The Life Of John Henry Feuerborn


Johann Heinrich Jacobfeuerborn is John Henry Feuerborn
1844 - 1923


1844 Johann Heinrich Jacobfeuerborn was born at Verl, Prussia. He was Baptized a day later at. St. Anna Verl.
   
1851 He came to America when he was 7 years old eith his father (Henry Feuerborn) and mother (Anna Margaretha Becker) to Ottawa, Illinois. His father was a cabinet-maker and lived on a farm. They changed his name to an American name, "John Henry Feuerborn".
   
1858 His family sold their farm and moved to Garnett, Kansas. John Henry was 14 years old, his sister Anna was 12 and his brother Conrad was 5.
   
1859 In the spring of this year John Henry and John Pickert took a trip to Oikes Peak, Colorado, and on their return settled in Garnett, Kansas. They later went into the army together
   
1862 His parents together with his brothers Conrad and Joseph left Garnett, Kansas to move back to Ottawa, Illinois to get waway from the war, to get out of the war.
  The Kansas Volunteers was started in July. On August 11, at the age of 19, John enlisted along with Henry and William Ayers, C. Drake, F. Fenhaus, J. Burns, Frank Meimers, John Pickert, C. Wittkopp, Henry Wuestmeir and J. Oswald into the 11th Kansas Cavalry Volunteers "F" Company at Garnett, Kansas. His Officers was Captain John G. Linday; Captain Jacob G. Reese, First Lieutenant George W. Simons, Second Lieutenant Marvin H. Payne, Seregant John Horn. The Roeckers brothers went off to war sometime later.
  John Henry was 19 years old, 5'9" tall, fair complexion, light hair, blue eyes, his weight 141 lbs. He anlisted as a Private along with Frank Meimers(who was a drummer in the army), John Pickert, Henry Westenmeyer and other men from the German community at Garnett. The entire regiment was recruited, organized, mounted and equipped for active service in less than a month.
  General Blunt commanded the Kansas Volunteers. The Company officers were chosen by the enlisted men of the respective companies, and the field officers by the company officers.
  They camped waiting for "Enfield Rifle" and the promised advanced pay and bounty , which had been applied for by the officers, when an order came from General Blunt, immediately following the second battle of Newtonia, to proceed by forced marches to join the army of frontier, then pursuing the rebels southward. Neither money or arms had yet arrived. A large majority of the regiment consisted of married men whose families sorely neede the advance pay and bounty. Arrangements were therefore made by Colonel Ewing with bankers in Leavenworth City, to finish the necessary means for the payment of the men. The only infantry arms at Fort Leavenworth were a lot of Fremont's Prussian muskets, manufactured in 1818, of antique pattern, extra large calibre, and one-fourth heavier than either the Enfield or Springfield musket. These were hastily drawn and issued, and on the 4th of October, 1862, just twenty days after its organization they started on their first campaign.
  The march to Fort Scott, one hundred and twenty-five miles south, was made in just five days. Unfortunately, John Henry was taken very sick with a cold and high fever which was caused by being exposed to cold and wet conditions. When they got to Fort Scott, John Henry was put into the Post Hospital at Fort Scott. The doctor said, he had developed pneumonia and lung fever which was followed by sore eyes, pain in the chest and shortness of breath. He remained there for three weeks. He was then moved to another hospital a few miles west of Fort Scott. Where he remained two more weeks.
  At Fort Scott, Private John Henry Feuerborn, lived in barracks and trained to become a fighting soldier. He ate army food, which was meat and vegetables, that had been cooked all day in a big cast iron pot, which was never cleaned out, just added to each day. The kitchen was next to the stables. In the Summer time, the window were always open, so all flies would come in. They had a garden to the west of the barracks in which they raised potatoes, beans, squash, turnips and corn. On the east side of the Fort was a bakery, where the bread was made daily. The men had a daily ration of salt and vinegar. The vinegar was to save their teeth. The army wanted the soldiers to have good teeth to break open the sack of gunpowder to pour into their musket. They also learned to use their little fionger to load the gun. So if the gun went off, it would blow off their little finger idtead of their good trigger finger. They could be court marshalled for blowing of their trigger finger. If you got shot, the doctors had one way to fix it. That was to cut it off. The kitchen and eating room were down stairs, along with a room that belonged to a widow of a former soldier, who did sewing and laundry for the men. The upstairs was for the men's sleeping quarters. It consisted of wooden bunks that had straw mattresses, theywere stacked one on top of other. The men slept head to toe. They had two uniforms, a pan to wash himself. On the wall was a row of wooden pegs to hang his things. A long table was there for the men to sit and write or play cards. The officers lived in barracks that were made into apartments for their family to live with them.
