Archive for Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Letter: Much has changed

December 28, 2005

To the Editor:

My family dates back to one of the 52 signers of the incorporation papers of the city of Shawnee (papers still on file at the Johnson County court house) -- William Maupin. A copy was published many years ago, and I believe I still have that clipping. But it was just a list -- not a photocopy of the actual incorporation paper on file in Olathe. A photo of that legal document would be interesting to me and, perhaps, to others as well.

One of the photos of the upcoming calendar is the "Bousman house." My grandmother was Ida Bousman. She grew up in that house. I believe that house on the east side of the town square is now a retail shop and has been owned by one of my cousins, Ruth Heaton of Merriam, for many years. Homer Bousman, my late great uncle, was a barber and had a barber shop there or in an adjacent building. He lived above the building for years until he and my late great aunt (neither ever married) built a home in about 1915 on the northeast corner of 59th street and Bluejacket. When the depression arrived, my grandfather and grandmother and their many children (my mother being among them) moved in with them and then took over ownership of the house when my great aunt and uncle passed away in the 1940's. The house has been restored and still stands. When I was very young, I remember being shown the original Bousman home that dated back to the Maupins (my grandmother's mother's father was William Maupin) west of Pflumm on 67th Street. It was not much more than a mud and straw shack. It is has been gone for many years. I believe my grandmother was born there in 1877, and the Bousman home pictured in the calendar was built not too many years after that. Moving from the shack I saw to the luxury of a "town home" must have been quite exciting for the Bousmans. There are still Bousmans in the area plus we are all pre-dated by those related to Chief Bluejacket.

I have let my activities in genealogy slip for some years so what I have is contained in a large plastic tub that hasn't been opened in years. I don't believe my family is locally famous for anything over the years other than, perhaps, dating further back in the history of Shawnee than any other settler family still living in the area. William Maupin (my great-great-grandfather) moved to Shawnee in about 1853 but the earliest date I was able to definitely confirm him being here is 1856 so the plaque in the settler memorial has 1856 on it. He had the first grist mill in Shawnee which, I believe, was located where the old Shawnee grade school was located (tennis courts are there now -- I went to school there as did my mother and many of my relatives now all passed on). Even though I'm only 58, I find it surprising that so many people consider me among the few who can relate some of Shawnee's history. Shawnee was a semi-rural "truck farm" town in 1947 with a population of 857 (per a town publication I still have) so the Shawnee then and the Shawnee now bear little similarity with each other. The best I can do is say where this used to be and where that used to be. And what my grandmother told me in her later years. I just wish I had listened better but at least I can still remember some of it. It seems Shawnee from the turn of the century to about 1955 changed little but began to change quickly in the late 50's. I suspect there are only a few dozen people still in Shawnee who were here in 1947 so the accelerated change Shawnee has experienced has left me feeling much older than I am. I drive through the center of "old Shawnee" and, in my mind, it is the town I grew up in but the memories are only in my mind. Otherwise, it is mostly just like any other modern town of today.

Gary Yantis


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