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


[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]


D. J. VAN FOSSEN, real estate, loan and insurance agent, came to Fort Scott in 1865, and was engaged in the grocery business for about nine months, in partnership with his brothers, John and Charles. In 1866, he established the Kansas Record, and has published it ever since that time. In 1866, he engaged in the real estate and loan and insurance and collecting business, putting out the first real state sign or bulletin board in Fort Scott, and since 1870 has been connected with his present partner, Henry Wilcox. Mr. Van Fossen was born in Livingston County, N. Y., February 4, 1833, and removed to Michigan when only two or three years of age, residing at Concord in that State until 1844, when he removed to La Fayette, Ind. In 1852, he went to California, driving ten yoke of oxen and passing through Fort Scott on the way, and he remained there until he came to Fort Scott. He was married at Kansas City in August, 1868, to Josephine, a native of New York State. They have two children--Kate and Fred. Mr. Van Fossen is a member of the A., F. & A. M.

VAN FOSSEN & WILCOX, real estate, loan and insurance agents; the firm is composed of D. J. Van Fossen & Henry Wilcox, and the business was originally established by Mr. Van Fossen, in 1866, Mr. Wilcox becoming a partner in 1871. They handle lands on commission, and buy and sell lands on their own account, and have very largely increased their business since its establishment. In 1875, they began to loan money for eastern capitalists, loaning the first year perhaps $25,000. Now their loans amount to at least $250,000 per annum, principally in the eastern counties of Kansas. They represent the local interest of some of the leading fire insurance companies of New York, Philadelphia and Connecticut as well as some foreign companies. They have sold over 100,000 acres of land since January 1, 1882, a period of less than six months.

G. W. WARD, farmer, Section 13. His father, Asa Ward, was a native of North Carolina, and his mother of Virginia. They moved to Illinois in 1847. George was born on the farm. They carried on grain farming there, and on coming to Kansas they settled on Section 13, his father having claimed 160 acres. Here George grew up, and in 1862, he had a friend enter eighty acres on Section 23, Scott Township. In 1862, he enlisted in the militia, and after some marching he returned to the farm. Beginning at the bottom he has worked his way up, in his boyhood passing through many thrilling scenes, such as were experienced by everyone who lived in Kansas during those stirring times. By hard work and good management, he has succeeded in acquiring some 400 acres of land; he has 130 acres of corn, besides cattle, horses and mules. In 1879, he married Miss S. Hadleston, of Vernon County, Mo. They have two boys--Elmer and William Harvey. Mr. Ward is a Republican, and a member of the I. O. O. F. Of the old family, his brother James is in Missouri; Asa is on the old farm; William H. is farming on Section 26; two sisters are living near Nevada, Mo., and one brother is in Fort Scott. Alexander is in California, and Amanda is in Philadelphia; a brother Meljar died some thirteen years ago on the old farm. In December, 1880, his father died, aged one hundred and three years.

EUGENE F. WARE, attorney, is a native of Hartford, Conn. He came to Fort Scott in September, 1867, and for some time worked at his trade, that of a harness maker. In 1871, he was admitted to the bar, and has since been engaged in practice. He at one time held the office of State Senator.

H. E. WARE, of the firm of Dulany & Ware, lumber dealers, representing a branch of the Empire Lumber Co. Mr. Ware is a native of Orange County, Vt.; he was born January 1, 1824. While at home he lived on the farm, but most of his life has been lumbering. In 1859, he worked in Chicago for Ferry & Sons, up to the time of his coming to Fort Scott, Kan., in 1869. He ran a yard himself till 1875, when he went to farming, having some 240 acres of grain and stock land. In 1879, he went into the lumber business with Dulaney (sic), now about the largest stock yard in the city, carrying about $12,000 worth of stock.

MISS M. M. WARFIELD, teacher in Room No. 7, Central School, is a native of Montgomery County, Md. She attended the Western High School of Baltimore, and then moving to Hartford County, she was examined and given a first-class certificate, then taking a school in Abington District, her first, then in Darlington District, where her agreeable experience decided her upon following the profession. In 1876, they moved to Fort Scott, and in 1877 she commenced teaching in Room No. 5, Central School. For five years she instructed her young pupils, and endeared herself to them, so that in changing to Room No. 7, some insisted on following. Miss Warfield's success in teaching is the result of her love of the vocation.

