KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS
The History of Johnson County, by Ed Blair




CHAPTER VI.

OLATHE.

Olathe and Its Institutions -- Merchants' Association -- First Hotel -- Voters in 1859 -- Old Landmarks and Border Day Experiences -- Churches -- State Institute for the Deaf -- Banks -- Fifty Years of Olathe -- A "County Seat Town."

OLATHE AND ITS INSTITUTIONS.

     Olathe is the county seat of Johnson county, and had a population of 3,272 in 1910, and, with its suburbs, now has about 4,000. It has twelve miles of paved streets, a sewer system and a waterworks plant costing about $10,000. Its basin covers twenty acres. The Olathe High School, costing $30,000, manual training and domestic science building, costing $10,000 were built in 1913, and a central school building, costing $25,000, was built in 1910. Two ward schools, costing $5,000 each, and a $10,000 public library were built in 1912. A city hall was built in 1911, at a cost of $17,500. The Johnson county court house is a handsome edifice standing in the court house square. The State school for the deaf is located here also. Mrs Kate S. Herman has been superintendent since 1913. It has 250 pupils and twenty teachers. The Masonic temple was built in 1913-14, at a cost of $15,000. The Odd Fellows have two halls, nicely fitted up, and have a strong membership.

     The commission form of government is in force here and the present officers are: J. S. Pellett, mayor; C. V. Townley, commissioner of finance; S. P. Howland, city clerk; Roy Murray, city engineer; J. H. Milhoan, police judge; E. V. Knox, fire chief; A. H. Carberry, marshal.

MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATIONS.

     The Johnson County Retail Merchants and Farmers' Association, with headquarters in Olathe, F. L. House, secretary, is one of the important institutions of the county. Its object is closer association and betterment of the merchants and farmers in Olathe and Johnson county, to secure and disseminate, to its members any and all legal and proper information, which may be of interest, value or protection to any member or members thereof. Membership may consist of any reputable merchant, banker, farmer,doctor, dentist, newspaper or any one else interested in the progressive business affairs of Johnson county. It has proven of great value to its members, to the merchants in saving on advertising, collections, credits, and merchants' delivery and free employment

Johnson County Hospital

JOHNSON COUNTY HOSPITAL.

103

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

department, of which the secretary is in charge. This idea originated with the secretary, Mr. House, and was put in effect at once on opening the office and has proven a wonderful success. Over 300 farm hands had been placed from March 17, 1914, to January 1, 1915.

     The merchants' delivery started July 1, 1914, and has proven a success from the start. It was quite a task to establish this system, but it has proven economical for all the members. In the delivery department they have four two-horse wagons, one going in each direction at nothing invested in the outfit, a livery man doing the work for the members at a stated salary. Through the cooperation of this association many public improvements have been agitated and while the improvements are not yet completed, they are under headway. The association has the following members:

Active Members.--Olathe State Bank, Olathe Packing Company, T. A. Sutton Company, Hedges Brothers, Grange Store, S. E. Wilkinson, W. C. Keefer, H. B. White, H. M. Dixon, R. W. Moll, W. E. Christie, Bradshaw Furniture Company, J. All Evans Company, E. N. Garrett, H. O. Woodbury, C. G. Morrison, Patron's Bank, Fred Ruppelius, National Bank, Olathe Mirror, F. R. Lanter, I. W. Snepp Company, Big Racket, Julian Furniture Company, B. F. Adair, Olathe Light Company, Harry McKoin, J. L. Pettyjohn & Company, Hadley Milling Company, Ben Gifford, Olathe "Register," F. W. Gras & Son, George D. Whitney & Son, White & Shinn, Warren & Hammond, Olathe Telephone Company, Olathe Independent Publishing Company, Weber Milling Company, Nowlin & Brown, Bertha Mills, Dr. P. L. Lathrop. E. J. Allison, Smith Brothers, Morse, Kans.; Olathe Auto Company, J. J. Kuhlman, Bonita, Kan.; Morrison & Martin, J. H. Cosgrove & Son, Ryan & Company, Farmers Bank, Gardner, Kans.; Lenexa Grain Company, Lenexa, Kan.; Peters grocery, Louis Krumm, Lenexa, Kan.; Ames & Payne, J. S. Hartley, Olathe Bottling Works, Spring Hill Cooperage Association, Spring Hill, Kans.

Social Members.--Charles Ott, W. B. Strang, J. C. Caswell, George Abbott, W. J. McIntyre, Al Pichie, E. G. Carroll, Charles Stuart, A. E. Moll, Dr. C. W. Jones, Rev. S. F. Reipma, Dr. R. L. Moberly, O. D. McClung, S. E. Ferguson, Samuel Trotter, Bert Saunders, T. H. Miller, Ed Blair, W. G. Tainter, Al White, P. N. Root, H. L. Phillips. Rural Members--Arthur Robinson, Wyatt Hayes, J. Fred Marvin, John Huston, S. H. Allison, D. J. Page, D. Z. Ernst, Frank Mahaffie, H. T. Norton, D. R. Steiner, J. E. McKittrick, J. C. Duguid, J. S. Lorimer, C. A. Swank, J. E. Bartlett, T. J. Ewing, Ed Beckett, L. D. Ewing, W. E. Montgomery, W. E. Wright, C. W. Stoddard, W. A. Gordon, Jeff Keys, J. J. Wright, Shelden E. Case, C. W. Fay, W. L. Johnson, A. R. Allison, R. H. Hite, S. R. Huchinson, Alph Beckett, W. P. Steiner, W. H. Perkey, A. O. Moon, Clyde Ewing, W. D, Montgomery, Albert Ott,

104

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

J. N. Ware, W. G. Milligan, R. T. Cornwell, Syd Kennedy, C. F. Lancaster.

FIRST HOTEL.

