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


[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]


The city is situated on Short Creek, in the southeastern part of Cherokee County, on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad. The land upon which the city proper is situated, formerly was owned, as a farm, by J. Nichols. The corporate limits include over 600 acres, and adjoin Galena on the north and west. The entire tract was purchased by the West Joplin Lead & Zinc Company, of which S. L. Cheeney and P. Murphy were the principal members. The purchase was made by the company for mining purposes. The Nichols farm comprised 120 acres, for which he received the sum of $7,000. A portion of this tract was laid off as a site, in the spring of 1877, and the building of a town immediately began, as a rival of Galena. The two places stand within about three-quarters of a mile from each other, on either side of Short Creek. As in the case of Galena, the excitement engendered by the lead discovery, produced an immense inpouring of people, wishing to secure their fortunes in these new fields of mineral wealth. As a natural result, the advancement of the town, both in its population and business, was extremely rapid. Long rows of houses, and blocks of business, went up simultaneously. For a time, a most heated spirit of rivalry was carried on between the two places, each keeping pace with the other, and seeking to excel in the race. The natural advantage was with Galena, since nearly the whole, and by far the richest, of the lead field lay beneath, and in the vicinity of that town. No sooner was this fact discovered, than Galena began to take the lead of Empire City. This change soon began to seriously discomfit the Empire camp, who strove arduously to turn the tide, and save themselves from being entirely absorbed. Every effort to restrain desertion, and to add recruits, was made. For the purpose of preventing business and trade from going to Galena, and to secure the same to themselves, they built a stockade on the north and west sides of Galena, along the line between the two corporations. This stockade, about three-fourths of a mile in length, was made of logs ten or twelve feet long, placed upright by sinking one end in the ground to a depth of about three feet. By means of this, entrance into the town of Galena, from the Empire City side, was effected at great inconvenience, since it would have to be made by going around either end of the stockade. All efforts, however formidable, apparently proved ineffectual. The supremacy of Galena was inevitable, as has since followed.

The population of Empire City, according to the census given in the Assessor's returns in 1882, was 1,054.

Empire City was incorporated as a city of the third class in the spring of 1877, and S. L. Cheeney was elected Mayor. In a few weeks after this, it was made a city of the second class. S. L. Cheeney held the office of Mayor for three years. Following this, the office was filled by G. W. Davis, N. W. Barren, and C. L. McClung.

A post office was established in Empire City in the spring of 1877, soon after the town site was located. J. H. Hadley was commissioned the first Postmaster. The position of Postmaster has since been held by J. Shannon, C. L. McClung and H. McKay.

The first school was taught in Empire City in the winter of 1877-78, by G. W. Harper, Principal, assisted by Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Harvey. The schoolhouse was erected in 1879. It is a one-story frame building, containing three rooms.

The present school population is 319, 146 males and 173 females.

Empire City contains two church organizations, the Presbyterian and Catholic. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1877, and the church house was erected in 1879. It is a small frame building.

The Catholic congregation was organized in 1878. The church building, a small frame, was erected in 1881.

Empire City has but one secret organization. This is the Short Creek Lodge, No. 148, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The Lodge was instituted in 1878, and is in a flourishing condition.

One one attempt toward the publication of a newspaper has been made at tis place. In 1877, Hadley & Murphey established a paper called the Mining Echo. In the fall of the same year, it was purchased by Chatham & Bruffy, who ran it as a daily. Its publication was suspended in a short time, after which Hadley & Murphey took it in charge. It subsequently was taken by Murphey, as sole proprietor, who ran it till 1880, at which time it was permanently suspended.

The business of the city at the present time is rather light, and there seems to be little in prospect for the place in the future.


WILLIAM CAVE, of the firm of Walters & Cave, grocers, was born in Indiana February 21, 1826. He was raised a farmer, and followed that occupation until the age of thirty. In 1862, he enlisted in Company A, Ninety-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered out of service in May, 1865. He then began teaching school in Montgomery County, Ill., and taught until 1876, at which time he was elected Marshal of Litchfield, Ill., and held the office for three years, afterward carrying on the grocery business a short time in Illinois. He came to Galena, Kan., in 1880, and mined about one year. He was burned out twice during 1881 and 1882, losing about $1,000, and owns residence property in Galena. Is a member of the Christian Church, and was married to Miss Margaret Eishelman, of Memphis, Mo., March 5, 1848.

