in 1851 twenty-six-year-old Thomas Huffaker came to the
recently-completed Kaw Mission to instruct Kaw boys in
basic academic skills and Christianity. The boys
occupied the four upstairs rooms as boarding students.
On May 6, 1852 Thomas was wedded to sixteen-year-old
Eliza Baker in the southeast room on the second floor.
The Huffakers established a household and conducted
classes on the ground floor. On July 4, 1853, the first
of their eleven children, Susie, was born in the Kaw
the U.S. government, acting on the advice of the
Methodist Episcopal Church South, closed the school for
the Kaws. The Huffakers continued to reside in the
mission building until 1862 when they moved into a new
house one-quarter mile northeast. Thomas Huffaker had a
long and distinguished career in the Council Grove
community as a businessman, probate judge, and
May 14, 1872, tragedy struck when Susie drowned in the
Neosho River within one hundred yards of the Kaw
Mission. Soon after the turn of the century, Thomas and
Eliza moved back into the Kaw Mission. Thomas died here
on July 10, 1910. On July 5, 1920, Eliza passed away in
the same room where she and Thomas had been wed
sixty-eight years before.
||In 1926 Carl
youngest child of Thomas and Eliza Huffaker, purchased
the Kaw Mission. Huffaker had a profitable business
career in Fairfax, Oklahoma before returning to his
hometown of Council Grove to retire at age 46.
and his wife, Bertha, renovated the old mission building
into a fine home at a cost of $37,000. The oak floors,
fireplace veneers, steam heat radiators, and chandeliers
are products of this 1926 remodeling. Especially
prominent is the dark brown wood composing the
baseboards, ceiling moldings, doors, windows, and
stairway. This is rosewood, a rare and valuable tree of
the tropical rain forest.
Kaw Mission orientation video is played in the room
where the Huffakers and their daughter Marjorie dined.
The kitchen pantry was located opposite the ladies
restroom. The two-room kitchen, now a staff office,
occupied the northwest corner. The large room on the
west side was the living room. Upstairs were four
bedrooms and two full bathrooms. One of the bedrooms was
occupied by young women hired as maids.
died suddenly in the home in February 1949. In 1951 Carl
sold the Kaw Mission to the state of Kansas for $23,500.
Over a span of one century two generations of Huffakers
had begun and ended occupancy of the historic Kaw