Details of my great grandparents, Edward Puleston and Jane Francis, the parents of Fanny Jane Puleston

EDWARD PULESTON (1834-1903) AND JANE FRANCIS (1833-1910?)

My great grandfather, Edward Puleston, was the fourth child, and third son, of John Puleston  and his wife Mary, nee Jones. He was born on 15 May 1834 at Plasnewydd, Garthgynan, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire (now Clwyd), Wales.  He was baptised on 3 June 1834 in Llanfair DC.

 

On 18 June 1858, he married Jane Francis in Llanarmon-yn-Ial Parish Church, Denbighshire, about 3 miles from Llanfair DC. Jane's gravestone says she was born on 1 February 1833 and her obituary says she was born in Llanarmon. The marriage certificate describes Edward as age 24, Bachelor, Farmer, living at Berth, Llanbedr, son of John Puleston, Farmer.  Jane is described as age 24 (sic), Spinster, Farmer's daughter, living at Maes-y-llan (Llanarmon-yn-Ial), daughter of Thomas Francis, Farmer. The witnesses were John Worthington and Sarah Francis (Jane's mother?).

The marriage was reported on 26 June 1858 in the Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire Shropshire and North Wales Register:

 

WISCONSIN

Edward and Jane emigrated to Wisconsin, USA in 1859 (see the entry relating to Jane in the 1910 US Census for Vollmer Town, Cold Springs Precinct, Nez Perce County, Idaho, which records her date of emigration to the US as 1859). They probably sailed from Liverpool, England across the Atlantic Ocean to Quebec, Canada and, from there, along rivers and through the Great Lakes to Wisconsin (much of whose eastern border lies along Lake Michigan).

 

Edward and Jane settled in the Township of Nekimi (pronounced "Neck -eye- my", with the stress on the second syllable) near Oshkosh in the south east corner of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, as did many other Welsh farmers. In the 1850s, Wisconsin was a rural state and agriculture was its main economic activity. Most settlers were farmers and wheat quickly became their chief crop.

Map of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, showing Nekimi at the bottom right

1860 CENSUS

On 18 June 1860, the US Federal census records the family living in Nekimi, as follows:

  • Edward Pulston (sic), age 26, Male, Farmer, with personal estate valued at $150, born in Wales
     
  • Jane Pulston, age 27, Female, born in Wales
     
  • Annie Pulston, age 1 month, female, born in Wisconsin.

Annie's 1948 obituary says she was born near Oshkosh on 29 May 1860. Her full name was Anna Mary Puleston. We could find no record of her birth in the County Courthouse at Oshkosh. However, registration of births was not compulsory in Wisconsin until 1907. As Edward and Jane's home was several miles south of Oshkosh, they were probably disinclined to go to the County Courthouse to register the birth.

Neither that census nor the related "Agricultural Schedule" records Edward as owning real estate, so presumably he rented the land he farmed. Similarly, the Register of Title Deeds in the County Courthouse for Winnebago County at Oshkosh (the county seat) contains no record of Edward buying or selling land there and he is not named on the 1862 plat map showing who then owned what land in Winnebago County.

However, the entries in the 1860 census adjacent to Edward and Jane's entry included J Fortnum on one side and E L Davies (born in Wales) and Ann German (also born in Wales) on the other. The 1862 plat map for Winnebago County shows T Bailey, G Bailey and J Fortnum owing land in Section 28 of Nekimi township (east of Clay Road and north of what is now County Road Z) and E L Davies, Ann German and D Duffy owing land in Section 33 of Nekimi township (again east of Clay Road, but south of County Road Z and north of Lone Elm Avenue). A knowledgeable librarian at nearby Oshkosh Public Library told us that the census enumerator probably worked his way southwards along Clay Road and that therefore Edward and Jane probably lived east of Clay Road and just south of County Road Z at the very south of Nekimi.

In 1859/60, Edward and Jane Puleston probably lived south of County Road Z, east of Clay Road and north of Lone Elm Road, to the left of highway 41 at the bottom of this map

The land owned by Edward and Jane's immediate neighbours was valued in the 1860 census at between $400 and $1500. There were 2 other neighbouring families who, like Edward and Jane, owned no land. As Edward and Jane were in their mid twenties and had paid the considerable cost of their passage from Wales to Wisconsin, they probably could not afford to buy land in Nekimi, even if it were for sale. The public land in Nekimi offered for sale by the US government at $1.25 an acre had been bought in the 1830s or 1840s, often by speculators from the east coast of America who later sold it on to farmers at higher prices.

The outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861 affected every aspect of life in Wisconsin. Although there were few major battles there, there were many skirmishes and all individuals felt its repercussions. Edward is not listed on an 1862 list of Winnebago County men eligible to be required to serve in the US army - he may have previously feared that, being in his mid twenties, he could be called up and required to leave his wife and baby to fend for themselves in their new country while he was sent away to fight (and possibly die) in the Civil War.

In addition, conditions of life for settlers were often so crude and so trying that there was always a reverse immigration back to Europe. In Winnebago County, the many rivers and lakes are especially prone to flooding. 30 inches of snow, weeks of temperatures below freezing and icestorms in winter and very high temperatures and tornadoes in summer are common. These conditions were much harsher than those Edward and Jane were used to in Wales. Was it the high cost of land, the Civil War, the harsh climate or other reasons that caused the family to return to Wales (possibly soon after the June 1860 census but certainly by 1862)?

On 5 March 1863, Edward and Jane's second daughter, Sarah Frances Puleston, died at Jane's childhood home, Maes-y-llan, Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Denbighshire, Wales and, on 7 March 1863, Sarah was buried in the churchyard of Llanfair DC:

 

Her death was reported in the Welsh newspaper Baner ac Amserau Cymru on 18 March 1863:

On 10 August 1864, their third daughter, Fanny Jane Puleston  was born at Berth, Llanbedr DC, Denbighshire, Wales. She was baptised in the Parish Church at Llanfair DC on 28 August 1864:

 

In 1866, Edward was farming at Cileurych, near Llansaintffraid, as shown by this report of poaching on his land, as reported in the Wrexham and Denbighshire Advertiser and Cheshire  Shropshire and North Wales Register on 1 December 1866:

 

In 1868, Edward was farming at Cileurych and also Eru'rdalar, Llansantffraid near Corwen, Wales, as shown by this advertisement in the Wrexham Advertiser newspaper on 24 October 1868 announcing the auction of all his farming stock and household furniture before emigrating to America:

PIONEERING IN KANSAS

The family appears to have remained in Wales until 1869 when (see the entry relating to Anna in the 1910 US census for Vollmer Town, Cold Springs Precinct, Nez Perce County, Idaho, which records her year of immigration into the US as 1869) the family emigrated once more - this time to Arvonia, Osage County, Kansas, USA, over 650 miles South West of their former home in Wisconsin and about 90 miles South West of Kansas City. Jane's newspaper obituary says they arrived in Arvonia on 29 May 1869.

