William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


As soon as the news of the firing on Fort Sumter and the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion reached the settlers of Anderson County, all were greatly excited. The early political struggles and drought of 1860 had reduced the population, and those who remained were very poor. For the settlers to enter the army was to leave their families in distressing circumstances. But when the call for volunteers came they responded nobly. An entire company volunteered in one day, and three days after was on the march to the front. Anderson County was represented in almost every regiment of the Kansas troops, about three-fourths of the able-bodied men entering the Union army. In 1861 the population of the county was but little more than one thousand, but during the war, four hundred and twenty volunteers entered the service to aid in putting down the Rebellion. Of this number fifty-six died or were killed in battle.

Many of the soldiers' families were in the spring of 1861 reduced almost to a state of pauperism, but nobly did the brave and patriotic wives give up their husbands to the service of the country. In their absence the women planted and cultivated the fields, raised and harvested their crops, and struggled in all ways to support themselves and children till the return of their brave husbands after four years' hard service on the field of battle. How brave and noble were all of these sacrificing women; but how much more so were those of their number whose husbands returned helpless cripples; and especially those who still toiled on, patiently, for the support of themselves and their fatherless children, with hearts nearly breaking from grief for their loved protectors who rested in unmarked graves on the bloody battlefields of the South.

A number of the officers of Kansas troops from Anderson County distinguished themselves for meritorious service.

James G. Blunt, Lieutenant Colonel, Third Regiment Kansas Volunteers, was soon promoted to Brigadier-General, and afterwards to Major-General.

In Company E, (three months' service) Second Kansas Infantry, Samuel J. Crawford was Captain; John G. Lindsay First Lieutenant; Samuel K. Cross Second Lieutenant; Henry Nugent, Ensign; John Johnson, Orderly Sergeant; David Wright, R. H. P. Snodgrass, Zack Norris, and Hugh Quinn, Sergeants; James F. Walker, James L. Kercheval, James L. Wilson, Corporals.

Of Company A, Second Kansas Cavalry, (three years' service) Samuel J. Crawford was the first Captain, but was promoted to Colonel; John Johnson, the next Captain, was afterwards promoted to Major. Samuel K. Cross was First Lieutenant. Hugh Quinn, a Sergeant, was afterward promoted to the rank of Captain in the Second Arkansas Cavalry.

Of Company K, Fifth Kansas Cavalry, Jeremiah C. Johnson was First Lieutenant, and Alexander Rush, Second Lieutenant.

Of Company G, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, D. W. Houston was First Lieutenant; was soon promoted to Captain and afterward to Lieutenant-Colonel. Zack Norris was first Lieutenant.

Of the Eighth Kansas Infantry, John Buterbaugh was Assistant Surgeon.

Of the Ninth Kansas Cavalry, Charles T. Cooper was Regimental Commissary. Of Company C, Benjamin F. Ayres was promoted to First Lieutenant. Of Company H, H. N. F. Reed was second Lieutenant, and afterward Captain. David Hester was Orderly Sergeant and afterward First Lieutenant of Company C.

Of Company C, Tenth Kansas Infantry, Charles Brown, Sergeant, was promoted to First Lieutenant, and John E. Blunt, First Lieutenant afterward.

Of Company F, Eleventh Kansas, J. G. Reese and John G. Lindsay, Captains; George W. Simons, First Lieutenant; Marvin H. Payne, Second Lieutenant.

Of the Twelfth Kansas Infantry, Thomas Lindsay was Assistant Surgeon. Of Company G, Alexander McArthur was First Lieutenant.

Of the Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry, Company M, W. A. Johnson was Captain.

Of Company H, Sixteenth Kansas Cavalry, H. W. Stubblefield was Captain.

Of the Second Kansas Colored Regiment, G. W. Walgamott was Surgeon, J. R. Montgomery, Adjutant; George W. Sands, Captain, Company E.

Of the Eleventh United States Colored Regiment, E. P. Gilpatrick and Alanson Simons, First Lieutenants.


