranch, former Comanche Pool headquarters, to be dipped for ticks. We didn't know it was too big a job for two, so we did it anyway.

I can't remember the names of the many families that came in the summer with milk buckets to pick sand plums and wild grapes, and in the fall to cut firewood in our plentiful timber. Our neighbors, the Sims' (Rosemary's family) and the Lenertz' (Lester) were like family for us since we had few relatives. The Dan Jacksons' provided the Bermuda roots for our yard after our home was destroyed by a tornado in 1927. Streams of cars bringing sightseers came to our place every Sunday for several weeks. The neighbors came to help clear debris, bury dead animals and build miles of barb wire fence.

In recent years I rarely saw a familiar face when I drove Dad on his favorite trip to Coldwater via Belvidere, but I still feel a sense of being one of the Comanche County folk.

By: Joyce E. Platt Reed, Comanche County History, pages 606 - 607, published by the Comanche County Historical Society, Coldwater, Kansas, 1981.

Lizzie Platt on her 91st birthday.  Photo courtesy of Teresa (Rumsey) Chapman.Lizzie Platt on her 91st birthday, 14 March 1949. Note the copy of The Western Star beside her chair. Photo from the collection of Ada (Rumsey) Jackson, courtesy of Teresa (Rumsey) Chapman.

John W. Platt

The Chosen Land - Barber County, Kansas, pg. 368.

By Mike Platt and Joyce Reed.

John W. Platt came to Barber County from New York in 1884. He returned to Kansas City to marry Lizzie Tennison in Lenexa, Kansas, on June 7, 1884. Mrs. Platt came by wagon from Attica in October, 1844, to live in their dugout, just over the line in Comanche County, although the ranch he operated with an uncle, M.R. Platt, lay partly in Barber County. The house they built still stands. They soon moved their home a few miles south, which is still the home place.

Their herd of Galloway cattle, imported by Uncle M.R., soon gave way to Hereford cattle. Mr. Platt died in 1920, and Mrs. Platt in 1949. Their four children, Robert, Lucy, Beverly, and Roy, grew up on the ranch, attending Aetna grade school, as did Roy's three children, John, Joyce, and Mike.

The latch-string was always out at the Platts', as a neighbor, Eva Mills said at the time of Roy's death on November 29, 1978. A Sunday dinner group of twenty five was not unusual.

A carnival was held on the ranch and the defunct company left behind a merry-go-round whose horses later graced the front yard at both John W.'s and Roy's house.

The big old house grew like Topsey by adding the one and two room houses of homesteaders who sold out. These rooms always seemed to be filled with relatives, friends, and hired hands, until a devastating tornado struck in 1927, destroying four houses and all out buildings. They rebuilt a short distance north of the old home, and Mrs. Platt and Beverly moved to Wichita to be near Lucy and Charles Stants.

Robert graduated from Kansas State and practiced veterinary medicine in Kim, Colorado, Coldwater, and Protection. He married Thelma Hodge; they are both deceased. Their children were Robert and Elzeen.

Robert, who died in 1977, had three children: Regina Carroll, John and Mike. His wife, Rose, still lives near Kim, Colorado. Elzeen Wook, Robert's daughter, and five children live in California.

Lucy, a Kansas State graduate, taught Home Economics at Medicine Lodge before her marriage to Charles Stants of Abilene, Kansas. Charles enjoyed many years of duck and quail hunting at the ranch with shells he filled, and gun barrels he had bored. Both are deceased.

Beverly resides in Wichita and, as her 90th birthday nears, declares, "They may yet make an old woman out of me."

Roy married Ellen Moffett, deceased in 1974, of the Feltner pioneer family, in Medicine Lodge in 1913. They lived on the ranch until moving to Medicine Lodge in 1959. Roy continued to operate the ranch with his sons, John and Mike, until John's death in 1960. Mike now operates the family ranch.

John's son, John W., and family reside in Lenexa, Kansas, where Lizzie grew up. Joyce married William Reed and lives in Topeka, Kansas. Their sons, William Roy and Steven Mike, and families live in Colorado.

Mike and Betty Platt live in Medicine Lodge with their children: Michael, Cynthia, and John, so three great-grandchildren still live in Barber County.

