PATRICK H. SOMERS.
[Creswell & Bolton Township and Oklahoma.]
1901 BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.
[1869.] PAGE 378.
PATRICK H. SOMERS resided on the northwest quarter of section 4, township 35, range 3 east, in Bolton Township. When he settled in Cowley County, there were very few white settlers in it.
Patrick H. Somers was born in County Wexford, Ireland, in 1840, a son of John and Julia Somers.
John and Julia Somers, his parents, were born in Ireland. They came to the United States in 1847, locating in Harford County, Maryland. There John Somers worked for a Mr. Lewis, who was an extensive land owner. Mr. Somers went from there to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and in 1856 moved to Chateaugay County, Canada. The Somers family remained in Canada until 1872, when their son, Patrick H., induced them to join him in Cowley County, and make their home with him. They died at his residence: Mr. John Somers on November 17, 1886, aged 88; Mrs. Julia Somers, in 1890, aged 78. They had one son and one daughter, the latter being Elizabeth, deceased, who was the wife of P. J. Gregory, a resident of Bolton Township, Cowley County, and who had two children, Icel M., wife of Ross Scott, of Kay County, Oklahoma; and William, of Tonkawa, Oklahoma. Mr. Gregory married a second time.
Patrick H. Somers left his home in Canada when a lad of but sixteen years, only to return in 1857; but in April, 1858, he went to Pennsylvania, where he worked out until the breaking out of the Civil War. He then enlisted in Company K, 5th Reg., Pennsylvania Reserves, which went into camp April 20, 1861. On May 15, next following, the company was sworn in and was at once dispatched to the relief of Gen. Lew Wallace, in Western Virginia. In the battle of Antietam, February 14, 1862, Mr. Somers received a bullet wound, which made it impossible for him to further serve his country. For two years after his return home, he could not endure to walk any distance. He afterwards went to the mining districts of Michigan, and upon reading in the New York papers of the opening of the territories bordering the “Rockies”—particularly Idaho,—he decided to try his fortunes in the West. He accordingly made a trip to the “Rockies,” and spent considerable time in Idaho, but in 1869 left there and journeyed to Cowley County, Kansas. He drove a mule-team as far as Council Grove, Kansas, and there he began to travel on foot, carrying 56 pounds of baggage done up in a gunny-sack, and walked via Cottonwood Falls, El Dorado, Augusta, and Douglass, Kansas. At the mouth of Rock Creek, he camped with a man named Jones, and they afterward continued on to Winfield, where they camped with the Trusty boys. Cliff Wood owned the only log house there. Bill Johnson there met Mr. Somers, having been driven back by the Indians from his claim at the mouth of Walnut River. No settlers were then allowed by the Indians beyond Dutch Creek. Mr. Somers and Mr. Johnson set out for the latter’s claim, and Wood went to Douglass for provisions. They were later joined by Ed. Chapin, George Harmon, James Hughes, and Sam Williamson, and with the exception of the last named, all took up claims near Arkansas City.
Mr. Somers’ claim was the southwest quarter of section 19, township 34, range 4 east, near the mouth of the Walnut River in Creswell Township, and this he improved until 1875, when he traded it to Major Sleeth for 240 acres northwest of Arkansas City. On this farm he remained until 1879, when he sold it and bought his present place in Bolton Township: the northwest quarter of section 4, township 35, range 3 east. The purchase was made of T. H. McLaughlin, and Thomas A. Wilkinson was the pre-emptor. The latter gentleman was county superintendent of schools for four years. Mr. Somers made numerous improvements on the farm, and in 1897 bought the southeast quarter of the same section, the deed to which a Mr. Townsley held.
Mr. Prosser moved into the claim house in 1879, and remained there while Patrick Somers went to Oklahoma, where he spent four and a half years, during which time he made $5,000. He returned to Cowley County and began making improvements on his present place. His barn, measuring 60 by 34 feet, was built in 1888. He had an orchard of seven acres, and besides raising grain, Mr. Somers produced some livestock, favoring Shorthorn cattle and Poland-China hogs.
Mr. Somers was married, in 1872, to Margaret Dwyer, by Rev. Mr. Swarts. She died in 1879, leaving two children, John, deceased, and William.
Mr. Somers’ second wife was Nellie Daily, a daughter of Patrick Daily. Mrs. Somers was born in Liverpool, England, and came to this country in 1885, with an uncle, Ed. Campbell, now of Winfield . Seven children have been born to them: Robert E., Mary A., Hattie R., Charles A., Lizzie, Roscoe, and Mabel Frances.
