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


[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]


THOMAS G. WAGSTAFF, dealer in agricultural implements, became a resident of Hiawatha in the fall of 1870. He established the above business and is now the oldest agricultural implement dealer in the county. He does a large and remunerative business, employing two men to travel through the country for the sale of farm machinery. He was born in Ireland July 10, 1835, immigrated to the United States in 1849, his destination western Pennsylvania. Here he learned the trade of wagon-making and in 1855 removed to Monmouth, Ill., where for a time he was employed in extensive farm machinery manufactories. He afterwards ran a large wagon shop for himself there previous to coming to Kansas. Mr. Wagstaff was married in 1858 to Miss Martha P. Travers, who was a graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Chicago in 1875. She has since been devoted to the practice of her profession at Hiawatha and is a member of the State Medical Society of Kansas. She is an active member and worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

LIEUT. HARLOW M. WALLER, contractor and builder, was born May 18, 1836, in Crawford County, Ohio, removed to Washington County, Wis., while it was yet a Territory, with his parents, C. B. and Nancy Waller, who were there engaged in agricultural pursuits. In the fall of 1861 he entered the army as Sergeant of Company D. Twelfth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. In May, 1862, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and as such served in all the principal engagements of his regiment until September, 1864. Returning to Washington County, Wis., Mr. Waller worked at his trade, which was that of carpenter, which he had previously learned, and in spring of 1866 moved to Fond du Lac County, Wis.; the spring of 1869 came to Kansas, worked at his trade in Hiawatha for one year, then accepted the position of baggage master of the St. Joe & Western R. R., afterward becoming conductor. He afterwards ran a train on the A. T. & Santa Fe and the A. N. Division, and held various responsible positions on the railroads until the spring of 1875, when he returned to Hiawatha, which has since been his sphere of action, and has erected some of the most prominent buildings in Brown County. Mr. Waller served as one of the City Council of Hiawatha in 1881. He is an Odd Fellow and District Deputy G. M. of Hiawatha district, both in Hiawatha Lodge No. 83 and encampment No. 33, being a charter member of the last named institution. He has been married twice. To his first wife, Miss Henrietta Newcomb, of Massachusetts, he was united in 1857, who died in 1875. His present wife was Mr. Almyra Anderson, of Hiawatha, whom he married in 1878.

SILAS F. WALTERS, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 13, P. O. Hiawatha, was born in Richland County, Ohio, November 23, 1845. Here he attended school, and worked on a farm with his father until the spring of 1865, when he immigrated to Kansas. During his residence in Brown County Mr. Walters has improved several farms, and finally, in 1880, moved on to his present farm, which contains 320 acres, all under fence and finely cultivated. Has also largely engaged in stock raising, and at this writing has on hand fifty head of graded cattle in addition to a great deal of small stock. He was married in 1870 to Miss Lucy Dowell, who was born and reared in Logan County, Ohio, and is a sister of John A. Dowell, who came to Kansas in 1857. Their family consists of five children, Banner, Clark, Franklin, Earl and Gracie.

CAPT. ALFRED WALTERS, deceased, was born in Richland County, Ohio, November 19, 1831. In early life he learned the trade of blacksmith, and in 1855 was married to Miss Ann Eliza Bowers. During the spring following they removed to Holt County, Mo., and here Mr. Walters was extensively engaged in the manufacture of wagons, also at blacksmithing. At the breaking out of the Rebellion, in 1861, he recruited Company F of the Fourth Regiment Missouri State Militia, and upon its organization was chosen Captain. He was assigned to State duty under Major-General Pleasanton, serving until the close of the war. During this career he was always brave and unflinching in his duty, winning great approbation, and was several times called to the front. During this time his family remained in Missouri, suffering many inconveniences, and very frequently abuse, from the Confederates. At the close of the war the Captain returned home, but his health had been impaired through exposure during the service. In 1869 came to Kansas, locating on the place where the family still reside, purchased some wild prairie land, and by perseverance and industry, converted it into a thrifty, profitable farm. The improvements are extensive and substantial and the farm of 160 acres in now operated by his sons. Capt. Walters served two terms as County Commissioner of Brown County, and also held other positions of trust, always taking a prominent part in the varied interests of town and county. He was an earnest worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Hiawatha, to which society his family also belong; was also a member of the Masonic fraternity, Hiawatha Lodge No. 35. He was a man of strong influence and cheerful disposition, and during life was surrounded by a host of earnest and sincere friends, who, with his family, deeply mourn his death, which occurred October 4, 1876. His wife and eight children survive him. The names of the latter are as follows: Loren B., Frank M., Charles L., John M., Ward B., Samuel M., Harry K. and Ada May.

