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


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


In the southeastern part of Chautauqua County, in the valley of Middle Caney Creek, lies the village of Peru.

The existence of the place takes date July, 1870. The land upon which was entered by a town company composed of E. R. Cutler, L. Blanchard, D. B. Teeny, C. A. Zinglefiled, Patrick Looby and John Lee and others, comprising in all ten shares of $100 each. The entry was made upon a full quarter-section, but a part of this was contested by A. Johnston, who succeeded in establishing his right to forty acres of it, leaving the town company only 120 acres. But forty acres of this was sold in order to get money to deed the balance, and the site was then cut down to eighty acres. Later, two tracts, one of twenty acres and the other of fifteen, were taken off from this, thus leaving a tract of forty-five acres, which measures the area of the present town site.

The first structure erected upon the site was a log house belonging to F. F. Spurlock, in which he placed a stock of general merchandise in 1869. He was followed by David Clark, who began business in the same line the next spring. During the same year, H. Brown built a small frame house, in the front porch o which he kept a saloon, and a hotel in the rear.

A hotel of respectable size was soon afterward built by a man named Crow, and the house was familiarly known as the "Crow House" or "Crow's Nest." In October, 1870, J. S. Cunningham and C. H. Inglefield established a hardware business as a branch from the house of W. T. Cunningham & Company, of Oswego, Kan., which continued as a branch business until May, 1872, when Inglefield severed his relation with the firm and purchased the entire business at this place.

About the sam e time, H. C. Draper began the grocery business as a branch of an Oswego house, and in September, 1871, sold out to F. Thomas, who has since added boots and shoes to the stock.

Several business establishments were begun during 1870. Besides those already named, there was a grocery house by L . R Close, a general store by N. N. Smith and a similar business by J. Sheldon. James Alford started a saloon, as did also L. Stauffer.

The society at this time was very much disorganized, and a good many rough characters abounded in the vicinity. Drunkenness was looked upon as a matter of course, and post mortem examinations were a common thing. A grave-yard was started as a "potter's field, " in which the unfortunates found a final resting-place. Out of nine persons who were the first buried in the spot, seven "died with their boots on."

The post office was established here in the summer of 1870, and David Clerk held the appointment as Postmaster. At this time there was no Government mail line, and the citizens were compelled to "chip in" and hire some one to ride to Independence for the mails. The office was first kept in Clark's store-house, a small frame which he had built for merchandising purposes. After about a year, Clark was succeeded in the office by A. E. Line, who in about two years gave way to S. D. Moore, and he in turn was succeeded by the present incumbent, A. B. Garlinghous.

The first school was taught in the place in 1870, by a man named Ward, a sort of Baptist preacher. The school was raised upon subscription, there being no regularly organized district. A school building was erected in the Spring of 1872, for the building of which the district voted bonds to the amount of $2,000. The district was organized in the fall of 1871. The house was a frame one, 24x50 feet in its dimensions, finished with belfry and bell. In June, 1879, a light tornado swept across the town, and the schoolhouse was one among several buildings that was dilapidated by the storm. The house, however, was at once rebuilt, for which the district voted bonds a second time to the amount of $1,000.

The earliest divine ministrations were held in the town in 1871, by Father Records, and the services were conducted in the second story of a building, the first of which was in use at the time as a saloon. The congregation organized in 1872, but being extremely weak soon fell through, and has not since revived. A congregation of the Christian denomination became organized as church in 1870, and is in a healthy condition. The body began the erection of a church building in the spring of 1882.

The only secret order in the town is that of Peru Lodge, No. 106, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. This society was instituted in 1873, with six charter members, as follows: E. Hayden, A. Howden, N. N. Smith, J. K. Slaughter, James Sprague, and Joseph Baker. During the night of its institution, the order took in thirteen members, which has since liberally increased and at the present there are thirty-five. The present officers of the lodge are R. M . Hartzell, Noble Grand; G.. M. Stearns, Vice Grand; C. H. Inglefield, Secretary; F. Thomae, Treasurer; J. W. Morrison, Past Grand. The financial standing of the lodge is excellent, having $1,00 in the treasury. It has also become supplied with a building for lodge purposes.

