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


[TOC] [part 10] [part 8] [Cutler's History]


Arkansas City, the second city of the county, is located on the rolling peninsula between the Arkansas and Walnut Rivers, four miles from the south line of the county and twelve miles south of Winfield, the county seat. It was laid out in 1870, by T. R. Wilson, H. B. and G. H. Norton and others. From its earliest settlement, it has had a very large Indian Territory trade, and grown rapidly having in 1882 a population of 1,356. The name finally adopted is the fourth which has been given the place, Adelphi, Walnut City and Creswell having for a time been in use. The branch of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway reached this point on December 31, 1879, since which time the principal growth of the city has taken place.

The first building on the town site was the log house built by G. H. Norton and now occupied by Mrs. Gray. The second was the little frame next C. R. Sipes' hardware store; the third a frame house occupied as a grocery by L. Goodrich. The first general store was opened in 1870 by G. H. & H. Norton, who bought a stock of goods and began business in their cabin. Sipes about this time began business as did Houghton and McLaughlin. The first drug store was opened by Eddy & Keith; the first hotel by R. Woolsey, who also started a livery stable. H. D. Kellogg was the first physician, W. P. Hackney, the first attorney, and P. Beck the first blacksmith. In the spring of 1870, W. M. Sleeth set up a saw mill near where the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe depot now stands.

A post office was established at this point in April, 1870, and G. H. Norton appointed Postmaster. At that time the office was kept in the old log house which was the first building of the town, and is now occupied by Mrs. Gray. Mr. Norton was succeeded by M. J. Martin, A. D. Keith, M. Scott, W. B. Hughes and J. C. Topliff, the present incumbent, who took charge of the office on December 21, 1880. It was made a money order office in 1872, the first order being issued July 17 to A. D. Keith in favor of Church & Co., of Topeka. The office has been of a decidedly migratory character, and has occupied successively the old log house, the building now used by Bonsall as a photograph studio, the Goff & Milton Block, the Davis building, the Goff & Milton Block a second time, the store of Schiffbauer Brothers, the Harwood building, Chappel & Farrar's and the present room, which is the first which has been the property of the Postmaster.

The order for the incorporation of the city was issued on June 10, 1872, by W. P. Campbell, Judge of the Thirteenth District. An election of officers was held July 2, and resulted in the choice of A. D. Keith, Mayor; Amos Walton, Police Judge; W. F. Benedict, H. Endicott, T. H. McLaughlin, J. I. Mitchell and George McIntire, Councilmen. Since that election, the following mayors have been in office: A. D. Keith, 1873; H. O. Meigs, 1874; S. P. Channell, 1875-76; H. D. Kellogg, 1877; James Benedict, 1878; J. I. Mitchell, 1879; A. J. Chappel, 1880; H. D. Kellogg, 1881; A. A. Newman, 1882. R. J. Pond was City Clerk in 1873, H. P. Standley and I. H. Bonsall in 1874, and the latter to the present time. T. McIntire was Police Judge in 1873-74-75, J. Christian, 1876-77-78-79-80; I. H. Bonsall, 1881-82. The councilmen of 1882 are R. D. Kellogg, O. S. Rarick, James Benedict, V. M. Ayres and J. M. Ware.

The city water works were put in in the spring of 1881. Water is obtained from a spring near town and pumped to a reservoir in the south part of the city, whence it is distributed in the usual manner. A wind mill was at first employed, but failed to give an adequate supply, and steam pumping apparatus was procured. With the growth of the city these works will soon require enlargement, but for the present they are all that is needed.


The first school in the place was taught by T. A. Wilson in 1871; District No. 2 put up its first schoolhouse at a cost of $400, where Fitch & Byron are now located. The present fine school building was erected in 1873 at a cost of $10,000. Mr. Wilson was succeeded by Miss Lizzie Swarts, E. W. Hulse, E. R. Thompson, J. H. Sylvester, O. Phelps and A. T. Atkinson, the present Principal. Six departments are now taught and the school enrollment is over 400. The educational force consists of A. T. Atkinson, Principal; Miss J. Peterson, Miss Margaret J. Burrows, Miss Susie Hunt, Miss Libbie Christian and Miss Anna Norton.

Methodist Episcopal Church. - Creswell Mission was organized in March, 1870, by Rev. B. C. Swarts, a superannuate of the Central Illinois Conference. The first religious services were conducted March 2, at the funeral of J. Polk Rogers, who died from exposure on the Arkansas River. The first membership of the church was ten. In 1873, a parsonage was erected at a cost of $500, and January 6, 1874, the society met in J. C. McMullen's building, and resolved to build a church. Two days later, work was begun on the edifice; nearly completed during 1874. The cost of this building was $3,000. Rev. John Clark was pastor in l874, Rev. L. F. Laverty, in 1879-82, and Rev. I. N. Morehead in 1882. The church now has a membership of 148. A Sabbath school organized at about the same time has an average attendance of sixty, and is in charge of Mr. James Hill.

