Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Kansas

Inception and Organization

History of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Kansas
by Arthur H. Bennett, charter member and first Governor of the Society
For the benefit and information of "those who come after" I have been requested to write a sketch of the work connected with the formation and organization of the Kansas Society of Mayflower Descendants. There really isn't very much to be said about it. It is a short story of hard work, Yankee persistence, and a determination to accomplish the thing undertaken. I think it was during the winter of 1911-12 that the writer saw in some newspaper an article stating that William Howard Taft had recently been admitted to membership in the Society of Mayflower Descendants. This article went on to state the objects and purposes of the Society, and the difficulty in securing membership in it, because of the ability of so few, comparatively, who could establish their line of descent from any of the "Mayflower" passengers.
Knowing of my lineal descent from Elder William Brewster, I wrote a letter of inquiry to the Society of Mayflower Descendants at Washington, D.C., asking for information regarding it, and what the requirements for membership were, and shortly thereafter received a very nice letter from the Secretary, Mr. Ernest W. Bradford, answering my inquiries, and inviting me to make application for membership in that Society. Accepting that invitation, I promptly made application and on August 13, 1912, was elected to membership therein. One day in the spring of 1912, when I was at the Historical Library securing data for the completion of my pedigree papers, it was my privilege to meet Mrs. Edward N. MacGregor of Wichita, a very estimable lady who was there for the purpose of completing her line from Edward Fuller, on which to base her application for membership in the Massachusetts Society.
The meeting was mutually agreeable and interesting, and before our work was finished, we pledged each other that there must and shall be a Kansas Society of Mayflower Descendants, and that as soon as our own applications had been approved, we should together proceed with its formation, and that neither of us would cease our efforts until the task was completed. We therefore inserted a short notice in the Society columns of the Topeka and Wichita daily papers, requesting ladies and gentlemen living in Kansas, who were already members in other states, or thought themselves eligible to membership, to communicate with us with a view to the formation of a Society here in Kansas. We received several answers to these announcements, among them Mrs. Harriet Handy Shelton of Topeka and Mrs. Minnie Walker Wilcox of Abilene. Both of these ladies were already members of the Massachusetts Society. This gave us four actual members to begin with, and several promising eligibles.
Early in May 1913, we secured the applications of Luther C. Newcomb of Wichita, and also of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Newcomb Stratford, also of Mrs. Caroline Macomber Bennett and her two daughters, Miss Rachel Victoria Bennett and Mrs. Eunice Kate de Graff of Holton, Mr. Edwards A. Hiller of Salina, Mrs. Clara B. Eddy McGuire of Topeka, Mrs. Annie Bryant Scott of Topeka, and her daughter, Mrs. Helen Scott Johnson of Lawrence, Professor Edwin Mortimer Hopkins of Lawrence, Mr. Alfred Emery Van Petten of Topeka, Mrs. Sadie L. George of Wichita, Mrs. Clara Huntington Dods of Kansas City, Mrs. Susan Jennette Burtch of Hutchinson, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyt Purcell of Manhattan, Mrs. Margaret B. Brownell of Lawrence, Mr. Albert T. Hyde of Wichita, George Handy Shelton of Topeka, and Ralph A. Hiller of Norton. These twenty-three ladies and gentlemen duly signed the application for charter, which was sent to Mr. John Packard Tilden of New York City, the Secretary General, on the 29th of October 1914, and a meeting was called for the purpose of perfecting the organization, on the 21 st of November 1914, the 294th anniversary of the signing of the Compact by the "Mayflower" passengers near Plymouth in 1620. On the 18th of November the Secretary General informed us that twenty-two of the twenty-three petitioners for Charter had complied with all the requirements and were entitled to Charter, which he promised would be forthcoming without delay, and at 1:30 p.m. on the 21st, this Charter was received by Special Delivery Mail.
The meeting was called to order in the Assembly Room in the Memorial Building at Topeka, Kansas, shortly after 2:00 p.m. Professor Edwin Mortimer Hopkins, by request, acted as temporary Chairman and the organization was perfected. After a Constitution and Bylaws had been tentatively adopted, the following officers were elected for the first year, viz; Governor, Arthur Henry Bennett of Topeka; Deputy Governor, Harriet Handy Shelton of Topeka; Secretary, Mrs. Edward N. MacGregor of Wichita; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Clara B. Eddy McGuire of Topeka; Treasurer, Mrs. Helen Scott Johnson of Lawrence; Historian, Professor Edwin Mortimer Hopkins of Lawrence. The three Assistants chosen to complete the Board of Managers, were Mrs. Sadie L. George of Wichita, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyt Purcell of Manhattan, and Mrs. Annie Bryant Scott of Topeka. In the evening, Banquet was served to the members and their ladies or escorts, at the National Hotel in Topeka.
