The Life of Reverend J.C. Post

an autobiography

I was born in Montpelier, Vermont, April 20, 1814, three months after my father's death. My father was a wealthy manufacturer up to within four days of his death, when everything was destroyed by fire. In 1816, after the estate was settled, my mother moved to Hebron, Connecticut. In 1820, I went to live with Grandfather Clark. In 1825, I went to live with Eliphalet Abel in Lebanon, Connecticut. It was intended that I should live with him until I was of age, but because of cruelty, I was taken away in 1828. I then worked on a farm in the neighborhood, and was able to help in the support of the family.

I attended the district school and having an extraordinary facility of committing anything to memory by reading it two or three times, I learned rapidly. I, that winter (1826), took the first temperance pledge I ever heard read, and took part in a debating society. I worked at farming until 1830, when I took a whaling voyage on the ship "Flora" of New London, Connecticut.

We sailed in June, 1830, first stopping at the Azores Islands, and then ran south to the 37 degree of south latitude off the coast of Brazil, when we sailed east to the islands of Tristandecunah, about 15 degrees west of the Cape of Good Hope. We had a prosperous, though boisterous, voyage. Running once around the Cape of Good Hope into the mouth of Mozambique Channel between the coast and the island of Madagascar. A report had reached America that the "Flora" and all hands had been lost at sea. Soon after reaching the port of New London, Connecticut, which was on February 16, 1831, I settled with the ship owners and returned home. The family had mourned my death, and it was a happy surprise when I appeared among them. I found our good old Doctor Asgood there, just leaving after effecting the cure of my sister. He had made many visits and my mother was telling him he would have to wait a while for his pay; I handed him my pocket-book, out of which he took only $3.00 to pay for the medicine. The meeting of our family had much affected him. I worked in a hotel in New London that summer, and then having bought a horse and rig, with my mother, we journeyed to the state of New York, visiting my mother's step-mother's relatives, the Skinners, at Norwich, and Aunt Sally Mainwaring, my mother's sister, at Umadilla on the way back.

We reached my Aunt Ackers early in September. I attended school at the Henrietta Academy, five miles south of Rochester, N.Y. for a time, and then taught the district school in Mendon that winter.. My mother having married a Mr. Hackett that winter, I returned late in the spring. Reaching Albany, I found a company being recruited to go on an extensive cavalry campaign to the far northwest. I was induced to join the company by the officer, Major Dade. Major Dade, the recruiting officer, and all of us were deceived. We were all sent to New York and soon forwarded to old Fort Winnebago, in the territory of Wisconsin, and there mustered into the Fifth United States Infantry. This was not what we bargained for, but we were helpless.

As soon as my mother learned of my whereabouts and dissatisfaction, although promoted to be a Sargeant, she wrote to General Winfield Scott, who directed her how to secure my discharge. Having secured my discharge through Judge Irvin of Green Bay, I engaged in Green Bay as a clerk in a store and hotel until I went in the late summer to Chicago. I soon settled upon a Government claim in 1835, where the city of Wheeling now is. Having much trouble with claim jumpers, I sold out and spent the winter in Chicago. That is how I came to be a member of the Calumet Club of that city. Gen. Sam Houston being then engaged in the effort to free Texas from Mexico, he issued an appeal to the people of the United States, asking for men and means to help. A Captain G.S. Hanson came to Chicago with an appeal, and I united with him to raise a company of volunteers for that object. The citizens of Chicago agreed to equip and furnish our transportation to the seat of war in Texas, but the retreat of Houston before the army of Santa Ana so discouraged them that they refused to furnish the money. To make transportation less of a burden, we divided the company. I was sent forward to Ottawa in the Illinois River, there to wait for Captain Hanson. He simply notified me of our defeat in money matters, saying that he had disbanded and ordered me to discharge my detachment. This I did at once, and after settling my billa, took my orderly Sargeant (I was a Lieutenant) and went to St. Louis determined to go to Texas. After reaching St. Louis, I went to Galena and Dubuque, where I was told a company was forming--but I found none. Returning to St. Louis, I soon heard two companies were on their way. I descended the Mississippi and joined them at New Orleans. (These companies were from Kentucky.)

