The Kansans and Whence They Came – Proctor Family History
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Source Citation:
Richard Wilson, "", The Kansans and Whence They Came, Internet: (accessed ), < >.

B arilla Proctor was the first wife of James Lee Wilson. Her father, Moses P. Proctor, and six of his children were among the earliest settlers of Brown County, Kansas. From Kentucky, Moses gradually moved his growing family across the state of Missouri before finally settling in the new territory. In 1855, he made a claim on land that would later be located within Mission Township. He brought three of his sons with him, and they immediately built a foundation for their cabin and began plowing the virgin prairie. They then returned home to Holt County, Missouri, for the winter. Moses returned in 1856 with his children who were still living at home. Some of his other children made their way to live in Kansas around this time as well.

Adelia Proctor

Adelia D. Proctor was the eldest child, born 29 Sep 1828, probably in Kentucky.note1 She married James Bridgman / Bridgeman 18 Aug 1847 in Moniteau County, Missouri. According to the 1876 book History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, by E. N. Morrill, James Bridgman made a claim in Brown County, Kansas, in 1855. He was then enumerated in Brown County during the Kansas Territorial Census of 1857, however, he was not listed on the next census of 1859. They haven't been found in 1860, but in 1870, James and Adelia were living in Benton Township, Holt County, Missouri. James then must have died before 1873.

Adelia remarried to Henry N. Reynolds 23 Feb 1873 in Brown County and moved back there to Robinson Township. By 1885, she was again a widow and living with her son, John. She died 12 Apr 1901 in the town of Robinson and was buried in nearby Rose Hill Cemetery. According to Adelia's obituary she had seven children in total, some of whom must have died in childhood. It is assumed that they were all by her first husband since she was in her mid-forties when she remarried, but of course, that may not be the case. Those who are known were all children of James Bridgeman:

  1. William Bridgman (c.1848-) who is only found on the 1850 census.
  2. Eliza J. Bridgman (c.1850-1938) who married Henry Taylor O'Neal c.1871. Henry served in Co H, 43rd Missouri Infantry during the Civil War.
  3. Marion Franklin "Frank" Bridgman (-1938)note2 who married Elizabeth Ann Harrington c.1875. They lived in Sabetha, Nemaha County, Kansas. He was a night watchman for the city in 1900, and he became the sexton of the Sabetha Cemetery in 1908. In 1910, he was no longer living with Elizabeth who died in 1919. Frank was in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, by 1926. He remarried to Laura David who died here in 1928, and Frank died here in 1938.
  4. John R. Bridgman (c.1854-) who lived with his mother until her death in 1901. In 1905, he began living on the county farm in Brown County, and he is last found there on the 1930 census.

Washington & Barilla Proctor

Washington J. Proctor was born 15 Sep 1832, and his sister, Barilla W. Proctor, was born c.1834. Both were born in Missouri. Washington had come to Kansas with his father in March 1855 to help with his land claim. However, he was back in Missouri the next month in time for two weddings. On 26 Apr 1855, Washington married Malissa Ann Decker, and Barilla married James Lee Wilson in Holt County. The Kansas Territorial Census of 1859 shows that Washington settled in Brown County on 3 May 1855, only a week after getting married. The same census also shows that James settled in Brown County in May 1855, so it is very likely that the two couples arrived together.

During the Civil War, a state of emergency was declared throughout the state of Kansas when a confederate general, Gen. Sterling Price, was attempting to cross its border at Westport, a part of present day Kansas City. This event is referred to as "Price's Raid". Washington and James were both briefly drafted into the Kansas State Militia from 15-29 Oct 1864 until the threat had been repelled. It is not known if they saw any action. After this, Barilla and James remained in Brown County, and Barilla is last found appearing on the state census here in October 1865, not long after having her last child. It is assumed that she passed away soon after this date, since there were no more children. Barilla and James had the following children who were previously discussed in the "Wilson Family History":

  1. John William Wilson (1856-1928).
  2. Susanah Wilson (c.1857-1955).
  3. Mary Matilda Wilson (1860-1940).
  4. Francis (or Franz) Seigel Wilson (1862-1936).
  5. Vernetta Isabel "Nettie" Wilson (1864-1955).

Washington and Malissa remained in the county as well until after the state census of 1875. By the time of the U.S. census in June 1880, however, the family had relocated to Pottawatomie County, Kansas. Malissa died 4 Nov 1880, and Washington died here 26 Apr 1889. They had the following nine children in Brown County, but were survived by only two to four of them:

  1. Frances Marion "Marion" Proctor (male) (1856-1878) who died of Tuberculosis.
  2. William Andrew Proctor (1857-1857) who died at birth.
  3. Susan J. Proctor (1859-1875) who died of Tuberculosis.
  4. George E. Proctor (1862-1899) who married Mary E. "Mollie" Hall 22 Nov 1887 in Springside, Pottawatomie County, Kansas. George was declared insane in January 1888 and spent less than a year in the Osawatomie State Hospital, or the State Insane Asylum, as it was called at the time. Mollie died c.1896 of Tuberculosis, and George remarried to Bessie A. Huntsman 25 Jun 1898 in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Both were residents of Kansas City at the time. The following year while visiting his son back in Kansas, he tried to force his way into a stranger's house late at night for a drink of water. He was shot, and his arm had to be amputated. George was recommitted to the hospital, where he died from his injury only weeks later. He was buried in the hospital's burial ground in Osawatomie.
  5. Maggie D. Proctor (1864-1864) who died in infancy.
  6. Francis O. "Fannie" Proctor (1866-1942)note3 who married Henry Cox 29 Nov 1882 in Westmoreland, Pottawatomie County, Kansas. They moved to Franklin County, Kansas, in 1890, and they were there through at least 1895. In 1897, they were living in Kansas City, Missouri, and Fannie filed for divorce here in Feb 1899. She remarried to Frank P. Flynn 11 Jul 1900 in Leavenworth County, Kansas. In 1910, they were living in Freeport, Illinois, and in 1920, they were in Chicago. By 1930, they had relocated again to Benton County, Arkansas, where they remained.
  7. Benjamin Proctor (1869-1951) who married Sarah Etta "Sadie" Parks 30 Nov 1893 in Westmoreland, Pottawatomie County, Kansas, and relocated to Coffey County, Kansas, between 1915-1920.
  8. Emma A. Proctor (c.1872-1893) who married George I. Knapp 01 Oct 1887 in Westmoreland. She died of Tuberculosis shortly after moving to Longmont, Colorado, to improve her health.
  9. Lottie A. Proctor (c.1875-1887).