Map of Osage County, Kansas, showing Arvonia at the bottom left

The Kansas climate was less harsh than that of Wisconsin - for the whole winter of 1869, the median temperature was 29.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the snowfall was only 6.25 inches, with total rainfall of 13.5 inches for the 3 winter months. The promotional literature for Arvonia claimed that "the Indians have moved out, so one need not be concerned about an uprising. We understand that the few Indians who lived there were friendly and peaceful" and that "land in this part of Kansas, considered the Garden of America, is sure to appreciate by 25 to 100% over the next 2 years". It also stated that the cost of travelling from New York to Kansas by railroad was $39 or 6 British guineas (1st class) or $19.50 or 3 British guineas (3rd class).

Arvonia was surveyed and platted in 1869 by a group of Welsh people led by Mr J Mather Jones. It was laid out in Sections of about 1 square mile (1 mile on each side), each bounded by roads running North to South and East to West. Even in 2007, the roads were unpaved. Less than 6 months after Arvonia was founded in 1869, the Temporary Hotel and about a dozen houses were built, and it grew rapidly in the next 2 years. When the town was founded, it was supposed that a railroad would soon be built up the Marais des Cygnes valley and, when this failed to appear, a few of the leaders (including J Mather Jones), who had expected a large town to spring up, became disheartened and left the country. Several cheese factories were established near Arvonia, to which Arvonia's "thrifty class of farmers" presumably supplied milk from their dairy herds.

The Register of Deeds for Osage County (the original of which is at Osage County Courthouse, Lyndon, Osage County, with a microfilm copy at Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas of most of the documents, other than later Mortgages) records in Volume G, page 298 the registration at 7pm on 24 January 1869 of a Mortgage by Edward Puleston to R. W & Trust Co of land, being the North West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14 and the South West Quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, consisting of 315.52 acres of land (a note records that this Mortgage was later "satisfied" - i.e. paid off).

The Osage County Register also records in Volume G, page 575 the registration at 8am on 20 November 1869 of a Certificate of Purchase on 15 May 1869 by Edward Puleston of Arvonia from Hiram M Northrup and Joseph S Chick, through "J Mather Jones their exclusive agent", of land in Osage County, being the North West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, containing 157.6 acres, at $9 per acre and the South West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, containing 157.84 acres, at $5 per acre. The Register records that Edward had paid to the sellers through their agent $552.08, being one fourth of the purchase price and that the balance of $1,656.24 was to be paid in 5 equal annual instalments, with annual interest at the rate of 7%, secured by a mortgage on that land.

The index to the Osage County Register also records the registration (in Volume N, page 165) at 2pm on 7 April 1870 of a deed with Northrup & Chick as Grantors and Edward Puelston (sic) as Grantee relating to the North West quarter and South West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14. The index says the deed was registered in Volume N, page 465 - so far I have not been able to see it, but it may have been a conveyance to Edward Puleston of title to the land.

Those 315.52 acres are shown as belonging to Edward Puleston in the 1879 Osage County Atlas, which contains a map of Township 18 South Range 13 & 14 East. In 2007, this tract of land was bounded by W 317th Street to the North, by S Davis Road to the West and by W 325th Street to the South:

Edward's farm in Arvonia, Kansas, outlined in red

The land Edward bought in 1869 lies a few miles west of Arvonia and is the Western half of Section 18 of Township 18. The map records that land as 315.52 acres and shows Puleston Creek as running through it up to the Marais de Cygnes river. In 1883, Edward's neighbour, John Davis (after whom S Davis Road is presumably named) built a bridge over Puleston Creek. The map also shows, in the North West corner of the South West quarter of Section 18, the site of Coal workings (1 of 20 strip pits in Arvonia) - in April 2007, there remained on that spot the foundations of 3 ruined buildings (probably wood with a galvanised roof) - see the photo below:

                  Ruined mining buildings on Edward's farm

The map above also marks (in the centre of that South West quarter) the spot where Edward built his house - in April 2007, this was a field but we found near the spot numerous pieces of squarish stone that presumably came from the house and have, since its disappearance, been distributed nearby as a result of ploughing the field. Apparently it was usual to build a house in the centre of a tract of land. The house may have had stone foundations and been built of wood, with 4 rooms, like the one illustrated below, which in 2007 survived, semi-derelict, on the North Eastern edge of the adjacent Section 13.

Edward and Jane's first home in Kansas may have looked like this

The stream is still known as Puleston Creek and shown as such on maps of the area. Below is a photo of part of Puleston Creek running through Edward Puleston's land.

Puleston Creek, Arvonia, Kansas

1870 CENSUS

On 10 June 1870, the family are recorded in the US Federal census for Arvonia Township in Osage County, Kansas, as follows:

  • Edward Puilston (sic), age 36, Male, White, Farmer, with real estate valued at $2,000 and personal estate valued at $500, born in Wales, Father and Mother both "foreign born"
     
  • Jane Puilston, age 37, Female, White, Keeping House, born in Wales, Father and Mother both foreign born
     
  • Annie M Puilston, age 10, Female, White, born in Wisconsin, Father and Mother both foreign born, attended school within the year
      
  • Fanny Puilston, age 5, Female, White, born in Wales, Father and Mother both foreign born - unlike her sister, Fanny is not shown as having attended school within the year
     
  • Edward Williams, age 28 , Male, White, Farm laborer, born in Wales, Father and Mother both foreign born - he presumably worked on Edward Puleston's farm.

Schedule 3 to the 1870 census (Productions of Agriculture in Arvonia Township in the County of Osage in the State of Kansas, enumerated on 9 June 1870) records details of Edward Puleston's farm as follows:

  • 10 Acres of "Improved Land", 310 Acres of "Other" [i.e. not "Woodland"] "Unimproved Land"

  •  the Present Cash Value of the Farm as $2,000

  •  the Present Cash Value of his farming implements as $100
     
  • 3 horses, 3 milch cows, 3 other cattle and 1 swine, valued at $475
     
  • estimated value of all his farm production, including betterments and additions to stock, was $200.

The Manual of the First Church of Christ, Arvonia, Kansas, dated 21 July 1870 lists 70 members of the Church in alphabetical order. These include Edward Puleston and Elizabeth (sic) Puleston.

In early days, the children of Arvonia were schooled in a private house in the town. In 1872, the first school was built. The school building, along with the church, still survived in Arvonia in 2007:

Arvonia Schoolhouse

Edward Puleston's land was in School District 33, Riverside and a separate school was built there, which his daughters presumably attended as it was closer than the school in Arvonia itself.

Edward and Jane must have been very short of money by 1872:

  • On 18 January 1872, John Nai Jones filed a Civil Action against Edward Puleston in the Justice's Court in Arvonia for a debt of $5. On 24 February, Edward appeared before the court and "acknowledged judgement" of $5.80 awarded against him, plus interest at 7% a year. He paid the $5.80 on 24 July 1872.
  • On 7 May 1872, James W Jessie filed a Civil Action against Edward in the same court for a debt of $11.50, being due on a promissory note dated 25 May 1871 for $10, plus $1.50 interest. Edward did not appear at the court hearing on 11 May 1872 and judgment was awarded against him.
  • On 24 July 1872, J C Booth filed a Civil Action against Edward in the same court for an even larger debt of $59.35. On 2 August, Edward came to the court and "confessed judgement without process". He paid $59.60 to satisfy the judgement on 16 October 1872.
Interestingly, John Nai Jones, the successful plaintiff in the first 1872 case against Edward, was the Justice who heard the second and third cases against Edward! In order to pay his debts, it seems that Edward had to sell some of his land, and did so to his eldest brother.

