John S. Faulkner – A Tombstone and a Question

by Kristine Schmucker, Archivist/Curator

Earlier this week, Wendy Nugent, reporter for the Harvey County Now, sent me a message asking if I knew anything about a man named Scott Owens. His tombstone in Greenwood needed repair and she was doing a story on it with Sylvia Kelly. Turns out, there was an interesting story about a Harvey County family.

Photo Courtesy Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now.

The first thing to clear up was the mystery of his name. In the Greenwood Cemetery register he is listed under the name of Scott Owen Faulkner. Other Faulkners listed include Laura and Charles. How did these people fit together? Or did they?

One document from 1901 lists a Scott Owens, born in Kentucky living in Newton. The document is a muster roll and he is listed as entering the army May 5, 1864 as a private Co. D 15th U.S, Col Inft, and discharged in August under General Order. The year of discharge is difficult to read. It might be 1865?

Muster Roll ending December 1902. Courtesy Sylvia Kelly

To add to the confusion, his daughter lists his name as Scott Faulkner on the order form for the tombstone and lists the discharge date as December 28, 1891.

Tombstone Application for Headstone or Marker. Courtesy Sylvia Kelly.

The obituary for the man that died on June 6, 1935 is identified as John S. Faulkner or John Scott Faulkner, even though the Greenwood Register lists Scott Owen Faulkner. It seems that Scott Owen Faulkner is the same person as John S. Faulkner. When and why did he change his name? Who was Scott Owen Faulkner?

There is no listing or census record for a Scott Owen Faulkner living in Harvey County, Kansas. There is however, plenty of evidence of a John Scott Faulkner living in Newton.

Pioneer Resident

According to the Newton city directories and the census, a man by the name of John Faulkner had been living in Newton for sure since 1885. The obituary for John S. Faulkner noted that he had been a resident of Harvey County for 55 years, so he likely arrived in 1880. It is possible he came, along with his wife and young daughter, with a larger group that included Katie and Wilson Vance, Willis and Emily Brooks, Frank C. Childs, Madison Thomas and Abe Weston.

J.S. Faulkner was born in 1849 in Virginia very close to the Kentucky boarder. He enlisted in the Civil War in May 1864. He married Laura Yancey February 6, 1872 at Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky.

“Kentucky County Marriages, 1797-1954” Family

The couple came to Newton around 1880 with 4 year old Mary. Their next child, Charles, was born in Kansas in 1881. Johanna was born in 1884.  In the Newton city directories for 1885 and 1887, John is listed living at 129 S 2nd with the occupation of mason.  By 1911, the Faulkner family is living on W 1st and in 1917 the address of 912 W 1st is given.

“Colored Civil War Veteran”

Further clues come from his and Laura’s obituaries.

John’s obituary noted that with his passing “only five comrades who saw service in the war between the states remain in Newton.” He is likely one of the unidentified Black men in this photograph taken in front of the Harvey County Courthouse.

Faulkner was described as “a stout patriot, devoted churchman,” and seems to have led a quiet life. His name does not appear in the Evening Kansan Republican except for Laura’s obituary and his own.

Laura Yancy Faulkner was born in 1856 in Kentucky, probably Todd County. After her marriage she is a quiet presence. For some reason, her name is not listed as a wife of John’s in the city directories until 1917 although the census’ clearly have her living with him. She died at her home at 912 W 1st on June 25, 1930, from pneumonia. She had been ill for some time.

John died five years later also in the month of June on June 6, 1935. He was survived by his three children Mary Faulkner Garth of the home; Josephine Faulkner Baldwin, Chicago; and Charles Faulkner, Newton; seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His services were held at the C.M. E. Church in Newton with Rev. C.V. Williams officiating and the Women’s Relief Corp assisting.

Faulkner Children

Son, Charles, worked as a porter and baggaman for the AT&SF. He and his wife, Georgia, also lived at 912 W 1st until the 1930s when they are listed at 119 Elm. Charles died August 13, 1937, at the age of 57.

In 1941, daughter, Josephine* Baldwin ordered a headstone for her father from the government to be delivered to her sister, Mary Faulkner Garth, who was living at 402 Highland, Newton.  Up to that point his grave may have been unmarked and as a veteran he was entitled to a headstone. This is the headstone that Sylvia Kelly hopes to repair.

*All other sources refer to her as Johanna or Joanna.

Additional Note:

During this same time period, there was a white Faulkner family, J.M. and Laura Faulkner.  They lived at 325 W 8th, Newton and had at least two children, Olin and Fern. J.M. Faulkner worked for a time as an assistant Marshall and their names appear frequently in the Evening Kansan Republican. They left Newton at some point  and are not buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Thank you

to Sylvia Kelly for calling attention to John Scott Faulkner’s tombstone and to Wendy Nugent for being curious. Nugent’s article, “Kelly Wants To Straighten Out History” is in the Harvey County Now August 21, 2023 issue.