The United Presbyterian Church was organized in 1872, and for some time supplied by Rev. R. J. Thompson. The first regular pastor of the society was Rev. R. S. McClanahan; who remained until 1881, since which time there has been no pastor. The church membership is now seventy-five. The brick church on Fifth avenue was built in 1874 at a cost of $3,000. A Sabbath school was started in 1874, and now has an average attendance of seventy-five. It is in charge of Dr. R. H. Reed.

The Presbyterian Church of Arkansas City was organized in March 27, 1875, by Rev. S. B. Fleming, who still remains its pastor. Its first membership of twenty-nine has been steadily added to, and the enrollment now foots up 155. The church building erected in 1874 for an Independent Congregational society, which shortly became defunct, was purchased by the Presbyterians for $2,500, and enlarged and improved, making the total cost $4,000.

A Sabbath school was organized in l875, and now has an average attendance of ninety. It is in charge of M. D. Mowry.

The Baptist Church. - In the fall of 1880, Mrs. Coombs and Mrs. Bird called together the Baptists living in and near Arkansas City, but did not collect material enough to effect a church organization. Another attempt was made in 1882, and the society organized, but its membership is too small to support a pastor, and it has only occasional services performed by Rev. J. Cairns, of Winfield.

Crescent Lodge, No. 133, A., F. & A. M., was organized October 16, 1873, with thirteen members and the following officers: O. C. Smith, W. M.; E. B. Cager, S. W.; A. K. Milton, J. W.; C. R. Metcalf, S. D.; L. McLaughlin, J. D.; C. R. Sipes, Treasurer; A. D. Keith, Secretary. The lodge now has a membership of seventy-seven and the following officers: James Ridenour, W. M.; O. S. Rarick, S. W.; C. L. Swartz, J. W.; Charles Hutchins, S. D.; J. C. Pickering, J. D.; F. D. Schiffbauer, Secretary; H. B. Farrar, Treasurer. The lodge meet (sic) on the first and third Saturday of each month in Masonic Hall. This hall is one of the best in this part of the State, and was fitted up by the fraternity at a cost of $800. This has all been paid, and the lodge has something over $200 in the treasury.

Bennett Chapter, No. 41, R. A. M., was organized on October 14, 1879, with a membership of nine and the following officers: S. B. Chambers, H. P.; A. Newman, K.; J. C. Loomis, Scribe. The lodge now numbers fifteen, and has the following officers: J. L. Huey, H. P.; A. A. Newman, K.; L. McLaughlin, Scribe; James Benedict, K. H.; James Ridenour, P. S.; O. P. Houghton, Treasurer; W. D. Morris, Secretary. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall on the first Wednesday on or before each full moon.

Arkansas City Lodge, No. 160, I. O. O. F., was organized on October 15, 1879, with ten members and the following officers: J. H. Griffith, N. G.; F. M. Peak, V. G.; C. M. McIntire, S.; James Ridenour, Treasurer. The lodge now has sixty-four members and the following officers: George Russell, N. G.; J. W. Feagins, V. G.; I. N. Adams, S.; James Ridenour, Treasurer. Meetings are held on Monday of each week in Masonic Hall. The property of the lodge consists of $230 in the treasury and regalia in the value of $100.

Arkansas City Lodge, No. 480 K. of H., was organized on October 15, 1877, with a membership of fifteen, and the following officers: S. P. Channell, D.; J. Benedict, V. D.; O. P. Houghton, A. D.; H. P. Farrar, Treasurer; E. R. Thompson, Reporter; J. L. Huey, F. R.; T. L. Manor, Chaplain. The order now has eighteen members, and the following officers: J. B. Nipp, D.; J. H. Benton, V. D.; O. P. Houghton, A. D.; J. I Henry, Treasurer; J. A. Loomis, Reporter; I. H. Bonsall, F. R.; James Benedict, Chaplain. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

Arkansas City Lodge, No. 89 A. O. U. W., was organized on January 31, 1882, with a membership of forty-three, and the following officers: James Benedict, P. M. W.; S. Rarick, M. W.; A. Dunn, Foreman; J. Sheedon, O.; M. N. Sinnot, R.; W. E. Chenoweth, Treasurer; William Blackeney, Financier. The lodge now has a membership of fifty-five, and the following officers: A. Dunn, M. W.; W. J. Gamel, Foreman; I. H. Bonsall, O.; M. A. Sinnot, R.; C. R. Sipes, T.; William Blakeney (sic), Financier. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall, on Friday of each week. The organization has thus far had but one death.