At 2pm on 9 September 1872, there was recorded in the Osage County Register of Deeds at Lyndon (volume l, page 451) the sale on 25 July 1872 by Edward and Jane Puleston to Edward's eldest brother "John Henry Puleston of the City of London in the State of Great Britain" for $1,000 of land owned by them in Arvonia, being the North West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14 containing 160 acres "more or less". John Henry Puleston paid taxes on this land in 1873 through 1875 but then appears to have sold it to Jeptha D Vauter, from whom Edward repurchased it in 1877 for only $200 (see below).

The Arvonia Tax Records (in Carnegie Library in Lyndon in April 2007, but then soon to be moved to Burlingame due to lack of storage space) show that, in 1872, Edward Puleston had 2 horses, 2 mules and 2 hogs, and had cultivated 6 acres of wheat producing 15 bushels of wheat and 40 acres of corn producing 500 bushels of corn. In 1873, he had 3 horses and 3 cattle, and had cultivated 3 acres of wheat producing 36 bushels of wheat, 35 acres of corn producing 510 bushels of corn, 7 acres of oats producing 105 bushels of oats and 1/4 acre of potatoes producing 25 bushels of potatoes.

ARVONIA LAND TAXES

The Arvonia Tax records also show the land owned by Edward at various times and its value for tax purposes:

  • 1872   NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $632
                SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $632

  • 1873 - SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $634 (the NW 1/4 was then owned by John Henry Puleston  (see above) and valued at $474)

  • 1874 - SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $500 (the NW 1/4 was still owned by John Henry Puleston and valued at $400)

  • 1875 - SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $480 (the NW 1/4 was still owned by John Henry Puleston and valued at $380)

  • 1877 - NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $420
                SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $510

  • 1878 - NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $459 (improvements valued at $625) - all uncultivated
               SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $554 (improvements valued at $100) - 40 acres  cultivated, 118 acres uncultivated

  • 1880 - NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $574 (improvements valued at $100) - 40 acres cultivated, 118 acres uncultivated
              SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $674 (improvements valued at $200) - 40 acres cultivated, 118 acres uncultivated

  • 1882 - NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $474 (improvements valued at $0)
               SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $474 (improvements valued at $100)
     
  • 1884 - NE 1/4 of 24 18 13 - 160 acres - valued at $480 - 100 acres cultivated, 60 acres not cultivated
               NW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $640 (improvements valued at $100) - 120 acres cultivated, 40 acres uncultivated
               SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $640 (improvements valued at $150) - 80 acres cultivated, 80 acres uncultivated

  • 1885 - SW 1/4 of 18 18 14 - 158 acres - valued at $150 (including improvements)

1875 CENSUS

In 1875 (when the population of Arvonia was 560), the Kansas State census for Arvonia Township, Osage County records the family as follows:

  • Edward Puleston, age 41, Male, Farming, with real estate valued at $1,000 (half the value in 1870) and personal estate valued at $600 ($100 more than 1870), born in Wales, Father and Mother both born in Wales
     
  • Jane Puleston, age 42, Female, H.K (Housekeeping), born in Wales, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Anna M Puleston, age 14, Female, H.K. (Housekeeping), born in Wisconsin, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Fanny J Puleston, age 10, Female, at school, born in Wales, Father and Mother born in Wales.

By 1875, Edward and Jane were still short of money. On 22 January 1876, H D Mirick, as assignee of the Land Grant Railway and Trust Co. of Missouri, filed a petition against Edward and Jane Puleston in the District Court for Osage County, Kansas (Case number 984), alleging that they had defaulted on 3 promissory notes (for $331.25 each, plus interest) issued by them to that company in Arvonia on 15 May 1869, secured by a mortgage of that date on the land at the North West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14. Although they had paid the interest due on 15 May 1870 and 15 May 1871, they had not paid the remaining amounts when due, $993.75 with interest from 5 May 1871 at 7% per annum (a total of $1,318.36). On 22 January 1876, the court issued a Summons requiring Edward and Jane Puleston to answer the petition by 27 February 1876 - this Summons was served on them by the Sheriff on 24 January 1876. It seems that they did not answer the petition, so that judgment was awarded against them.

On Friday 21 July 1876, the Osage County Chronicle published the Delinquent Tax List issued by the County Treasurer's Office in Lyndon on 10 July 1876, giving notice that so much of each tract of land or town lot situated in Osage County, Kansas, and described in the list, as may be necessary for that purpose, would on the first Tuesday of September 1876 and next succeeding days, be sold by the County Treasurer at public auction at his office, for the taxes and charges thereon. The long list of those who had not paid their tax incuded:

                                                      "Ed. Puleston, SW 1/4 s18 t18 r14".

On the other hand, only a few months later, at 7pm on 5 July 1877, there was registered in the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon an Indenture dated 5 July 1877 between (1) Jeptha D Vauter and Sarah M Vauter and (2) Edward Puleston by which Edward bought for $200 the North West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14. One week later, at 9am on 12 July 1877, there was registered in that Register (Volume 5, page 227) a Mortgage by Edward Puleston to J J Crippin of the South West quarter of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14.

1880 CENSUS

By 1880, the family seemed to be prospering again. In June 1880, the family are recorded in the US Federal census for Arvonia Township in Osage County, Kansas, as follows:

  • Edward Puleston, White, Male, age 46, Married, Farmer, born in Wales, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Jane Puleston, White, Female, age 47, Wife, Married, Keeping House, Born in Wales, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Annie M Puleston, White, Female, age 20, Daughter, Single, At school (sic), born in Wisconsin, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Fanny J Puleston, White, Female, age 15, Daughter, Single, Born in Wales, Father and Mother born in Wales
     
  • Ernest Murry, White Male, age 16, Servant, Single, Farmer, Born in Missouri, Father and Mother born in Ohio - presumably Murry was a farm labourer who worked on Edward's farm.

Schedule 2 to the 1880 census (Productions of Agriculture in Arvonia Township in the County of Osage in the State of Kansas, enumerated on 6 June 1880) records details of Edward Puleston's farm as follows:

  • Acres of land - Owner, of 320 acres of Improved, Tilled land ("including fallow and grass in rotation, whether pasture or meadow"), 200 acres of Improved "permanent meadows, permanent pastures, orchards, vineyards" and 6 acres of Unimproved woodland and forest.
     
  • Farm Values - The farm, including land, fences and buildings, was valued at $5,000, the farming implements and machinery at $200 and the livestock at $1,250.
     
  • Fences - The cost of building and repairing fences in 1879 was $600.
     
  • Labor - he paid $300 for wages for farm labor during 1879, including value of board - he employed 75 weeks of hired labor in 1879 on his farm (excluding housework) [this shows that he employed part time labour, in addition to Ernest Murry].

  • Estimated value of all farm production (sold, consumed or on hand) in 1879 was $1,100.
     
  • Grass lands in 1879 - 60 acres mown, 140 acres not mown, producing 80 tons of hay and 50 bushels of grass seed harvested in 1879.
     
  • Horses of all ages on hand 1 June 1880 - 6.
     
