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


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


The first Territorial Legislature, at its session at the Shawnee Mission in the summer of 1855, chartered the South Kansas Railroad Company. The road was to commence at the boundary line between Missouri and Kansas, directly west of Springfield, Mo., and run to the west line of the territory, so as to extend the southern branch of the Pacific Railroad in the direction of California. This road, if built, would necessarily have run through the centre of Coffey County. During that same session of the Territorial Legislature a charter was granted to the "Central Railroad Company of Kansas Territory," the road of which was to commence at Roseport, opposite of St. Joseph, Mo., and run southwest to Lecompton, and from thence southward via the Neosho valley, in the direction of Galveston Bay. These were the two first railroads chartered that proposed running through Coffey County. February 12, 1858, the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad Company was chartered by the Territorial Legislature. This road was to commence at Leavenworth and run to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, via Lawrence and Minneola, with a branch commencing at the crossing of Deer Creek, in Allen County, and running from thence up the Neosho valley to Fort Riley. This company was organized December 10, 1857, at Leavenworth, and Dr. J. B. Chapman was its first president. Burlington was the headquarters of the Neosho valley branch, and a preliminary survey of this entire branch was made during the summer of 1858, and some grading was also done on the road in Coffey County that year, to save the charter. This was the first railroad work ever done in Coffey County. June 14, 1858, the Jefferson City & Neosho Valley Railroad Company was chartered. This company was authorized to construct a railroad through the counties of Linn, Anderson, Coffey and Breckinridge, in the Territory of Kansas, beginning at a point on the Missouri State line to be determined by the company, and to continue the Osage Valley & Southern Kansas Railroad, chartered by the Missouri Legislature and approved November, 1857, and running thence westward ninety miles, via Moneka, in Linn County, Hyatt, in Anderson County, Hampden and Ottumwa, in Coffey County, to Emporia, in Breckinridge County. The first Directors were Josiah Lamb, John O. Wattles, Augustus Wattles, R. Gilpatrick, W. F. M. Arny, W. L. Webster, Moses E. Grimes, W. A. Ela, John T. Cox, G. W. Brown, E. P. Bancroft, Marcus J. Parrott, and J. W. Denver. The first officers were as follows: W. F. M. Arny, president; E. P. Bancroft, vice president; John T. Cox, secretary; John O. Wattles, treasurer. Meetings in the interest of this road were frequently held at points along the proposed line and the president made visits to Washington to obtain aid from the general government to assist in the work of building the road. The war killed the project. February 5, 1860, the Fort Scott, Neosho & Sante Fe Railroad Company was chartered. The road was to commence at the boundary line between Kansas and Missouri, east of Fort Scott, where the same shall be intersected by the Fort Scott branch of the Tebo and Neosho road and run westerly via Fort Scott, the valley of the Marmaton, to a point in the western or southern boundary of the Territory of Kansas, in the direction of Santa Fe, by the most feasible route. Corporators: William R. Judson, H. T. Wilson, A. G. Osborn, George A. Crawford, C. W. Blair, A. Ellison, B. L. Riggins, J. H. Couch, E. S. Lowman, William R. Griffith, J. A. Smith, John Vetetoe, T. P. Killen, Jesse Parsons, Jr., P. G. D. Morton, J. C. Lambden, G. T. Donaldson, H. Brownson, N. B. Blanton and Isaac Tibbetts. February 27, 1860, was chartered the Olathe and Southern Kansas Railroad Company. The road was to commence at or near Olathe, in Johnson County, and run to some point on the southern boundary of the Territory, via Peoria, Burlington and Chelsea. Corporators: Isaiah Walker, Ed. S. Nash, Alfred Johnson, A. D. Downs, L. S. Cornwell, J. E. Hayes, O. E. Learnard, William P. Overton, Charles G. Keeler, William Donalson, James McGrew, Thomas H. Swoap, P. P. Elder, J. M. Hendry, J. C. Lambden, G. D. Donaldson and P. G. D. Morton. February 27, 1860, was chartered the Western Railroad Company. The road was to connect with the Jefferson City and Neosho Valley Railroad at Hampden, and run southwesterly via Chelsea to the southern boundary of the Territory. Corporators: John J. Sanders, Charles Morse, John Russell, Isaac Sanders, David Grimes, W. A. Ela, John M. Espy, Alva Townsend, H. Brownson, J. C. Lambden, P. G. D. Morton, Perry Woodruff and William Tulk. February 27, 1860, was chartered the State Line, Osawatomie and Fort Union Railroad Company. The road was to commence at some point of Lykins County, and run southwesterly to the south boundary of the Territory, in the direction of Fort Union. Corporators: E. W. Robinson, John B. Schofield, A. Hunt, R. Gilpatrick, W. F. M. Arny, John T. Cox, O. E. Learnard, G. W. Nelson, J. C. Lambden, Dr. Ashmore, Thomas Lindsey, William L. Webster, Penrose Johnston and P. G. D. Morton. February 27, 1860, was chartered the Missouri River, Southern Kansas, Fort Union and Pacific Telegraph Company, which proposed the construction of a telegraph line from Jefferson City, Mo., through Southern Kansas and Fort Union to the Pacific ocean. Corporators: John B. Scott, G. W. Nelson, John T. Cox, W. A. Ela, W. F. M. Arny, D. W. Houston, William Spriggs, William L. Webster, Augustus Wattles, Andrew Stark, R. B. Mitchell, J. B. Huggins, C. S. Lambden, P. G. Barrett, H. Brownson, P. G. D. Morton and G. T. Donaldson. February 27, 1860, was chartered the Topeka and Southern Kansas Railroad Company, which proposed the construction of a road from Topeka to the southern boundary of the State, in the direction of Galveston via Burlingame, Superior, and Ottumwa. Corporators: Loring Farnsworth, John Ritchie, P. C. Schuyler, J. M. Winchell, John T. Cox, Lyman Allen, J. A. Smith and J. D. Carney. The Topeka, Burlington & Verdigris R. R. Co. was chartered July 16, 1869, with the following Board of Directors: S. S. Prouty, J. M. Rankin, Harrison Kelley, P. C. Schuyler, M. M. Murdock, J. Mather Jones, H. J. Gregory, J. A. Coffey, Andrew Akin, T. H. Walker. Corporators: S. S. Prouty, C. K. Holliday, John Guthrie, T. H. Walker and L. C. Wilmarth. This road was to commence at Topeka and run to the south line of the State via Burlington. Coffey County voted to issue bonds to the amount of $150,000 in exchange for stock in this road, and Wilson County voted to issue $200,000. The panic of 1873 killed the enterprise. November 8, 1878, the Kansas City, Burlington & Southwestern Railway and Telegraph Co. was chartered with the following Board of Directors: W. H. Schofield, Joseph P. Hale, Alfred R. Fisk, Charles H. Stone, Henry L. Chandler, Samuel Fisk, Orson Kent, A. B. Schofield, James Houston, E. C. Manning and Edwin Tucker. This road was to commence at Kansas City, Mo., and run through the counties of Johnson, Miami, Franklin, Coffey, Woodson, Wilson, Elk, Chautauqua, Butler, Cowley, Sumner, Harper and Barber, and if necessary through other counties to some point on the south line of the State. None of these roads were constructed. About all of the work that was done on the most of them was in drafting the charters and completing the organizations.