Until 1859, the great year of immigration, the progress of the county was comparatively slow. In 1860, on account of the drouth, hundreds left the county. The war broke out and during its continuance, the county improved slowly. But commencing in 1865, immigration and improvement went steadily on until the building of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad in 1870. The progress of the county was then very rapid until the grasshopper raid in 1874, after which there was a dull season for a few years, when immigration again began, and has since continued. The county is now enjoying greater prosperity than ever before in its history.

In 1860, the population was 2,398; in 1870, 5,220; in 1875, 5,809; in 1878, 6,000; in 1880, 9,039. The population of the county by townships for the year 1882, is as follows:

Reeder 1,465
Putnam 501
Jackson 628
Monroe 804
Walker 852
Washington 504
Lincoln 649
Welda 519
Rich 1,322
Ozark 879
Indian Creek 562
Garnett City 1,509
Greeley City 366
Total 15,560

Besides the two railroads now extending across the county, bonds have been voted to the Kansas & Nebraska Central Railroad Company and that road will doubtless soon be built across the county from the northwest to Garnett, thence south to Iola.

Following is a crop report of Anderson County for the year 1882. Of winter wheat there were 3,805 acres yielding 89,585 bushels; spring wheat, 45 acres producing 450 bushels; corn, 48,595, yielding 2,037,210 bushels; rye, 136 acres, 2,312 bushels; oats, 7,181 acres, 287,240 bushels; barley, 42 acres, 1,176 bushels; potatoes, 571 acres, 45,680 bushels; sweet potatoes, 11 acres, 825 bushels; sorghum, 349 acres, 31,410 gallons; castor beans, 92 acres, 828 bushels; flax, 2,918 acres, 35,016 bushels; broom corn, 115 acres, 57,500 pounds; millet and hungarian, 6,790 acres, 20,370 tons; timothy and clover hay, 703 acres, 1,406 tons; prairie hay, 35,597 acres, 54,896 tons. The number of pounds of wool produced was 36,322; of cheese, 3,680; of butter, 275,670. The total value of all horticultural and garden products, of poultry, eggs, and milk sold was fully $20,000. The number of horses and mules in the county is 5,828; cattle, 21,358; sheep, 9,089; swine, 13,104. All kinds of live-stock are in good condition. The herd law is not in operation. There are but few farmers engaged in sheep raising, but those that are, find it profitable. The raising of swine is very successful. The favorite breeds are Berkshire and Poland-Chinas.

Education.--The education of the young was one of the very first things looked to by the early settlers of the county. As soon as means of sustenance had been provided, the next thing was to employ a teacher and establish a school. As soon as possible, school districts were formed and schoolhouses built. The first Superintendent of Schools of the county was John R. Slentz, who was appointed about the close of the year 1858, by Acting Governor Hugh S. Walsh. Several school districts had already been formed ready for organization, which they at once proceeded to do under the authority of the Superintendent. By the end of the first year school districts had been formed and schools established in all the settled parts of the county. The first school district in the county was near Scipio, in Putnam Township, in December, 1858. The School Board was A. Garrett, James Farrah, and M. Puett. This district erected the first schoolhouse in the county. As soon as a neighborhood was settled, a school district was organized, a house built and a good school established. The facilities for education have increased as the settlement and improvement of the country has advanced. There are now in the county seventy-six school districts, each having a good schoolhouse. Those in the towns and villages are described in the proper place. Those of the rural districts are substantial frame or stone buildings. The grounds of a great number of the districts are surrounded by a good fence, and planted to shade trees. In the schools of the county eighty-five teachers are employed and the salary paid averages $36.65 per month for males, and $26.42 for females. The normal institutes held each year are well attended. During the last school year 118 teachers' certificates have been issued. The average length of the school terms is thirty weeks. There are in the county 3,908 children of school age, of which number 3,140 are enrolled as pupils. The schools of the county are all prosperous, and the educational advantages may be said to be of a superior order.

