John Jurgen Dykman-With God’s Help

John Jurgen Dykman

John Jurgen Dykman’s graduation photo. 1917.


John Jurgen Dykman was born on 16 March 1895 in a sod house in Nebraska to Henry K and Helena Dykman.  In October of that same year, the family traveled by covered wagon to Missouri and settled near Mulberry in Bates County.

John attended the Mulberry school and then Amoret High School where he played on the basketball team.  Since Amoret didn’t have a four- year high school, John attended Butler High School his senior year.  He records in his diary;

Be it resolved on this 19 Day of June in the yr. of Our Lord Nineteen Sixteen That I (John Dykman) having completed a three yr. High School course will go on to school another yr. and complete the High School if Health and good luck allow me to, with God’s help. J.J. Dykman“.

While in Butler, John boarded and worked at the Cottage Hotel.  True to his word, he became a graduate of Butler High School on 17 May 1917.  The following Monday he went to work at the Amoret Bank as a teller.


Amoret State Championship Basketball team 1916 Back row l-r Leo

The Amoret State Championship Basketball Team of 1916. John Dykman is in the front row on the right.


On 2 March 1918 John records in his diary;

But in the spring of 1917 I had to register the 5 day of May and my order no. was 193.  This putting me in the first draft.  The first boys leaving in the fall but I got off until Feb. 4, 1918 when I have to report for duty at Butler, Mo. at 3 o’clock PM”.

John left Bates County  for the Officer’s Training Camp at Camp Funston located at Fort Riley Kansas.

On 11 March 1918 a cook at Camp Funston by the name of Albert Gitchell reported for sick call with complaints of a headache, sore throat, cough and high fever.  By noon that day 107 other men reported the same symptoms.  Thus, what would become known as the Spanish Flu Epidemic had begun. The epidemic would go on to kill an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide.

On 26 March 1918 it would claim John Jurgen Dykman, making him one of Bates County’s first casualties of World War I.

Henry Dykman kept the cancelled check he used to pay for his son's funeral.  Dykman collection. Bates County Museum

Henry Dykman kept the cancelled check he used to pay for his son’s funeral. Dykman collection. Bates County Museum

Obituary for John Dykman from the March 28, 1918 edition of The Bates County Democrat.

Obituary for John Dykman from the March 28, 1918 edition of The Bates County Democrat.










More to be Dreaded Here Than the Bushwhacker

John Atkinson from "The Old Settlers' History of Bates County :From Its First Settlement to the First Day of January, 1900." published by Tathwell and Maxey, Amsterdam, MO.

John Atkinson from “The Old Settlers’ History of Bates County :From Its First Settlement to the First Day of January, 1900.” published by Tathwell and Maxey, Amsterdam, MO.

(John Atkinson was born in Kanawha County, West Virginia on 12 November 1815.  He married Hannah Catterlin in 1840 in Ohio and moved to Bates County in 1860, settling in Pleasant Gap.  He enlisted in Co. H, 7th Cavalry of the Missouri State Militia in 1862 where he served for one year until a disability forced him to resign.  He was then appointed captain of a company of home guards for Bates County by Governor Fletcher.  He was elected sheriff in 1864 but the aftermath of Order No. 11 prevented any county business from being conducted until 1866.  He was elected again as sheriff and served in that capacity for a total of four years.

The following letter, written by Atkinson while sheriff, details a battle that took place in Bates Couny on  April 14th of 1865. This battle is considered to be the last battle of the Civil War fought in Bates County.  It took place five days after the surrender of Lee to Grant on 9 April 1865 at the Appomatox Courthouse. Although a Union man, Atkinson points out that the Kansas troops are “more dreaded here than the buschwhacker”.  Special thanks to Wayne Schnetzer for providing the museum with a copy of this letter.  All paragraph spacings, spellings and grammatical errors are those of Atkinson.)


Johnstown, Bates Co Mo April 27 1865

To His Excellency Thomas C. Fletcher Governor of the State of Missouri:

Dear Sir,

I desire to call your attention again to the situation of our County.

The bushwhackers are numerous in this County.

