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COMANCHE COUNTY, KANSAS: HISTORY & GENEALOGY
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Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin

Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin with their children: from left, Nellie, Maude and Ernest. Loren holds Walter. West Powell Township, Comanche County, Ks, circa 1890.
At left: Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin with their children: from left, Nellie, Maude and Ernest. Loren holds Walter. West Powell Township, Comanche County, Ks, circa 1890.

Loren Ferrin was born April 1, 1850, near Ausable Forks, New York. In 1868 he migrated to Missouri with his father; his mother was deceased three years previously.

Alcana Wagner was born to Daniel and Mary Wagner in Bigelow, Missouri in 1861. Alcana and Loren were married in 1883 at Mound City, Missouri. A short time later they settled in Greenwood County, Kansas, near Eureka. Here two children were born: Maude and Ernest.

In the fall of 1885, Loren and his brother Arthur moved on West to Comanche County to establish homesteads for their families. They located about five miles northeast of Wilmore on Spring Creek. That winter the men dug a sod dugout in preparation for the arrival of their families in the spring of 1886. The women and children started their trip to Comanche County in a covered wagon and continued by train and finally by stagecoach. Ernest was three months old at this time.

The following winter both families existed in the same dugout and their main source of food was the local sand plums. The next spring the men hauled lumber from Kinsley, Kansas, and started building their houses on opposite sides of Spring Creek.


Many of those early years were full of hardships, but with all the drouths, famines and other handicaps, they kept on working and managing and staying with the county and growing up with it. They planted various fruit trees, farmed and raised cattle to provide for their families. Three more children were born on the homestead: Nellie, Walter and Esther.

In 1913 Loren built a home in Wilmore from a kit he obtained from the Sears Roebuck catalog.

He was a public spirited man and acitive in many community affairs. He was President of the Wilmore Cooperative Grain and Merchantile Company, director of of the Wilmore State Bank, and a trustee of Powell Township in 1904. He was also the first director of the Wilmore Rural High School and it fell his duty to look after much of the detail and responsibility in the building of the high school.

Loren died in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921 at the age of 71 years.

Alcana was a familiar figure sitting on her swing on the front porch every afternoon, as neighbors dropped by to visit. As one neighbor said, "I go down to cheer her up, and she cheers me up instead." Alcana maintained her home in Wilmore until her death at 93 years in 1955.

Maude Watkins married and had one daughter, Mildred Covert. Maude lived in the family home in Wilmore until her death in 1961.

Ernest married Nellie Barnett in 1921 and they raised their three children on a farm located about one mile from the original homestead. Wendel Ferrin and Helen Flory moved out of Kansas but Delmer still lives on his ranch near Sun City, Kansas.

Ernest died in 1974. Nellie Barnett Ferrin is currently living in Pratt, Kansas.

Nellie Ferrin married James Ely (my parents) of Comanche County in 1909 and their stories appear in this book.

Walter married Marie Griffith, they had one daughter, Roberta. Walter lived his life in Coldwater and was a long time County Clerk of Comanche County. He died in 1975 and his wife Marie passed away on July 8, 1980 at the Comanche County Hospital.

Esther married Ray Bigbee and had four children. She died in 1942.

The old homestead is still standing by old Spring Creek. Each harvest season I have very fond memories of all the cooking and preparation for the huge meals served late in the evening when the men came in from the field. Then the highlight of my trip to visit Grandma each year was the picnic on Spring Creek with the other relatives when whe relished the home-made ice cream, angel food cake, watermelon and fried chicken.

Although the old homestead is deserted, the home in Wilmore is occupied by a new generation.

Written by Bonnie (Ely) Hibbert about 1981 and published in "Comanche County History".


(Note by Jerry D. Ferrin: the home built by Loren Ferrin in Wilmore in 1913 was actually a kit sold by Sears & Roebuck in their 1913 Sears Modern Homes Catalog; it was "Modern Home #167" and sold for $823.00. The original dugout where the families of Loren & Arthur Ferrin spent their first winter in Comanche County is now the basement of the block shop which still stands on the location of the Loren Ferrin homestead. The homestead itself was burned in 1992, though the foundations of the house can still be seen on the east side of Spring Creek as, similarly, the foundations of Arthur Ferrin's homestead may still be seen on the west side of Spring Creek.

All of the following people mentioned in the history are buried in the Wilmore Cemetery: Loren Ferrin, Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin, Ernest Leroy Ferrin, Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin, Esther (Ferrin) Bigbee, Arthur Ferrin and Maude (Ferrin) Watkins. My uncle, Delmer Lee "Buck" Ferrin, who died at home in Comanche County on December 1st, 1998, was buried in Wilmore Cemetery on December 4th, 1998, after services at the Wilmore Federated Church.