Missouri Pacific Railway, Neosho Division. -- On the 25th of September, 1865, the Union Pacific Railway Company, Southern Branch, was chartered, with the following board of directors: Robert McBratney, James R. McClure, T. S. Huffaker, S. M. Strickler, G. M. Simcock, R. B. Lockwood, E. Goddard, R. H. Abraham, B. B. Maxson, J. H. Watson, G. R. Harper, Peter Harvey, M. M. Baker, John T. Cox, Harrison Kelley, F. W. Potter, John B. Scott, S. S. Prouty, A. V. Coffin, N. S. Goss, Isaac N. Dow, and James Crane. The charter contemplated the construction of a railroad from some point at or near Fort Riley, Kansas, to New Orleans, La., crossing the southern boundary of the State near the Neosho river. November 3, 1865, the directors effected an organization at Emporia by the election of officers as follows: J. H. Watson, president; N. S. Goss, vice-president; S. S. Prouty, secretary; Robert McBratney, corresponding secretary; P. B. Maxson, treasurer. The complete history of this road is given in another part of this work, in the general history of Kansas. Only that portion which affects Coffey County will be mentioned here. Work on the road was commenced at Junction City in the winter of 1868-69, and in January, 1870, the locomotive entered Coffey County. February 22, 1870, the completion of the road to Burlington was celebrated, in a most imposing manner, by an assemblage of thousands of people. A portion of the multitude was an excursion party of six hundred people from Topeka and intervening points, which came on a special train of twelve cars. The entire legislature, including its officers, and also all of the State officers, were of the excursion party. A band of music accompanied the excursionists from Topeka. The party went to Junction City over the Kansas Pacific Railway, and from thence to Burlington over the southern Branch. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was not at that time completed to Emporia. The excursion party, upon its arrival at Burlington at 4 P. M. was greeted at the depot by the thundering of artillery and shouts from two thousand throats. The hungry excursionists were immediately ushered into an immense tabernacle, where dinner was served. In the evening a meeting was held in the Episcopal Church, which was presided over by F. A. Atherly, president of the village. Addresses were made by Gov. Harvey, John R. Goodin, Byron Sherry, T. Dwight Thacher, Judge Kingman and others. The excursionists remained in the village that night and departed at 8 o'clock the next day. There were not as many inhabitants in Burlington at that time, as there were people in the excursion party.

