NameFrancis Edward “Ed” Park 1
Birth7-31-1876, McDonough Co, IL
Death11-18-1938, White Cloud, Doniphan Co, KS Age: 62
BurialOlive Branch Cemetery, White Cloud, Doniphan Co, KS
Birth3-4-1880, Antwerp, Paulding County, Ohio, USA
Death7-14-1949, St. Joseph, Buchanan Co, MO Age: 69
BurialOlive Branch Cemetery, White Cloud, Doniphan Co, KS
Marriage12-23-1896, White Cloud, Doniphan Co, KS
Notes for Francis Edward “Ed” Park
Ed was a noted collector and archeologist of Native American artifacts. He was a life-time member of both the Kansas and Nebraska State Historical Societies and a member of the International Society of Archeologists and Ethnologists. Among his discoveries was the Leary site between White Cloud and Rulo where the Nebraska Historical Society did considerable excavation in 1935 and which was mentioned in the journal of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His collection of artifacts was extensive.
Ed was a deacon of the White Cloud Community Church and served as Chairman of the Official Board. He was Democratic Precinct Committeeman. He served 25 years as a member of the Arnold School Board. He was a Mason and member of the Modern Woodmen.
He ran as a Democratic candidate for Sheriff of Doniphan County, Kansas but did not win. Ed was a farmer.
——————————Francis Edward "Ed" Park was born to Francis Marion Park and Margaret Elizabeth (Crane) Park on 31 July 1876 in McDonough County, Illinois. His family moved by covered wagon to Kansas in 1885, and they endured many hardships to establish their lives on the Kansas prairie. On December 1896, Edward married Samantha Ellen Hawkins. Together, they raised five sons, including:
Benjamin Paul Park
Albert Lawrence Park Sr.
Samuel Asa Park
Lovirus Edward "Bus" Park
George Woodrow "Woody" Park
The family made their home on a farm near White Cloud, Kansas, which is located on the Missouri River in the extreme northeast corner of Kansas. Early in the twentieth century, there was a fair amount of commercial river traffic, which resulted in a small but rough transient element in town. Serving as a volunteer deputy sheriff when needed, Edward was periodically called upon to assist in keeping the peace. On one occasion, this service required his participation in a gun fight; fortunately, Edward was the winner. Eventually, he decided to run for the office of County Sheriff, but his bid was unsuccessful.
Edward was a farmer by trade, but an archaeologist by heart. He began his involvement with locating and recovering Indian artifacts as a boy; his family kept finding evidence of past Indian culture as they plowed their fields, and this upheaval and sometimes resulting damage grieved him. That was when he sought out more information regarding how to properly uncover and store these artifacts. Over time, he became the "go to" man in White Cloud and surrounding areas, and he was invited to be an active participant in several important archaeological projects conducted within the state of Kansas. Edward's story proves that everyday people can not only view history at a museum, but they can also make their own contributions to the preservation of history through observation, independent learning, and volunteerism.
An article entitled "Historical Point Finally Settled" was written in the boisterous style that was common in the young State of Kansas in 1926. An argument had ensued between the State of Kansas and the State of Nebraska over "bragging rights" for the location of the first hoisting of the American flag west of the Mississippi. The exact location of the correct Pawnee Village was thought to be the key to accurately identifying that historic spot. Though not formally educated in archaeology, Edward and the much older M.E. Zimmerman were looked to as experts due to their extensive experience with recovering and studying artifacts. After careful study of all available evidence, they decided the argument in favor of the Kansas site.
The problem? They got it wrong. Years later, and with much more sophisticated methods than were available to Edward Park and M.E. Zimmerman, the historical point truly was settled... in favor of the Nebraska site!
Current-day archaeologists familiar with these events are quick to point out that the mistake was a fortuitous one. The Nebraska site had already seen heavy damage from tilling and agricultural activity prior to 1926. The Kansas site, however, had been protected from such damage because a philanthropist who believed it was the correct historic site had purchased the land and donated it to the State for preservation before much agricultural-related damage could occur. The portion of the site that was saved included 22 earth lodge depressions, numerous storage pit depressions, and remains of the fortification wall. Truly, this was an archaeological treasure! A museum operated by the State of Kansas now stands at this site, the Pawnee Indian Village Museum, and archaeological research conducted at the site continues to this day.
Edward became much more skilled in his craft, and he was called upon by the State Archaeologist to participate in several important digs in the years that followed, including extensive excavation and identification of artifacts at the Quivira Village in Rice County, Kansas. (Several chapters are devoted to this research, including photos and narrative by Edward, in Volume XVII of the Kansas Historical Collections.) Unfortunately, Edward died before major excavation had begun at the Pawnee Village site, so he never got to see it's full glory.
Edward died at only 62 years old, suffering a stroke at his home on 18 November 1938. His wife, Samantha Ellen Park, followed eleven years later. They are buried together in the cemetery at White Cloud, Doniphan County, Kansas.
To acknowledge the loss of a respected member of the community, The White Cloud Globe published the following article about Edward's life on 24 November 1938:
"Francis Edward Park, member of this community, died late Friday at his farm home south of town. He was Chairman of the White Cloud Community Church, Democratic Precinct Chairman, and an able student and collector of Indian artifacts. He had been recognized by many universities and historical societies for the latter, and had assisted several of the archeological expeditions which excavated Indian village sites near this community.
Mr. Park was credited with the discovery of the Leary Site between White Cloud and Rulo, where the Nebraska Historical Society did considerable excavating in 1935 and which was mentioned in the Journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Mr. Park established the approximate boundaries of the village, which apparently had been inhabited by various ages of Indians and which covered approximately 120 acres, one of the largest prehistoric Indian villages in the Middle West.
His collection of Indian artifacts included hundreds of perfect axes, thousands of arrowheads and spearheads, and large Quantities of beads, wampum, fetishes, and domestic implements. One of his discoveries, made on the farm on which he lived, was the single grave of a prehistoric man, buried under a limestone arch and said to be of a type of architecture peculiar to Wales. Another time he discovered a burial vault which contained over 24 skeletons.
Mr. Park was an affable man and liked nothing better than to spend hours showing his collection to friends and lecturing on the subject. Numerous news stories had been written about him. He possessed the largest collection of Stone Age relics in the Middle West according to an article published in the Kansas City Star in 1936.
Mr. Park was a life member of the Nebraska State Historical Society, a member of the Kansas State Historical Society, and a member of the International Society of Archaeologists and Ethnologists.
As a young man, he was converted and spent the rest of his life as a faithful and devout Christian. He was Superintendent of Arnold Sunday School for a number of years. Later he transferred his membership to the Community Church at White Cloud, where he served as Chairman of the Official Board, a Deacon in the Church, and teacher of the Men's Bible Class. He was a member of White Cloud Masonic Lodge No. 78, He served as a member of the Arnold School Board for 25 years. He was a member of the Modern Woodmen of the World and served as Clerk for a number of years."
The bulk of Edward's collection of Indian artifacts was donated by his family to a public museum in the 1960's, in the hope of allowing his collection to be viewed and enjoyed by all.
Biography written by Evelyn Park Blalock, with some information provided by Donald Edward Park (1934-2014). Please do not publish elsewhere without providing full and proper credit. Thank you. 6
Notes for Samantha Ellen (Spouse 1)
Was raised by her aunt Jane Sines Bell and her husband Lavirus after her mother died when she was two from TB.
May have had several miscarriages explaining the large age gap between sons.