George J. Remsburg [RG3613.AM]


RG3613.AM:  George J. Remsburg, 1871-1954

Papers, 1904-1921

Kansas, California:  Researcher

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box

BACKGROUND NOTE (courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society)

George Jacob Remsburg was born on September 22, 1871, in Atchison County, Kansas, to John E. and Nora E. Eiler Remsburg. John was a native of Ohio and came to Kansas in 1868. He was an internationally known author, of such works as The Life of Thomas Paine, Image Breaker, and Bible Morals. He also gained international fame as a speaker in support of free thought and the secularization of states.

George Remsburg attended public schools in Atchison County and then worked on a fruit farm for several years before moving to Atchison in 1892. From 1892-1900 he served as a reporter and eventually city editor of the Atchison Daily Champion. From 1894-1895 he served as editor of the Missouri Valley Farmer, the largest agricultural magazine in the area at that time. Due to ill health, Remsburg returned to a farm near Oak Hill, Kansas in 1900 turning his attention more fully to the study of Kansas Indians and history. He served as a special correspondent for several newspapers including the Atchison Globe, Topeka Capital, Leavenworth Times, St. Joseph Gazette, and others, and such magazines as The Archaeologist, The Antiquarian, Gameland, Freethought, and Western Life.

Remsburg soon became known for his extensive collection of Indian artifacts and for his explorations and excavations of Indian villages and burial grounds throughout eastern Kansas. In all Remsburg located and examined at least 100 village sites and campgrounds in the area. He also identified all of the important Indian village sites of the Kaw, Kickapoo and other prominent Indian tribes of the area.

From 1907-1917, Remsburg was connected with the Potter Kansas, as well as his other papers, and also became active in several organizations. He was a member and president, from 1902-1903, of the American Society of Curio Collections. He was a member of the Western Historical Society, Kansas and Oklahoma Historical Societies, the International Society of Archaeologists, the National Geographic Society, and the McClean County, Illinois Historical society.

Remsburg did extensive work on the Kickapoo Indians of Kansas and centered his study and investigations mainly around them. Because of his work in history and archaeology he soon became known as the “Atchison County Antiquarian,” a title he held most of his life. Remsburg was plagued by ill health most of his life and eventually moved to California where he died in Porterville on March 25, 1954.


This collection consists of one box of papers relating to George J. Remsburg’s research on Oto Indian Chief Iatan, as well as various other Nebraska subjects.  The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks and clippings.  Materials in the collection date from 1904-1921.  See the library for a publication by George Remsburg.

Note:  The bulk of George J. Remsburg’s papers are held at the Kansas Historical Society.


Box 1


    1. Correspondence, 1904-1908, 1921

    1. Manuscripts about Iatan

    1. Scrapbook, 1907, “The Story of Two Contractors. J.P. Brown of the Atchison and Nebraska Railroad and Owen E. Seip who built a bake-oven at Bellemont, Nebraska, in 1857.”

      Scrapbook, 1921, “Stray scraps of Nebraska History, Biography and Pioneer Reminiscence” including:

        • Dr. G.H. Collins, a former Nebraska dentist

        • Attempted mail robberies in Nebraska in 1864

        • John Rice, a Nebraska soldier, killed by citizens of Arago, in 1864

        • S.H. Fullerton, a lumber dealer at Tecumseh in the 1870s

        • Mrs. Mary E. Smith Hayward, merchant at Chadron, vegetarian, Equal Suffrage leader and Secularist

        • Hugh Kilgore, resident of Wilber and Freethinker

        • Dr. B.J. Alexander, a former well known Nebraska physician and professor of obstetrics

        • Dr. C.P. Shaffer, a former Nebraska school teacher and physician

        • John L. Philbrick of Wymore

        • Scarlet fever epidemic near Falls City in 1864

        • D.K. Babbit and his pacing mare, Milkmaid: A famous horse that won the free-for-all at Salem in 1900

        • J.B. Hinthorn, an early businessman at Geneva

        • C.J. Hardin, settled in Nebraska in the 1870s

        • J.W. Barringer, a Nebraska settler of 1864

        • Theodore Taylor, whose father built the first house at Falls City

        • T.F. Sullivan, a former Falls City lumber dealer

        • F.C. Bingham, a Nebraska Baptist minister of the 1880s and 1890s

        • Ervine Beagle of Falls City

        • Indian Alarms, 1858-1866

        • L.E. Simmerman, of Fremont, collector of relics and curios

        • Swan Ferris, of Kearney, and his coin collection

        • John G. Neihardt, Nebraska poet

        • J.W. Ellarton, of Aurora, and his collection of war relics

        • Ross T. Hickcox, attorney of El Centro, California, a native of Nebraska

        • William White, alias “Nebraska Bill,” is killed in Atchison in 1862

        • A desperado killed near Alkali, Nebraska in 1866, after an attack on a stage coach

        • A band of 100 Missouri ruffians cross the river at Rulo in 1861

        • Murder of Lyman C. Elridge by William W. Cox, on the Little Blue, Nebraska, in 1865

      Biographical notation on Samuel Wymore

    1. Clippings about Iatan, etc.


Subject headings:

Alexander, Benjamin Johnson, 1855-1918

Atchison and Nebraska Railroad Company

Babbit, David Kimball, 1836-1917

Barringer, John Wilkerson, 1857-1930

Beagle, Thomas Irvin, 1892-1966

Bingham, Frank C., 1855-1917

Brown, John Patrick, 1829-1909

Collins, George H., 1860-1917

Cox, William, 1847-1865

Elridge, Lyman C., -1865

Fullerton, Samuel H., 1852-1939

Hardin, Charles Justin, 1867-1920

Hayward, Mary E. (Smith), 1842-1938

Hickcox, Ross Theodore, 1874-1957

Hinthorn, Jesse B., 1867-1928

Kilgore, Hugh, 1831-1916

Milkmaid (Horse)

Philbrick, John L., 1825-1894

Remsburg, George J., 1871-1954

Rice, John -1864

Seip, Owen E., 1836-1920

Shaffer, Charles Porter, 1863-1944

Sullivan, Theodore F., 1853-1932

Taylor, Theodore, 1852-1927

White, William “Nebraska Bill,” -1862

Wymore, Samuel Porter, 1834-1908


JEP/ht                 03-23-1973

Revised TMM      02-15-2019

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