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NE Kansas
Olsburg Explorations
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History of the Carnahan Creek Area

Olsburg, KS 66520


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The history of Carnahan Creek, which is close to Olsburg, goes back to at least the year 1854. Among the first settlers were the Tilton’s. George Tilton once hauled freight from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley. His parent’s also lived around here.  Their first home was across the creek on the farm where the Gilbert Peterson’s now live. Arthur Tilton was a brother of George Tilton. He once owned some land that is now part of the Gilliford farm, but he sold it to Eliza and Seth Childs.  Arthur Tilton died in the Civil War.  Ernest and Stanley Weber of Olsburg are grandsons of George Tilton.

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Carnahan, Joseph and Martha came to Kansas from Pennsylvania in 1855.  Samuel’s son, Pollard, came next year in 1856.  Pollard and Joseph enlisted in the army at Marysville and served in the Civil War.  The first Samuel Carnahan died in 1874.  His son, Pollard, remained and his son, Samuel, lived on the creek his entire life.  Sam’s son, Herbert Carnahan, and families were removed from Carnahan Creek in 1958.  So the Carnahan’s were residents of the community for over 100 years.

Alexander Esdon and George Gilliford came to Carnahan Creek from Pennsylvania in 1867.  George Gilliford bought part of the present Gilliford farm in 1868.  Mr. Esdon owned a farm on Booth Creek.  His wife was a sister of George Gilliford which was his second marriage.  He had raised his first family in Vermont.  He had three daughters and two sons by his second marriage.  He has some descendants today by his first wife and none by his second one.

George King once lived on Carnahan Creek.  He was the great grandfather of Orel Glunt.  He was a veteran of the Civil War.

John Booth lived on the branch of Carnahan Creek known as Booth Creek and was an early settler.  His first wife was a Kershaw.

John Kershaw and family came from England in 1867.  They once lived in a ravine off of Booth Creek.  He was drowned in the river at Rocky Ford in 1868.

Another of the earlier settlers around was Josiah Hight who was also known as Cap Hight.  He was a bachelor.  He owned the farm where the Franklin Douglases now live.  He was born in New Hampshire.

The Alexander Fleming family were old time settlers around here.  Another family of early settlers were the Frances.

The first Samuel Carnahan was interested in getting the community started.  The Carnahan Creek schoolhouse was built in 1869 and the Carnahan Creek United Presbyterian Church was built in 1879.  Another schoolhouse was built in 1916 and the first Church burned in 1887 and was soon rebuilt.

One of the first ministers around here was a United Presbyterian named Rev. James P. Finney.  Rev. Walter P. Currie, who had been doing home mission work in Missouri, came with his wife and five children in a buckboard drawn by a single horse in the year 1872.  He was installed as pastor in 1876 and served until 1882.  He resided in the community until 1902 when he moved to Sterling, Kansas where he died.  Mrs. Chas. Gilliford was his daughter.  Other ministers served the Carnahan Creek Church as supply ministers.  One minister, Rev. A. M. Reed, served the Church and the United Presbyterian Church in Manhattan from 1916 to 1946.

John and Mary Springer came to Carnahan Creek in 1868.  She gave one acre ground where the United Presbyterian Church stands today.  They have a great many descendants living today.

The Wilson Wreath family came and lived in a ravine a good many years ago across the creek from where the Gilbert Petersons live.  Quite a few of the Wreath children were born there.

Naming the Civil War veterans that are buried in the Garrison-Carnahan Creek cemetery are:  George King, Franklin Glunt, John Minis, Billy Adkins, Wilson Wreath, William Grindal, Pollard Carnahan, O. S. Walker, George Springer, and James Harper.

World War I and II veterans in the cemetery are George Kristenson, Clarence Carnahan, Paul Carnahan, Paul Peterson, Earl Gregg, Amel Olson, Ernest Tilton, Raymond Tilton, Floyd Sites, August Wege, Lewis Thompson, and Delbert Inskeep.

The present Carnahan Creek U. P. Church quit having Church services by January, 1956.

The Harlings once owned the farm once owned by Earl Stoffer.  They were grandparents of Mrs. Orville Burtis.

The Carnahan Creek School District No. 27 was dissolved around 1949.  They had an auction and the schoolhouse and lot were sold to a private owner.

Charles Currie built and operated the first telephone system around Olsburg.  He lived on the farm where Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Ryan now live.  He moved to a farm near Manhattan in 1908 and sold the telephone system.

George Gilliford’s oldest son, Robert A. Gilliford, once taught school at Olsburg.  He later studied to be a doctor and went back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to practice medicine but was taken ill after a few years there and came back to Carnahan Creek where he died in 1919.

Grandfather Gilliford once had a place on his farm where he salted deer.  One Fall, a group of Indians came and camped there and they killed some deer and turkeys.

At one time, mail from Manhattan was delivered to the Gilliford house where it was distributed around in the community.  So the Gilliford house was then known as the Oak Grove post office.

In the wintertime on the Gilliford farm, they would go down to the creek and cut ice.  They would then haul it by team and wagon to Olsburg to sell.  Another task Grandfather Gilliford did was to get up at 4 a.m. and take a team with a wagon full of wood to Manhattan to sell.

The Tilton family once lived on the farm where the Robert Laflins now live.

Mrs. George Gilliford used to serve the community by acting as a midwife in delivering babies.

When the Tuttle Creek Dam was built, most of the graves from the Garrison Cemetery were transferred to the Carnahan Creek Cemetery.  That took place in the Fall of 1959.  There were around 175 graves.  The Garrison people received money from the government.  So the Church and cemetery were turned over to the Methodist Conference for upkeep and the interest from that money was to maintain principally the cemetery.  Every year, the Sunday before Decoration Day, the former Garrison people and friends meet at the Church building for their picnic.

Carnahan Creek was in the past sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania Avenue as a good many of the early settlers came from Pennsylvania. 

By Lester Gilliford 1980                

contact info
City of Olsburg - Jackie Cassel, City Clerk
PO Box 127 317 2nd Street
Olsburg, KS 66520
Phone: 785.468.3209
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