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


[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]


Augusta is located at the junction of the Whitewater and the Walnut, on a level plateau. Its history, or rather that of the land upon which it stands, runs back to an early date in the Territorial days of Kansas. In 1857 a party of explorers from Lawrence camped at this point and made it for some time a rendezvous of their trapping and hunting parties. So much were they pleased with its natural advantages that they laid out a town and called it Augusta. In 1858 a party from Topeka jumped the old town and proceeded to lay out Fontanella, surveying streets and laying out business blocks, many of which were disposed of in Eastern markets. This same year, according to another account the town of Orizonia was laid out at the junction of the rivers. In the spring of 1859 the town was raided by the Indians and passed out of existence. These lands, it must be remembered, were then Indian property and no whites had any rights in the premises. At a later day the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles and Delawares, all loyal tribes driven from their reservations by the rebels, were quartered here. Near the close of the war a trading post was established by Hagan & Morrill, who were succeeded by Conner & Dunlap and Daniel Stine, one of the early settlers of the present town. Early in 1868 the treaty with the Osages was made and this part of the county opened for settlement. The same year Shamleffer & James opened a trading post on the site of the present town, having purchased the claim on which the town stands for $40. The old log store was completed in July and C. N. James moved into it. This was the initial step in the building of the present fair city, which was named Augusta in honor of Mrs. James.

Early Settlement. The James & Shamleffer store stood alone until the spring of 1869, when C. C. Grant opened a harness shop. A blacksmith shop and the residence of C. N. James soon followed and the same summer Hon. Thomas H. Baker located a claim adjoining the townsite and put up a general store. This year saw a considerable growth in the new town; a land office was opened by J. M. Herman and an attorney's shingle tacked up by E. E. Eaton and I. N. Phillips. The first hotel, the Augusta House, was also built this year as was a wagon shop and several minor buildings. Thus far although the town was named and had practical existence, it was unsurveyed and the James claim had not even been entered at the proper land office. Both these duties were attended to in the winter of 1869-70. The latter year a new United States land district was established and the land office opened in June at this point. The town was already spreading as only a well located Western town can and the acquisition of the land office was all that was needed to raise the 'boom' to a furor. By the close of 1870 nearly every quarter section within ten miles of the town was taken and Herman & McKitrick had laid out a very substantial addition. The following year saw a second addition to the town. This was, however, more than counterbalanced the following year by the removal of the land office to Wichita. In 1872 the city, it is claimed, received a majority of the votes cast for the county seat, but the election was declared illegal and the vote never canvassed. With the struggle for the county seat the early history of the city may be said to terminate, and we pass to the more minute description of its corporate existence.

The Augusta postoffice was established in 1870, and C. N. James appointed Postmaster. In 1874, Mrs. M. S. Harrington succeeded to the office, which she held until November 2, 1881, when C. H. Kurtz, the present official, received his appointment. The postoffice was first kept in the original log building of James & Shamleffer, next in Brown's block, in a small building of its own in the south part of town, and finally in the front room of the Southern Kansas Gazette. It was made a Presidential office on October 1, 1882.

[Image of Augusta School] The first schoolhouse in Augusta was erected in 1870. This was an exceptionally large and good building for the times, and sufficed for all the wants of the city until 1880, when the present fine building was erected. This is of stone, two stories high and has six rooms. It is in charge of O. E. Olin, principal, and Miss Mary Betts, assistant. Six grades are taught, and six teachers employed. The public schools of the city have always been noted for their excellence, and those of 1882-83 will suffer nothing by comparison with those of earlier years.

The first train on the St. Louis & San Francisco road reached this city on May 8, 1880. This was the signal for a rapid increase of the city's population and a fair launch upon the tide of prosperity now enjoyed. In the spring of 1881, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road began to build southward from El Dorado, and on August 2nd reached this place.


Augusta was incorporated as a town in 1871, the Board of Trustees consisting of W. A. Shannon, chairman; C. N. James, G. W. Brown and J. R. Nixon. This organization lasted but a short time, and April 13, 1871, the town became a city of the third class with W. A. Shannon, Mayor; C. P. Garland, City Clerk; N. A. McKitrick, G. W. Brown, T. W. Mitchell, L. N. Blood and O. F. Smith, Councilmen; E. M. Clifford was Mayor in 1872; N. A. McKitrick, 1873; L. N. Blood, 1874; H. D. Hill, 1875-76; A. J. Paul, 1877-78- 79; Charles H. Kurtz, 1880; J. W. Ground, 1881-82. J. McCollum became City Clerk in 1871-72; John Reid and Thomas Mason served in 1873; G. P. Garland, 1874; J. W. Champion, 1875-76; C. C. Van- Winter, 1877-78-79-80; F. L. Jones, 1881-82.