  "F" Company, lay in wait until the afternoon of October 15, waiting for supplies and an ammunition train. They moved south by the way of Dry Wood, Preston, Carthage, Newtonia, Stony Conford and Keetsville, Missouri to Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
  The war was just started for "F" Company. General Blunt believed in night marches and surprises. The night of the 20th of October, they marched to Bentonville, and the next night to the vicinity of Fort Wayne, where General Cooper lay with a force of three thousand men, preparing for a raid on Ford Scott. General Blunt attacked ad daylight with his cavalry, they were surprised that a handful of cavalry, routed the whole force and captured four pieces of artillery. The infantry advanced and doubled quick march, six miled to be there in time. The men, in their eagerness to be on hand, threw away overcoats and everything that impeded their movements, but arrived on the field only in time to see the enemy's rear disappear, pursued by the cavalry.
  For the next month the men lay idle. Some of the other companys forage the surrounding country for food, while others took over the duty of running Brown's Mill some ten miles south. They also bought supplies from farmers in the country side.
  On the 14th of November, they moved south to Flint Creek, near the west line of Arkansas, where they waited for two weeks, without ration, for the arrival of commissary supplies from Fort Scott. The night of the 27th the supplies were received. Three days rations of bread and meat were issued and placed in haversacks, along with eighty rounds of ammunition, were issued to each man. Early next morning the whole force moved, without transportation, for Cane Hill, forty miles south, where six thousand rebels lay. After three nights marches, the attack was made at 11 o'clock, the next day, the 11th leading the infantry advance. After a short resistance, the enemy retreated from the town, but made a desperate stand on the east of Boston Mountains four mile to the south. After a stubborn fight which continued for six mile to Fayetteville and Cane Hill road crossing. The men received the encomiums of the commanding General for its veteran-like behavior in the action. The army returned to Cane Hill next morning, and set up camp while transportation was brought up from Flint Creek.
  At Cane Hill, they found a printing press, that had been pitched into the street by the Confederate rear guard. The 11th hat its share of printers in "E" Company, so they gathered up the "pi" (which are the lead letters) out of the street and the newspaper was back in business, it bearing the suggestive title of "Buck & Ball". It was intended to be issued on Saturday, the 6th of December, it was filled with the accounts of the battle of Cane Hill, with, of course, the usual digs at the fugacions "rebs", but all printing were suspended by the approach of the enemy, and the preparations for battle. Sunday morning, the 7th, as the rear guard of the 11th passed through town, on its way to meet General Hindman at Prairie Grove, the officer in charge put the printed sheets into an ambulance wagon, where they remained until after the great battle of Prairie Grove was over. When the men returned to Cane Hill, the rest of the paper was printed on the 15th of December. The battle at Prairie Grove was one of the bloodiest and by far the most decisive of the battles fought in Arkansas during the war, and was equivalent to a route in its effect upon General Hindman's army, as not less than three thousand of his men deserted after the battle, and went to their homes in Missouri.
  The 11th army remained at Cane Hill in camp until Christmas. On the 27th of December, they moved fifty miles south, in search of the rebels. Each man carried six day's cooked rations and his blankets. The first twenty miles of the march was through a gorge of the Boston Mountains, known as the Cove Creek road. The men crossed and re crossed the icy creek many times. This is where Henry Westenmeir died of diarrhea from drinking creek water. He was married to John Henry Feuerborn's sister Ann Marie. They had a baby less than a year old, named John Henry.
   
