Big Spring

"A history of the town in which I live." by Mary E. Bentley, Dec. 5th 1880

Perhaps you all think our little town has no history because it has always been called such a little dried up place but I guess it has a history as well as any other little town.  I will soon be thirteen years old and I have been living at Big Spring nearly ten years.  I have heard old persons talking about it, so I thought I would try to see if I could remember what they said.  It is about sixty five years old and has improved very slowly in that time.  It derived its name from a very large spring flowing through it.  The spring has a natural bridge over it and sometimes when it rains very hard it overflows its  banks and covers the bridge and the people who live close to it have to move away until the spring falls again.  My great grandfather's was the second family who settled in this town. When they came here the banks of the spring were almost perpendicular and they were covered with grass and flowers but now they are all washed away and red clay and rocks are the only ornaments.

About thirty years ago a storm passed over this town and the school house and church and many other buildings were blown away and three persons were killed and several others badly injured.  Many houses have been destroyed by fire.  Our old schoolhouse was burned down but we have a nice new one now.  When my grandmother went to school here they had a little log hut for a school house but now we have a nice large frame house.  We have but one church, it is made of brick an and it has been standing about twenty five years.  The people are trying to get a new church built and I hope they will succeed.

Our town has two hotels and three dry goods stores.  We have a free school in winter and a subscription school in spring.  I don't see why anybody calls Big Spring such a little dried up place for it is little but it is never dried up because the spring has always had water in it.  So you see it it not such a dried up place after all, and it has always been considered a very gay place.  Written by Mary E. Bentley Dec. 5th 1880.

The following school paper came from Clarence Bentley, Stafford, Kansas into the possession of Charles Basore, Bentley, Kansas.  Typed from the original by Carolyn Basore Williams, Halstead, Kansas, 29 February 1976.  Mary E. Bentley's great grandfathers would have been: Able Bentley #1; William Slaymaker; ? Duvall; and William Wisehart.  We do not know which one she refers to.   (Note from Carolyn Williams?  Jess Scott Sept. 2008)

From Alice Bondurant Scott September 2008.  Alice received this from Carolyn Williams, 303 E. 5th Halstead, KS 67056 in the summer of 2008.  Ref  

65 years from 1880 would have put the founding of Big Spring at 1815.  If the storm was 30 years ago it would have been in 1850.  The one church must have been the Methodist church.  So  it was destroyed in 1850 by wind and built back in 1855 as a brick building.  (Jess Scott notes Sept. 2008)