WILLIAM WALTERS, farmer, Section 35, P. O. Hiawatha, is a native of Richland County, Ohio, where he was born April 14, 1837, and also reared, he receiving a common school education. In 1861 he entered the Union Army as a volunteer with the Sixty-fourth Ohio Infantry in Sherman's Brigade. After serving a little more than two years his health became impaired through exposure during Government service, and from this he has never fully recovered. Was then discharged and returned to his home in Ohio. After partially recovering from indisposition he resumed the occupation of farming, and in 1863 was married to Miss Mary E. Young, of his own State. During the fall of 1865 he came to Kansas, and for three years lived on his brother Alfred’s place, Section 28, Hiawatha Township. At the end of that time removed to his present home, where he owns 160 acres of land, which he has cultivated and improved from unbroken prairie. There are thirty-five acres of native timber utilized for stock pasture, and his farm is well supplied with living springs. Fruit he raises in abundance of many different kinds from an ample orchard of his own planting, and of which he has made a decided success. Mr. Walters is connected with the Odd Fellows Society in Hiawatha Lodge No. 83, and has served on the Board of Education, of his township for a number of terms. His family consists of three children - —Annie Gay, Burton G., and Leon L.

BENJAMIN WATKINS, proprietor of the “Willow Grove Farm,” Section 26, P. O. Hiawatha, came to Kansas during the spring of 1858, and pre-empted 160 acres of land. He was the first settler on the prairie between Hiawatha and Walnut Creek, and has resided on the same farm ever since, which he has improved until he now has one of the finest places in the county. He has a fine grove of forest trees of his own planting, also a fine orchard containing 250 choice fruit trees, all bearing, and his farm is surrounded by a beautiful hedge fence. Mr. W. was born in Logan County, Ohio, January 16, 1826, and was married in Indiana in 1859 to Miss Emily Evens. They have three children, viz.: Delpha M., Rachael C., and Grant C. Mr. W. belongs to the Masonic Society, and is a charter member of Hiawatha Lodge No. 35, and Mount Horeb Chapter No. 43; is also connected with Hiawatha Commandery No. 13.

WILLIAM M. WELCOME, County Treasurer of Brown County, is a native of Maine, born November 19, 1838, in Franklin County. While but a lad removed with his parents to Wisconsin, and lived first in Waushara County but afterwards removed to Green Lake County. Was employed at farming and lumbering, and in 1863 became a soldier of the Rebellion, enlisting with his twin brother in the Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company H, at Eau Claire. In this he served until the close of the war, but his brother was killed at the battle of Atlanta, July 21, 1864. After the war he returned to Wisconsin, and was there employed at farming up to 1870. Then came to Hiawatha, Kansas, and embarked in the grain and lumber business in company with S. P. Gaskill, deceased, and afterwards with J. M. Chase. Mr. Welcome was elected Clerk of the District Court in 1878, and in 1879 was elected County Treasurer, resigning the position of Clerk to accept that office, to which he was re-elected in 1881. He had previously served in the City Council, and was Mayor of the city one term. He is a member of Hiawatha Lodge No. 35 of the Masonic order, and of Star of Hope Lodge No. 1338, K. of H. His wife was Miss Fanny Selley, daughter of A. J. Selley, one of the pioneers of Brown County, and for many years proprietor of the old “Hiawatha House.” They were married in this city i 1873.

