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


[TOC] [part 22] [part 20] [Cutler's History]


Barnesville is situated in the north part of Bourbon county, about three miles east of Fulton. The town was laid out, in 1858, by J. and F. Barnes, who also built a hotel upon the site during the same year. Dr. Neal started a general store in 1860. At first, the town enjoyed a "boom" on a small scale, and at the zenith of its greatness contained fifteen houses and three stores. It now contains one large business establishment, operated by the firm of Messinger & Son. This firm carries a large stock of goods, and does a flourishing and extensive business. Besides this, there are five or six dwellings and a blacksmith shop.

The first school was taught in the district, in 1864, by D. B. Jackman.

The United Brethren in Christ have a flourishing society. It was organized, in 1866, by Rev. S. B. McGrew, with twelve members, to which only two additions have been made. Meetings have been held in the schoolhouse. Rev. G. H. Hinton is pastor.

The post office was established at Barnesville in 1859 and Dr. Neal was the first Postmaster. The office of Postmaster is now held by J. Messinger.


THOMAS J. ARMSTRONG, farmer, Section 34, P. O. Fort Scott, is a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., born June 16, 1833. He was raised on a farm and acquired a common school education. In 1855, he married and moved to the State of Missouri. In November, 1859, Miss Eva was born, and in 1860 the family moved to Kansas, locating on Section 34, Osage Township, Bourbon County, where Mr. Armstrong has prospered till he now has 440 acres of farm land, carrying on mixed farming, stock and grain. He has a fine family of nine children, having lost three. The members of the home circle are himself and wife (formerly Miss S. A. Bowman, of Ohio), Alpheus D., Eva C., Willis P., Frank S., Emery B., Orville, Melvin and Marvin, twins; and Merrill H. They have lost Herman A., Emerson R. and John G. Miss Eva, the only daughter, is a school teacher, and loves her profession. She received her education from the public schools, graduating from the Kansas Normal, of Fort Scott. Her last school was taught in Missouri, in 1881. Her brother, Alpheus D., owns 160 acres in Crawford County.

E. J. CHAPIN, farmer, Section 14, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of New York, born September 6, 1841. When going to school, he had for a schoolmate H. L. King, and their fortunes through life seemed cast together. Mr. Chapin came West to Illinois, where he taught school in Whitehall from 1865 to 1868. His friend was with him here, but went to Pennsylvania. He was engaged in the commercial line, but in 1868 came West, met Mr. King, and made their plans to come to Kansas together, or rather for Jasper County, Mo., but changed their plans and went to Kansas, coming into Bourbon County, via Pleasant Hill, and Butler, footing it, having their money concealed on their persons, and stopping at Mr. Ely's house the first night spent in the State. Passing on, Mr. Chapin located on Section 29, but moved to his present home in 1873, where he has 160 acres, and reports good crops this year (1882). In 1873, he married Miss Davenport, a sister of Mr. McIntosh. They have three children--two boys and a girl. From 1877, up to the present time, he has been Assistant County Examiner of teachers, and has held other offices of minor importance.

A. E. CURRIER, M. D., and farmer, Section 30, P. O. Hammond, is a native of Bethany Center, Genesee Co., N. Y., born in 1832. Although born there, he was raised in Champaign County, and at the age of eighteen went to teaching, thus educating himself. In 1853, he commenced reading medicine under Dr. J. G. Miller, graduating from the American Medical College in 1856. At this time the political affairs of Kansas were being discussed, and he became much interested, which ultimately brought him to the State. After leaving college, he went to Illinois and practiced medicine. In 1862, he joined the famous One Hundred and Sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, but returned home in 1863 and resumed practice, till he resolved to quit the profession, and came West in 1867, bought a farm, and in November, 1868, moved into his present dwelling, and is now farming 640 acres in stock and grain. During the winter of 1881-82, he fed seventy head of cattle. His corn this season will average fifty bushels to an acre. In 1859, he married Miss Chase, of Illinois, daughter of John L. Chase. They have three children--one daughter and two sons.