1863 About the middle of February, a move was made to a point fifty miles west of Springfield, which is commonly known as "Camp Solomon". On the 17th of March all the Kansas troops were ordered to march to Fort Scott for the purpose of being furloughed. On the 27th of March the men got a 30 day leave to go home to Garnett. After that, the men went to Salem, Missouri to join the army of the Frontier. The 11th arrived in Kansas on the 2oth of April. The regiment had been in service about nine month, and its ranks were sadly thinned, having lost over three hundred men. So new men were recruited and the regiment was reorganized into the cavalry. Their new job was to turn the table on the bushwhackers that had a monopoly on the way side, creek crossings and night raids on settlers. In September, the army finally ran Quantrell and his raiders south to Texas. The victory was dearly bought, being paid for with lives of many brave and good men. A threatened rebel raid from the Cherokee country in Oklahoma, by StandWaite, in December. A company of men escorted trains to Fort Gibson. In the following August, they returned to service at the eastern border of Kansas.
   
1864 Hickman's Mill, on the 12th of October 1864 was the beginning of a battle of Little Blue, just east of Kansas City. Company "F" occupied advanced positions against the line of rebel approach to the city. On the 19th, the rebel overwhelm the 11th an they had to fall back to regroup. "F" Company, being left alone to guard the crossing of Little Blue, while the main force fell back to Independence, two days after the fight at Lexington, they had the honor of opening the battle again. The infantry proved of service in this battle, as the men were dismounted and fought on foot nearly the entire day. "B" and "I" Companies charged over a stone wall, behind a superior force of the rebels and killing ao capturing nearly all of the rebels in that part of the creek. Co."E" made a charge with a battery with four howitzers canons, which were served in a gallant manner and with great effect. Co. "H" saved the right flank alone. Co. "A" made a brilliant charge, unmounted, down a narrow lane in the action, clearing it of rebels, and helping Co. "F" to obtain and advanced position, which it reached under fire. Cos. "C", "D" and "K" held the center and had to fall back for the night.
  Finally, when the retreated was ordered, the regiments was again assigned the duty of covering the rear. The battle of Little Blue was a loss of ground, it was a victory in the detention of the rebels a whole day, which enabled General Pleasanton to strike their rear. The Union firces in the battle did not exceed 2.500 men while the rebels numbered 12.000 men.
  The next day the regiment participated in the battle of Big Blue, including the cavalry charge which drove the rebels over the Kansas line. On Sunday was the beginning of the battle of Westport, the regiment achieved a brilliant success. The rebels retreated southward down the state line. The Union force encountered them at Cold Water Grove, at Mount City and at Fort Lincoln. After that they were driven across the Arkansas river. The remainder of the troops were sent to Fort Smith. later, they returned to Kansas, arriving at Paola, on December 12th, 1864, just two month after the beginning of the campaign.
   
