It's possible that Larry Carr didn't know what he had when he bought this 400 pound sandstone marker at an auction he conducted in Ellsworth. What he did know was that it had the name on it of the man who built his house just outside of Larned, Henry Booth.
According to Mildon Yeager, The stone just happened to be at this auction Larry was conducting. So he bought it to use as decoration in his own yard. Then, they moved to town and he had no use for it. By chance, a guy told us about it and we went and looked at it. We talked to Larry about acquiring it (Mildon and David Clapsaddle), for the Wet/Dry Route Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail. "He said he'd just give it to us."
The stone is inscribed with Henry Booth's name, and under his name the words; Department Commander, 1889. Booth one of the founders of Larned, was the Department Commander for the entire State of Kansas, of the Grand Army of the Republic. The group was an organization of union army and navy veterans of the civil war, organized in 1866. Therein lies part of the mystery surrounding the stone, as it is unknown where the stone was cut or how it ever left Larned and made it's way to Ellsworth, Kansas.
According to Clapsaddle. "Randy Thies of the State Historical Society is of the opinion that the stone was here (in Larned, Kansas) at the time Booth was here. We asked him if it could have been in Topeka instead? He said it would have been in Larned."
So when Carr donated the marker to the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail, the members were elated. It was at that point that the men decided the stone deserved to be permanently displayed
Enter the Sts. Mary and Martha of Bethany Episcopal Church in Larned, Kansas. Booth was a member of the church, and instrumental in the building of the original Bethany Episcopal Mission in Larned (dedicated in 1891). The church was originally organized in 1886, with Booth being the senior warden.
David Clapsaddle, being Larned's major advocate and historian on Booth felt there would be no better home for the antiquity than for it to be housed at the church. Approaching the membership with the idea, Clapsaddle was met with open arms, and a desire on the part of the parishioners to accept his plan.
With the involvement of Herman Mausoff, Mildon Yeager and David Clapsaddle, the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter had found a home for another piece of Larned's history. The case with glass sides that the stone rests in was built under the supervision of Mildon Yeager, with a portion of the materials donated by the men and the balance financed by the church.
It's a remarkable stone. And, as events go, a remarkable story. How did this marker ever leave Larned in the first place?
How did it ever survive the over 100 years that it has, and where may it have gone before it ended up in Ellsworth? What are the odds that it would have ever made it back to Larned: had it not been for Larry Carr recognizing the name Henry Booth as that of the man who built the house he lived in? And, how did it just show up at this one auction, out of thousands, that Mr. Carr was conducting? The questions could go on; and most of them will never be answered.
But none of that really matters. What matters is, that the marker is back home. And it is now, permanently encased and housed at the very church that Booth helped build. No matter where the marker had been, it's finally back home and this is where it will stay thanks to a lot of dedicated and interested people.
The Henry Booth Memorial Stone Exhibit was dedicated on October 27, 1996 at the Episcopal Church in Larned, Kansas.
The Rev. Tom Keith gave a brief service and Randy Thies, and authority on the Grand Army of the Republic, was the featured speaker.
The stone commemorates Booth, giving information about him, including his name, date of birth and dates he served in the Grand Army of the Republic.
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