T. M. GORDON, farmer, Section 32, P. O. Hammond, is a native of Syracuse, N. Y., and was born in 1814. When a young man he moved to Ohio, in the year that the cholera epidemic was devastating Eastern cities, and as he passed onward he found Buffalo and other places almost deserted. He settled in Lake County and went to farming, where he stayed until 1869, when he came to Kansas and bought his farm of Mr. Johnson. He has since improved and increased it, until now he has 320 acres, which is farmed in mixed farming, raising stock and grain. In 1839, he married Miss Ferguson; she died, and he married Miss Brown, of Ohio. They have had four boys and three girls--H. S. Gordon is a master mechanic at Dayton, Ohio; Alvin is an engineer on the railroad; Hiram B. is at home and Blake A. is a farmer; his eldest daughter, Mrs. Brinkerhoff is dead; his second daughter is now Mrs. DeMoisey, and the third, Belle, is at home. Mr. Gordon has held township and school offices, and has not had better crops than this year (1882). He also had a good crop in 1875.

MRS. EUNICE GUNSAULLAS, the relict of H. B. Gunsaullas, deceased, P. O. Barnesville. She is a native of New York, and was married to him May 20, 1847, in Indiana, her maiden name being Harris. Mr. Gunsaullas was born November 16, 1825, in Richland County, Ohio, and died in January, 1873. In boyhood, he was a nature that devoted himself to a variety of trades, having a genius for all, probably following shoemaking the longest, and after their marriage was employed in a saw mill, and came to Kansas in 1859, the family staying at Barnesville, until he could arrange for their convenience on the claim, locating in 1862, on Section 9, where he had 160 acres, until giving his son Levi eighty. During Mr. Gunsaullas' lifetime, he always took an active part in politics, representing several township offices, discharging the duties of such in a satisfactory manner. At his death, he left a family of five children--two sons, Frank, who runs the farm, and Levi, who is married; three daughters, Cornelia and Cordelia, who are teachers, having attended the Kansas Normal college, and Anna, who stays at home.

WILLIAM HINTON, farmer, Section 5, P. O. Fulton, is a native of Bullitt County, Ky., born in 1828. His father moved to Indiana in 1840. While here he was engaged in milling and river work at which he was employed until 1855, when he (William) came to Kansas, and located on Section 21, Freedom Township. This farm he entered in 1861. This was in accordance with the advice from his friend, S. Williams, who was in the United States Land Office in 1859. On this farm he remained until 1879, only leaving it to recruit his health, for which purpose he went to the mountains, returning vigorous and sound, but the symptoms of his old complaint returned, and his physician suggested a change of neighborhood, so he went to the farm where he is at present, in a beautiful situation. During the war, he, like his neighbors, was called out to defend their homes, acting as Commissary Sergeant. He has several narrow escapes from capture, staying in the fields or forest over night and visiting his family in the day time. But at the close of the war he returned to the ordinary manner of living. In 1859, he was Township Supervisor, and was Justice of the Peace for eight years. In 1868, was Representative, and has held minor offices since. He was married in 1853, but lost his first wife in 1856; he then married Mrs. Young, formerly Miss Smith, of Missouri. He has had seven children, two of whom are living. His crops for 1882 are good.