HENRY B. WEY, manager of the firm of H. B. Wey & Co., hardware dealers, tin manufacturers, etc. This business house was established in the spring of 1868, by H. C. Wey, and was operated by him until January, 1878, when he took H. B. Wey as partner. This is the oldest hardware house in the county and has been constantly growing in stock and trade until they now carry the largest and most complete stock of goods in this line to be found in Brown or the surrounding counties; they employ nine men and in 1881 did a business of $50,000. Their store room is 140x25, and in addition to this there is a large basement for the storage of wares, and an upper floor 80x25 used for work shops. Mr. Wey was born in Sauk County, Wis., October 8, 1852; he came to Kansas with his parents in 1859. Previous to coming to Hiawatha was engaged in the dry goods business at Leavenworth. This is a large enterprising firm and handle their large and excellent stock of goods like men born to the trade.

[Picture of J. Wharton] WHARTON BROS., printers and publishers, of Hiawatha, Kansas, are the proprietors of the Messenger. The “Wharton Boys,” as they are familiarly known, are the sons of Geo. W. and Angeline J. Wharton, former residents of Mifflin County, Pa. The family came to Kansas in the spring of 1872, and located about five miles northwest of Morrill, Brown Co., Kan., where they resided about nine and one-half years. The parents now reside near Sabetha, Nemaha Co., Kan., while the “boys” are residents of Hiawatha, where they do a general printing business and publish the Messenger, one of the best and most popular papers in the State of Kansas. The brothers are Samuel R., James M. and William G. They were all born near Newton Hamilton, Mifflin Co., Pa.; Samuel R., March 24, 1861; James M., June 9, 1864; and William G., January 12, 1866. Their early education was very meagre. Poverty compelled their parents to retain them on the farm until each was sixteen, that being the age at which they started out into the world each for himself. Their education, such as it was, was received in the common schools of Brown County and the high school of Hiawatha, except that Samuel R., was a student of Kansas University for a short time. Outside of this, they have been educated by the hard knocks of the world, which always “make or break” men. They are all acceptable members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Hiawatha. The firm was organized and started in business in September, 1881, and the Messenger was founded in December, 1881, when the “boys” were all under age. This firm of young men and their paper, the Messenger, started as a private enterprise and without a promise of patronage from anybody; very few, even, knew that they were in business until their press was running constantly; and nobody knew they were going to start a paper until 3,000 copies of the first number were in all the postoffices of the county. They had to compete with two old and well established papers, whose proprietors openly sneered at the “boys,” and publicly insulted them. Very few believed that the paper could succeed; not even its own subscribers, who were willing to risk a few cents to “give the boys a chance,” thought it would live three months. Opposed by the political rings of all parties, by all the business men who expected favors from the other papers, and by the most sneaking and underhanded fight that the opposing papers could possibly make, it has come out ahead, and patronage is flowing in from all over Northeastern Kansas. Notwithstanding the fact that a noted literary man is one of its competitors, the Messenger is constantly going into families where the other paper is being discontinued. This fact is mentioned with due regard to the merits of the gentleman whose literary abilities are not appreciated by the people, who are more anxious for the latest news and all the news. A prominent farmer of Brown County was heard to give utterance to the following words: “The Messenger not only ‘takes the cake,’ but the whole bakery;” and such is truly the case. It has been enlarged three times since its start, and has a larger circulation than any other weekly paper in Kansas, outside of the daily offices. It is Republican in politics. It is a fact that nowhere, in the history of this country, can be found an enterprise that has made such rapid strides forward under so adverse circumstances. Industry, economy and constant hard work are the secrets of its success. It is the pride of the county, because three boys, so young, had the “backbone” and determination to make it win in the face of the opposition of men of money, experience, ability and fame. Its success is due, also, to the men who know a good thing when they see it, and who took up with the Messenger as soon as they saw that it was worthy of patronage. These same men are now proud to say, “I have taken the Messenger ever since it started, when it was a little bit of a sheet, and everybody laughed at me for subscribing, but now I laugh back.” The friends of Wharton Bros. and the Messenger, who have watched their growth with interest, expect a brilliant future for them, and speak openly in their praise. S. R. Wharton, whose portrait is given at the head of this sketch, is the eldest of the Wharton Bros., and senior member of the firm, is managing editor of the Messenger and manager of their business. This portrait represents him at present. His biography is partly given in that of Wharton Bros. He was married to Miss Blanche Miller, of Hiawatha, on July 18, 1882, which union proved to be a very happy one. He is a member and secretary of Hiawatha Lodge No. 35, A., F. & A. M.; is a member of Diamond Lodge No. 56, K. of P., of Kansas; and a member of the Greek letter fraternity of students, Beta Theta Pi, his membership being with Alpha Nu chapter at Kansas University. Miss Miller, who is now his wife, was a native of Wisconsin. After leaving Kansas University, and before turning his whole attention to newspaper work, he spent twenty-five months in the law office of Lacock & May, in Hiawatha; but finding newspaper work more congenial to his tastes than law, took up the former. He is still a law student, and has quite a collection of volumes on various branches of that subject. (Legal knowledge is valuable to an editor.) The success of the Messenger is chiefly due to his work. He is the father of it. The paper, as well as all other business of the firm, is run at his dictation. Honorable in his dealings, far-sighted and shrewd, he is pretty certain of an eminently successful career, which he has begun well for one so young. He would have made a brilliant lawyer. In fact, he is one of those peculiar individuals destined to succeed in any business he may undertake, and may be looked for in the future higher up the ladder of fame.