N. B. CHATELLE, book-keeper and paymaster of S. L. Cheney's Crushing and Separating Works, was born in the province of Quebec in 1858. In 1868, he went to Wisconsin with his people, who settled in Janesville, where he was reared and educated. In 1879, he came here, and has been reputably connected with his present industry since. In 1881, December 27, he married Miss Minnie Geade, a native of Germany. They have one daughter. Mr. Chatelle has been clerk of this city, and has been an active worker in the general development of it since coming here.

WILLIAM A. COLLINS, proprietor of the Cherokee Machine Works, was born and reared in Glasgow, Scotland, and was educated to the profession of machinist there. In 1861, and at the age of twenty he came to America, and, after spending a few years in the East in connection with his profession, he accepted a position from the government as Inspector of Milling Machinery in Texas, with which he was reputably connected for ten years. He then came to Joplin, Mo., and accepted the position of master mechanic of the West Joplin Lead & Zinc Company, with which he was connected for six years, after which he entered into business for himself, which he has successfully carried on since. The business is carried on by the firm of Collins & Leckie. They do general machine work, but make a specialty of mining machinery. It aggregates an income of $9,000 a year. Mr. Collins did active service in the late war in Company C, Sixty-ninth New York Infantry, from which he was honorably discharged at the end of the war. He was worked actively in the general development of this city since locating here. Has served as a member of its Councils. He has been an active member of the A., F. & A. M. Society for many years, and a member of the K. of P. Society.

GEORGE W. DAVIS, M. D., was born at Mt. Pleasant, Can., May 22, 1837, and removed with his parents, in 1846, to Jackson City, Mich. Not content with his chances for education, he left home in 1848, and as soon as he could raise money, purchased some law books, also some medical works, and while other boys were spending their time in useless pursuits, he was quietly mastering their mysteries, and after three years' study chose the practice of medicine as his future occupation. He came to Kansas in March, 1856, and located at the Quindaro Ferry, on Cow River, where he resided till June, 1857, when he removed to Bourbon County, Kan., where he resided till October, 1860, and where he commenced the practice of medicine and surgery in August, 1858. In politics, he was Free-State. In October, 1860, he returned to Coldwater, Mich. March 30, 1862, was married, at Union City, to Miss P. E. Roff, of Pennsylvania. In 1863, he removed with his wife to Grand Rapids, Mich., and returned to Kansas in 1868. Stopped with a brother near Olathe, Johnson County, until April, 1869, when he located in Wilson County, where he remained till 1877, when he removed to Empire City, Cherokee County, where he is still engaged in the practice of his profession, enjoying an enviable reputation as a physician and surgeon. The Doctor's experience in Kansas has been varied. He has seen Kansas pass through all its struggles from youth to manhood, where it now stands as a power in this government. He was well acquainted with all the leading characters in Kansas' early history, as Quantrill, Jim Lane, John Brown, James Montgomery, Jennison, etc. He is a member of the Eclectic Medical Association of the State of Kansas, and a member of the A., F. & A. M.; also of the I. O. O. F., both subordinate and encampment.

CARLILE FAULKNER, grocer, was born in Kentucky in 1832. He moved to North Missouri at the age of twenty-two, where he remained four years, and then came to Allen County, Kan., where he resided until 1866 on a farm. He came to Cherokee County in 1866, took up land and improved it, and still owns the same farm. He opened a grocery at Empire City in 1879, which he still carries on. He was married to Miss Elizabeth Tye, of Kentucky, in 1856, and has four children - Drewery T., Susan F., Daniel C., Sarah L.