L. H. HODGES, farmer, Section 10, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of Sumner County, Tenn., born May 10, 1819. In his youth he was in his father's smithy, and as he grew older he gradually picked up the trade and worked at it. In 1847, they all moved to Kentucky, where they lived until 1850, when he went to Macon County, Mo. From there he came to Kansas in 1859, bringing two teams. Accompanying him was his brother Ephraim and Mr. Tom Clark and family. He camped on the banks of the Osage River until he got possession of his claim, which he bought of a man named Gunter, giving a team of horses and wagon for 160 acres, which has since increased to 320 acres. This is farmed in stock and grain. He keeps fifty head of cattle and some horses. His crops for 1882 were very fine, corn and oats turning out forty bushels to the acre. He has already entered into the new industry of raising Castor beans. During the war, he served in 1862 in the Home Guards, Sixth Kansas, and then was mustered out and joined the State Militia, and served until they were disbanded. He married Miss Lucinda Dixon, of Tennessee, who was born May 26, 1824, and they had the following children: Catherine; John, born in Tennessee; Mary E.; Benjamin, deceased; Robert R., deceased, born in Kentucky; Edmund P., James W., Thomas M. and Alex N., all deceased, born in Missouri; Louisa J., Sarah M., Alice A., deceased, and Frances J., Franklin J. and Asa, alive, were born in Kansas.

B. B. JORDAN, farmer, stock-grower and feeder, Section 15, P. O. Fort Scott, was born in Indiana in 1838. He was raised on a farm and received a collegiate education. Was engaged in the mercantile business in Indiana twelve years, then came to Fort Scott, Kan., in 1870. In the stock business, bought and shipped stock twelve years exclusively. In 1876, he bought 480 acres of land in Osage Township and began raising and feeding stock. He keeps on hand about 250 head of cattle and 400 hogs. He formerly kept about 2,000 sheep. Dropped sheep in 1881, because cattle and sheep could not be profitably raised together. His farm is composed mostly of raw land, which he is getting into blue grass and clover as fast as possible. He has about 180 acres in corn, the rest in clover and blue grass. The farm is divided up by hedge, wire and plank fences. He was married to Miss Mary J. Conway, of Indiana, in October, 1866. They have one son, Frank C., born in June, 1868, who is now at the Normal School of Fort Scott.

WILLIAM JORDAN, farmer, Section 12, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of Breckinridge County, Ky., born in 1820. His father had moved to this State in 1800, remaining until 1827, when he moved to Indiana. They lived in this State until 1866, and Mr. Jourdan (sic) grew to manhood, getting the rudiments of an education from the common schools of the neighborhood, and giving his attention to farming afterward. He was a member of the Home Guards during the rebellion, and when twenty-four years of age he married a Miss Mack, who lived to come to Kansas with him in 1866, and after the privations and labor of establishing her husband and family, quietly passed away in 1877. Mr. Jordan bought his farm of John McNeil, it being one of the first farms opened in this township, on which many scenes of border ruffianism was (sic) enacted. He built a good residence on the place in 1873, and otherwise improved it. He has five married daughters--Mrs. Johnson is keeping house for him, besides there are Mrs. Coffman, Mrs. Renshaw, Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Kessinger. Mr. Jordan has held offices of trust for the township.

H. L. KING, farmer, Section 23, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of New York, born September 4, 1841, making a difference of two days in the ages of himself and his friend, Mr. Chapin. Mr. King, after finishing his schooling, went into the schoolroom as a teacher, but afterward went into the commercial line, and when he went to Illinois entered a mercantile establishment in Whitehall, going from there to Pennsylvania. But in 1868 he came back to Illinois and married Miss Doud, and then came West, intending to go to Jasper County, Mo., but coming to Kansas they tramped through the State from the north, coming into Bourbon County, and Mr. King located on his present farm, where he has his life's friend with him on the adjoining farm. He has a farm of ninety acres, and reports the best crops this year. His corn will go fifty bushels to an acre. He was Township Trustee in 1876-77, and has held other offices. His family consists of one son and one daughter.

