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


[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]



The first newspaper published in this county was the Brown County Union, which first appeared in the spring of 1861. In these early days of the county, and during the excitement of the civil war the publication of a country paper was an unprofitable and laborious task, and Dr. P. G. Parker, the father of this pioneer infant, may have even felt a sense of relief when it went up in a furnace of fire the winter after its birth. No attempt was made to revive it.

Volume 1, No. 1 of the Union Sentinel appeared on August 20, 1864, under the editorship of Mr. H. P. Stebbins. The prospectus gives a ringing definition of the aim of the paper and its policy suitable to the time - the closing year of the war in these words: The Union Sentinel is the title chosen - Union indicating not a mere name - a sentiment - but that we shall stand by and advocate the cause of the Union in no dubious terms or equivocal language. This issue also contains the particulars of the massacre of the overland trains of Niles, Constable, Varney and Young at a point nearly two hundred miles west and closes with the statement that Not a ranch is inhabited between Fort Kearney and Denver, or this side of Kearney, the inhabitants having fled. The same paper flies the National ticket of Lincoln and Johnson, and under the caption of the latest news gives notes from the battle field where heavy fighting near Petersburg is followed by Gen. Sherman is also battering away at Atlanta with heavy shells, and other brief mention of things which stir strangely memories overlaid with the dust of twenty years. The next column details briefly the abrupt demise of one Bennet, who had acquired an unsavory reputation as a horse thief, and was caught red-handed. Taken to Wathena, in the next county, Bennet attempted to run away but sixteen shots were fired, five taking effect and wounding him severely. The third page contains notices of a Camp Meeting to be held near Padonia, the first fair of the county to be held the coming October, and the law relative to drafted men.

In the second issue of this paper under date of August 27th is the call for a Teachers Institute to be held at the Carson Schoolhouse, five miles west of Hiawatha, on September 22d and 24th, 1864. This order is signed by Noah Hanson, County Superintendent, and made the hearty announcement: The people of the neighborhood will welcome strangers and friends who may attend to the hospitalities of their homes. Under the head of New Arrangement, the editor congratulates the town on the fact that the proprietor of the old Hiawatha House, Mr. Sellig, has taken the contract for carrying the mail once a week between Padonia and Atchison, and will leave Hiawatha each Friday, returning on Saturday.

A little later is found a notice of the introduction of sorghum culture in the county and the manufacture of syrup from it.

In the Sentinel, of September 30, 1864, appears a record of the first teachers institute of the county and of the forthcoming first annual exhibition of the Brown County Agricultural Society, which was stated to have a membership of over one hundred.

Two months later appears a notice of a movement to build a church to be open to any Evangelical minister. In the same issue appears the notice that Robinson parties had raised one thousand dollars and were using it in boring for coal.

On August 16, 1866, Mr. Stebbins sold the paper to Ira J. Lacock and J. W. Oberholtzer, who made several improvements in it and finally sold it on November 7, 1867, to David Downer. In his hands publication was continued for nearly three years, when like the wonderful one horse shay of Dr. Holmes, it returned to dust without the least warning.

The Hiawatha Despatch was started April 30, 1870, by A. N. Ruley, and from that date to April 4, 1878, the publication continued under the same control. For the first two months of its existence the Despatch was a seven column folio but was then enlarged to an eight column sheet, and as such ran to the end of its race. upon the retirement of Mr. Ruley the paper passed into the hands of W. T. Stewart, who conducted it until March 1, 1882.

The first number of the Brown County Advocate was issued on June 25, 1874, by Davis & Watson, E. A. Davis, editor. Like many another literary bantling, the new paper devotes a large amount of space to its aims and personal explanations. Cutting loose from both the old parties and extending his hand to the anti-monopoly grange element, then just becoming prominent, the editor says, The old Democratic is dead, and the Republican party stinks with corruption. This emphatic, but impolitic announcement is followed by an expressed preference for Charles Francis Adams and Lyman Trumbull as President and Vice President. In a column a little further on he says, In getting the first number of the Advocate to press we have labored under the disadvantage of having a boil on the little finger of the right hand which has been so intensely painful that we have had but little rest or sleep for a week: notwithstanding we have worked steadily and unceasingly to give the people a paper which we hope will win their applause and merit their patronage. This is upon the editorial page and just opposite it in another column is a later bulletin about the finger. Following this is the announcement Lack of news in the Advocate this week must be attributed that we are yet without exchanges. The paper at this time was a nine column folio of large size. In the second issue is given the text of the law then recently adopted, relative to free distribution of newspapers in the county where published. Mr. Davis retired from the editorial chair after a few issues of the paper and with Mr. S. L. Roberts formed the firm of Davis & Roberts. The paper continued to be published by this firm until February, 1875, when Mr. Davis connection with the paper finally ceased and Mr. D. L. Burger took his place. In the following October the name of the publication was changed to the Kansas Herald.

