William Frederick Eckart “Billy” “Bill” – 2nd Generation Eckart
Susan Lodocis Ellison “Sue”
Born: 19 August 1843 (French birth certificate) with parents living in Colmar, Alsace-Loraine, France. August 1843 is confirmed in the 1900 U.S. Census.
Died: 18 July 1905 and is buried in Tescott, Ottawa County, Kansas
Married: Susan Lodocis Ellison at Paola, Miami County, Kansas on 1 October 1871.
Parents: William Eckart (1815/8 France – 1882) and Marie Zebinnen (1815/16 France - <1850)
Military, Civil War: Kansas Cavalry
Born: October 1854 probably in Adams County, Ohio (Date from 1900 U.S. Census).
Died: 27 April 1944
Parents: Stewart Ellison (1809 – 1888) and Elizabeth Blake (1811 – 1889)
William F. Eckart - WilliamFEckart.jpg
Bill Eckart was 5 feet, 5 ˝ inches high, and had blue eyes and red hair. He was a cowboy and a farmer and served in the Civil War Kansas cavalry. He died, unfortunately, before the family historians of Hope McFarland and Bernice Murphy could know him and perhaps tell us more.
DeMerle Eckart, Sr. kindly furnished an abundance of information for William and William F. Eckart. He obtained a French birth certificate for W.F. Eckart which says: “Guillaume Frederic Eckart, born August 13, 1843 at 4 am in the morning. Parents were Anne Marie Zebinnen, age 28, and William Eckart, age 28, both of Colmar, France. Present or witnesses were Jean Zebinnon, age 64 of Colmar and George Prugget, age 47 of Gastard.”
From Bernice Eckart Murphy: “Hope said that Granddad (W.F. Eckart) was a newcomer to a town in eastern Kansas, when grandmother (Sue Ellison) took a shine to him. The family didn’t want her to date him, so the two eloped!” Hope McFarland confirms this: “Wm. F. had worked on their farm, she told me and her folks did not approve of the wedding to red headed French man! They eloped!”
LETTER AND NARRATIVE OF WILLIAM F. ECKART
Tescott, Kansas, October 1st, 1903
(From “Early Days in Kansas,” Vol. 3, Green Historical Series of July 1913.)
“Mr. Charles R. Green, Dear Sir and Comrade:”
“I have just received your letter asking me to give you some data of early time in Osage County, and particularly relating to Ridgeway Township where I once lived. I will be pleased to do so only I wish a little time, say a week or so. I have read some of your samples. I know most all of the names. I remember Charles Fox, knew father, knew where he taught school in 1959. I herded Bronson and Stone’s cattle, 100 head of two year old steers bought by them in 1859 in Missouri, did their herding in that year of the drought in 1860 and helped feed them the following winter.”
“I knew Mr. William Harris and Fry McGee probably better than anyone else now living in Osage County, with the exception of his daughter Sophia (or Mrs. Berry) and will write about this as I worked and herded Harris and McGee’s horses and cattle in 1858 and 1859 and worked for Harris when discharged from the army. I will also write about the old Indian Trail and knowing Old Keokuk as chief of the Sac and Foxes bringing buffalo tongues as a present to Fry McGee whose friend he was. About the old Mormon trail where droves of cattle were taken to Oregon and California in the spring of 1857-58, also about the Santa Fe road and old Bent with his Cheyenne squaws and his captive Dutch boy whom he purchased from the Cheyennes. The boy knew nothing but Indian, acted like one but had the German feature. I knew all about Versailles and the two Prairie Cities, one a mile east of 110 Creek and the other three miles west, both on the Santa Fe Trail. My father was a stockholder in the one east with Phillip Doane and DeLester & Gilgrist, as first settlers of the townsite. I will give also the names of the first settlers on 110 Creek as early as 1857, also the number of houses on the creek above the Indian Reserve of the Sacs and Foxes.”
“The reason my name is not found on record is because I enlisted in Topeka with Dan Houston, also of 110 Creek. We both enlisted in E.G. Ross Co, E., 11th Kansas Cavalry
And the records in the Adjutant General’s office will show.”