Mr. Somers was a Republican. He served as township clerk; while in Oklahoma, he served as treasurer of his township. In 1899, he served as a committeeman of Bolton Township, and in 1874 he belonged to the state militia. Mr. Somers was a member of Hayes Post, No. 24, G. A. R., of Kay County, Oklahoma.
Creswell Township 1874: Somers, 65; Pat Somers, 34. No spouse listed.
Kansas 1875 Census Creswell Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.
Name age sex color Place/birth Where from
P. H. Somers 34 m w Ireland
Margaret Somers 20 f w Ireland
John Somers 1 m w Kansas
Bolton Township 1880: Patrick H. Somers, 37. Also listed: J. Somers, 67. [Mother?]
FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.
[BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEET JUNE 27, 1871.]
Cowley County Censor, July 1, 1871.
Remonstrance against the State Road that runs from Eureka to Arkansas City, running through Pat Somers’ claim laid over for the report of the viewers.
Winfield Courier, February 27, 1874.
Miles, the horse-thief who made his escape from the city jail last Friday week, was retaken by constable McIntire, A. W. Patterson, and Mr. Draper last Saturday, on Coal Rock Creek, thirty miles east of this place, at the house of Mr. Johnson. He made his escape by chipping the wood with a hatchet and burning the door of the jail. The hatchet used he claimed to have stolen from Bowen’s Grocery. After his escape he laid out in the grass near Pat Somers’ place all day and all night, and then went to houses on the Walnut, where he was fed by people knowing him to be the identified thief who had escaped. He was delayed two days on account of not finding the Walnut River bridge, but afterwards crossed it and went to Grouse Creek and from thence to Coal Rock Creek, where he was taken. Traveler.
Miles was brought to Winfield and placed in the county jail for safekeeping.
[DISTRICT COURT DOCKET: MARCH TERM.]
Winfield Courier, March 18, 1875.
CIVIL DOCKET. THIRD DAY. No. 421. Margaret Somers, vs. Patrick Somers.
[DISPOSITION OF DISTRICT COURT CASES.]
Winfield Courier, March 25, 1875.
421. Margaret Somers, vs. Patrick Somers, dismissed.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 23, 1876.
Two Dutchmen came out and demanded fifteen dollars of Pat Somers for crossing a corner of a field near El Paso, last week. Pat thought the damages rather high, and endeavored to argue the case with them. They would not listen to him, and he had to give them a little of “ould Ireland” before he left. On hearing of it, we asked Pat if he had a fight. He said: “No. I only hit the smallest one at the butt of the ear, and planted my foot on his neck, and knocked the biggest one over.” All a man has to say now, to get across that field without trouble, is “My name is Pat Somers, from Arkansas City.”
THE WINFIELD COURIER. CENTENNIAL ISSUE.
WINFIELD COURIER, THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 1876.
On January 1st, 1870, T. A. Wilkinson, John Brown, G. H. Norton, and John Strain staked out and claimed the four claims upon which Arkansas City now stands, as the location of the new town. H. B. Norton took a claim adjoining the town site on the north, H. D. Kellogg took a claim south of the town site. When this party arrived at the mouth of the Walnut, they found the bottom and timber claims taken by H. Endicott and his son, Pad, and G. Harmon, Ed. Chapin, Pat Somers, Mr. Carr, Mr. Hughes, and one or two others.
Arkansas City. In March, April, and May, 1869, H. C. Endicott, Senior, Geo. Harmon, W. Johnson, Ed Chapin, Pad Endicott, Pat Somers, and J. (Z.) K. Rogers took claims along the Walnut in the vicinity of the present town. H. C. Endicott built the first house in that part of the county. In September following Z. K. Rogers died at Endicott’s house: the first death in the county.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 29, 1876.
FIRE. Some clothing and other articles took fire at Mr. Coombs’ house, last Saturday, and for awhile required considerable exertion to subdue it. Mr. Coombs is living on Major Sleeth’s farm, in what is known as Pat Somers’ house.
[BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.]
Arkansas City Traveler, April 19, 1876. Front Page.
Petition of P. H. Somers and others, of Creswell Township, asking for the location of a section line road, presented, and granted, and Ed. Hoyt, David Bright, and F. A. Cowles appointed viewers; and the County Clerk is hereby ordered to give the necessary legal notice.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 23, 1876.
STRAYED. Two bay mares, 15 hands high; 5 and 8 years old. PAT SOMERS.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 6, 1878.
Last Saturday was ground-hog day. He came out and heard the gnashing of teeth in the Callahan-Somers affray, and went back to stay in his hole.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 6, 1878.
