Mrs. Sarah Sturdevant died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. W. R. Adams, last Friday morning, April 9th, which was the 97th anniversary of her birth. She was sick but a few days and her death was due principally to her advanced age.
The funeral was held Saturday afternoon at the residence. Rev R. C. Fleming conducted the services, assisted by Rev. W. B. Barton, after which the remains were laid to rest in the Larned, Kansas cemetery.
In the death of Mrs. Sturdevant, Larned has lost it oldest citizen in point of age and one of its oldest settlers. She was a most remarkable woman in many ways besides her extreme age. She had an unusual memory and to the last her recollections of the events of her long life were clear and distinct.
She was born in Lawrenceburg Dearborn county, Indiana, April 9, 1812, two months prior to the beginning of the second war with Great Britain. Her maiden name was Wardell. Her mother was the daughter of Col. Zebulon Pike, a Revolutionary hero. Her mother's brother was Lieut. Zebulon Pike, the discoverer of Pike's Peak in Colorado.
She was reared by her grandfather, Col. Pike, who was a staunch patriot and was deeply interested in the political life of the new nation which he helped to wrest from England. As he grew old and infirm it became the duty and leasure of his young granddaughter to read to him the great political speeches and discussions of the day. In this way she became conversant with public affairs and under his tutelage became an ardent student of politics, and remained so to the time of her death.
The great political speeches of Clay and Webster, and the fierce debates of ante-bellum days were fresh in her memory. But she did not live in the past alone. She had a keen interest in present day politics and read her daily paper. She was a great admirer of Roosevelt, LaFollette and of Hadley, whom she knew as a boy in eastern Kansas. She said once to this writer, "I like your paper, but you do not put enough politics in it."
She was married to Rev. Chars. Sturdevant May 24, 1835. To this union were born four children, two of whom are now living, Mrs. W. R. Adams of Larned and Chas. Sturdevant of Alva, Okla. Rev. Sturdevant was a Presbyterian minister. After the war he was president of a female seminary in Independence, Mo. In 1870 the family settled at Olathe, Kan., and in 1876 moved to Larned, which has been the family home since.
Mrs. Sturdevant had lived a full, rounded life, the span of which was so nearly coincident with that of the nation. Her girlhood was spent in the early days of the republic and her last days saw the crowning achievements of our modern civilization. The beginning, growth and developing of the use of steam, electricity and railroads have all passed under her observation.
It was a great pleasure to listen to her stories of the olden times. As a girl of thirteen, one morning she was standing by the gate in front of her grandfather's home looking toward the steamboat landing on the Ohio river, when she saw two gentlemen approaching up the path to her father's house. They inquired for Colonel Pike and she conducted them to her grandfather. One of the gentlemen was the great General Lafayette, who fought so valiantly for the American colonies in the Revolutionary war. It was during his trip to America as the nation's guest in 1824-5 that he called to see his former comrade-in-arms, Colonel Pike.
Colonel Pike's place adjourned that of President William Henry Harrison in Indiana and there President Benjamin Harrison often went as a boy. Both the Harrisons were known as neighbors by Mrs. Sturdevant.
Mrs Sturdevant was an earnest christian and had been a member of the Presbyterian church for eighty years. Her sweet christian character endeared her to a wide circle of friends. It was the custom every year for a number of the old friends and neighbors to give a dinner party in her honor, and little souvenirs of the occasion were given. On the day of her death, which was her ninety-seventh birthday, a number of remembrances arrived from friends away.
The beauty of the christian's faith was exemplified in her death. She had longed to be at rest and when the end approached she welcomed it as a weary child welcomes the caressing arms of a loving parent. Her death was as beautiful as her life. Since she desired it so greatly, her going is not a cause for grief, but to the many who loved her there is a sadness in the parting that will remain. It was a privilege to have known her and her memory is dearly cherished by those who were so favored.
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