John Webb left Virginia in 1885. By 1887 he was in Abilene, Dickinson County, Kansas.
In 1886, at around age 19, Anna Buhrer moved to Dickinson County and stayed in the household of her sister Caroline.
Caroline Buhrer Sigg
Anna Buhrer’s sister Caroline was twelve years older, born in 1855. Caroline had married Casper Sigg in Fulton County, Ohio. Casper and Caroline came to Pawnee County with the Buhrers in 1878. Their son, Will, was born there in December 1878.
In 1879, Caroline and Casper Sigg and their son Will moved to Dickinson County, Kansas.
In Dickinson County, the Siggs were living next to several other Buhrer families, headed by Jacob and Elizabeth. These Buhrers were from Scheffhausen, Switzerland, just like our Buhrers. I haven’t traced them further, but I’m guessing that this Jacob Buhrer is a brother of Caroline’s father John Jacob Buhrer.
The Siggs lived in Liberty Township in Dickinson County, south of the small village of Chapman, Kansas, and about ten miles east of Abilene.
Anna Buhrer in Dickinson County
Around 1886, Anna Buhrer moved from Pawnee County to Dickinson County and into the household of her older sister Caroline Buhrer Sigg. I think Anna intended to find work in Abilene.
John Webb in Dickinson County
John Webb had arrived in Abilene around 1887. We don’t know his first residence, or his first work.
John and Anna married
We don’t know how John and Anna met. But on July 2, 1889, John Webb and Anna Buhrer were married by the Justice of the Peace in Abilene, Kansas.
The newspaper article that reports the marriage of John and Anna is from The Abilene Reflector, July 2, 1889. However, some of our family genealogy documents record the wedding date as July 2, 1888, a year earlier.
It’s hard to believe that the newspaper would report a marriage one year later. Hmmmm.
Mistakes in genealogical records are common.
I don’t have their marriage license. It would be the final authority. Read on…
They started a family
John and Anna’s first child, Miriam Mayfield Webb, was born on October 19, 1889. She was called May. Was this four months after her parents’ marriage? Or a year and four months?
October 19 was also Anna’s birthday. She was born in 1867, twenty-two years earlier.
Do you think May was born four months after John and Anna married? I’ll leave that for another researcher.
The Westcott Ranch
By around 1889 or 1890, John Webb worked on the Westcott Ranch. His family lived in one of the ranch houses and John worked for J.H. Harman, the ranch superintendent.
J.M. Westcott was a wealthy industrialist from Richmond, Indiana. He owned the bank in Solomon, Kansas, in Dickinson County.
Westcott owned a huge ranch three miles south of Solomon. These 1887 and 1894 newspaper clippings evidence the huge size of the ranch:
- 3,500 and later 4,000 acres.
- 1,000 cattle
- 500 sheep
- 300 hogs
- 125 fancy draft horses
By 1895, John and Anna had three children. As we’ve seen, Miriam Mayfield (May) was born in 1889.
James Miller (Jim) was born August 17, 1891. Jim was named after John’s father, James Miller Webb.
Myrtle Ray was born January 22, 1893.
In January 1895, a daughter Nellie Irene was born. Sadly, Nellie died a few weeks later.
Life on the ranch – 1896, 1897
John visits family in Virginia
In January 1897, John made a trip home to Rockbridge Baths to visit his mother and relatives and friends.
John’s mother Margaret and elder sister Virginia still lived in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia. John’s father James had died in 1891.
John was going to be away for a month, so he and Anna arranged for Anna’s younger brother Wally (Valentine) to come from Larned and stay with the family, and substitute work on the ranch while John was away.
John arrived back in Kansas just in time to help care for daughter Laura.
Laura Belle Webb was born at the ranch on May 18, 1896. She must have fallen ill the following February, age about 11 months.
Don’t worry. Laura recovered nicely.
A move to Larned
In 1898, John and Anna made the decision to move to Pawnee County. Why? I don’t know. Maybe to be closer to family. Anna had lots of extended family in Pawnee County.
There’s a family story that the Webb family moved from Dickinson County to Pawnee County in a wagon. I don’t know if it’s true, and I don’t have evidence, so take it for what it’s worth. But it’s likely that old family stories have some element of truth.
It’s about 160 miles, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
A farm in Pawnee County 1898
However they traveled, John and Anna and family arrived in Pawnee County in 1898 and set up on a 40 acre farm south of Larned in Pleasant Valley Township, very near Anna’s parents and siblings and cousins.
Here’s their farmhouse.
We know they had a team of oxen, because cousin Rick Jarvis has their oxen yoke to this day.
The Webbs were settled in on their farm south of Larned.
On Thursday, October 19, John held a birthday dinner for Anna and daughter May. Both had their birthdays on October 19. Anna was age 32, May was 10.
The 1900 census shows John and Anna Webb living in Pleasant Valley Township, Pawnee County, Kansas. John was age 35 and Anna 32. Their children were May, 10, Jim, 8, Myrtle, 7, and Laura, 4.
The census was enumerated on June 6, 1900. The census didn’t record that Anna was seven months pregnant.
On August 21, 1900, John and Anna had another daughter, Sylvie Chleo Webb. Chleo was born in the farmhouse south of Larned. She’s our great-grandmother.
In 1900 John and Anna’s family was complete.
Life on the farm
Life for the Webb family had settled in. There was everyday work.
Lots of extended family around. Anna’s parents Jacob and Catherine Buhrer lived nearby. Several of her siblings and cousins were close.
In January 1903, John contracted a serious case of tuberculosis. John died, at age 39.
It’s not fair
We’ve seen this happen so often in our family history. A spouse dies at a young age, leaving a single mother or father with children.
And we’ve often seen pneumonia and tuberculosis as the culprit.
No, it’s not fair. But that didn’t help the poor victim that suffered and died. And it didn’t help the survivors that had a difficult time providing for a family as a single parent.
It’s easy to take our modern health care and medicines for granted. These family stories remind us to be thankful that these diseases are much less fatal today.
Jacob Buhrer died too
In May 1903, just a few months after John Webb’s death, Anna’s father Jacob Buhrer died. He was age 86.
- Image – Street Scene, Abilene, Kansas – J.R. Riddle – 1879 – Kansas Memory – https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/201634
- Photos – John Webb and Anna Buhrer – Jarvis Family Documents – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
- Birth records – Webb Family Bible – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
- Funeral cards – John Webb and Jacob Buhrer – Jarvis Family Documents – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
- Census – Caroline and Casper Sigg – Dickinson County, Kansas – 1880 – Ancestry.com
- Census – John and Anna Webb – Dickinson County, Kansas – 1895 – Ancestry.com
- Census – John and Anna Webb – Pawnee County, Kansas – 1900 – Ancestry.com
- Newspaper articles – Newspapers.com
- Map composites – Standard Atlas of Dickinson County, Kansas – Geo. A. Ogle and Co. – 1901 – Kansas Memory – https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/209377/page/3
- Map composites – Plat Map of Saline County, Kansas – Northwest Publishing Co. – 1903 – Kansas Memory – https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/209408/page/4
- Image – Cattle branding on the Garst ranch south of Coldwater, Kansas – 1890s – F.M. Steele – Kansas Memory – https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/7811/page/1
- Family tree – John and Anna Webb – Ancestry.com
- Photos – Headstones and cemeteries – Mark Jarvis – May 2017