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


[TOC] [part 7] [part 5] [Cutler's History]



The town of Fort Scott was incorporated by the Legislature of 1865. A Board of Trustees was formed, consisting of six members, as follows: H. S. Wilson, A. Hornbeck, Thomas Dodge, R. G. Roberts, F. Denint and Thomas B. Arnett. This act of incorporation was under and in accordance with the "Bogus Laws" of that date and consequently was ineffectual in law.

The regular and legal incorporation of the town was effected on the 27th of February, 1860. Col. Judson was elected Mayor; H. T. Wilson was President of the Board of Councilmen and Joseph Ray was Councilman. Judson, however, declined to serve, and Joseph Ray became Acting Mayor. In 1861, Joseph Ray was elected Mayor, William Gallaher City Clerk, and John S. Miller Recorder. The place was incorporated as comprising the following described tract of land: The whole of the southwest quarter, the west half of the southeast quarter, the southwest fourth of the northeast quarter, the southeast fourth of the northeast quarter of Section 20, Town 25, Range 25, and including an area of 220 acres.

The following is a list of Mayors of Fort Scott, with dates of office:

1860, Col. Judson, resigned, Joseph Ray Acting Mayor;
1861, Joseph Ray;
1862, J. S. Miller;
1863, G. A. Reynolds;
1864, G. Dimon;
1865, Isaac Stadden;
1866, G. Dimon;
1867, John McDonald;
1868, C. F. Drake;
1869, B. P. McDonald, also 1870;
1871, F. R. Boyle, and also 1872;
1873, J. G. Stewart;
1874, J. M. Terry;
1875, C. W. Goodlander, also 1876;
1877, John A. Bryant;
1878, M. Cohen. 


The Fort Scott post office was the second one established in Kansas, and took place March 3, 1843, John A. Bugg holding the commission as Postmaster. The establishment of the office was made for the military post then located here and was kept in the Government buildings. H. T. Wilson was appointed Postmaster February 26, 1849, and the office was kept in his store-room. A change of place in which it was kept made with the change of Postmasters, having been kept at various times in store-rooms, the Hospital building, Town Company's building, Fort Scott Hotel, Land Office, etc. It finally became fixed in the present building which stands on the east point of Market Square.

The office arrangement at first was exceedingly crude, consisting of a small goods box divided off into pigeon holes, and furnished with two folding doors, so that valuables might be deposited inside and the wooden doors securely locked. In 1857, the revenues of the office amounted to $8; in 1866, they were more than $1,500; in 1875, $11,500; in 1878, $200,000, and have largely increased regularly since that time.

It was made a money order office in February, 1866, and the first order was issued on February 5th of that year. In 1857, the mail was obtained by means of the stage route from Jefferson City, Mo., a tri-weekly horseback route from Lecompton, also a horseback weekly mail from Westpoint, Montivallo and Sarcoxie, Mo., and from Crawford Seminary, now Baxter Springs, Osage Mission, Coffachiqui, now called Humboldt. The mail is now obtained over the various railroad lines entering the city from all directions, and the office is one of considerable importance. The following is a list of the Postmasters, from the first appointment to the present incumbent, together with the dates of appointment:

John A. Bugg, March 3, 1843;
H. T. Wilson, February 26, 1849;
J. J. Farley, January 28, 1856;
T. H. Casey, July 18, 1857;
W. Gallagher, August 20, 1857;
David Manlove, May 3, 1861;
S. A. Manlove, January 20, 1864;
C. W. Blair, March 2, 1867;
J. A. Tomlinson, April 16, 1869;
J. B. Campbell, March 30, 1871;
T. F. Robley, February 26, 1875. He was re-appointed February 27, 1879, and is still in office.


The early school advantages of Fort Scott were such as were afforded under the district organizations. A private school was taught in 1857, and, during the next summer Mrs. C. H. Haynes taught a school which was kept in the old hospital building. Up to 1860, the school population of the city was about 300. In 1863, the attendance was 248, and in 1864, it was only 210. Prior to 1863 the city was without any regular house for school purposes. The ladies, seeing the necessity of the matter, took steps toward some improvement in this direction. Accordingly, a petition signed by Mrs. Jane Smith and thirty-three other ladies, was laid before the City Council, asking them to take steps toward the erection of a suitable school building. The matter was referred to a committee, who reported that the city had no jurisdiction of the matter and it was consequently dropped. In the summer of 1863, a City Hall was built, which served for hall, church and school purposes, etc. The School Board in 1869, purchased Block 158, and in the next year erected the Central School Building. It is a large three-story brick building, containing twelve rooms, and cost about $60,000. In 1872, the "East Side" school building was erected at a cost of about $12,000; it was subsequently destroyed by fire, and was replaced in 1880, by a two-story brick schoolhouse containing four rooms, and which was erected at a cost of $6,000.