WILLIAM LOUNSBURY, farmer, Section 19, P. O. Fulton, is a native of Westmoreland County, N. B. and was born in 1818. His father took the family to Maine when he was about eight years of age. Here they remained while William was growing man's estate, surrounded by scenes which make up the experience of of the Maine lumberman. At the age of twenty-one, he removed to Albert County, N. B. While here he was engaged in lumbering and rafting. April 22, 1841, he married Miss Hopper, both of them from the same parish, Elgin. In 1852, they moved West to Green County, Wis., locating on Sugar River, coming to Kansas in 1859, and located on Section 19, taking 160 acres. His first crop was a failure, his cattle died with the Texas fever, but in 1861 he had a good crop. When the war broke out he was appointed Captain of Company I, Sixth Kansas Militia, and acted under orders from Mound City until 1864, when he moved with fifteen men to Barnesville and received supplies from Fort Scott. In 1864, after Price's raid, the militia returned to their homes. Mr. Lounsbury and wife had twelve children, nine of whom are alive--Nehemiah, Isaiah and William H., deceased; James, Michael, George, Benjamin F., Thomas G., Andrew J., Amanda, now Mrs. Blake, Grace, now Mrs. Hazlett, and Almira J.

J. A. McDONALD, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 31, P. O. Fort Scott, is a native of Ohio, born in 1839, and raised on a farm and cattle ranch. He came West to Kansas with the intention of going into the stock business and came to Bourbon County in 1880, buying a farm. He had about sixty acres fenced. He now has 1,840 acres, all in good fence. He has three pastures, in which his cattle graze at different times of the year, containing 1,040 acres. His pastures will graze 400 head of cattle well. He also raises corn, and cuts hay enough on his ranch to winter 400 cattle (half corn fed) and turn them off for beef each year in July and August. Mr. McDonald has taken but two years in doing all this, which any man can do in the same time in this State. In 1859, he married in Ohio and has a family of seven children.

JOHN McNEIL, farmer, Section 4, P. O. Fulton, is a native of Miami County, Ohio, born in February, 1812. His ancestors run back among the patriots of America. His father was one of Hull's army at the time of his unfortunate surrender to the British. Mr. McNeil remained at home on his father's farm until he was twenty-one years of age, then he married Miss Elizabeth Ried, in December, 1833, and moved to Champaign County where he made a farm. In 1837 we find him in Park County, Ind., clearing and improving. Having then made the place, he sold and moved to Vermillion County, Ind., then across the line to Vermillion County, Ill. Here he made another farm, then going to Mason County he started another farm. From there he intended going to Jasper County, Mo., and had his effects shipped to Jefferson City, but came on to Bourbon County, Kan., and put his tent on the banks of the Osage River. He then located on Section 12 until 1866. He then moved onto this farm, but rented this and went to Section 36, where after living five years he came back and is now engaged in mixed farming, stock and grain. During the war of 1861 to 1865, he was between the two armies, and for two years slept in the fields or timber. At one time he was captured by bushwhackers, and was taken out to be killed three different times, escaped. He had three sons in the service. His first wife died; was married the second time to Miss Maria A. Ross. He had in all seventeen children, thirteen now alive and living in this county. Mr. McNeil is a member of the Masonic fraternity.

MELVIN MANNING, farmer, Section 1, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of Edgar County, Ill., born November 17, 1836. He was raised on the farm, and in 1861 he enlisted in the Twenty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company D, and served three years and three months. During that time he was wounded thrice, the first time at the battle of Pea Ridge; he had his leg broken; and at the battle of Mission Ridge he was wounded and confined to the hospital for sixteen weeks. Being mustered out he returned to the farm, and in 1866 came to Kansas and bought of Peter Orr a farm in Section 1, but not liking the society as it existed he went to Fort Scott and tried teaming, hauling goods for C. Morely from Pleasant Hill and Kansas City to Fort Scott. In the winter of 1866, he went back to Edgar County, Ill., and there he married Mrs. Price. He lived there until 1873, when he returned to his farm here, and has always been successful in raising good crops of corn, wheat and oats and some stock. They have but one daughter, Ida Belle, having lost a son, Mattison Brady. Watson, her son, is living with them.

