Friday, February 28, 2014

Quivira Cabin

The museum recently received a very nice pen and ink drawing of the Quivira cabin in memory of Harold Rohrer a lifelong Geary County resident by his son Hugh Rohrer MD. On the back of the drawing is an article from the Daily Journal of October 12, 1936 which gives the history of the cabin.

  Many old time residents of Geary County remember the cabin was located in Logan’s Grove just outside Junction City. This area was believed to be a Native American camping ground. It became a popular stopping place for travelers to rest and learn a little history about the area. According to the Daily Journal article the sign “Quivira” was mounted over the door by the landowner, Robert Henderson and archaeologist J.V. Brower. They believed that the grove was the northern boundary of the land occupied by the Quivira tribe.
The log cabin was most likely built by a trapper or hunter wintering in this area. An article from the June 3, 1920 Union newspaper claims that it is the first cabin built in this area. In 1853 a Mr. Shivvers discovered it while out hunting. Acquiring “squatter’s rights” to the cabin he sold it two years later to Captain Henderson.
 After being discharged from the army Henderson and his bride made it home until they later built a home in town. At different times the cabin has served the area "as a fort, a church, a schoolhouse, a political meeting place, a mortuary and a residence.”
The grove is named after General John A. Logan who was a close personal friend of Henderson’s.
Many local residents remember a granite monument that was erected on the property in 1902 to honor the Quivira Historical Society. This monument was later moved to Coronado Park.
 J. V. Brower was the President of the society. His discoveries of artifacts at the site led him to claim that Francisco Vasquex de Coronado reached the junction of the Smoky and Republican rivers and actually camped at the site of Logan’s Grove. Burial sites believed to be Native American were also found by the two of the Henderson boys on a hilltop near the site.     
In 1935 the property was bought by the Earl C. Gormley Post 45 of the American Legion for the purpose of preserving this historic landmark. The site was, for many years, used as a picnic place and a general get together place for social events.  

This pen and ink drawing is a wonderful addition to our collection. Especially since the cabin is no longer standing after being swept away by the 1951 flood. As we researched it further we learned that it has even more intrinsic value because it was done by a Kansas artist by the name of Margaret Whittmore.
Margaret was born in Topeka Kansas on September 7, 1897. She graduated from Washburn University in 1919, and later studied graphic arts at the Art Institute of Chicago and Taos Art Colony in New Mexico.
Margaret was very talented and went on to have careers as a writer, graphic artist, illustrator, and block printer. At one time she worked as an artist in the Works Progress Administration museum extension program. One of her projects was to create a series of prints depicting Kansas landmarks.
Her diverse skills led to work in a variety of different jobs. At one time she worked as a drafter for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Her love of Kansas led her to publish a series of sketches of early Kansas landmarks in Sunday issues of the 1936 Topeka Daily Capital. She would publish accompanying histories of the landmarks. Later she published the book, Historic Kansas: A Centenary Sketchbook. She must have had a love of books because she worked for libraries in Clay Center, Wichita, and Topeka. She also worked for the University of Kansas and the Kansas Historical Society.
In 1952 she moved from Topeka to Kissimmee, Florida. She passed away in Sarasota Florida on November 24, 1983.