     Olathe's first hotel was a frame building, 12x14 feet, built of rough lumber hauled from the Kaw river, and was located on West Park Street, where the Cottage Hotel now stands. It was used as a grocery, drygoods and drug store, saloon and hotel. At the time it was built, the hotel and saloon part of it did a rushing business, as many as from 100 to 200 people would stop there during the day, but the little hotel turned none away. When bedtime came, the night clerk would open the door and say: "Gentlemen, here is your bed; there is plenty of room out here on this prairie grass. Don't crowd," and with a kind "goodnight" he would return to his duties, while the traveler found his bed on the prairie and counted the stars until he drifted to sweet dreamland. This hotel had a rough board counter at which the guests took meals, as their turns came. There were no kicks registered on the cooking, either. The grub that was set out was eaten gladly, and if a customer needed a little extra stimulant there was a barrel of liquor right in the room and a turn of the spigot would soon fill his cup. Those were good old days.

     The Olathe House, on the north side of the square, is owned by Ed Moll, and the lot, in 1862, had a two-story frame building on it and here Mr. Tillotson and another gentleman ran a hardware store. The partners did not get along very well, but neither one was disposed to buy the other out. In 1862 a cyclone came along and blew the building down. The proprietors, by ducking behind the stove, managed to escape with their lives when the building fell. When Tillotson's partner crawled out of the wreck he straightened himself up and said to Til lotson: "You can have the d----d store, I don't want it," and forthwith left the town. Tillotson got busy then and put up a one-story stone building, with walls two feet thick, as he said he wanted something that the "winds wouldn't blow down." Later, Colonel Reed, of Ocheltree, bought the building and added two stories more of brick and made it into a grist mill. Ed. Moll bought the building in 1903 and remodeled it for a hotel and has been operating it ever since under the name of Olathe House.

VOTERS IN 1859.

Copy of a notice to the registered voters, published in the Olathe "Herald," October 20, 1859: Olathe township, Johnson county, Kansas Territory. Office, of township clerk. The following is a list of registered voters of said township. All persons who are not registered, and who are entitled thereto, are hereby notified that I will attend at my office at the court house, on

105

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

the twenty-eighth and twenth-ninth days of October next, the same being the eleventh and twelfth days before election, as the law provides, to make an additional register, October 14, 1859. William Roy, clerk, per, E. H. Cornell, deputy clerk: Atkinson, William; Atherton, C. R.; Ainsworth, J. M.; Ainsworth, D. E.; Ainsworth, M. N.; Annett, E. M.; Adair, Thomas; Barton, J. T;; Blake, J. H.; Boggs, H. H.; Burris, J. T.; Bowen, Addison; Brown, Samuel; Brandt, William; Bailey T. L.; Bean, Patrick; Beckwith, Watts; Barner, W. O.; Bown, Walter; Beach, I. C.; Branaugh, William; Butler, G. K.; Baker, Ira; Bower, John; Banning. C. S.; Bird, Jeremiah; Crist, L. F.; Cosgrove, Pat; Cosgrove, Peter; Case, F. W.; Clemens, A. J.; Coles, C. J.; Campbell, J. P.; Clay, John; Cope, William; Craig, Philander; Corley, A. J.; Currey, Jesse; Cox, A.

Hotel Olathe

HOTEL OLATHE, KANS.

A; Corithers, N.; Duffield, E.; Dyer, James; Davies, Isom; Dustan, E. B.; Devenney, A. S.; Domlar, Peter; Davis, Augustus; Davenport, Martin; Davenport, Noah; Davis, William; Davis, Andrew; Dunham, C. E.; Danks, J. S.; Doyle, J. H. ; Drake, M. J. P.; Dunham, R. B.; Evans, John; Easly, Frederick; Freeman, John; Fleck, Jackson; French J. F.; Flanagan, F. W.; Foster, S. L.; Fritz, Abraham; Fleek, Henry; Forrest, J. C.; Foster, James; Gregg, Burr; Gregg, A. H.; Giffin, J. H.; Ginther, Peter; Gibson, James; Hollow, Samuel; Hale, Williams; Hill, A. J.; Hill, S. F.; Hill, Benjamin; Hoff, Frederick; Ham, J. H.; Holmes, James; Hudson, John; Hendrick, S. P.; Hayes, J. E.; Hill, J. H.; Irwin,