A water and steam flouring mill was erected in 1874, by A. Norris, since deceased. The mill is now owed by his son, P. M. Norris. The establishment contains three runs of buhrs; two for wheat and one for corn, the whole costing when completed about $8,000.

At the election for the location of a county seat for Howard County in 1871, Peru became the favored spot, and the seat of government for the county was taken from Elk Falls to this place. in this, as in all new countries, the county seat means the best town in the county, and in consequence all eyes became directed toward Peru. Building became brisk and the growth of the town was extremely rapid. Everything now pointed to its future importance and greatness. But the greatest prosperity is sometimes overtaken by adversity, and so was it to be with Peru; so long as she retained he seat of government she enjoyed gratifying prosperity; but the day of removal was at hand, and by an election by the people in 1873, the county seat was returned to its former place at Elk Falls. The scene of commotion was changed. Like a nomadic tribe the people of the town

 "Folded their tents like the Arabs"
 And swiftly sped away -
halting again at Elk Falls, where the county seat was unloaded. With this misfortune, Peru at once fell to decay, the glitter of her prospects became corroded, and in the changes of a day she lost that prestige which she has never since been able to recover. But Peru, although unimportant as a town, is a good trading point, and with its surroundings is destined to witness a moderate growth and prosperity. The place now contains a population of 250, and eight good business houses. A newspaper was established in the town in November, 1875, by S. P. Moore & Son, which continued in operation for several years, and then suspended issue. There is no newspaper now published in the town.


SAMUEL M. DYER, farmer, P. O. Medicine Lodge, Barber Co., Kan., was born in Guilford County, N. C., in 1814. When four years of age, his parents located in Monroe County, Ind. In 1830, the subject of this sketch settled in LaFayette, Tippecanoe Co., Ind., and learned the tinner trade; then for a year or two was in different parts of the State and in the South, after which he located in Clay County, Ind., and remained there until 1844. Thence to Greencastle, Putnam County until 1851, when he emigrated to Iowa, locating in Polk County, and engaged in farming. In 1855, was elected Treasurer of Polk County, and served four years and five months. In 1869, he settled in Jasper County, Mo., and 1870 came to Kansas, and located some claims in what was supposed to be Howard County, and laid out nearly $1,000 in improvements, etc., but when the survey of the south line of Kansas was made, he found he was in the Indian Territory, and he was obliged to leave his land and improvements, receiving nothing for his lost. He then located some land in Belleville Township, on Section 15, Howard County, and secured a farm of 257 acres, which he lived upon and improved. Mr. Dyer was one of the pioneers of the county, and when he settled was eighty miles from a railroad, and had to go eighty-five miles for his mail. In 1839, he was married to Miss Mary E. Gilerech, of Owen County, Ind. They have eleven children -- J. V. B., E. B., W. F., H. J., Viretta H., Samuel M., Jr., William F., Oscar F., T. B., Rebecca J. and Sarah E.

J. P. FINDLEY, farmer, P. O. Chautauqua Springs, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, in 1832, and was raised and lived there until 1855. Thence moved to Mercer County, Ill., and remained there until 1870, when he emigrated to Kansas, locating in Howard County, and took a claim before the land was surveyed. The nearest point on a railroad was about eighty miles, and for a time he had to go that distance for all supplies, and there were but very few settlers. His claim is on Section 10, Township 35, Range 11. He has 200 acres, watered by two fine springs, which furnish plenty of water; has 100 acres of timber and 50 acres under cultivation, 90 acres fenced, 4 acres of orchard, in fine condition and with a full variety. The place is well stocked with 40 head of cattle, a number of horses and other stock. Mr. Findley has been very successful, and has a choice place now, three-fourths of a mile from Chautauqua Springs. He was married in 1856, at Wapello, Iowa, to Miss Sarah Wilson. They have seven children -- Annie May, Lillie J., Maggie W., Amelia, Bruce, Ray, and Ed. He is a member of the United Brethren Church.

