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Medicine Lodge takes its name from the river which skirts the town site on the west. This stream in turn was named by the Indians, who often met upon its banks in council for "making medicine." The location of the city is an admirable one, Elm Creek lying on the east, and Medicine River on the west, joining their waters a quarter of a mile to the south of the city, while between them rises the lofty plateau of the town site.
In October 1872, William Walters had a temporary camp at the forks below the present city, but made no effort at settlement, and moved away the following spring. In February, 1873, the party, led by John Hutchinson, came to Medicine Lodge, and laid out the town site of 400 acres. The first building on the town site was the structure which now forms the dining room of the Medicine Lodge house. It was put by by D. Updegraff, and used then as now, for hotel purposes. Lumber was hauled from Hutchinson, and Bemis, Hutchinson & Co. proceeded to put up an office - the building which now forms the south wing of the Medicine Lodge House. This was followed by a large general store, erected by Bemis, Jordon & Co., on the spot now occupied by Payne's bank. L. H. Ulmer was the next merchant to locate here, and was followd in the summer of 1873 by D. E. Sheldon. Immigration was rapid during 1873, that year witnessing the arrival of C. T. Rigg, the first physician in the town, and now Sheriff of the county; of W. E. Hutchinson, the first attorney, and of M. Sutton, also a deciple of Blackstone. The first blacksmith shop was put up by Cicero Widner, and the first drug store opened by S. A. Winston during this season. The Indian scare of 1874 checked settlement, and caused a large exodus, but the following years showed a steady growth, that has made Medicine Lodge an 'eminently solid' city.
A post office was established at Medicine Lodge in 1873, and the mail handled by W. E. Hutchinson. S. A. Winston was Postmaster in 1873, and was followed by M. D. Houck, D. E. Van Slyke, Eli Smith and W. D. Van Slyke, the present official. The first post office was in the Winston building, now owned by Dr. C. T. Rigg, and leased as a billiard room. It was in this room that the first term of court was held. Thence it was moved to the lot now occupied by the Medicine Valley Bank, thence to the Friedly building, the little frame north of Little's store, and its present quarters on the west side of Main street. It was made a money order office in 1879, and the first order purchased by Charles Ellis, July 8 of that year. It became an office of the third class April 1, 1883. Mail routes from this point run to Harper, Kiowa, Kinsley, Great Bend and Hutchinson. The Kinsley route passes through Sun City and Lake City; the Hutchinson through Kingman, Kingman County, and the Great Bend through Iuka, in Pratt County.
CITY GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES.
On May 21, 1879, the order incorporating Medicine Lodge as a city of the third class was signed, and the first city election was set for June 7, 1879. This election resulted in the choice of W. W. Cook, Mayor; II (sic) M. Davis, Police Judge; W. W. Standiford, J. N. Hiff, George Mitts, J. Storey and D. M. Carmichael, Councilmen. S. J. Shepler served a short time as City Clerk, and was followed by J. W. Upperman. A. W. Little was Mayor in 1880, J. E. Chapin in 1881, and S. J. Shepler in 1882. Police Judges were elected as follows: H. M. Davis, 1880-81; G. S. Turney, 1882; S. H. Shepler was City Clerk in 1880, A. V. Shepler in 1881, and J. W. Upperman in 1882. The present Council is made up of W. W. Cook, D. Van Slyke, E. Youmans, E. W. Payne, T. A. McNeal. C .T. Rigg is Marshal, E. Sample, City Attorney, and J. C. Orner, City Treasurer. The city now has a population of nearly 600.
School District No. 1, which takes in Medicine Lodge, was organized in the spring of 1873, and Miss Lucinda Burlingame engaged as teacher. She was followed by Mr. J. Whitelaw, Mrs. Julia A. Whitelaw, H. M. Davis, John Swank, Mrs. M. G. McClure, J. M. Neal, E. M. Byerley and A. Axline, the present Principal, who was engaged in the fall of 1880, and still holds the position. Mr. Axline is assisted by Mrs. Julia A. Whitelaw, and Mrs. M. G. McClure. The original schoolhouse built in 1873, at a cost of $400 ($1,500 in bonds were issued for this purpose), was in use until the fall of 1882. A new brick school will be completed in 1883, at a cost of $6,000. It will be 43x43 feet, and contain four rooms. The funds for this building were raised by the sale of bonds to the amount of $4,400, and taxation to the amount of $1,600. The school has now an enrollment of 227.
The earliest religious services in the town were held by traveling Methodist preachers. No regular organization, was, however, effected until 1878, when Rev. Mr. Mattern was appointed pastor. The society then numbered thirteen, but felt so much confidence in the future, that the erection of a church building was at once decided upon. This structure was completed in 1879, at a cost of $1,200. A parsonage was erected in 1881, at a cost of $300. Rev. Mr. Music was appointed pastor in 1880, but remained only a short time, and his unexpired term was filled by Rev. Mr. Rolinson. W. C. Reed was pastor in 1881, and James F. Hill in 1882. The society now numbers forty-seven. The Union Sabbath school is conducted by this church and the Presbyterians. It is in a flourishing condition under J. T. Taylor.