We went up the Red River to Natchitoches, then marched overland 500 miles to Victoria, on the Guadalupe River in western Texas. There the Texan army was encamped under the command of General Rusk. We suffered much, but mostly for lack of water, on the march. On the disbanding of the army, I returned to the States, spending the summer of 1837 in Connecticut. I went to New York and taught school six miles north of Batavia. In 1838, I left Batavia and went to Texas to look after my landed claims. I went by way of Buffalo, Erie, Pittsburg, Cincinnati and New Orleans, crossing the Gulf to Galveston. But on the journey I stopped at Aurora, Indiana, and taught a private school for the children of Judge Jesse Holman and his son-in-law, Folk.

On the 4th of November, 1838, I was baptized and united with the Baptist Church of Aurora. I returned here from my trip to Texas, teaching near Aurora and Ebenezer till the spring of 1840, when I went east to visit my relatives in Connecticut. I then went to Northfield, Massachusetts, and on August 12, married Adaline Whitehead, daughter of Gad Whitehead. Shortly after my marriage we returned to Indiana, and after a short visit with friends at Ebenezer, where we both had taught school, I accepted a call to become pastor of the Baptist Church at Charlestown, county seat of Clark County, Indiana. Elder Seth Woodruff of New Albany, Moderator, and Rev. John McCoy of Jeffersonville, Clerk of Council, which was very large. In June 1841, I was ordained an evangelist at Charlestown.

God greatly blessed my work in Salem and Mill Creek, in Washington County.

In 1842, I moved to Michigan and became pastor of the Sylvan church, near where my sister had moved. In 1843, while laboring there, I organized the church at Eaton Rapids on the Grand River.

On account of the partial failure of my voice, I resigned and went to Massachusetts. My wife spent the winter at her father's and I taught a small school ten miles away, near Winchester, New Hampshire. In the spring we returned to our old charge at Sylvan, Michigan, and remained most happily settled there until my voice failed again. We then bade adieu to loving friends and started on a long journey to Texas. We went by canal from Toledo to Cincinnati, thence by steamer over the Ohio, Mississippi and Red Rivers to Shreveport, thence inland to Marshall.. We went from Marshall to Jefferson, but on account of the sickness of my wife, I felt it my duty to return to Indiana to our first charge - Charlestown. While there I traveled as agent on the Indian Mission Association.

We next settled with the church at Center Square, Switzerland County, Indiana. We moved to Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana, in the fall of 1851. I took the pastorate of the church there. It was a trying, though remarkably successful, pastorate. I continued as pastor there until the needs of Franklin College called me to be its agent, in which service I continued about three and one-half years. From there we went to Rensselaer, Jasper county, and took the pastorate of the church there. While laboring there, organized the Prairie Vine church near Morocco, now Newton county. In 1859, I spent a few months as Col. Porter of the American Baptist Publication Society at Lafayette. From thence we went to Ladoga, Montgomery County, but finding some needless obstructions there, I accepted a call to Doar Village Church in Laport County, Indiana. From there we returned to Rensselaer, and took up our old work with the church.

The Civil War had broken out and our oldest son, John Milton, enlisted in the 87th, Indiana Volunteers, Infantry. I then moved to Delphi, Carroll County and took up the pastorate of the Baptist Church in the fall of 1864. My health failing, I resigned the pastorate and went to Black River Falls, Wisconsin, where I had many relatives. But not liking so cold a climate, and my family now being together, my son having returned home at the close of the War, and after looking around for sometime, I bought land near Hannibal, Missouri, and moved to that city. I soon regained my health and then accepted a call to the mission work in Mercer and Rock Island Counties, Illinois, and moved to Andalusia, on the Mississippi River, ten miles south of Rock Island.

During that year, I organized the churches of Aledo in Mercer County and Andalusia, and re-established the ones at Keithsburg and Richland. I had a precious revival all over my field and baptized many. The next year I gave up the work in Mercer County to Elder Whithead, and took Edgington Church into my field of labor. Among those baptized that year were Rev. Gilmore Parker, and our younger son, Ansel Howard Post.

