Once T.A. returned to Deer Creek, from the Civil War, his married life truly began. He and Caroline Decker McLeland began married life as farmers on the rolling prairies of SW Kansas. Over the next 20 years, they had 8 children and buried 3 as infants. Life was not easy for them but they got by. Surviving letters from Caroline are full of ill health, family moving away and weather trouble.
As the surviving McLeland children grew up one by one, they moved away from Allen County, mirroring the migratory ways of the country around them.
Joanna, the oldest married Henry Clay Taylor and began a rootless life as the wife of a salesman. The Taylors lived in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair and some of the McLeland’s visited them and went to the Great White City. Sarah Jane McLeland spend considerable time with her older sister, helping her through illnesses and other family trials
James Riland McLeland, their oldest son was born on a family trip back to Frankfort Indiana. He is most likely named after his paternal great grand parents – John McLeland and Jane Rulon/Rulond/Riland. James was the first of the family to attend school past the local upper school. A graduate of the Kansas City Dental College he moved to Pleasanton, Linn County, KS where he put down roots. He married Nellie Valentine Whitman, daughter of a respected Pleasanton pioneer and merchant. After the birth of his first son, George, J.R. became mayor of Pleasanton. He was mayor when his mother Caroline died in 1912. The Pleasanton newspaper printed her obituary with the headline, Mayor’s Mother Passes.
Sarah Jane McLeland, T.A.’s second daughter never married. For a number of years she filled the traditional role of spinster sisters and unmarried daughters. Moving around the family residences she took care of sick family members and kept house for unmarried brothers. But at some point , Sarah went to Secretarial College and became a career woman. She worked as an Executive Secretary for Berlesser and Isaacs in Kansas City until her retirement in the 1950s.
Thomas Albert McLeland – T.A. jr. married a local girl and settled into Iola Kansas, not far from his parents but not on the family farm. T.A. jr andGeneviere, his wife had two daughters Lucille and Winifred spent their entire lives in the Iola area.
The youngest surviving son, Benjamin Clifford McLeland, B.C. moved from Allen County to other Kansas counties and then spent some time in Oklahoma. He apparently spent the last several years of his life in New Mexico. His life is hard to trace. Bsed on the meager evidence of family photos and census entries he worked in the early oil business and then for a railroad. B.C. and his wife, Bertha had two children, Rollo and /Augusta and adopted a second daughter Jesse Young. I have been completely unable to trace Rollo after his induction into the Navy in 1920. Austa apparently died quite young. Jesse married late in life and died in Texas where her husband worked in the oil industry.
Once their children had moved away T.A. and Caroline moved into the “city” of Kansas City, KS and Thomas went to work for the Federal Government. He was 59 when he began his second career as a government employee. In 1894, he was a tagger for the Department of Agriculture. By 1907 at age 70 he was a stock inspector making $1200 per year. I know his salary because it was published in the Annual reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1906. Report of the Secretary of Agriculture. Departmental reports.
Caroline Decker McLeland died in 1912 with her oldest son and youngest daughter by her side. T.A. worked for the Department of Agriculure until shortly before his death in 1917 at the age of 82. During their lifetimes, the telegraph, railroad, automobile, telephone, residential gas and electrical service and early telephone service were all introduced to the world. I know that they traveled by train, electrified their home in Kansas City and sent at least 1 telegraph. T.A. and Caroline were ordinary people who were also swimmers in the fast rushing tide of history. I am proud to be their descendent.
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