They are passing almost every day in bands of from six to thirty robbing as they go. A Band passed through about a week since and stole two horses from this neighborhood. I got the neighbors together as soon as possible and followed them. We overtook them the second day in the brush and demanded their surrender. They fired on us, killing on of our number. A fight ensued in which their loss was five killed and some wounded. We captured the stolen horses. The rebels got in a lake of water and each party fought until their ammunition was exhausted. Four out of eleven buschwhackers got out of the lake and got away.

Their Captains name was W.W. Brenton-lived in Buchanan County Mo. He surrendered after having been mortally wounded.

He says there are many more coming in. We captured some revolvers and some other spoils which I have reported to the General in command of this District.

I wish to call you attention to another class of the human species more to be dreaded here than the bushwhacker.

I refer to the” Kansas troops”. They have been here three or four times in the last month and have taken off more or less stock each time.

About two weeks ago there were five here, who took away four head of horses the property of loyal men one of them the property of a Justice of the peace in our County. In about four days the same party come back in company with ten more and drove off about thirty head of horses taking with them three side saddles and other property of value. A portion of this property belonged to union men that have true from the beginning who have served in the Militia since the organization and who voted for your Excellency at the last Election.

Yesterday three more of the same class of thieves came into the neighborhood and horses becoming scarce, they drove off two yoke of the oxen belonging to a widow who was ploughing them herself.

This womans husband was a Rebel and died in the rebel army three years ago and she has acquired this property since his death. She claims to be loyal and is a fine woman and is trying to make an honest living for herself and family but by the loss of her means of support will be reduced to a condition of suffering.

It certainly is a great outrage for these troops to be allowed to come into Missouri and move about at pleasure. There were no officers with these parties.

They belonged to Company __ Captain Smith of the 15th Kansas.

Something over one hundred bushwhackers have passed through this section this Spring.

They have taken about five or six head of horses about one hundred dollars in money and some revolvers.

There have been twenty three Kansas men here, who have taken about forty head of stock besides other property.

They threaten the life of any man who reports them.

How long Governor is this state of things to exist in our County? Is there no help for us?

We have been promised help for a long time, but it has not come. I have written several letters and it has done no good.

I went to Jefferson last Monday to see your Excellency about the matter, but did not find you at home, so I had my trip for nothing.

To arrest these parties and try them by military law would only add fuel to the flames. If they cannot be brought back to Jefferson and tried by the civil law, it is much better they should be let alone for if they are arrested and not confined they will not leave a horse, nor a man in the County except those who are accepting to their robberies.  In make this (page cuts off) have. We have no means here of bringing these parties to justice. There is no Military organization in our County, nor has there been since the war except a few months at a time, which was worse, in effect than none at all, and we have not had a term of the Circuit Court since the war began. We have been trying all the time to keep up some show of a civil organization and have done so until the present time, but according to the Ordinance of Convention it will cease on next Monday. In making this plain statement of facts I have done nothing more than what I considered it my duty as a Civil Official  to do.

Your Obedient Servant, John Atkinson Sheriff Bates Co

What A Waist!

Zoma (Harrison) McCombs wearing her graduation dress in 1895.  Zoma was the daughter of Edmond Stith and Sarah Elizabeth (Williams) Harrison.  In 1897 she married Jessie Warren McCombs, a banker from Adrian.  This photograph was donated by her daughter, Hazel McCombs.

Zoma (Harrison) McCombs  Graduation from Butler High School 1895

Zoma (Harrison) McCombs
Graduation from Butler High School

Bloodshed on the Square

At the beginning of December of 1862, a party led by Major White, was foraging in the vicinity of the Grand River in northern Bates county.  The party stopped at a local farm where they found a man by the name of Slater.  Slater was found to be armed and was taken into custody.

Slater was taken to Butler to be tried and was found guilty of his crime.  On 24 December 1862, the prisoner was taken from his cell and led to the west side of the square.  There he was blindfolded and forced to kneel.  The soldiers fired and Slater fell on his face, dead.  Six shots had been fired through his heart.