The Platt ranch will soon see 100 years of "one family" ownership. Many of the old neighbors of the 1890's and early 1900's are gone. The Estill's log cabin, where Lizzie spent her first night in Barber County, still stands on the Howard Brass ranch. The Hodges, Johnsons, Eckerts are only memories.The Wells family left the adjoining ranch this year. The Mitchell and Mills in Barber County and the Greggs, Yorks, and Lenertzs of Comanche County are a few who remain. The isolated Mule Creek, Aetna, and Deerhead communities made friends and neighbors in a way no longer possible. With the recent passing of Roy Platt, an era is ending.

The Mule Creek ranch always welcomed people, from as far away as Greensburg and Alva, to pick sandhill plums and in the fall, to cut wood. This all seemed to end after World War II.

The Western Star, August 6, 1920.


John W. Platt, who was one of Comanche-co's pioneer settlers, and who was for 36 years one of the best known citizens of Comanche and Barber-cos., died at 11 a.m. on last Sunday, August 1, 1920, in St. Francis hospital in Wichita, where he had been for about a week. Following an operation on Monday of last week Mr. Platt's condition was thought to be improving, but euremic poisoning set in and on Friday, he showed symptoms. From that time he became steadily worse, passing away shortly before noon on Sunday. Mrs. Platt and all the children were present at the time of death and accompanied the body to this city on Tuesday. Funeral services were conducted from the home, 30 miles southeast of this city, at 2 o'clock p.m. on Wednesday and were in charge of Rev. J. T. Wheeler, pastor of the Christian church in this city. There was a large gathering of neighbors and friends at the funeral, and all felt keenly the loss of one of their best friends and a citizen of high standing in the community. Burial was made in the Aetna cemetery.

John W. Platt was born in Savona, Steuben-co., New York, on December 11, 1850. His age therefore, at the time of his death was 70 years, 7 months and 20 days. At the age of 24, Mr. Platt came west, making his home for about 10 years in the northeastern part of Kansas. In the year 1884 he came to Comanche-co. and settled on a ranch in the southeastern part of the county. Later he moved to that portion of his ranch which lies in Barber-co., and there he continued to make his home.

On June 7, 1884, Mr. Platt was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Tennison, who, with four children - two sons and two daughters - survive him. The sons are Robert M. Platt, now of Edenview, Colo., and Roy Platt, who lives near Aetna; the daughters are Mrs. Lucy Stantz of Tulsa, Okla., and Miss Beverly Platt, who is still at the parental home. Many friends extend to these relatives sincere sympathy in this their hour of sad bereavement.

______ of pioneer life in Kansas but through it all he showed a degree of perseverance and unwavering faith in the country which characterized all of our early day settlers who remained with the county through all the trying days of the county's history. In every detail of his business Mr. Platt always showed good business judgment, and especially in his livestock investments, to which he gave much of his time and attention.

He was honorable in all his dealings, and no one ever had reason to question his absolute integrity or his unselfish devotion to the principles which make for success and for the happiness of loved ones and neighbors. John Platt was a whole-souled, generous and likable man, quiet and unassuming, yet genial and neighborly. He visited Coldwater a few days before going to Wichita and while there he gave his friends no cause to anticipate his death at so early a date. He appeared at that time to be in fairly good health, yet it is evident that his failing condition of health had begun several weeks before his death. Mr. Platt was a nephew of Mortimer R. Platt and a cousin of Virgil N. Platt, who were well known in the county, but each of whom is now deceased. Besides his family, Mr. Platt's only surviving relatives in the west are some cousins, who live in or near Kansas City.

The Western Star, August 10, 1923.


Her Entire Life Has Been Spent in This State.

A Few Facts Concerning Her Eventful Life.

Lizzie Platt At left: Lizzie Platt

Mrs. John W. Platt, whose home is 27 miles southeast of this city, is 100 percent Kansas. She was born in Johnson-co. between Kansas City and Olathe, on March 14, 1868, and lived there for 26 years, or until her marriage to John W. Platt in 1881, when they moved to the new county of Comanche. Mrs. Platt's father, James Tennison settled in Kansas near Kansas City, during the early 50's, when that town was known as Westport, and when the town was a mere trading post, composed of a few sod and log houses. The family made their way to Kansas Territory, as it was then, by steamboat, landing at Westport Landing.

