Tuesday, June 16

Tombstone Tuesday: READER and CAMPDORAS

In 1855, Samuel James READER and younger sister Eliza arrived in Kansas Territory from La Harpe, Illinois with their deceased mother's sister, Elizabeth (nee James) and husband, Joseph COLE. They settled in future Shawnee County, north of present-day Topeka.

Samuel was a life-long journaler. At the age of 13 in La Harpe, he began making daily entries that included his thoughts and activities, as well as the weather. In the margins he sketched people, objects and scenes pertinent to the day's entry.

Reader's diaries are a fascinating peek into life in pre- and post-statehood Kansas until his death in 1914. Thirteen survive and are now in the possession of the Kansas Historical Society. Several have been scanned in toto and are online at Kansas Memory. The diary covering 23 May 1855 to 31 Dec 1857 is at http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/90315.

In 1858, Eliza Reader married Dr. Marie Antonin Eugene Jacques CAMPDORAS.

After receiving his degree in medicine and surgery at Montpelier, France, Dr. Campdoras was assigned to a hospital at Toulon. He then entered the French navy. While serving as surgeon on the Pengouin anchored off St. Tropez, the crew received word that Louis Napolean Bonaparte (Napolean III) had declared himself emperor. In protest, Dr. Campdoras led an insurrection that resulted in deserting the ship.

In 1852, he made his way to New York City and stayed three years, then taught Spanish in Louisiana for several months. In the spring of 1855 he came to Kansas Territory and practiced medicine in the bottoms along the Kaw River. In 1862, during the American Civil War, he enlisted as a surgeon in the Kansas Home Guards, but ill health forced him to resign after 18 months (service which included having his horse shot out from under him).

In 1871, ill health forced him to stop practicing medicine. In 1880, he returned to France briefly and learned that he'd not only been pardoned for his part in the insurrection, but awarded a pension. After his death in 1881, Eliza wasn't able to produce the necessary marriage record to receive the pension as his widow.

Eliza and Dr. Campdoras were parents of seven children: Leon, Katherine, Frank, Virginia, Grace, Velleda and Irene May. After Eliza's death in 1919, Grace, Velleda and Irene moved to California and lived the remainder of their lives there as old maids.

The finial that appears to be atop Eliza's side of the stone shared with her husband is really the top part of the stone behind it, that of aunt and uncle Elizabeth and Joseph Cole. All stones are next to each other at Rochester Cemetery, Topeka KS.

4 comments:

pinkpackrat said...

Every life is a fascinating story-- this is wonderful. Thanks Jama

JamaGenie said...

You're most welcome, ppr!

Marie Reed said...

Poor Eliza.. widowed, penniless, and okkkk... I guess I need to read back to see how old her 7 children were. He must have been so fearful to go back to France. He could have been just as easily put on trial! I wonder what was ailing him health wise. This is fascinating stuff! You have a gift at presenting it too! Happy Wednesday!

JamaGenie said...

Marie, Eliza's children were mostly grown and some were married and already had children by the time Antonin died. Three of the daughters continued to live at home, and one was a piano teacher, at least she was when the trio moved to California after Eliza's death.

As for Dr. Campdoras's health problems, he and several shipmates in the insurrection on the ship at St Tropez were captured and tortured. They escaped and made their way over the Alps to Italy, then to America. Dr. C was also wounded during the Civil War. He returned to France because he **had** to see it once more before he died.