Erasmus Haworth

Editor's note: Erasmus Haworth is the brother of Rossetta Haworth Robertson. "Rose" wrote an autobiography that covers in detail the early lives of this family. Many of the names and events mentioned by Mrs. diZerega  (Dottie) can also be found in the Rose paper. The Rose autobiography can be found at "rose_paper.htm", or on our index. Note:  Additional pictures of this family were found .   See Ellwood.   Ron Haworth, editor

The pictures that were submitted by Dottie are indexed as follows:

Erasmus Haworth - about 1887 

Erasmus Haworth - in later life

Ida Huntsman Haworth - about 1887

Erasmus and Dottie - about 1926

Old Haworth Hall, 1907  

(with name pronunciation)

(these are two large files and may take several minutes to load)

(It is worth the wait to see this historic picture.)

Erasmus - at his office

Erasmus Ancestors Chart


My Grandfather, Erasmus Haworth

By Darthea S. diZerega


My grandfather, Erasmus Haworth, was born 17 April 1855, Belmont Township, Warren Co., Iowa. He was the fourth child born to Ellwood and Matilda (Folger) Haworth. My great grandfather, Ellwood Haworth was born 14 August 1826 near Quaker Point, Newport, Vermilion Co., IN, while Matilda Folger was born 3 September 1827 in Salem, Union Co., IN. Ellwood was the fifth child born to Richard and Susannah (Henderson) Haworth. Matilda was the third child of Asa Folger and Elizabeth Starbuck.

Ellwood Haworth was a farmer, accumulating farmland in Vermilion Co., IL. In 1854, after five years of married life, he sold his property for $1,300 in gold. He "stowed" his gold in a small trunk, which he put in a wagon with other belongings, and with his wife and two children left for Warren Co., Iowa. They drove straight through without ever unloading the trunk or the money. He said he depended on the Lord for protection, not only for himself and family but also for the property. He carried a hunting rifle, but so far as protection from robbers was concerned, he considered himself wholly unarmed and totally depended on Providence. He later, went to Cherokee Co., KS in 1866 where he settled on a farm and lived there until his death in 1932. He was recorded as a Quaker minister by the Spring River Monthly Meeting in Cherokee Co., KS.

Thusly Erasmus was a birth right Quaker with a childhood on the farm both in Iowa and Kansas. He often told me that he had faithfully promised his father to look after the stock in his father's absence, but the most arduous task was feeding and watering 35 to 40 hogs, which were to be fattened. He was to cut the corn in an adjoining field and throw four or five armloads over the fence to the hogs twice a day. Grandfather Erasmus attended a Friend's Academy in Galena, Cherokee Co., KS where he helped organize a literary society. During these years he helped with the homework of the children and at one time acted as farmer for the Modoc Indians.

During the summer following Erasmus' 21st birthday he saved $35 from his earnings and decided to attend the State University. He graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1881. Because of his limited finances he practiced extreme economy; often limiting his meals to five cents each. During part of his childhood, the Haworth farmhouse in Galena also served as the post office. During the next two years he taught public school in Galena and did the work required to obtain his master's degree. He then attended John Hopkins University. When his finances were exhausted he secured a position at Penn College, Oskaloosa IA. He returned to John Hopkins when he was financially able and remained a year, finally securing his Ph.D. This period was covered by a leave of absence from Penn College to which he returned and remained there until 1892. While there he met Ida E. Huntsman whom he married on 26 march 1889. He received an appointment to the University of Kansas as assistant professor of geology in 1892 and remained there until 1920.

In 1893 he had charge of the geology exhibit in Chicago at the World's Fair. Before retiring, he became head of the geology department, a position he held for many years. He was known to his students as "Daddy Haworth", a heavily-built man with a fringe of gray hair in his later years. While a member of the KU faculty he organized the Kansas State Geological Survey and was State Geologist from 1894 to 1915. During these years he wrote volumes 1,2,3,8 and parts of volumes 5 and 9, Kansas Geological Survey, besides many bulletins, statistical reports and other scientific papers. In all, more than 4,000 pages came from his busy pen, not to mention innumerable short papers read before scientific societies and contributions to scientific magazines. During his years as State Geologist, he found the water supply for Wichita and Newton, Kansas. He also convinced the Santa Fe Railroad to locate their headquarters in Newton, rather than Wichita, because of the abundant water.

