Thursday, January 1, 2015

Just Who was Isaac B. Werner?

Isaac B. Werner's Grave in Neeland's Cemetery
Last week, as I was writing the blog thanking the visitors who have followed Isaac Werner's story, I realized that many of you have followed my blog since I began in 2011!  However, new followers are arriving at the blog for the first time every week.

I thought that perhaps a good way to start off 2015 would be to suggest certain blogs from the past that long-time followers might enjoy revisiting to remind themselves just who Isaac B. Werner was, and that new followers of the blog might enjoy reading to get better acquainted with the history of this Bachelor Homesteader on the Kansas Prairie.

My first blog was "I Love History," which I republished 1-3-2012.  I believe in the importance of knowing history because of what we can learn from the past.  Isaac is an interesting man, but what made me want to share his story is how his life tells us so much about the history of the settling of the prairie and of the political past of the region.  The experiences of Isaac and his neighbors have much to teach all of us today.

What makes Isaac's story so intimate is that he wrote about himself and his community every day from 1884 through 1891.  He was an educated man, who wrote about literature, politics, agriculture, social events, and through his eyes we can see this time in history.  You can read about how I found that journal in "Finding Isaac's Journal," 10-23-2011 in the blog archives.
One of the early St. John banks where homesteaders got in debt

He was born in 1845 in Wernersville, PA, a town founded by his father, and you can read about "Isaac's Birth & Childhood," in the blog archives at 11-4-2011 and about "Isaac's Childhood Church" at 2-23-2012.  After his father's death, Isaac left his hometown and settled in Rossville, IL, where he ran a drug store, and you can read about that in "Isaac's Years in Rossville, IL" at 1-20-2012 in the archives.

Isaac arrived on the Kansas prairie to claim his homestead and timber claim in 1878, and blogs about his life in Stafford County include the buildings he saw being built in the county seat of St. John, the entertainments he enjoyed, the crops he planted and machinery he used and invented, the pests he encountered, the political groups he joined, and many other subjects.  He was an interesting man, active in his community and in surrounding counties, and there has been much to share about him in my blogs.  If you think one of your ancestors might have known Isaac, you can read "Did Your Ancestor Know Isaac?" at 4-26-2012, for many early settlers to the region are mentioned in his journal.  One of the most popular blogs that I have posted is "Isaac's Penmanship," at 5-2-2012 in the archives, perhaps because schools are dropping cursive writing from their curriculum and people are curious about the subject.  (See also "Isaac's Penmanship Revisited," 12-19-2013, and be sure to read the comments!)
The old St. John School where Isaac attended programs

The blog contains a great deal of history about America during the Gilded Age when Isaac struggled to survive on the prairie as wealthy men built mansions in NYC, Pittsburg, and other cities.  Because of the great disparity between the wealthy and the working classes, it was a time of much  political activity, with Kansas at the center of the progressive movement.  Isaac was actively involved, and several posts in the archives address that history, for example, "Politics Hardly Seem to Change," at 11-24-2011 in the archives.

The picture at the beginning of this blog is of Isaac's grave, and you can read about that at "Finding Isaac's Grave, 1-13-2012 in the archives.  I hope you enjoy looking back (or reading for the first time) these blogs that begin to answer the question "Just who was Isaac B. Werner."  

To reach the archives, go the to upper right column on this page and click on the year and month of the blog you want to read.

No comments: