Homestead of J. Gledhill -- Cawker City KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 39° 30.559 W 098° 26.021
14S E 548685 N 4373451
Quick Description: An incongruous historic marker located next to the World's Largest Ball of Twine in downtown Cawker City KS.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 4/17/2013 9:24:30 AM
Waymark Code: WMGWPP
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 5

Long Description:
Real history at an oddball location -- unexpected!! :)

From a Gledhill genealogy website, excerpts of an article on the Gledhill family (with some editing for clarity): (visit link)

"Joseph Gledhill . . . born in July 1842 (in Norwich, England) was to become Alfred Ernest Gledhill's father. He followed his father into the wool trade, learning all aspects including office work and book keeping. Joseph was taken into the family business, Joseph Gledhill & Son when he came of age.

However, the American Civil War had a severe effect on English trade and, in particular, the textile industry. Joseph Gledhill & Son was just one of many firms which became bankrupt at this time, and the younger Joseph decided to go to America, seeing no prospect of improvement in England.

Joseph landed in America on Christmas Day 1863, and worked as a book keeper in New York for several months before becoming a wool sorter at Terry's Mill, near Plymouth, Connecticut. Here he met Elizabeth Leigh, a young lady from Hyde whose family of Lancashire textile workers overtaken by similar trade misfortunes in the cotton mills there, had also sought work in America.

Joseph and Elizabeth married in Plymouth in 1865; their first two children were born in Connecticut, Alfred Ernest in February 1867 at Meriden and Amy Maria in December 1868 at Beacon Falls.

Joseph only saw his parents once more. In 1867 his nineteen-year-old brother died in Bradford and as his mother's health was failing he, Elizabeth and three-month-old Alfred sailed back for a four-month visit, working in Bradford to help pay the expenses of the trip. His mother Maria died the following spring and his father Joseph some four months later while on business in Glasgow.

About 1869-70 the New Haven Company was formed in Connecticut to promote the formation of a colony in the west. Joseph became interested, realising that outdoor work would be better for his health.

In March 1871 about sixty five men set out from New York, including Joseph and his youngest brother, Arthur Thomas, who had joined him shortly after the death of their parents.

Most of the enthusiastic band were factory workers or former soldiers with little or no knowledge of farming or stock handling and a number of them later decided that this new life was not for them and either returned to Connecticut or settled near Minneapolis. The few who persisted eventually settled at Twelve Mile Creek in Smith County, Kansas.

Alfred gives an interesting account of his father's early days there, and of the struggle to gain experience, build dugouts and, later, log houses in which to live, and to 'break out' a few acres of land for crops. Prairie fires, some started by Indians, blizzards, storms and floods, droughts, plagues of grasshoppers all made their lives difficult and left little time for leisure pursuits or relaxation, but they persevered until they had made a reasonable settlement and those who were married could look forward to their families joining them.

In September 1872, Elizabeth and the children, Alfred and Amy, made the long journey to join Joseph in Twelve Mile Creek, first by rail to Waterville, Kansas, then a seven day journey by ox wagon. Arthur was working his own homestead but lived mostly with Joseph.

Gradually the pioneers began to build up their isolated community; by 1873 the first Sunday School was organised and soon the people of the homesteads were able to come together for rare social meetings such as New Year and Fourth of July celebrations.

The community spirit grew with the establishment of a Sewing Circle in 1874, and later that year came a great improvement in communications when the Twelve Mile Post Office was inaugurated, Joseph becoming its first and indeed only postmaster during its twenty year existence, a position he combined with farming. Formerly, the nearest post office was sixteen miles away at Cawker, and mail was only picked up when someone had occasion to go there.

. . . .

Joseph and Elizabeth died at Twelve Mile in 1920 and 1914. Their hard work over many years had helped to create a community which grew and prospered. Their family of two sons and three daughters included two who combined school teaching with farming; descendants still farm the same area." [end]
Marker Name: Homestead of J. Gledhill

Marker Type: Roadside

Marker text:
Homestead of J. Gledhill 1871-1920 o Twelve Mile Post Office 1871-1894 o Cawker City Smith Center Trail 1871

Marker Location: Mitchell

Marker Web Address: [Web Link]

Year Marker Placed: Not listed

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Name of agency setting marker: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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