F. C. HATCH, farmer, P. O. Peru, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1843; he emigrated to America in 1845, his parents locating in Onondaga, N. Y., where the subject of this sketch was raised and lived until 1854. He then enlisted in the Second New York Cavalry, serving one year. He was in a number of battles, and was wounded at the battle of Cedar Creek. He then emigrated West, stopping in Iowa and Missouri a short time, and reached Kansas in 1871, and located a claim in Howard, now Chautauqua County, on Section 16, Township 34, Range 12, on the Caney River. He has a fine farm of 120 acres, all under cultivation, and has one of the largest and best cultivated orchards in the county, consisting of thirty acres. He has sixty-four varieties of apples and a full variety of other fruits, and is making a speciality of raising fruit for market. Mr. Hatch is also engaged in raising stock, and has fifty head of cattle. He has a farm of the best bottom land, situated one-half mile from the town of Peru. He has a good stone house, stables, and an abundance of water furnished by the Caney River. In 1873, he was married to Miss Corrina Norris, of Cedar Falls, Iowa. They had two children. In 1876, his wife died, and he was married again in 1877, to Mrs. Severns. They have two children -- Freddie J. and Clara. Mr. Hatch is a member of Stone River Post, No. 74, G.A.R., and a member of the M. E. Church.

R. I. HILLMAN, merchant, was born in Grant County, Ind., in 1859. When ten years of age, his parents migrated to Iowa, locating in Fayette County, remaining there three years. Then back to Indiana, remaining there until 1877, and was engaged in running an engine. Coming from there to Kansas, he located at Peru, he engaged in farming. In the winter of 1882, formed a copartnership with Dr. Sipple, under the firm name of Sipple & Hillman, and put in a fine line of drugs. They have a large and complete stock of goods, and their trade is increasing very rapidly. Mr. Hillman is a young man of energy and business qualities, and has many friends in and about Peru. Is Deputy Postmaster under Dr. Sipple.

HON., C. H. INGLEFIELD, merchant, was born in Meigs County, Ohio, in 1846. In 1855, he emigrated to Iowa, locating in Knoxville, Marion County, where he remained until the spring of 1864, when he enlisted in the Forty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, receiving his discharge in the fall. In the spring of 1865, he started across the plains with a train, and after reaching the Rocky Mountains engaged in mining. In 1867, he returned to Iowa, and engaged in the dry goods trade at Knoxville. In 1868, he emigrated to Kansas, and located in Oswego, and, in company with W. T. Cunningham, engaged in the hardware business in the spring of 1869. In the fall of 1869, they opened a branch store at Peru, Howard County, and put in the first stock of the kind in the place. In 1872, they dissolved partnership, and Mr. I. located at Peru, conducting the business at that point and became a member of the town company, and was elected President of the same. He also has 100 acres adjoining the town site, on which he has put some valuable improvements. He has fifty acres under cultivation, and has the place fenced in five lots, and has a choice lot of fruit planted, covering some ten acres in all -- 700 apple trees, 160 pear, and a large variety of other fruits, grapes, etc. He has a fine residence, and carries on his farm in connection with his other business. Mr. I. has built up a large trade in his business, and has the first and only stock of hardware in the place. In 1880, he was elected on the Republican ticket to represent his district in the State Legislature. He is one of the leading Republicans in the county, and is a genial gentleman and a thorough business man, enjoying the good will and friendship of all who know him. In, January 1881, he was united in marriage to Miss Estella Bailey, of Marion County, Iowa. They have three children -- Chester, Flora, and Nellie. He is a member of Peru lodge, No. 106, I.O.O.F.