SAMUEL FINKELSTEIN, mine owner and miner, was born in Poland, Russia. He came to the United States in 1863 and located in Nashville, Tenn., where he was engaged in mercantile business thre (sic) years. He was then in California two years and in Nebraska one year, engaged in mercantile business, being afterward in St. Jo, Mo., one year and in Kansas on a farm five years. He came to Empire City in 1877, where he has since been engaged in mercantile business and mining, owning now fourteen residences and business properties in that city, also a farm in Missouri. He was elected City Councilman in 1878. He was married to Miss Lena Sheller, of Poland, in 1860. They have eight children - Harry, Jacob, Samuel, Abraham, Isaac, Morris, Anna and Rachel. Mr. Finkelstin (sic) is a member of the I. O. O. F.

E. GOEDE, boot and shoe dealer, was born in Germany in 1836 and came to the United States in 1872. He located in Nebraska and remained three years and was then in Joplin two years. In 1877, he went to Short Creek and was elected City Councilman in 1882. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. He was married to Miss Caroline Prime, of Germany, in 1859. They have three children - Otto, Minnie and Earnest.

J. L. HEASLEY, grocer, was born in Pennsylvania in 1831, and followed farming in that State until 1860, when he came West and was employed in freighting across the plains seven years. He then ran a livery stable until 1872, and was then teaming until 1879 in Joplin, Missouri. He then came to Empire City and started store in 1879. He owns a residence and business house in Empire City and is Councilman of said city. He was married to Miss Rachel Veal, of Ohio, in 1857.

CARL L. HENCKEL, ice dealer, was born in Germany, May 4, 1838. He came to America July 1, 1865, and resided in New York one year and in Chicago, Ill., one year, in the bakery business. He then went to Omaha and kept a bakery six months, thence to New Orleans and remained eight months, then back to Omaha and to Fort McPherson, remaining eight months, and from there to Omaha and Kansas City. He then came to Baxter Springs, Kan., then to Joplin, Mo., where he was in the brewing business eighteen months, and was then in Short Creek in the brewing business until July, 1877. He discontinued brewing in 1880 and began the ice business. He as a business in Missouri and owns a brewery and a residence in Empire City. He is a a member of the School Board and of the orders of I. O. O. F., K. of P. and A. O. U. W. He was married to Miss Catharine Schifferdecker, of Baden, in 1875, and has one child - Millie. Was previously married to Miss Emma Bilke, of Saxony, in 1870. Had one child - Herman.

HUGH McKAY, Postmaster, was born in Scotland June 15, 1830. He came to the United States in 1847 and located in Canada, where he remained twenty years as a sheriff, bailiff and constable. In 1869, he came to Kansas and located near Fort Scott and was engaged in merchandising until 1877, when he came to Empire City as a merchant and miner, and now owns forty acres in mining property in the township. He was appointed Postmaster and took charge of the office July 1, 1882, and is Police Judge and Justice of the Peace. Is an Odd Fellow. He was married to Miss Sarah M. Clark, of New York, in March, 1849. They have seven children - Agnes, William, Mary L., Hugh, James E., Albert E. and Ida.

HARRISON McMILLEN, of the firm of Brown & McMillan, mining operators, is a native of Dade County, Mo., where he was reared to the farming an stock-raising industry. In 1872 and at the age of twenty-seven, he began mining operations in Jasper County, Mo., and followed it there till 1878, when he came here and has very successfully carried it on since. Besides his interests already described in J. H. Brown's sketch, he, with Mr. Brown and Mr. Yeager, are active operators on what is known as the Zelligman town lots in lead and zinc mining, and are also extensively interested in gold and silver mining in Colorado. Mr. McMillian also carries on a farm of 240 acres of improved land in Neosho Township, containing about 1,500 fruit trees in full bearing and good buildings on the farm. He has been an active member of the A., F. & A. M. society for several years and a strong supporter of the Methodist Church.