REV. F. J. WATTRON, priest of the Catholic Church "Mary, Queen of Angels," Fort Scott, is a native of France, where he was born in 1834, and emigrated to America in 1854, and in 1858 or 1859, located in Atchison, Kan., and in 1864 graduated from the Milwaukee Seminary of St. Francis De Sales. He was ordained by the Right Rev. Bishop J. B. Miege. Before coming to Fort Scott, he was at Paola, where his members consisted of twelve white families and Indians belonging to five tribes. He came to Fort Scott, December 9, 1874, where he has a membership of fifty families, and also took charge of St. Patrick's Church at Fulton, embracing forty families. The old church here in Fort Scott was built in 1860, now used as a residence and schoolhouse by Father Wattron. The present building was dedicated Rt. Rev. L. M. Fink, in 1872, June 16. The priests preceding him were Fathers Cunningham, Bononcini, Dougherty, Father Murphy, and then Father Wattron.

LEWIS B. WELCH, County Clerk, came to Kansas in May, 1859, and the following month located in what is now Allen County. He was engaged in farming until August, 1861, and then in Company G, Sixth Kansas Volunteer Infantry. In February, 1862, he was transferred to Company F, Eighth Kansas Regiment, and continued in that company and regiment until he left the service at Chattanooga, Tenn., September 19, 1864, being at that time First Sergeant of his company. He was in all the engagements of his command, and was wounded at Atlanta. In October, 1864, he located permanently in Pawnee Township. He held the office of Township Trustee of that township for six terms; has been Township Clerk, Township Treasurer and Clerk of School Board, and was elected County Clerk in November, 1881. He was born near Urichville, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, July 2, 1839, and when fifteen years of age removed to Illinois, where he remained until he came to Kansas. He was married in Pawnee Township, in June, 1865, to Mary J. Viers, who was born in West Virginia, near West Liberty. They have six children, Mary L., Alice, Nannie P., Jesse, Charles and Frank C. Mr. Welch is a member of the G. A. R. and of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

WEST & HUMPHREY, attorneys at law; firm established in 1882, February 22. J. S. West, as has his partner, J. M. Humphrey, educated himself, and finally, with commendable perseverance, established the firm. Mr. West is a native of Michigan; was born June 28, 1855. He came to Kansas in 1869, and in 1876 began reading law; in winter of 1877-78 taught school, and then went to the Lawrence University, and went to teaching again; was in school-book fight there, and went into Hill & Sallee's office to read law, and was admitted in 1881. He was Clerk of a Senate Committee in and belonging to the Baptist Church. He has become an expert in coal mining, which he carried on with his farm. J. M. Humphrey's career is similar. He is a native of Indiana; was born 1856, April 12, and came to Kansas in 1869, having farmed and taught till 1877. He went to the high school of Fort Scott, and next season to Girard, under Prof. Quick, preparing for college, and in 1878, prepared for and entered Freshman Class of State University, expecting to take the classical course, but went to teaching and reading law, and entered the law office of Col. J. R. Hallowell, and afterward studied under Judge C. O. French; was admitted to the bar in February 22, 1882, and entered into partnership with J. S. West same year.

S. S. WESTOVER, grocer, native of Massachusetts, born May 6, 1818. At the age of three, parents moved to New York, and when six years old he lost his father; his mother dying when he was ten years of age. He was then an orphan, without money or an education. In 1854, he went to Illinois, to Aurora, where he worked at the mason's trade, having learned it in 1838, remaining here till 1870, when he came to Fort Scott, Kan., and worked at his trade till 1874, when he bought out George Patterson, and established himself in a fine business, commencing with $10,000 a year, and now doing a business of $30,000 in groceries and produce. Mr. Westover married in 1843, and again in Aurora, Ill., to Mrs. Moffat. He has had a fumily (sic) of seven in all, three of whom are masons, and Fred an engineer on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.