Nearly a Serious Fight. Last Friday evening, as Thomas Callahan and Jacob Rentzchler were returning from Wichita, where they had been to sell some hogs, they stopped for the night at the house of Patrick Somers. Tom was provided with a gallon jug of alcohol, and the evening was passed away by drinking the contents of the jug, with a little water added.
In the morning, as the two gentlemen were about to depart, Mr. Somers mentioned to Mr. Callahan that he had endeavored to take improper liberties with his wife, and must make some kind of apology or retraction. Mr. Callahan denied the statement, and Pat came at him with a pitchfork, and a general row ensued, in which Pat drew a knife which Tom took away from him. Pat then got hold of a razor, and with one slash, cut through a gum coat, an overcoat, and to the vest that covered Tom’s precious carcass. This was taken from him also, but not until he had cut the third finger of Tom’s left hand almost off. After the razor was disposed of, a general knock-down followed, in which it is said Mrs. Somers took quite a conspicuous part, armed with an ox bow.
Mr. Rentzchler, deeming discretion the better part of valor, ran off a short distance, and gazed placidly on the tumult with silent admiration until he saw one man down and likely to be killed, and then interfered to prevent death.
The visitors left as soon as the battle subsided, not stopping long enough to hitch their horses to the wagon and bring their groceries home, and an officer had to be sent to bring them in.
From all accounts it was a desperate affray, and will probably have to be settled by the courts. Both the participants are of Irish birth, and had been neighbors on the Walnut near this place for several years. Liquor was the main cause of the whole transaction. When sober they are as sociable and friendly friends as one would choose to meet.
Winfield Courier, February 14, 1878.
PICK-UPS BY OUR RAMBLER. A serious fight recently occurred in Creswell Township between two Irishmen, Thos. Callahan and Patrick Somers, at Somers’ house, in which Callahan was badly cut with a razor.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 21, 1878.
The following gentlemen were elected delegates and alternates to the Democratic Convention to be held at Winfield, August 24th, 1878. Delegates: W. Green, Noah Kimmel, Pat Somers, Judge Christian, T. McIntire, and S. B. Adams. Alternates: Amos Walton, John Gooch, E. M. Godfrey, J. Holloway, J. W. Hutchinson, and J. P. Eckles.
[DISTRICT COURT DOCKET.]
Winfield Courier, May 1, 1879.
CIVIL DOCKET. EIGHTH DAY. Margaret Somers vs. Patrick Somers.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 7, 1879.
We will bet a pound of the best bull beef in this market that the suit in the District court of Somers vs. Somers for divorce will not reach trial. Pat. had an offer for the farm last week and came down Saturday night with prayers and promises that enabled him to wind his arm around the neck of the old lady and trot her home. Pat. married seven years ago, but he and Betsey have been out before, this being the annual suit between the parties for divorce.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 12, 1880.
THE BOLTON DEBATE. DISTRICT 96, May 8, 1880. The challenge debate, as per previous announcement, took place in the Guthrie schoolhouse in Bolton township, Friday evening, May 7, 1880, with J. D. Guthrie as chairman. The question for discussion was: “Resolved, That the existence of vigilance committees is morally wrong and should be abolished.” The affirmative was opened by J. W. Brown, assisted by Mr. Clark. The opposing orators were Messrs. D. P. Marshall and W. J. Conaway. The honorable judges, S. J. Gilbert and P. H. Somers, after patiently listening to the able arguments on both sides, and witnessing many gymnastic feats in the way of gestures—not to mention the fact of the speakers, which tied themselves into all imaginable knots—decided that the knights of the affirmative had wrestled and twisted rather neatly, and gave their verdict accordingly. It will be remembered that this same question was argued about four weeks ago by the same parties, at which time the judges, Messrs. Linton, Watts, and Berkey, decided in favor of the negative. The debate was replete with rich and racy incidents, and those who were not present missed a rare treat. J. R. C.
Arkansas City Traveler, June 13, 1883.
Old Soldiers of Bolton. The following list of our soldiers of Bolton Township were furnished us for publication by Gus Lorry, trustee of that township.
P. H. Somers, private, Co. K, 5th Pennsylvania Reserve.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, February 14, 1885.
The members of the Lyceum at Mowry’s schoolhouse are having excellent debates and splendid entertainments. The Lyceum is thriving. Chas. Wing is president. They meet on Thursday evening of each week. At the meeting of last week Tariff and Free Trade was ably discussed. Last Thursday evening Woman’s Suffrage was presented pro and con. In our local last week concerning the Tariff debate, we said Al. Mowry resided in West Bolton. We meant Bolton. Al. says he is not the Conkling of that district; and that Pat Somers carries the honors we tried to thrust on Al.