At this time A. T. McCreary purchased an interest in the business but after a trial of a few months retired and the firm was as before Burger & Roberts. On August 14, 1876, M. S. Foote purchased a half interest in the paper and Mr. Burger retired from the cares of business. Up to January 1, 1878, the paper had been a four page one. 24X36 inches, but upon that date it was enlarged to 25X38. In the latter form it was run up to January 1, 1882, when a still greater addition was made, the new size being 31X46 inches.

On May 15, 1882, Mr. Foote retired from the position he had so skillfully held and Mr. T. L. Brundage bought his interest, Mr. Roberts still retaining the editor's chair and the attendant shears.

In politics the Herald has been every time and always Republican. It has also been fortunate in the constant guidance of an editor skilled in his profession and thoroughly conversant with the needs of his town and county. April 1st, 1883, Mr. Roberts sold his interest to his partner, T. L. Brundage, and retired from the business, locating at Tekamah, Neb., in the mercantile business. On Mr. Roberts retiring Mr. Brundage secured the services of Mr. G. M. Wellman, a man of long experience, who took charge of the editorial work. Through a persistent thorough and careful business management the paper has acquired a circulation of full 2,000 - a fact creditable to both editors and readers.

In September, 1877, the North Kansas Sun began to irradiate the surface of Brown County. The new luminary was fathered by W. F. Gordon, was of the Democratic order, and was a "parent outside," twenty-six by forty inches. Democracy does not seem to have died in December, 1877. In January following Mr. Charles B. Ellis, of Robinson, published the Sun for three weeks. In the spring of 1879 George Christie and George B. Moore started the Hiawatha Sun. In the fall of this year Christie purchased Moore's interest, and continued publication until the fall of 1880, when he leased the office to Mr. A. N. Ruley, in whose hands it remained up to the spring of 1881, when the office was purchased by L. G. Parker, of Missouri, who removed it to Highland, Doniphan Co., Kan., where it is now owned by Mr. George E. Moore.

The Weekly Messenger was started on December 10, 1881, by Wharton Bros. It was at first a three-column, four-page paper of small size, but was enlarged with the March 11, 1882, issue to an eight-page paper. It has already attained a circulation of 450 copies, and bids fair to develop into a successful newspaper. It is issued on Saturday of each week.

The Hiawatha World, was started as the successor of the Despatch by the World Printing Company, March 1, 1882. The Company consists of D. W. Wilder, John B. Campbell, and Cyrus B. Bowman. The paper is an eight-column folio, twenty-six by forty-eight inches, and has a circulation of 300 above the list purchased from the Despatch and estimated at 1,200. It is issued Thursdays.


Hiawatha Lodge, No. 35, A., F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation, July 3, 1860, and chartered on October 16, of the same year. The first officers of the lodge were W. B. Barnett, W. M.; J. G. Keisey, S. W.; James Round, J. W. The other charter members of the lodge were W. W. Guthrie, S. W. Wade, H. R. Dutton, J. A. Vaughn, I. B. Hoover, Benjamin Watkins, J. C. Scott, Joseph F. Babbit. Meetings are held every Saturday on or before the full moon. The present membership of the lodge is 102. The following are the present officers: L. R. May, W. M.; C. H. Lawrence, S. W.; E. Hoye, J. W.; G. Amann, treasurer; J. Sherret, secretary; S. M. Pratt, S. D.; A. D. Brown, J. D.

Masonic Hall, which is used by the subordinate lodge, the chapter and the commandery, was built in 1880-81, and dedicated in May of the latter year. Its cost to the society was $3,700.