C. S. WHEATON, farmer, Section 12, native of Aurelius Township, Cayuga County, N. Y., born January 9, 1810. He remained in his native State till 1832, when he took a timber farm and opened it to farming in Ohio. In 1842, he moved to Michigan, being a pioneer there, clearing and improving, but was taken with the ague, being so reduced in strength that when he went back to New York to recruit he could not walk alone, but recovering soon after reaching home, he went to canal boating, and in 1846 removed to Dodge County Wis., thence to Rock County, where he engaged in farming till 1859, when he came to Mound City, Linn County, Kan., arriving April 2. He was here engaged in farming and serving as Under Sheriff. In 1855, he moved to Fort Scott, and bought property, serving till 1868 as Deputy Sheriff under Harris & Knowles. That year he was elected Sheriff and served until 1870; he was jailor for six years in Fort Scott, and passed through many dangerous scenes; having bought his present farm in 1868, he moved onto it in 1874, where he has lived since with his wife and son John. He married Miss Thayer, of Essex County, N. Y., December, 1829. They have three children. Mr. Wheaton's farm is a stock and grain enterprise; he has now retired to this quiet life and enjoys a ripe old age. He has been a member of the Masonic order for thirty years, and is also a member of the I. O. O. F.

W. J. WHITTEKIND, carpenter, contractor and builder, two doors south of court house, on Nathaniel avenue. He was born in Adams County, Ill., February 15, 1847, where he remained till 1878, having learned his trade; he then went to Texas, and from there to Fort Scott, where he married in 1868. They have now a family of four children. Mr. Whittekind owns his own residence; he is a member of the Royal Templars of Temperance Society, also of the G. A. R., and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he is a Democrat.

HENRY WILCOX, real estate, loan and insurance agent, came to Fort Scott in June, 1870, and has been engaged in his present business, in company with Mr. Van Fossen, since that time. He is a member of the Congregational Church, and was for five years a member of the school board, its President during a portion of the time. He was born in Luzerne, Warren County, N. Y., and lived in his native county till six years of age, then in Saratoga County, N. Y., until he removed to Kansas. He received his education at College Hill Institute, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., and at Union College, at Schenectady, N. Y., and was admitted to the bar at Schenectady, N. Y., April 7, 1869, before the Judges of the Supreme Court. He commenced practice at Saratoga Springs, and was Superintendent of the public schools of Saratoga County, N. Y., for six years previous to coming to Kansas. He was married in Kent, Portage County, Ohio. They have two children living--Mary H. and Lucy B., and have lost two, one an infant son, Harry, and the other a daughter, Anna, who died in 1876, aged four years.

J. F. WILLETT, general manager and secretary of the York Nursery Company, came to Kansas, September 27, 1867, and located in Franklin Township, Bourbon County, where he resided most of the time until 1874, engaged in farming. For the next four years he was engaged in teaching, and then entered the nursery business, in which he still continues. He was born near Fayetteville, Washington County, Ark., October 26, 1854, and resided there until 1861, when he went to Mercer County, Ill. He remained there until coming to Kansas, in the fall of 1867. He was married November 23, 1880, at the residence of M. M. York, in Scott Township, Bourbon County, Kan., to Augusta Margery York, a daughter of M. M. York.

C. A. WILLIAMS, first assistant teacher in the Plaza School. He commenced his school life at Union College, Ind., afterward attending Wilberforce College from 1857 to 1861. In 1864, coming to Galesburg, Ill., he taught moving on to Somerset, Monroe County, Mo.; also taught in Shelby County. In 1873, he was Principal of the colored school of Quincy, Ill. He then returned to Shelbina, Mo., where he stayed until coming to Fort Scott, in 1878. His wife is a teacher also in the Plaza School, in Room 1. Her education was chiefly acquired from private tutors. Her experience began in 1867, in a school in Missouri, on Otter Creek, succeeded by one on Crooked Creek. She then went to Somerset, and from there with her husband to Quincy, Ill.; then back to Shelbyville, where she taught, also in Shelbina, and on coming to Fort Scott she preceded her husband by some four months in entering the school room.