William Proctor

William P. Proctor was born 26 Aug 1836 in Missouri. He helped his father stake his claim in Kansas in March 1855 and moved there with him on 10 Apr 1856. William married Matilda Frances Crawford here 20 Sep 1860. In Oct 1864, he was drafted into the same company of the militia as Washington and James during Price's Raid. Sometime prior to April 1865, he became the postmaster of the post office in Claytonville, Brown County. William died of Tuberculosis 27 Jun 1872 and was buried in the Claytonville Cemetery. Matilda remarried to a Mr. Banning who also died before 1878, and she married a final time to William C. Meyer. Matilda died 28 Mar 1936 at the age of 93. William and Matilda had the following children:

  1. Ella S. Proctor (1861-1924) who married Cornelius J. White 06 Feb 1879 in Brown County. They lived in Hiawatha, Brown County, until moving to Parkville, Platte County, Missouri, in 1903. By 1910, they were back in Kansas in Fairview, Brown County, next door to Ella's remarried mother. From at least 1913-1915, they lived in Powhattan, Brown County. During this time, Ella was a missionary on the nearby Kickapoo Indian Reservation. By 1920, they were living with a daughter in Moorcroft, Crook County, Wyoming, where they died.
  2. Ida B. Proctor (c.1864-1878) who died of Tuberculosis.
  3. John M. Proctor (1866-1903) who married Cora J. Martindale 4 Mar 1888 in Brown County. He was the current postmaster and mayor of Willis, Brown County, Kansas, when he fell to his death while shingling a roof.
  4. Effie E. Proctor (1870-1968) who taught school at several different locations in Kansas and Oklahoma before returning to Brown County, Kansas. She never married and died at the age of 97.

Matilda Proctor & Thurston Chase

According to the 1883 book, William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, and a 1907 newspaper article published in the Kansas Chief, Thurston Chase is recognized as the first settler in all of Brown County, Kansas. He had also earlier marked the first land claim in Doniphan County, Kansas, in 1853, while living with a trader near present day Wathena. This was well before it was legal to do so, and he never returned to this land. The following year, upon hearing reports that the signing of the bill to allow settlement in Kansas Territory was imminent, he and another man named James N. Gibbons, rode into the Kansas prairie from St. Joseph, Missouri, to select a location. On 11 May 1854, they chose a spot and returned home. President Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act into law on 30 May 1854, and within three days, the pair had already returned and constructed a crude cabin by 2 Jun 1854. They plowed the soil, planted a small crop, and returned again to Missouri. Thurston married his first wife, Harriet Deakins, in Andrew County, Missouri, 19 Dec 1854. He returned with her to live here in February 1855, but she died 4 Jul 1856.

Matilda C. Proctor was born 30 Dec 1838 in Missouri. She must have moved to Kansas with her father in April 1856. She then married Thurston Chase later that year on 16 Nov 1856 in Holt County, Missouri. Thurston joined Company D, Joseph's Battalion (or 3rd Battalion) of Missouri's Six Months Militia in St. Joseph, Missouri, on 26 Oct 1861. His rank was 2nd Lieutenant, and he was discharged 11 Feb 1862. He later helped recruit men for and joined Company H, 13th Kansas Infantry, as a Private on 1 Sep 1862. He was promoted to Corporal 18 Nov 1862 and discharged 26 Jun 1865. While Thurston was away, Matilda died in Brown County on 19 Mar 1864. One of their nieces, a daughter of Barilla and James L. Wilson, married at the home of Thurston and his third wife in 1882. He died 19 Oct 1894. Matilda and Thurston had the following children:

  1. George W. Chase (1858-1936) who married Alice E. Simmonds 28 Feb 1878 in Brown County. They remained in Kansas until at least 1895, but afterward they moved often. In 1900, they were living in Harrison County, Iowa. In 1910, they were in Washington County, Colorado. In 1920, they were in Knox County, Missouri. They were in Kane County, Illinois, from 1931-1936 when George died.
  2. Mary Eliza Chase (1859-1941) who married Jesse Miller c.1877. They remained in the Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas, area through at least 1900. Between 1900-1910, they moved to Caddo County, Oklahoma, where they remained.
  3. John Charles "Charles" Chase (c.1862-) who married a woman named Ida B. c.1880. They are last found in Marshall County, Kansas, in 1885.