106

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

Sampson; Jewett, B. M.; Johnson, Edward; James, Irwin; Johnson, T. L.; Judy, J. J.; Kempp, W. R.; Kildarry, John; Kelley, Mike; Kerr, B.; Lawson, John; Lemasney, John; Lemasney, Richard; Lawrence, James; Larkin, E.; Lilly, Anderson; Luther, Alexander; McMillen, Lewis; McKeigh, John; Mahaffie, J. B.; Millikan, Jonathan; Myrick, S.B.; McMillen, Hugh; Mann, Aaron; Mann, Robert; Marsh, Sylvester; Melhoun, Thomas; McFarland, Ambrose; Melhoun, J. H.: McFarland, William; Miller, W. M.; McGill, William; McIntosh, A. J.; Milliken, Branson; McFarland, F.; McGill, S. F. ; Mann, W. J. ; Nash, E. S.; Nevills, James; Ocheltree, W. A.; Osgood, C. A.; Overall, James; Ott, C. M.; O'Rourk, J. T.; Oliver, Dennis; Plumber, B. A.; Pettit, B.; Parmetar, J. W.; Parker, I. J.; Peck, W. S.; Pully, Carlos; Pace, James; Quarles, J. T.; Randolph, Milton; Roberts, G. W.; Roberts, B. L.; Roy, W.; Raney, W. R.; Russell, James; Roberts, C. L., Jr.; Sutherland, John; Smith, J. H.; Smith, Arthur; Smith, John V.; Sutton, J. E.; Shrion, Evan; Soward, J. A.; Swartz, R. W.; Shorb, John A.; Smith, E. M.; Stukeberry, William; Steward, W.; Smith, Felix; Taylor, Thomas; Thompson, C. H.; Tuttle, W. D.; Thiers, G. A.; Trayhorn, W. A.; Thomas, W. H.; Tuttle, Hiram; Thomas, J. M. ; Tucker. T. S.; Umphries, Moris; Umphries, Langford; Umphries, Linville; Venard, Moses; White, D. M.; Woodcock, W.; Wallingford, D. W; Wilhelm, John; Wallace, G. W.; Whitcomb, J. B.; Woolfe, John ; Winkle, Peter; White, George; White, David; Wilkinson, E. S. ; Wiley, John; Walker, W. T.; Wheeler, G. W.; White, Albert.

OLD LANDMARKS AND BORDER DAY EXPERIENCES.

     Colonel Hayes built the old Hyer shoe factory building in 1859, or 60, and it was one of the best hotels along the border in its early days. It was used for militia quarters during the war. Colonel Keeler was one of the militia officers with headquarters there, also General Fishback. When Fishback was at the front, during the Price Raid, an Indian came up to him and asked him who he was. Fishback replied that he belonged to the militia. "You officer?' he asked. "Yes, General," said Fishback. "O, shucks!" said the Indian and walked off. Mr. Fishback's uniform was not flashy enough to make a hit with that Indian.

     Back of the Avenue House, on the west side of the square, stands an old building, facing the south and occupied by Mr. Eckengreen as a carpenter shop. This building formerly stood on the lot now occupied by the city hall and was built in 1857 and used for a butcher shop.

Another building, on the west side of the square, is occupied by the Olathe Monument Company, as an office. It stands where it was originally erected by F. S. Hill in 1857, and still belongs to his widow. Lieutenant Pellett, the first mayor of Olathe, after the town became a city of the second class, began his first work in the mercantile line in this

107

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

building, July 4, 1859. He began work here for Mr. Hill, who ran a general store, and also "several race horses," as Mr. Pellett puts it. Mr. Pellett was a recruiting officer at the time of the Quantrill raid and tells this interesting story: "Quantrill killed six of my men," said he. "He had twenty-five of us in the bull pen in the square. I was up town," said he, "and the first I knew of anything being wrong was when William Roy yelled, 'There's a company of soldiers coming!' When they came up Roy halted them, and asked who they were. The leader did not answer immediately, but soon gave a command: 'Take immediate possession of the town!' and, then the company filed around the square. I think he had about 150 or 160 men, all mounted. He put us fellows all inside the square, and put guards to watch us. They robbed the store where I was working, along with the rest of the town. "One of the incidents I remember very distinctly was, that I had some money and did not want Quantrill's men to get it, so I slipped down in the grass and tied some grass over it, thinking I might locate it later. I am sure Quantrill's men did not get the money, and also sure that I never did. When Quantrill was ready to go, he rode up with twenty men and made the front guards open up in two straight lines, with open rear, and the citizens he let go, but those connected with the Twelfth Kansas, he ordered into line and we were soon upon our way south, his intention being to go to Spring Hill. Before we got there. however, a report came that a lot of soldiers had arrived at Spring Hill, and we turned east to Old Squiresville. Andy Young ran a grocery there. They put us into a little shed where Andy kept a barrel of molasses and some crackers. We helped ourselves to these, and he claimed afterwards, that we left the bung of the barrel open so his molasses ran out. After Quantrill had eaten breakfast there, he ordered us all out and formed us in a straight line. I was the smallest man in the crowd. "In a few minutes a man rode up to within a rod or two of me and motioned for me to come out. I went out, shook hands with him, and he said, :'I've been doing something the last half hour I very seldom do.' I said: 'Captain, what conclusion did you come to?' 'I have come to the conclusion not to kill you. I left the border with the intention of killing ten men,' he said, 'and I've filled my bill.' "It seemed to me," said Mr. Pellett, "that it was a long time when he said "not" before he continued, and broke the suspense. 'Now in a short time my men are going to leave here,' Quantrill continued. 'Before we leave, or about the time we leave, you get these men out of here.' I told him I would get them out, and I did, and we all got back alive." Mr. Pellett afterwards continued his work as recruiting officer at Olathe and was appointed lieutenant in the Twelfth Kansas regiment.

     Owing to the poor protection given Olathe from the beginning of the war, its growth was hindered and from the time of the Quantrill raid

108

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

to the close of the war, its business languished and many people moved away to more favorable localities. Some citizens preferred the army for safety. The majority of the business houses stood empty, no one caring to put in new stock to be hauled away by raiders or destroyed. House owners were only too glad to have tenants, offering their houses free if they would only occupy them. Property was almost valueless, and household goods could be bought at one-tenth their cost, and good cows sold as low as $6 to $7 per head. After the raid, two companies of the Twelfth Kansas, under command of Captain Chestnut, were stationed in the town during the fall, and Captain Parmenter's company remained a short time after the organization was effected.

CHURCHES.

     The Baptist church of Olathe was organized, June 1, 1872, in the Odd Fellows hall. Its first pastor was R. P. Evans. The present pastor is W. F. Jordan. Their membership is 200. The church and parsonage cost nearly $12,000, and were erected in 1906.