Mount Carmel College.--This is a college founded by the Roman Catholic Church and situated near the railroad station of Scipio, some six miles north of Garnett. In 1857 there was a large settlement of Catholics in this part of the county. In 1858 the Saint Boniface Church was erected by them, this being the first church-building in the county. In 1871 the college was established, and since that time a good school has been maintained.

Public Buildings.--The county owns a Square in the city of Garnett, but only the jail is on that property. It is a stone building two stories high and is both a jail and jailer's residence. It was erected in 1864, at a cost of $3,000. The court house is located on Oak Street, west of the Public Square, and is a two-story brick and stone building, constructed on the plan of a business house. It was erected in 1868, and the county offices and records have been kept there since the spring of 1869.

County Officers.--Since its organization the county has generally had good and faithful officers. It is now in a sound financial condition, with able and efficient officers. Their names will be found in the biographical sketches.

Anderson County Fair Association.--This society was organized of November 15, 1878, as a joint stock company, and incorporated with a paid up capital of $5,000. The charter members were Thomas Gowdy, J. E. White, John Moler, W. W. Kirkpatrick, J. S. Kirkpatrick and H. C. Reppert. the first Board of Directors was as follows: J. Q. Bowdell, J. M. Jones, Jno. Moler, G. W. Flint, R. T. Stokes, J. E. White, A. E. Rogers, C. S. Elder, R. H. Cunningham, W. A. Johnson, D. D. Judy, J. S. Kirkpatrick, and M. E. Osburn. The association owns thirty acres of land, one mile southwest of Garnett, which has been improved, and on which are erected permanent buildings for the fair exhibits. The first fair held in the county was in 1863. The present officers are: A. C. Messenger, President; P. P. Hiner, Vice President; J. N. Caldwell, Secretary; O. W. Wyatt, Treasurer. Board of Directors: D. D. Judy, Robert Mundell, A. C. Messenger, J. W. Lawellin, B. S. Douthett, John Moler, jr [sic]., William Shields, P. P. Hiner, A. T. Cook, O. W. Wyatt, J. N. Caldwell and E. H. Davis.

Fish Culture.--Many of the streams of the county abound with a supply of good fish. Besides this, in several localities attempts are being made to raise fish in artificial ponds. All of these ponds have been lately stocked, and it is yet too early for marketable fish to be produced; but it now looks as if this would prove a profitable industry. The largest of these ponds is on the land of E. S. Hunt, which adjoins the Garnett town site on the south. The pond covers sixteen and one-half acres, is fed by springs and is twenty-two feet in depth. In the spring of 1881, Mr. Hunt planted 25,000 salmon trout, and the following October fifty carp. These are apparently thriving, and when the waters are still, thousands of them can be seen in the shallow places. In July, 1882, fish were caught that weighed three-fourths of a pound each. Around this pond a park of eighty acres is being prepared.

Railroads.--The Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad extends through the county from north to south. It was built in 1870, and then called the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Southwestern Railroad. The stations are at Scipio, Garnett, Welda and Colony. The Arizona division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad extends through the county from east to west. It was constructed in 1879. The stations are Greeley, Garnett, Mont Ida and Westphalia.

Post-offices.--The post-offices in the county are Garnett, Greeley, Colony, Welda, Mont Ida, Westphalia, Haskell, Sugar Valley, Scipio, Central City, Mineral Point, Rich, Ozark, Lone Elm, Elizabethtown and Como. Only the first named six of the above named places are villages, the others being merely country post-offices.


Garnett is the county seat and metropolis of Anderson County. Its location is a particularly pleasant and desirable one, on the gently sloping prairie, but a few miles from the geographical center of the county. Located as it is at the junction of the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas and the Arizona Division of the Missouri Pacific Railroads, each of which has a passenger and a freight depot, shipping advantages are afforded, which make this one of the most prosperous towns of Southeastern Kansas.