R. F. KINNAMAN, merchant, was born in Madison County, Ind., in 1858. He was brought up on a farm and followed the business until 1877, when emigrated to Kansas, locating in Peru, Chautauqua County, and engaged in farming. In March, 1882, in company with Mr. Hillman, put in a general stock of merchandise at Peru. They have a building 22x40, with storeroom 14x20, well filled with a choice line of goods, carrying the largest and best in the place, and have built up a large trade during the time they have been in business. Mr. K. is one of the most energetic men in the city. Besides his business in Peru, he carries on a farm in Jefferson Township of 160 acres, 100 acres being under cultivation, all fenced, and has plenty of wood and water, good orchard and other improvements. In 1880, he was married to Miss Vina Hillman, of Peru.

P. B. LOOBY, farmer, P. O. Peru, was born in Ireland in 1847. The same year his parents emigrated to America, locating in Ohio, and here the subject of this sketch was raised until seven years of age. Thence went to Illinois, locating in Henderson County. In 1865, he enlisted in the Eighty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was transferred to the Sixty-first, and was discharged in September, 1865. In 1869, he emigrated to Kansas locating in Howard County before the survey was made and the county organized, and was the first settler in Belleville Township. He took a claim on the Caney River, on Sections 16 and 17, Township 34, Range 12. The nearest railroad point was 175 miles, and the country was thoroughly wild. Mr. Looby has a fine farm of 240 acres, all fenced excepting twenty-five acres; has thirty acres of fine timber; 140 acres under cultivation and about seven acres of orchards; a good frame house, 16x26, with wing 14x16, and the place is well watered, making a fine stock farm. He has it stocked with seventy head of cattle and eighty head of hogs and a number of horses. Mr. Looby has a host of friends, and has been very successful, as he is a thorough business man. He was married in 1872, to M. D. Kennedy, of Belleville Township. They have one daughter -- Winnie. He is a member of Stone River Post, No. 74, G.A.R.

J. H. SAMS, merchant, was born in Logan County, Ill., in 1856, remaining there until he was twelve years of age, emigrated from there to Kansas in 1868, locating in Howard County, before the survey organization of the county. His parents were among the very first settlers in Belleville Township, and at that time the nearest railroad point was 175 miles distant. His father took a claim near Peru, and he, the subject of this sketch, remained helping his father improve the farm until twenty-one years of age. He then engaged in farming for himself until 1882, when he bought a stock of drugs and engaged in that business at Peru, where he has a large trade. He carries a complete stock of drugs and notions, and has his store nicely arranged. In 1881, he was married to Miss N. E. Stevens, of Peru. They have one son -- Orie.

C. B. SIPPLE, M. D., was born in Delaware in 1851. In 1853, his parents emigrated to Michigan, locating at Niles, where he remained until 1864. Thence to Iowa, locating at Hamburg, Fremont County, and read medicine a part of the time until 1869, when he attended the medical department of the State University at Ann Arbor, Mich., until 1873. In the winter of 1874 - 75, he attended the St. Louis Medical College, and graduated in the spring of 1875. He then came to Kansas, and commenced the practice of medicine in Peru, and also engaged in the drug trade. Since his settlement here he returned to Iowa, thence to Michigan, and for a time was in Chicago, engaged in the practice of his profession. He then returned to Peru, where he again resumed the practice of medicine. In the winter of 1882, in company with I. Hillman, he put in a fine stock of drugs at Peru. They are having a large trade, and the Doctor is doing a large business in his practice. In the spring of 1883, he was appointed Postmaster. He was married in 1880, at Independence, Kan., to Miss Della Closson, of Chautauqua County. They have one daughter - Barbara. He is a member of Sedan Cornet Band, and is the examining physician of Chautauqua County for the Government.