     The Christian church was organized in 1860, by G. W. Hutchinson and Pardu Butter. W. A. Nance is the present pastor. Their membership is 316. A Young Men's Timothy Club of forty and a Bible class of ninety-seven are features of this church. Buildings and real estate are valued at $5,500.

     The Christian Science Society was organized in 1909, by Mrs. Eunice French and Mrs. T. W. Morse and others. They meet in Room 8, Ott building. First Reader, Mrs. Morse, Second Reader, W. F. Dennis.

     The present pastor of the Dunkard church is H. T. Brubaker, assisted by H. F. Christ.

     The Reformed Presbyterian church was organized in 1864. Rev. W. McMillan was the first pastor. The first building was erected at Pleasant Ridge, five miles east of Olathe, in 1865, and the Olathe branch built a church in 1870 Its property is valued at $6,500.

     The United Presbyterian church was organized November 10, 1866, by Rev. D. F. McAuley, Elder Davis Martin, Isaac Brown and S. M. McCaw. Its church and parsonage are valued at $9,500.

     The Congregational church of Olathe was organized at the home of C. W. Ekengreen, in 1866, by Rev. Bodwell. Its charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt, Mr. and Mrs. Loomis, Mr. and Mrs. Snellings, Mr. and Mrs. Ekengreen, Mr. Beckwith and his sister, Miss Beckwith. Their membership is 100. This church and parsonage cost $10,000.

     The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1858, by Rev. William Hubert. The first pastor was Rev. John Robinson, who came in 1859. The first church was built about 1866. Up to this time this church had been connected with Gardner, but at that date was separated. Rev. Bascam Robins is the present pastor, and the church has a membership of 550. The church and parsonage cost $12,000.

109

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

     St. Paul's parish of Olathe was organized in 1868, and erected a frame church 30x40, soon after. A priest from Eudora or Shawnee had charge for seven years. Father M. J. Casey was the first priest, Father Ording is the present pastor. In 1907, a church was built at a cost of $12,000 and a parochial residence at $4,500. A parochial school was opened under the supervision of the Benedictines from Atchinson in September, 1914.

     The First Presbyterian church was organized, October 1, 1865, by Rev. William Wilson, under the supervision of the Presbytery of Leavenworth with eighteen members. Rev. S. F. Riepma is the present pastor. They have 255 members. This church will observe its semi-centennial in October of this year, 1915. The present church building was erected in 1908, and the real estate of the church is valued at $16,350.

     The Gospel Hall is valued at $1,800. It is situated on lots 18 and 21.

     The Episcopalians have an organization and church property valued at $1,600. Rev. H. E. Toothaker is pastor.

     The German Baptists own church property to the value of $2,000. They have regular meetings and their members are faithful.

     The Wesleyan Methodists have a church organization, and own real estate valued at $900.

     The colored Baptists and Methodists have organizations and churches.

     The former owns real estate valued at $1,300, the latter $1,500.

STATE INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF.

     The Olathe "Mirror," of June 15, 1864, has the following in regard to locating the State school for the deaf and dumb at Olathe, Kans.:

     "A meeting was held at the Christian church, Tuesday night, with W. A. Ocheltree, president, and J. E. Sutton, secretary, the object being to elect a committee to confer with the commissioners on the part of the State with reference to locating the deaf and dumb asylum. The following committee was selected: Evan Shriver, W. H. M. Fishback and J. T. Weaver. Mr. Shriver was chosen to receive donations for purchase of ground to be given to the State for the site of the asylum."

     This was the beginning of the work that brought to Olathe the State school for the deaf, or the institute as it is called locally. Perhaps few there, that night, realized how large this institution would grow in fifty years of Kansas Statehood or how many unfortunates would be blessed by the careful training given here. Olathe's efforts won and the school was brought here in 1866, from Baldwin, Kans., where for four or five years previous it had been struggling along illy supported, with an attendance of about a dozen pupils. It was definitely located here through the efforts of John T. Burris, one of the grand men that Olathe still prides herself in possessing, though he lives in California now.

110

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

     A stone building, 40x60 feet, was erected at a cost of $15,000, and was first occupied November 17, 1866, under the superintendency of Joseph Mount. There were eighteen pupils when the school began. Today 250 attended and twenty teachers are employed. The little stone building has been torn down to make room for the main building. In 1873 the extreme east wing was built, by that time the number of pupils had increased to seventy-five. The lateral wing, which connects the main building with the east, came in 1879, the west wing in 1883 and the lateral wing connecting that with the main in 1886 or 1887, and last came the main building, having an appraised value now of $342,225. Mrs. Kate S. Herman has held the superintendency of the school since 1913, and her excellent management of it has attracted favorable comment from all parts of the State. George W. Folmer, who has charge of the commissary department, is a busy man and gives excellent attention to all the details of buying for the institution which spends about $5,000 per month.

     Since its founding at Baldwin, in 1861, the following superintendents have had charge: Philip A. Emery, at Baldwin, 1861-64; Benajah R. Nordyke, at Topeka, 1864-65; Joseph Mount, at Baldwin, 1865-67; Thomas Burnsides, at Olathe, 1867; Louis H. Jenkins, at Olathe, 1867- 76; Theodore C. Bowles, at Olathe, 1876-79; Jonathan W. Parker, at Olathe, 1879-80; William H. DeMotte, at Olathe, 1880-82; George L. Wyckoff, at Olathe, 1882-83; Henry A. Turton, at Olathe, 1883-85; S. Tefft Walker, at Olathe, 1885-93; J. D. Carter, at Olathe, 1893-94; Albert A. Stewart, at Olathe, 1894-95; Henry C. Hammond, at Olathe, 1895-97; Albert A. Stewart, at Olathe, 1897-99; Henry C. Hammond, at Olathe, 1899-1909; Cyrus E. White, at Olathe, 1909-13; Mrs. Kate S. Herman, 1913.