“I do not think I have a relative in Osage County, but have two brothers in Miami County. My lot in Osage County was a hard one. My father being a poor but hard working man, I worked out when a boy for the parties mentioned and thus got acquainted in East Osage County. I worked several years for McGee and Harris and Bronson at Ridgeway. You may look for something from me as I recollect the early days as only of yesterday. The impression will never be forgotten. I have still a dear spot for Osage County and love so to think of those early days as hard and happy ones. Yours truly, W.F. Eckart”
W. F. Eckart also mentioned the following: “The Santa Fe mail came twice a month, carried in a coach which often contained 12 to 14 passengers, mostly traders from Santa Fe. It was drawn by six small Mexican mules, with a whip up outside or an out rider mounted on a small mule with a large black snake whip. He would go on the gallop, a driver inside holding the lines and a conductor to attend the passengers. The coach would always stop and feed over night (at 110 Creek), the passengers rolled up on the floor before the fire for the night (at Fry McGee’s house). Often in winter they would tell of the hardships and the storms they had to contend with coming across the plains. “110” Creek got its name by Government survey, the distance being 110 miles from Sibley Landing on the Missouri River.”
“...The Indians often would pass going to their buffalo hunt and would camp on the creek. Fry McGee knew most of them and they would trade with him going and coming. The Mexicans would also camp near and make their repairs while recruiting their stock. Just three miles east of the crossing, a train containing hundreds of stock was caught in a severe blizzard and all the stock perished with some of the drivers. I saw the bones years afterward. In the summer season, hardly a day passed but what two or more trains would pass over the trail or camp on the creek. ...the old trail that ran on the north side (of the creek) was called the Mormon Trail or California road and droves of cattle passed over it on up to the middle of June all bound for California or Oregon.”
CIVIL WAR DAYS
William F. Eckart’s discharge papers state that “Frederic W. Eckart,” age 22 (he was 19), was 5 feet 5 ˝ inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, red hair and a farmer. He was a private in Captain John D. ___, Company E, 11th Regiment of Kansas Cavalry, enrolled August 29, 1862 to serve 3 years and was discharged August 7, 1865 at Fort Riley, Kansas. The paper states he was born in Colmar in the state of France. W.F. Eckart, for his military services was given 160 acres in Osage County, Kansas (Warrant No 26361) to the South-west quarter of Section Thirty-Five, in Township Fourteen, of Range Fifteen in the district of lands subject to sale at Lecompton, Kansas. (recorded in volume 2, page 619 or records of Osage County, Kansas.)
Details on the 11th Kansas Volunteer Regiment are this: Following the lack of success by McClellan before Richmond, President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers for a duration of three years, 3 regiments being from Kansas. The State of Kansas had already furnished 10 regiments for the Union army and due to the recent drought and famine of 1860, the state had lost 1/3 of its total population, resulting in serious problems. However, the threatened invasion from Missouri and other slavery states left them no choice but to comply. The first recruit for the 11th Regiment was enlisted on the 8th of August, only 21 days before W.F. Eckart enlisted.
Company E had Captain Edmund G. Ross as its senior officer, with his commander being Colonel Thomas Moonlight. Moonlight had been a soldier in the regular army and had served as commander of a battery in 1861; he was now the A.A.G. on the staff of General Blunt, commanding Department of Kansas.
The first problem encountered by the 11th Regiment at Fort Leavenworth was their backorder of new Enfield rifles. The only infantry arms at Fort Leavenworth were some Fremont’s Prussian muskets, which were manufactured in 1818 and were consequently obsolete. The regiment would not become cavalry until later, so they marched first to Fort Scott and then on to Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and joined Generals Curtis and Schofield after that battle. They quickly were ordered into a night march to the vicinity of Old Fort Wayne and General Blunt attacked Confederate General Cooper at daylight. The 11th infantry advanced by double-quick march six miles to be in time, but arrived on the field only to see the enemy disappearing in retreat.
The following month, the Division moved to Little Osage, six miles south of Bentonville, where company D and E of the 11th under the command of Major Plumb went on a foraging detail to Brown’s Mill, ten miles south. For two weeks, the two companies ran the mill and foraged the county for needed supplies. In the interval, they destroyed a large store of rebel shoe leather.