  • Neat cattle and their products on hand 1 June 1880 - 12 milch cows, 26 "others" - in  1879, 12 calves dropped, 7 cattle sold living, 1 "died, strayed or stolen and not recovered" - 700 pounds of butter were made on the farm in 1879.
     
  • Swine on hand 1 June 1880 - 34.
     
  • Poultry on hand 1 June 1880, exclusive of Spring Hatching - 26 in farmyard, 55 other - 50 dozen eggs produced in 1879.
     
  • Indian Corn 1879 - 90 acres, producing a crop of 3,000 bushels.
     
  • Potatoes (Irish [i.e. not sweet potatoes]) 1879 - 1/2 acre, producing 30 bushels.
     
  • Orchards 1879 - 1/2 acre of apple orchard but only 1 bearing tree - 1 acres of peaches, with 90 bearing trees - 1/2 acre of vineyards.

BOOM TIMES

General prosperity led to an economic boom in Kansas from 1880 to 1885. Edward decided to buy as much land adjacent to his farm as he could, even if it meant borrowing heavily to do so.

  • At 7pm on 1 June 1881, there was registered in the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon (Volume Misc1, page 274) a Contract dated 8 July 1881 between the Reading Iron Works of Reading, Pennsylvania (by its agent W A Harris of Laurence, Kansas) and Edward Puleston of Arvonia. The Iron Works agreed to sell to Edward Puleston the North West quarter of Section 19 Township 18 Range 14, being 158.19 acres, for $960, of which $99 was payable then and 5 payments of $192 each were payable on 1 January in the years 1881 through 1885, with interest at 7% per annum. In January 1882, it was agreed that the time of payments should all be one year later and this was noted on the Register. It was agreed that the land would be conveyed to Edward if all payments were made when due. In 2007, this land is bounded on the West by S Davis Road and on the North by W 325th Street.

  • At 6pm on 13 August 1881, there was registered in Volume 18, page 235 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon a Mortgage by Edward Puleston to William Williams of the Western half of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14. A note in the index to the volume indicates that the Mortgage was satisfied on 8 April 1883.

  • On 1 October 1882, Henry B Lewis of Coose County, Illinois agreed to sell to Edward Puleston the South East quarter of Section 24 Township 18 Range 13, containing 160 acres, for $880, of which $176.60 was paid then and the balance was to be paid by 4 annual payments of $176 each on 1 October in the years 1883 through 1886, with interest at 8% per annum. This Contract was registered in Volume 1Misc, page 607 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon at 5pm on 29 March 1884. It was agreed that the land would be conveyed to Edward if all payments were made when due. The land was never conveyed to Edward - on 16 April 1886, Edward assigned the agreement to S B Pettee. In 2007, this land was bounded on the East by S Davis Road and on the South by W 333rd Street.

  • At 9am on 29 March 1883, there was registered in Volume 18, page 407 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon a Mortgage by Edward Puleston to C Williams of the Western half of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14.

On 28 April 1883, Fanny Jane Puleston, Edward and Jane's youngest daughter, aged only 18, and 7 1/2 months pregnant, married Lorenzo D Hultz, the father of her child, in Seattle, King County, Washington State on the West coast of America, over 1800 miles from her home in Kansas. 2 weeks after their wedding, Lorenzo deserted Fanny and left her alone and destitute, without even the means to return home to Kansas. Somehow she did so and, on 12 June 1883, Fanny gave birth in Kansas to their son, whom she name Lorenzo Puleston Hultz. She never heard from her husband again, even though he admitted paternity of their son. Fanny divorced her husband in 1886, but did not receive any maintenance from him at any time after their marriage. Fanny and her son were therefore compelled to rely on Edward and Jane for support and lived with them in Arvonia until they left in 1887 - Fanny remarried in 1888.

There is registered in Vol ABond, page 86 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon a Bond of Deed dated 3 July 1883 from a Mr Rice to Edward Puleston in respect of the North East quarter of Section 28 Township 18 Range 13.

By an Indenture dated 4 October 1883 (registered on 29 March 1884 in Volume 39, page 39 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon), Rees Lumley of New York conveyed and sold to Edward Puleston for $1,500 the North East quarter of Section 24 Township 18 Range 13. In 2007, this land was bounded on the East by S Davis Road and on the North by W 325th Street.

The above transactions resulted in Edward owning or having contracted to buy over 793 acres of adjacent land tracts in Arvonia, but also left him heavily in debt.

1885 CENSUS

In 1885, the Kansas State census for Arvonia Township, Osage County (carelessly!) records the family as follows:

  • Edward Pulestton (sic), age 52, Male, White, Married, Farmer, born in Wales, come from Wales
     
  • Mrs Edward Pulestton, age 53, Female, White, Married, Housekeeper, born in Wales, come from Wales
     
  • Anna Pulestton, age 24, Female, White, Single, Housekeeper, born in Wisconsin, from Wales
     
  • Jane [changed to James!] Hultz, age 20, Female [changed to Male], White, Married, School Teacher, born Wisconsin (sic), from Wales
  • Lorenzo P Hultz, age 1, Male, White, Single, born Kansas (sic), from Kansas
     
  • Henry Price, age 19, Male, White, Single, Farmwork, born Illinois, from Illinois
     
  • Earnest (sic) Murry, age 21, Male, White, Single, Farmwork, born Illinois, from Illinois
     
  • Calvin Duncan, age 18, Male, White, Single, Farmwork, born Tennessee, from Tennessee.

Schedule 2 to the 1885 census, page 3, line 21, records details of Edward Puleston's farm as follows:

  • Owner of 800 acres of land, all fenced, with a present cash value of farm, including improvements, of $16,000 and of farming implements and machinery valued at $500
     
  • Total wages paid in year ended 1 March 1885, including board - $1,000
     
  • Fences - 640 rods of Hedges, 2,560 rods of Wire
     
  • Number of acres sown or planted, or to be sown or planted, in Spring 1885 - 200 of corn, 1 of Irish potatoes, 30 of "millet and Hungarian"
     
  • Bushels of corn on hand 1 March 1885 - 700
     
  • Aggregate acres of grasses in cultivation and under fence - 550 acres of prairie Hay - number of tons cut in 1884 - 150 of Tame, 200 of Prairie
     
  • Pounds of butter "made in family" in year ended 1 March 1885 - 300
     
  • Livestock - 10 horses, 4 mules or asses, 8 milch cows, 170 other cattle, 200 sheep, 70 swine (none of which died of diseases in the year ended 1 March 1885)
     
  • Value of animals fattened and slaughtered, or sold for slaughter, in year - $9,070
     
  • Pounds of wool in clip of 1884 - 3,000
     
  • Orchards - Trees in Bearing: 12 apple, 100 peach, 8 plum - Trees not in Bearing: 30 apple, 12 peach, 7 plum, 30 cherry.
     
  • The Schedule also records that he had 3 dogs and 2 acres of Walnut trees 1 year old and over.