JAMES MURPHY, of the firm of Murphy & Brewster, crushers and separators, and of the firm of Murphy & Smith, mining operators, was born in Monaghan County, Ireland, November 17, 1844, and came to America in 1849 with his people, who settled in Bucks County, Penn., where he was reared and educated. At the age of eighteen, he was made an invalid through a hurt received upon his leg a year previous and which resulted in a running sore, which, after two years of suffering, he had amputated. He had been reared to the agricultural industry, but he now turned his attention to merchandising and carried it on successfully in Washington County, N. Y., till 1876, when he located in Joplin, Mo., and conducted it till 1878, meantime filling the Postmastership of that place. In 1878, he engaged at mining operations and has been very successfully identified with that industry since. December 30, 1869, he married, in Cambridge, Washington Co., N. Y., Miss Rosana Connolly, of his native county. They have a family of one son - John, an three daughters - Maggie, Annie and Josephine. Mr. Murphy has taken a very active interest in the development of this city since locating here. He is the present Treasurer of the city, as also of the Board of Education, and has been active as an official in other capacities.

WILLIAM SMITH, of the firm of Murphy & Smith, mining operators, was born in Leicestershire, England in 1854 (sic), and came to America in 1852 with his people, who settled in Kansas in 1854, where he was reared to farming. In 1863, he enlisted in Company L, Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, and did active service till the end of the war, when he was honorably discharged. After the war, he engaged at the sawmilling business in Wabaunsee and Sedgwick Counties. In 1877, he engaged at mining and has been successfully identified with it since. He was married here in 1879, to Miss Millie A. Taylor, a native of Seneca, Mo. They have two sons - Frederick J. and Albert T. Mr. Smith has worked actively in public life. Served as Sheriff of Sedgwick County, was City Marshall (sic) of Wichita one term and United States Deputy Marshal for five years, from 1870 to 1875, and has been active in many minor official positions.

R. W. VAUGHAN, mining operator, was born in South Carolina in 1838, and was reared in Morgan County, Ala. At the age of eighteen he located in Texas, and engaged at stock raising, which he actively carried on till 1870, when he came to Kansas and located at Baxter Springs, and carried on stock dealing for a few years, after which he took up the present industry, with which he has been extensively connected since. In 1865, he married Miss Mary A. Kountz, a native of Missouri, who departed this life in 1873, and is buried in Joplin Cemetery, Mo., leaving one little girl - Ella. In 1877, he married Miss Martha C. Lee. They have two sons - Romulus Napoleon and Frank. Mr. Vaughan has worked actively in the development of the industrial life of this locality since coming here. He is present County Commissioner of this county, and has served as Councilman of the city of Galena, and has filled many minor official positions. His mining industry gives employment to fifteen skilled workmen, besides steam machinery, etc., and yields an annual income of over $100,000.

J. P. WALTERS, of the firm of Cave & Walters, grocers, was born in Pennsylvania, October 10, 1837. He began manufacturing sand for a glass-house in 1861, and continued five or six years in that business, being afterward in coal business two years. He came to Reno County, Kan., in 1874, remained six months, and then resided in Osage County one year, from whence he came to Empire City and engaged in grocery and mining business. He was married to Miss Agnes Adams, of Pennsylvania, in 1874. They have two children - Frank and Addie.


Crestline is situated eight miles east of Columbus, on the St. Louis & San Francis Railroad, one mile from Shawnee Creek, on level prairie. The first settlement was made in March, 1875, by Henry Wiggins, who named the town after Crestline, Ohio. The post office was established in May, 1875, and Henry Wiggins appointed Postmaster. Through the efforts of the railroad authorities the post office was discontinued in June, 1880; but soon afterward re-established in response to a petition numerously signed by the citizens, and Mr. Higgins re-appointed Postmaster.

The first birth in Crestline was that of Jerome Ewing, January 12, 1876; the first marriage, that of Henry Hallenet to Miss Annie Jones, November 18, 180, and the first death that of Mrs. M. Hart, December 1, 1878. The first school was taught in 1877, by Julius Bridegroom, in a carpenter shop. A schoolhouse was built in 1878.

In 1881, the railroad company proposed to put in a side track and build a depot, if the town would donate land sufficient for the purpose. The donation was gladly made. The town has now a population of about 100, and being surrounded by as fine farming land as there is in Kansas, is insured a prosperous future.