According to The History of Cass and Bates Counties the people of Butler had been invited to witness the execution by Major White.  Another account claims that everyone in the town had been forced to watch.  There were some  spectators on the northwest corner of the square that day.

1881 Bates County Tax Book entry for I.N. Davidson on line 16.

1881 Bates County Tax Book entry for I.N. Davidson on line 16.


The History of Cass and Bates Counties   published in 1883 states that the spot of Slater’s execution was approximately where the I.N. Davidson store stood then.  If we go to the 1881 Bates County Tax book we find that I.N Davidson paid taxes on a lot that comprised 3 feet of the south side of lot 1 and 20 feet of the north side of lot 2 of Block 10 on the Butler square.  Today it would be the building the sits between What To Wear on the south and Happy Hill Church on the north.

The vantage point of the crowd watching the Slater execution from the Inn Building.

The vantage point of the crowd watching the Slater execution from the Inn Building.


The vantage point of the crowd watching Slater's execution as seen from in front of City Hall.

The vantage point of the crowd watching Slater’s execution as seen from in front of City Hall. The I.N. Davidson store stood between the white car and What To Wear.

We don’t know who Major White was or what unit he was with.   We only know he arrived in Butler sometime in late 1862.  The only other mention of him we have is in a memoir by Annie (Cogswell) Collier whose father’s land ran up to the east side of the square. Annie was a Southerner and wasn’t too impressed with Major White to say the least.

We know even less about Mr.  Slater.  The History of Cass and Bates Counties simply states that he was from Cass County and suspected of being a Rebel.


Sources: The History of Cass and Bates counties, Missouri : containing a history of these counties, their cities, towns, etc. : biographical sketches of their citizens, general and local statistics, history of Missouri, map of Cass and Bates counties, etc.  National Historic Company, St. Joseph, Missouri. 1883

The Eddie Hermann Archives. Entry dated 24 December 1862, in  December binder , in which he states that the entire town was forced to watch the execution of Slater.

Shedding New Light on the Battle of Island Mound

Josephus Toothman: The Notorious Guerrilla of Island Mound

There is a lot that we don’t know about the Toothman family whose farm was garrisoned by the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers in October of 1862 and dubbed “Fort Africa”.  Two of the biggest questions concerning the Toothmans have been whether their farm was the intended destination for the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers and which son was the prisoner held at Fort Lincoln in Kansas.  Recent research has uncovered documents that help to shed some light on these questions. The Enoch and Christiana Toothman family consisted of two sons, Josephus C and John Fleming Toothman.  Enoch and Christiana also had five daughters, Amanda, Martha, Mary, Emizetia (she would later go by Emma) and Isabelle.    Of the two sons, Josephus or Joseph, was the eldest. He was sympathetic to the  southern cause and was very active in guerrilla activity in  Bates County during the summer of 1862.

An undated document found on Fold3 lists charges and specifications against Joseph Toothman. This document lists three charges which include the murder of Federal soldiers, desertion, and being a guerrilla.  According to the document, Joseph was involved in an ambush against Federal troops on or about 22 July 1862.  Two men were killed and a third was mortally wounded.  The witnesses are listed as McMullen, Armstrong and Miss Toothman, a sister of the prisoner.  It is unknown which sister bore witness against her brother or as to why she gave testimony against him.  It could be that she didn’t approve of his actions or was in some way coerced.

The second charge of desertion states that Joseph switched sides at the Battle of Lone Jack in August of 1862 to fight with McComb’s company (newly recruited Bates County men).  Joseph was one of several of Bates County men to abandon the Enrolled Missouri Militia and fight for the Confederacy.  Fighting alongside your friends and neighbors  was likely  more appealing than fighting against them and Joseph had already shown his sympathies with the attack in July.

The third charge specifically states that Joseph considered  himself a soldier in the Confederate army.  He was arrested for being armed and without furlough papers, so he was charged with being a guerilla.   This was “on or about” 26 September 1862. A clear picture of Joseph’s standing in regards to the Border troubles is beginning to emerge.

Undated document stating charges and specifications against Joseph Toothman. Accessed 15 April 2014.