The population of the city of Garnett is about 1,600, but just outside of the corporation, and laid off in town lots occupied by residences, are additions on the north and west, which swell the number of inhabitants properly belonging to the city, to fully 2,000. The citizens are of an exceptionally moral and enterprising class, are thrifty and public-spirited.

The most of the business houses are located around or near the Public Square. A great many of them are large and costly structures of brick and stone, while most of the others are substantial and well-planned frame buildings. The public buildings are a credit to the town, being large, and imposing in appearance. The residences are generally neat, comfortable and attractive, while the lots are ornamented by shade trees. Almost all branches of business are carried on and with a trade from a radius of fifteen miles or more, the business interests are enjoying great prosperity.

The history of Garnett begins with the summer of 1856, when the town site was selected by Dr. George W. Cooper, who had a few months before selected a town site on Iantha Creek. At Wyandotte, he met George A. Dunn, who had just returned from Anderson County, the most of the territory of which had been surveyed by him as United States Surveyor. After agreeing upon a plan, Cooper and Dunn started for the Pottawatomie River, intending to lay out a town, and then to secure the location of the county-seat. Going to the geographical center of the county, they failed to find a desirable location. Dunn then suggested that they should go to Section 30, Township 20, Range 20 east, where there was a fine spring of water. They followed down the Pottawatomie to the residence of Samuel McDaniel, where they remained for a few days, and surveyed a town site on the above-named section. They then returned to Wyandotte, and soon after Cooper returned to Louisville, Kentucky, where he organized a Town Company consisting of W. A. Garnett, President; R. B. Hall, Vice-President; G. W. Cooper, George A. Dunn and Theodore Harris. The last named was Secretary. The town was named Garnett in honor of the President of the company, who was a wealthy business man of Louisville. Arrangements were at once made for sending a colony from Kentucky, and the machinery was purchased for a saw and grist-mill, but the colony was unable to leave that year.

In March, 1857, Dr. Cooper again visited the town site, and in May had it again surveyed, staked out and platted. He also had a double log cabin built at a point where Fourth Street now crosses the railroad track. During the summer Dr. Preston Bowen moved from Shannon and opened a store in this log house, it being the first business house in Garnett.

Dr. Cooper returned to Louisville as soon as he had surveyed the town, and had lithographed maps of it made, which he used for advertising purposes. He then set to work to organize a colony. The Town Company elected new officers, as follows: R. B. Hall, President; George A. Dunn, Vice-President; and Theodore Harris, Secretary.

Before the arrival of the Louisville colony, several other settlers located in Garnett and in the vicinity. Among them were Capt. John G. Lindsay, who built the first dwelling on the town site, William Smith, Dr. Thomas Lindsay and Thomas Owen.

About July 25, Cooper and Hall arrived with a portion of the Louisville colony. On August 1, 1857, Robert B. Hall, as President, George A. Dunn, G. W. Cooper and Theodore Harris, as associates, filed a plat of the town of Garnett in the office of the Probate Judge, with a petition setting forth the fact that the town site had been regularly surveyed and platted about May 10, 1857. The site covered the south half of Section 30, Township 20, Range 20 east. About the same time, another store was built.

On September 8, George Wilson, the Probate Judge, pre-empted the town site, to be held in trust for its occupants.

On August 8, 1857, William C. Hall, Isaac N. Locke and Joseph Barclay presented a petition and a plat of the north half of Section 30, Township 20, Range 20, under the name of the town of Troy. On September 8 George Wilson, the Probate Judge, pre-empted the above described land as a town site, to be held in trust for its occupants.

The Louisville colony brought the machinery for a new saw and flouring-mill, and at once began building dwellings and the mill. The colony was composed of Charles Hidden and family, F. G. Bruns and family, W. C. and R. B. Hall, Theodore Harris, G. W. Cooper and family, Mrs. Adaline Duren and family, John Lambdin and family, and M. T. Williams and family. Of these, only F. G. Bruns and wife, and Dr. G. W. Cooper and Mary L. Cooper still remain in the county.