On the 29th of June, 1867, the people of Coffey County voted to subscribe for stock to the amount of $200,000, and to authorize the Board of County Commissioners to issue bonds therefor, (sic) to the Union Pacific Railway Company, Southern Branch. On the 14th of November, 1868, the railway company assigned these bonds and all other franchises which they possessed to the Land Grant Railway & Trust Company, in consideration of an agreement of the said Land Grant Railway & Trust Company to build, equip and operate a railroad from Junction City to the south line of the State. The Land Grant Railway & Trust Company was chartered by the State of Pennsylvania, which was authorized to do business in any State, Territory or Country, except Pennsylvania. It was this company that built and operated the road. In the spring of 1870, when this company demanded the $200,000 of bonds of Coffey County the commissioners refused to deliver them, on the ground that the Land Grant Railway & Trust Company had no legal existence outside of the State of Pennsylvania, which had created the organization. Mandamus proceedings were instituted in the supreme court against the County Commissioners, and at the July term, 1870, the writ of mandamus was refused, the supreme court sustaining the position of the County Commissioners. Coffey County thus evaded the issuance of these bonds.

In 1869 the name of the Union Pacific Railway Company, Southern Branch, was changed to Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company. August 13, 1880, this company was consolidated with the Missouri Pacific system, and that portion of the road between Junction City and Parsons is now known as the Neosho Division of the Missouri Pacific Railway.

Missouri Pacific Railway Company, Arizona Division. -- February 29, 1869, the Paola & Fall River Railroad Company was chartered. The charter provided for the construction of a railroad from Paola to Fall River, via Garnett and Neosho Falls. Subsequently the route was changed, substituting Le Roy for Neosho Falls. A portion of the road bed was graded at an early day, and some townships in Coffey County issued bonds in exchange for stock in the enterprise. Owing to financial embarrassments, the company failed and work on the road was abandoned. January 16, 1879, a charter was granted to the St. Louis, Kansas & Arizona Railway Company, one division of which was to commence at or near a point in the county of Miami, where the eastern boundary line of Kansas was intersected by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, and to run southwesterly through the State via Coffey County. This company purchased the old road bed of the Paola & Fall River Company and completed the road to Le Roy January 11, 1880. August 13, 1880, this road was absorbed by the Missouri Pacific Railway Company, and is now known as the Arizona Division of the Missouri Pacific. July 1, 1880, bonds were issued in exchange for stock in this company, as follows: Avon Township, $2,000; Le Roy Township, $35,180; Le Roy city, $20,866; Spring Creek Township, $16,580; total $74,606.