Schedule 11 to the 1885 census records that the average monthly wages, with board, of a farm labourer in Arvonia were $1.25 and the average price for wheat was 40 cents a bushel, corn 25 cents a bushel, fat cattle 5 cents a pound, stock cattle 5 cents a pound, milch cows $40 per head, fat hogs 4 cents per pound and stock hogs 5 cents per pound

By 1885, Edward owned the 3rd largest farm in Arvonia, but was heavily in debt:

  • At 1pm on 3 March 1885, there was registered in Volume 45, page 428 of the Register of Deeds of Osage County at Lyndon a Mortgage by Edward and Jane Puleston to the Equitable Mortgage Company of the Western half of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, to secure a loan to the Pulestons of $3,500 repayable on 1 March 1890, with interest at 7% per annum. A note in the index indicates that this Mortgage was released on 21 January 1891. However, this was after a court action against Edward and Jane in 1887 to 1888 (see below).

  • At 6pm on 19 March 1885, there was registered in Volume 45, page 470 of that Register a Mortgage by Edward Puleston to H G Arnold of the North West quarter of Section 19 Township 18 Range 14.
     
  • At 12 noon on 10 November 1885, there was registered in Volume 51, page 381 of that Register an Indenture dated 9 November 1885, by which Edward and Jane Puleston sold and conveyed to S B Pettee for $700 the same North West quarter of Section 19 Township 18 Range 14 containing 160 acres.

On 8 March 1886, Edward Puleston is recorded in the passenger list of the ship R M S Aurania as arriving in New York City from Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland.

The RMS Aurania (the first of three ships of that name owned by the Cunard Line) was built in 1881. Edward Puleston crossed the Atlantic in it in 1885.

He is described as age 52, Male, Farmer, Citizen, his Native Country is (incorrectly) described as Flint, England, his intended destination Kansas and he had 1 piece of baggage. With him was his nephew and future son-in-law, Robert Lloyd Jones , age 22, Male, Surveyor, his Native Country also incorrectly described as Flint, England, with 1 piece of baggage. They both travelled in the "W I Compartments". I suspect that Edward had visited Great Britain to try to persuade his elder brother, John Henry Puleston (by then a very rich banker and Member of Parliament for the constituency of Devonport, near Plymouth, England), to lend Edward money once again to repay the several thousand dollars of debt he owed as as result of his land purchases and mortgages. It seems however that Edward was unsuccessful, and things really started to go downhill.

A few days after Edward's return to Kansas from England, at 6pm on 27 March 1886, there was registered in Volume 57, page 221 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon a Mortgage dated 25 March 1886 by Edward Puleston to C Hood of the Western half of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, to secure a loan to the Pulestons of $1,800 repayable on 25 March 1887 with interest at 12% per annum. A note in the index indicates that this Mortgage was released on 21 January 1891, but only after Hood sued Edward and Jane in 1887 and 1888 (see below). It seems that Hood did not realise that the land had already been mortgaged to the Equitable Mortgage Company to secure a loan of $3,500 plus interest.

At 6pm on 19 April 1886, there was registered in Volume 56, page 90 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon an Indenture dated 16 April 1886 by which Edward and Jane Puleston sold and conveyed to S B Pettee for $2,500 the North East quarter of Section 24 Township 18 Range 13. Edward and Jane obviously sold out at a good price as, a few months later, on 17 January 1887, S B Pettee sold to L W Borna the same tract of land, together with the North West quarter of Section 19 Township 18 Range 14, for only $2,281.90! At 9am on 17 January 1887, there was also registered a Quit Claim Deed dated 13 January 1887 between Edward and Jane Puleston and L W Borna in which the Pulestons reliquished any claim to the North East and South East quarters of Section 24 Township 18 Range 13 and the North West quarter of Section 19 Township 18 Range 14.

In September 1886, Edward failed to make the interest payments due on his loans of $3,500 from the Equitable Mortgage Company and $1,800 from C Hood.

HAPPY TIMES

On 13 October 1886, Edward and Jane's first daughter Anna married the Reverend Griffith Jones. Their marriage is recorded in Volume 1 (1856-1890) of the index to Shawnee County Marriages, where he is referred to as the Rev Griffith F Jones and she is referred to as Annie M Pulestone.Their marriage was briefly reported on page 2 of the 20 October 1886 edition of The Emporia Democrat newspaper, as "Wedding Bells: ........Rev G E Jones to Miss A Puliston".

The wedding was front page news in The Osage City Free Press on 21 October 1886, Vol. XVI, No 14:

                                                   "Marriage of Miss Puleston"
The Rev J F Hendy, D.D., president of the Emporia Presbyterian College, united in the bonds of holy matrimony Mr G.F. Jones, of Topeka, with Miss A M Puleston, of Arvonia, on Wednesday, the 13th inst, at Oak Grove, the residence of the bride's parents.

Mr Jones is a native of North Wales and came to this country on the 13th of March last, exactly seven months previous to his wedding day. He is now pastor of the Oskaloosa Presbyterian church and is also chosen president of the new college there. Of the bride nothing need be said, as she and her family are well known throughout the country, her father being among the first settlers of Arvonia - 18 years ago.

The gathering clouds and storm towards evening prevented a good many who had been invited from attending. The storm had broke forth in all its fury outside, and it is held by some that to be married during the roar of the tempest, and the rain patters against the window panes and the wind whistles through the keyholes, is a sign of success in after life.

The bride was supported by Miss Fannie J Puleston, her only sister, Misses Lizzie Parry, Jennie Jones, Jennie Evan, Mrs Dr Jones, and Miss Katie Evans. The bridegroom was supported by J R Jones, M.D., of Emporia, Messrs R L Jones, Tom F Parry, Rees Jones, T B Jones and Evan Rees.

After the ceremony all enjoyed themselves for some time at the supper table. The weather was not such that the young couple could go away that night but the next day they took the train for the West."

There then follows a list of 44 wedding presents and the names of the people who gave them. They include a dinner service from the mother of the bride, a scrap album from "Mr L P Hultz", Fanny's 3 year old son Lorenzo Puleston Hultz, and a silver card receiver from Mr and Mrs S B Pettee of Osage City, to whom Edward had recently sold much of his land. The article then ends:

"In spite of all obstacles a great number were present at the ceremony. The house was tastily decorated and above the place where the ceremony was performed were the words, "Those whom God hath joined together let not man put asunder," in white letters on a crimson velvet backgound, and in other parts of the house were seen the mottoes, all very nicely gotten up, "Calon wrth galon", "Long life and happiness to Mr and Mrs Jones", "E pluribus unum", "In union is strength", etc. The bride was dressed in a cream coloured dress embroidered with gold. We heartily wish the young couple every success in life and may joy, peace and happiness be their portion in this world and the one to come."

SAD TIMES

As a result of a severe drought, 1887 was a disastrous year for Kansas farmers, many of whom (like Edward Puleston) were heavily mortgaged. Edward and Jane were by now clearly in severe financial difficulty. On 25 February 1887, C Hood started an action (Case number 3221) against Edward and Jane Puleston in the Osage County District Court at Lyndon to recover from them $1908 (including interest to 25 September 1886, which they had failed to pay), plus interest at 12% per annum from 25 September 1886. On 11 April 1887, the court gave judgment for $2,050, plus interest at 12% per annum, in favour of Hood, as Edward and Jane had failed to file a defence to the action, and ordered the mortgaged land to be sold if the debt were not paid within 6 months. However, on 18 April 1887, Edward and Jane appealed against that default judgment, claiming that their written defence had been lost in the post on the way to the Court. On 21 May 1887, the Equitable Mortgage Company, who had previously lent Edward and Jane $3,500 secured by a mortgage on the same land, counter-petitioned, claiming a total of $4,480 due and payable to them by Edward and Jane, plus interest at 12% per annum until paid, plus costs, and asked the court for a declaration that the Equitable's mortgage was a first mortgage and took priority over the later mortgage to Hood. On 25 June 1887, the court gave judgment in favour of the Equitable for $4,229.16, plus interest at 12 % per annum, and decreed that this judgment be a first lien on the land in priority to Hood's judgment and ordered the sale of the land if the debt were not paid within 6 months.

