Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Capt. Elijah E. Harvey ------------------- Company B, Sixth Kansas Cavalry
History of Butler County, Kansas
Lawrence, KS: Standard Publishing Company, 1916
Capt. Elijah E. Harvey was a soldier of two wars, the war with Mexico and the great Civil war. In the latter he was captain of Company B, Sixth Kansas cavalry. His company was enlisted in Appanoose county, Iowa, and they were assigned to the war on the border of Kansas and Missouri through the war, and was honorably discharged.
After the war was over, he returned to his home in Appanoose county, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business at Bellaire, Iowa, and Unionville, Mo. Following financial losses in these places he decided to go west, and in October, 1872, in company with several other families, we left Numa, Iowa, and came, by wagon train to Butler county. We were three weeks on the road and, like Abraham of old, brought with us our flocks and our herds, seeking "a land flowing with milk and honey."
We reached our destination in October, and first settled in a two-story, frame house on what was the the Smith claim in Bloomington township. My father began his work, as a pioneer preacher of the Church of Christ, during our stay in this house. Some of his first preaching was done in the home of J. C. Riley. Father went wherever he was called, and preached in private houses, school houses, halls, churches or groves as time, season and circumstances permitted. The outdoor meetings were held in groves, and were notable gatherings where the brethren and sisters came from all over the county, and sometimes from adjoining counties, with well filled baskets of fried chicken and other good things, such as could be obtained in these early days, to spend a day of worship, under the whispering trees of the groves, which William Cullen Bryant so fittingly designated as "God's First Temples." "Dunn's Grove," near the mill of that name, at Douglass was one of the most popular places for such gatherings. My father was a pioneer in spirit and loved the broad prairies, the flowing streams, the shady groves and the blue skies of Sunny Kansas.
In the spring of 1873 he moved into his own house, built of native lumber, on his claim in Logan township on Muddy Creek, and started in to wrest from the soil a living for himself and his family. His farming was mostly done by proxy for he was no farmer, his preaching was the work of his heart.
He was in the truest sense a soldier, and served his country well; he was known in Grand Army and political circles as Captain Harvey, and his sword and sash have graved the forms of more than one marshal of the day in civic and political parades. He was a good citizen and served as registrar of deeds of Butler county through two terms; but the greatest battles of his life were those fought against unrighteousness, under the command of the "Prince of Peace." His work in Butler county resulted in the establishing of Churches of Christ at El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Leon, Haverhill, and Benton in Butler county. He did not confine his labors to that locality, but ministered to the churches in Winfield, Udall, Wellington, Belle Plains, and Eureka. In El Dorado, he baptized many people, among who I recall Mrs. John Betts, Mrs. N. F. Frazier, Mrs. Dan Bronson, Mrs. Josh Lambdin, Mrs. Donnelly, Mrs. M. I. Morgan, Mrs. John Shelden and Charles Selig. He was held in high esteem by men of affairs of all creeds and shades of faith and by those who accepted no visible church fellowship. Like all men who accomplish good work for humanity, he had at times, heart aches over the unkind acts of false friends and unjust criticisms, from those who did not see from the same view point; but, through it all he kept himself pure and honorable in life and deed, a man generous to those in need, sympathetic with youth, open handed, sincere, hospitable and forgiving.
He died at Wichita, Kansas, May 7, 1906, at the ripe age of four score years, and his body rests in the Hillside Cemetery at El Dorado, where so much of his life work was done. His soul is returned to God, who gave it and whom he served. The old stone church on North Main street, El Dorado, is his memorial, more than the stained glass window in the new Church of Christ on Central avenue, which bears his name. He rests from his labors and his works do follow him.
Emma Harvey Johnson