COL. HIERO T. WILSON was born at Russellville, Logan County, Ky., September 6, 1806, and lived there until 1834. He then went to Fort Gibson, in the Indian Territory, and became associated as clerk with his brother, Thomas E. Wilson, who was then sutler at Fort Gibson, and afterward died at Fort Smith. Col. Wilson removed to Fort Scott September 13, 1843, and was sutler at that point until 1853, when the troops were withdrawn, and there was no government reserve at Fort Scott, and consequently no government property except the buildings of the Fort. Col. Wilson purchased the building, at the general sale of the government buildings in 1855. Four officers' blocks, accommodating two families each, which cost $13,000 each, selling at that time for $300 to $500. In 1857, a town company was formed, of which George A. Crawford was President, and Col. Wilson Secretary and Treasurer, and the town of Fort Scott was laid off and platted. The young town prospered from the first, and its proprietors built houses to some extent, and sold houses and lots as the demand was created. Col. Wilson was engaged in mercantile pursuits for some time, and then entered the real estate and insurance business. He was Postmaster for several years, and served in several prominent positions in early times. He was married in Pettis County, Mo., 30 miles from Boonesville, September 28, 1847, to Elizabeth C., daughter of Gen. David Hogan, and a native of Harlan County, Ky. They have three children--Virginia, now Mrs. Robinson, residing in Durango, Col.; Elizabeth C., Mrs. Goodlander and Fanna (sic) Robley, both residing in Fort Scott.

T. L. WILSON was born in Knox County, Ohio, March 17, 1816, and lived in his native State until March, 1859, when he moved to Vernon County, Mo., and lived there two years; he moved to Kansas in June, 1861, and located in Osage Township, eight miles northeast of Fort Scott, in Bourbon County, where he has been engaged in farming and stock-raising; he has also been employed in building railroads in Kansas, and is now President of the Kansas & Nebraska Central Railroad. He organized the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad in Kansas and was the President of that road for four years; he also built the Parsons & Cherokee Railroad, and was the Vice President and General Manager of that road. He was married in Knox County, Ohio, in 1840, to Miss Mary McCoy, a native of Ohio; they have five children--Elysba, Charles N., Phoebe A., Marion and Myron. Mr. Wilson organized a company of home guards during the war, and was elected to the captaincy of the company. Mr. Wilson commenced building railroads in 1836, and built several roads in Ohio before coming to Kansas, and has been largely engaged in developing the resources of the State of Kansas.

WINSBY & GOUCHER, house, sign and carriage painters. J. R. Winsby was born in Nova Scotia in Queen's County. He learned the trade of painter in the ship yards of Boston, Mass. He left there and came to Avoca, Iowa, where he opened a shop, and visited Kansas in 1872, but going through via Wichita to Galveston, Tex., then to Omaha, with cattle, then to Boston and back. He came to Fort Scott in 1873, and married N. J. Glavebrook. They have a family of three children. The shop was first located on Main street, and then on Wall street. E. S. Goucher is a native of Ohio, born in 1843. He learned his trade in Canfield, Ohio, then traveled with Hoffman's menagerie, from 1862 to 1869, going through the States of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and others. He came to Fort Scott in 1869, and opened his shop. In 1870 he was in partnership with Mr. Lane. For a while during the fishing season, he gives his attention to that business. In 1876 and 1877, he worked for the M. K. & T. R. R., June 27, 1872, he married Miss Lane. They have two children.

Picture of A. M. York A. M. York came to Kansas in 1870, and located at Independence, where he was engaged in the practice of law until 1875. In 1872 he was elected a member of the State Senate. In 1875, he went to Shreveport, La., and remained there two years, engaged in mail contracts in that State and Texas. He then came to Fort Scott and became interested in the York nursery with his father and brother. He is a native of Byron, Ogle Co., Ill.; born July 7, 1838. That was his home until September, 1862, when he enlisted in Company I, Ninety-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and in 1863 was promoted to First Lieutenant. In 1864, he was again promoted Captain of Company G, Fifteenth Colored Infantry, and was the same year raised to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifteenth Colored Infantry. He was finally mustered out of service in April, 1866, and went to Shelbina, Mo., where he was engaged in practice until he removed to Independence. He was married at Polo, Ogle Co., Ill., March 4, 1861, to Juliett Preston, a native of Oneida Co., N. Y. They had three children--Winnefred J., Ernest Preston and Frederick A. Mrs. York died April 9, 1875, and he was married to his present wife, Candace Tracey, a native of Payson, Ill., at Independence, Kan., March 26, 1877. They have one child--Roscoe Tracey. Col. York is a member of the A., F. & A. M.