The school population of the city in 1869 was 520. A school was established for the colored children, and the hospital building was purchased and fitted up for this purpose. A missionary was sent by the Freedman's Home Mission to take charge. The school now comprises four departments. The last school census shows the school population of the city to be 2,300; the enrollment, 1,500; and the average attendance, 1,100.

The schools are thoroughly graded, and include in their course, geometry, the natural sciences, etc., such as are usually taught in the best graded schools of the cities. The management of the schools are under Prof. B. Hudson, as Superintendent, and nineteen teachers, and are thoroughly efficient and ably sustained.

The Kansas Normal College was established at Fort Scott in 1878, by Prof. I. C. Scott, assisted by Prof. D. E. Sanders. The design of the institution is to meet the wants of such persons who desire a practical preparation for the demands of life in the shortest time, and at the least possible expense, consistent with a thorough and systematic knowledge of the various and more practical branches of education. The school was first kept in the Congregational Church, and consisted of about sixty students, under the instruction of two teachers.

There is now an attendance of 200 students, under a corps of seven teachers, as follows: D. E. Sanders, Principal and Professor of Greek, Natural Sciences, General History and Methods of Teaching; Charles Vickery, Professor of Elocution and Rhetoric; Ella Wickersham, Professor of Latin; William Stryker, Professor of Algebra; E. H. Robbins, Professor of Penmanship and Drawing; E. C. Merris, Professor of Vocal Music; W. J. Bauer, Professor of German.

There are eight courses of study, namely, the Preparatory, Teacher's Scientific, Special Scientific, Classic, Engineering, Musical and Business.

The college building was erected in 1880, and is a tastefully constructed two-story brick building, costing about $6,000. The building contains seven large recitation rooms and other apartments as are necessary in institutions of learning. Contributions were received from the citizens of Fort Scott toward the erection of the building. A two-story frame boarding hall for the accommodation of students was erected in 1881. The terms are exceedingly low and easy, thus placing the advantages within reach of persons of limited means. Among the attendance are students of both sexes from various of the States and Territories. Judging from the rapidity with which the school has acquired popularity and increased attendance, and the ability and enterprise of those who having it in charge, this appears destined to become one among the foremost of the normal educational institutions of the land.

In the midst of the tragic and thrilling incidents of disaster and death with which the early history of Fort Scott is fraught, the Gospel minister, armed with the buckler and shield of the Holy Religion, faced undismayed the glitter of the saber's edge, and proclaimed to the inhabitants in strife, the words of Heaven's King, "Peace on earth, good will among men." At an early period in the city's existence, congregations were formed as soon as the numbers of any particular faith allowed.

The First Presbyterian Church was the first Christian organization that was effected in the city. In the beginning, the congregation was extremely small, having been organized in the summer of 1859, by Rev. Mr. Rankin, of Buffalo, N. Y., with a membership of only three persons; these were Mr. John Calkins, Mrs. Emiline McDonald and Mrs. Jane Smith. For some time Mr. Rankin preached in hopefulness to this little flock, and after him, the work was taken up by Rev. Mr. Mitchell, who remained with the charge until 1861, holding services once in two weeks.

The church was then without a minister for some time, until the Board of Home Missions sent Rev. A. Warner to take the charge, who continued to hold meetings at this place, monthly for about two years, and was succeeded in 1865, by Rev. George Irwin, who remained about three years, when Rev. T. Y. Gardner accepted a call and continued pastor up to 1871. In January, 1872, Rev. W. C. Porter accepted the call of the people, with whom he has since remained. The present membership of the congregation is 100.

The first trustees of the church were: G. A. Crawford, W. R. Judson, H. T. Wilson, J. S. Redfield, S. A. Williams and A. McDonald.

The early services of the congregation were held in the hospital building. The Fort Scott Town Company deeded to the trustees two lots upon which to build a church house, April 1, 1861. The erection of the building began in April, 1864, and was completed in September of the next year. Rev. George Irwin preached the first sermon in the new house, November 26, 1865, and dedicated the house December 3.