Ottawa & Burlington Railroad. -- The Kansas City, Burlington & Santa Fe Railway Company was chartered February 4, 1870, with a board of incorporators as follows: John M. Rankin, John T. Cox, L. W. Morey, F. A. Atherly, P. S. Patton, Charles Puffer, Orson Kent, H. L. Jarboe, Job Throckmorton, D. P. Metcalf, J. M. Lane, Theodore C. Bowles, A. M. Blair, Daniel De Ford, James Robb, J. W. Magee and Noah Pixler. The charter provided for the construction of a railroad from Kansas City, Mo., to some point in southwestern Kansas, in the direction of Santa Fe, N. M., via Ottawa, Burlington and Eureka. This road was completed to Burlington April 1, 1878. On the 31st of March, 1877, bonds of Coffey County to the amount of $100,00 were issued to the company in exchange for stock. The completion of the road to Burlington was celebrated in an enthusiastic manner by the citizens of that city. An excursion party from Kansas City, numbering about one hundred people, including the Board of Trade of that city, participated in the celebration. A twelve-pound Parrott gun was burst during the firing of a salute in honor of the excursionists. On the return of the excursion party to Kansas City the next day, they were accompanied by several hundred people from Burlington and neighboring localities. January 17, 1881, this road was sold at Sheriff's sale, at Ottowa, to Alden Speare, Charles S. Tuckerman and Lucius M. Sargent. February 19, 1881, these gentlemen, together with George H. Nettleton, J. S. Ford, J. B. Emmert, Ira Harris, M. E. Jones and John W. De Ford, formed a new corporation for the operation of this road, under the name of Ottawa & Burlington Railroad Company. It is now operated by the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad Company, which is a part of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad system.

Prospective Railroads. -- The St. Louis & Emporia Railway Company was chartered February 2, 1881, with a board of directors as follows: H. C. Cross, C. Hood, William Martindale, Van R. Holmes and L. T. Heritage. The charter authorizes the construction of a road from Emporia to the eastern boundary of Kansas in the direction of St. Louis via the counties of Coffey, Anderson and Linn. Burlington is assured of being a point on this road. The Nebraska, Topeka, Iola & Memphis Railway Company was chartered June 17, 1881, with a board of directors as follows: F. W. Giles, P. G. Noell, T. B. Swett, H. L. Northrup, J. H. Richards, George A. Bowlus, J. D. Hill, Caleb H. Malin and B. F. Hobart. The charter authorizes the construction of a road commencing at some point at or near Topeka and running in a southerly direction through the counties of Shawnee, Osage, Allen, Neosho and Crawford to some point on the east line of Crawford County, in the direction of Memphis, Tenn. January, 1882, Coffey County voted to issue $125,000 in bonds in exchange for stock in this company. The Kansas & Nebraska Central Railway Company was chartered August 1, 1882, with a board of directors as follows: T. L. Wilson, A. M. Ayers, Ira D. Bronson, Loring Farnsworth, J. M. Davies, L. H. Garden and D. H. Horne. The charter authorizes the construction of a road from Fort Scott to Topeka, via Waverly in Coffey County.