Obituary: Loren Ferrin. Published 15 Sept 1921, on the front page of the WILMORE NEWS, Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks. (Additional information added parenthetically by JDF.)

"LOREN FERRIN: Loren Ferrin was born April 7th, 1850, near Ansable (Ausable) Forks, Essex County, New York. He died in the Wichita Hospital Wednesday, September 7th, 1921, at the age of 71 years and five months.

In November, 1868, the deceased moved to (Holt County) Missouri with his father (Rueben Ferrin), his mother (Hannah Philura Murch Ferrin) having died three years before this time. In 1879, he went to (Silver Cliffs, Custer County) Colorado where he lived for three years and then (when his maternal uncle, Horace Murch, with whom he was prospecting, committed suicide) returned to (Holt County) Missouri. In 1883, he was united in marriage to Alcana Wagner (daughter of Daniel & Mary (Horner) Wagner) at Mound City, Missouri. Shortly after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Ferrin came to Greenwood County, Kansas, and settled near Eureka. Here two children, Maude and Ernest, were born to them. In June 1886, the deceased and his brother Arthur and their families moved on farther west with the pioneers and settled on homesteads (on opposite sides of Spring Creek) about five miles northeast of the present site of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, and these homesteads have been retained by them to the present day. While on the Comanche County homestead, three other children, Nellie, Walter and Esther, were born to the deceased and his wife. About seven years ago, Mr. Ferrin built a beautiful residence in Wilmore (from a Sears and Roebuck home kit in the Queen Anne style) and resided there with his family until he was called to his mansion in the great beyond.

The deceased is survived by his wife, five children: Mrs. Maude Ewing, Ernest, Walter, Nellie and Esther, also his brother, all of Wilmore, and a sister, Mrs. Cora Cottier of Mound City, Missouri.

The funeral services were held in the Baptist Church at Wilmore, Friday afternoon, September 9th. The funeral sermon was preached by Elder J.T. Wheeler, pastor of the First Christian Church of Coldwater, who took his text from the 90th Psalm. A large number of friends and neighbors from all parts of the county attended the funeral to pay their last respects to their friend and neighbor. Interment was made in the Wilmore Cemetery.

In the passing of Loren Ferrin this community loses one of its outstanding pioneer citizens. For over thirty-five years his life has been woven in as part of this community and the good influence of his constructive character will live on for years untold. He was a public spirit man always ready to shoulder his share of the load and responsibility of any and all good and worthy public enterprises. At the time of his death he was the president of the Wilmore Cooperative Grain & Merchantile Company and a director of the Wilmore State Bank. His influence, counsel and advice had added much to the success of these institutions. He was the first director of the Wilmore Rural High School and it fell to his lot to look after much of the detail and carry much of the responsibility in the building of the high school building which now stands on the hill. He was at one time Commissioner for Comanche county from this district.

Mr. Ferrin was not a professed christian, ie., he had made no public confession. But those who were close to him have the knowledge that he believed in the Bible and also in God. To those he had said that his religion was in living and doing things for others and his neighbors and friends can attest that in this he did well; he was always ready to help the needy and lift the down-hearted. In his home life he was always cheerful and patient. Even in his last illness he was always "pretty fair" when asked how he was, yet at the same time he must have been suffering much.

Although he had gathered about him much of the world's goods to live in leisure and ease, he was active up until the very week of his death. He insisted on helping with the harvest out at the farm the past summer and did, against the protest of his family, go out and do much toward saving the wheat crop. It was his never-ending industry and energy that had permitted him to build up the estate which he left his family.

The immediate cause of death was an operation for bladder trouble. He had the nerve and determination to go through this operation under a local anesthetic. The deeper cause of his failing health was the hardening of the arteries and the cardiac muscle. After the operation the physicians seemed confident that he would survive, but the weakened condition of the heart and arteries soon began to tell and the end came so suddenly that it was a great shock to his family and many friends. His wife and all his children were at his bedside at the time of his death which came at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. It is said that he passed away without a struggle, just as though he was going to sleep.

The News joins with the community in expressions of sympathy to the bereaved family"

(from THE WILMORE NEWS, front page, 15 Sept 1921. Available on microfilm at the Coldwater Library, POB 606, Coldwater, Ks 67029. Thanks to Mrs. Evelyn Reed, Coldwater Librarian, for providing a copy of this obituary from that microfilm.)


"DEATH OF LOREN FERRIN"

Loren Ferrin, one of Comanche Co's pioneer settlers and best known citizens, died in the Wichita Hospital at 3:50 o'clock a.m. on Wednesday of this week, September 7, 1921, following an operation on last Saturday morning for bladder trouble. For a few days it was thought that he was getting along quite well, but a day or two before his death complications set in, which hastened his death. His health had been failing for a year or more, but the seriousness of his condition was a surprise to the public generally. Mr. Ferrin's wife and children were with him at the time of his death.