JOHN W. MARTIN, farmer, Section 29, P. O. Fulton, is a native of Virginia, and was born in 1851. His father, Melker J. Martin, is one of the pioneers of the county, coming to Kansas in 1858, and, on account of the border warfare, moved back East again; but they all returned to Bourbon County in 1859, and located on Section 29, taking 160 acres. During the war, his father was in the State militia, as was a brother. John W. now carries on the farm. This year he reports heavy crops, experimenting in broom corn and flax, both of which have yielded well. In 1878, he married Miss Morehead, who is, or was, a member of a pioneer family of this township. They have one child. In 1864 their buildings were all burned, so they have rebuilt and placed fine improvements on the place.

FRANK MESSINGER, general merchant, Barnesville, is a native of Pennsylvania. His father, John, came from Illinois to Kansas in 1860. He was a native of Perry County, Penn., and was born in 1819. After coming to Bourbon County, he went to farming on Section 20. On the breaking out of the war his father entered the State militia, and was stationed at Barnesville, in Capt. Lousberry's (sic) company. In 1864, there were some twenty-seven bushwhackers attacked two men, William Nugent and William Beckford, in their cabin, but were put to flight by their determined resistance. This Mr. Nugent was afterward a partner in the store. In 1865, Mr. Messinger sold his farm and moved to Barnesville, and opened a store. The firm was then Nickerson & Messinger, having a stock of $800 or $900 worth, and the store room was only 20x16. In 1866, William Nugent bought into the firm, but in 1867 we find that the firm was simply John Messinger, and in 1871 he turned the business over to his son, the present proprietor, who is doing a business of some $30,000 per annum. In 1871, Frank married Miss Stevens. They have four children, three boys and a girl. The old family consists of Frank, J. J., Sarah, now Mrs. S. Morrill, and Emma, now Mrs. E. Morrill.

NATHANIEL OATES, farmer, Section 27, P. O. Barnesville, is a native of Virginia, born in the Shenandoah Valley in 1824. He spent twenty years of his boyhood on the farm, and two years later went to Hardy County, where he learned the trade of riflemaker, at which he worked until 1857. In the meantime he had married a Miss McQuade. On leaving Virginia he moved to Vernon County, Mo., where he went to farming. In this vocation, he changed his location to Bourbon County, Kan., taking the farm on Section 20, Osage Township, where he remained until after the war. During the years of the rebellion, he was First Lieutenant in Company I, Sixth Kansas State Militia and was called out at several times. In 1864, when Gen. Price raided into the State, his company and regiment were ordered out and marched to Hickman Mills, Mo. At this time the company was under his command. From there they went to Kansas City, and afterward participated in the battles of Westport. As the regiment marched down the State line the soldiers returned to their farms and citizen's life. In March, 1865, he moved to his farm on Section 27, taking 160 acres, which being on the New York Indian reservation, he bought the farm of the Government in 1875. The soil is rich and deep and well watered, returning bountiful crops this year of 1882. They have three children, a daughter, now Mrs. Roy, and two sons. Mr. Oates has held offices of trust in his township, and for four years was Justice of the Peace.

HENRY TODD, farmer, Section 35, P. O. Fort Scott, is a native of Durham, Cumberland Co., England, and was born January 12, 1833. He was raised to work in the coal mines, where the Queen's mandate found him. Being under ten years of age, he was compelled to quit, but went back and worked again as soon as old enough. In following mining he worked in North England and in the iron mines of Scotland. His father had preceded him to America, so he started in 1855, and on arriving went to work in Massillon County, Ohio, where he lost what money he had, and was then appointed Superintendent of the mines. In 1865, he came to Kansas, and located on Section 5, Scott Township, where he created quite a name as a potato raiser, but he finally moved to his present farm, where he farms in grain and stock. His corn this year (1882) averages sixty bushels to the acre. He has 320 acres now, and is satisfied that Kansas is equalled by no country in the world. His father died in 1868. Mr. Todd has been married twice. In 1857, he married Miss Emerson, of Guernsey County, Ohio, and the last time in 1874, to Miss McIntosh. They have a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. His oldest son is now in the general merchandise business in Colorado and is doing well.

[TOC] [part 22] [part 20] [Cutler's History]