Methodist Episcopal Church. Augusta circuit was formed in the winter of 1870-71, by Rev. E. S. Snow, a superannuate of the New England circuit. Rev. C. A. Stine took charge of the work in October, 1870, and remained upon it during 1871-72. Rev. Enos S. King was pastor in 1873; Rev. Walter Oakley in 1874, and Rev. Geo. W. Harrison in 1875. Up to this time the society had worshiped in the schoolhouse and in Good Templars Hall, but this time the fine stone church, 30x50 feet, costing $2,485.35, was erected. A parsonage was built near the church in 1878 at a cost of $500. Returning to the list of pastors of the church we find Revs. John Harris, 1876; I. N. Boycourt, 1877; J. Albert Hyden, 1878; W. H. Cline, 1879- 81; E. C. Brooks, 1881-83. The society now has a membership of 106. A Sabbath school established in 1877, has an average attendance of 100 and is in charge of Mr. George Sullivan. On one Sabbath of the month services are conducted by Rev. W. H. Munger, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, which has a find building in Fairview Township.

The Baptist Church at this point was at its organization, a very weak one. Its first pastor was Rev. Jesse Stone who preached about 1875. At that time a small building on Main street, now used as a carpenter shop, was occupied for services. A church edifice was built in 1878 at a cost of $2,000, and a parsonage purchased in 1882 at a cost of $600. This improvement was accomplished in the pastorate of Rev. C. G. Manly, who held office five years, giving place to Rev. Francis Rice, the present incumbent, in 1882. The society now has a membership of sixty-three. A Sabbath school was organized at an early day and now has an average attendance of sixty-three. It is in charge of E. Hill.

The Presbyterian Church was organized on November 24, 1878, by a committee sent by the Presbytery. For some time the church was unsupplied, but in October, 1879, secured the services of Rev. P. Reed, who still is in charge. Services were held in the Baptist church for six months, then in Custer's Opera House, and then in the present church building. This is the old schoolhouse remodeled and refitted at a total cost of $1,500. The present membership of the society is sixteen. A Sabbath school organized August 17, 1880, is now in charge of Dr. J. W. Brown and has an average attendance of sixty. Since the organization of the church at Augusta several branch societies have been organized; one at Waverly schoolhouse, organized in 1879, has a membership of 23 and is supplied by Rev. P. Reed. Another at Indianola schoolhouse is supplied, at present, by Rev. G. E. Bicknell, of Plum Grove.

St. Henry's Catholic Church was organized in 1879 by Father Thomas J. McCaul, of Wichita, who still supplies it. A church building 20x40 and costing $500 was erected the same year, and services conducted once a month. Prior to the location of the church in Augusta there had been irregular services at the houses of communicants in this part of the county. The organization is now one of considerable strength, having a membership of 150.

Mystic Tie Lodge, No. 74, A. F. & A. M. was chartered on October 22, 1868. The charter officers of the lodge were C. N. James, W. M.; J. W. Douglass, S. W.; Thomas Stewart, J. W. The lodge now numbers forty-five, and has the following officers: H. D. Hill, W. M.; L. Viets, S. W.; P. W. Bundick, J. W.; W. A. Shannon, secretary; W. B. Taggert, treasurer. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The property of the lodge consists of regalia and jewels valued at $400.

Western Star Lodge, No. 81, I. O. O. F. was organized October, 12, 1872, with five members and the following officers: Miles Copeland, N. G.; E. W. Clifford, V..; A. J. Paul, secretary; D. Lines, treasurer. This organization was effected by W. A. Shannon, acting as district deputy grand master. The lodge now has a membership of fifty-eight and the following officers: W. A. Shannon, N. G.; Wm. McGary, V. G.; D. J. Reber, secretary; D. Lines, treasurer. Meetings are held on Saturday evening of each week in Odd Fellows' Hall, a fine lodge room owned by the society, and valued at $2,000.

Emulation Encampment, No. 23, I. O. O. F., was organized October 15, 1873, with the following charter members: A. J. Vane, E. W. Clifford, W. P. McLain, A. Ettenson, D. H. McLain, W. Stewart. The encampment now numbers eighteen members, and has the following officers: W. A. Shannon, C. P.; J. Sullivan, S. W.; C. H. Kurtz, J. W.; D. Lewis, scribe; D. J. Reber, H. P. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in Odd Fellows' Hall.

Augusta Chapter, No. 25, Order of the Eastern Star, was organized on February 25, 1874, but never made much progress, and has long since died out. Its records cannot be found.