Undated document stating charges and specifications against Joseph Toothman. Accessed 15 April 2014.

Letter from Lieut.  George W Pierson to Major Henning written from Fort Lincoln and dated 11 October 1862. The letter outlines Joseph Toothman's confinement and the charges against him. Accessed 15 April 2014.

Letter from Lieut. George W Pierson to Major Henning written from Fort Lincoln and dated 11 October 1862. The letter outlines Joseph Toothman’s confinement and the charges against him. Accessed 15 April 2014.

The document from the U.S. Union Provost Marshal’s Papers, 1861-1867 database found on, along with the Pierson letter found on Fold3,  offer clues that the Toothman farm was the intended destination for the 1st Kansas. It tells us that Joseph was confined on 11 October 1862 by order of Major B. S Henning. It goes on to state that he was sent to Fort Lincoln for confinement on 21 October 1862.   This answers the first question as to which brother was a prisoner at Fort Lincoln.

The documents also answer the question about  the Toothman farm being the intended destination.   Capt. Henry Seaman was given command of the expedition at Island Mound by Henning, who was at Fort Scott.   Both men were aware of Joseph in late September of 1862. Seaman would have been aware of the Toothman farm before his being given the expedition.   The unknown sister as a witness shows that someone had been to the farm prior to the 27th of October.  Joseph was transferred to Fort Lincoln a mere 6 days before the 1st Kansas arrived at the Toothman farm. All this shows that Seaman would have been well  informed as to the farm’s advantages as a base of operations and the family that lived there.  It’s no surprise that with Joseph’s arrest and confinement, Enoch and John Toothman were not at the house when the expedition arrived.

Charges against Joseph Toothman.  Document containing charges against Josephus and details of his confinement.  U. S. Union Provost Marshals' Papers database.  Accessed 24 May 2013.

Charges against Joseph Toothman. Document containing charges against Josephus and details of his confinement. U. S. Union Provost Marshals’ Papers database. Accessed 24 May 2013.

Charges against Joseph Toothman (reverse). U. S. Union Provost Marshal' 1861-1867 database. Accessed 24 May 2013

Charges against Joseph Toothman (reverse). U. S. Union Provost Marshal’ 1861-1867 database. Accessed 24 May 2013

It’s possible that Joseph struck a deal while in Kansas.  He is released from confinement on 6 February 1863 and enlists in the 6th Kansas Cavalry the very next day. It seems his enlistment was a condition of his release. Was this the result of his providing sensitive  information while in confinement?    An account published in the Daily Times from Leavenworth, Kansas on 4 November 1862 names Toothman and Cockrell as being in command of the rebels on the Island. It’s logical that Josephus would have had intimate knowledge of the activities and plans of those on the Island.  Even if he wasn’t in command, he surely would’ve have known what was going on in his own neighborhood.

Many of the newspaper articles reporting on the Battle of Island Mound referred to the Toothman farm as being home to a “notorious guerrilla” echoing the very same phrase used in the charges against Joseph.  We now know to whom this phrase refers.  Those articles along with these three documents help to shape a better understanding of the Island Mound story. Research continues not only on the Toothman family but other families who made the vicinity of the Island their home.  This research will help form a richer understanding of Bates County and the events that took place here during that period of upheaval.  Josephus’ actions in 1862 set in motion  the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers placement in history.  What more might we learn from the myriad names and families forgotten to history?

For more information on the Battle of Island Mound:

Elizabeth Parkina; Part 2

Bates County Museum Collection

Bates County Museum Collection


Madame Mathilde Marchesi was  the preeminent  vocal teacher of her day.  Her students included Emma Calve, Nellie Melba, and Emma Eames to name a few.  All were women who would go on to have illustrious careers in the world of opera. Marchesi only accepted students with inherent vocal ability and those that showed promise.  Elizabeth was one of those girls.  She’d arrived in Paris in 1899 and was accepted into Madame Marchesi’s school.

Elizabeth got off to a shaky start in Paris. After a couple of years of study, she had a debut in Marseilles, France with a minor company that ended in failure. She then had her debut in Paris in the title role of Lakme at the Opera Comique in 1902. She was eventually forced to resign from the Opera-Comique  “because of petty jealousies and disagreeable actions of her fellow singers” according to an account in The Globe and Commercial Advertiser New York printed on 16 December 1904. She then performed in private musicales where she attracted the attention of the great Nellie Melba.

San Francisco Call, Volume 98, Number 9, 9 June 1905

San Francisco Call, Volume 98, Number 9, 9 June 1905


Melba was a former student of Madame Marchesi and was one of opera’s star sopranos. She considered Elizabeth her protege; the one who would take her place on the world’s stages.  It was Melba who suggested that Elizabeth use the stage name of “Elizabeth Parkina” so that the Italians would be able to pronounce her name.  It was in Italy, after all, that everyone expected that Elizabeth would find her success.  But it was in England, not Italy,  that Elizabeth’s career took off.  

A coat worn by Elizabeth Parkinson when she performed for Edward VI of England.  The coat is part of the Bates County Museum's permanent collection.

A coat worn by Elizabeth Parkinson when she performed for Edward VI of England. The coat is part of the Bates County Museum’s permanent collection.

    With Melba’s help, Elizabeth got an audition at the Covent Garden Royal Opera in 1903. She would spend the next four years there.   On that stage she performed with Madame Melba and Enrico Caruso in La Boheme as Musette. Elizabeth had the opportunity to perform for King Alfonso of Spain and King Edward VI of England during  Alfonso’s state visit in 1905.  She would go on to perform for Edward VI a second time.  That same year she embarked on a highly successful tour of Melba’s native country of Australia. She also made a homecoming of sorts when she appeared with Melba at the Convention Hall in Kansas City, MO on 4 January of 1905.  Butler’s own Bessie Parkinson had become a star. Snippet of Elizabeth Parkinson program Finale

The fame and constant travel had taken a toll on Elizabeth.  She was forced to retire from performing due to ill health.  After 15 years of living in Europe and touring the world, she suffered a nervous breakdown.  She spent the rest of her life as an invalid in her home in Colorado Springs, CO.  In 1921 Elizabeth entered a sanitarium in Colorado Springs for treatment for tuberculosis.  She died there on 10 June 1922.  She was 44 years old.  Her brother Francis accompanied her body back to Missouri where she was layed to rest at Greenfield Cemetery in Greenfield, Dade, MO.

For more information on Nellie Melba and Madame Marchesi:

Elizabeth’s Find A Grave memorial:

Royal Academy of Music Entry:

Hear Elizabeth sing:

Elizabeth Parkina: Part 1

Elizabeth Parkinson in Paris

Elizabeth Parkinson in Paris from the Bates County Museum archives.




Elizabeth McCollum Parkinson was born on 31 May 1878 in Greenfield, Dade, MO to John D. And Mary (Fulton) Parkinson. Her father practiced law in Dade county until 1872 , when he was elected Circuit Judge of the Twenty-fifth Judicial District. He served in that capacity until January of 1881.It was in June of that year that Judge Parkinson brought his family to Bates County and formed a law partnership with John W. Abernathy in Butler.

Elizabeth spent her formative years here in her father’s home that was located on the northeast corner of Pine and Delaware streets. She attended the public schools and began to showcase her singing talents in local productions such as “Ye Greate Olde Folkes Concerte” where she played Ione in 1892. Elizabeth wasn’t the only Parkinson child blessed with musical talent. Her sister, Mary, accompanied the production on piano. Recognizing that their daughter was a gifted vocalist, her family moved to Kansas City in 1895 where she began to study voice under Mrs. Layton. It was in Kansas City where Elizabeth auditioned for the famed Soprano Madame Nordica.  Madame Nordica was sufficiently impressed with what she heard and wrote a letter of recommendation to Elizabeth’s wealthy relatives back East.  The relatives agreed to sponsor Elizabeth and it was decided that Elizabeth would go to Paris.


The Parkinson home on the corner of Pine and Delaware Streets in Butler, MO.

The Parkinson home on the corner of Pine and Delaware Streets in Butler, MO as it appears today. Photo by Chris Wimsatt