NOTE: It’s the birthday of two special women in our lives but I’m only writing about one per day. Today we’ll talk about Bart’s paternal great grandma, Ina Jane CAWYER PAGE. (Tomorrow we’ll talk about my paternal grandma, Audrey LARKIN DRAKE MITCHELL.) Also, I received a document in the mail today AND received two messages all of which I’d like to share with you so there will be at least one bonus blog post this week (probably on Wednesday). Look for it!


On this date in 1884, Ina Jane CAWYER PAGE was born in Litchfield, Crawford County, Kansas. Her mom and dad were David Alexander “Eleck” CAWYER (whom I wrote about here) and Mary Ann CASE CAWYER.

Photo courtesy of my husband’s Uncle Gerry. Photo is circa 1912-1913. George and Ina CAWYER PAGE’s family, left to right: Alex, George, Ina Jane holding Jess, Cecil Elzona (my husband’s grandmother) standing in front of Ina, Frank, Mary, and Arthur. Thanks to Uncle Gerry for both the photo and the identification of everyone in the photo. I have one more photo of Ina but I’ll be saving it for a post later this year.


When I asked my father-in-law, Bart, for his memories about his grandma Ina he chuckled. He said there was a spring down a steep hill from grandma’s [Ina’s] and the kids had to go down and get water. This was when she lived over by Zena, Delaware County, Oklahoma. He recalled a dipper they used to drink the water. He said you better not hold it on the bottom or she would get you! As a kid, when he went to her house he had to stay outside and keep himself occupied. He recalls that Ina was very strict. Ina raised her own tobacco. She chewed tobacco and also smoked it in a corn cob pipe.

An excellent specimen. Photo found on The Consecrated Eminence blog (a blog of The Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College; Amherst, Massachusetts).

You can make your own corn cob pipe. Here are one set of instructions found online at The Art of Manliness blog.

Bart Sr. remembers going fishing with Ina and using Ina’s cane pole. She would bait the pole for him with a worm and they would catch perch together.

Here is a cane fishing pole photo I found on Karen McClane’s ‘Sundays’ Pinterest board. You can make your own with instructions found at Howdyyadewit blog. You can learn the art of cane fishing at Wide Open Spaces’ website.


I want to go back and talk about the place Ina was born. At the time Ina was born, Litchfield was a coal mining town (with at least 9 mines in the 1880’s) and railroad station. You can still see the old Litchfield railroad sign. It’s faded but as of September 2014 when I took this photo, it was still there:

In 1883, about 500 loads of coal were being shipped out every day. (History of the State of Kansas, William G. Cutler, 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.) The original name of the town was Edwin. They had a post office under the name Edwin from January of 1878 through May of 1881. What the Kansas State Historical Society website won’t tell you (and what I only found out by studying old newspapers) is that the town name was changed to Carbon briefly. After that, the name officially changed to Litchfield and the post office carried on under the name Litchfield through July of 1903 at which point the town was not much of a town anymore and the post office was shut down. The name was changed from Carbon to Litchfield at the demand of the US Postal agency because the name Carbon conflicted with another town of a similar name. If you have a subscription to, look up the article about Litchfield in the 1 October 1903 edition of The Pittsburg Headlight (a Kansas paper)- page 3.

If you want to find Litchfield for yourself, you’ll need to look about 4 miles Northeast of Pittsburg, Kansas and follow the railroad. The old rail station sign I photographed (shown above) is found on 570th Avenue about ½ mile East of Free King’s Highway close to the railroad and next to a house. The GPS location is at approximately 37.440228,-94.661486. I say approximately because I know that day my cell reception wasn’t always good and I don’t remember if the location at the Litchfield rail station sign had reception or not. If it didn’t, this GPS location will get you close. If my phone was getting reception, then that GPS location will take you right there. If you do decide to visit Litchfield, don’t leave the Pittsburg area without eating at Chicken Mary’s or Chicken Annie’s. You won’t regret it!

Here’s an 1886 map of Litchfield found at Kansas Memory’s website.

Historic Map Works also has an interesting map of Litchfield, Kansas that I would recommend looking at.

Another close-up plat map view of Litchfield with land owners’ and mining companies’ names can be found at Rootsweb.

Photo is modified. Original can be found at Rootsweb.

Central Coal & Coke was one of the big mining operators in the Litchfield area. Here’s a photograph from Kansas City Stories’ website. You can go there to read about a big mining strike in 1893 and all the drama and trouble that accompanied that incident.

One final photo from Litchfield that I particularly like:

Photo was at FlickRiver but can no longer be found there. I located it in a Google image search. In the interest of credits, you can locate the photo at this weblink.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about Ina and her birthplace today. If you have any additional stories you’d like to share I’d love to hear them. If you have photos, I hope you’ll share them.

Until tomorrow,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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