Haviland Pioneer Friends

This poem was written about the early settlers for the 70th Anniversary and Homecoming of Haviland Friends Church held November 3, 1955.


It was in the early eighties,

Long before this place was known,

That some Quakers with a pioneer spirit

Started out to seek a home.

They first came to Rose Hill, Kansas,

Where a new Friends Meeting stood;

But the prairie called them onward

To a country fair and good.

So they wandered through the valleys,

Up the hills and o'er the plains,

To a place so rich and fertile,

And the land was still unclaimed.

They had passed the mighty rivers

And the green forests left behind,

As the great and rolling prairie

Was the picture in their minds.

With an ox team or some horses

To a prairie schooner, bold,

They were making for a promised land,

As Abraham did of old.

On they pushed toward the golden sunset,

Past all habitation known,

To the present sight of Haviland

Where they felt they should make a home.

Here they drove their stakes of fortune,

Turned some sod, a shanty to build;

Then they returned for their families,

With their hearts, thanksgiving filled.

Soon these sturdy pioneer Quakers

Reached their new homes in the west,

And on "First Day" as they called it,

They proclaimed a day of rest.

To a new unfinished building

On James Gulley's homestead, we,

On a bright Sabbath morning

Assembled ourselves as Friends should be.

Lindley Pitts, Benjamin Albertsons,

Gulleys, Picketts and Hodgins, too,

Met for worship, praise and singing,

As their custom was to do.

And in preachers we were not lacking,

For Lynn Pitts and Benjamin, too,

Preached and prayed with voices loud,

And very soon we had a crowd.

Until seventy men, women and children

In our old sod house convened,

And established this Monthly Meeting,

With God's blessing, it has seemed.

Many families now were coming,

Burnses, Binfords, the Woodward brothers,

Who were twins and so resembled

One could not be told from the other.

Nathan Browns and Paris Newlins,

With another set of twins;

While Bert Woodward and Date Asher

Soon made tracks their hearts to win.

Luther Hadleys, Daniel Ramseys,

Levi Coxes, with Homer dear;

Who'd have thought the fair-haired youngster

Would become our first pastor here?

Then the Caleb Davis family,

With a girl and boy, as twins again;

Instead of Liberty Monthly Meeting,

Twin Valley, I'd say it should have been.

Then came Frank and Elvira Parker,

And Reuben Eaton's family, too;

Williamsons with their line of groceries,

Which made it more convenient for you.

Jabe Hall, Gurney Mills and Vern Parnell,

Young bachelors, we remember well;

But such they did not long remain,

For with fair maids in love they fell.

Alva Gulley with his fair young bride,

Drove to church with an ox team slow;

And the Caldwell family carriage

In the old church picture shows.

We would not forget Will Willsons,

Amicks, Ishams, and many more;

How their faces come before us,

And we'd like to name them o'er.

Daniel Mills and Eliza, his helpmate,

With her sweet and saintly face;

Amanda Parnell, who is not with us,

No one else could fill her place.

Then, there came a great physician,

One who was known as Dr. Moon;

With his pill bag, cart and pony

He would reach you very soon.

And, there's the Zimri Thompson family,

To whom all hearts with pity turned,

For their home and all they had,

In the great prairie fire did burn.

A. K. Kemps and Stanton Woodards,

Charley Hodgins and Lancasters, too;

Isaac and Delphina Lawrence,

Oh, we surely must name you.

For these a large sod church was built,

And people came from many a mile,

Until all the seats were taken

And the children filled the aisle.

God was present in those meetings,

And our hearts with praise did rise,

As in songs our voices lifted

To our God beyond the skies.

All were happy on the prairie,

For we were on a common plain;

Each was his brother's keeper,

And life was not lived in vain.

Many were the great revivals,

Like a prairie fire they swept the plains;

And those who knew not the Saviour,

Penitently called upon His name.

How we welcomed Stacy Bevan's family,

As they came with a caravan train

Of many mule teams and wagons,

From northeastern Iowa plain.

Like Abraham, often he journeyed

With Sarah, his wife by his side;

And many the poor family he aided

From his bins, whose doors opened wide.

And we must mention other preachers,

Margaret Binford and Nathan Brown;

And just a little later,

Isaac Woodards came to town.

Daniel Ramsey, James B. Gulley,

William Lawrence, Charles Scott,

Levi Cox and many others,

We have surely had a lot.

We must mention Gurney Binford,

Who in a far off mission land,

Has spent a life of loving service

For the heathen in Japan.

And, dear Versa, Lynn Pitts' daughter,

Who to far off China went,

To a dark and ignorant people,

With the gospel she was sent.

We'll not forget our pioneer mothers,

Much praise and honor to them is due;

They met privation and hardships bravely,

And always had a smile for you.

Their lives seemed a constant serving,

Either at home, or a neighbor near;

No day too cold or night too dark

To aid the suffering here.

I must mention my own dear mother,

Many the time her beacon light

Burned in the old sod's window,

To guide the traveler on a dark night.

Many the meals my parents have given,

Many the beds and pallets made down

But they are now exploring Heaven,

Wearing there a starry crown.

And may we the pioneer's children,

Buckle on the armour tight,

And push the battle to the gate,

Ere long it may be night.

by Mary (Albertson) Hockett

Daughter of B. H. Albertson, one of

Haviland's Founding Fathers

Pioneers who attended the Old Sod Church, and who still lived in Haviland at the time of the 70th anniversary were: Mrs. Capitola (Pyle) Lanier, Miss Nell Pyle, Mrs. Zora (Woodward) Pyle, Mrs. Madge (Woodward) Bevan, Mrs. Ada (Woodward) Kendall, Mrs. Etta Davis, Artie Bevan, Maggie (Albertson) Fankhauser and Mary (Albertson) Hockett.