GEORGE H. WHEELER, retired merchant, was born in Livingston County, N. Y., July 10, 1836. He is the son of Thomas C. and Mary Wheeler nee Northrup; both of his parents of English descent. They removed to McHenry County, Ill., while the subject of this sketch was but a small boy, from there to Columbia County, Wis., in 1849, and here he lived on a farm and acquired his education. When nineteen years of age he went to Chicago and afterward traveled around through different States. In 1861 he enlisted at Dubuque, Iowa, as a volunteer with Company A of the Third Iowa Infantry. He veteraned in the same regiment in 1864, but this was afterward consolidated with the Second Iowa Regiment, and in this he served until the close of the Rebellion. In January, 1866, Mr. Wheeler came west to St. Joseph, Mo., and was one of the illustrious 410 who dared to step up to the polls and cast his vote for Grant’s first election to the Presidential chair. In June, 1874, he removed to Hiawatha, where he was engaged at merchandising and various enterprises until he retired. He served one year as City Marshal of Hiawatha, and is at present Councilman. He is a member of Hiawatha Lodge No. 83, of the I. O. O. F., and is also connected with the K. of H. Mr. Wheeler and wife are members of the K. & L. of H. of Hiawatha. She was formerly Miss Mary E. Brown, whom he married at St. Joe, Mo., in 1869, but who is a native of Iowa.

DANIEL WEBSTER WILDER, editor of the Hiawatha World, was born in Blackstone, Mass., July 15, 1832. He graduated at the Public Latin School, Boston, and received a Franklin medal; at Harvard College and received the Bowdoin first prize, gold medal; attended the Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Boston bar. Came to Kansas in 1857, settled in Elwood, in 1858, and was elected Probate Judge of Doniphan County. Went to St. Joseph, Mo., in 1860, and edited the Free Democrat; went to Leavenworth and edited the Conservative until 1865. He was Surveyor-General of Kansas and Nebraska in 1863-’64, appointed by President Lincoln. Editor of the Rochester, N. Y., Express in 1866, ’67 and ’68; of the Leavenworth, Kan., Conservative, in 1868, ’69 and ’70; of the Fort Scot Monitor in 1871-’72, and was for two terms State Auditor of Kansas, after two unanimous nominations. In 1875 he received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from the University of Kansas and wrote “The Annals of Kansas,” which was published at Topeka. Returned to St. Joseph in 1876, as the editor of the Herald. Came to Hiawatha, Kan., and took his present position, March 1, 1882.