In November 1962, the Division moved to Cane Hill, where Confederate General Marmaduke had an army of 6000 cavalry and some artillery. At 11 am, Marmaduke was attacked with the 11th leading the infantry advance. The enemy retreated but fought with such intensity that the union victory was bloody for both sides. The army returned to Cane Hill the next morning.
A few days later, information came that Confederate General Hindman crossed the Arkansas River to join Marmaduke for an attack. On December 7, 1962, a battle for Cane Hill, called the BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE, began and the union army was overwhelmed. General Blunt ordered a retreat from Cane Hill to join General Herron, who had 5000 troops. The last five miles of Blunt’s march was a combination of both double-quick time and raging battle. At this time, Herron was in deep trouble and the arrival of Blunt’s troops helped to counter the three-to-one rebel superiority. General Blunt’s line was formed in a thick wood with the 11th in two wings to retake the hill. Colonel Ewing commanded the right and Colonel Moonlight, the left. The line advanced half way up Cane Hill when they were ordered to prepare bayonets to charge the hill’s crest. Before this could be accomplished the confederates charged over the hill into their ranks. The union line was forced back and broken. The 11th fired the last shot of the battle and then formed a new line of battle to the rear. This battle was not regarded as decisive and preparations were begun for a new stand.
New provisions and ammunition were brought up from Rhea’s Mills and preparation was made for a bigger battle. Unknown to the union army, General Hindman’s troops moved from their positions during the early night and left the battlefield. The union troops lost about 1200 killed and wounded, and the rebels about 2500. It was the biggest battle fought in Arkansas.
Eventually, the division was ordered to return to the Springfield, Missouri area from winter until spring. On the way there, measles broke out at Crane Creek, 30 miles south of Springfield, causing a number of deaths. In April 1863, the 11th moved from Fort Scott to Kansas City, now 300 men short. Soon the regiment was changed from infantry to cavalry and was now a mounted regiment. New recruitments added new men and even two more companies. The regiment began the business of policing the border, such as escorting trains and hunting bushwhackers. Raids by confederate General Shelby into central Missouri and later by General Stand Waitie (was ľ blood Cherokee Indian) in December, 1863 caused part of the 11th under Major Plumb to be sent to the Kansas southern border, scouting and escorting trains. By spring of 1864, the regiment numbered over 1200 soldiers and all were stationed in Kansas.
On October 19, 1864, ten companies of the 11th formed at Hickman’s Mills and began the BATTLE OF LEXINGTON. The 11th formed the advance of General James G. Blunt’s forces in the rush on Lexington, then fought their way in and out of the town. The regiment covered the retreat from Lexington on October 19th, and left for Independence, Missouri.
Confederate General Jo Shelby reported that the Union troops at Lexington were stubborn at first and handled their artillery well, but his troops gave them no breathing time. They were pushed hard past Lexington and well on the road toward Independence. (“War of the Rebellion,” XLI, pt. 1, 657)
Two days after the fight at Lexington (October 21, 1864), the opening of the BATTLE OF LITTLE BLUE began--named after the river. Company E had charge of a battery of four mountain howitzers and served effectively. Again, the union army was forced to retreat in the face of Confederate General Price. Their forces amounted to 2500 men, while the rebel army was estimated at 12,000.
On the next day, the regiment fought the BATTLE OF BIG BLUE (October 22, 1864). Union General Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry charge at Prices rear drove the rebels over the Kansas line, broke them apart, and began a rout of Price’s rearguard. The following day, the BATTLE OF WESTPORT began with the rest of Price’s army.
According to Confederate General Jeff Thompson: “...we were near the town (Westport, Missouri)...and (in the afternoon) thousands (of union army) were soon seen closing around us and all order and plan was soon lost, and each officer had to save his own command...but (my) Brigade was thoroughly routed, and only parts of regiments could be held together.”
The union army was victorious and the rebels retreated southward to Arkansas badly beaten. Colonel Moonlight’s group was sent to prevent them from returning to Kansas. Later in December 12,1964, the 11th arrived in Paola, Kansas. They reached Paolo despite vital necessities: the men did not have sufficient winter clothing for the cold weather, no transportation, and poor provision. On the trip, there were two entire days the men had nothing but coffee and bacon, then only coffee, and the horses could find little forage. Over 66% of the horses became too weak to be ridden.
