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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • First City History: A woman's unusual decision to return family members to Leavenworth

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  • It appeared as a snippet in the "This and That" column April 26, 1953, in the Leavenworth Times that Pete Moulden, manager of Davis Funeral Church, handled the burial of a 101-year-old woman at Mount Muncie Cemetery.
    She was Mrs. Minerva Kreybill Mackay, of West Plains, Mo. In arrangements before her death, Mackay had requested no flowers for her funeral and that no one attend, Moulden said. He had no other information on the woman.
    Also unbeknownst to Moulden was that 10 years earlier, Mackay had her entire family, including her mother, father, brother, and husband, exhumed from the cemetery in White Plains, Mo., and brought back to Kansas to be buried in the family plot at Mount Muncie, according to records at Mount Muncie Cemetery.
    Minnie, as her friends and family called her, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., on Sept. 25, 1851, as the only daughter among four sons of Jason C. and Francis Kreybill. They were part of the movement to settle Kansas with anti-slavery settlers known as the New England Emigrant Aid Society Kansas.
    Slavery had been abolished in Pennsylvania in 1780, and when the Kreybills came to Kansas, they brought their freed slave, Black Albert, along with them during a tumultuous time in Kansas history, according to the U.S. Census of 1870.
    On the eve of her 21st birthday, Minnie sat before the camera of E. E. Henry and had her image recorded on a glass negative.
    Kreybill was a businessman who had his hand in the profits of several business ventures.
    He was the proprietor of the Continental Hotel at the corner of Fourth and Cherokee. The hotel was a three-story brick building that also had a restaurant and bar. It was considered to be the place for traveling men to stay, according to William G. Cutler's "History of the State of Kansas."
    Later, he would purchase the Planter's Hotel in 1880.
    Kreybill also had a cattle and dairy farm south of Leavenworth in Delaware Township.
    The U.S. Census of 1870 recorded that Kreybill's property was estimated at $100,000. He kept his family involved in running the hotel, where both Minnie and her brother, William, were clerks.
    Hector Duncan Mackay came to Leavenworth to practice law during the early 1860s. He branched out into the insurance business and was president of the Missouri Valley Life Insurance Co. of Leavenworth in 1871, according to advertisements in the Leavenworth Times. The company later became the Alliance Mutual Life Assurance Society with its principal office in Leavenworth. He was also in partnership with Theodore C. Sears, and operated the Law and Collection Office of Mackay and Sears.
    On Nov. 12, 1874, he was elected a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, representing what was then known as the 19th District, according to the Times. In February 1875, the Leavenworth Times wrote: "The Honorable H.D. Mackay of this city has been nominated and confirmed Director of the State Penitentiary. This is a good appointment for Mr. Mackay is an honest and shrewd gentleman. It is during this time that Kreybill moves his dairy operation to Lansing."
    Page 2 of 2 - Minnie and Mrs. H.D. Mackay — her first name was never used — were good friends who often traveled together.
    The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, which was the first official World's Fair in the U.S., was hosted in Philadelphia. The signatures of Minnie Kreybill and Mrs. H.D. Mackay appear in succession on the Kansas Visitors register at the Kansas Building on July 5, 1876, according to The Daily Commonwealth in Topeka.
    Also appearing on this list were all the early day movers and shakers of Leavenworth business and commerce. Their signatures were just two of the 100,000 names entered into the register, according to the Kansas State Historical Society.
    It is not known when Mrs. H.D. Mackay passed away or where her burial might be for there is no record of her in Leavenworth County.
    However, it is written in the U.S. Census of 1900 that H.D. Mackay, at the age of 50, married Minerva, in Leavenworth in 1890.
    The Mackays and Kreybills left Leavenworth shortly thereafter and moved to southeast Missouri, where Mackay owned a 400-acre farm of apples, peaches, pears, and berries, according to Cora Ann Pottenger, "Place Names of Five Southern Border Counties of Missouri."
    Jacob Kreybill suggested the name of Pomona, the goddess of fruits, because it was situated in a good fruit section of the state.
    The town became a station on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad. The Pomona, Siloam and Southern Railroad company was established with Hector D. Mackay, Jacob E. Kreybill and William Kreybill as its directors, according to the "Annual Report by Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners."
    In 1896, the West Plains Journal reported that H.D. Mackay had been in town for the purposes of recording a mortgage of $8,000,000 on the roadbed of the proposed St. Louis, Siloam & Southern Railroad, which would be built to run all the way to Fort Smith, Ark.
    The new railroad would also run through a region of Arkansas known for it rich minerals and valuable iron ores to the benefit of the Mackay family.
    More on this later …
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