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J. P. Freeman -Fairmount Cemetery – Jetmore, Hodgeman Co.

One of the most devastating perils of early pioneers was the prairie fire. Within in a matter of minutes, your farm, buildings, towns were destroyed. One of the strategies to combat the quickly spreading fire, was to hook up your oxen/horses and plow around your home and outbuildings. John Freeman faced that danger.

John Pierce Freeman was born about 1834 in New Jersey. As a young man, he headed west to Ohio and then Illinois. John served in Co A 118th Infantry IL in the “War of Rebellion.” He rose to the rank of Sergeant. After being discharged, he continued his journey west to Iowa before settling in Hodgeman Co. in 1886.

The Jetmore Siftings of May 11, 1893 recounts what happened. “Mr. Freeman was one of the victims of the destructive prairie fire of March 9 and 10. The fire visited his place, 3 miles east of Jetmore, on March10th. In saving a horse which was in the stable, the fire came upon him, and before he could escape, his face, hands, and feet were badly burned; especially his hands, from which the finger hails were burned off. In this painful condition he walked to a neighbor’s, and medical assistance was summoned. In the evening he was taken to the Roughton house. He was confined to his bed all the time, and about five weeks ago it became necessary to amputate three fingers on his left hand. The torturing pains to which he was subjected, and his advanced years soon made him a physical wreck, he became delirious and it was eminent that he could never recover. About two weeks a decided improvement was noticed, and some hopes were entertained for his recovery; but he took a relapse and continued asking until yesterday evening, when he dropped into the sleep which know no awakening.”

Sgt. J.P. Freeman died on May 10, 1893 and is buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Hodgeman Co, KS.

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