In the fall of 1868, we left Illinois for Fort Scott, Kansas, in hopes of benefiting our boys, and to take up the Sunday School work. But providence so ordained that I become a pastor of the church there in 1868-9. We took up land on the Bunyarn, but the railroad got the land and improvements. There were but few members of the Fort Scott Church, but we went to work in faith, organized a prayer meeting with but five persons in attendance, and a Sunday School with fifteen scholars. There were Baptists in the city that had been drawn into other churches and others who had brought letters with them. After five months, the sixth person entered our prayer meeting, a young man whom I had baptized. This stirred up others, and I soon had many valuable additions by letter. Our Sunday School, under Mr. Geo. W. Nervel, a great Sunday School worker, soon became the largest in the city. They built a large stone meeting house, 44 by 74 -- gable 50 ft. ith a nice large basement.

When we dedicated the building, we had Elder F.M. Ellis of Lawrence to preach the sermon, and Rev. Robert Atkinson, State agent for Home Mission, took up a collection of $1500.00 in about twenty minutes on our floating debt, and $1500.00 on our mortgage indebtedness, $3000.00 in all. Soon after this, in my absence, my salary was raised to $1200.00 per year. I had begun to secure pledges to finish the upper room. Some opposition now sprung up and fearing a division among the moneyed men, I resigned. The resignation was accepted, but at a subsequent meeting, I was unanimously requested to recall my resignation. This I felt inclined to refuse, and I now went over to Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, to finish a meeting house upon which work had for some time been suspended. Having stayed there, according to agreement until the house was finished, I resigned and came to Wichita, Kansas, January, 1873, and became the first pastor in the church. We bought lots at the corner of First and Market streets for $300.00 and built the first brick church in Wichita. We dedicated it at the close of my first year, in January, 1874.

We had grown from a handfull to 71 members, but the grasshopper scourge scattered our members so that we numbered but fifty at the close of the second year. In January, 1875, I went to Hutchinson under the direction of the New York Home Mission Board who had stood by me ever since I came to Kansas. Reorganizing the work in Hutchinson, I extended my labor west and south, organizing the churches in Larned, Pawnee, Harmony, Otsego, Anthony and Harper. I preached half the time at Hutchinson. I began work at Newton, which was soon taken up by Elder Merrifield..

I also organized a church ten miles south of Kingman, and began work at Kingman which was taken up by another. Many other points were helped on. I helped organize a church at Udall, Fairview, Butler County, where I was preaching when the sad event of my daughter's death occurred on December 9, 1884. Just previous to her death I had dedicated churches at Sunny Dale and Leon.

But here I ended my work as pastor. I continued to live at Wichita, where we celebrated our Golden Wedding August 12, 1890. It was a large gathering at the Baptist Church. The old settlers and the members united in the celebration. Reverend Hewitt officiated. All our children who were living and all our living grandchildren were present. In September, 1891, we moved to El Reno, Oklahoma Territory. We remained there until May, 1892, and then went to Geuda Springs. In 1893, we visited all our children and then came to Wichita where we are now in 1894. May 20, 1894, I preached the fifty-fifth anniversary of my ministry, using the same text that I preached from near Indianapolis, at the Bethel Church, on the second Sunday in May 1838. The text was Matthew 11:28-31. Rev. John C. Post died at Andale, Kansas on the 12th of September, 1897; was buried in Highland Cemetery, at Wichita, Kansas.

Descendants of the Reverend J.C. Post:

Lucinda W. was born, September 6, 1841, at Charlestown, Clark County, Indiana. Married Amos Elliot, June 1, 1866. Died December 9, 1884, at Wichita, Kansas. She had no children.

John Milton was born July 28, 1844, at Springport, Michigan. Married first, Alice L. Parker, February 22, 1872 at Fort Scott, Kansas. Had children by her, Howard and Earnest. She died August 30, 1887. Married second, Delia L. McCollum, November 21 1889, at Fredericktown, Ohio.

Sydney Lykins was born January 17, 1849, at Jefferson, Texas. Married first, Maggie Haslett, July 2, 1874, at Wichita, Kansas. Had by her one child, Birdie. Married second, Flora M. Miller, December 25, 1889, at Carthage, Missouri.

Ansel Howard was born October 13, 1851, at Jacksonville, Switzerland County, Indiana. Married Ettie M. Kenworthy at Andalusia, Rock Island County, Illinois. Had children: Adda M., Grace, Judson, Ettie S., and John. Grace died September 1879 at Burrton, Kansas, aged one year.