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Rev. John Wesley McCamy

Arkansas City Traveler, November 30, 1881.
Mr. J. W. McCamy, now a resident of our city, who is in charge of the Salt City mission under the auspices of the United Brethren church, called upon us on Monday last. He informed us that a protracted meeting was commenced last Sabbath evening in the Theaker Schoolhouse and will be kept up for at least two weeks. Quarterly meeting will be held at that place on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4th and 5th, with Rev. Lee as presiding elder. An invitation is extended to all to attend and participate.
The above item prompted a search for Rev. McCamy.
Rev. John Wesley McCamy preached in Sedan, Cedar Vale, and Winfield, Kansas, before his arrival in Arkansas City.
From data compiled by Alberta Rowe McChesney for the Cowley Genealogical Society, Arkansas City, Kansas, “McCamy” and “McCamey” is found in Cowley County. The following statement was made relative to residents.
“A head count of Residents 21 & Over was enumerated over a period of several years by Cowley County officials. Years for each township vary from 1873 thru 1882. Copied from the original ledger books of Cowley County, Kansas.”
Cedar Township, 1873: McCamey, S. J., age 38; wife, McCamey,      R., age not given.
Cedar Township, 1875: McCamey, S. G., age 38; wife, McCamey, N. R., age 27.
Cedar Township, 1877: McCamey, S. J., age 39; wife, McCamey, N. R., age 28.
Cedar Township, 1878: McCamy, S. J., age 40; wife, McCamey, N. R., page 28.
Cedar Township, 1879: McCamy, S. J., age 42, wife, McCamey, N. R., page 30.
Cedar Township, 1880: McCamey, John N., age 38; wife, McCamey, Katherine, age 22.
Instead of John N. McCamey (last entry for Cedar Township), it appears that the proper name for this entry should be John W. (Wesley) McCamy, age 38; wife, Mary Catherine (Wilson) McCamy, age 22.
[It is unknown what relationship, if any, S. J. “McCamy” or “McCamey” had to John W. McCamy. It could be that he was a brother of John N., referred to later by family members as “Uncle Jesse.”]
                                                JOHN WESLEY McCAMY.
John Wesley McCamy was born on March 12, 1842, in Farmland, Indiana, to Alfred and Anna McCamy. J. N. McCamy went to school in Muncie, Indiana. He became a teacher, staying at a boarding house near the school he taught, operated by a preacher. He married his first wife, “Serepta,” circa 1864, when he was 22 years of age. (Her last name is unknown.) They had a child, Daisy.
During the Civil War John Wesley McCamy was a chaplain, and was among the guards over Abraham Lincoln’s coffin, while it was in Indiana.
Circa 1872 John Wesley McCamy went to Missouri on a hunting trip with some companions. One of the party was his friend, Jack Poe. While they were sitting around a campfire one evening, a wildcat dropped from a tree, landed right in the fire, and went screeching off into the woods.

