The U.S. government made the lands of Cowley County, Kansas available for purchase through the Osage Lands Act of 1870 and 1872. The population of the county boomed. In Cowley’s Maple Township, a community named Red Bud was established northeast of Udall. In March, 1873, the Red Bud post office was opened.
About a year later, on March 14, 1874, Michael Craft and his wife Sarah Eckenweiler Craft took advantage of the government’s offer and bought 160 acres of land in the southwest corner of Section 14 of Maple Township for $200. This acreage included the land that would later become Red Bud Catholic Cemetery.
Michael and Sarah Craft were from Auglaize County, Ohio. Several owners of neighboring lands in Maple Township were also Catholics of German descent who came from Auglaize County, and we will explore those connections in future posts. The graves of Red Bud Catholic Cemetery include many family names that can also be found on the gravestones of Catholic cemeteries near Wapakoneta and other communities in Auglaize County, as well as in nearby Dayton, Ohio.
Michael Craft’s family was prominent among the early settlers of Auglaize County. He was the eldest son of Edward Craft and Susannah Busch Craft.
Edward’s father, William Craft, was born in Pennsylvania. He fought in the War of 1812, then moved west across Pennsylvania to Ohio, settling in the Auglaize County (then Allen County) area by the mid-1830s.
Susannah Busch Craft’s parents immigrated from Wyhl, Baden in 1817 to Pennsylvania, gradually moved west, traveled down the Ohio River on a log raft, and settled in Auglaize County by 1834. Auglaize County was home to many immigrants from the principalities and duchies that eventually became Germany.
By 1874, many of the children and grandchildren of these immigrants were looking for their own lands to settle.
Michael and Sarah Craft did not keep the Kansas land they purchased for long. On July 17, 1874, they sold the land to his parents, Edward and Susannah Craft, for $425.
William Craft (1781-1865) + Elizabeth Smith (1793-1869)
Edward Craft (1823-1918) + Susannah Busch (1826-1905) [see below]
Michael Craft (1847-1919) + Sarah Eckenweiler (1849-1904)
) + Elizabeth Stegle
Susannah Busch (1826-1905)