F. P. ADAMS, M. D., Section 18, P. O. Crestline, was born in Virginia November 19, 1823. He was educated at Richmond, Va., and St. Louis, Mo., graduating at St. Louis in 1860 and 1861. He came to Missouri in 1861, remained six months, then went to Tennessee and remained until 1865, then went to Kentucky and remained five years, then to Missouri and remained nine years, and came to Kansas in 1879, locating at Messer, where he remained a short time, and came to Crestline in 1881. He owns real estate in Missouri and has residence and business properties in Crestline. He is a Freemason. He was married to Miss Sallie Ligon, of Virginia in 1850. They have seven children - Virginia B., Ida, F. P., D. C., Lelia Mai, Mamie A. and J. M.

E. W. ALDERSON, farmer, Section 8, P. O. Crestline, was born in Illinois, in 1842. He received a liberal education, and after farming in Illinois one year went to California, and was in butcher business seven years, then returned to Illinois and remained six months, and then to Kansas in 1869. He located on his present farm of 160 acres, which he bought and improved, and now raises grain and stock, with a fine assortment of fruits of all kinds. He is an Odd Fellow, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was Justice of the Peace two years. He was married to Miss M. E. Rafferty, of Illinois, in 1868. They have six children - Annie L., Ada M., Alice J., Alena M., Ama B. and Arthur J.

J. D. FRENCH, farmer, Section 17, P. O. Crestline, was born in Tennessee, in 1836, and lived in his native State, engaged in farming, until 1880, at which time he came to Kansas and located on present farm of 160 acres, which he bought and improved, and is now devoting his energies and time to raising stock and grain and fruits. He is a Freemason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was married to Miss Mary N. McCommon, of Tennessee, in 1861. They have eight children - William M., Samuel M., Eliza J., Martha D., M. O., Barton, Della and Arthur.

JOHN HOFF, dealer in drugs and groceries, was born in Indiana June 19, 1847. He moved from his native town to Illinois, and thence to Missouri in 1867, where he remained until 1876, and came in that year to Kansas, located, and remained on farm one year, and then went into dry goods business in Brownsville, where he staid (sic) two years; then was in Messer in drug business one year, and then went to Crestline and opened present business in 1881. He was also in mining business a short time, and now owns his residence and business properties in Crestline. He was Postmaster three years in Brownsville and Messer, and belongs to the order of I. O. O. F. He was married to Miss Esther Combs, of Missouri, in 1872. They have three children - Joshua, Claudie and Earnest.

ROBERT M. JONES, blacksmith, Section 18, P. O. Crestline, was born in Ohio, in 1836. He received a liberal education, and began work in shop at the age of fourteen, working three years in Ohio, and two in Indiana. He then went to Iowa, and remained until 1861, at which time he joined the army. He was discharged in 1862, and remained in Iowa until 1870, when he came to Kansas. He lived in Cherokee Nation one year, and then came to Cherokee County, Kan., and settled on a farm, where he remained six years. He came to Crestline in 1876, and opened his present shop, going to Montana and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1880, for his health. He owns a residence and business property in Crestline.

E. H. MARSHALL, farmer, Section 18, P. O. Crestline, was born in Kentucky, September 29, 1820. He was raised on a farm, received a liberal school education, and carried on a farm in Kentucky until 1859, being Justice of the Peace in that State for many years. He then came to Kansas and located where he now lives, where he opened and improved a farm of 160 acres, and has since been directing his attention to stock, grain and fruit. He is a member of order of A., F. & A. M. He was married to Miss Martha Snap, of Kentucky, in 1842, who died, leaving seven children. He was again married to Miss Nancy Feebock, of Kentucky, by whom he had two children, and in 1870 he was married to Miss Matilda Douglas, his present wife. They have seven children - E. H., Nancy J., Foster, Herman, Bruce, Arthur, and Mahala (deceased).