J. D. STEVENS, M. D., was born in Harrison County, Ind., in 1836. In 1860, he emigrated to Vincennes, Knox Co., Ind., where he remained about five years, and commenced the study of medicine, finishing his course at the Miami Medical College, of Cincinnati, in 1867. He then located at Russellville, Lawrence Co., Ill., and began the practice of medicine. In 1874, he returned to Indiana, locating in Davis County. At the end of two years, he emigrated to Kansas, locating at Peru, where he has since been engaged in the practice of his profession, meeting with good success. He was married in 1856, to Miss M. A. Johnson, of Indiana. They were blessed with eight children, seven of whom are living -- Thomas A., Nancy E., Dora K., J. C., Abbie A., Mattie M., Edgar M., the seventh child, and Maggie A. In 1878, his wife died, and he married again in 1879 to Miss Mary D. Jackson, of Topeka, Kan. He is a member of Peru Lodge, No. 106, I.O.O.F.

F. THOMAE, merchant, was born in Saxen, Germany, in 1844. He was brought up there, learning the locksmith's trade, which he followed until 1866, when he emigrated to America, remaining about eight months in the State of Indiana. Thence went to Hancock County, Ohio, where he remained four years, and was employed as a salesman. In 1870, he emigrated to Kansas, locating in Howard County, and located a claim on Section 24, Township 34, Range 12. He was eighty-five miles from a railroad, and for six weeks during the first year had no mail, and then finally hired a man to take the mail through to the nearest post office. In the fall of 1871, he sold his place and put in the first stock of groceries and queensware in Peru, which business he has carried on since. He has added boots and shoes and built up a large trade, and is one of the best business men in the place, understanding the details of trade thoroughly. In December, 1882, he was married to Miss S. Sawyer, of Texas. He is a member of the Masonic order, and of Peru Lodge, No. 106, I.O.O.F.


This little city sprang into existence August 10, 1881. The presence of mineral springs, highly celebrated for the medical properties of the waters, was the chief incentive to its starting.

The place is situated in the south part of Chautauqua County, about eight miles south of the city of Sedan, and one mile from the picturesque Indian Territory. Its surroundings are beautiful, lying as it doses on the brink of a small rocky canon, a branch of Turkey Creek, from which stream it is a short distance. The landscape is interestingly diversified with hill, canon and rocky cliff, and is covered with a dense growth of shrub and timber. The city lies in the midst of a grove of forest trees, much of the timber being allowed to remain, giving it the appearance of a city in the woods.

The first house erected on the site belonged to B. F. Bennett, which he used for a drug store. Following this, during the fall, and in almost consecutive order, was the establishment of a dry goods house, by T. J. Johnston, a livery barn by F. M. Fairbanks, dry goods store by Thomas Bryant, a grocery and provision store by Bennett & Binns, and a drug store by George Edwards. In February, 1882, "Dick" Foster opened a stock of hardware, which he sold to W. Williams, in September of the same year. About the same time C. C. Purcell began the drug business. A grocery store belonging to James Randall was opened in October 1881, and about the same time Mrs. Bush started a millinery establishment. James Sipples opened a dry goods store in August, 1882. Besides these, there are also two livery barns, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, and a saw mill belonging to James Allreid, who began the business in December, 1881.

The first hotel was built by a man named Castleberry, who ran it about six months, and after changing hands several times, it is still used as a hotel, of which there are now three in the city. Two of these, the Ginn and Meeks houses, are small affairs; but the other, the Eagle Hotel erected in June, 1882, by James Ferguson, is the finest public house in the county. It is a large two-story stone structure, seventy feet long and forty feet wide, containing twenty-five rooms, having accommodations for about sixty guests. The house is constructed with long verandas on two sides, and on either floor. It stands on the slope of the canon, a few steps from the springs, and overlooks the deeper canon of Turkey Creek, and the beautifully timbered hills, stretching far away in the smoky distance, into the Indian Territory.

