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John E. and Thomas Bindley – Brown’s Grove Cemetery, Burdett, Pawnee County, Kansas

In 1877, John and Thomas Bindley arrived in Hodgeman and Pawnee Counties. They left Pennsylvania to escape the harsh winters.

Their story begins with their parents Jabez and Sarah Green Bindley who were the parents of five sons, Benjamin, John, Thomas, Ira, and Willis. The boys grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania.

John Elijah Bindley was born in 1850 while his brother, Thomas Lakin was born five years later. Before coming to Kansas, John married Jannett A. Mather in 1871, and two of their five children were born in Pennsylvania.

Thomas married Mary Mather in 1875. They were the parents of five sons. Thomas and his family settled in southern Hodgeman County in 1877. While living on their homestead, Mary was struck by lightning. “During the storm last Tuesday afternoon Mrs. Tom Bindley living three miles south-west of town, was struck by lightning and very badly burned. Her little son, Earl, was also burned but not seriously. The conduct of little Georgie, who is but six years old is worthy of mention. He is a veritable hero. He was taking his afternoon nap at the time, but the shock must have awakened him. When Mrs. B. became conscious he was pouring water over her, which doubtless saved her life as her clothing had all been on fire. Then he ran to their nearest neighbors, E.E. Ellis, over a mile, and brought help. Mrs. Bindley is at her father’s N.O. Mather, where she was the tenderest care.”1

Thomas and Mary left the Burdett area and moved to Missouri in 1889 where they spent nine years. Thomas died in 1892 and his body was shipped by railroad back to Burdett where he was buried in Brown’s Grove Cemetery. Thomas’ family moved back to Burdett where Mary passed away in 1938. She shares the same stone with her husband.

When John and his family arrived in Burdett, he operated the hotel, Burdett House, until it was destroyed by fire in 1889. They moved to Pueblo, Colorado where John suffered a stroke and died in 1894. His body was brought back to Burdett where he was buried in Brown’s Grove. Jannett passed away in 1907 and shares a stone with her husband.

The rest of the story: Thomas committed suicide. While living in Missouri, he was a witness in two separate trials with one being a murder. Thomas believed his life was endangered by the community and their feelings on the murder.

Jabez Bindley was born in England and came to the United States at the age of two. He joined the California Gold Rush in 1849 but did return to Pennsylvania.

1The Larned Chronoscope (Larned, Kansas) 11 Jul 1884 page 3

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