Soon after the 11th was ordered to Fort Riley; in early February, 1965, companies C and E were ordered to Fort Larned (Kansas) to make a campaign against the Indians at Smoky Hill and it appears that these two companies remained there. The rest of the regiment was expected to follow, but orders for them were changed, sending them to Fort Kearney (Nebraska). Then they went on to Fort Laramie (Wyoming), beginning a campaign against the Sioux on the Power River, 250 miles even further northwest. This group became involved in some serious Indian fighting.
On August 13, 1865, the 11th was ordered to Fort Leavenworth for muster out of service. (information from “Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-1865’” Topeka, Kansas State Printing Co., 1896)
The Later Years of the Eckarts
A 1902 map of Morton Township, Ottawa County, Kansas--which centers on Tescott, Kansas--shows the following land owners (but not within Tescott itself):
W. F. Eckart died in 1905, and according to Bernice Murphy: “When grandfather (W.F.) Eckart died, grandmother Eckart moved to town. Her house was about a block from ours. Aunt Vera was divorced so she moved in with grandmother, bringing her daughter, my cousin Hope, with her. This house is still standing (1974).”
In September 1914, Sue Ellison Eckart and her daughter Vera, moved to Lincoln Center. (From Diary of V.T. Eckart).
This same daughter, Vera Eckart Eutsler, was a poet that had many works, including Kansas pioneering, in various publications. I would like to see one or two of her poems included here, if permission is granted by the descendants.
Children of William F. Eckart and Sue Ellison:
1. Raymond Ellison Eckart, born October 1875 in Kansas and died 3 January 1952. He married Annabel Lee __ in 1909 and lived at Tescott, Kansas. He first was co-owner of the Eckart Brothers General store with Vic Eckart. Next, Ray Eckart started, owned, and operated the Tescott Telephone Company, now a portion of the Kansas Bell Telephone system (From J.F. Murphy). The first offices were over the bank, which amounted to the switchboard room, a repair and supply room, and sleeping quarters for the operators. Ray Eckart and Annabel Lee had 3 children.
2. Vera Eloise Eckart, born May 1885 and died 20 January 1949. 1900 U.S. Census states she was born Juhne 1883. She married Harry F. Eutsler (born June 1882) on 8 September 1904 and later divorced. Vera lived first in Tescott, later in Lincoln, Lincoln County, Kansas. They had one child:
a. Hope Eloise Eutsler was born 24 July 1905 and died 22 September 1968 at Lawrence, Kansas. Hope married to Eugene A. McFarland on 23 May 1926 at Salina, Kansas. E.A. McFarland was born 9 June 1905 and died December 1982. They lived at Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas. They had three children.
3. Victor Thomas Eckart, born 15 October 1871 near Tescott, Kansas and died 9 September 1947, buried in the Tescott Cemetery. Married Hattie Mae Scidmore at Tescott, Kansas on 8 December 1897. Hattie Mae Scidmore was born 10 July 1880 in Ottawa County, Kansas and died at Tescott on 8 May 1920. They had 3 children. See next generation.
CENSUS RECORDS FOR WILLIAM F. ECKART
1880 U.S. Census of Culver Township, Ottawa County, Kansas with T.B. Ellison, census taker, brother to Sue (Ellison) Eckart. Culver Township divided into Morton Township later.
Eckart, William F. 36, farmer, born France, parents born France
Sue 26, wife, Ohio, Ireland, Massachusetts
Victor Thomas 7, son, Kansas, France, Ohio
Raymond Ellison 5, son, Kansas, France, Ohio
Also in same household
Eckart, Frank P. 22, boarder, farmer, Kansas, France, Ohio
1900 U.S. Census of Tescott, Morton Township, Ottawa County, Kansas:
Eckart, William F. head, August 1843, 56, married 27 years, born France, parents both born France
Sue, wife, October 1854, 43, married 27 years, 4 children, 3 living, born Ohio. Father born Ireland, mother born Massachusetts
Ray. E. Eckart, son, October 1875, 24, single, born Kansas
Vera L. Eckart, daughter, June 1883, single, born Kansas.