Arkansas City Republican, April 4, 1885.
Notice Stockmen. S. P. U., of West Bolton, will meet at the Mercer schoolhouse, Friday evening, April 10th, to transact business of importance. All turn out.
By order of, P. H. SOMERS, Capt. Commanding.
Arkansas City Republican, December 12, 1885.
MARRIED. Our friend and subscriber, Patrick Somers, of Bolton Township, was united last Friday in marriage to Miss Jennie Daily, by Judge Gans at the probate judge’s office. May they live long and prosper.
Arkansas City Republican, March 13, 1886.
Stockmen Attention. S. P. U. of West Bolton you are requested to meet at the Mercer schoolhouse on Friday evening, March 26th, to transact business of importance by order of P. H. SOMERS, Capt.
From Volume I.
The Arkansas City Weekly Traveler of July 7, 1898, had an article relative to Pat Somers.
“The Courier mentions that J. C. Evans’ fine driving horse walked backwards into a dry well at the creamery Sunday and was pulled out unhurt. This reminds us of a little ancient history of Cowley County. Pat Somers is not a superstitious man; neither is he a timid man as many old settlers will testify. In the frequent disturbances with the Osages when they were collecting $5 a head from us for the privilege of living here before the government declared ‘the thirty mile strip’ open, Pat could always be counted on, and his log cabin north of where the Chestnut avenue bridge is now, was the fort and arsenal on many threatening occasions.
“Pat Somers’ horse galloped into an old well over in Bolton township one stormy night, throwing Pat fifteen feet beyond; but when Pat got on his feet that dark night in Bolton township and found his horse had disappeared, he thought something unusual had happened. He made a circle and no horse could be seen. He got down on hands and knees and looked. Then he looked up in the clouds, but could see no Elijah affair going on up there. Then he gave a faint whistle and a still fainter call, ‘co-pee,’ but no response from the horse. Finally he heard a low moan, apparently from the bowels of the earth. Pat left. He didn’t exactly run, but he was in a hurry to consult someone. The light from a squatter’s shanty was sighted and a lantern procured; and later the horse was located. On the next day the horse was extracted all safe and sound. Pat acknowledged afterward that he thought the devil had him sure.”
DEATH OF P. H. SOMERS.
Well Known Farmer Succumbs to Stroke of Paralysis.
The Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Friday, June 25, 1915.
Patrick Henry Somers, one of the best known residents of Cowley County, passed away at 11:20 o’clock this morning in a local hospital, having succumbed to paralysis after an illness lasting just one week and a day. He was taken sick a week ago Thursday and on that day came to the city to consult a physician. He was admitted to a hospital that day and never became well enough to return to his home. He was better at times after that date, but a few days ago suffered a relapse and was stricken with apoplexy. He passed away quietly today with the members of his family all near him.
Funeral services are to be held tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock in the Catholic church of which the deceased was a member. Rev. Father Degnan will conduct the services and interment will take place in Mercer cemetery, near the family home.
P. H. Somers had been a resident of West Bolton for many years and was one of the best known farmers of this section of country. He owned a half section of land where he resided. He has been married twice, the present wife being Miss Mary Ellen Daily.
[Note: the 1901 Biographical Record showed “Daly.” I have corrected this. MAW]
The former wife now resides in Kansas City.
Patrick H. Somers was the father of twelve children, eight of whom survive him. They are W. R. Somers, of Braham, Oklahoma; Mrs. L. A. Monahan, of Newton; Chas. A., Elizabeth, Roscoe, Mable, Katherine, and Patrick Henry, Jr., all of Arkansas City. They are all here to attend the funeral services. The youngest son, Patrick Henry Somers, Jr., is four years of age.
Mr. Somers was born in county Wexford, Ireland, and came to the United States when he was seven years old. He was seventy-five years of age last February.
He came to Kansas from Idaho in 1869, first landing in Cottonwood Falls. From that place he walked to Arkansas City. His first claim was located just north and east of the city, where the Yost Yeast factory was later erected.
Since coming here he had resided in this immediate vicinity with the exception of a few years spent near Ponca City.
Mr. Somers was a self-educated man and he was well posted on all the items of interest. He was keen of understanding and took great interest in county, state, and national affairs.
Last winter at the commercial club’s old settlers luncheon here, he gave one of the most interesting addresses ever heard by the local men who attended that affair.
He was a veteran of the civil war, having served in Company K, Fifth Pennsylvania Reserves. He was shot in the leg at the battle of Antietam and served his country well.
In his death the community loses a good citizen and a noble character. The bereaved relatives have the sympathy of a large circle of friends in and around Arkansas City.