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Cyrus K. Holliday diary

Cyrus K. Holliday diary
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: November - December, 1854
In this diary, Cyrus K. Holliday records his trip to Kansas Territory and his first impressions. Upon arrival in the territory, he stayed in Lawrence where he purchased interests in the town. Holliday makes several references to the first Congressional election and the three candidates. On December 6, he reported that he was the claimant to a new city site [probably Topeka], and Holliday was chosen president. The diary entries begin at the back of the booklet and proceed in reverse order (from right page to left page) toward the front. It is not always clear what the date is. For example, there is an entry for November 7 on pages 9 and 10 but the first date listed on page 4 is November 8. A complete, searchable transcription is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


Cyrus K. Holliday to Mary Holliday

Cyrus K. Holliday to Mary Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: October 19, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday writes from Monongahela House in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. John C. Fremont had lost the state election, and Cyrus hopes to bolster support by speaking in the counties along the way to Philadelphia. Cyrus has met Judge Church, D. A. Finney, and J. W. Farrelly from northwestern Pennsylvania. Cyrus decides that Mary and their daughter proabably would not go to Kansas Territory that fall.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Alfred and Edgar Huidekoper

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Alfred and Edgar Huidekoper
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: September 20, 1858
Cyrus K. Holliday, founder and prominent citizen of Topeka, Kansas Territory, wrote to Alfred Huidekoper and Edgar Huidekoper, old associates from Meadville, Pennsylvania, to tell them of investment opportunities. He described rural claims, Town Act investments, and loans. He gave examples of large returns, including those gained by former governor Andrew H. Reeder. The time was ripe since Kansas' free statehood seemed certain, the land was titled, securities were assured, and financial difficulties had left some land and property owners with no option but to sell sacrificially. Holliday also confirmed the discovery of gold in western Kansas Territory (now Colorado).


