I am the great-great granddaughter of Samuel Gardenhire, and was very interested in your posting :)
Here's some more info. to fill in the history of his family for you...
Samuel Gardenhire is the son of James B. Gardenhire and Sarah (Major) Gardenhire (the Major in parenthesis is family history lingo to signify that Major was her maiden name). Samuel married Mary Jetmore on December 24, 1881 in Topeka. As an FYI, Mary Jetmore was the daughter of Abraham B. Jetmore and Maria (Peterson) Jetmore--the tiny town of Jetmore, KS was named after Abraham.
Anyway, Samuel was indeed a lawyer and writer as you noted. Samuel was a member of the state legislature, and later, the lawyer for Samuel Clemens, more famously known as Mark Twain. To my knowledge, Samuel Gardenhire authored and published 4 books: "The Long Arm", "Lux Crucis", "The Silence of Mrs. Harrold", and "Purple and Homespun" I have yet to see those books, but I believe that Lux Crucis was a fictional piece based on the Biblical journeys of Paul.
Sam and Mary had five children: Helen Major Gardenhire (my great-grandmother) b. 1882 John Gardenhire b. 1884 d.1884 Frederick Jetmore Gardenhire b.1885 Marie Elizabeth Gardenhire b.1887 Samuel Major Gardenhire, Jr. b.1889
The family moved to New York sometime around the turn of the century I think (not sure on the exact timing) and Samuel Gardenhire had an office on Wall St. before his death in 1923. Frederick and/or Samuel Jr. fought in WWI I believe, but after that, my info. on them becomes very sparse. Marie Gardenhire married twice, but had no children to my knowledge. My great-grandma married and had one daughter; she was a writer and did some acting--my parents have several diaries of hers that cover much of the mid-twentieth century.
My parents also have boxes full of old photos, writings, and other information passed down from the Gardenhires, including I believe, photos of a house in Topeka? Though, given the deed date you quoted, and the fact that all their children were born in Topeka, they must have owned more than one house in Topeka during their time there. I am curious as to the condition and appearance of the house, as I've never been to Topeka or seen the house. Also, you mention an opera written by Samuel Gardenhire? I didn't know he wrote any operas and would be interested in learning more about it. The title of it is also interesting, as they were related to a family by the last name of Knickerbocker--I wonder if he wrote it about them??
You can email me individually at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want, or post more info. online; either way, I find this all very fascinating and appreciate your interest in your home's history. I hope that this info. satifies some of that curiousity :) Thanks for writing, and I look forward to hearing from you!