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Esau and Charlotte Smith – Brown’s Grove Cemetery, Burdett, Pawnee County, Kansas


While living in Illinois, Esau Smith heard about the opportunity of available land out west. A place where he could build a home for his wife and children. The family traveled in a covered wagon to Rooks County, Kansas. However, grasshoppers, Indians, and other hardships sent them back to Illinois.


Esau and Charlotte Rainbow were both born and grew up in Bedfordshire, England. They were born in 1847 and 1849 respectively. Esau came to America in 1870 and settled in Stephenson County, Illinois. Charlotte came the following year and the two were married on May 21, 1871, in Illinois.


After leaving Kansas for the first time in 1871, Esau and Charlotte still dreamed of owning their own land and building a better life for their children. They set out in a covered wagon in 1879 and decided Pawnee County would be their new home. Four of their eleven children accompanied them.


They settled for the evening along Sawmill Creek south of Burdett. Esau met up with two brothers who were living in a dugout. They were willing to sell their 160-acre claim. Esau paid them $50.00 and began making a homestead for his growing family.1

The family was planning to fly to England to visit with relatives, but Charlotte took ill. She passed away on August 4, 1909. Three months later, Esau did go to England. His sadness over his wife’s death was too much for him. He died on August 10, 1910. His body was returned to Brown’s Grove where he shares a stone with Charlotte.


Ten of their eleven children are buried in Brown’s Grove including two young daughters and a set of twins.


1Todd, Arlene Notestine, History of Brown’s Grove and Burdett, Kansas 1876-1976 p. 182-183




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