Delaware Kansas Reservation
Both the White Church and White Church Cemetery were founded in 1831 by Rev. Thomas Johnson and his brother, Rev. William Johnson as part of a Methodist Mission to the Delaware Indians. This is the oldest church in Kansas City, Kansas.
This cemetery is the last resting place for many of the Delaware Indians that were served by the Mission as well as the pioneers involved in service to the Mission and the Delaware tribe.
That part of the country on the north side of the Kansas River was first settled by the Delawares in 1829. They came from Ohio, and brought with them a knowledge of agriculture, and many of them habits of industry. They opened farms, built houses and cut out roads along the ridges and divides, also erecting a frame church at what is now the village of White Church. The population of the Delaware tribe when it first settled in Kansas, was 1,000. It was afterward reduced to 800. This was in consequence of contact with the wilder tribes, who were as hostile to the short-haired Indians as they were to the whites. Still the Delawares would venture out hunting buffalo and beaver, to be inevitably overcome and destroyed. Government finally forbade their leaving the reservation. The effect of this order was soon apparent in the steady increase of the tribe, so that when they removed in 1867, they numbered 1,160. The ruling chiefs from 1829 to 1867, were Ne-con-he-con, Qui-sha-to-what (Capt. John Ketchum), Nah-ko-mund (Capt. Anderson), Kock-a-to-wha (Sar-cox-ie), Charles Journeycake, Qua-con-now-ha (James Sacondine or Secundine), Ah-cah-chick (James Connor) and Capt. John Connor.”
Capt. John Ketchum, one of the most noted chiefs of the Delawares, died in August, 1857. He lived near White Church on the Lawrence road, and at the time of his death, which occurred at an advanced age, he was almost helpless. His funeral was attended by a large number of Indians, who came in their colored blankets and painted faces, carrying their guns. They were mounted on horseback, and as the procession slowly followed the remains of their chief along the windings of the forest road, they seemed truly the sorrowful survivors of a once powerful race.