SAMUEL WILSON, Clerk of the District Court, came to Kansas in the spring of 1870, locating in Highland, Doniphan County, where he was engaged in merchandising. In 1875 he moved to Nemaha County, and was extensively concerned in agricultural interests. In 1879 came to Brown County, and in October of the following year was appointed by Judge Otis to fill an unexpired term of W. M. Welcome, Clerk of the District Court. At the expiration of his appointment he was elected to that position for two years, which he holds at this writing. At the election held November 7, 1882, he received the largest vote cast in the county. Mr. Wilson was born in Baltimore, Md., July 24, 1821. His parents, Samuel and Rosann Wilson, removed to Hardin County, Ky., Samuel was yet a small child, and here he was reared and received his education. Previous to coming to Kansas he was engaged at general merchandise there, and although residing in the South during the Rebellion he was a strong Union man, and on his removal here brought testimonials from many prominent Union men in Kentucky to attest the same. He was married there in March, 1848, to Miss Martha Gore, of Nelson County, Ky. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church society. Mr. W. belongs to the Masonic Order, Hiawatha Lodge No. 35.

CHARLES WOLF, dealer in general merchandise, was born December 1, 1848, in New York City; while yet a lad he removed to Westmoreland County, Pa., with his parents, Peter and Elizabeth Wolf, who were natives of Germany, his mother’s family name, Foulk. Mr. Wolf received a common school education, and during his early life was employed at clerking. He came to Hiawatha in 1869, and commenced clerking for R. S. Fairchilds, deceased, one of the very first merchants in the town. This he followed for ten years, and then started in business with E. D. Benner, which firm flourished until the spring of 1881; then Mr. Benner retired, and the firm was known as Wolf & Cornelison, up to the 5th of January, 1882, when Mr. Wolf became sole proprietor of the entire business. He has a fine and spacious store-room 25x100; employs two clerks, and does a large and lucrative business, and in fact is one of Hiawatha’s influential and enterprising citizens. Mr. Wolf has held various town and public offices, and is at this writing Township Treasurer. He was married January, 1, 1872, to Miss Minnie King, of Manitowoc, Wis. They are both members of the K. L. of H., of Hiawatha, and Mr. Wolf belongs to the Star of Hope Lodge, No. 1338, of the K. of H.

JOHN WONDER, retired farmer, was born in Mifflin County, Pa., January 9, 1815. Received a common school education, and worked on the home farm with his parents until twenty-one years of age, when he was married to Miss Mary Harpster, a native of the same State. He then started farming for himself, which he has made his vocation, and at which he has been very successful. In the spring of 1871, he removed to Brown County, Kan., purchased 160 acres in Hiawatha Township, and is now proprietor of 467 acres of land, all under a high state of cultivation. He and his wife are original members of the Evangelical Church of Hiawatha, and were liberal contributors to the erection of the church building and parsonage. Mr. Wonder has been connected with this denomination for fifty years. They are the parents of seven children—Daniel, Frederick, David, John W., Franklin, Sarah and Catherine. David was a soldier in the late Rebellion.

DANIEL B. ZIMMERMAN, farmer, Section 35, P. O. Hiawatha, was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, February 11, 1847. During his boyhood he attended school, and worked on a farm until sixteen years of age, when he commenced learning the blacksmith’s trade, which he followed until the breaking out of the Rebellion, then enlisted with Company K, of the Fifty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in 1862, and was a participant in all the principal engagements of his regiment until the close of the war. Returned to Ohio and resumed his former occupation. In 1859, was married to his first wife, Saloma Buhlman, who died in 1867. He was married to his present wife, Miss Annie E. Zimmerman, in August, 1868. During the spring of 1876, Mr. Zimmerman came to Kansas, purchased the place where he now lives, which was partially improved, and contains 160 acres of land. He has put a great number of improvements upon it, and as fruit raising is fast becoming a prominent industry in this State, he has given a good deal of attention to the same, and raises an abundance of all the choice varieties indigenous to this climate. He and his wife are members of the German Reformed Church of Hiawatha. Their family consists of eight children—Emma H., Thomas, William O., Alice and Alma, twins, Fredliena, Christie and Edwin.