BANKS.

     The Patrons Cooperative Bank was organized June 1, 1883. Its officers are: S. B. Haskins, president; W. J. Rhoades, cashier; F. P. Hatfield, vice-president; George Black, secretary. The directors, J. W. Robinson, E. E. Vaighs, A. E. Wedd, George Kelleher, A. L. Hunt. Capital stock, $50,000.00; surplus, $50,000.00; deposits, $440,000.00.

     The First National Bank was organized in 1887, and the following are its officers: J. L. Pettyjohn, president; F. R. Ogg, vice-president; Directors, C. F. Pettyjohn, Dr. C. W. Ewing, J. H. Hershey, George Huff, H. J. Voighs, P. E. Goode,L. W. Snepp, James Irvin, A.J. Hunt, S. T. McCoy, W. C. Keefer, George H. Hedges, H. M. Beckett, cashier, and D. A. Glenn, assistant cashier. Capital stock, $50,000.00; surplus, $12,000.00; and deposits, $270,000.

     The Olathe State Bank was established 1883 and incorporated in 1908, and has the following officers: president, Frank C. Peck; vice-president, H. C. Livermore; cashier, H. E. Hayes; assistant cashier, J. S. Pellett.

111

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

Directors: Albert Ott, E. E. Vantries, J. W. Parker, F. R. Lanter, F. C. Peck, H. E. Hayes, Charles Delahunt, J. T. Little, F. V. Ostrander, J. B. Bruner, Casher Busch, J. H. Marvin, H. C. Livermore. Capital stock, $25,000.00; surplus, $16,500.00, and deposits $250,000.00.

FIFTY YEARS OF OLATHE.

(S. T. Seaton 1906.)

     I saw not long ago a picture of the ancient Egyptians laboriously dragging huge stones from distant quarries to build the pyramids, those enduring monuments of man's vanity and tryanny. That picture typifies the early settlers of Kansas, as they came from distant states and toiled and endured danger, suffered privation and want, until they triumphantly transformed this portion of the great American desert into a garden of fruit, flowers and grain, and builded on this soil a

Olathe Grange

THE GRANGE STORE, OLATHE, KAN.

monument which will endure when the Pharoahs and their pyramids are forgotten--a monument consecrated to broader ideas of liberty and humanity and "lest we forget," have inscribed upon it in letters of resplenilent gold as their motto, "Ad Astra Per Aspera."

     We are met together today beside the half century mile post to take a look back, recall the associations and renew the friendships of those fifty years, and make record of the doings of the men and women who in those days made history. My part is to tell "The Story of a Border Town."

     Just fifty years ago, in the early spring of 1857, a young man mounted his horse and rode out of the little village of Chillicothe,

112

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

situated some three miles west of the present town of Shawnee, in Johnson county, Kansas, in quest of a sight for a new town. The young man was Dr. John T. Harton, a native of Albemarle county, Virginia, and a graduate of a Philadelphia medical college, who had drifted out west in 1850 and soon after secured an appointment as physician to the Shawnee Indians and located at Chillicothe, where the Shawnees maintained Governmental headquarters.

     In 1856 and 1857 the Shawnees were taking their lands in severalty, were making their selections, which as made, were marked by crossing poles thereon. With certain inside information obtained from Lot Coffman, the man in charge of the allotting of lands to the Shawnees, Barton rode directly to the geographical center of Johnson county and "crossed poles" on two quarter sections which struck him as an admirable site for his new town. Carpeted with a profusion of wild verbenas and other prairie flowers, the location impressed Doctor Barton as beautiful. Why not give the new town a name which would perpetuate the first impression of its founder? "Beautiful" did not commend itself to him as an appropriate name for a new town in the wild West, where the struggle for existence made strongly against any appreciation of the aesthetic, but the Doctor could not get "Beautiful" out of his head, and no other English equivalent suggested itself as any better. So the Doctor returned to Chillicothe still under the spell of that word "Beautiful." On his return there it occurred to him that perhaps the Shawnee language would furnish the desired equivalent for "Beautiful." And meeting Capt. Joseph Parks, head chief of the Shawnees, he said: 'Captain, what in the Shawnee language would you call two quarters of land, all covered with wild flowers? In English we would say it was beautiful." Parks replied: "We would say it was 'Olathe,' "giving it the Indian pronunciation Olaythe, with an explosive accent on the last syllable. Barton made the same inquiry of the official interpreter, an educated Indian, who made the same reply, adding that for English use it would be best to pronounce it "Olathe," with the accent on the second syllable. So it came to pass that the new town was named "Olathe," the city beautiful. This is Barton's own story as related by him in 1888.

     Shortly after locating the site Barton had it surveyed, platted and the plat lithographed. While the survey was in progress Barton went to the Lecompton land office for the purpose of entering the town site, but found that he could not do so as an individual. Accordingly he organized a town company, consisting of himself, A. G. Boone, Charles A. Osgood, R. B. Finley, William Fisher, Jr., and Henry W. Jones and had it incorporated, with himself as president, by an act of the Territorial legislature, and as president of the town company he entered the town site May 17, 1858. Meantime another act of the Territorial legislature incorporated the new town February 11, 1858, and the first

113

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

election was in April the same year. In the list of early settlers in 57 were Jonathan Millikan, I. B. Whittier, Miss Emily L. Whittier, and the first woman in the new town, and both cousins of the Poet Whittier; John Polk Campbell, a cousin of Ex-President James K. Polk; S. F. Hill, J. B. Mahaffie, C. A. Osgood, Charles Mayo, who had at one time been mayor of Boston, Mass.; Henderson Boggs, Martin Ott, Edwin Nash, J. Henry Blake. Jonathan Millikan brought the first team of horses to the town, built the first dwelling house, married the first woman that came to the place, Miss Whittier, and now lives on a fine farm at the edge of town, taking his ease surrounded by plenty.