St. Andrews Episcopal Church was partially organized in 1859, by G. J. Clark, Gen. Blair and C. H. Haynes. Later in the fall of that year, the perfecting of the organization took place under the superintendence of Rev. Charles Reynolds, D. D., of Lawrence. Gov. Ransom was made Senior Warden; C. H. Haynes, Junior Warden; G. A. Crawford, C. W. Blair, A. McDonald, G. J. Clark, and W. T. Campbell, Vestrymen. Rev. Mr. Reynolds, as Post Chaplain United States Army, came to the parish through the instrumentality of Gen. Blair.

The first services were held in the Government building, used for a hospital at the time. Afterward services were conducted on Sundays in a building used during the week for a theatre, and later in the City Hall, until the church building was erected.

Soon after the congregation was organized, a committee was appointed by the vestry, for the purpose of completing arrangements for the erection of a church. Two lots were donated by the Town Company, and a few of the ladies, headed by Mrs. C. H. Haynes, solicited contributions. In this way enough money was raised to erect the walls of the house and almost pay for roofing it. The breaking out of hostilities between the North and South suspended further work upon the building, as also parish services. The building, in an unfinished state, was rented to the Government as an arsenal, for which the officers in command of the post agreed to floor the building and put in the doors and windows, which they did after a fashion, without reference to elegance or taste.

On the 21st of October, 1866, after hostilities were ended, Rev. J. M. Kendrick took charge of the parish as the first rector. The building was improved and seated with pews, the chancel arranged, and a cabinet organ was donated by the ladies of the congregation. In 1869, still further improvements were added to the house. The chancel was carpeted and a communion set purchased. In 1872, the entire audience room was carpeted; gas fixtures and a font, donated by the Sunday-school, were put in, and the building underwent some internal improvement. A parsonage building was completed in the spring of 1870, costing $2,110. A part of the money for this purpose was obtained from the sale of lots of the eastern part of the city, and the balance was raised by the Ladies' Sewing Society. Shortly afterward, the entire church grounds were enclosed with a neat picket fence.

This was the second church building erected in the city, and is a large stone structure, having a capacity for seating about two hundred and fifty persons. The congregation at present has a membership of forty-five, under charge of Rev. B. Hartley, pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal Congregation was established in 1865. Earlier services, however, had been held by this denomination. During the war, the Methodist Army Chaplains held occasional services at Fort Scott, as they passed through the place, or being regularly stationed at the post. After the close of the war, Rev. S. Brooks was sent to the charge, under whose administration it became organized. Rev. C. R. Rice was stationed here in the spring of 1866, and in following spring was succeeded by Rev. John Paulson. After a continued service of about three years, Mr. Paulson was called to become presiding elder, in place of Rev. J. D. Knox, who resigned on account of failing health, and the vacancy was filled by Rev. J. P. Dimmitt. The first services by the regular church body were conducted in the court house. In 1869, a church building was erected, under the administration of Rev. Mr. Paulson, and was dedicated the same year by Rev. A. B. Leonard, of Leavenworth, and was the third church built in the city. The erection of a new church edifice began in 1880, which was completed and dedicated in November of that year. It is a fine, large, one-story brick building, with a capacity for comfortably seating 600 persons; 400 in the auditorium and 200 in the gallery. The parsonage building was erected in 1871, when Rev. Allen Buckner was stationed here.

Some indebtedness had accumulated upon the congregation from the erection of the church and parsonage, but which, as early as 1877, had been fully defrayed. The present membership is about one hundred and seventy-five, and Rev. R. H. Sparks is pastor in charge.

The Catholic Church of Fort Scott dates from 1860. During this time efforts were made by Rev. J. Schoenmakers, Rev. P. M. Ponziglione, Rev. J. Van Gach, Jesuit Fathers from Osage Mission, to establish the church, and the first priest in charge was Rev. J. F. Cunningham, who was succeeded by Father Bononcini.

About thirteen acres of land came into the possession of the church. Five acres on the edge of the city limits were donated by the Town Company, and five acres outside of the city limits, adjoining this tract were donated by W. Gallagher, from whom three more acres more were purchased at a nominal price by Father Schoenmakers, and upon which is an excellent stone quarry from which the material for the stone work of the building was taken. A church was built in 1864, under the direction of Father Bononcini and O'Donnell, a lay brother. Alongside of the church a building was erected for a school.

