Adams Peak Cemetery: Adventure in History

Lost Kansas Communities Students and Gravestones

Blog by Mallory Harrell, CCRS Fall 2016 Intern

In September, Dr. MJ Morgan, her Lost Kansas Communities class, and other interested visitors participated in a field trip to the Adams Peak cemetery located in western Pottawatomie County. The cemetery had once been a part of the town of the same name, now long gone. Dr. Morgan’s purpose of the trip was to give students opportunity to learn about the process of deciphering and drawing information from head stones which are often rich sources of historical research.

Adams Peak lies within the Shannon Township of Pottawatomie County. It was named for the small hill that was reportedly located near the site of the community’s post office. This cemetery and the names etched upon the stones are all that remain of the town.  The gravestones yield what may seem like a Adams Peak Gravestonemodicum of information which can be absolutely vital in forming a cohesive part of the history of any town.

Using the gravestone inscriptions, students were able to construct a simple history of the toll disease took within Adams Peak town. Student research later confirmed epidemics of scarlet fever, diphtheria, and small pox in the area. This was especially supported by the tragic abundance of small children’s graves within the cemetery. In particular, one family had appeared to have lost four children to disease in a very short period. Many of these stones were very difficult to read due to their age, which resulted in many students adopting whatever position necessary to read them.

in the grass at Adams PeakFor example, the grave being examined in the photo at right, is one of the oldest in the cemetery. This student found it necessary to lie flat on his stomach to read it.

Dr. Morgan commented that this field trip marked a record for her as the 75th rural Kansas site visited and also being an opportunity to allow students from five different Chapman Center Courses to explore visible evidence of the past. According to Dr. Morgan: “This was Mark Chapman’s original vision for our Center. He wanted K-State students to learn by going out into the hidden places of Kansas, even if it meant – as with Adam’s Peak – encountering these sad stories of human struggle and loss.”

It’s no secret that history can be full of tragedy, but it’s clear that no tragedy can shake the human spirit that is constantly at work within human society throughout the ages. By learning about the sad events of yesteryear we become wiser in our endeavors for the future. It is the duty of any historical researcher to preserve those lessons taught by the past and to make sure that we continue to search for them wherever they may be.

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Lost Kansas Communities: Templin Field Trip

Student, Craig Brallier, tests the 150-year-old water pump. It still works!

Student, Craig Brallier, tests the 150-year-old water pump. It still works!

On September 15, Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class took a field trip to Templin, a Wabaunsee County settlement established in 1860. Originally named Berlin by the German Lutherans who first settled there, this vanished community provided an excellent opportunity for students to get more hands-on with their learning and explore outside of the classroom.

Once there, students examined the old town site in order to piece together information about this lost community. There was a stone fort on the site that was built in anticipation for an attack from Kaw Indians and although an attack never took place, it still served as a place of protection for some families. A school and church were also built in 1865. Students were able to visit many areas of the Templin neighborhood, including the stone fort, the schoolhouse, and two nearby cemeteries.

Local residents, Peter and Sue Cohen, answer questions and talk with students about the old school and Templin town site. Mrs. Cohen brought lemonade for the students and Mr. Cohen called a local farmer to help verify details of the narrative. They were quite helpful!

Local residents, Peter and Sue Cohen, answer questions and talk with students about the old school and Templin town site. Mrs. Cohen brought lemonade for the students and Mr. Cohen called a local farmer to help verify details of the narrative. They were quite helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one cemetery, gravestones were inscribed in Old German.

In one cemetery, gravestones were inscribed in Old German.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1885 plat map showing Templin's location.

1885 plat map showing Templin’s location