     During the following years, 1858 and 1859, Dr. Barton worked energetically in the interests of the new town, and succeeded in materially increasing the population. Barton was a man of fine personal appearance and an accomplished physician, personally very popular, and a man who would attain more than ordinary local importance in any community. During the exciting political events of 1858 and 1859 he was really the leader of the Proslavery or Democratic party in Johnson county. In 1858 he was elected county treasurer, and in 1859 he was elected a delegate to the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention, in which he was a member of the committee on banking and finance. Judge John T. Burris was the other delegate from Johnson county. Burris had settled in Olathe in 1858, and owed his election to his personal popularity as the county was proslavery and Burris was a Free State man. Barton was one of the twenty delegates who refused to sign the constitution because it did not meet his proslavery views.

     In the course of his practice as a physician Doctor Barton was a frequent visitor to the home of Judge S. E. Wilkerson, where he met the Judge's charming daughter, Josephine Wilkerson, and in the course of time they became engaged to be married. The day for the wedding was set and the bride had her wedding gowns made. Two days before the wedding Doctor Barton left Olathe for Wesport, ostensibly to get his wedding suit. Before going, however he executed deeds conveying to Josephine Wilkerson all his Johnson county real property, which was considerable. Barton never returned to Olathe, and Miss Wilkerson's first intimation that Barton was gone and would not return was received from the man who delivered to her the deeds left by Barton. This was in 1860. No explanation was ever given for the Doctor's action until thirty years later when Barton disclosed to a friend the reason for his leaving, a reason which involved no reflection on the woman in the case.

     During the war Barton was a surgeon in the Confetlerate army, and after the war settled in Kansas City, Mo., where he engaged in the real estate business and became, as was reported, quite wealthy. He died a few years ago, according to report, in one of the Missouri institutions for the insane.

114

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

     Among the '58 settlers were John F. Giffen, who had been a clerk in Governor Denver's office, and who in 1859 established the Olathe "Herald," the first newspaper; J. E. Hayes, afterwards colonel of the Twelfth Kansas, and State treasurer; John T. Burris, soldier, lawyer and jurist; A. J. Clemmans, afterwards sheriff; Williams Roy, J. E. Sutton, B. P. Noteman and Capt. J. W. Parmeter. In 1859 Burris, now and since the Greeley campaign, an ardent Democrat, organized the Republican ticket in the field on which J. E. Hayes was a candidate for representative and J. M. Hadley, father of Herbert Hadley, was a candidate for county clerk. During the campaign the Republicans held a big mass meeting in Olathe and at night pulled off a big torch light procession. What Republicans there were in town gathered on the corner of the square and put Burris up on a dry goods box to make a speech as the procession passed, and he made one, which a year or two previous would have cost him his life. As the procession passed its members tried to drown his voice with groans and yells. Then they threatened to pull him down, and for a period of time a lively fight was in sight. However, the matter was compromised by an assault on a big Republican by the name of A. J. Hill, who made a run for a convenient stairway and caused the crowd to scatter and forget to pull Burris down from his drygoods box. This was the first open "defy" on the part of the Free State men in Johnson county. The Democratic ticket, needless to say, was elected. Although Colonel Hayes was not elected county treasurer this year, the Democratic county board gave him the contract for building the new county jail, at a cost of $6,000, and he built and delivered it to the county the same year, and it remained a serviceable building until destroyed by fire in 1905. Because the population in Olathe and Johnson county was predominantly proslavery, the town and county were spared any large part in the border war of '56-'58. By 1861 the political complexion of the population had changed completely and the city and county became overwhelmingly Republican, and this led the people of the city and county to expect their full share of trouble from the armed bands known to be across the line only ten miles distant.

     In September, 1861, Olathe received a visit from the notorious Jayhawker, C. R. Jennison, and his band, who arrested L. S. Cornwall, his partner, Drake, Judge Campbell and the Turpin family, all well known Southern sympathizers. Cornwall protested and Jennison struck him in the face with his pistol. After holding his prisoners for several hours, confiscating their weapons and swearing them not to take up arms against the United States, Jennison released them, and proceeding down in Aubry township, robbed an old German doctor of a large sum of money and valuables.

     The next trouble from across the line occurred the first day of August, 1862, when Bill Anderson, an enterprising member of the bushwhacker

115

fraternity, and two companions, visited Olathe. Before reaching Olathe they robbed and murdered a Mexican trader. In Olathe they stopped at Charles Tillotson's hardware store and inquired the road to De Soto, enforcing a truthful answer by holding a revolver at his head. Just at the edge of town on their way to De Soto they met Deputy Sheriff Weaver, returning from a cow hunt, and "held him up," but finding no valuables on his person, let him go. Weaver went at once to Sheriff John Janes, who started in pursuit. Janes caught up with Anderson and his companions a mile or two out of town and was promptly taken prisoner and disarmed. A few minutes later they made prisoners of James Wells and another citizen. Releasing the latter they took Janes into a ravine and told him that he was to be shot, but finally released him. On his way back to town Janes met John and Ben Roberts, who, thinking that harm had overtaken the sheriff, had followed. Janes and the Roberts boys had each a Sharp's carbine. Finally, John Roberts succeeded in mortally wounding one of the trio and he fell from his horse. Janes stopped to secure the wounded man. Another citizen joined the Roberts boys in the pursuit and shot one of the fugitives' horses. The dismounted bushwhacker mounted behind his companion and attempted to escape, but was soon wounded and surrendered. The third escaped to the brush but was captured that evening. The two men with Anderson gave their names as Lee and Coover. Coover was mortally wounded and died in a few days. He claimed to be a lawyer by profession, and gave evidence of being a man of education and intelligence.