1865 The hardship of the latter part of the campaign were its chief features. The men were thinly clad, and the weather become very cold and strong. The regiment had no transportation, and so insufficent were the provisions for food, that for two entire days the men had nothing but coffee and bacon, and the three following days nothing but coffee, and that in scant supply. The country furnished no forage and the horses were constantly giving out, so that by the time the regiment arrived at Paola, the loss of horses was over two-thirds the whole number, and not one was fit to be ridden. For four hundred miles the regiment repeated the experience of its early infantry service. This is where John Henry lost his horse. He and other soldiers built a makeshift corral to hold their horses, then they set fire to their saddles and equipment and walked the rest of the way. Later John Henry was charged $ 20.28 for the saddle by the army. The war ended April 26, 1865 and John come home.
  Colonel Ellsworth called for ex-soldiers to re-enlist and go west in Kansas to fight savage Indians who were killing and burning out early settlers on their claims. Over a 100 men, along with John from Anderson county re-enlisted.
  On the 11th of June, 1865, General Conner telegraphed Colonel Plumb that the Indians were collected in large numbers on the overland stage line, captured and burned several stage stations and almost stopped travel on the stage line. Company "F", along with Cos. "A", "B" and "L", marched to Fort Halleck some 120 miles from Fort Laramie. When ordered to reopen and protect the route and secure the safe and speedy delivery of the mail, and afford all possible protection to the emigrant and other travel. The troops arrived at the Fort Halleck on the 24th of June and were at once dispatched along the line from Camp Collins, Colorado to Green River, a distance of about 400 miles. For about one-half the distance, every animal of the stage line had been driven of by the Indians. So the cavalry horses were substituted. The danger of the route were that most of the drivers deserted it, and so the men were taken from the ranks to fill their places. The Indians were almost constantly on the road, and often-times in very large numbers.
  John Henry told the story about the time the Indians had been harnessing the men by running horses through the camp at night, or setting on top of the hills just out of gun range during the day. One of the soldiers lost his temper, got on his horse and rode after them over the hill. Later John Henry and some other soldiers went after him. They found him and his horse dead with twenty or more arrows sticking through them.
  Large escorts were impossible because of the distance to be covbbered and the small number of troops, about ten men was the maximum number for each stage station. The coaches were therefore forced to run at night. Through all these difficulties and hazards the coaches made it through. Passengers abandoned the line, so the stages become a U.S. mail route, with U.S. soldiers driving U.S. cavalry horses. Which insured the overland communication between East and West was kept open. This service lasted until August 13, when the 11th was relieved from duty and ordered to Fort Leavenworth for mustering out of service.
  When John Henry musted out on August 31, 1865, he was allowed to keep his mount and equipment, which included his rifle and pistol. He than meet, Mary Meimer worked in town and lived with her sister and brother, Elizabeth and Frank, who was a buddy of John's in the Army. Later, John met Mary at church and started courting her.
  About this time, at Christmas 1865, the two Carmelite novices pronounced their vows in Leavenworth, Kansas. Father Louis returned to Pottawatomie settlement. It is about this time that the Pottawatomie settlement first become known as Scipio, taking its name from the Indiana town Scipio.
   
1868 John married Maria Meimers, with Father Ludovicus, celebrating the Wedding Mass, on July 28, 1868, at St. Boniface Church in Scipio, Kansas. Her parent were Jacob and Gesina (Adelheid) Meimers. Conrad Feuerborn was Bestman and her sister, Elizabeth Meimers, as their Bridesmaid. They lived southeast of Scipio about a mile or so. Later called J.L's Place. More recently, the farm was owned by Butch and Lucille Rockers.
   
1869 A a year later their first boy, John Edward was born in Scipio, Kansas on June 8, 1869. Father Ludovicus, baptized him on June 15, 1869. John Feuerborn was his Godfather, and Anna Westermeyer was his Godmother.
   
1871 Louis, who was born in Scipio, Kansas on March 21, 1871. His baptism records showed that he was baptized on March 30, 1871, at St. Boniface church, at Scipio, with Father Gurnther as the parish priest. He was named John Herman Ludwig Feuerborn. John Herman Wolken was his Godfather and Adelheid DeBroeck as his Godmother.
   
1873 The Feuerborn's were living on a farm at Scipio. Mary's twins had died at birth in August 4, 1873. Their neighbor, Mr. John Brown, had died two weeks before, and Mrs. Brown was having a very hard time, because she was pregnant. So Mary and John were there to help her out. When the baby was born on August 10, Mrs. Brown had a nervous break down and could not care for the baby. Mary helped take care of the baby, they named him John after his father. Mrs. Brown never recovered, so Mary and John raised John Brown as their own.
   