When the first call was made for volunteers for the Union army in the late war the men of Coffey County responded promptly. Company G of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry was mostly made up at Ottumwa and Le Roy, and Company E of the same regiment, from about Burlington and vicinity. Many enlisted in the Ninth Kansas Cavalry and other regiments. In September, 1861, nearly every able-bodied man in the county rallied to Fort Lincoln, Bourbon County, in response to a call for aid from Gen. Lane, of the Kansas Brigade, who was expecting an attack by the rebel army that had just defeated Lyon at Wilson's Creek. All of the clothing and camp and garrison equipage that was designed for the First and Second Kansas Regiments, valued at $1,000,000, was in store at Fort Lincoln. Those regiments were at that time with Gen. Sturgis in Missouri, and it was suspected by Gen. Lane that the rebels, after their victory at Springfield, designed seizing the stores that were in transitu from Fort Leavenworth to Sturgis' army for the Kansas regiments. A detachment from the rebel army, under Gen. Rains, did come within a few miles of Fort Scott, where it was met and repulsed by Lane's brigade. The volunteers from Coffey County and other portions of the Neosho Valley defended Fort Lincoln and labored on the earthwork, while Lane and his brigade were at the front. In May, 1862, the First and Second Indian regiments were organized at Le Roy from Refugee Indians. In 1861, Col. W. G. Coffin, of Indiana, had been appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern Superintendency. The headquarters of that superintendency were at Tahlequah, Indian Territory. In the fall of that year he attempted to go to his headquarters with $60,000 in gold for the Cherokee Indians in a Government ambulance, and with a small army escort. From the Osage Mission he was accompanied to Crawford Seminary by Father Schoenmaker, the founder of the Osage Mission. Deeming it unsafe to proceed further, Col. Coffin sent word to John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokees at Tahlequah, that the money for the Cherokees was at Crawford Seminary and could be obtained upon application for it at that place by Mr. Ross. After waiting several days and receiving neither a visit from Mr. Ross or agent, nor any message from him, the Colonel grew uneasy. Upon the urgent request of a scout named Bill Brooks (a nephew of Preston S. Brooks, of South Carolina), the Colonel turned back and went to Washington, and subsequent events proved that his retreat was made none to (sic) soon, as Mr. Ross was scheming to capture the Colonel and money, with the probable intention of appropriating the money to his personal use. During Col. Coffin's absence in Washington several thousand Indians from the Indian Territory, who had been driven from their homes by rebel Indians, took refuge on the Verdigris River, near the present town of Coyville. They arrived there during the months of November and December, 1861. Their leader was Opothleoholo, a Creek, who had fought Jackson in the Creek war in Georgia and who was believed to be over one hundred years old at the time of this exodus. Two or three severe battles were fought in the Indian Territory between these refugees and the rebel Indians. They were accompanied on their march by their squaws and papooses. Their only means of transportation were ponies. Their sufferings were intense, and many died from exposure and hunger.