     The next day a jury of twelve decided that the two remaining prisoners should suffer death, but the crowd manifested no alacrity in furnishing volunteers to execute the sentence, and Sheriff Janes settled the matter by taking the prisoners from the mob and locking them in jail. This offended John Roberts and he took a shot at the sheriff as he stood in the upper front window of the jail. The shot missed him, but only by a few inches. Janes grabbed a musket and sent a ball and three buckshot after Roberts, who was making excellent time for the nearest corner. One buckshot hit Roberts in the thigh and another hit him in the neck, but the wounds were not serious, and in a few days the sheriff and Roberts talked the matter over and became friends again. The prisoners were sent to Leavenworth a few days later to be dealt with by the military authorities.

Before leaving Olathe Anderson remarked to the citizens assembled to see him off: "Gentlemen, I will visit your town again," and he did, for he participated in every border raid and as a cold-blooded murderer had no equal. He was killed about the close of the war.

     Next came Quantrill's raid, September 6, 1862, Quantrill had in 1857 or 1858 taken a claim several miles southeast of Olathe in what was then called the Ohio settlement. He never lived on the claim,

116

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

but frequently came up from Miami county to see that no one "jumped" it. He was often in Olathe and Jonathan Millikan relates that Quantrill was frequently at his house with the young men from the so-called Ohio settlement.

     Eventually someone did jump Quantrill's claim, and being under age, he made no effort to hold it. On the evening of September 6, 1862, Quantrill crossed the State line into Kansas with a force variously estimated at from 125 to 150, finely mounted and thoroughly armed. Proceeding up Coffee creek they came to the home of David Williams, six miles east of Olathe, where they found Frank Cook. who had just enlisted in the company then being formed at Olathe for the Twelfth Kansas. They took him prisoner and rode away. The next day Cook's body was found in a ravine some distance from the Williams home, with two bullet holes in his breast and his head horribly mangled by a musket ball.

     A mile and a half east of Olathe the invaders found John J. Judy and his brother. James B. Judy, who had enlisted in the same company with Cook. They made them prisoners, took all the valuables they could find and left. The next day the two brothers were found, their bodies riddled with bullets, in a ravine on the farm owned by Jonathan Millikan, about half way between the Judy home and Olathe. It was almost midnight when Quantrill and his men reached Olathe and moonlight was almost bright enough to read by. Entering Olathe Quantrill halted his men and gave them instructions as to their procedure. A party of Olatheans had just returned from De Soto and had gone into a saloon which stood on the east side of the public square, where Ostrander Nicholas and Hershey's meat market now stands. Jiles Milhoan, at present police judge of Olathe, had left a $400-team of horses and wagon in front, and looking out a rear window saw the cavalcade coming up the hill from what is now the Santa Fe Street crossing of Mill creek. The citizens were expecting a company of Union cavalry and going outside, one of the crowd, William Roy, the post adjutant, hailed them with the inquiry, "Is that Captain Harvey's command?" Someone answered: "Yes." and the men turned back towards the saloon. At that time the Santa Fe Trail crossed block 46 on the east side of the public square, when he gave the command,"File right, file left. Take immediate possession of the town and don't let a man escape !"

     Jiles Milhoan heard the command and said: "Boys, them's bushwhackers," and made for his horses with the intention of cutting them lose from the wagon and letting them run, but he was too late, a bushwhacker, reinforced with a gun, ordered him to "let that team alone and fall in line," which he did. About that time Hiram Blanchard, a young merchant who had come up from Spring Hill, ten miles south of Olathe, that night in company with Judge Ezra Robinson, of Paola,

117

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

came out of a saloon and walked across the street to where his horse was tied to the fence around the square. Blanchard then went to the other side of the horse, untied it and putting his foot into the stirrup was in the act of mounting when the bushwhackers shot him through the head.

     Judge Robinson also had a narrow escape that night. He knew Quantrill personally and Quantrill promised Robinson to get his horse back for him, if he could and cautioned him to keep close to him, Quantrill, as in that event he would enjoy a greater degree of safety. Shortly afterward Robinson went to the Turpin House which stood on the

Fire Wagon

THE OLD FIRE WAGON, OLATHE. KAN., WHICH HAS BEEN REPLACED
BY A MODERN AUTOMOBILE TRUCK.

site of the present Avenue House and was kept by the parents of "Cliff" Turpin, one of Quantrill's men. In the parlor he found a troop of the bushwhackers and heard Mrs. Turpin welcoming them with, "I'm glad to see you, boys. If you had come two weeks ago, when I sent you word, I would have had something for you to eat." Just then Cliff Turpin entered and took in the situation. Robinson had heard too much for the health of the Turpin family and it was promptly decided to kill Robinson, but Mrs. Turpin protested against them killing anyone in her house, and the gang started out of the house,

118

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

pushing Robinson along. Reaching the front door, they met another troop of Quantrill men coming in and this gave Robinson a chance and he took it. Bolting through the door he turned south and ran to where a few women were huddled together and hid behind them. When his pursuers came up, one of the women had the presence of mind to say that Robinson had just disappeared around an adjacent building and directed them in that direction, and at that Robinson lost no time "making his get-away."