The Crescent--This paper was established at Augusta in 1870 by Putnam & Perry. After a brief time the paper passed into the hands of the senior partner, and subsequently into those of Mr. J. B. Davis, who changed the name to the Republican, and soon after sold the material out of the county.

The Southern Kansas Gazette was first issued on July 4, 1874, by C. H. & J. A. Kurtz. Under this management it was conducted until the fall of 1879, when it passed into the hands of C. H. Kurtz alone. It has always been an eight column folio sheet of strong Republican views, has now a circulation of 800, and is issued on Thursdays. The press and much of the type are of historic interest, having been the property of old John Brown, of Osawatomie and world-wide fame. In the attack on Brown the printing office was raided, the type pied, and the press thrown into the brush and broken. From Osawatomie the entire outfit traveled to Paola, Florence, and finally to Augusta, where it is now doing good work.

The Augusta Republican was started on June 9, 1879, by W. A. Albin, who still owns and edits it. Its first form, an eight column folio, has been preserved, and the paper has now reached a circulation of 675 weekly. It is issued on Wednesday of each week from the publication office, in the basement of G. W. Brown's bank building. Its politics are straight Republican.

Banking. The first bank in Augusta, as well as in the county, was the private banking house of G. W. Brown. This institution, as a private concern, gives no statement of its resources, which, however, are known to be ample. A fine stone building was erected in 1880 at a cost of $10,000. This is used on the lower floor for banking and on the upper for residence purposes.

Reid's Bank. This bank is also a private institution. It was started on September 18, 1880, by John Reid, who now operates it. No statement is made of its resources, but they are known to be about $30,000, of which $20,000 is cash, subject to demand.

City Mills. The Augusta City Mills were built in 1870 by Manly Bros., who operated them until 1879 when they were purchased by A. J. J. W. Ground, who now operate them. Upon taking possession the new owners completely remodeled the mills, making them worth today $10,000. Four run of buhr stones are kept in motion by a sixty horse power engine and have a capacity of sixty barrels of fine flour per day. The mill building, which is 40x50 and two stories in height, stands on the line of the A., T. & S. F. Ry., in the southeastern part of the city.

The Haines Elevator. This elevator was built in 1882, the old corn mill, which now forms part of the building, having already been in operation several years. The elevator has a capacity of 2,000 bushels of corn and 500 bushels of wheat per twenty-four hours. Power is furnished by a twelve-horse power engine.


B. A. ALDRIDGE, farmer and stock raiser, Section 24, P. O. Augusta, is a native of Ohio; was born in Greene County, January 2, 1830. For a number of years resided in Cole and Douglas counties, Illinois. The spring of 1873 became a resident of Butler County, locating where he now resides. Mr. A. has an extensive quarry on his farm, out of which he ships large quantities of stone all over the State. He is numbered among the early settlers in his locality. Was married, in Ohio, to Miss Emilly Gorden, whose death occurred in Butler County, Kansas, February 18, 1883. They have had seven children born to them, Martha, J. W., B. F., Edmund, Charles, Laura and Pearlie. The family are identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mr. A. having been a member for thirty-seven years.

H. C. BATES, farmer and stock raiser, Section 9, P. O. Augusta, is a native of Michigan, and was born in Washtenaw County, September 22, 1836; was educated and reared in his native State. Early in the war, he enlisted in the Fourth Michigan Infantry, Company K, in 1861, for three months; the first call. In 1863, he enlisted in the navy, being stationed at Erie, Pa., for a time, and afterwards in the Mississippi squadron, under Admiral Porter. He was married, in Michigan, to Miss Jennett Negus. In 1871, came to Franklin County, and in March, 1872, came to Butler County, being among the early settlers in the locality where he now resides.

ISAAC B. BLAKER, stockman, P. O. Augusta. In 1877, the subject of this sketch came to Butler County, locating in Augusta. He has an extensive stock ranch on the Walnut, a few miles south of town, and does a large business in cattle, hogs and sheep. Mr. B. is a native of Pennsylvania; was born in Bucks County, March 12, 1850; was educated and reared to manhood in that State. His parents, paternal and maternal, were Pennsylvanians. He was married, in Pennsylvania, to Miss Susan Comly. They have two children - Charlie and Lillie. Mr. B. is a member of the City Council, and one of Augusta's enterprising citizens.