Mount Horeb Chapter, No. 43, R. A. M., was organized under a dispensation by E. T. Carr, September 10, 1879. The first officers of the chapter were as follows: L. R. Yates, H. P.; P. W. Hill, K.; E. Hoye, scribe; E. N. Morrill, treasurer; A. R. May, secretary; T. McLaughlin, C. H.; A. H. Lawrence, P. S.; J. Schilling, R. A. C.; J. M. Hillman, 3d vail; G. H. Cake, 2d vail; H. M. Robinson, 1st vail. In addition to these officers the chapter had the following members; J. W. Oberholtzer, A. Schilling, G. H. Adams, N. F. Leslie, A. W. Hoyt, and A. J. Liebengood. The present membership of the chapter is seventy. The following is a list of the present officers: E. Hoye, J. P.; A. R. May, K; C. H. Lawrence, scribe; E. N. Morrill, treasurer; J. Sherret, secretary; T. McLaughlin, C. of H.; S. M. Pratt, P. S.; A. D. Brown, R. A. C.; W. W. Beemer, 3d vail; G. H. Cake, 2d vail; A. Schilling, 1st vail. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall each Wednesday after full moon.

Hiawatha Commandery, No. 13, Knights Templar, was organized under a dispensation June 16, and the organization perfected July 16, 1878, with a membership of fifteen, and the following officers: John L. Philbrick, E. C.; W. Brown, generalissimo; R. M. Williams, C. G.; John Schillings. S. W.; C. H. Lawrence, J. W.; G. W. Skinner, prelate; John M. Hillman, warder; A. R. May, recorder; Robert Tracy, treasurer; A. Schilling, sentinel. At the present time the commandery has a membership of sixty and the following officers: J. R. May, S. W.; H. M. Robinson, J. W.; E. N. Morrill, treasurer; S. M. Pratt, recorder; A. Schilling, standard bearer; S. C. Hall, sword-bearer; B, J. Cake. warder; N. E. Chapman, sentinel. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on the third Tuesday of each month.

Hiawatha Lodge, no 83, I. O. O. F. was chartered on October 8, 1872, with the following members: J. W. Oberholtzer, R. S. Fairchild, A. N. Ruley, W. R. Scull, Bennett Hicks, Samuel Slater, W. Slater, C. V. Pyle, Jeremiah Slater, H. L. Bradley, and J. Slater. The first officers of the lodge were: J. W. Oberholtzer, N. G.; C. V. Pyle, V. G.; A. N. Ruley, R. S.; J. E. Anten. P. S.; R. S. Fairchild, treasurer; S. S. Hill, warden; J. D. Blair, conductor; G. S. Weathers, I. G. Since its organization the membership of the society has enjoyed a steady growth, and in 1882 numbers an even hundred. The present officers are: John E. Morris, P. G.; J. C. Thomas, N. G.; J. N. Davis, V. G.; G. H. Wheeler, R. S.; R. E. Hickox, P. S.; J. E. Moon, treasurer; John V. Rollins, warden; H. J. Albee, I. G.; William Pierce, O. G.; W. Frazier, conductor. Until 1881 the lodge rented a room for lodge purposes, but when the building of the First National Bank was being erected contracted for an additional story, which was built. The lodge now has a suite of four large rooms measuring as follows: Main lodge room, thirty-five feet by sixty-five feet; dining room, twenty-five feet by thirty-five feet; kitchen, fifteen by twenty feet; reading room, fifteen by twenty feet. These rooms are owned and used in common by Hiawatha Lodge and Horeb Encampment, and have cost the two orders $4,000. In addition to this heavy outlay, regalia and personal property to the value of $1,200 are stored in the dress and committee rooms. Although begun in 1881, these rooms were not occupied until the spring of 1882.

Mt. Horeb Encampment No. 33, I. O. O. F., was organized in February 1880, and had as charter members H. J. Aten, J. D. Blair, John E. Moon, James Falloon, J. K. Klinefelter, H. F. Macy, A. A. Holmes, W. S. Hall, J. W. Belts, H. M. Waller and J. E. Morris. The first officers of the encampment were H. J. Ateu, C. P.; H. M. Waller, H. P.; J. E. Moon, S. W.; James Falloon, J. W.

Hiawatha has maintained, nominally, two lodges of Good Templars, but practically the latter was simply a revival of the older body. Prairie Flower Lodge No. 104 was instituted in 1868 with a membership of twenty-six and the following officers: R. C. Chase, W. C. T.; Mrs. W. S. Bristol, V. T.; J. K. Klinefelter, secretary; W. S. Bristol, L. D. During the active agitation of the temperance question the lodge had an enrollment of over one hundred, but when the main fight was over the attendance dwindled, and finally, in 1875, the lodge passed quietly out of existence.

Hiawatha Lodge, which was instituted in 1878 by J. B. Campbell, G. W. C. T., had at the time of organization thirteen members. The following officers were the first and only ones of the new lodge: J. K. Klinefelter, W. C. T.; Mrs. W. S. Bristol, R. T.; Thomas Grant, secretary; Miss Minnie Robinson, treasurer; W. S. Bristol, L. D. This organization lapsed before the completion of the first three months term.

