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Clemeth Abercrombie (1822-1907)

Information provided to Mitchell County (KS) Historical Society by Jack Abercrombie,
29 Aug 2000:


Clemeth was one of 13 brothers and sisters, born to John and Fannie (Cavender) Abercrombie in the Captain Abercrombie Militia District of Hall County, Georgia.   In 1841, he and Emeline Sarah Jones were married and they started their family in the mountains near Dahlonega in Lumpkin County, Georgia.
During the Civil War, Clemeth served as a sub-enrolling officer with Cobb's Legion (Georgia Militia), being too old for the ranks.  Neither Clemeth nor his two brothers nor his two sons who fought in the war owned slaves.  One brother, Young, was killed in the battle of Vicksburg.  Clemeth's father, John, did own two slaves, a man and a woman.
The years immediately following the war were filled with turmoil in Georgia.  The South had totally collapsed.  Federal troops occupied Dahlonega until 1868 when Georgia was readmitted to the Union upon the state's ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution declaring rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the laws.  Georgia was expelled again in 1869 but again readmitted in 1870 upon ratification of the 15th Amendment, the right to vote.  Carpetbaggers and scalawags did their best to ravage the land during the Reconstruction period.
Meanwhile, the State of Kansas, which had been at the root of the war, was being promoted in advertisements through the southern states.  William Wiley Abercrombie  (the second son of Clemeth and Emeline), with his wife Elizabeth Brookshire and four children, left the mountains of Georgia in 1869.  By 1870 they were settled in the Salt Creek Township of Mitchell County, KS.  William Wiley was  named in 1873 as the first postmaster of the Saltville Post Office.  He was later joined by his parents (Clemeth & Emeline) and their eight younger children who homesteaded on Fifth Creek.  The old stone house they built is still standing in Section 15 of of the township.  Clemeth's brother, Andrew Jackson Abercrombie, also came from Georgia to Salt Creek.
Within a few years, Clemeth's oldest son, John Henry Abercrombie, along with many friends and neighbors from Georgia had settled along Salt Creek.  These Georgia families included Gaddis, Simmons, Tatum, Pruitt, Hood, and Wilson.  There were so many ex-Georgia residents that there developed a dispute within School District 55 of Mitchell County.  Two schools were eventually formed -- the Saltville School in the north, and the Georgia School in the south.
Clemeth was active in civic affairs, both in Georgia and in Kansas.  In 1872, he was chairman of the Salt Creek section of the Liberal Reform Republican Party, and promoted a resolution that the party convention be held in Beloit, Kansas.  He wrote, "...that we sympathize with out sister states of the south for the manner in which they have been treated by the domineering carpetbaggers and military despotism."
According to an article in the Beloit Times, "Clemeth, with ruddy compexion, grey hair and beard, was well liked by his neighbors and friends of Saltfille and was known to all as 'Uncle Clem.'  He was an industrious man who amassed considerable property during his years as a Kansas pioneer."
Clemeth died on 17 November 1907 and was laid to rest in the Saltville Cemetery beside his wife Emeline who had predeceased him by eight years.  During his last years, he was cared for by his daughters, Amanda Tulula (Mrs. Frank) Wilson, and Mary Susanna Elizabeth (Mrs. John W.) Simmons.  He was a member of the Baptist Church from his early years in Georgia, and a member of the Masonic Order for 60 years.  He and Emeline had 12 children.

 

2016