  • Evening Kansan Republican: 7 June 1935
  • Newton City Directories: 1885, 1887, 1902, 1905,1911, 1913, 1917, 1919, 1931, 1934, 1938.
  • Kansas Census: 1895
  • U.S. Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Greenwood Cemetery Register of Burials, Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives, 203 N. Main, Newton, Ks.


Miss Lillian Trego – “Old Maid Schoolteacher” 

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Archivist/Curator

Every object in our collection has a story. Some of the stories have been lost to time, others we quickly scribble down when a family member donates the object with the plan to do more research later.  Such was the case with pair of shoes dating from the early 1900s.

The donation note read:

“From the nephew of Lillian Trego old maid schoolteacher – Halstead, Ks, shoes at least 100 years old.”

On their own, this pair of shoes look like many other shoes in our collection from a hundred years ago or more, but the donor knew who wore them – his aunt, Miss Lillian Trego.

These well-worn shoes walked many classrooms over the years as Lillian Trego taught school in the Halstead area.

Lilliann Trego, 1922

Miss Lillian Trego

Her obituary notes only the basics. She was born February 23, 1885, at Bentley, Ks. She taught elementary school for many years and lived in Halstead. She was a member of the First United Presbyterian Church in Halstead and of the American Legion Auxiliary, Halstead. She died at age 93 in October 1978. The obituary noted “there are no immediate survivors.” 

Trego Family

A search for information on her parents revealed a few more clues. She was the second oldest, and the oldest daughter born to Joseph P. Trego and Jennie Clark Trego Trego. The couple had four children. Their youngest son, Joseph P Trego died in England on June 16, 1918, from the flu during WW1.

The obituary for her father, Joseph P. Trego, Sr, had more family history. Joseph lived an adventurous life. In 1878, he came to Halstead, Kansas. A year later, his parents moved to a farm southwest of Halstead. In 1882, Joseph married Jennie Clark Trego. He then spent time “following the arduous and adventuresome life of a cowboy” in southern Kansas and Indian Territory.  A man “of strong Physique and virile character. . . faithful and fearless, honest and honorable in his relations with his fellowmen,” he was member of the Newton A.H.T.A. Trego, raised as a Friend, “he always cherished the faith of his fathers.” He died March 28, 1927 at the age of 69. Lillian’s mother Jennie Clark Trego Trego died April 20, 1944 at the age of 79.

Lillian was also the last of the four Trego siblings to die. The eldest Harry died in 1965, Allen in 1972 and Joseph in 1918.

When looking at the shoes, one can imagine all the children Miss Lillian Trego taught. Was she a stern teacher? Was she someone’s favorite teacher? Walking in those shoes, Lillian educated the next generation of Harvey County.

Even the simplest of objects have a story to tell about the person that used or wore it.


  • Newton Kansan: 6 October 1978
  • Joseph P. Trego Obituary on Find A Grave Memorial Number 29667720.

Victorian Traveling Dress

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Archivist/Curator

My favorite objects to work with are the textiles – quilts, clothing and needlework. Recently, a beautiful Victorian era dress was donated to the museum by a  member of the Dilts family.

Worn by Catherine C. Becker Dilts as her traveling dress after her marriage to Paul J. Dilts September 5, 1905.

Catherine was born in Lee County, Illinois August 3, 1879.

Catherine C. Becker & Paul J. Dilts wedding photo, 5 September 1905.

She married Paul Dilts September 5, 1905 and moved directly to Emma Township, Harvey County, Ks. The couple had four children.  In 1921, Catherine and Paul moved off of the Harvey County farm to Garden City, Ks.

Evening Kansan Republican, 19 September 1905.

Catherine was known for her musical abilities. A family member related that she could play about any instrument. In the 1921 Evening Kansan Republican, it was reported that “comedic readings” were provided by costumed Mrs. Catherine Dilts at the Hesston Grange meeting. An earlier mention in the Evening Kansan Republican on January 9, 1906 reported that the Dilts entertained at their home and “complying with the wishes of the guests Mrs. Dilts seated herself at the piano and played several beautiful selections. . . at the conclusion Mrs. Dilts played some lively pieces on the violin.”

In 1931, Catherine was confined to her bed for several months. Even though she was very weak, “she was patient and resigned” and concerned for the welfare of her family. She died May 3, 1931 at the age of 52.

(Obit. for Mrs. Catherine Dilts, n.d. newspaper clipping, Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives, Newton, Ks)

The Traveling Dress

Sewn by hand and machine, the two-piece dress is light brown, with velvet, lace and bead trim. The bodice has a high neck, puffed sleeves and a nipped waist. The full skirt is slightly gathered in the back with a velvet bow and a short train.

Bodice detail.

Sleeve detail.

Beadwork detail

Bodice detail. Hook and eye closure.

Bodice, inside, handstitched with light boning.

The dress will be on display through the month of September 2023.