Rev. J. W. McCamy remained in Missouri for some time. When his first wife died, he married Mary Catherine Wilson on August 20, 1878,who was born in Nevada, Missouri, on October 22, 1858. They had the following children: Nellie Maud, born August 13, 1879, in Greenwood County, Kansas; Eva Lenore, born June 16, 1881, in Kansas; Sarah Lillie, born January 15, 1883, in Cowley County, Kansas; William Albert, born September 11, 1884, in Chautauqua County, Kansas; Alfred James, born September 23, 1886, in Chautauqua County, Kansas; Rose Ruth, born March 24, 1889, in Chautauqua County, Kansas; and twins (Bessie May and Jesse Ray), born near Pawnee, Indian Territory, February 7, 1892; Benjamin Samuel, born in Blackburn, Indian Territory, April 16, 1896; and Elmer Delaplain, born in Blackburn, Indian Territory, May 4, 1898.
Mr. Calvin S. McCamy of Wappingers Falls, New York, is a descendant of Rev. John Wesley McCamy. His father was Benjamin Samuel McCamy.
From C. S. McCamy we learn that Rev. McCamy participated in the land rush into Oklahoma in 1889 and that his daughter, Daisy, drove a second wagon. Both staked claims. One of their friends broke a wagon wheel early in the day and was unable to complete his run. Rev. McCamy gave Daisy’s claim to this gentleman. (Years later “Madam Rumor” intimated that the land first claimed by Daisy and given to Rev. McCamy’s friend spouted a vast fortune in oil.)
Rev. McCamy’s brother, Bert, grew up with a wavy head of hair, and told his relatives about being “scalped” by his own mother in the early 1890s when Rev. McCamy was running a ferry across the Arkansas river in Oklahoma, and was on the far side of the river.
A whooping band of Osage Indians circled the McCamy residence. Mrs. McCamy bolted the door and told the children to be quiet. There came a knock at the door and she opened the peephole. An Indian told her the chief had died and they wanted a scalp to put on his grave. She told him to wait right there. She then made Bert stand still and took Rev. McCamy’s razor and proceeded to shave his hair off. Both were very shaky and as a result, she nicked Bert a few times. She tied the hair together, sopped off the blood, and handed the “scalp” to the brave, who put it on the end of a spear. The party circled the house a few times and then headed for the hills. Soon after Rev. McCamy returned and found his family cowering in a corner and sobbing. Through a crack in the wall, they saw the Indians bury the chief on the top of a nearby hill. Rev. McCamy warned his children never to go near that hill.
[Note: The Indian tribe to which these individuals belonged was not designated.]
Bert McCamy settled in Ft. Worth, Texas in the 1930s. He related that he revisited the old homestead in Oklahoma soon after he settled in Texas. He learned that the old house still existed and was informed by the present occupant that there was an Indian mound up on the hill. The farmer considered the soil worthless in that area and never went up there. He gave Bert a spade so that he could investigate the mound. Bert uncovered some arrowheads and other trinkets that had been buried with the chief. Bert McCamy shared his souvenirs with his relatives. Calvin S. McCamy received a small silver ring containing a white stone. He kept this ring on a key chain with other items while at North Dakota Agricultural College in 1943. His fraternity brothers joked that he would marry any girl who could get the little ring on her finger. It turned out that it fit the hand of his future wife perfectly. He married Mabel Alice Bellerud November 4, 1945. They have three children: Susan, Nicholas, Carter.

Substituting hair for scalps became a custom among Osage mourning parties about the time Che-to-pah, Chief Counselor of the Osage tribe, passed away in January 1877. It is quite possible that the Indians referred to were Osage Indians.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 22, 1877. Front Page.
                       PAWNEE AGENCY, INDIAN TERRITORY, July 20th, 1877.
Dr. W. McKay Dougan:
I found so much work awaiting me here, that it has been impossible to fulfill my promise sooner. However, the facts connected with the meeting of Alexander, Broome, and Walton, with a party of Osages, on Gray Horse Creek, June 19th, are as follows.
Upon approaching the creek, they were startled by yells and running horses from the rear, and were at once surrounded by a dozen Indians, who were mounted, armed, and painted.
They produced a trade dollar of Dunlap & Florer’s, and from signs made the whites understood that they wanted to trade it for hair. It was thought best to comply, under the circumstances, and Harry Broome, for and in consideration of the dollar check, allowed them to cut from his head a lock of hair.
The Indians were now satisfied and left while the whites crossed the creek and stopped for dinner. While in camp they discovered an Indian on a bluff in the distance, who seemed to be signaling someone on the opposite side of the stream, and as they were about resuming their journey, they were again approached by Indians; this time three in number. This party was unarmed, and one of the number spoke tolerable good English. They were talkative and said a large party of Osages were mourn­ing the death of a chief. They also stated that they were poor and had no money, but that they, too, wanted some hair,  so that they could have a dance that evening. Broome was asked to furnish the article.
They objected to Alexander’s hair upon the ground that it bore too close a resemblance to the hair of the horse and Walton was in no trouble as his hair was too short to admit of a close cut. I have written a faithful account of the affair as detailed to me by one of the party, in whose word I place implicit confidence. Very cordially, S. MATLACK.
Arkansas City Traveler, December 14, 1881. Editorial Page.
Big Chief, for fifteen years the head chief of the Osages, under Governor Joe, took his departure for the Happy hunting grounds on Dec. 1st, 1881. He was in every sense of the term a good Indian and his influence upon the members of his tribe had been most salutary for many years past. No stronger proof of his having overcome the superstitions of his race is needed than when visited on his deathbed by his Indian friends he particularly requested that no scalp be taken for him and not even a mourning party be sent out, thus verifying in a singular manner the appro­priateness of his Indian name, “Che-sho-hun-kah” or the “Peace clan.” He will long be missed in the councils of his tribe.
Mr. Calvin S. McCamy, who has furnished the above information about his family, is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. An optics scientist, Mr. McCamy retired on January 1, 1990, after a distinguished career in color measurement and control instrumentation. He recently discovered an optical illusion, based on the organization of the retina and optic nerve, which causes people to see black where it is actually vivid blue and to see vivid blue where it is actually black.


