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THE KAUTZ FAMILY IN CALDWELL COUNTY

Narrator: Worth Kautz of Wichita, Kansas

The Jacob Kautz family came to Caldwell County in 1859 from Illinois to which they had come from Indiana. They settled in what was known as Grand River township now New York township in the Pleasant Ridge district. They came in a slow ox-wagon. The settlers who came here in the fifties had a much harder time than those who came in the sixties, for every year of pioneering advanced conditions of living in a new country. There were three sons; George, Ross and Worth; six daughters; Laura (Dodge), Emily (Lemon), Hannah (Lambert), Margaret (Noel), Annetta (Houghton), and Mollie (Spivey).

When they came here they all lived in a covered wagon till the house was finished; and since there was not yet sleeping room inside for the boys, they slept that winter out doors in the covered wagon. In those days of 1859-60, the Kautz house has been mentioned by old-timers as one of two houses to be seen for twelve miles south of Hamilton.

When the Civil War was about to break out and it became likely that the oldest boy George would be expected to go to war, he went back to Illinois to enlist with boys whom he had known before they moved to Missouri.

Those first few years were hard ones. They had to find the right crops for the new soil and they had to subdue the soil. They had to provide for the family needs and they had very little money to spend. They rarely ate store victuals for most of their food came off the place. They had little white bread mostly corn-bread. Worth was the youngest son and he went with his mother on her trips to gather berries (gooseberries, strawberries, blackberries, elderberries); to gather herbs for medicine since doctors were costly and far away. He used to hunt bee trees for by the old law of the land the finder of a bee tree had the honey, no matter where the tree. He and his father and brothers shot or trapped wild game and kept them for winter meat. He told of hunting deer with Al Pemberton of the neighborhood.

The Kautz and the Houghton family intermarried. Annetta Kautz married Ira Houghton. Mary Houghton married George Kautz and Sophia Houghton married Ross Kautz.

Interviewed November 1933.

 

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998