At that time travel was principally steamboat and by the prairie schooner route. Mr. Tennison's trading point was Westport, his cabin being located several miles away from that place. He was thus a real pioneer in Kansas.

It was on March 14, 1858, that Lizzie Tennison, who afterwards became Mrs. J. W. Platt, was born, and since that day her home has been in Kansas. Mr. Platt also lived in Johnson-co. He was a native of New York, but came west in 1874. He made two visits to his old home state before his death, which occurred on August 1, 1920.

In making their way to this county from Johnson-co, 39 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Platt came by rail as far as Harper, which as far as the railroad had then been built. From Harper they came in a wagon, coming through Medicine Lodge and Lake City and settling on a claim near the Comanche-Barber-co. line, southeast of this city. They continued to live there and built for themselves a comfortable home. They were not scared away by dry weather, grasshoppers, hard times or anything else, but stayed with the country. Mr. Platt giving his attention principally to stock raising. In that line he was very successful, having succeeded in building up a fine herd.

After Mr. Platt's death, Mrs. Platt assumed charge of the ranch and, with the aid of her son, Roy, and her daughter, Miss Beverly, has succeeded in maintaining one of the best stocked ranches in this part of the state.

The Platt ranch contains 10,000 acres of splendid ranch land. About 700 acres of feed stuff is raised each year. This year the Platt herd has increased by about 200 calves. Mrs. Platt and her neighbor, Mrs. Mary E. Estill, who was also a pioneer on Mule Creek, is each much interested in raising fine cattle and each is making a success of the business. Mrs. Estill is the only remaining settler in that part of the county who was there when the Platts came.

Mrs. Platt's son, Robert, is now living on the ranch near Hoopup, Colo. Mrs. Lucy Stants, whose home is in Petrolis, Kans., is her daughter. Mrs. Platt is still in the best of health. She takes a lively interest in public affairs and ____ all over Comanche and Barber-cos. in this state, and Woodward and Woods-cos. in Oklahoma, as a fine type of Kansas womanhood - the kind that braved hardships and toiled on, finally winning from the prairie the rewards of industry, frugality and perseverance. She belongs to a most deserving and rapidly decreasing class of Kansas pioneers to whom we should all be proud, for they were the real makers of our great state.

(Obituary transcribed and contributed by Shirley Brier.)

The Western Star, October 18, 1946.

Pioneer Mother Re-lives Olden Days

Mrs. J. W. Platt, 88, of Wichita, Visits the Old Ranch

Mrs. J. W. Platt of Wichita has been enjoying her visit the past two months with friends and her grandchildren and "living the past."

She landed in Comanche county 62 years ago - October 6, 1884 - as a bride coming to the West. Her husband, John W. Platt, had come on ahead. He met her and her brother, Lath Tennison, at Harper, the closest railroad point in those days.

The "cars" in those days were the covered wagons. They drove the first day from Harper to Medicine Lodge and stayed all night there and got supplies to last for three months, as going to town was not an hour's drive like it is now.

Aunt Lyde Estill, as we all knew her, and Mrs. Dave McIntire, who is spending her time at San Marcos, Calif., with her son, Tom, were the only women within 20 miles of the Platt ranch. Mrs. Platt and Mrs. McIntire still own their ranches on old Mule Creek and as far as we know, are the only women in that part of the county who are still living.

W. S. Richardson is the only pioneer of those times who is still living. He makes his home with his son at Lake City. These old-timers still think and talk of the "Old Comanche Pool" and the "Home on the Range."

The club in Wichita to which Mrs. Platt belongs, the Kansas Commonwealth Club, is trying to get Kansas to adopt "Home on the Range" as the official state song. Mrs. Platt feels it will be a real song, as Kansas City was just a range town when she was born there 88 years ago on March 14, 1858.

Kansas City was then only a collection of sod homes and Westport was the only town. So Mrs. Platt has watched the state of Kansas develop from a range to the best state in the Union, as it is the heart and center of the nation.