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: January 28, 1861
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from La Porte, Indiana to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Topeka, Kansas Territory. On his way to Washington, D. C. he planned to collect a debt. A friend had given him railway passes to Pittsburgh. The contrast between the quality of life in the northern states and Kansas Territory saddened Cyrus, who quoted a verse. He gave instructions to Mary concerning the livestock and farmland. In a postscript, he emphasized that she save the eyes of potatoes.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: January 27, 1861
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote to Mary from Chicago, Illinois, one stop along his journey to Washington, D. C. where he would lobby Congress for assistance with the Atchison and Topeka Railroad. He gave details of his journey and mentioned several people he had or planned to visit en route to Washington. Kansas Territory was suffering an especially severe winter.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: March 31, 1859
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, who had returned to Meadville, Pennsylvania to give birth to their second child, Charles. Cyrus had been joined in Kansas Territory by his mother and two brothers, James T. and George K. Holliday. Cyrus sadly told of his mother's death at George's home in Wakarusa, Kansas Territory. He suggested that Mary wait to return to Topeka until May 1st, when Alfred Huidekoper of Meadville would issue him a loan. Cyrus also mentioned his political aspirations and two upcoming elections, the first at the Osawatomie Republican Convention, the second for delegates to the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: February 6, 1859
Cyrus K. Holliday, soon to return to Topeka after a productive territorial legislative session in Lawrence, wrote to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He wrote about a festival held at the Eldridge House, and reported on several other incidents of note: the arrest of John W. Doy, captured by Missourians while helping former slaves travel to Iowa; John Brown's avoidance of capture by [John P.] Woods (at the Battle of the Spurs on January 31, 1859); and Charles Fischer's escape after being twice arrested as "a fugitive slave." Holliday also wrote that the legislature had passed and Governor Samuel Medary would approve a bill granting Josephine Branscomb a divorce. Despite Holliday's efforts, the constitutional convention would be held at Wyandotte in July. He had refused [Alfred L.] Winans' request for a recommendation.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: January 30, 1859
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, who, accompanied by Mrs. Edward C. K. Garvey, had returned to Meadville, Pennsylvania to give birth to her second child. Meanwhile, Cyrus Holliday (who was Vice President of the upper territorial legislative body, the Council) had passed four bills, including one establishing Topeka as the Shawnee county seat. He bought new clothes for the session, since Lawrence had become more refined, with a new hotel. Holliday mentioned emigration to Pikes Peak, the Topeka bridge, trouble in L[i]nn county, and meeting three women, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. [Robert] Morrow, and Mrs. O'Donell (possibly Mrs. William O'Donnall) in Lawrence. He proposed that Liz, Mary Holliday's younger sister, return with her.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: July 14, 1859
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from the Wyandotte Convention to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. His efforts to ensure that Topeka would be the capital of Kansas Territory had set back his personal political career (territorially and nationally, that is; he had recently been elected mayor of Topeka). Cyrus anxiously awaited the return of Mary and their children, Lillie and newborn Charles.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: December 6, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote briefly from Free State Headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, describing the number and location of surrounding Proslavery forces and of Free State forces gathered in Lawrence. Cyrus had been working for peace, but was prepared to fight in a shortly expected attack.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: December 31, 1854
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He described living conditions in Topeka. Holliday expressed his intent to write to Mr. McFarland and his thanks for letters recently received. He mentioned Samuel Y. Lum, a Congregational minister, who was sleeping in his cabin. He also mentioned his presidency with the Topeka Town Association, agency with the New England Emigrant Aid Company, and his own business. Finally, Holliday expressed hopes of a sawmill and referred to the possibility of trouble with Missourians. A few lines have been cut and removed from the lower part of pages 7 and 8.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: June 9, 1856
Writing from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Cyrus K. Holliday repeated his previous letter's instructions that neither she nor Mr. Nichols come to Kansas Territory until he wrote again. He mentioned turmoil in district courts and described the positions and numbers of Proslavery forces under General John W. Whitfield and Free-State forces. Colonel Edwin V. Sumner and his federal troops from Fort Leavenworth were attempting to maintain peace.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: June 1, 1856
Having long wished to be joined in Topeka, Kansas Territory by his wife, Mary Holliday, and daughter, Lillie, Cyrus K. Holliday instructed them not to leave Meadville, Pennsylvania, until he wrote again. Alarmed by recent killings, arrests, and home evictions of free state men, Cyrus, usually optimistic, foresaw continued unrest. He also mentioned receiving money Mary had sent. In a post script, he emphasized that their journey was necessarily, though undesirably, delayed.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: May 15, 1856
Expecting a clash between free state and proslavery forces at Lawrence, Kansas Territory, Cyrus K. Holliday wrote last instructions to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Despite the threat of violence, Mary was to travel to Topeka, K. T. with Mr. Nichols, where Cyrus had traded shares to Milton C. Dickey for a house. He told her of a debt to E. S. Dexter of Massachusetts and a share in Centropolis, established that year in Franklin County. While emphasizing business matters, Cyrus did not neglect to express his love.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: March 30, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote on a stormy day in Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Mary was finally to leave for K. T. on May 1st, provided Cyrus did not come to Meadville before she left. He suggested that she travel with Mr. Randolph, Mr. Thickstun, or Mrs. Nichols. He also requested money drafts drawn from well known banks to ease selling them.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: February 26, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday reported an uncertain peace from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. President Franklin Pierce's January 24th announcement had commanded assemblies organized against the constitutional territorial government to disperse, and whether Missourians would carry out a threatened attack at the March 4th meeting in Topeka was unknown. Cyrus hoped to visit Meadville and sent a message to Professor Hammett. He also told Mary of his commission as Brigadier General of the Free State military.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: February 4, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from bitterly cold Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Fearing an attack by the Missourians on March 4th, the day the Free State Legislature was to meet in Topeka, he advised Mary to wait before traveling to K. T. with Lillie and Mrs. Nichols. Cyrus also requested northern newspapers.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: January 7, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday, reelected on the 6th for a third six-month term as president of the Topeka Town Association, wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He had been appointed to visit Washington by the Free State Executive Committee and nominated for territorial Secretary of State (losing in the January 15th election). Cyrus had received the money drafts Mary sent. He reported cold, stormy weather.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Date: December 13, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday, who had been appointed colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Kansas Troops, hoped that the Wakarusa War would be the last armed conflict in Kansas Territory. Writing from Free State Headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, he described the preparations of troops in Lawrence during the War. He told Mary of his receipt of a draft and the sale of a bond, and assured her that the boats to Kansas were still running.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: October 7, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday, founder of Topeka, Kansas Territory, advised his wife in Meadville, Pennsylvania concerning travel. He restated advice from his much longer letter of September 26th. He wrote of his nomination, yet to be confirmed by vote, as a delegate to the Topeka Constitutional Convention. Holliday decided to decline the editorship of The Kansas Freeman. He expressed sympathy for Lizzie Holliday, his wife's sister, and suggested boarding when Mary Holliday and their daughter Lillie arrived, as he had not yet built a house.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: September 26, 1855 - September 30, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote twelve pages from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Anxious to have her and their young daughter, Lillie, with him, and unable to come for them himself, Cyrus gave detailed business and travel instructions. He suggested that I. H. Lenhart go to New York to exchange their bonds for gold or bills from the State Bank of Missouri. Mary was to keep the money close and beware of thieves. He also gave instructions concerning route, railroads and steamboats, tickets, baggage, and escorts. Cyrus suggested that Mary travel with F. R. Foster of Spring Corners, Pennsylvania or an agent of an Express Company. Her safety and ease during the nine day journey was his main concern. (Mary and Lillie did not join Cyrus in Topeka until March 1857.)


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: September 10, 1855
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, in good health, though others in Topeka were ill. He wanted Mary to join him, but when and with whom were undecided. He foresaw accepting the editorship of The Kansas Freeman, founded by Edward C. K. Garvey, and acquiring a farm. To Cyrus' disappointment, not he but Governor Reeder was nominated as the Kansas Territory delegate to Congress. He closed by inquiring after Lizzie and friends in Meadville.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: November 18, 1854
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. This letter was to be delivered by Mr. Ingrams, and Holliday expressed the possibilities of following shortly or of staying in Lawrence to make business arrangements and put up a building in the spring. He expressed his delight in the country of Kansas and the site of a new city (not named, but likely Topeka). A Pennsylvania company of emigrants, unprepared for the journey and now suffering, had settled in Lawrence and Council Grove.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: December 10, 1854
Cyrus K. Holliday, founder of Topeka, Kansas Territory, wrote from "Up the River," Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, describing the difficult living conditions for him and the other men at the future site of Topeka, where they had been visited by Governor Andrew H. Reeder. Holliday assured his wife of his health and requested that she explain to Mr. Drew Lowry and Mr. McFarland in Pennsylvania why he had not written. He praised the beauty of the country and expressed his vision of its future, ending with a request that she write to him.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: December 17, 1854
Cyrus K. Holliday, the founder of Topeka, wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, mentioning difficulties but emphasizing his love for her and his desire that they be reunited soon. He compared the local landscape to the Italian countryside. Uncertain as to the time of his return, he wrote that he must stay to oversee business.


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