He was an original fellow and life member of the Geological Society of America, a life member of the Kansas Academy of Science, a life member of the KU alumni association, a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Fraternity and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Erasmus Haworth was a scientist first and a teacher second. What he learned he was eager to impart. He had a gift of lucid statement that is indispensable to the teacher. The thought he had in his mind he could express with clarity and force. The facts he knew he could arrange in such logical form that they became almost dramatic and as easily remembered as a poem. Deeply reverential he looked upon the facts of geology, not merely with the eye of a scientist, but with the delight and wonder and awe of one who saw the firmament of the very handiwork of God. And so teaching to him was much more than a means of livelihood, it was the joy of awakening other minds to the beauties and the glories in which his own spirit reveled. This is how it happened that he was able to build up an enrollment of 700 students in a department where there were no required courses, and an enrollment greater than that of any other American university in a similar department. Fitting indeed it is that the great building which was erected to accommodate his classes should bear the name Haworth Hall.

Excerpts from a family letter written by Rose Haworth Robertson (see; sister of Erasmus Haworth, are used for some of the early day information in this biography. Excerpts from a memorial written by Charles F. Scott, Kansas publisher, delivered at the funeral of Erasmus in Wichita KS were used for his active and academic life information.

Erasmus was raised a Quaker, when he married Ida E. Huntsman, a Baptist. They both left their respective churches and joined the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence KS. Plymouth was one of the very early churches in Lawrence, being founded in 1854 and still standing today. They raised four children; Henry Huntsman, Paul Eugene, Rose Elizabeth and Margaret Josephine, my mother. All received their religious education at Plymouth Congregational Church where the girls were also married. I have a certificate dated 1909 when my mother graduated from Primary Sunday school which is signed by the Sunday School teacher and the minister.

After his retirement from Kansas University, he went into private practice as a petroleum engineer, living at Wichita and Hays. After my grandmother's death on 2 March 1931 in Wichita KS, he spent a great deal of time in Washington DC with his son, Paul E., and Ridgewood NJ with his daughter Rose H. Tenney. He returned to Wichita, and died on 18 November 1932. Both are buried at Old Mission Mausoleum in Wichita.

I have many fond memories of "Grandpa Haw" and "Gongie", as we referred to them. Every Sunday we had dinner at their house on Second Street across from the fire station. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes were the order of the day. When "Grandpa Haw" asked me which piece of the wing I would like, I always replied "the biggest". He would delight in giving me the tip piece and explain that it was not polite to always ask for the biggest part. I spent many a summer night at their house where I would sleep on the large front porch of the frame house. As this was across the street from the fire station, I spent most of the night hoping somebody's house would catch on fire so I could hear and watch the fire engine come out with sirens blaring. I am happy to report that this never happen, although at the time I was very disappointed. Grandpa Haw made several trips each night I slept on the front porch downstairs to "check on me". He was a portly man (weighed around 275 to 300 pounds in his prime and was only about 5' 9" tall) who always wore a white cotton nightshirt to bed. When he would come to check on me I always thought he was a ghost as the large nightshirt would wave in the Kansas breeze. I would act frightened and he would put his arm around me to assure me everything was safe; that he was there to protect me. What a wonderful memory!

Grandpa Haw had many pieces of advice and witty sayings, which I well remember and find them as true today as they were when I was a child. "Never say, I don't think thus and so is going to happen, as you should never admit that you don't think"; how many times do we say, "I don't think----" today? I would sit on his lap while he held me tight and read to me. I would laugh when he always told me that he saved just enough space for his lap to hold me. 'This is one of my fondest memories of Grandpa Haw. While he was a great educator and scientist, he was a benevolent protector of his family. His family always came first, no matter what was involved.

Even though I was only seven year old at the time of Grandpa Haw's death, I well remember him and loved him a great deal. He was the only grandfather I ever knew and I always regretted that I could not have had him longer to love and remember.

Dottie diZerega

updated December 2011

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