L. N. BLOOD, merchant, is a native of Michigan, and was born in Lenawee County, September 25, 1844; was there educated and reared; became a resident of Kansas in 1869, having charge of the track layers on the A., T. & S. F. R. R. for a time. In August, 1869, came to Butler County, locating in Benton Township, temporarily on a farm; soon after, came and settled in Augusta. Here he taught the first school, and was the third regular merchant. From that period to the present, has been associated with the commercial interests of the town; has built several houses, besides assisting in the erection of the Opera Block; for six years was Treasurer of Augusta, and has continually held school offices; is a member of the Masonic order, and was instrumental in organizing the first temperance society in Augusta. Mr. B. was married, in Kansas, to Miss L. M. Bellamy, of Illinois.

E. C. BOYLE, hardware merchant, was born in Knox County, Ohio, April 29, 1838. In 1852, he came West by himself, and settled in La Crosse, Wis., between the latter town and Prairie du Chien. He spent several years principally pursuing the vocation of buying furs. In 1861, when north of New Ulm, Minn., he was captured by a party of Sioux Indians and held as a subject by them for several weeks. On one occasion he was tied to a stake to be burned; was eventually rescued by a band of Chippewas. On being released, he enlisted in the Forty-eight Wisconsin with the expectation of going in pursuit of the Indians, but was sent South, and served as steward in the hospital at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, until the close of the war. In 1865, Mr. B. came to Kansas, locating temporarily at Lawrence; afterward went to Osage Mission, where he engaged in the hardware business two years, coming from there to Augusta in the spring of 1870. He established the first hardware store, and has been a leader among the business men of Augusta since that date. Officially, Mr. B. is Treasurer of Augusta Township, and has served several terms in the City Council. He is J. W. of the Masonic Lodge, No. 74, Augusta. He was married, in Kansas, to Miss Ella C. Holland.

C. W. BROWN, loan agent. This prominent fellow-citizen is a native of New York, and was born in Jefferson County, May 29, 1836; was educated and reared in the Empire State. In 1868, became a resident of Clarence, Cedar Co., Iowa, where he was engaged in the banking business in company with his brother. George W., for two years. The autumn of 1870, he came to Augusta; from 1871 to 1874, was identified with the banking interests of the town; since that period has been engaged in farming and stock raising, making a specialty of sheep husbandry; his flock in 1883 numbering 5,000. Mr. Brown is an active business man, and has contributed amply toward the development of Augusta. He was married January 10, 1872, at Clarence, Iowa, to Miss Annie McKibbin. They have three children - Maggie, Annie and George.

[Image of G. W. Brown] GEORGE W. BROWN, son of Cyrus and Tamar Brown, was born in LeRaysville Jefferson Co., N. Y., January 23, 1834. At twenty-one years of age, he started out adopting Horace Greeley's advice to young men to "go West and grow up with the country;" first locating for a short time at Shelbyville, Ill., and then going to Whitesides County, where he remained for three years, learning and working at the carpenter's trade. In January, 1858, he returned to New York, and was married to Miss Mary J. Weaver, a resident of Hammond, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., and moved West the following spring, and stopped for one year in Ogle County, Ill., where he carried on the building business. In the spring of the next year, he removed to Rockbridge, Greene Co., Ill., where he remained until the fall of 1868, in the contracting and building business. Having by economy and industry accumulated enough to embark in some other business, in the fall of that year he removed to Clarence, Cedar Co., Iowa, where he started in the banking business, in December, 1868. He only remained in Clarence until July, 1870, when he sold out and again started on a tour to a newer country, traveling by wagon, and camping out through Iowa, Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, and in October, arrived in Butler County, Kan., and located at Augusta. The town was new, and the county just commencing to settle up. In December of that year, he built the largest frame building ever built in Augusta, known as Brown's Block, on State street, and again engaged in the banking business, being the second banking establishment in the county. He continued business in a small wooden building adjoining Brown's Block, until the summer of 1880, when he built a very fine banking house in connection with the Opera Block, that was built in that year. His present banking house will compare favorably with any house in the State. Mr. B. has been connected with the development of the town from its infancy, and has served several terms in the City Council, and has served for six years as Treasurer of the School Board, in which time they have erected a very fine schoolhouse, in which he took great pride. He has always been an ardent supporter of the temperance cause, but is not a member of any church organization. He has only one child, a son - Warren E. Brown, born November 26, 1865.