On 12 October 1887, the court ordered the sale of Edward's remaining land in Arvonia (the West half of Section 18 Township 18 Range 14, the first land he purchased in 1869) to satisfy his debts to C Hood. The proposed auction sale was advertised in The Osage City Free Press on 19 October 1887 and for 4 subsequent weeks and was due to take place at 1pm on 21 November 2007 at the front door of the courthouse. At that auction, the land was sold for $6,800 to the highest bidder - Edward's brother, Sir John Henry Puleston!!

However, Sir John failed to pay the purchase price. Accordingly, on 11 January 1888 and for 4 subsequent weeks, the second proposed auction sale was advertised in The Osage City Free Press for 1pm on 15 February 1888.

At 4 30pm on 11 February 1888, there was registered in Volume 70, page 191 of the Register of Deeds for Osage County at Lyndon an Indenture dated 8 February 1888 between Edward and Jane Puleston "of Arvonia" and their nephew and future son-in-law Robert Lloyd Jones (of Jackson County in the State of Missouri) by which they released to Robert for $1 the West half of Section 18 Township 18 range 14 containing 320 acres, subject to encumbrances then on the land. Those encumbrances would have included the Mortgages in favour of the Equitable Mortgage Company and C Hood.

At the second auction, on 15 February 1888, the land was sold for $6,904 to the highest bidder - this time it was Robert Lloyd Jones! Robert was required to get the sale confirmed by the court within 4 weeks and then pay for the land, but failed to do so. On 15 April 1888, at Emporia, Kansas (about 15 miles from Arvonia), Robert signed a promissory note for $30.84, payable to the order of the Emporia National Bank within 4 days, with interest at 12% per annum thereafter - the note would become void if a sale were made on 15 April by the Sheriff of Osage County.

On 24 April 1888, the mortgagees asked the court to appoint a receiver of Edward's farm, as "the mortgaged tract contains about 200 acres of good land in cultivation, but the defendants Edward and Jane Puleston have moved away and the tract is now unoccupied and no part of it is being cultivated". The court did appoint a receiver and ordered a third sale of the land. The proposed auction was advertised in The Lyndon Journal on 10 May 1888 and for 4 subsequent weeks and took place at Lyndon on 9 June 1888. This time it was sold for $4,790.34 to C Hood, the second mortgagee. The price was just high enough to pay the unpaid court costs and the amount due to the Equitable as the first ranking mortgagee. Edward and Jane were left with nothing. It was the end of the road for them in Arvonia.

Below is a photo, taken from Bebb's Hill on S Davis Road in Arvonia in April 2007, showing part of Edward Puleston's farm:

View of part of Edward's farm, taken from Bebb's Hill in 2007

There was however a glimmer of happiness in Edward and Jane's life when (in February 1889) their youngest daughter Fanny married her first cousin Robert Lloyd Jones, who had come to Kansas in March 1886 aboard the same ship as her father. Fanny's son Lorenzo remained with Edward and Jane in the USA when, later in 1889, Fanny and Robert left the USA to live in Wales.

EDWARD AND JANE'S TAX RECORDS IN ARVONIA

In April 2007, the Carnegie Library at Lyndon, Osage County, Kansas contained the original Tax Records and Road Tax Records for Arvonia for a number of years in the late 19th century, although they were soon to be moved to Burlingame due to lack of space at Lyndon. These record the following Puleston residents of Arvonia:

  • 1872 - Edward, age 38 - Jane, age 40

  • 1874 - Edward, age not stated - Jane, age not stated

  • 1875 - Edward, age 41 - Jane, age 42 - Anna M, age 17 - Fanny J, age 10

  • 1878 -  Edward, age 43 - Jane, age 45

  • 1880 - Edward, age 46 - Jane, age 47

  • 1881 - Edward, age 47 - Mrs Edward Puleston, age 48

  • 1883 - Edward, age 49 - Mrs Edward Puleston, age 50

  • 1885 - Edward, age 52 - Mrs Edward Puleston, age 53 - Anna, age 24

  • 1887 - Edward, age 53 - Jane, age 55 - Fannie, age 21

Not too much should be read into the non-appearance of their daughters in a particular year. Only those aged 21 or over were required to be recorded, although sometimes younger residents were also recorded.


The following is a summary of Edward's personal possessions in Arvonia as recorded for tax purposes. It gives a very good indication of the rise and fall in their prosperity:

  • 1872 - horses valued at $60, neat cattle valued at $40, hogs valued at $2, pleasure carriage valued at $30, other personal property valued at $75, TOTAL $207

  • 1874 - 4 horses valued at $100, 14 neat cattle valued at $135, 7 hogs valued at $4, farm implements valued at $20, 1 wagon valued at $8, Household furniture valued at $5, TOTAL $261

  • 1875 - 4 horses valued at $70, 27 neat cattle valued at $190, 5 hogs valued at $4, farm implements valued at $24, 1 wagon valued at $12, 1 gold or silver watch valued at $18, Household furniture valued at $5, TOTAL $220

  • 1878 - 6 horses valued at $150, 27 neat cattle valued at $255, 4 hogs valued at $7, 4 farm implements valued at $45, 1 wagon valued at $18, 1 silver watch valued at $8, other personal property valued at $51, TOTAL $534

  • 1880 - 5 horses valued at $160, 26 neat cattle valued at $355, 4 hogs valued at $20, 3 farm implements valued at $65, 2 wagons valued at $30, 1 gold or silver watch valued at $20, 1 "Other musical instrument" (i.e. not a piano) valued at $30, other personal property valued at $55, TOTAL $735

  • 1881 - 5 horses valued at $180, 65 neat cattle valued at $670, 2 mules or asses valued at $80, 3 hogs valued at $12, 9 farm implements valued at $60, 2 wagons valued at $20, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $15, 1 gold watch valued at $8, 1 other musical instrument valued at $30, other personal property valued at $50, TOTAL $1,105

  • 1882 - 8 horses valued at $200, 53 neat cattle valued at $545, 2 mules or asses valued at $50, 160 sheep valued at $200, 5 hogs valued at $25, 2 goats valued at $2.50, 5 farm implements valued at $30, 2 wagons valued at $25, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $15, 1 gold watch valued at $20, 1 other musical instrument valued at $15, other personal property valued at $50, TOTAL $1,177

  • 1883 - 9 horses valued at $130, 53 neat cattle valued at $806, 2 mules or asses valued at $60, 500 sheep valued at $500, 11 hogs valued at $22, 2 goats valued at $2, 11 farm implements valued at $55, 3 wagons valued at $25, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $5, 1 other musical instrument valued at $15, other personal property valued at $56, TOTAL $1,675