Picture of Hon. M. M. York M. M. YORK was born at Towanda, Bradford Co., Penn., on the 15th day of July, 1809. He sprang from a strongly marked ancestry. His grandfather was a pioneer settler of the historic Valley of Wyoming, and fell a victim at the terrible massacre that depopulated that beautiful region. His father, then a babe, was saved by the heroism of its mother, who escaped under the cover of darkness of night, and with others descended the Susquehanna River. The child thus saved became one of the leading Presbyterian divines of Pennsylvania, and was distinguished for the power of his intellect and his power as a pulpit orator, and stood among the foremost in the councils of his church. His son, Miner M., was thoroughly instructed in the tenets of his father's faith, and through all the changes and vicissitudes of a long and active life has held firmly to the teachings of his reverend father. At the age of nineteen years he left the parental home to seek his fortune in the then far West. For several years he engaged in lead mining at Galena, Ill. In 1835, he removed to Rock River County, and made an entry of Government land, opposite to the present town of Byron, in Ogle Co., Ill. In 1837, he married Margery Irvine, eldest daughter of Reverend Alexander Irvine, one of the pioneers of Methodism in the new State of Illinois. They made their home on the same farm continuously until 1865, and raised a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters. In the year 1865, the entire family with the exception of one son, Irvin, then in California, removed to Shelbina, Shelby Co., Mo. Then M. M. York and his son, Julius H., engaged in the nursery business, and remained there until the year 1870, when they removed to Fort Scott, Bourbon Co., Kan., and then and there laid the foundation of the famous York Nursery Company, which has grown into the largest enterprise of the kind west of the Mississippi River. An account of their operations appearing elsewhere in these pages, renders it superfluous to notice at length in this connection. In politics M. M. York was an ardent Whig during the existence of that party, and since the party ceased to exist, he has never attached himself to any party, but has supported men and measures upon their individual merits. In politics, as in religion, he adheres to the views and principles adopted in early life. While he has always been active in business, he has yet been a great reader. His books have been his constant companions. The subjects to which he devoted the greatest attention were ancient history, and the history and growth of the Christian religion, and in a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of both these subjects he has few equals. He is a man of positive ideas, possessed of a keen and searching intellect, and intolerant of all social, religious or political strains. As a business man, he has at all times been a model of uprightness and probity, and in all the walks of life he has made an enviable and noble record of a well-spent and useful life. His greatest ambition and interest in life have centered in his family. He rightly regards the family as a unit of society; that there the bad or good impulses are received that make the child a good or bad citizen when grown to manhood. He is still the strong counselor and watchful father to his children, and, like one of the patriarchs of old, he is still the head of his family, deeply reverenced and beloved by them. He is now in his seventy-fourth year, still actively engaged in the nursery business, an energetic, vigorous old man, retaining full force of his mental powers and affording a marked example of the effects of an active, temperate, honest Christian life in the preservation of his mental and physical forces to a ripe old age.

JULIUS HAMLIN YORK, President of the York Nursery Company, came to Fort Scott April 1, 1870, and has since been engaged in the nursery business on ground which he purchased for the purpose. He had been previously engaged in the same business in Shelbina, Mo., having been in the business now seventeen years. He is a native of Byron, Ogle County, Ill., born January 5, 1845. In 1865, he removed from there to Shelbina, Mo., which was his home until he came to Kansas. He was married at Shelbina February 5, 1870, to Frances L. Brandt, a native of Canandaigua, N. Y. They have two children--Miner M. and Carroll T. Mr. York is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]