John Proctor

John Wesley Proctor was the youngest child. He was born 12 May 1841 in Cole County, Missouri, in an area that would become part of Moniteau County in 1845. As a young teenager, he too helped his father stake his claim in Kansas in March 1855. A 1920 newspaper article credits John with "plowing the first furrow" in the soil that would later be in Brown County. That honor is more likely to have belonged to his future brother-in-law, Thurston Chase, but he definitely would have been one of the earliest. He moved permanently with his father to their land on 10 Apr 1856.

John enlisted as a Private and was mustered in on 20 Sep 1862 in the company that his then brother-in-law helped to organize. During his time in the war, he was involved in the Battle of Cane Hill on 28 Nov 1862 and the Battle of Prairie Grove on 7 Dec 1862, both occuring in Arkansas. He was also briefly held prisoner by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians after being shot five times in the arm. He was mustered out 26 Jun 1865. John married Clara Gibson 26 Mar 1871 in Brown County, and she died 4 Dec 1881. He remarried to Annie Spencer who died 20 Feb 1899. Both wives were buried in the Claytonville Cemetery. On 9 Mar 1900, John remarried to Eva Belle Anderson. By this time, John was 59 years old, and Eva was 18 years old. They remained in Brown County, Kansas, until Apr 1908 when they relocated to Bullard, Cherokee County, Texas. By 1915, they had returned to Kansas and were living in Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas. John died here on 6 Nov 1923 when he was struck by a train while walking to town. Eva died here in 1955. John and Eva had three children:

  1. William Melvin Proctor (1902-1995) who married Laura H. Allen 18 May 1931 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.
  2. Clara May Proctor (c.1906-) who is last found on the 1920 census in Shawnee County, Kansas.
  3. Oscar W. Proctor (1915-1954) who served in Co C, 16th Tank Battalion, during World War II. He lived in Topeka.

Moses Proctor

Moses P. Proctor was the father of the six previous siblings, and he is the one who brought them to Kansas. Moses was born 26 Jun 1800 in Madison County, Kentucky. He married Eliza Duncan 31 Aug 1827, probably in Kentucky.note4 Moses and his family didn't seem to stay in any one place for very long. In 1830, they were in Callaway County, Missouri, and in 1840 they were in Cole County, Missouri. Eliza died sometime between the birth of the youngest child and when the family appeared in the 1850 census in Holt County, Missouri. In all, they had the following eight children:

  1. Adelia D. Proctor (1828-1901) previously discussed.
  2. Dulcenia Proctor (c.1829-) who married Reason Hawkins 1 Apr 1849 in Moniteau County, Missouri. She is last known to be living when she had a daughter c.1853.note5
  3. Marian Proctor (c.1831-) who is last known on a list of his father's heirs in 1876.
  4. Washington J. Proctor (1832-1889) previously discussed.
  5. Barilla W. Proctor (c.1834-) previously discussed.
  6. William P. Proctor (1836-1872) previously discussed.
  7. Matilda C. Proctor (1838-1864) previously discussed.
  8. John Wesley Proctor (1841-1923) also previously discussed.

As already stated, Moses marked an early claim on land that would later be located in Mission Township, Brown County, Kansas. He did this on 20 Mar 1855, improved the land a little, and returned to Holt County, Missouri, for the winter. He then returned to Kansas permanently with his unmarried children on 10 Apr 1856. He was elected as the first county treasurer in October 1857, but he resigned by the end of the year due to health reasons. He ran for the position as a free stater, meaning he was opposed to the territory eventually joining the Union as a slave state. This was in spite of the fact that he had previously owned slaves himself, including four while living in Callaway County. He also had at least one brother who later served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Moses remarried to Mrs. Jane Brazelton 29 Aug 1861 in Doniphan County, Kansas, but she soon passed away. He married for a third time 09 Jul 1863 to Mrs. Caroline C. Willis in Brown County. They were still living in Brown County during the 1870 census, but they had relocated to Doniphan, Doniphan County, Kansas, by Feb 1873 when Moses died after bursting a blood vessel while loading wood. Moses and Caroline had two daughters together:

  1. Eliza D. Proctor (1864-1938) who married Prater B. Holmes 3 Dec 1882 in Nemaha County, Kansas. They lived in Jackson County, Kansas, until moving to Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, between 1896-1900.
  2. Phillisany "Phillis" Proctor (1867-1927) who married John Graham Buchanan 25 Jan 1887 in Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas. John was a fireman for the railroad and frequently relocated. They remained in Brown County until at least 1894. In 1900, they were living in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois. In 1910, they were in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas. By 1920, John had taken up farming in Kiowa County, Oklahoma, where they remained.

William Proctor

Moses' father was William B. Proctor who was born 25 Apr 1775, and his mother was Phillisany (or Fillisany) Pinkston who was born 22 Jan 1780. They married c.1797. William was listed on the census for Madison County, Kentucky, in 1810 and 1820. In 1830, they were enumerated in Callaway County, Missouri. William died here 12 May 1834, and Phillisany is last found on the 1850 census in the same county. The birth dates of the following list of children comes from a transcription of their family bible:

  1. Sally Proctor (1798-) who was born 21 Oct 1798.
  2. Moses P. Proctor (1800-1873) previously discussed.
  3. Polly (Mary Ann) Proctor (1802-) who was born 26 Sep 1802.
  4. Joseph Proctor (1804-) who was born 9 Dec 1804. Joseph first married before 1833, but he was widowed by the time of the 1850 census. He second married a woman named Narcissa in Feb 1852 in Callaway County. They are both last found on the 1860 census in Callaway County.
  5. Keziah Proctor (1808-) who was born 1 Jan 1808. He is last found on the 1860 census in Callaway County.
  6. Milly Proctor (1809-1809) who was born 15 Apr 1809 and died 2 Aug 1809.
  7. Benjamin Proctor (1810-1902) who was born 9 May 1810. He married a woman named Martha D. before 1843. They remained in Callaway County until after 1870. Martha died before 1880, and Ben lived with a nephew afterward. He died in Chaffee County, Colorado.
  8. Anny (or Amy) Proctor (1812-) who was born 13 Apr 1812.
  9. William D. Proctor (1817-1872) who was born 4 Jan 1817. He married Martha M. Miller 12 Nov 1840 in Callaway County. By 1860, they had relocated to Douglas County, Missouri. In 1870, they were living in Polk County, Missouri. William died 1872 in Greene County, Missouri, and Martha died 1894 in Jasper County, Missouri. William had been a Private in Co E, 47th Arkansas Cavalry, of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
  10. Matilda Proctor (1818-) who was born 6 Jul 1818. She is last found on the 1860 census in Callaway County.
  11. Elizabeth Proctor (1819-) who was born 4 Mar 1819. According to the family bible, she married Thomas H. Thorpe Nov 1839.
  12. Frances Proctor (1821-) who was born 17 Apr 1821. She is last found on the 1860 census in Callaway County.
  13. Nancy P. Proctor (1823-) who was born 6 Jul 1823.
  14. George W. Proctor (1825-) who was born 29 Dec 1825. He is last found on the 1850 census in Callaway County.

Proctor Selected Documents

Published Book

History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, compiled by E. N. Morrill, 1876.


...On the 11th day of May, 1854, Thurston Chase and James Gibbons marked claims on Wolf river, the former taking the farm now owned by Mr. Pittman. They remained on their land two or three weeks, seeing no white man during that time. Mr. Chase broke several acres of prairie, and, returning in August, built a small log house which afterwards burned down....


...In 1855, quite a number made homes in the new county [Brown Co, KS]. It is impossible to get a full or complete list of the names of all who settled in the county during this year. Among them were ..., W.P. [William] and W.J. [Washington] Proctor, ..., James Bridgman, ...


...In September [1857] the free-state men held a convention to nominate candidates for the offices to be filled at the territorial election. Though Claytonville was at that time the county seat, the convention was called to meet at Hiawatha. There were but two buildings on the town site and no others within miles of the place. Neither of these buildings were large enough to hold the convention, so they held their session on the open prairie near where the Dispatch office now stands, using a lumber wagon for a speakers' stand. Hon. W.G. Sargent was nominated for Probate Judge, which was the most important office to be filled. Jacob Englehart and A.B. Anderson for commissioners. F.O. Sawin for Sheriff and Moses P. Proctor for Treasurer...


...On the 5th of October, 1857, the territorial election for that year was held, and as the free-state men were at the polls in full force, it is safe to say that a full vote was cast. At this election W.G. Sargent was elected Probate Judge; A.B. Anderson and Jacob Englehart, County Commissioners; Moses P. Proctor, Treasurer; Franklin O. Sawin, Sheriff, by a vote of 186 to 72...


...On the 21st of December [1857], the court met again and for the last time at Claytonville, adjourning to Carson to hold their next session on the 28th of the same month. At this session Moses R. Proctor, the Treasurer, tendered his resignation and Sam'l W. Wade was appointed to fill the vacancy;...

News Article

The Kansas Chief, Troy, Kansas.

16 May 1907, p.1.


Jas. N. Gibbins was born in Kentucky in 1834, came to St. Joseph in 1843, when it was yet Roubidoux's Landing, and December 1853, came to Benjamin Hardings where is now Wathena. Harding was an Indian trader there then and young Gibbins came to help him split rails, together with another young man named Thurston Chase, who was born in Indiana in 1831. These two young men formed a friendship destined to last through life. They also, acting partly on Mr. Harding's advice and partly on their own desire, formed a resolution to take and settle and own land in the new territory then about to be organized by congress. Accordingly, on the 10th day of May, 1854, when all sources of news including the St. Joseph Gazette announced as a sure thing, the passage of the Douglas Bill by the senate and the signing by President Pierce, they each rode a horse and left St. Joseph, crossing at Whitehead's ferry, afterwards Belmont. They proceeded to the Indian Mission by way of the California road and stopped near there at the house of Thos. J. Vanderslice, then the farmer for the Sac, Fox and Iowa Indians. On the morning of May 11, they rode southwest of the Mission to Wolf River, crossing that stream sand marking claims on Squaw creek just over the line in Brown county. They ate Mrs. Vanderslice's lunch on their chosen spot and returned to St. Joseph, that day. This was 20 days before the signing of the bill making Kansas a territory and they were plainly adventurers, sooners investigating around on Indian land. But on May 30, Pierce signed the bill and the news was flashed to St. Joseph on the telegraph, then the nearest telegraph office to Kansas. The young pioneers lost no time in loading a prairie plow with other necessary tools into their wagon and hitching three yoke of oxen to it they proceeded to Squaw creek and by June 2 they had a roof over their rude cabin. This was the first cabin in Kansas, built by white men, for white men to live in and on white men's land, after the signing of the Kansas and Nebraska Bill. This fact is conceded by the Doniphan county historians, the Brown county historians and by Geo. W. Martin, secretary of the Kansas historical society. The young men plowed small fields and planted corn and water melons. They then returned to their home north of St. Joseph. Other white men ate roasting ears and watermelons from their crop in August. In February 1855, Mr. Chase married and took his wife to the new home on virgin soil. Mr. Gibbins did not return to his claim, but in April 1855 started for Fort Larimie [sic] now in Wyoming, returning in August. He met Thurston Chase, his father, mother and a brother, Henry Chase, just Mr. Gibbins' age. These had all settled in the meantime in Brown county for there was a Brown county organized by the territorical [sic] legislature in July 1855. They were visiting with Mr. Gibbins father in Missouri. Mr. Gibbins went to California in 1857, returning later, and settled in Doniphan county. Chase died in 1892 [1894], but the pioneers visited each other at intervals until his death. Mr. Gibbins took the train at Troy last Friday for Robinson, where Henry Chase now lives. Mr. Chase took Mr. Gibbins out to the spot where his brother and he had built their castles 53 years ago to the day. Mr. Gibbins drank from the old spring and located the place, the exact spot which he had not seen since his visit in 1854. He did this by means of a large rock near the spring and also aided by his powerful memory. He was unaided by Mr. Chase who knew the spot well, just to see if he could recall something not seen for so long a time. It is well that the old pioneers should thus meet and commorate [sic] their anniversaries and keep green the memory of their boyhood days.