  • 1884 - 6 horses valued at $180, 119 neat cattle valued at $1,722, 4 mules or asses valued at $200, 500 sheep valued at $500, 50 hogs valued at $125, 2 goats valued at $2, 8 farm implements valued at $60, 3 wagons valued at $25, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $5, 1 gold watch valued at $10, 1 other musical instrument valued at $20, other personal property valued at $45, TOTAL $2,894

  • 1885 - 10 horses valued at $200, 178 neat cattle valued at $2,166, 4 mules or asses valued at $160, 200 sheep valued at $1500, 60 hogs valued at $120, 2 goats valued at $2, 15 farming implements valued at $106, 4 wagons valued at $25, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $5, 1 gold watch valued at $10, 1 other musical instrument valued at $20, other personal property valued at $250, TOTAL $3,029

  • 1887 - 4 horses valued at $95, 4 neat cattle valued at $28, 1 hog valued at $4, 4 farming implements valued at $24, 2 wagons valued at $20, 1 pleasure carriage valued at $25, 1 silver watch valued at $5, other personal property valued at $80, TOTAL $241

ARVONIA ROAD TAX ASSESSMENTS

 

The following is a summary of the Road Tax assessments on Edward Puleston:   

                

Year Land Tract Acres  Value $   Road Tax $  Remarks
1874 SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  500
Paid
1879 NW ¼ 18 18 14 158  490 1.47 Paid

SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  580 1.74 Paid
1880 NW ¼ 18 18 14 158  490 1.47 Paid

SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  580 1.74            Paid
1881 SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  550 1.65 Paid
1882

 977 2.93 Paid
1883

1475 4.42 Paid
1885 NE ¼  24 18 13  160  489 1.46 Paid

NW ¼ 18 18 14 158  758 2.26 Paid

SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  802 2.40 Paid
1886 NE ¼  24 18 13  160  489 1.46 Paid

NW ¼ 18 18 14 158  704 2.26 Paid

SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  602 1.95 Paid
1887 NW ¼ 18 18 14 158  640 1.92

SW ¼ 18 18 14 158  840 2.52

 

The NW ¼ 18 18 14 tract is recorded as owned by J H Puleston in 1874 and by JD Vauter in 1881. There is no note in 1887 that Edward paid the Road Tax on his real estate. In the portion dealing with Road Tax on his personal estate (valued at $41 for this purpose in 1887), the column is noted "Left" (indicating that, like some other former residents, he had by then left Arvonia). In 1890, Edward's former land in 18 18 14 is shown as owned by G W and F C Newman.

 

I do not know where Edward and Jane lived between 1887 and 1898 (when they are first recorded in Texas County, Missouri - 340 miles south east of Arvonia, Kansas), nor why they chose to live in Texas County. Jane's obituary says they left Kansas in 1889 and moved to Missouri, but gives no more details of the move.

It seems that the Pulestons were remembered in Arvonia for some time after they left, as shown by this short item published in the Lebo Enterprise newspaper on 25 October 1906, referring to the farm formerly owned by Edward as "the Puleston place":

 

Even in 1909, the Lebo Star reported the death of Fanny, Edward and Jane's youngest daughter.  

MISSOURI

The 1890 US Federal Census was destroyed by fire, and there is no trace of the family in Arvonia in the 1895 Kansas State census. There was no Missouri State census in 1895 but, in 1898 (when Edward was aged 64), Edward Puleston is recorded in the list of taxpayers in Range 7 of Township 30 (Current Township) in Texas County, in the south east of Missouri, as being assessed to tax on his personal property there. That property included 2 horses (with a total value of $40), 3 "Neat Cattle" ($35), 3 Hogs ($5) and "Other Personal Property" of $10, making a total of $90. He was not however listed as being assessed to tax on real estate in Texas County until 1899.

In 1899, Edward was assessed to tax on both real estate and personal property in Current Township. The real estate in question was the south east quarter of the south west quarter of Section 11 in Township 30, Range 7 (Current Township, in the area north of what is now Hartshorn) and was recorded as consisting of 40 acres, with an assessed value of $150 for tax purposes, in 1899. In that year, Edward paid $1.14 tax on that land (38 cents State tax and 76 cents County Revenue tax). He was also assessed on his personal property - 2 horses ($20), 1 Neat Cattle ($15), 12 Hogs ($10) and Other Personal Property ($20), making total personal property of $75 - the amount of tax assessed on his personal property is not recorded.

Edward's farm was located to the east of County Road KK, some way south of Dugan Drive and slightly further north of Current Drive. It is edged in red on the 2004 plat map below:

A modern plat map of Current Township, Texas County, Missouri, showing in red the location of Edward and Jane Puleston's farm (where they lived from 1898 to 1909) and of Antioch Cemetery (where Edward was buried in 1903)

When we were in Hartshorn in September 2009, we were fortunate to meet Mary A Riley, who owns and lives on the land on the opposite side of County Road KK from Edward and Jane Puleston's farm. Mary provided us with many invaluable details of the farmhouse, which was still known as "the Puleston place" when Mary was a girl. Mary believed that Edward and Jane had built the house that used to stand on the farm. She described it as a 2 storey house of wooden construction on a rock foundation, with 4 rooms and a staircase downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs, with a rock-clad well and rosebush by the farmhouse. She remembered that the house was demolished during the Second World War when Mary and her husband were living in Kansas City and pointed out where the house once stood. We walked over to that point and, to our delight, found the well (the cover weighed down by an old pump that could have been from the Puleston era) with the rose bush still next to it. Scattered around them in the soil were many rocks that clearly came from the foundations of the house.

This old well is all that remains of the site of Edward and Jane Puleston's farmhouse in Current Township, Texas County, Missouri. The farmland is still used for grazing cattle.

In September 2009, the schoolhouse mentioned below stood in ruins to the north west of the Puleston farm. Mary A Riley told us that it had also functioned as a church, at one time being the Macedonian Baptist Church but also used by other denominations from time to time. Being so close to their house, Edward and Jane Puleston, both devout Christians, almost certainly would have attended that church.

In 1900, Edward, Jane and their grandson Lorenzo Puleston Hultz (Fanny's son by her first marriage, to Lorenzo D Hultz) are recorded in the US census for Current Township, Texas County, Missouri (Microfilm Roll T623-905).http://ftp.us-census.org/pub/usgenweb/census/mo/texas/1900/ed140-pg204a.txt:

  • Edward Puleston, Head, White, Male, born in May 1834, age 66, married for 41 years, born in England, Father and Mother born in England, a farmer, able to read, write and speak English, owning a farm subject to a mortgage (the farm is numbered 32 in the Farm Schedule which formed part of the census, but that schedule has been lost)
     
  • Jane Puleston, Wife, White, Female, born in February 1833, age 67, married for 41 years, with 3 children of whom 2 were living, born in England, Father and Mother born in England, able to read, write and speak English
     
  • Lorenzo P Hultz, Grandson, White, Male, born in June 1883, age 16, Single, born in Kansas, Father born in Ohio, Mother born in England, At school (which he had attended for 5 months out of the previous 12), able to read, write and speak English.