The aim, object and purpose of the Society are to perpetuate the memory of that band of Pilgrims, passengers on the good ship "Mayflower" on her voyage which terminated at Plymouth, New England, in December 1620; to preserve their records, their history, and the memory of all facts relating to them, their ancestors and their posterity. Their constancy of purpose under the most severe trials, their fortitude under privations, entitle these Pilgrims of Plymouth to the veneration of mankind, and it is earnestly hoped by those upon whom the responsibility of the Kansas Society rests, that we in Kansas may prove ourselves worthy sons and daughters of these noble sires.
                                                                                                        Very sincerely,
                                                                                                        Arthur H. Bennett
*Arthur Henry Bennett Topeka, KS 1914-1927
*Selden Hinckley Kilgore Topeka, KS 1927-1933
*David C. Caldwell Topeka, KS 1933-1936
*Frederick Newton Raymond Lawrence, KS 1936-1939
*Dr. Raymond Q. Brewster Lawrence, KS 1939-1948
*Otis Smith Allen Topeka, KS 1948-1951
*Inez (Kilgore) Groesbeck (Mrs. Arthur) Topeka, KS 1951-1954
*Alda (Row/and) Grieb (Mrs. Louis H.) Wichita, KS 1954-1957
*George Sherman Ripley, Sr. Salina, KS 1957-1959
*Elizabeth (Sheldon) Ives (Mrs. Harry M.) Topeka, KS 1959-1960
*Claurice A. G. Closson Independence, MO 1960-1963
*Margaret (Zeller) Garrett (Mrs. Clarence J.) Burlington, KS 1963-1966
*Harold Alfred Noyce Manhattan, KS 1966-1969
*S. Annette (Moats) Hill (Mrs. Charles W.) Topeka, KS 1969-1972
*Louise E. (McLaughlin) Bogue (Mrs. Joseph A.) Wichita, KS 1972-1975
*William R. Pagel Shawnee Mission, KS 1975-1978
*Col. Ralph Harmer Goodell, Jr., Overland Park, KS 1978-1981
*Philip Clarke Barbour Overland Park, KS 1981-1984
*Glenn B. Closson, Jr. Independence, MO 1984-1985
*Helen (Henry) Crawford (Mrs. Lewis) Salina, KS 1985-1990
*Howard Ramsay Walker Blue Mound, MO 1990-1996
John George Sayler Lawrence, KS 1996-1999
John Howard Walker McFarland, KS 1999-2005
John George Sayler Lawrence, KS 2005-2008
Barbara Ann Elliott Lindsborg, KS 2008-2011
H. Dewey Fry Stillwell, KS 2011-2014
Jane E. Groves Riddell Hurt Lenexa, KS 2014-2017
Della J. Regenold Topeka, KS 2017-2020
John Sherman Ellsworth, KS 2020-2023
 1. Arthur Henry Bennett,
Topeka, Kansas
 2. Leonora (Gove) MacGregor
Wichita, Kansas
 3. Harriet E. (Handy) Shelton
Topeka, Kansas
 4. George Handy Shelton
Topeka, Kansas
 5. Clara B. (Eddy) McGuire
Topeka, Kansas
 6. Minnie Lydia (Walker) Wilcox
Abilene, Kansas
 7. Edwin Mortimer Hopkins
Lawrence, Kansas
 8. Sadie (Damon) George
Wichita, Kansas
 9. Helen (Scott) Johnson
Lawrence, Kansas
10. Annie (Bryant) Scott
Topeka, Kansas
11. Elizabeth (Hoyt) Purcell
Manhattan, Kansas
12. Margaret (Budingham) Brownell
Lawrence, Kansas
13. Edwards Allen Hiller
Salina, Kansas
14. Albert Todd Hyde
Wichita, Kansas
15. Clara (Huntington) Dods
Kansas City, Kansas
16. Mrs. Susan Burtch
Hutchinson, Kansas
17. Kate (Bennett) DeGraff
Manhattan, Kansas
18. Alfred Emery Van Petten
Topeka, Kansas
19. Mary Eloise (Newcomb) Stratford
Wichita, Kansas
20. Caroline (Macomber) Bennett
Holton, Kansas
21. Miss Victoria Bennett
Holton, Kansas
22. Ralph Aldis Hiller
Norton, Kansas