Star of the West Division (Sons of Temperance) No. 38, was organized in October, 1877, with a membership of nearly 100. At one time the numerical strength of the Society had increased to nearly 150. The first officers of the Society were: R. C. Chase, W. P.; J. K. Klinefelter, S.; Mrs. T. L. Brundage, treasurer. In the winter of 1879, the Society having accomplished its chief aims, died a natural death. Its last officers were: R. C. Chase, W. P.; Mrs. M. W. McLaughlin, A. A.; Arthur Macy, C.; Miss L. Robinson, A. C.; C. Chase, secretary; Mrs. L. Brundage, treasurer. During its existence the Society met on each Friday evening in Odd Fellows Hall.

Star of Hope Lodge, No. 1,338, (K. of H.) was organized on January 14, 1879, with a membership of fourteen and the following officers: R. C. Chase, D.; S. M. Pratt, P. D.; A. A. McLaughlin, V. D.; J. C. Thomas, A. D.; A. Carruthers, chaplain; A. Lawrence, reporter; A. O. Dickason, F. R.; Charles Wolf, treasurer; Thomas McLaughlin, guide; B. F. Partch, guardian; Eli Allendorf, sentinel. The Society now has a membership of seventy-seven and the following officers: J. S. Henry, D.; J. C. Thomas, P. D.; T. G. Wagstaff, V. D.; C. George, A. D.; J. B. McNamara, chaplain; T. Daniels, guide; T. L. Brundage, reporter; Charles Wolf, F. R.; J. E. Moon, treasurer; G. M. Blair, guardian; Henry King, sentinel. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays in each month in Odd Fellows Hall.

The Hiawatha Library Association was organized on February 11, 1870. Donations were made by citizens of the town, and a number of books, including some valuable editions of standard works gathered together. A room in the stone building now occupied by Dr. Yates drug store was secured and opened to the public, and later a room in the old court house. The library did not, however, flourish as it should have done, and the Association died out about 1873, the books still on hand being transferred to the public school building, where they now remain the property of the city.

The Morrill Public Library was opened on Monday, May 29, 1882. The sum of $2,000 was donated by Maj. E. N. Morrill on condition that the city would furnish adequate rooms for library purposes, and also bear the expense of lights and attendance. This proposition was accepted by the City Council, and Maj. Morrill at once paid the sum offered to the City Treasurer. Five Trustees were then appointed, two by Major Morrill, and three by the city, to have charge of the purchase of books and the subsequent conduct of the library. These trustees were as follows: E. N. Knapp, president; Mrs. H. B. Wey, corresponding secretary; Capt. J. Schilling, treasurer; Dr. S. M. Pratt, recording secretary; and R. C. Chase. Subsequent to the donation of Maj. Morrill, Mr. Charles Janes offered $500 and a yearly donation of $100, and also presented a set of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, valued at $160. A cozy room over the bank of Morrill & Janes was at once fitted up, and all the latest appliances for comfort in reading or consultation put in it. The first installment of books was received May 25, and the opening followed as soon as the necessary work of cataloguing and arranging could be done. The present rooms will probably be enlarged upon the completion of the new L building adjoining, and when that is done the books, for which there is now no room, will be purchased. Such an institution has long been needed in the city, and the citizens owe much to the public spirit of the man who has assumed the burden of its creation.

The Hiawatha Cornet Band was organized on January 1, 1882, and consists of fourteen members and a drum major. The band is under the leadership of W. B. Kingsley, who in a drill of three months has brought them to a very creditable condition. Instruments to the value of a little more than $350 have been purchased by the organization for its members, and others of a nearly equal value belong to individual members. Meetings are held in the County Court House each Monday and Thursday.

The Kansas Mutual Life Association (Home office, Hiawatha, Kas.), was chartered under the (benevolent) laws of the State of Kansas, January 16, 1882. It was organized by and with the following named persons as its officers, viz, J. P. Davis, president; Henry Graves and Samuel C. Davis, vice-presidents; E. N. Morrill, treasurer, and John E. Moon, secretary. Directors chosen for the first year, E. N. Morrill, J. P. Davis and John E. Moon. The Trustees are, J. P. Davis, E. N. Morrill, Henry Graves, S. C. Davis and John E. Moon. The plan of Life Insurance adopted being the mutual, wherein members insuring one another, paying a stipulated sum to the association annually for transacting their business. The cost of carrying a policy outside of the sum charged for expenses being governed by the actual losses experienced, the assessments for death losses being made only upon the death of a member, and the member paying in proportion to the amount of his policy, and his age at joining. The association also offers an inducement to its members, in what it appropriately terms its Expectation Indemnity, viz., any member living to the age estimated according to American mortality table, that he will live, may if he chooses, surrender his policy and by repaid the amount he has paid into the treasury on death claims, and expectation indemnity, together with four per cent interest on such amounts. Giving the member a chance (if necessity demands) to have the benefit of the saving during his own life.