The building of a new church began in 1870, and was completed in 1872. The house was dedicated June 16, 1872, by Rev. Bishop Fink, and Father Phelen, of St. Louis, preached the dedicatory sermon. The church is in a flourishing condition, as also the school, which is liberally supported.

The First Congregational Church was organized on Sunday, February 28, 1869, with twelve members. Previous to this date there had been services conducted here by preachers of this faith, at times, since 1866. The organization was effected by a council of the Congregational Churches of Lawrence, Paola, Oswego, Geneva, Mound City, and Osawatomie, and Rev. J. C. Plumb was ordained pastor. The Trustees were chosen January 12, 1869, with instructions to procure a charter for the church body.

The early services of the congregation were held in the Presbyterian Church, then in the City Hall, and in McDonald's Hall, where they continued until January, 1870, at which time they were held in the old seminary building. Two lots on the corner of Jones and Orange streets were procured in August, 1870, and a church building begun. The house was so far completed as to permit services to be conducted in the lecture room, in February, 1871, and soon following the building was completed and dedicated, August 20, 1871. The building was destroyed by fire March 14, 1872. A meeting of the trustees was held the next day and it was decided to ask for assistance for the erection of a temporary house of worship. The response was prompt, general and liberal. By the close of the same day the lumber was on the ground and with a force of between forty and fifty carpenters, whose services were donated, the building was ready for services on the following Sunday. No time was suffered to pass until efforts were put forth toward the erection of a permanent house of worship. So successful was the attempt, that a new church was built and dedicated in February, 1874. The house is a substantial brick structure, of neat and attractive appearance.

The Christian Church was formed in the fall of 1871, by the Rev. Dr. Franklin, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Franklin had come on the solicitation of a few parties for the special purpose of organizing the congregation. With the first organization there were only about ten of a membership which has since increased to fifty. Soon after the formation of the church body, Rev. R. E. Swartz was employed as the regular pastor, and was succeeded by Rev. M. N. Parker, who in time was succeeded by Rev. B. H. Smith, the present pastor.

There were services by this denomination at the place, prior to the rebellion, and an organization was effected at that time, but the commotion engendered by the civil strife had the effect to entirely break up the congregation. Following this no services were held here by this denomination until in 1871, at which time the re-organization took place.

The first services were held in McDonald's Hall and then in the court house, until the erection of a church edifice. The church building was erected in the fall of 1882, and is a neat frame structure of the Swiss gothic style of architecture. The house is thirty-five feet wide by sixty in length, and has a capacity for seating 400 persons. The building was erected at a cost of $3,500.

The First Baptist Church of Fort Scott was organized February 18, 1866. This formation, however, was not in accordance with statute made for the regulation of such bodies, as was afterward discovered. For some time the church body continued to transact business in this imperfect state, a deed of the lots for church purposes was made to the trustees, October 10, 1866. Subsequently the defect in the organization was discovered, which showed all acts and proceedings of the church to be illegal, for want of conformity to the laws of the State. To remedy the matter and to maintain the rights of the body, an act was passed by the Legislature, approved March 2, 1869, by which all acts and proceedings of the church were legalized, and declared it re-organized December 15, 1868, in accordance with the charter filed with the Secretary of State, without surrendering any of its corporate rights or the relinquishment or abandonment of any of its property, real or personal. The deed made by the Town Company to the trustees, October 10, 1866, was legalized and made to vest perfect title to the property conveyed, to the First Baptist Church, as the legal grantee. The first Deacons were David Gardner and N. C. Hood and J. Harris, pastor. The first services were conducted in the old stone school house for about a year, and after the completion of the court house, were conducted in that building. The church building was erected in 1870, at a cost of about $10,000, and is a commodious stone structure, having a capacity for seating 600 persons. After the erection of the church, the congregation was burdened with a debt of about $5,000, which was mostly in the hands of the church edifice fund of the denomination, and at low rates of interest. The following is a list of the pastors of the church since its organization, namely: J. Harris, J. R. Baldwin, J. C. Post, Rev. Moon, Charles Whiting, G. W. Greene, J. M. Garrison, A. M. Averill and E. Gunn, who resigned the charge in September, 1882, since when the church has remained without a regular pastor. The present membership of the congregation is 150.

The Wesleyan Methodists have an organization of which Rev. Mr. Fisk is now pastor. The church building, a small stone, was erected in 1878.