1883 Twins, Joe and Josephine were born in Garnett, Kansas on March 14, 1883.
  Elizabeth was born in Garnett, Kansas on December 16, 1886
   
1886 Albert Thomas was born in Garnett, Kansas on December 16, 1886.
   
1887 In the spring of 1887, John and Mary Feuerborn, and their family, went west to the community of St. Theresa. Their first job was to build a home to live in. The only thing to make a house out of was the sod. They started by digging a hole in the ground about four feet deep, along the Ladder Creek. Then they plowed up the sod to make the walls high enough to stand up in. They chopped down some trees that grew along the creek to make rafters for the roof. Then they put smaller branches over the rafters. Next came more sod and straw for the roof. Their beds were sacks filled with straw. They cooked out side most of time. The boys hunted game to eat. They traveled 14 miles west and north of Leoti, Kansas to get flour, salt and other items.
  They built a church, later to be named St. Anthony of Padua. They brought with them a statue of the Virgin Mary, a gift from the parishioners of St. Boniface at Scipio, Kansas. St. Theresa was a community without boundaries. Clem Scheve was the postmaster. On November 15 1887, a post office was established an registered under the name St. Theresa after Theresa Scheve, the wife of the postmaster. (The postoffice was closed on July 15, 1904. It was reopened on January 16, 1908 and continued to serve the community, until April 29, 1916, when the town burned due to a prairie fire.)
  One of the first settlers were: The Feuerborn family, Clem Buscha, Mrs. Anna Brigaman, The Drummer family, The Gotken family, The Scheve family and John Bauck.
  The importance of religion in the lives of these pioneers was most apparent. Knowing that the establishment of a church would give the community a greater sense of pride and stability they undertook the task of building their church. On January 1, 1887, Clem and Theresa Scheve deeded 10 acres to Bishop Louis Mary Fink, O.S.B., bishop of the Diocese of Leavenworth. Johann Gotken donated $200.00 to build the church and expressed the wish to name the church in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. The parishioners agreed and construction commenced in the spring. The men in the community, along with the Feuerborn's, freightened lumber by horse and wagon from Wallace, more than 30 miles to the north. (We have the picture). Wallace was located on the Kansas Pacific Railroad. The railroad not only meant building supplies for the surrounding communities, it meant transportation for missionary priests. The spiritual needs of the Catholics at Wallace were attended by the Capuchin Friars residing in Victoria, Kansas. If the pioneers at St. Theresa's attended Mass prior to constructing their own church, they had to travel to Wallace 30 miles away. After the church was built, someone would go to Wallace to transport the priest to St. anthony to celebrate Mass. The first priests were Father James Muench, O.M. Cap. Father Anselm Bayerau, O.M. Cap. and Father Maurus Strobel, O.M. Cap. Pope Leo XII was in his eighth year of his pontificate.
  An organ was purchased for $ 100.00 and a statue of the Blessed Mother was donated by the parishioners of St. Boniface at Scipio. The Feuerborn's carried the statue with them from Scipio. (Mamie Jo Grayson has the box that the statue came in.)
   
1889 Anthony Feuerborn was born at St. theresa's, in a sod house on September19, 1889. We can see4 why he was named Anthony! Life on the prairie was hard. No trees! No hills! Land was very flat. If you went to town 14 miles away, you had to mark the way with plow or you may get lost on the way home. To cook, they collected "Buffalo Chips" for fuel. Also known as "Prairie Muffins". Ladder Creek was their source of water. Because of an extended drought, and a lost plague, life become impossible.
   
1890 John Demmer family, long time friends of the Feuerborn's moved to Purcell from Leoti, Kansas. It took three weeks in the trail to get to Purcell. They lived on a farm about one half miles north west of downtown Purcell. They nine children, Sister Mary Emmanuela, Barney, Father John, Sister Mary Vincent, Anthony, Leo, Clare, Father Joseph, and Sister Mary Martina. Leo lives in Union City on a farm today. His sister, Anna comes to see him on weekends.


Story from Hubert Feuerborn, USA
2002 by Josef Thomalla


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