Funeral services are announced to be held in Wilmore on Friday and burial will be made in the Wilmore Cemetery.

The deceased was a native of Holt co. in northwestern Missouri (sic). About the year 1884 he moved to near Eureka, Greenwood county, Kans., where he lived for a couple of years, coming from that county to this county and settling on a claim about 5 miles northeast of Wilmore. Mr. Ferrin was one of the number who had a prominent part in the development of this part of the state. He stayed with the county and labored on through the years of adverse conditions and finally succeeded in building up a good home. In his home he was true to every obligation as a husband and father, and as a citizen he was always found to be loyal to every good cause and never failed to live up to high ideals in every relation in life. His honest and uprightness of character were never questioned, hence the influence of his example of right living will long remain with those with whom he was associated. Mr. Ferrin was about 71 years old at the time of his death.

Mr. Ferrin was survived by his faithful wife, who, before their marriage in 1883 was Miss Alcana Wagner, also by three daughters and two sons as follows: Mrs. Maude Ewing, Ernest L., Walter, Nellie Ely, and Esther. Arthur Ferrin of Wilmore is a brother of the deceased. The heartfelt sympathy of all goes out to the bereaved relatives." (published on the front page of The Western Star, 9 Sept 1921, Coldwater, Comanche County, Ks


The Western Star, September 16, 1921.

Obituary - Loren Ferrin.

Loren Ferrin was born April 7, 1850 near Ansable (sic - should be Ausable) Forks, Essex Co., New York and passed away at the Wichita Hospital, at 3:54 a.m. on Wednesday September 7, 1921, aged 71 years and 5 months.

In November 1868 he emigrated to Missouri with his father, his mother having passed away three years before that time. In 1879 he went to Colorado and lived there for three years. In 1883 he was united in marriage to Alcana Wagner, at Mound City, Mo. They came to Kansas and settled near Eureka, Greenwood-co. While there two children, Maude and Ernest, were born.

In June, 1886, he and his brother, Arthur, moved on west with the pioneers and settled on a claim about five miles northeast of Wilmore, Comanche-co., Kans. He and his faithful wife labored as tillers of the soil, thru the good years of plenty and the years of hardship and distress. While there on the farm three children were born - Nellie, Walter and Esther. A few years ago Mr. Ferrin built a nice home in Wilmore and resided there.

He is survived by a wife and five children - Mrs. Maude Ewing, Ernest, Walter, Nellie, and Esther, all of Wilmore, Kans., a brother Arthur of Wilmore, and a sister, Mrs. Cora Cottier, of Mound City, Mo.

Services were held at the Baptist Church at Wilmore Friday afternoon September 9, and were conducted by J. T. Wheeler pastor of the First Christian church of Coldwater, who spoke from the text, Psalms 90:10. Interment was made in the Wilmore Cemetery.

(Thanks to Shirley Brier for this obituary.)


Obituary: Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin

Death Comes to a Pioneer Mother
Mrs. Loren Ferrin a Resident of County since 1886

Mrs. Alcana Ferrin, one of Comanche county's earliest settlers, passed away quietly at her home in Wilmore Thursday morning of last week. She had been in declining health for several years.

Funeral services were held in the Baptist church in Wilmore at 2:20 p.m. Saturday afternoon, July 23, and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. Kenneth Merrifield, and Rev. Wayne Riggs, the Methodist-Christian (Federated Church) pastor.

Gene Dorsey, Roderick Baker, Mrs. Fay Moberly and Mrs. Austin Cobb sang, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" and "Beyond the Sunset", accompanied on the piano by Mrs. Francis Ridge. The pallbearers were Delmer, Wendel and Horace Ferrin, Bill Bigbee, Wayne Flory and Harold Veatch. Interment was in the Wilmore Cemetery.

Obituary:

Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin on the front porch of her home in Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks.  Photo by John Edward 'Ed' Schrock Alcana Wagner was born to Daniel and Mary Wagner at Bigelow, Missouri, on November 6, 1861, and went Home to be with the Lord at her home in Wilmore, Kans., on July 221, 1955 at 1:20 a.m. at the age of 93 years, 8 months and 15 days.

She was united in marriage with Loren Ferrin on November 8, 1883. To this union were born five children. Four children survive and one, Esther, preceded her in death. The other children are Maude Watkins of the home, Nellie Ely of Oklahoma City, Ernest of Wilmore and Walter of Coldwater, Kans. She is survived by 10 grandchildren, one having died in infancy, fourteen great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

Mrs. Ferrin was one of the few pioneers left in the county, and well remembered the early day settlers. After they were married, they moved (from Holt County, Mo) to Eureka, Kans., living there two years before making the move to Comanche county. She came part of the way in the covered wagon, and then by train and then by stagecoach. They landed in Comanche county in 1886 and homesteaded the land on which they lived many years and reared their family, moving to Wilmore in 1913. Many of those early years were full of hardships, but with all the drouths, famines and other handicaps, they kept on working and managing and staying with the country and growing up with it.