In December, 1857, the town companies of Garnett and Troy were united under the name of the Town Company of Garnett. During the year quite a number of buildings, including the mill, were erected.

During the years 1858 and 1859, there were many improvements made, and many settlers located in Garnett.


The first frame house was built in Garnett in the fall of 1857, by F. G. Bruns. It is the one where he now resides.

The first birth took place on the 13th day of March, 1858, and was that of two children to Mrs. F. G. Bruns. They were named Charles Garnett and Mary. A town lot was deeded to the boy, who is now a young man and still resides with his parents. Mary died when but nine weeks old. This was the first death in Garnett.

In 1858, the old Garnett Town Company built a schoolhouse on the northwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Oak Street, and, on the formation of the school district, donated to it the building. This was the second school district formed in the county. The schoolhouse was the first public building in Garnett, and for several years was used for all public meetings, courts, etc. In 1862, it was sold to H. Cavender for $300, and a two-story frame schoolhouse was built on the corner of Third Avenue and Cedar Street, at a cost of $3,500. In 1872, the present large brick schoolhouse was erected.

When Garnett was first founded, no mail route extended through it. The nearest post-office was nearly two miles distant, at Cedar Bluff, and Samuel Anderson was postmaster. In 1859, the mail route was changed from the west side of Cedar Creek, via Garnett, and in the spring of that year the post-office of Garnett was established, and Dr. Thomas Lindsay appointed postmaster. The first mail was received in May, and consisted of about twenty-five letters and fifty papers.

In April, 1859, the county-seat was removed to Garnett, and the records removed from Shannon.

On February 9, 1859, the Territorial Legislature passed an act to incorporate the Town Company, with R. B. Hall, T. Harris, J. Y. Campbell, James Locke, D. W. Houston and W. C. Hall as incorporators. This company met on April 9, elected R. B. Hall, President, and T. Harris, Secretary, and issued certificates of stock to the members.

In the fall of 1859, the Commissioner of the General Land Office made an order canceling the entry of the towns of Garnett and Troy, for the reason that there was a law of Congress preventing the entry of an entire section of government land for town purposes. This left the occupants of the two town sites on Government land, to which they had no legal claim. Therefore Dr. John B. Campbell pre-empted the south half of the old Garnett site, and W. A. Johnson settled and pre-empted the north half of the old Troy town site.

On April 4, 1860, the settlers on the north half of the old Garnett site, and on the south half of the Troy site, formed themselves into a Town Company under the name of the Town Company of Garnett, with a capital stock of $8,000, divided into two hundred shares of $40 each. This was for the purpose of securing a title to the lots occupied. On April 9, a certificate of corporation was drawn up, and was acknowledged before Charles Hidden, a Justice of the Peace. The town incorporators were: D. W. Houston, B. D. Benedict, J. G. Smith, C. P. Alvey, G. W. Iler, W. A. Johnson, M. J. Alkire and B. F. Ridgeway. The certificate was duly filed in the office of the Secretary of the Territory, on May 14, 1860. The company then opened books for a subscription of stock. The two hundred shares were soon taken by fifty-seven stockholders. The directors and officers elected were: D. W. Houston, President; B. D. Benedict, Vice-President; J. G. Smith, Secretary; and C. P. Alvey, Treasurer.

The company then surveyed and laid off the town site into streets, alleys, blocks and lots. A plat was made, duly signed and acknowledged by the President, and filed for record in the office of the Register of Deeds of the county. The company then applied to J. Y. Campbell, then Probate Judge of the county, requesting him to pre-empt the town site for the use and benefits of its occupants. This Judge Campbell refused to do, as he was the agent of the old Louisville Town Company. The company then petitioned him to grant an order declaring them a municipal corporation, and though the petition was signed by more than two-thirds of the legal voters of the town, the Judge refused to issue the order.

