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Early Settlers – Joseph and Margaret Herron, Silent Land Cemetery, Ford County, Kansas

In 1878, Joseph and Margaret loaded their four young children on a train and headed to Kansas. At that time, the train tracks were only built to Kinsley where the family lived on a tree claim. An additional two sons were born while living in Ford County.

Joseph was born in 1834 and was a teacher in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Margaret was 13 years younger and a student of Joseph’s. Quite a bit of teasing took place as the students and her siblings were aware of Joseph’s fondness for Margaret. The two were married on February 7, 1867.

Margaret was the third oldest of 13 children. Her father died in a tragic accident in 1872 and even though Joseph and Margaret had started their own family, they stayed to help with the raising of her siblings.

After two years of living on a tree claim in Edwards County, the Herron family homesteaded four miles northeast of Spearville where they remained until their death. Making a living was a challenge in those early days as drought, hail, and blizzards could wreak havoc on your wheat crop. The family raised chickens, milk cows, sheep, and a bountiful garden which provided the family with sustenance until money could be made farming.

Education was a priority for the Herron family. The children would ride a mule to School District #9 about 2 ½ miles from their home. Upon arriving, the children would send the mule on its way and the children would walk home. In bad weather, Joseph would pick them up in the wagon.

Four of Joseph and Elizabeth’s children became teachers. The Third Ward School on Boot Hill offered teachers’ normal training. Once they completed the required classes and passed a test, they were certified to teach.

Henry died in 1900 and Elizabeth in 1913. They are buried in Silent Land Cemetery with three of their sons.

Note: A family story says that Margaret’s brothers and sisters teased her about the attention she received from the teacher. He had given her a bible where she wrote some personal thoughts. One day the teasing became so much she ripped out the page and threw it in the fire. One of her sisters saved the paper, but the burnt edges are still present.

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