Crowell Legion, No. 15, Select Knights, A. O. U. W., was organized on May 25, 1882, with a membership of fourteen, and the following officers, who are still in power: M. A. Sinnot, S. C.; I. H. Bonsall, V. C.; O. S. Rarick, L. C.; J. G. Sheldon, Recorder; A. Dunn, R. T.; H. D. Kellogg, Medical Examiner; W. P. Wolfe, Trustee. The present membership is twenty. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Fridays of each month, in Masonic Hall. No deaths have as yet occurred among the Knights.


The Arkansas City Traveler, made its first appearance on August 24, 1870, with M. G. Main as editor, and C. M. Scott, local. On December 15, L. B. Kellogg succeeded Mains (sic), and September 12, 1871, C. M. Scott became sole proprietor. Under his management the paper ran until March, 1878, when it passed into the hands of Dr. Hughes. In March, H. P. Standley and E. Gray took the paper, and a few months later the latter retired, and the business was continued by the senior editor, who still publishes the Traveler. The paper was at first a seven-column folio, but was enlarged May 15, 1881, to the nine-column form in which it now appears. It has always been Republican in politics, is issued Wednesdays, and has a circulation of 700.

The Arkansas Valley Democrat was started in July, 1879, by C. M. McIntire. A year later, T. M. McIntire took charge of the editorial work, the founder of the paper still remaining its business manager and publisher. The paper is an eight-column folio, and, as its name implies, Democratic in politics. It now has a circulation of 700. It is published on Tuesdays.

Cowley County Bank. - This institution was established as a State bank in 1872, and continued to run in this form until 1876, when Sleeth & Farrar bought up its stock, and made it a private bank. Its capital stock is $50,000, and it has besides a neat surplus. Since 1879, it has occupied the present bank building, on the corner, nearly opposite the post office.

Creswell Bank. - This is a private bank, owned by J. L. Huey, but also, in a sense, a branch of a New York house. It began business in September, 1880, and the same year, erected the bank building now in use, at a cost of $2,910. The bank has a capital of $20,000, and a surplus of $4,800.

The Walnut Mill is located on the Walnut River, one and one-quarter miles northeast of the city. It was built in 1872, by A. A. Newman, but has been operated since 1879 by Searing & Mead. It is furnished with four four-foot buhr-stones, and has a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day. Power is furnished by an engine of 80-horse-power and by four Chase water wheels of the same rating. Steam is used when water fails. The cost of the mill was $20,000.

The Canal Mills were built in April, 1882, at a cost of $18,000. The buildings are two in number, one 20 x 36 and two stories in height, and one 30 x 36 and three stories high. They are furnished with four run of buhr-stones and three sets of rolls, and have a daily capacity of 150 barrels of flour. Power is furnished by the canal, which gives a head of twenty feet. This is utilized in a 60-inch turbine wheel, the result being stated at 100-horse-power.

The Spears Mill was built in 1882, by William Spears & Co., at a cost of $8,000. The mill building is of stone, 36 x 40 feet, and has two stories and a basement. It is furnished with four run of buhr-stones, giving a daily product of seventy-five barrels of flour. Power is furnished by a 40-inch Leffel turbine, under a head of twenty-two feet.

The Canal Company was organized January 12, 1881, with a capital of $50,000, which was all paid in. The members of the company are James Hill, R. C. Haywood, W. M. Sleeth, A. A. Newman and S. Matlock. The purpose of the company was to build a canal from the Arkansas to the Walnut River, and thereby gain power for milling and other purposes. A dam 900 feet in length was built across the Arkansas, and the canal, which runs near Arkansas City, completed to the Walnut. The fall from the entrance to the mouth is twenty-two feet and the horse-power obtained 700. Already two mills have been erected on the canal, and other industries will undoubtedly soon be supplied from it.


V. M. AYRES, proprietor of the Canal Mill, was born in Connecticut in 1822, son of William and Ann Ayres. At the age of sixteen, went with his parents to Henry County, Ill., where he was engaged in various pursuits until 1858, when he engaged in milling until 1870. He came to Kansas in 1881, and built the Canal Mill. The building is 36 x 50 feet, three stories with basement. It is furnished with modern improvements for flour-making. It has five run of stone and three sets of rolls. The capacity of it is 125 barrels per day. His mill is on the canal a short distance from the Walnut River. He is also engaged in shipping grain and raising hogs; he has now about 500 head on hand. He was married in 1842 to Miss Eliza T. Moore, daughter of John and Deborah Moore. His wife has borne him seven children, six of whom survive - Mary M., A. J., Clarence M., Allen D., Annie E. and Mabel E. He is a member of the Regular Baptist Church. A. D., who is interested with him in the milling business, was born in Henry County, Ill., in 1852. He was married in 1875, to Miss Carrie C. Hagin, daughter of J. B. and Sarah Hagin. They have two children - Rollie and Gertrude. He is a member of the A. O. U. W.