The citizens then held a mass meeting and appointed G. A. Cook, B. F. Ridgeway and A. Simmons a committee to confer with the Judge, but still he refused. The meeting then appointed a committee of fifteen to consult with him, but the result was the same. The citizens then applied to the Territorial Legislature of 1861, for a charter of incorporation of the town of Garnett. The bill passed the House, but when it came before the Council it was defeated.

To the citizens of Garnett, matters began to assume a serious aspect. About five hundred people resided on the town site, to which they had no legal title, and which it was impossible to secure without the action of the Probate Judge. In September 1861, the citizens appointed A. W. Johnson and D. W. Houston to investigate the matter and see what could be done, legally, to secure to the occupants of the town site their homes. They found on consulting the county records, that Judge Campbell who had been elected to his office for a term of two years, under the Wyandotte constitution, had not qualified according to the law, in some respects. They then procured certificates and affidavits of that fact and presented the matter to Gov. Robinson, with a petition for the appointment of Charles Hidden as Probate Judge. After a thorough examination of the case, the Governor complied with the request of the petitioners.

The Governor's commission to Charles Hidden appointing him Probate Judge, arrived late in the evening, but he qualified for the office that night, and the next morning called on Campbell, and demanded the books and papers belonging to the office, but he refused to give them up. Application was then made to District Judge S. O. Thacher, for an order to compel him to do so. The parties were summoned to appear before Judge Thacher at Lawrence, and he, after a full hearing, granted the order, addressed it to G. A. Cook, Sheriff of Anderson County, and directed him to seize all the effects of the Probate Judge's office and deliver them to Charles Hidden. Campbell then appealed to Thomas Ewing, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Sheriff Cook proceeded to execute the order, but found nothing but the seal of the court and an empty desk. Though forbidden by Campbell, the Sheriff took possession of these and delivered them to Hidden.

On October 7, 1861, Charles Hidden, Probate Judge of Anderson County, declared the town of Garnett, a municipal corporation, under the law of February, 1859, and at the same time appointed G. W. Iler, G. A. Cook, William McLaughlin, B. F. Ridgeway and Thomas Lindsay, Trustees. On the 17th of the same month, G. W. Iler as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, pre-empted the town site in trust for the use and benefit of its occupants.

At the January term of the Supreme Court, 1862, the appeal of Judge Campbell was argued, and after considering the case two weeks, Chief Justice Ewing affirmed the decision of Judge Thacher. This settled the title of the town site.

During the years of the controversy over the town site, the growth of Garnett was very slow, as new comers were afraid to invest in town property. After that until the close of the war but little improvement was made, as nearly every able-bodied man residing in the town was either in the army or was enlisted in the State militia. Besides this, from the same cause, immigration to the county was slow during those years. After the close of the war the county began to be settled quite rapidly, and the town improved slowly until the building of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad (now the K. C. L. & S. K. R. R) in the spring of 1870, it being completed to Garnett on March 1. The town then began to grow very rapidly. This improvement was kept up until the financial crash of 1873, and the grasshopper devastation, the next year. For two or three years, times were very dull, when the town again began to increase in population and in the number of business houses. In 1878, there were upward of 1,100 inhabitants. In 1879, the Arizona Division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad was built, since which time the city of Garnett has continued to grow steadily until the present date. Of late years the business houses and residences built have generally been of a substantial character, many of them being constructed from brick and stone.

The Big Fire.--On the night of March 23, 1881, at about eleven o'clock, an alarm of fire was given. There were among the business houses on the south side of the public square a number of frame buildings, built closely together, and it was in one of these that the fire started. So rapidly did the flames spread, that within fifty-five minutes from the time the alarm was sounded, eleven buildings were destroyed. They were all in the business center of the city, and some of them contained large stocks of goods. But little was saved, and altogether, many thousands of dollars worth of property was destroyed. This fire was a hard blow on the losers, but resulted in giving the town a better class of buildings, as the entire street was soon built up with large and substantial structures of brick and stone. This is now the finest and most magnificent part of the city.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]