Sunday Snapshots: Weather and wandering in southeast Miami County, Kansas

Our drought-plagued state breathed a small sigh of relief this past week as rainstorm after rainstorm swept through much of the state. It’s not enough rain to repair the damage of several dry years, but it’s helping. Between the storms, Jim and I have found ourselves wandering the countryside and enjoying the late spring weather, especially in the evenings. Yesterday, we wandered around southeast Miami County, which is currently lush and green. The rural landscape is dotted with old cemeteries and a handful of tiny towns, though our truck’s brakes got a workout as deer, loose cows, and rabbits dashed across the gravel roads.

Wednesday Evening Storm in Ottawa, Kansas

Wednesday night: In a matter of minutes, this rolled into my neighborhood Wednesday night.

Wednesday evening storm in Ottawa, Kansas

Those clouds were followed by this.

Last night was lovely, so we jumped in the truck and went for a drive with no particular destination in mind. We found ourselves on our way to Miami County, and as we drove past Princeton, we saw a sun dog near the water tower.

Sun dog near Princeton, Kansas water tower

As we drove through Southwest Franklin County, we spotted sun dogs in the sky near Princeton.

In Miami County, we discovered an old country cemetery. Spring Grove Quaker Cemetery was established in 1860, and it was especially picturesque in the setting sun.

Many of the headstones have weathered well, and their art, as well as the epitaphs, are still visible.

And just before the sun sank completely, we were treated to miles and miles evening primrose blooming along the gravel roads of Miami County.

Evening Primrose in Miami County

Evening Primrose blooms along Miami County roads.

12 thoughts on “Sunday Snapshots: Weather and wandering in southeast Miami County, Kansas

  1. Deborah Barker

    Spring Grove has a lot of FrCo people, since Lane didn’t have a public cemetery until 1901. So the whole Hanway family is there. James Hanway is one of the speakers in our Pott Mass exhibit. The church was founded by Richard Mendenhall, a former teacher at the Quaker Shawnee Mission—between the still extant Methodist Shawnee Mission and the long-gone Baptist Mission, from whence Isaac McCoy and Jotham Meeker came. The Mendenhalls were active UGRR conductors, and located the church where it is to enable its use as a station. Ditto for the Berea Associated Presbyterian church. ?? Townsley—can’t remember his first name—is buried there. He was the only member of the Massacre group who talked, and he gave an affidavit fingering John Brown as the planner of the deed.

    I love Spring Grove and its history.

    1. Diana Staresinic-Deane Post author

      Wow, it looks like I need to do some reading on Spring Grove. This would explain why the names were ringing bells, but I wasn’t able to place them. Considering this general area was, at least temporarily, home to many pro-slavery folks, the fact that the Underground Railroad was active here is really gutsy.

  2. Deborah Barker

    I looked up Frank Royal (Jr.) on Ancestry. I had hoped that perhaps he was a freed slave, what with the broken chain, but that must be the breaking of the surly bonds of earth rather than the southerner’s whip. Royal was an Irishman living with a blind, 70 year old father five years before his own early death.

    1. Diana Staresinic-Deane Post author

      Findagrave also has his information and shows Ireland as his birth place. My research on chains has garnered that broken chains mean lots of things:
      – breaking to the tether to this mortal coil
      – a lost link in a family
      – it the last link in the chain is broken off, it can mean the last of a family line has died
      – if it’s three usually horizontal links, it’s the symbol of the Order of Odd Fellows

      Royal would have been a very interesting name for a freed slave.

  3. Karen

    Absolutely gorgeous and fascinating-as usual!! I really enjoy these little jaunts into the past and your photos of Kansas are amazing. I feel like I’m enjoying an art gallery!

  4. Adrienne

    I’m so glad to have come across your blog! Funny and always great to find other bloggers from Kansas. Looking forward to keeping up with you.


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