C. J. PARKER, farmer, Section 20, P. O. Crestline, was born in State of New York September 1, 1840. He was raised in Illinois, where he received a good education, and began teaching school at the age of seventeen. He taught three years, and then went to Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College, graduating therefrom. Then taught school in Illinois a short time, and then went to the Rocky Mountains and taught school six months. He came to Kansas in 1869, bought a farm and farmed and taught school. He is now running farm and lumber business at Crestline. He has a grain and stock farm, with a fine line of all kinds of fruits. He was Justice of the Peace six years, and is now School Trustee. While in Montana, he was Court Commissioner and Justice of the Peace. He is also a Freemason. He was married to Miss Nancy Edwards, of Kansas, in 1876, and has four children - William B., Jessie, George and Grace.

C. A. VARNUM, merchant, was born in Ohio in 1842. He lived on a farm until the age of thirty, coming to Kansas in 1868. He then clerked in a store at Altoona, Kan., four years; was then in mines in Webb City one year, then came back to Kansas and farmed two years, then went to Messer, and was in a store two years, and then went to Crestline and opened his present business. He is the owner of his residence and business house in Crestline, has been Township Clerk of Crestline two years, and Constable four years, also School Treasurer two years, and railroad agent two years. He was married to Miss Caroline F. Chase, of Iowa, in 1863. They have one child living - Minnie A., Harvey I. (deceased), Mildred A. (deceased).

HENRY WIGGINS, general store, was born in Ohio, in 1842, and was raised on a farm. He enlisted in the army in 1862, for three years, and at expiration of term of service, traveled three years. He came to Kansas in 1869, and located in Crestline on a farm, which he carried on until 1875, when he opened his present business. He laid out the town of Crestline, and succeeded in having a post office located in the place in 1875, of which he is now Postmaster. Mr. W. owns the town site of Crestline.


Weir City is a thriving little town in Mineral Township. It is located on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf railroad, about five miles from the northern boundary of the State. The Chicago Zinc Works were established here in 1872. These works, which the reader will find fully described in the general history of the county, have contributed greatly to the growth and prosperity of this town and vicinity. Weir City had in 1880 a population of nearly 400, and since then its inhabitants have greatly increased in numbers. The business houses do a flourishing trade with the surrounding country.


BENNETT BROWN, Superintendent of Oswego Coal Companies Mines, was born in Scotland August 3, 1850. He came to the United States in 1869, and was connected with coal mines in Ohio two years. He then spent two years in Illinois, after which he returned to Ohio, where he remained until 1876. He then returned to Scotland, remaining until March, 1879. In 1879, he came back to the coal mines in Ohio. He stayed there until 1881, when he went to Colorado and from their to Weir City, as Superintendent of mines. Was married to Miss Mary Kerr, of Scotland in 1874. Have four children living- William, Susan, James, Andrew R. and one Margaret (deceased.)

J. E. EICHELBERGER, of the firm of Eichelberger & Clayton, bakers and confectioners, was born in Ohio October 3, 1853; begin baking at the age of seventeen. He went to Indiana in 1869. In 1882, he came to Kansas and opened business in Weir City. He belongs to Order of Odd Fellows. He was married to Miss Julia Miller, of Indiana, in 1874, and has one child- Guy.

T. M. WEIR, coal dealer and miner, was born in Washington County, Penn., March 2, 1814. He began the boot and shoe business at the age of eighteen; fourteen years later, he opened up a farm in Henry County, Ill., and lived on the same for forty years. He came to Kansas in 1871, and located at Weir City, where he took up 160 acres of coal land. He sold eighty acres, and now owns forty acres of fine coal land, having built Weir City on the other forty acres. He opened mines as soon as he arrived here; he owns and runs a farm of eighty acres; he had the first store in Weir City; had the post office located here, and was in short the founder of the town; he owns seven houses, built by himself; he gave right-of-way to the railroad; he donated lots for the various churches of the town. He was married to Miss Levina Whitmoore, of Ohio, in 1835. They have eight children- Elizabeth B., Coodie, Andrew J., Sarah A., Harvey P., Alice M., Ben, Susie and Edward (deceased).

[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]