Published Book

Annals of Brown County, Kansas, compiled by Grant W. Harrington, 1903.


December. [1855]

Among the settlers this year are A. B. Anderson, supposed to be the first settler in Washington township, and Wm. Nash and Moses Proctor, supposed to be the first settlers in Mission township. Nash died sometime in the fall, probably the first settler to die in the county.


The following citizens of Brown County enlisted during the war.
Chase, Thurston, Sept. 20, 1862, Co. H, 13th Kansas; promoted Corp. Nov. 18, 1862.
Proctor, John W., Sept. 20, 1862, Corporal Co. H, 13th Kansas.


April 21. [1865]

Claytonville, as we are informed is again honored by having a postoffice. Wm. P. Proctor, who formerly had charge of the post, having secured its restoration. - Union Sentinel.


Moses P. Proctor

On March 20th 1855 Moses P. Proctor took a claim in Mission township, made the foundation for a cabin, broke some ground and returned to Missouri for the winter. On April 10th 1856 he returned with his family, consisting of his wife, his three boys, Washington, William and John and his daughter Matilda who in November of that year became Mrs. Thurston Chase. Mr. Proctor was born in Madison county, Kentucky in the year 1800 and resided there until 1850 [lived in Callaway Co, MO 1830; Cole Co, MO 1840] when he came to Holt county, Missouri. He was a strong Democrat and had been a slave holder in Kentucky but he wanted to see Kansas a free state and cast his lot with that party. In September 1857 he was nominated for county treasurer by the Free State Convention at Hiawatha and was elected, being the first elective treasurer of the county. Owing to ill health he resigned in December of that same year. Later he moved to Doniphan county where he died in the fall of 1871 [Feb 1873] having burst a blood vessel while loading a load of wood.


News Article

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

31 Oct 1924, p.4.

[The author of this article was Matilda F. Crawford, wife of William P. Proctor.]

Relates Early Experiences.

"I saw an article in the Daily World written by my old friend, neighbor, Mrs. J. L. Hooper, relating her early day experiences. I thot I might write a few lines on the same subject. I came to Kansas from near Galesburg, Ill., in April, 1860, to be with a sister at Claytonville, Kans., whose husband was going to Pikes Peak in search of gold. He met me at St. Joseph, Mo., where he had gone for his outfit. When he told me he was ready to start for Brown county, imagine my surprise when I saw the covered wagon, 2 yoke of oxen hitched to it, as a conveyance, I had never seen a yoke of cattle. It took us 3 days to reach Claytonville. Then I had another surprise. I had never seen many towns smaller than Galesburg. Claytonville had 2 dwellings, 1 small building that was used for a court house when the county seat was there. It was afterwards moved 1/2 mile east for a school house, where I taught the first school that Claytonville district had. I had seen many pictures of prairie fires, but that summer I saw the real thing. My sister had a small field of wheat near her house, we fot fire with mops, buckets of water for nearly 1/2 day be we saved the wheat. In September, 1860, I was married to William P. Proctor, still made our home in Claytonville. My husband was postmaster at that place for a number of years. The mail was carried from Atchison to Hiawatha by Mr. Selleg, son, whom the old settlers will remember. He used an old buckboard, another conveyance I had never seen. 1860 was the year of Kansas drouth when Uncle Sam sent aid to Brown, other counties. My sister, I were more fortunate than some others. My father sent us flour, meat, groceries. My brother sent a barrel of sorghum. We lived near the Kickapoo reservation, saw many Indians. One Indian chief, old Chaw kee kee, often came to see us. One day when my oldest child (the late Mrs. Neal White), was a small baby, he came, looking in the crib, said, "Nice little white papoose, me take him." He gathered her in his arms, starting for the door, but soon laid her back in the crib, saying again, nice little white papoose. My husband died in 1872, leaving me with my small children to care for. In 1881 I was married to William C. Meyer, came to the west part of the county to live on a farm. When the Rock Island rail road came thru the county, the town of Fairview was located, we came to live in town. There have been many changes in the 64 years that I have lived in Kansas. Instead of riding behind oxen, you now get in an auto, go flying over the country at the rate of from 10 to 40 miles an hour, the airplane takes one still faster. My husband died in 1911. I have a comfortable home in Fairview, my youngest daughter, Effie E. Proctor, lives with me. I am thankful I have been permitted to live 82 years, altho in that time I have seen many sorrowful times, have seen my children all pass away but one. I expect to spend my declining years in Fairview, where I have kind neighbors, friends." Mrs. W. C. Meyer.