First National Bank of Hiawatha. - This institution was chartered in October, 1881, and began business on November 22, in the new building, corner Oregon and Seventh streets. The capital of the bank is fifty thousand dollars. Its officers are, M. S. Smalley, president; S. A. Fulton, cashier, D. K. Babbit, vice president. The board of directors contains besides the above officers, E. Moser, Col. E. Bierer; J. C. Thomas, J. Beaty. The elegant three-story building which contains the bank, was erected in 1881, at a cost of seventeen thousand dollars. It is fifty by ninety feet on the ground floor, and is of St. Louis brick, with stone trimmings.

Morrill & Janes' Bank. - This firm was formed on January 1, 1871, under the title of Barnett, Morrill & Co. and transacted business in a room over the stone drug store on Oregon near Sixth street.

In 1872 the present bank building was erected at a cost, including the lots, of $8,500. Its size is twenty-five by fifty feet. It has two stories, but only the first is in use for banking purposes. In 1882, an L shaped building was built around the bank, making the whole structure fifty by one hundred feet. This bank is a private one and makes no statement of capital or assets, but is universally considered one of the most reliable in the State.

The Speer Elevator. - The Speer Elevator was built in 1873, at a cost of $10,000. The main building is twenty-six by forty feet and two stories in height. The ground space covered by the building and additions is twenty-six by ninety feet. The capacity of the elevator is 15,000 bushels. Power is furnished by an engine of fifteen horse power. The shipments of the past season (1881-82) were a trifle in excess of 250,000 bushels. The elevator has always been under the management of its builder, Mr. L. N. Speer, although since 1879, the style has been I. N. Speer & Co.

Hiawatha Mill. - The Hiawatha mill built in 1868, by Covode & Snively, at a cost of $14,000 and stands near the tracks of the St. Joseph & Western and the Missouri Pacific Railway. The building is 75X35 feet, and two stories and a half in height. The machinery of the mill consists of four run of buhr-stones, three of which are used for wheat and one for corn. Power is furnished by a boiler of eighty and an engine of forty-horse power. The mill has a capacity estimated at the reduction of 140 bushels of wheat and eighty bushels of corn daily. It furnishes employment to four hands when running on day time, and to six when employed night and day. The property was purchased in 1882 by Mr. P. D. Tobie, who now operates it.

Hiawatha House. - The Hiawatha House was built in 1880-81, by the Hiawatha Hotel Company, which came into being for the sole purpose of erecting, what the town had long needed, a first-class hotel building. The hotel stands opposite the public square and on the corner of Fifth and Utah streets. It is constructed in the most substantial manner of brick; has three stories on the north and two on the south and east sides, and contains forty room. It is under the management of Mr. J. Q. A. Jeffers.

The Opera House Building. - In the summer of 1880, a company styled the Hiawatha Building Company, was organized for the purpose of erecting a large building on the corner of Oregon and Fifth streets. The capital stock of this new company was $25,000. Work was begun immediately after the organization of the company, and the building completed the following season. The ground space occupied is seventy-five feet on Fifth street and Eighty feet on Oregon street. On the ground floor are three stores, each twenty-five feet front and eighty feet deep. On the second floor is the Opera House, 80X50 feet, with a stage 20X15, and on the third floor the hall of the Masonic Fraternity.

The Second Floor. - The Opera House which, as the only place of its sort in the town, deserves special mention, is very neatly fitted up with folding chairs for 300 spectators, but has room for half as many more. The scenery consists of four sets of flats, very neatly painted. At each side of the stage are dressing rooms of convenient size. The entrance to the house is by a broad, straight stairway leading from Oregon street.

The Third Floor. - The lodge room of the Masons embraces the entire third floor, and was built for them by the building company, at a cost of $3,500. Its size is the same as that of the Opera House - 80X50 feet.

The First Floor. - The corner store of this building is occupied by the postoffice. The second by S. C. Hall, and the third by the drug store of Hulse & Kinsey.

[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]