.
She was always willing and gave many a helping hand to anyone in need. Many were the times she was called to help a neighbor in illness, or who needed a bit of a boost with their work. She was a wonderful mother, and any tribute we, her children, could pay her for her thoughtfulness, kindness, love, care and advice throughout the years, could not express what she deserved. She loved her home and the spirit of keeping and caring for it made it one of those welcome kind to which you always want to return. Her personality was charming to everyone as hosts of friends will testify. She was always looking on the sunny side of life. No matter if she was feeling poorly, when asked how she was, she was always better than the day before. She was never too ill to enjoy a bit of banter or joke with you, as she often did her many friends who came to see her. As one neighbor said, "I go down to cheer her up and she cheers me up instead." If some unfortunate person had made a mistake along life's way and was receiving criticism by others, they always had a champion for their cause in Mrs. Ferrin. Her policy was to look for the good in everyone instead of the faults.

Although she never did become a church member, yet early in life she took Christ as her Saviour, and throughout the years constantly witnessed for Him both in deed and word. Hers has been a long and useful life with many blessings along the way. She was so ready and wanted so much to go Home to Glory, and constantly talked about it especially in these last weeks. The ones over Yonder were more real to her and seemed nearer to her than we here on this earth, as she seemed to see them and talk about them."

Published in "The Western Star", 29 July 1955, Coldwater, Kansas. This obituary was probably written by Alcana's daughter, Nellie Mabel (Ferrin) Ely.

Gravestone of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.
 

Gravestone of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin, Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock.


Loren Ferrin of Powell-tp. will set out 500 fruit trees, 300 of them apple trees, on his farm this spring. That is a commendable thing to do. -- The Western Star, March 27, 1897.


The Wilmore News, November 11, 1932.

A FAMILY REUNION

Sunday, November 6, being the birthday of Mrs. Loren Ferrin, her children gathered in to help her celebrate with a big dinner. Each of the families brought well filled baskets and as they all filed in at dinner time Mrs. Ferrin was happily surprised. They all enjoyed the good dinner together.

The birthday cake was decorated with candy flowers and a candle for each ten years that has passed. Mrs. Ferrin is now 72 years of age and is enjoying reasonably good health.

Those present were Ernest Ferrin and family, Esther Bigbee and family, Walter Ferrin and family and Nelly Ely and family. This is all of the children except Maude, who now lives in Ohio.


Also see:

Memories of Alcana Ferrin by Janet (Schrock) Hubbard

Arthur & Alice (Eyerly) Ferrin

Alice (Eyerly) FERRIN: "Early Day Memories", The Wilmore News, October 31, 1939.

Reuben & Hannah Philura (Murch) Ferrin   Parents of Loren & Arthur Ferrin

How Loren & Arthur Ferrin Came to Comanche County, Kansas

Ernest Leroy Ferrin - Obituary

Obituary: Esther Irene (Ferrin) Bigbee

Mary A. (Horner) WAGNER & Some of Her Descendants

A Brief History of Newton, New Hampshire (A New Chronology of the Life & Times of Jonathan Farren)
Loren Ferrin was a 6th generation descendant of Capt. Jonathan Farren of Amesbury, MA, & Newton, NH, as follows: Loren Ferrin 6, Reuben Ferrin 5, Zebulon Ferrin 4, Zebulon Ferrin 3, Zebulon Farren 2, Jonathan Farren 1.

Ferrin Gravestones in the North Jay Cemetery, Essex County, New York.

Reward for Arrest & Conviction of Murderer or Murderers of Roland Wright Loren Ferrin, 1st Police Judge of Wilmore, Kansas, was instrumental in raising the reward which resulted in the capture of Roland Wright's murderer.

Republican Convention -- The Western Star, March 26, 1920. Loren Ferrin was a state delegate to this convention.

Letter from Rev. E.A. POWELL, published in The Western Star, September 30, 1921.

Wilmore Opera House, 1915.   A collection of advertisements for 1915 shows at Fisher's Opera House in Wilmore. Loren Ferrin was the "judge" at a mock trail and oyster supper at Fisher's hall, Saturday night, November 20, 1915. -- The Wilmore News, November 18, 1915.

Red Cross Fund Oversubscribed, The Wilmore News, 28 June 1917.

Comanche Steal - The Fraudulent Organization of Comanche County, Kansas by Thomas Allen McNeal from When Kansas Was Young, pages 61 - 65.


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