The original town site comprised eighty acres, one-half of which belonged to Dr. G. W. Woolsey, and the other half to Dr. T. J. Dunn to which additions of forty acres each were made by J. C. Kiles, Binns and B. F. Bennett, making a total in the town site of 200 acres. The place was incorporated as a city of the third class in February, 1882, and Thomas Bryant was elected Mayor; S. Booth, Clerk; I. H. Wilson, Treasurer; B. F. Atkinson, Marshall, and M. O. Shoupp, N. M. Lee, F. A. Fairbanks, E. Moore and S. Cheny, Councilmen.

At the regular city election held in April 1882, E. P. Moore was chosen Mayor; S. Booth, Clerk; I. H. Wilson, Treasurer, and F. A. Fairbanks, M. O. Shoupp, N. M. Lee, S. Cheny and C. E. Moore, Councilmen.

The educational advantages of the city are in common with those of the country district within which it is included, the district having been organized and the house built in 1880. It is situated outside of the city limits, a short distance. Religious services are held at periodical times by the Baptist, Methodist, United Brethren and Church of Christ denominations in the schoolhouse, there being no regular church building provided.

The press has only a brief history at the place, only one attempt at journalism having been made. This was the establishment of the paper called the Chautauqua Springs Spy, on May 19, 1882, by C. E. Moore and L. G. B. McPheron, and is a seven-column folio, independent in politics, and has a circulation of 350 copies.


The main attraction in the city and the cause which gave rise to its building, is the presence of the mineral springs. These springs are highly valued on account of the medical properties contained in the waters, which are regarded invaluable in the cure of a variety of chronic sores and other diseases. The curative properties of these waters are known, not only through medical and chemical analysis, but are also attested by the apparently miraculous cures effected by their experimental use and application in many instances.

The discovery of these springs was made in 1873, by Dr. Minna, a physician who practiced in the vicinity at that time. It was his custom, when riding by, to drink of the water, and although recognizing the presence of mineral taste in them, yet made no further analysis. His belief during all this time, however, was that possibly, there were in these same waters medical ingredients that might prove valuable in the healing of diseases. In the latter years of his life the Doctor was afflicted with dropsy, and for a long time was under the treatment of medical skill, which he derived little benefit.

Finally the physicians gave up the case as incurable, and the old Doctor turning to the scriptural injunction of "Physician heal thyself," concluded, as a last hope, to try the waters which he had discovered. A quantity of the water was brought, of which he made frequent use and application, and from which he believed himself to experience much benefit. But the old man had too long been weighed down with the wasting disease, and the "treatment of physicians," to ever hope to regain health from any cause, and at length passed away, leaving, as a testimonial, his belief that had he begun the use of the water in time, he would have succeeded in removing the disease, and been restored to health.

Nothing was done toward making further test of these mineral springs until opened by Dr. G. W. Woolsey in August, 1880. The spring is neatly and substantially walled up, and is constructed with a large basin for holding the water, the whole being covered by a commodious spring house, tastefully built paved with flag rock, and conveniently seated with benches. An analysis of the waters was made by practical chemists of some note, of the cities of St. Joseph and Kansas City, showing the water to contain, in different proportions, iron, potassium, salts and magnetic gas.

While excavating the earth, in opening up the spring, the workmen struck upon rocks, standing upright, and arranged in a sort of basin shape, presenting evidence that it had been the handiwork of man, and giving rise to the theory that perhaps one day these waters were known to some Indian tribe, who made use of them in their primitive way, for the curing of disease.

The curative properties of these springs is as yet but little known, and it is safe to predict that when their efficacy shall become known to the world, and a thorough test is made, hundreds will flock in to partake of the benefits of the healing fountain.

The city as yet presents an appearance of newness, the most of the houses being unpainted and scattered.

The population of the town at this time numbers about 300, to which addition is being made by the incoming of settlers almost constantly.

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