There are also three church organizations among the colored people of the city. These are the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First African Baptist Church and the Second African Baptist. Each of these is supplied by a comfortable church edifice.


About one and a half miles from the heart of the city is the National Burying Ground,

     Where sleep the brave,
     In soil their blood made free.
These grounds were established as a cemetery by the Government, November 15, 1862. It is rectangular in shape, 924 feet long extending east and west, and 478 feet wide, north and south, and comprises a little over ten acres. A part of the ground was donated by the city, a part by the Presbyterian Church body which they had secured for cemetery grounds. The rest was purchased by the government for which they paid $75. The whole is enclosed by a neat and solid stone wall, through which entrance is made by means of iron folding gates swinging from stone pillars, at either end of the cemetery. The surface of the ground is a graceful slope. The crest of the slope is at the east end and for a short distance the descent is extremely light, but soon becomes of greater fall, extending about half the length of the grounds, and again becomes more mild reaching to the other extremity of the place. The main entrance is in the center of the west wall at the foot of the grade. A wide driveway passes up the gentle slope in the center of the cemetery, and at about half length of the grounds divides, branching to either side around the more abrupt slope to the summit, enclosing a heart shaped plat, tastefully ornamented with shade trees. At regular intervals upon the margins of this plat four mounted cannon are stationed to guard, as it were, these holy and sacred precincts. Upon the summit of the grade, at the east end of the grounds, and near one corner, is the tasty two-story brick residence of the Superintendent, back of which in the corner are the stable and outhouses, which are shut in by a neatly trimmed Osage orange hedge, extending from the corner of the residence building to the outer wall of the cemetery. Farther along from these buildings and toward the other corner of the grounds and also upon the crest, is the speaker's platform, which was erected in the fall of 1882. This rostrum is 37 feet long by 22 feet wide and of handsome design. A brick wall of these dimensions is built, with paneled sides, to the height of five feet. The enclosure is filled with dirt to the top of the wall and covered with blue grass sod, which constitutes the floor of the platform. Four brick pillars, 12 feet high, are built upon the side walls, and upon these pillars rests a heavy frame of carpenter work, tastefully ornamented with moulding and other artistic mechanism. Upon this frame rests a row of cross ties over which is a festoon of clambering vines. The platform is approached by stone steps of full width at both ends of the rostrum. On each side of the structure is an iron railing extending from the foot of the steps at one end, along the side of the rostrum and to the front of the steps at the other end. Immediately upon the brow of the crest at about equal angular distances from the residence building and the rostrum, rising out of a large, grass covered mound, is the tall flag staff, upon the summit of which the national emblem mournfully keeps untiring watch over the resting place of its defenders. At the other end of the cemetery and about half its length, separated by the central driveway and surrounded by a driveway on the remaining three sides, are the two rectangular plats or panels occupied by the interments. These plats of equal length are of even and moderate grade. Here, side by side, in rank and file, just like as in solid phalanx they marched, the veterans lie buried.

The surface of these plats is smooth and even, with no perceptible marks of the graves except the little block of marble standing at the head of each. The entire grounds excepting the drives, is covered with a blue grass sod, and the whole is underdrained with tiling, by which the surface is always kept dry. The enclosure is also adorned with a profusion of artistically arranged shade trees, while the burying plats are embellished with numerous evergreens, through whose dark green foliage may be seen the ghostlike whiteness of the marble blocks, giving the whole a weird-like and mournful appearance. There are 557 interments in the cemetery, about 100 of whom are unknown. At different places among the graves are verses of poetry appropriate to the place, printed in enduring letters, on tables such as,

"Your own proud land's soil Must be your fitter grave She claims from war his richest spoil-- The ashes of the brave."
"On fame's eternal camping ground Their silent tents are spread, And glory guards with solemn round The bivouac of the dead."
and so on.

The cemetery is reached from the city by a magnificent macadamized drive, alongside of which is a walk, and on either side of both a row of trees. This improvement was made during the year of 1882, at a cost of about $18,000. The cemetery is under the superintendence of Capt. J. A. Commerford who served in the war of the rebellion as Captain of the Third Massachusetts Cavalry, Company B. His appointment as superintendent of the cemetery was made April 15, 1881.

Besides this national burying ground, there are three other cemeteries belonging to the people of Fort Scott. These are the Evergreen Cemetery, situated one and a half miles south of the city; the Hebrew Cemetery, near the same place, and the Catholic Cemetery two miles west of the city.

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