Arkansas City Traveler, April 19, 1876.
There will be a meeting of the United Brethren, at Theaker’s schoolhouse on the 29th of this month, at eleven o’clock, a.m.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 14, 1877.
REVIVAL. Revs. Taylor, a Baptist, Broadbent of the Chris­tian Church, and McCue of the United Brethren have been holding a series of meetings for three weeks at the Theaker schoolhouse, with good success—fifteen having embraced the faith.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 28, 1877.
                                                  BOLTON, March 22, 1877.
Revs. Kerr, McCune, Taylor, and McCue, assisted by Revs. Broadbent and Herbert, have been holding a protracted meeting in the Theaker schoolhouse during the last four weeks. There were over twenty converts.
Winfield Courier, December 20, 1877.
                                                          West Bolton Items.
                                                        December 17, 1877.
EDITOR COURIER: We ask space in your columns for a few items.
As spiritual matters should first claim our attention, we will state that a protracted meeting has for the last ten days been in progress at Salt City. It was initiated and has been conducted most of the time by the Rev. J. J. Broadbent. Judge Gans, of your city, preached to a full and attentive house last Sunday. A considerable interest is manifested and the meeting will continue during the present week.
At Theaker’s schoolhouse, district thirty-six, Rev. McHugh, of the United Brethren, begins a series of meetings tonight. Their quarterly meeting occurs next Saturday and Sabbath. A Sabbath school has been maintained at each of these places during the season.
The little folks will have a good time on Christmas Eve. With other attractions there will be a Christmas tree laden with a present for each child in the vicinity.
We have quite an interesting school in this place. The term closes about the middle of February.
Arkansas City Traveler, July 26, 1882.
We call attention to the announcement in this issue of the name of Rev. P. B. Lee, of Vernon Township, as a candidate for the office of Probate Judge, subject to the action of the Repub­lican Convention. Mr. Lee is a man who has been well known in the annals of Cowley County for several years past, is fully qualified for the office his friends have announced him for, and if elected we have his assurance that he would leave no stone unturned to faithfully discharge all duties devolving upon him.

Arkansas City Traveler, January 7, 1880.
Notice is hereby given that I will settle with and audit the accounts of the Township Treasurer, and all the supervisors in this Township at Theaker School House, District No. 36, on Thursday, the 8th day of January, 1880, a.m.

                                      J. M. SAMPLE, Trustee of Bolton Township.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 11, 1880.
Next Tuesday evening, August 17, the citizens of Bolton township are requested to meet at the Theaker schoolhouse for the purpose of organizing a township temperance society. Mr. P. B. Lee, of Vernon Township, an active worker in the cause of temperance, will be there to address the meeting. A general turnout from all parts of the township is looked for and confi­dently expected.

Arkansas City Traveler, June 29, 1881.
Miss Susie Hunt and Miss Mary Theaker, two of our city’s young ladies, have returned to town; the one has just conducted a term of school in the Mercer district and the other a term in the Theaker district, both in West Bolton. In their chosen avocation they are earnest and efficient workers, and leave their several districts the better for their stay. Would we could say the same for a certain other district, a little nearer home.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum