This Just In ... claims to have 75 million pages of newsprint digitized and viewable online for a small fee.  Information I used recently in writing about Virginia City in the early 1860’s was drawn from pages of  the Virginia Evening Bulletin, which reside online courtesy of the Cooperative Libraries Automated Network.  A few bits and pieces about the life and work of Marguerite Lovewell came from the Daily Argus published in Marguerite’s hometown of Mount Vernon, New York, which is just north of the Bronx.  Searchable pdf’s of the Argus reside at, part of the New York State Digital Library.

What I’m getting at is that much more of our past is rapidly coming online, billions of tiny digital chunks at a time, filling in more holes in a gigantic picture-puzzle which has no definite borders and no pat solution.  Every day there’s also a better chance that one of my Internet searches will score a bullseye.  Last week a couple of minor news snippets surfaced.  Neither contains anything new or startling, though their very existence probably should tell us something, even if it’s only that Thomas Lovewell’s grandchildren were already on the job as his press agents.  The Daily Capital reported on the Kansas pioneer at least one more time after the 1902 visit to his cousin, Prof. J. T. Lovewell in Topeka.  A note published about a birthday celebration in 1914 bolsters my conviction that Thomas was probably a year older than we’ve long been led to believe.

Indian Scout is 89

Special to The Capital

Lovewell, Kan., Dec. 27 - Thomas Lovewell has just celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday and is enjoying pretty good health.  Mr. Lovewell is the oldest settler in the western part of Republic county, having settled on White Rock creek in 1866.  He had been an Indian scout for a number of years before that and can tell some interesting stories.   

The paper might have saved us some trouble by relating one or two of those stories, but never mind.  News about the old scout's death six years later was circulated by the Wichita Beacon, which managed to stretch out Lovewell's lifeline, making him even a year older than I think he was.

White Rock Pioneer Dies

Man Who Had Town Named After Him Was 95 Years Old.

White Rock, Kas., March 29. - The death of Thomas Lovewell, the oldest pioneer of White Rock, for whom the town of Lovewell, Jewell County, Kansas, was named, removed one of the most interesting and historic characters of Northern Kansas.  Coming to the county while it was still inhabited by Indian savages and buffalos, he resided here continuously up to the date of his death.  He was 95 years of age and leaves a grown family of sons and daughters.

Detailed reminiscences about Thomas Lovewell would have to wait a few years, the first appearing in the Belleville Telescope under Ella Morlan Warren’s byline in 1933.  Her series on White Rock pioneers, including Thomas Lovewell, Samuel Fisher, and Paul and Martin Dahl, are all available on

What else might pop up someday?  Well, the Territorial Enterprise was first published in Virginia City in 1858.  So far, online issues date from no earlier than 1874.  Perhaps someday someone will find one from 1860 crumbling in an attic somewhere, an issue containing a tale related by four thirsty prospectors who stumble out of Death Valley with a miraculous story of survival to tell.  

It could happen. 

© Dale Switzer 2023