ELIAS ZIMMERMAN, proprietor of Poplar Grove Farm, Section 35, P. O. Hiawatha, which is situated three miles west of the city, and at the head of Wolf River. He was born November 13, 1836, in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. His education was limited, as he was left in early life, to his own support, and is one of our self-made men in every sense of the word. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits in his native State, and was married in 1860. In 1864, he removed to Benton County, Iowa, where he improved a farm and operated it until his immigration to Kansas. This occurred in 1874, and in the same year he established a home on his present place, which contains 160 acres, all under fence and finely improved. Mr. Zimmerman is extensively engaged in importing, breeding and shipping Poland-China hogs, and has always on hand a choice lot of the same, which he furnishes to purchasers of the same on orders. Is also a practical auctioneer, and makes sales over the entire county. He and his wife are members of the German Reformed Church, Hiawatha.

FREDERICK ZIMMERMAN, boot and shoe store, was born near the city of Berne, Switzerland, May 16, 1833; when thirteen years of age his father died, and in 1849, with his mother and eight other members of the family emigrated to America, they settled in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and here Frederick learned his trade. In 1856, he removed to Andrew County, Mo., where he spent two years, thence to St. Joe, same State, and engaged in mercantile business. In 1862, he enlisted in the Federal army, serving six months in the Missouri State Militia, and two years in active service with the Fifth Missouri Cavalry. In 1869, Mr. Zimmerman came to Hiawatha, and for some time worked for his brother Daniel, who had preceded him one year. He then bought him out and has since conducted the business himself. Being now the oldest resident shoemaker in the county. He and his wife are members of the German Reformed Church. They were married in 1858. Her maiden name was Catherine Zimmerman.

RUDOLPH ZIMMERMAN, farmer, Section 32, Township 2, Range 17, P. O. Hiawatha, was born in Switzerland, November 18, 1828; while yet a small child he came to the United States with his parents. During the spring of 1855, he came to Brown County, Kan., in company with his father and John Moser, and pre-empted a claim of 160 acres, where he now lives. This of course was at that time all wild prairie, as Rudolph was one of the first settlers in the county, and while doing the breaking was obliged to go as far as St. Joe, Mo., to have his plows sharpened. It is now all under cultivation, excepting forty-five acres of native timber, and is supplied with good improvements. There is also a fine orchard of about five acres, most of the trees having been set out in 1860, and the two years following, as Mr. Zimmerman was one of the first gentlemen to introduce fruit raising in the county, which is fast becoming so important an enterprise. He was married to his first wife, Miss Barbara Meisenheimer, May 18, 1854, in Andrew County, Mo. She died January 22, 1872, leaving three children, William A., Eliza E. and Mary M. The present Mrs. Zimmerman was formerly Mrs. Mary A. Boyce; they were married November 7, 1872, and have three children, Hattie M., Leslie C. and Katie M. The father of the subject of this sketch, Christian Zimmerman, was a native of Switzerland, and was born November 24, 1799, near Berne. After acquiring a practical education, he learned the trade of carpenter and builder which he afterward followed. In August, 1832, he emigrated to the United States, first locating in Tuscarawas County, Ohio; here he farmed and worked at his trade until 1851, when he removed to Andrew County, Mo., where he lived until 1855, when he came to Kansas with the subject of this sketch. He was among the first settlers in Brown County, and helped stake out the village of Hiawatha. He was married April 1, 1821, to Miss Magdelena Wiland, who was born in the same Parish as himself, December 17, 1797. Six children were born to them, Magdelena, Christian, Ann, Rudolph, Catherine and John, all of whom are now living, except the mother, who died May 25, 1871.

ADAM H. ZIMMERS, farmer, Section 36, P. O. Hiawatha, hails from Pennsylvania. Was born September 10, 1844, in Bedford County. The date and month seemed to have an unusual attraction for the family, for his father and one of his sisters were born on the 10th of September. His parents moved to Richland County, Ohio, while the subject of this sketch was yet a lad, and there he made his home until he immigrated to Kansas; this occurred in March, 1870, and during the fall following he established himself on his present farm, which was partially improved and contains eighty acres. Mr. Zimmers has been three terms Road Overseer, and is now serving his sixth year as Clerk of School District No. 6, he is a member of Hiawatha Lodge, No. 83, I. O. O. F., and his wife is connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church of this city. They were married December 28, 1875; her maiden name was Annetta Everts. They have three children, Abba R., Jake R. and Reuben R.

[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]