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Homesteading in Republic County


"The First Excelsior Colony reached Republic County early in the year of 1870. Their settlement was made on Rose Creek, in Liberty Township. This group was comprised of eight men, one woman and a six weeks' old baby. They were Andrew Glenn, Alex Monroe, Dan McKensie, Thomas Benson, J. J. Wilkes, Fred Thornton, Sidney E. Pearce, and Alfred burns. Andrew Glenn's wife, Elizabeth and their daughter, Jessie, completed the party.

They set out for Kansas from New York City on the last day of December, 1869. The group was not formed previous to starting, but on the first day on the train.

Two men, both Scotch, had been to Kansas as spies and were giving lectures in the City Hall on the opportunities afforded in the Kansas territory. These men, McCliment, a trusmith, and McKensie, a jeweler, told of the small cost of a homestead ($14.50), the amount of cane that could be grown on a quarter acre of land and the great quantity of molasses that could be made from this cane. The ease of growing the crops and the immensity of the harvests were also emphasized.

Andrew Glenn and Thomas Benson had been friends and had worked together in the Jacques and Mooney Stone Yard in New York City, but the group as a whole met for the first time on that first day of the yard, bound for a new country. An oral agreement was made that they settle as a group. The trip out took nearly a week.

The farms were numbered and the numbers were drawn from a hat. Junction City was the nearest land office at the time. The first thing to be done was to file for the claims and take out the first naturalization papers, so Tom Riley of Riley Creek, was hired to take them in a wagon to attend to these matters.

On their return a dugout was started so that they might have some place to live for the rest of the winter. This was dug back into the bank and was on the Wilkes claim.

These men knew very little of farming. When a group of them purchased a team of oxen, none of them knew how to hitch it up. They were all tradesmen. Mr. Glenn was a stone-cutter and so were Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Benson. Pearce was a painter and had been a sailor for a number of years. McKensie was a jeweler and Fraser a bricklayer.

The group was evenly divided as to nationality. Glenn, McKensie, Burns, Fraser and Monroe were Scotch. Wilkie, Wilkes, Thornton, Pearce and Benson were English. Andrew Glenn was from Fifeshire, Scotland, and his wife from the north of Scotland. Fraser was from the north of Scotland and his wife from the lowlands. J. J. Wilkes and his wife were from Stowonthewold, Gloucester, England. Wilkie was from Wigan, Lancashire, England, and his wife, Elizabeth, from Airdrie, Scotland.

This group has not retained its identity as have the other group settlements, perhaps because it was so small. At one time a post office and store were in the community but were soon discontinued. This small village was known as Craineville.

The English community of today is north and west of this old Scotch-English settlement and is composed of people who came much later."*

Republic County - Scotch English Colony


*Ida Lucretia Smith, “A History of the National Group Settlements in Republic County, Kansas” (M.S. thesis, Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1933), 28-29, 29-30, 31, 34, 38.

Smith, Ida Lucretia. “A History of the National Group Settlements in Republic County,
Kansas.” M.S. thesis., Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1933.


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