Founder of Kinsley – F.C. Blanchard – Hillside Cemetery, Edwards, Kansas
F.C. Blanchard is credited with the founding and continued growth of and Kinsley, Edwards, Kansas.
Ferdinand Clinton Blanchard was born in 1836 in Maine. He spent his boyhood there and at the age of 21, he headed west to find his own path.
When the Civil War broke out, F.C. enlisted in Co. E 1st MO Infantry. His regiment combined with the same into Light Artillery. Sgt. Blanchard tangled with Quantrill’s guerrillas. F.C. suffered a slight bullet wound in the left elbow and head.
In 1873, F.C. settled in Edwards County and took a soldier’s claim 2 ½ miles south of Kinsley.
Being one of the early pioneers he had the distinction of many firsts including “holding the plow during the first sod plowing and turning over the first bit of prairie land . . ., His first planting was corn and watermelons. Worms ate all the corn and he had to rely on the watermelons.”1
The first marriage to take place in Kinsley was between F.C. and Katie J. Martin on October 29, 1874. Four children were born to the couple. Later that year, grasshoppers destroyed their crops. The next year, the crops were destroyed by hail. F.C. decided to buy some cattle, but a winter blizzard wiped out most of his cattle. A move to a different claim was no better as a prairie fire wiped out the remaining possessions he owned.
F.C. and his family moved into town and became a clerk at the post office, and later managed an elevator and a lumberyard. He was one of the first county commissioners and was elected Probate Judge of Edwards County.
F.C. passed away at the age of 85 on March 22, 1922. Katie died on January 4, 1929. Both are buried in Hillside Cemetery along with two of their children.
Note: According to his obituary published in The Kinsley Graphic of Mar 30, 1922, “The townsite had already been located by his brother, W.F. Blanchard, E.K. Smart and Thomas Rogers.” Names for the town included Petersburg, Peters City, and finally Kinsley.
1The Kinsley-Edwards County Centennial p. 252