Her granddaughter, Beverly Elzeen Platt-Underwood of Nevada City, Calif., drove in with her family to visit. The Fuller boys, Dave, Robert, and Ord, also, dropped in to see Mrs. Platt, and Dave Morris, John White and the Sims boys called - she can't name all of them now. She told them she hoped they all live as long and have just as good health. Mrs. Platt has been active around the home and has been helping make pear honey.

A few weeks ago she and her daughter, Beverly Platt of Wichita took a notion to see the ranch and the baby, John Platt III. They left Wichita and drove out to Mary Kernohan's to take her to the ranch with them, then on to Eva Draper's where they had dinner. They stayed all night at the Platt ranch with Mrs. Platt's son, Roy, and family. On their return they took dinner with John Platt III and took in the rodeo at Kiowa before returning home that evening.

A son, Roy I. Platt,. lives on the old ranch, D. V. M., resides at Protection, and her daughters, Lacy Platt-Stants at 408 N. Emporia, Wichita, and Beverly Platt take care of her wants and help make life really enjoyable for one of the Kansas' fine pioneer mother.

(Obituary transcribed and contributed by Shirley Brier.)

John & Lizzie Platt. Gravestone in Aetna Cemetery, Barber County, Kansas. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich. PLATT
Lizzie A., 1858 -
John W. , 1848 - 1920

Gravestone in Aetna cemetery, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich.

Lucy Wilder Tennison, Gravestone in Aetna Cemetery, Barber County, Kansas. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich. Lucy Wilder Tennison, MOTHER,
Mar. 1, 1827 - Apr. 2, 1897.

DIED - at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. J. W. Platt, in Rumsey township, on Saturday, April 2, at 4 o'clock p.m., of la grippe, Mrs. Lucy Tennison, aged 70 years. The deceased moved to Johnston county, from Illinois, in 1850, being one of the early settlers there, removing to this county about 10 years ago and has since made her home with her daughter. She calmly passed away seeming to be hopeful of the future that was before her. She leaves several children and a host of friends to mourn her loss. She was laid to rest in the Aetna cemetery Monday. -- The Western Star, April 9, 1898.

Gravestone in Aetna cemetery, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich. Obituary courtesy of Shirley Brier.


John M. Platt, son of Roy and Ellen Platt.

Eyewitness Account of the tornado at the Platt Ranch by Mike Platt,
published in The Hardtner Community News, Issue No. 90, Sept. 4, 2003.


Published in The Barber County Index, May 27, 1927.

The Tornado of May 7, 1927, As Told by Florence Mills Wells, An eyewitness account, transcribed by her grand-daughter, Peggy Wilson Newsome.

Tornado plays Havoc at the Platt Ranch, The Western Star, May 13, 1927.

Jessie Evans of Evansville, Comanche County, Kansas

The History of Evansville, Comanche County, Kansas

The Comanche Pool, Comanche County, Kansas

Perils of the Plains by Hattie Pierce Wimmer     An account of pioneer life as experienced by Will and Hattie Wimmer, how they met, married, and lived within the boundaries of the vast Comanche Cattle Pool of South Central Kansas in the late nineteenth century.

Frank & Almada (Parker) King     Frank King was the last foreman of the Comanche Pool.

Obituary of Colonel Dick Phillips, an organizer of The Comanche Pool     From The Western Star, published Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas, 30 June 1916.

Dr. Gerald K. Rumsey of Evansville and Rumsey, Comanche County, Kansas   Includes photos of Jack Rumsey, Mike Platt and Teresa (Rumsey) Chapman at John & Lizzie Platt's gravestone in Aetna Cemetery.

Albert R. Riggs   An employee of the Platt Ranch when it was operated by Roy Platt, Albert Riggs was killed in an auto accident in May of 1931.

At left: Billy Brown (at left) and Roy Platt, on their horses at Evansville, Kansas. At the time this picture was taken this property was owned by Mortimor R. Platt. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich.
Billy Brown (at left) and Roy Platt, on their horses at Evansville, Kansas.
At the time this picture was taken, circa 1910, this property was owned by Mortimor R. Platt.
Photo courtesy of Phyllis Scherich.

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