Civil War Payroll

Kansas Militia in the Civil War, Adjutant General's Office, 1908.

Vol.1, Introduction.

The Price Raid, named after Confederate Major General Sterling Price commanding the army of the Trans-Mississippi, was ordered by the Confederate War Department, to invade the State of Kansas for strategic reasons, with a force of about fourty thousand men.
Governor Thomas Carney then called into active military service all of the Kansas State Militia, placing Major General George W. Deitzler in command, in a proclamation dated October 8, 1864, which was made in compliance with General Orders No, 53? issued by Major General S.R. Curtis, United States Army, commanding the Department of Kansas, dated at Fort Leavenworth October 9, 1864; and also General Orders No, 54, by General Curtis, dated Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, October 10, 1864, declaring martial law throughout the State of Kansas, and ordering all men, white or black, between the ages of 18 and 60 years, into military service for the defense of the State of Kansas.

Muster roll of Captain Samuel W. Swayze, Company C, of the Brown County Battalion attached to the 22nd Regiment, Kansas State Militia, Colonel J. P. Taylor, from the 9th day of October 1864, when last mustered, to the 29th day of October 1864, Vol.8, p.48.

Name: Wash. J. Proctor, private
Joined and sworn in 15 Sept 1863 at Robinson by G. M. Bush.
Ordered into active service 14 Oct 1864 to Atchison by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Relieved from duty 29 Oct 1864 by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Number of Days in Actual Service: 20
Horses in Service: 1
Names Present: Wash. J. Proctor

Name: William Proctor, private
Joined and sworn in 15 Sept 1863 at Robinson by G. M. Bush.
Ordered into active service 14 Oct 1864 to Atchison by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Relieved from duty 29 Oct 1864 by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Number of Days in Actual Service: 20
Names Present: William Proctor


'Probate case files, ca. 1857-1917', Doniphan County, Kansas, Probate Court.

File 317.

Inventory and Appraisements by I. N. Smallwood, Administrator. All reserved by widow, Caroline Proctor
1 House $65
1 Mule $65
1 Wagon & spring seat $65
1 Set harness $5
2 Cows & calf $40
Household & Kitchen furniture $75
total $315
Also 5 $100 interest bearing notes totaling $500 to N. P. Powers, dated 24 Apr 1872.
Real estate description: 1 House & Lots Nos 4 & 5 in Block No 49 in the town of Doniphan, County of Doniphan & State of Kansas. Appraisal at $500 by George Brenner, E. W. Hudnell, and George Brock. No date.

The State of Kansas
Doniphan County
John W. Proctor upon application for Letters of Administration on the Estate of Moses P. Proctor, deceased, being duly sworn, upon oath, say to the best of __ knowledge and belief, the names of the heirs of the deceased are Wash. Proctor, Adelia Reynolds, Ella, Ida, John, & Effie Proctor, Marian Proctor, John William, Susan, Segel, Mary M. & Nettie Wilson, George, Mary & Charles Chase, Nichole M. & Mary Hawkins & John W. Proctor & El[eyce?] & Phillcesena[?] Proctor.
That the said Moses P. Proctor died without a Will, that he will make a perfect inventory of and faithfully administer all the Estate of the said Moses P. Proctor, and pay the debts so far as the assets will extend and the law direct, and account for and pay all assets which shall come to his possession or knowledge.
John W. Proctor
Sworn and described before me this 9th day March A.D. 1876.
Robt Wilkinson
Judge of Probate

John William Wilson, Susanah Zeiber, Mary M. Wilson, Francis Seigle Wilson, Benetta [J. or I.] Wilson all of Brown Co, KS received a total of $38.55 as heirs to estate of Moses P. Proctor on 21 July 1876. Also signed by James L. Wilson, father of the heirs.

Published Book

History of the State of Kansas, by William G. Cutler, 1883.

vol.2, p.718, Brown County.

