Sunday, May 24, 2020

Chaumiere, Gumithorne, and Sawqua

Col. Thomas N. Stinson
Thomas Stinson settled in what would become Shawnee County, Kansas before the land was even open for settlement. By some accounts, he had started farming in the area in 1848. He began selling lots of his land in the spring of 1855, founding the town of Tecumseh. Stinson specifically said he would accept no free-state bids. Tecumseh would become a proslavery town and would be the county seat of Shawnee County until 1858.

On February 20, 1857, the territorial legislature approved the incorporation of the Chaumiere Town Association. It was founded by Stinson, Samuel Woodson, William Chrisman, J.C. Anderson, and Abram Comingo. Chaumiere, which means cottage in French, was probably a Tecumseh satellite town (similar to Rising Sun near Lecompton). It's not even recorded if the town was ever actually established but if it was, it was either west of Tecumseh along the Kansas River or across the river in Jefferson County.

The Ft. Scott Topeka & Lincoln Railroad
1883, from the Library of Congress
In the Topeka Daily Commonwealth of July 4, 1871, it was announced that J.B. Whitaker was founding a town along the proposed Fort Scott, Topeka & Lincoln Railroad. It was going to be located twelve miles north of Topeka, in Soldier Township. It would've been very close to the Jackson County border and called Gumithorne. The town was named for John Guthrie, Jacob Smith, and Daniel Horne, thus, Gumithorne.

James Barnes Whitaker was born in 1832, coming to Shawnee County in the 1850s. He served as sheriff for a few months in 1857 and then as county surveyor, a position he held for several years. Though Gumithorne would be nothing more than a mention in a newspaper, Whitaker would go on to plat the College Hill neighborhood north of Washburn University in 1880.

Capt. John Guthrie, from Find A Grave
Captain John Guthrie was born in Switzerland County, Indiana in 1829. He was a teacher, practiced law, and served in the Civil War. He came to Topeka in 1866 where he practiced law, was appointed a district judge, and then postmaster. He also worked with Cyrus Holliday in establishing the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. In 1887, Deer Creek, Oklahoma was established along the AT&SF but within a year was renamed Guthrie after Capt. Guthrie. Guthrie would serve as the territorial capital of Oklahoma and then state capital from 1907 to 1910. Capt. Guthrie died suddenly of heat stroke on July 1, 1906 and is buried in Topeka Cemetery.

Jacob Smith was born in 1831 in Ohio. He came to Topeka in 1857 where he was in the hardware his entire life. Smith dipped his toes into
Jacob Smith illustration, 1908.
many enterprises in Topeka including banking, the railroad, and serving as county treasurer in the 1860s. Smith suffered a stroke in 1906 and passed away in 1908. At the time of his death, he was president of W.A.L. Thompson Hardware. He is buried in Topeka Cemetery.

Colonel Daniel Horne was born in New Hampshire in 1828. He came to Kansas in 1854 and was one of the nine founders of Topeka. Horne went into the real estate business, selling lots to people moving to Topeka. His biggest contribution to Topeka would be the Horne's Addition subdivision which are the three neighborhoods bordered by Horne/Washburn on the west, Clay Street on the east, 5th Street on the north and 8th Street on the south. Horne Street, which runs between Willow and 8th, is named for him. He and his wife moved to California for one of his son's health. Sadly, it didn't work and his son died in 1885. Col. Horne would pass away in California in 1894 and is buried there.

Saw-Qua, Osawqua, Saw-Gua
Osawqua in Soldier Township
1873 Atlas
Located at the split of Indian Creek in Soldier Township, this post office location went through many different spellings. Saw-Qua, Saw-Gua, Osawqua, Ozawaqua, Saqua, and possibly Sawour. The post office was established in January of 1871. Sawqua was in the northern part of the Pleasant Hills area of Shawnee County. The Pleasant Hill school was built in 1872 and residents of this small community became very proud of their neighborhood even starting a newspaper called The Echo.

The Sawqua post office was discontinued in 1873 but continued to be serviced by Topeka, a forty mile route three days a week from North Topeka to Muscotah and back. That arrangement lasted at least until 1882. The mail route to Sawqua was probably taken over by Elmont or Kilmer when those offices opened in the 1880s.

The Pleasant Hill school land, District 24, is still serving the community. It is currently used by the Seaman school district as the Pleasant Hill Learning Center.

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