One-Way Ticket to Kansas, the autobiography of Frank M. Stahl, as told and illustrated by Margaret Whittemore. University of Kansas Press, 1959. Transcribed by John D. Meredith

Preface

From that day in 1857 when Frank M. Stahl determined to help make Kansas a free state, his life was one stirring adventure after another. His colorful career, marked by daring and quick wits, spanned nearly a century—a critical era in the development of the West, when Indians, gold seekers, soldiers, and cowboys peopled the plains. It was due to the courage and vision of pioneers such as he that homes were established on the prairies.

William E. Connelly, former secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, declared in his book, Kansas and Kansans, "If all the events, circumstances, and movements with which Frank M. Stahl has been identified should be written out in detail, the result would be a Kansas history, perhaps as complete, and certainly as interesting, as could be written with one life as the central figure."

The story related here is pieced together for the most part from Mr. Stahl's oral accounts and typewritten notes. Wherever possible his exact wording is used. The reminiscences he put into rhyme are quoted verbatim. In assembling background materials, the compiler received generous help from many sources. Mrs. Eva Meredith, a daughter of Mr. Stahl, shared her personal recollections, as well as family photographs. Fuller information concerning members of the Simmerwell family came from Miss Bessie Moore and Mrs. Lena Baxter Schenck, great-granddaughters of the Reverend Robert Simmerwell who played an important part in this narrative. Dr. E.B. Trail of Berger, Missouri, an authority on Missouri River steamboat history, gave unstinted assistance and loaned photographs from this valuable collection.

Others whose help is gratefully acknowledged are Mr. and Mrs. William I. Smith; Professor Samuel A. Johnson of Harris Teachers College, St. Louis; Orville W. Taylor of the Arkansas History Commission, Little Rock; and reference librarians in the Little Rock Public Library, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka. A special word of appreciation is due Dr. Clyde K. Hyder, Editor of the University of Kansas Press, for his scholarly advice and painstaking assistance in steering the work to its completion.


M.W.

table of contents chapter I