The Superior Express -

Big Bend, Kansas

 

1878 map of Jewell County with Big Bend identified in the upper right corner.

Jackson Township is the northeastern most township in Jewell County. Nebraska borders it on the north and Republic County's Big Bend Township borders it on the east.

Sections one, two and three of the township are cut off from the rest of Jewell County by a bend in the Republican River. But somewhere in that small area there existed the Big Bend Post Office. The post office was in existence from June 21, 1871 to March of 1875.

Big Bend is noted on two historical maps. On the 1878 map of Jewell County (found in the First Biennial Report of the State of Kansas), Big Bend is found near the Kansas-Nebraska border in section two. On Mitchell's 1880 map of Kansas, it is found near the northeast corner in what could be section one.

There is no indication of Big Bend in the 1884 Jewell County Atlas. Big Bend may have been only a post office and not a town. Other than the two maps and the United States Postal records, there is no other information known about Big Bend, Kan.

Postal records list four postmasters. Joseph C. Warren, the first postmaster, began his duties on June 21, 1871. Warren was one of the many Civil War veterans who came west after the war. He registered as a veteran at Jewell City in 1873. There are no homestead patent records for him in either Kansas or Nebraska and nothing else is known about him.

The second postmaster was an immigrant from Ireland, Edward Scott. His term as postmaster began on Dec.23, 1872. Scott became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1884 at Mankato. His land patent in section one of Jackson Township was issued on May 9, 1885. He and his wife remained in the area, moving to nearby Hardy around 1900. They are buried in the Hardy Cemetery.

Richard Walton was the third and fifth of the postmasters at Big Bend. He, like Warren, was a Civil War Veteran and also registered at Jewell in 1873. Other than his two appointments as postmaster, nothing else is known. He did not receive a patent for land in Kansas or Nebraska.

Josiah Calvert, the fourth postmaster, was yet another Civil War veteran. From Ohio, he had been a sergeant in the 18th Regular Iowa Infantry. He became Big Bend postmaster on Oct. 30, 1873. His wife, Amy DeCamp Calvert, died in March of 1874 and is buried in Rose Mound Cemetery in Republic County.

Josiah Calvert received his land patent, also in section one, on Nov. 20, 1880, but he did not stay permanently in Kansas. He returned to Ohio by 1900 and died there in 1909.

After Walton's second stint as postmaster, the post office was transferred to Spring Valley in Nuckolls County, Nebraska. Spring Valley was one mile west of present-day Hardy. After about a year, the post office was transferred again, this time to Hardy.

As both Calvert and Scott's homestead were in section one, is it possible that Big Bend actually was also? If anyone has information about Big Bend, Kansas, contact Kerma Crouse (620-272-7160) or Deb Garmen, Curator of the Jewell County Historical Society (jwchsmuseum @gmail.com).

 

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