The Christian Church was organized in October, 1878, and A. H. Mulky chosen pastor. His labors closed in 1882, and since that time there has been no regular preaching. The society, which, at the time of organization, numbered thirteen, now has forty-five members enrolled. Early services were held in the schoolhouse, whence they were moved to the residence of D. E. Sheldon, which had been converted to school purposes. A church building was completed in 1880, at a cost of $1,400, and has been occupied for the past two years. A Sabbath school organized in 1880 has an average attendance of forty, and is in charge of T. A. McLeary.
There is a society of this denomination at Sharon Post Office, ten miles east of Medicine Lodge. It is supplied by Rev. Charles Collins, and has a membership of forty, and a flourishing Sabbath school under James Huffaker.
Presbyterian Church - As early as 1879 services were held at this point by Rev. A. Axline but it was not until his settlement here in 1880 that a society was formed. The society has never had a change of pastors, and retains its original membership of twenty- two. Services have been held in the schoolhouse, and later in the Methodist Episcopal Church. A Presbyterian Church edifice is now building, and will be completed in 1883. It will be 35x50 feet, seat 300, and cost, with the los (sic) occupied, $3,000. The church has no separate Sabbath school.
The United Brethren have a number of members in the county, but very few in Medicine Lodge. Rev. W. M. Friedly performed all services up to November 7, 1882, when he left for Winfield (sic), Cowley County, and his place was filled by Rev. D. J. Cole.
SOCIETIES, THE PRESS, ETC.
Pioneer Lodge, No. 179, I. O. O. F. was organized on February 24, 1881, with seven members and the following officers: John Nelson, H. G., John Higgins, V. G., E. M. Byerley, S. D. Morris Treasurer. The Lodge now numbers forty-one members, and has the following official roll: John Higgins, N. G., E. M. Byerley, V. G., W. T. Rouse, Secretary; Ambrose Allen, Treasurer. Meetings are held in Odd Fellows' Hall, on Tuesday of each week. The property of the lodge consists of $110 in cash, and furniture and regalia to the value of $200.
Deila Lodge, No. 77 a (sic), F. & A. M., was organized under dispensation, in March, 1881, and chartered in March 1882. At the time the charter was granted, the lodge had twenty-two members, and the following officers: S. J. Shepler, W. M.; C. G. Turney, S. W.; I. W. Stout, J. W.; J. E. Chapin, Secretary; Burd Lacey, Treasurer. From March 1882, to the December election of that year, D. Van Slyke filled the office of Treasurer. The present officers of the lodge are S. J. Shepley, W. M.; C. G. Turney, S. W.; George Geppart, J. W.; H. Yant, Secretary; Burd Lacey, Treasurer. The lodge now has a membership of forty-seven. Meetings are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month in Masonic Hall.
Fidelity Lodge, No. 80, A. O. U. W. was chartered October 14, 1881. It had then seventeen members and the following officers: J. E. Chapin, P. M. W; John L. Nelson, M. W; E. Morris, Foreman; J. W. Singer, O.; J. C. Orner, Recorder; W. T. Rouse, Fin.; Eli Smith, Receiver. The lodge now has a membership of twenty-four, and the following official roll: J. W. Singer, P. M. W.; B. M. Roberts, M. W.; R. G. Eckert, Foreman; N. W. Young, O.; L. W. Moore, Recorder; L. D. H (sic), Fin.; Eli Smith, Receiver. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
The press history of this town, as well as of the county, is comprised in that of three papers, the Mail, Cresset and Index.
The Barber County Mail was started May 20, 1878, by M. J. Cochran. Its first appearance was as an eight-column folio, one side 'patent,' but it soon changed to a six- column folio 'all home print.' It was sold March 10, 1879, to J. W. McNeal and E. W. Iliff, who at once started the Cresset. The Cressett (from Cresset, a brilliant light) made its first appearance on March 20, 1879, as a six-column folio. May 20, 1879, Iliff sold out to T. A. McNeal, and July 10, the form was changed to a five- column 'patent' quarto. This was changed to a six-column June 25, 1880, and to a seven- column in April, 1883. April 8, 1882, J. W. McNeal sold out to T. A. McNeal who the same day formed a partnership with L. M. Axline. The paper now has a circulation of 768; appears Thursdays, and is, as it has always been, Republican in politics.
The Barbour County Index appeared June 10, 1880, as a seven-column folio, edited and owned by M. L. Sherpey. The office consisted of a small amount of type owned by the Cresset and possessed neither press, imposing stone nor ink table. Notwithstanding these obstacles, the paper lived and grew, becoming an eight-column folio in November, 1881, and a six-column quarto in March, 1882. In July, 1882, it was purchased by E. W. Payne, who changed it to a seven-column quarto in February, 1883. It now has a circulation of 720, is issued on Thursdays, and is a shining light in the Democratic press of this region.
The Merchants' & Drovers' Bank was the first bank in the city, and was started in October, 1880, by H. M. Hickman. Business was transacted until January 10, 1882, when unfortunate outside business caused the closing of the bank.
Medicine Valley Bank - Two days after the closing of the Merchants' & Drovers', this bank sprang into existence. It is run by a joint stock company, officered by E. W. Payne, President; George Geppert, Cashier; W. W. Cook, Vice President. The capital stock of the bank was $50,000, up to November, 1882, when it was increased to $100,000. A fine bank building was completed in March, 1883, at a cost, all told, of $7,500.
Standiford, Youmans & Co. - this bank is a private one, and makes no statement of resources. It was organized in 1881, and has done a good business since that time.