     Meantime the guerillas had spread over town, entering every house and bringing all the men into the public square. A number of recruits were sleeping upstairs in a building which stood on the site of the present National Bank building. As the guerillas rushed up stairs, a young recruit by the name of Phillips Wiggins caught one of them by the throat, took his pistol away and was proceeding to choke him when he was shot through the head and instantly killed. Another recruit by the name of Josiah Skinner was sleeping on the floor of a building which stood on Park Street about where Ott's grocery store now stands, He was sound asleep and several shakings failing to wake him, a bushwhacker shot him through the body saying: "Lay there if you won't get up." Skinner died a few days afterwards.

     During the night another citizen, Marian Milhoan, was shot in the foot, while trying to get away, and still carries the bullet.

     Col. J. E. Hayes, who had recently been appointed colonel of the Twelfth Kansas, narrowly missed being caught in this raid. He was in Leavenworth that day, where Burris, who was colonel of the Tenth Kansas, was in command. Intending to return home that afternoon he started for Olathe, but it having rained, he turned hack to get his horse shod and thus missed being at home to meet Mr. Quantrill. Mrs. Hayes was at home, however, lodged at the American House and received a visit from the marauders. In a closet in her room was stored a quantity of soldiers' uniforms. Placing herself in front of the closet door she managed to hide it while the men searched her trunk standing close by and thus saved the uniforms. The Colonel's sword she saved by throwing it into the back yard.

     The two newspaper offices, the Olathe Herald and The Mirror, were wrecked. All the arms for the new company were loaded in Milhoan's wagon. Everything of value in the town, including money, jewelry and even bed clothing, groceries, and dry goods, was loaded into wagons and brought into the square. Finally the citizens were released, the recruits being kept as prisoners.

After Jiles Milhoan, whose team has been mentioned, was released, he met Cliff Turpin, whom he knew and asked him to intercede with Quantrill to give him back his team. They found Quantrill sitting on the porch of Judge Campbell's house which stood on the present site of the Patrons Bank. Quantrill said the arms had been loaded into

119

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

that wagon but if Milhoan wanted to go along he would give him back the team when they reached the point where they intended to unload, but advised him not to take the chance, as some of the men would undoubtedly kill him and take the team before he got a mile away and he could not send a guard back with him. Milhoan took Quantrill's advice. After the inhabitants were gathered into the square, they were held up for all the "shin plasters" in their possession, which was pronounced "d--n poor money," but they took it just the same.

     About daylight the recruits were ordered to "fall in" and the wagons loaded with plunder, started south towards Spring Hill, Quantrill and his men followed on horse back, with the prisoners on foot. On the march south, Cliff Turpin offered William Pellett a big horse with a sore back to ride. Pellett accepted it. As they proceeded, an old bushwhacker rode along side of Pellett and urged him to jump and run as he could easily escape that way, saying: "You d--n little Yankee school-master, run, you can get away just as well as not." Mr.

Hodges Brothers' Office

HODGES BROTHERS' OFFICE, OLATHE, KANSAS.

Pellett replied that he was a good runner all right but added, "I'm afraid I couldn't outrun that shot gun of yours," and declined to run. The news that several companies of soldiers had arrived at Spring Hill diverted Quantrill eastward through the fields of Squiresville where Quantrill lined up the recruits and informed them, that he had been deliberating whether or not to shoot them, but had decided to turn them loose, which he did after taking their paroles. They reached Olathe about noon, footsore, weary and hungry.

     The next day Burris started in pursuit with several troops of cavalry and succeeded in recovering the arms and most of the goods taken from the stores. So ended Quantrill's first raid, but Olathe was a

120

HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

sorry wreck, scarcely a door or window in the town remained unbroken, and it took quite a while for its people to recover from the blows, but they did, and Olathe suffered but little during the remaining years of the war.

I have recounted these things lest it be forgotten that our "City Beautiful" has seen troublesome days and that "the road to yesterday" was not paved with roses.

At the close of the war, while Mr. J. R. Brown was running the American House in Olathe, a colored boy six or seven years old, whose mother was a cook there, dressed up in a soldier's suit that someone had made for him. A man by the name of Roberts saw him and said: "You -- of a --, take off that suit!" and whipped out his gun and shot the boy dead. Colonel Holt, who was in charge of the troops, arrested the man and put him in jail. Mr. Brown does not remember Roberts' punishment for the dastardly act.

A "COUNTY SEAT TOWN."

     One of the beautiful farms of Johnson county two miles southwest of Olathe, as the travel ran in the early days before the wagons followed section lines, came near being the site of the present county seat of Johnson county. The Princeton town company of which Albert White, D. H. Mitchell, T. E. Milhoan and George Stringham were members, laid out the town of Princeton, comprising 160 acres, and began to sell town lots. This was in 1857, and soon two stores, a blacksmith shop and shoe shop located there. Princeton was a Free State town, and its people hoped to make it the future county seat, but Olathe had to be reckoned with and when the question came up to a vote, the Shawnee Indians were declared legal voters for this occasion and their votes were almost solid for Olathe, and Princeton's star had set. After the Olathe victory, Albert White filed on the old townsite of Princeton, for a homestead. J. H. Milhoan, a brother of T. E. Milhoan, is the present judge of the city court of Olathe, and lived at Princeton with his brother and mother when Princeton was laid out. He remembers the early days of Olathe and Princeton well, being identified with both and talks in a most interesting manner of their early history.













Go to Chapter 5  Go to Chapter 7  Return to Table of Contents