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Biographical Sketch
Robert Davis Hartman
Atchison County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

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Robert Davis Hartman

The subject of this sketch is the son of a pioneer and has himself lived for years the wild life of the plains which will have an interest more and more romantic as it recedes into the past and the impossibility of its repetition anywhere in America becomes more and more apparent.  He has been a soldier also, and as such had a taste of Indian warfare.  If his experience has been a remarkably fortunate one in some respects that fact should not detract from the credit due one who shrank from no responsibility and always faced the future with a bold front, willing to take his full share of any ills it might hold.

Robert Davis Hartman is one of the six children of Jonathan Hartman, some account of whose life is included in a biographical sketch of William Morris Hartman, a son of Jonathan and brother of Robert Davis Hartman, which has a place in this work.  These children were named thus in the order of their birth: Frederick, Robert Davis, William Morris, Richard M., Alice and Mary.  The two daughters are dead.  Richard M. married Maud Brannan and lives on his father's old homestead.

Robert Davis Hartman was born at Platte City, Missouri, November 26, 1848, and grew up and was educated in the public schools near Parnell, Atchison county, Kansas.  He remained in that neighborhood until he was sixteen years old and then went to Atchison and entered the employment of John Bradford, a well known freighter, as a "bull-whacker," as drivers of ox teams were called in the vernacular of the west in those days.

Later he was a driver for William McPherson, of Atchison, and for Gray & Faulkner, of Leavenworth. In 1865 he went in the same service for Lord Brothers, of Denver, Colorado.  Mr. Hartman made five trips across the plains and did much arduous work and experienced some memorable hardships, but his experience was peculiar in one way.

He states that his career was perhaps less exciting and noteworthy than that of any other plainsman of his time.  His wagon train never encountered a live Indian during his several years of "whacking," while trains in front of him and trains behind him were completely wiped out, the men being killed and scalped, the wagons burned and the cattle and portable valuables run off.  After leaving the service of Lord Brothers, Mr. Hartman came home and remained for a time on the farm. 

In 1867 he enlisted in the United States Army for service against the Indians and was a member of Company D, Eighteenth Regiment Kansas Volunteers, and was in Major Moore's battalion.  The historic fight at Prairie Dog creek, with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, put an end to hostilities and the Eighteenth Regiment returned to Fort Harker and Mr. Hartman was there mustered out, after four months' service. 

In 1868 his desire for the excitement of frontier life reasserted itself and he went to Colorado and re-entered the service of Lord Brothers.  He remained in Colorado for seven years as a cowboy and ranchman, and then, having accumulated an amount sufficient to establish himself as a farmer at home, he returned to Atchison county, Kansas and bought a farm in Mount Pleasant township.

He has met with satisfactory success and has become known as one of the leading farmers of his vicinity.  He was married, in 1870, to Mattie A., a daughter of M. L. Williams, who came to Kansas from Canton, Missouri, and they have children named Adda, Robert, Henry, Peter, James, William, Edna, Davis, Belle, Christine and Sam. James and Peter are twins.

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Last update: Thursday, January 15, 2004 01:03:53

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