M. R. BRUCE, M. D., is a native of Tennessee and was born in Sumner County, November 9, 1834. At an early age he remove to Keokuk, Iowa, where he was educated and reared, graduating in medicine in the State University at Keokuk. He engaged in the practice of his profession in Lancaster, Mo., continuing there for twenty years. At the breaking out of the war he was one of the first to respond to the Union call, and was enrolled as First Lieutenant, in which capacity and as Adjutant he served in three regiments. Was mustered out of the forty-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry at close of war. In Missouri, 1866, the Doctor was commissioned by Gov. Fletcher, Supervisor of Registration, of Schuyler County, for reconstructing the State purposes. He was married at Bevier, Mo. to Miss Maggie I. Taylor. They have three children - Edmond E., Pearl W. and Bertram T. Mrs. Bruce's death occurred in Missouri. His present wife was formerly Miss Josie I. Brush. They have one son - Erle. In the spring of 1878, with his family, he case to Augusta, Kan., engaging in the drug trade in connection with practicing medicine. He is a member of the Masonic Order and the G. A. R., and commands a company of Militia in Second Regiment.

A. A. BURGE, farmer and stock raiser, Section 28, P. O. Augusta, is a native of Illinois and was born in Lake County, October &, 1845; in 1864 enlisted in the Ninety-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving until the close of the war. He came to Butler County, Kan., in 1868, locating where he now resides. He was married in Kansas to Miss M. E. Aldrich. They have two children - Benjamin and Cora. Mr. B. is a member of the Masonic Order.

JOSEPH CARR, farmer and stock raiser, Section 24, P. O. Augusta, located where he now resides the spring of 1871, and there are few if any that have done more in the way of agricultural development for Augusta Township than Mr. C. He is a native of Pennsylvania; was born in Indiana County September 24, 1812. Was educated and resided in native State until coming to Kansas. Was married in Pennsylvania to Miss Margaret McQuistan. They have one son - Alfred A. They have an adopted daughter - Melia.

J. B. CLARK, farmer and stock raiser, Section 21, P. O. Augusta, is a native of Indiana, and was born in Marion County, September 17, 1824. After attaining his majority he removed to Wisconsin and later to Iowa, being among the pioneers of Clayton and Allamakee counties. From Iowa moved to Olmsted County, Minn., where he resided a number of years. During the Rebellion was a soldier in the First Minnesota Mounted Rangers, being on duty in that State. In 1866 he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides the spring of 1867, being among the first in these parts. Since that time Mr. C. has been one of the most enterprising and active farmers in Butler County, and has been eminently successful. He was married in Iowa to Miss Mary J. Fettermann. They have one daughter - Ida D.

GEORGE CLOUSE, farmer and stock raiser, Section 31, P. O. Augusta, is a native of Alsace, France, and was born in 1821. Came to the United States in 1840, locating in New York State, where he was married to Miss Magdeline Walters. They have seven children - Caroline, George Jr., Michael, Henry, John C., Louisa and Mary. Mr. C. came to Kansas with his family, locating where he now resides in 1871.

A. ETTENSON, merchant, is a native of Poland, and was born October 15, 1840. In 1862, he came to the United States, residing in Leavenworth, Kan., and different points of Colorado and Liberty, Mo., until the spring of 1871, when he came to Augusta. Mr. Ettenson was one of the first in the town and has been continually identified with its interests, being one of the solid merchants of the town. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and charter member of the lodge in Augusta. He was married October 12, 1866, in Leavenworth, to Miss Bitterman, of Bohemia. They have five children - Abraham, Charles, Marks, Esther and Solomon.

DENNIS FITZPATRICK, farmer and stock raiser, Section 19, P. O. Augusta, is a native of New York State, and was born January 3, 1842. When young he came to Cook County, Ill., with his parents, where he was reared and educated. In 1861, he enlisted in the Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving until October 5, 1865. For eight months was a prisoner, the greater portion of the time at Macon, Ga., and Libby. He served principally in the department of the Tennessee in the Seventeenth Army Corps. Later in the war he was transferred to the Thirteenth Army Corps. Upon being discharged he returned to Illinois, taking up his abode in Chicago, where for twelve years he was on the police force; six years of the time was Sergeant and had charge of the Twenty-Second Street Station. In 1877, Mr. F. came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. He was married December 23, 1865, in Chicago, to Miss Bridget Coughlin. They have eight children - Dennis, Jr., Luke, Catharine, James, Ellen, Mary, Teresa and William. Mr. Fitzpatrick is one of Butler County's progressive citizens.

DANIEL W. FRIEND, grocer, was born in Somerset County, Pa., April 15th, 1838. In 1861, he came to Brunswick, Mo., residing until 1863, when he settled in Indiana. He became a resident of Kansas in the fall of 1870, being one of the farmers of Walnut Township, Butler County. He was the first Postmaster in Walnut City, and sold goods there for over three years. For the past few years has been the leading merchant of Augusta. Mr. Friend was married in Missouri, in 1863, to Miss Susan M. Mauzey. They have one daughter, Ida B., now Mrs. E. H. Gardner. Mr. Friend is a member of the I. O. O. F.

[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]