There is a handwritten annotation on the census of the numbers "1-1-0" and "0-0-2", but the meaning of these numbers is apparently no longer understood. Unlike previous censuses, no farm workers lived with them.

Curiously, from 1900 onwards, Jane Puleston (and not Edward) is the one assessed to tax in Texas County on the same real estate and on what was supposedly her personal property, as follows:

Year   Land   Land   Horses   Neat         Sheep   Hogs   Other         Total         Personal
          Value   Tax                     Cattle                                 personal    personal    tax
                                                                                             property   property                     

1900  $100    $1.45  2 ($35)   1 ($15)    3 ($5)   9($10)   $25           $90            $1.29

1901  $160    $1.88  1 ($25)   1 ($15)    3 ($5)   5($5)     $30           $80            $1.00

1902  $160    $0.74  1 ($30)   2 ($20)                 7($7)     $28           $95*         

1903  $160                1 ($30)   2 ($20)                 2($5)     $20           $75           $0.24

*In 1902, Jane was also assessed on 1 mule with a value of $10.

It is clear from the small number of livestock that Edward and Jane had effectively retired from farming by the time they moved to Current Township in 1898 (when he was 64).

At 11 20 am on 7 January 1903, a Quit Claim Deed executed on the same date was filed at the Texas County Courthouse in Houston, Texas County, Missouri. By that deed, for $125 J D Smith of Texas County sold to Jane "Puelston" the tract of land consisting of the south east quarter of the south west quarter of Section 11 of Township 30 Range 7 "with the exception of one acre for school house N West corner containing 39 acres, making the County Road running north and south the west line of that tract". This is the same land on which Edward or Jane had been assessed to tax since 1898.

My guess is that Edward agreed to buy the land in 1898 with financing secured by the mortgage mentioned in the 1900 census and paid off the mortgage in January 1903. It is unclear why Jane, rather than Edward, was assessed to tax from 1900 onwards, nor why the land was registered in her name in 1903. It may be that Edward  (who was aged 66 in 1900) was ill and that Jane took over the running of the farm from that time. He may have been even more seriously ill in January 1903 when the land was registered in Jane's name. He may then have been  putting his affairs in order, perhaps sensing that he did not have long to live.    

Edward Puleston died in Current Township on 25 July 1903, and was buried in nearby Antioch Cemetery, DeWitt Drive, Missouri. His death was reported in the social column of the Denbighshire Free Press on 22 August 1903:

 

Edward's gravestone is surprisingly grand for someone who seemed to have little money when he died (like most of their neighbours, the personal tax assessments are blank under the column for recording the value of cash, bonds and other investments, suggesting that they had little or no savings). As shown in the photo below, Edward's gravestone is a 3 tier stone obelisk with the inscription:

   "In loving rememberence [sic] of Edward Puleston, died July 25 1903, age 69 years"

As well as carving all around the upper level, the gravestone has a carving of 3 chain links in an oval above the inscription. The centres of the links contain the letters F L T. This is the emblem of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the North American branch of a "friendly society" founded in the UK in 1810 and still surviving today (Wyatt Earp was an Oddfellows member!). Edward must have been a member. For more details of the organistaion, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Order_of_Odd_Fellows

.

Edward Puleston's tombstone in Antioch Cemetery, Current Township, Texas County, Missouri. The inscription reads: In loving rememberence of Edward Puleston, died July 25 1903, age 69 yrs 

Edward's name does not appear in the probate records for Texas County. This may well be because the farm was already in Jane's name and she was paying tax on their personal property. He may have had no remaining assets of his own.

JANE'S WIDOWHOOD

After Edward's death, Jane stayed on at the farm for several years, as shown by the tax assessments for Texas County for 1904 to 1910:

Year   Land   Land   Horses   Neat         Sheep   Hogs   Other         Total         Personal
          Value   Tax                      Cattle                                 personal    personal    tax
                                                                                              property   property   

1904   $150             1 ($25)   3 ($30)                  3 ($5)       $15            $75            $0.28   

1905   $155                            2 ($20)                  4 ($5)       $10            $35            

1906   $150   $1.82                2 ($20)                  8 ($10)     $20           $50            $0.54

1907   $150   $2.59                1 ($10)                  4 ($5)       $15           $30            $0.53      

1908   $150   $2.89              [Jane does not appear in the personal tax book for 1908]

1909   [Book missing]                                                          $10         $10            $0.19

1910   $120   $1.16                                                               $5           $5              $0.08

The records do not always record all the personal taxes payable in a year, so that the figures above are not strictly comparable from year to year. However, it is clear that Jane had no remaining livestock in 1909 and that her resources dwindled quickly during the 7 years after Edward's death.

At 3 10 pm on 6 May 1910, a Warranty Deed dated 18 September 1909 was filed at the Texas County Courthouse in Houston by Jane Puleston. The deed recorded the sale of Jane's 39 acre farm to John McCole for $200. The deed states Jane's address on 18 September 1909 as Hartshorn, Texas County, Missouri. 

When she sold the farm, Jane was 76 and her cash was running out. Maybe her health was failing too, but it seems that she decided to go to live in Idaho with her eldest daughter Anna and son-in-law Griffith Jones.

IDAHO

In 1910, Jane Puleston, age 77, born in Wales, mother of 3 children (of which only 1 - Anna - was still alive then) and Lorenzo Puleston Hultz, age 26 and born in Kansas, are recorded in the US census for Vollmer Town, Cold Springs Precinct, Nez Perce County, Idaho (about 1400 miles North West of Current Township, Missouri) as living with Jane's second daughter Anna and her husband Griffith Jones.

That census records Anna as age 48, married to Griffith for 22 years, not previously married, having no children, born in Wisconsin of Welsh parents, having emigrated to the US in 1869, a naturalised US citizen, and a self employed News Paper Writer working from home.

Anna's husband Griffith Jones is recorded in that census as age 48, married to Anna for 22 years, not previously married, born in Wales of Welsh parents, having emigrated to the US in 1889 (in fact it was 1886, the year they married), a naturalised US citizen, employed as a school teacher, out of work for 12 weeks in 1909, and owning a house free of a mortgage. From at least 1912 to 1915 (according to the school records), he taught at Mount Calvary school, a small village school which no longer exists. He used to ride 7 miles by horseback from Ilo, Vollmer (now called, Craigmont, Idaho, USA) to the school each day, and back.

WYOMING 

In 1917, Jane moved with Anna and Griffith from Vollmer to Alva, Crook County, Wyoming, where she died on 22 January 1922. This obituary of Jane appeared on 24 February 1922 in The Lebo Star, a newspaper published not far from Edward and Jane's former home at Arvonia, Kansas . The beginning and end of the article are missing from the digital version online, but it began:

PULESTON Mrs Edward Puleston died at the home of her daughter in Alva,

 

 On 24 January 1922, Jane was buried in the cemetery at Alva. This is her gravestone, erected by her daughter Anna:

 

ANNA

It seems that Anna, Edward and Jane's daughter, continued to live in Alva until her death in February 1948. Her obituary was reported in The Sundance Times newspaper on 12 February 1948:

Like her mother and husband, Anna was buried in Alva Cemetery. This is her gravestone:

 

 

Copyright: Haydn Puleston Jones, 2006-17                            #Top