French's Fort

Memories of French's Fort
This is the old two story farm house I was raised in.  It was a historical house, built by John French, who homesteaded our farm and people traveling highway 69 when it was a dirt road would stop for the night and he would put them up- they called the house "French's Fort".   
Memory of Joe Cukjati
I was raised in "French's Fort", a two story farm house that was built in 1870 by John French- it had twelve rooms in it.  John French homesteaded 110 acres where our present farm is.  Broadway was the military highway from Fort Blair( Baxter Springs) to Fort Scott- people with covered wagons frequently came along this road and stopped at French's Fort to stay the night because of their fear of  indians and hooligans.   French's Fort (our old farm house) was torn down  in 1956 and our present house was built.  Gardner's house was built in around 1900, he was station master of the railroad and that was one of the finest houses in the area for a long time.  The chandelier-oil lamp in my office came from French's Fort and was stored in our pig barn for fifty years until one day when I built my new animal hospital in Texas that I mentioned to my Dad that I would like to have some artifacts from the farm and he came up with this old oil lamp from French's Fort.  Memory of  Joe Cukjati
I would like to tell the story that my Grandmother told to me about their arrival at "French's Fort".  They had loaded their possession up on a conestoga type wagon in Fleming Kansas, (it was a town that no longer exists but it was near present day Weir) and Grandma, Grandpa Cukjati and three boys took out for Franklin.  They traveled all day in the rain on a cold March day.  They arrived late in the afternoon expecting to move into their newly purchased home and Mr. French was still in it and refused to leave them stay in the house.  They had to go down in the camp to a small two room house where they had to live for three months before Mr. French gave up the two story farm house known as "French's Fort".  When Grandma and Grandpa moved into the farm house, there was another building to the west of the farm house that was used as a storage building by Mr. French.  It was full of hams and smoked meats hanging and indian aritifacts.  Grandpa and Grandma was wary that the meat was poisoned or no good so they loaded up all the meat and destroyed it.  Grandpa took several wagon loads of indian aritifacts including bows, arrows, war bonnets, axes made of stone and several other things down to a big ditch on the farm and threw all this stuff away. An incredible fortune by todays prices of authentic indian aritfacts. Memory of  Joe Cukjati

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