Col. Coffin having succeeded in securing the removal of his headquarters from Tahlequah to Le Roy, removed the refugees to that place during the winter of 1861-'62. The tribes represented there were Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, Uchee, Quawpaw, Keechi, Southern Shawnee, and Southern Delaware. The refugees numbered about 8,000 souls. In May, 1862, the First and Second Indian Regiments were organized at Le Roy. The field and staff officers were white men, and those of the First Indian Regiment were as follows: Robert W. Furnas (since Governor of Nebraska), Colonel; Stephen H. Wattles, Lieutenant Colonel; William A. Phillips, Major; J. H. Gilpatrick, First Lieutenant and Adjutant; S. S. Prouty, First Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Lieut. Prouty served as Quartermaster until February 28, 1863, when he was relieved by Lieut. John T. Cox, who served until September, 1863. Lieut. Prouty then succeeded Lieut. Cox and filled the position until mustered out, October 12, 1864. John Chess, of Le Roy, was commissioned First Lieutenant and Adjutant May 28, 1863, and served as such until the regiment was mustered out. The field and staff officers of the Second Indian Regiment were as follows: John Ritchie, Colonel; David Corwin, Lieutenant Colonel; M. B. C. Wright, Major; E. W. Robinson, Adjutant; George Huston, Quartermaster; Charles Brown, of Coffey County, First Lieutenant; and Jule C. Cayot, of the same county, was Second Lieutenant in the Third Indian Regiment, which was subsequently organized in the Indian Territory. Most of the teamsters of the First Indian Regiment were citizen employees, and were residents of Coffey County. Charles Puffer, of Burlington, served six months under Lieut. Prouty in the capacity of Quartermaster Sergeant, though he was never mustered into the service. During the campaign in the Indian Territory, during the summer of 1862, over one-half of the soldiers of the First Indian Regiment deserted and returned to Le Roy owing to the want of military discipline. In November of that year Lieut. Prouty was ordered by Gen. Blunt, commanding the army of the frontier, then operating in northwestern Arkansas, to go to Coffey County and make an effort to induce the deserters to return to their command. The Lieutenant, accompanied by Sergt. Puffer and a couple of Indian soldiers, proceeded to Burlington, and there established his headquarters. A supply train, filled with commissary stores and clothing, followed him from Fort Scott. By good tact and management on the part of Lieut. Prouty and his assistants, all of the deserters were soon in camp in Burlington and over a hundred new men enlisted. About six hundred Indian soldiers were encamped at Burlington, with only one white officer to command them. The Lieutenant divided his command into four companies, over which he placed an Indian commissioned officer, supplied his men with clothing, arms and rations, marched his men a distance of two hundred and fifty miles, and delivered them to the regiment at Rhea's Mill, Arkansas, without the desertion of a man. The biggest half of the regiment was with him, and the only white assistant he had was Sergt. Puffer. His command served as an escort to a supply train from Fort Scott to Rhea's Mill. He was absent from his regiment less than two months. Coffey County furnished other officers during the war as follows: O. E. Learnard, Lieutenant Colonel of the First Kansas; W. A. Jenkins, Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifth Kansas; S. R. Harrington, Major of the Fifth Kansas; Harrison Kelley, Captain Company B Fifth Kansas; James S. Hunt, Captain Company E Fifth Kansas; H. N. F. Reed, Captain Company I Ninth Kansas; Clark McKay and George W. S. Bell, Captains Company F Twelfth Kansas; George W. Stevens, First Lieutenant and Commissary Fifth Kansas; James M. Lane, First Lieutenant Company E Fifth Kansas; Ansel D. Brown, First Lieutenant Company F Fifth Kansas; William E. McGinnis, First Lieutenant Company K Fifth Kansas; James M. Heddens, First Lieutenant Company K Fifth Kansas; Charles Cochrane, First Lieutenant Company F Twelfth Kansas; Delos Millier, Second Lieutenant Company H Fifth Kansas; William J. Brewer, Second Lieutenant Company K Fifth Kansas; John M. Singer, Second Lieutenant Company H Ninth Kansas; Allen Crocker, Second Lieutenant Company F Twelfth Kansas. During the Price Raid in October, 1864, the Sixteenth Regiment Kansas State Militia, seven companies of which were of Coffey County, went to the front and did honorable service throughout the campaign. The field and staff officers of the regiment were as follows: F. W. Potter, Colonel; N. S. Goss, Lieutenant Colonel; William B. Perry, Major; S. C. Junkins, First Lieutenant and Adjutant; Orson Kent, First Lieutenant and Quartermaster; William Manson, Surgeon. The line officers of Coffey County were as follows: Company A, Joseph Jenks, Captain; D. H. Holt, First Lieutenant; N. C. Terrill, Second Lieutenant. Company B, A. A. Burr, Captain; George Geisey, First Lieutenant; Theodore O'Leary, Second Lieutenant. Company C, Curtis Phillips, Captain; John Robinson, First Lieutenant; William B. Perry, Second Lieutenant. Company D, James A. Stewart, Captain; Payton Casner, First Lieutenant; Asa Whitney, Second Lieutenant. Company E, Mark McLeese, Captain; J. S. Harrell, First Lieutenant; Joseph Leabo, Second Lieutenant. Company I, John Douglas, Captain; Samuel J. Carter, First Lieutenant; Warren Crandall, Second Lieutenant. Company K, Charles Puffer, Captain; Job Throckmorton, First Lieutenant; Thomas Arnold, Second Lieutenant. During the Price Raid, Lieut. Prouty served on the staff of Maj. Gen. Curtis, who commanded the Army of the Border.

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