THURSTON CHASE, farmer and stock raiser, Section 13, P. O. Hiawatha, was born in Bartholomew County, Ind., February 22, 1831. son of Isaac and Clarinda Chase, the former of English, the latter of Irish descent, her family name Clark. His father was a miller by trade and pursued that vocation successfully in Indiana for many years. Mr. Chase received such education as his county afforded in that early day, then helped his father in the mill and on the farm until he became of age. He then started out to hoe his own row in the world, and made a trip to Cincinnati. He did not make anything, however, by this move, and returned to his native county, where he lived until June, 1852, this being the date of his first move in a westerly direction. This terminated at Winterset, Iowa, where he accepted a position on the Engineer Corps, then making a preliminary survey for the Davenport & Council Bluffs Railroad. At the expiration of two months he went to a point on the Missouri River, now know [sic] as Nebraska City, which was then an Indian trading post, and known in those days as Old Fort Kearney. Here he clerked among the traders until the latter part of the year, when he removed to St. Joe, Mo. In January, 1853, Mr. Chase first came to Kansas, and for a time lived with one Mr. Harden, who kept a trading post where the present village of Wathena is now situated, in Doniphan County. While residing with him he marked out a claim which was the first one in that county. Then returned to Missouri, followed various occupations and was married in Andrew County, to the daughter of Nicholas and Julia Deakins, who were very early settlers in that part of Missouri; her Christian name is Harriet. In May, 1854, Mr. Chase returned to Kansas and took up a claim on the southwest quarter of Section 11, Township 3 and Range 18, and was the first white settler; took up the first claim and made the first improvements in Brown County. In February, 1855, he brought his family from Missouri and established them on his claim, and proclaimed Kansas his future home. On July 4, 1856, his wife died and about the same time the country was involved in trouble with the border ruffians. Mr. Chase, therefore, canvassed the county in the interest of the Free-soilers, with a petition which was forwarded to President Buchanan. About this time he sold his first claim and in October of the same year bought the claim where he now lives, which was just enough improved to hold, and for which he paid $100 for 160 acres of land. November 16, 1856, he married his second wife, Matilda C. Proctor, daughter of Moses Proctor, one of the earliest settlers in the county, by whom he had three children; George W., Mary E., now Mrs. Jesse Miller of Doniphan County, and John C. Mrs. Chase died March 19, 1864, and at this time the subject of this sketch was serving his country in the war of the Rebellion, having taken twenty-five men from his own county, to St. Joe, Mo., where they were enrolled with the State Militia, Mr. Chase being elected Second Lieutenant. In the spring of 1862 he returned to Kansas, recruiting a portion of Company H, of the Thirteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and upon the organization of the same was defeated by two votes as Captain. He entered the army as a private, but after about three months' service was taken sick and released to Volunteer Cavalry, of which he served as Orderly Sergeant until the close of the war. Then returned home and has since given his attention to farming and stock-raising. He was married August 30, 1865, to Miss Olive Teas, by whom he has four children; William R., Jane T., Eddie T. and Alfred L. The second child, Jane T., died September 26, 1870. Mr. Chase was one of the original members of the first Methodist Episcopal Church society, organized in the county, and also of the first School Board, of which he has been Director since. He has seen a great deal of the hardships of pioneer life, but those are past and to-day he is surrounded by everything that can make life comfortable owning a good farm of 320 acres, with excellent improvements in every shape.

vol.2, p.750, Brown County.

JOHN W. PROCTOR, farmer and stock raiser, Section 13, Township 3, Range 17, P. O. Hiawatha, came to Kansas April 10, 1856, and located on his homestead in Mission Township, Brown County, where he has resided since. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He took part in the late war as a member of Company H, Thirteenth Regiment Kansas Infantry, and enlisted in Robinson, August 22, 1862, and was discharged at Little Rock, Ark., June 22, 1865. He took part in the battles of Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, and other minor engagements. Mr. Proctor was born in Moniteau County, Mo., May 12, 1841, and lived in his native State until his fifteenth year, and then came to Kansas. He was married March 26, 1871, in Robinson Township, to Miss Clara Gibson, a native of Iowa. Mr. Proctor has a fine farm of 160 acres, forty-five acres being bottom land and the rest upland. It is all enclosed, and has 140 acres in cultivation, the balance being timber and pasture land. The water supply cannot be excelled, and consists of two wells and a number of springs, and the middle fork of Wolf River flows on the south line of his farm. The improvements consist of a frame dwelling, 16x32, with an L 14x20, with a cellar, a frame barn and other outbuildings. He had twenty-seven and a half acres of wheat this season which yielded 346 bushels; nine acres of oats which yielded 293 bushels; seventy acres in corn which averaged fifty bushels to the acre.

Death Notice

The Westmoreland Recorder, Westmoreland, Kansas.

2 May 1889, p.8.

Mr. W.A. Proctor [W.J. Proctor], died on Friday, April 26th at 30 minutes past midnight. The funeral was preached by Rev. Welty at the Huff school house, on the 27th. The body was buried at Moodyville. Another good man has gone.

News Articles & Obituary

The Westmoreland Recorder, Westmoreland, Kansas.

12 Jan 1888, p.8.

Geo. Proctor, of northwest Rock Creek, was brought to Westmoreland last Saturday, and after a trial, adjudged insane. He was taken to the poor farm, to await an answer from the asylum in regard to receiving him into that institution.

13 Jul 1899, p.8.

George Proctor Dead.

George Proctor died Thursday of last week at the insane asylum at Ossawatomie. The deceased was 36 years old, and was born in Brown county, Kansas. He married Miss Mollie Hall in 1888, who died three years ago of consumption. Mr. Proctor became insane several years ago, and was sent to the asylum and returned as cured. He married in Kansas City about a year ago. A few weeks ago he came up from Kansas City to visit his son, Dean, who lives with his grandfather, J.W. Hall. While here he became insane and went down to Myers Valley, where about midnight, after killing some poultry, he called upon Mrs. I.P. Finuf for a drink of water. He was directed to the well, but at once broke in the window and door of the house. Mrs. Finuf shot him in the arm with a load of duck shot. As a result of the wound, his arm was amputated. The would was healing all right, but he gradually grew weaker, and was finally adjudged insane and sent to the asylum.


Robinson Index, Robinson, Kansas.

18 Apr 1901.

Mrs. Reynolds, mother of Mrs. Taylor O'Neal and John Bridgeman, died last Friday evening, April 12, of infirmities incidental to old age. The funeral occurred at the Methodist church Sunday, and she was buried in Rose Hill cemetery. Adelia Proctor was born September 29, 1828, being 72 years, 6 months and 23 days old at the time of her death. She was married to James Bridgeman August 18, 1847. Seven children, six boys and one girl, were the result of this union. Three are now living: Mrs. O'Neal, John Bridgeman, of Robinson, and Frank Bridgeman, of Sabetha. After the death of Mr. Bridgeman, she was married to Mr. Reynolds, who preceded her to the spirit land.

News Article

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

13 Sep 1901, p.9.


Willis, Kans., Sept. 11, 1901. - ...Miss Effie Proctor, sister of Postmaster Proctor, will teach at Auburn, Okla., this year. She taught at Willis last winter, but at school meeting this year it was decided to hire a male teacher...


Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

31 Jul 1903, p.13.

John M. Proctor, the postmaster and mayor of Willis, was instantly killed Wednesday morning by a fall from Will Ross' house. Mr. Proctor is a carpenter by trade and has been working on a new house for Will Ross. About 11:30 Wednesday morning he was shingling the roof of the building. While putting a bunch of shingles on the roof to continue his work, the board underneath his foot gave way and he fell. He struck the scaffolding on the building but this in turn gave way and he fell to the ground, striking his head. His neck was broken and death was instantaneous. W. A. Chase, Chas. Wallbaum and a contractor from Horton were working on the building at the same time. They ran to the scene and picked up Mr. Proctor, only to find that life was extinct. Mr. Proctor was born June 27, 1866, at Claytonville and married to Cora J. Martindale, of Robinson, on March 4, 1888. Besides his wife, he leaves two children, Maud, aged 14, and Everett, aged 8. He was insured for $2000 in Willis Camp No. 1582, Modern Woodmen of America. The funeral was held at 1 o'clock Thursday afternoon, at the home in Willis. Rev. C. T. Teetor delivered the funeral address and the Woodmen also took part. The body was taken to Robinson and interment made in the Robinson cemetery, where relatives of Mr. Proctor are buried. J. M. Proctor had been the postmaster at Willis for six years, being on his second term of office. Mrs. Proctor, his wife, is the assistant postmaster. Last April he was elected mayor of Willis. Mr. Proctor was a Republican, a member of the County Central committee, also a member of the Methodist church, and was universally respected. He was correspondent of The World from Willis.

News Articles

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

9 Feb 1906, p.8.

Champion Early Settler Story.

There was a man in town Saturday who last March had rounded out a half century as a citizen of Brown county. In that time he has improved nine places, put in 39 crops, buried two wives, and six children (no child living longer than five weeks), drove cattle across, or part way across, the plains seven trips, "packed" a musket in the Thirteenth Kansas regiment three years and now resides, with his third wife and two small children, on the Horton and Hiawatha road. He remembers when he often crossed the ground upon which Hiawatha has since been built, through prairie grass knee high, on his way to the Thurston Chase place. What Kansan can beat this record? Until it is beaten John W. Proctor, of Brown county, will be champion.

17 Dec 1920, p.6.


A great many Brown county people do not realize that the man who first set a plow in Brown county soil is still a resident of this section. John W. Proctor, who lives between Horton and Hiawatha on the main highway, together with his father, Moses P. Proctor, and 2 brothers, Washington and William, arrived in Brown county in 1855, by way of White Cloud and pre-empted a farm on Wolf Creek, 3 miles west of Robinson, or north of the townsite of old Claytonville. Mr. Proctor was 13 years old at that time, and is now 80. Besides being one of the very first settlers of this part of the county, he did service in the Civil war, enlisting with the local company at Robinson - Company H of the 13th Kansas Infantry, and was in the Prairie Grove battle in Arkansas - one of the hardest fought, altho not the largest, battles of the Civil war. He also had several skirmishes with Indians, and was once captured by a band of 250 Cherokee and Choctaw Indians, and kept prisoner for a few hours. He was a member of a detail of 25 soldiers who were sent for some sweet potatoes for rations, and while out on the detail, the party was attacked by Indians. He was shot 5 times thru the arm, got one bullet hole thru his hat and was captured. The lieutenant in command got reenforcements to come up and rescued the prisoner. Moses Proctor paid $1.25 per acre for the land he pre-empted. The Proctors located on the place on March 20, 1855, and started to work immediately plowing. To the 13-year-old boy fell the honor of plowing the first furrow in Brown county soil. Mr. Proctor now plans on selling his place north of Horton and moving to Topeka.


Hutchinson News, Hutchinson, Kansas.

6 Nov 1923, p.11.

Veteran of 82 Years Struck on a Crossing.

Topeka, Kan., Nov. 6, - John W. Proctor, 82, a veteran of the civil war was instantly killed today when struck by a Santa Fe freight train on the 21st street crossing at the south edge of this city. He was walking to town from his suburban home. Witnesses said he appeared to see the train but apparently thought he had time to cross ahead of it. His body was hurled through a cattle guard fence 30 feet from the crossing.


  1. [The 1850 census, the earliest to show birthplaces, shows that Adelia Proctor was born in Missouri. All five subsequent censuses that have been found show her birthplace to be Kentucky.]
  2. [Frank Bridgman's birth date is wildly inconsistent in the records that have been found. He was not listed with his parents in 1850, so he should have been born after this date. He is not found again until 1900 when he was given a realistic Jun 1849 birth date, but it doesn't match the 1850 census. The 1905 state census puts his birth at c.1841. The 1930 census and his death certificate in Missouri put his birth date in 1837, which is ten years before his parents were married. The 1930 census also says that he was a Civil War veteran which is very unlikely if he was born after his parents were married. No record of him in the military has been found. He hasn't been found on any other censuses either.]
  3. [Fannie O. Proctor's middle name is either Olive or Olivia. The Arkansas death index shows the first three letters to be "Oli". The death certificate will probably have the full name.]
  4. [If Moses and Eliza Proctor's eldest child was born in Kentucky, then they must have married in Kentucky before relocating to Missouri.]
  5. [Dulcenia Proctor was listed on the 1850 census in two locations. She was listed with her father's family in Holt County, Missouri, and with her husband in Cedar County, Missouri.]