E. Y. BAKER, physician and surgeon, was born in Ohio in 1845, son of John G. and Jane Baker. Commenced the study of medicine in 1874; he practiced for four years, then came to Kansas from Ohio in 1878; located at Eureka, where he engaged in the practice of his profession for four years. He then removed to Arkansas City, where he is now practicing; he has already built up an extensive practice; his office is in the city drug store. He makes chronic cases a specialty. He was married in 1865, to Miss Catharine M. Knapp, daughter of James and Ellen Knapp, who has borne him two children - Freddie and Ellen. He enlisted in 1861, in Company A, Sixty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers. Participated in the engagements of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Jackson, Vicksburg, Champion Hills, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, Raleigh, and others of his command. He veteranized in 1864; he was mustered out in July, 1865; he was afflicted with heart disease from over-exertion in the army for seven years; was disabled for labor after his army life. He entered as a private, and served two years as Sergeant. He is a member of the G. A. R., Arkansas Post No. 158.

GEORGE A. BEECHER, of the firm of Beecher & Son, contractors and builders, was born in Ohio in 1855, son of Peter and Elizabeth Beecher, natives of Ohio. At the age of seven years, he went with his parents to Indiana, where they remained ten years. In 1871, he removed with them to Iowa, where he learned the trade of his father, which is that of a carpenter, and for eight years in Iowa worked with his father. In 1879, they moved to Arkansas City, Kan., and established their business at this place, locating on East Central avenue. Business has increased about thirty-three per cent since its establishment. Peter Beecher, father of the above, and member of the firm, was married in 1854, to Miss Elizabeth Ridenour. They have five children, three of whom survive - George A., James F. and Emma A. Mr. and Mrs. Beecher are members of the Congregational Church.

JAMES BENEDICT, dealer in agricultural implements, was born in Salisbury, Litchfield County, Conn., in 1834; son of Nathaniel and Polly Benedict. He was raised in his native State, and came from there to Kansas in 1857; located at Lawrence, where he remained for three years engaged in farming; he then moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he engaged in the hardware business until 1870, when he again came to Kansas and located at Arkansas City; he was among the earliest settlers of this place. He built a building on the corner of Summit street and Center avenue, where he opened the first hardware business of the place, and for ten years carried on the business under the firm name of Benedict Bros. His brother died in 1880, and he then engaged in the agricultural implement business located at the old stand with office on North Summit street; his business has increased about fifty per cent since 1880. He was married in 1860, to Miss Annie Wright, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Wright. The issue of this marriage has been eight children, four of whom survive - Carrie, Albert, Bertha and Ada. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church and of the Masonic fraternity, Royal Arch and A. O. U. W., also Knights of Honor. He was a member of the City Council for five years, and served two terms as Mayor of the city.

I. H. BONSALL, U. S. Commissioner, Police Judge and Justice of the Peace, was born in Ohio, in 1833; he is the son of Joseph and Eliza Bonsall. He was raised in his native State and came to Kansas in 1857. He located in Leavenworth and took an active part in the political questions of that time. He was a Free-State man, and known as the "Fighting Quaker." He voted for the Topeka, Leavenworth and Wyandotte Constitution, and he voted against the Lecompton Convention. On December 20, 1859, left Leavenworth and returned to Cincinnati, on account of his wife's health, went to New Orleans, La., immediately after Christmas, in 1859; staid there in New Orleans as long as a Northern man could, as they were then mustering their forces for the war, returned to Cincinnati in July, 1860. In 1862, he enlisted in Company H, Second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was attached to the Army of the Cumberland engaged in photographing maps at Gen. C.. (sic) Rosecrans' headquarters, connected with the engineering department of the Army of the Cumberland, until the close of the war. In 1871, he returned to Lawrence, Kan.; engaged in the photograph business, and in 1872, removed to Arkansas City. He was married in 1856 to Miss Susan M. Merrill, daughter of Parker and Olive Merrill. In 1874, he was elected Justice of the Peace in Creswell Township, and has been elected each succeeding year. He was elected member of the City Council in 1874, and served four years. He was appointed United States Commissioner for Kansas, which office he still holds. He has been Clerk of the city since 1874; was elected Police Judge in 1880, and re-elected each term since. He was census enumerator for Creswell Township, in 1880. In 1877, he was Commissioner for Cowley County for locating a State road from Arkansas City to Independence, Kan. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, K. of H. and A. O. U. W., also Select Knights.

J. W. CANFIELD, carpenter and builder, was born in Nova Scotia in 1850; son of Stephen and Charlotte Canfield. At the age of seventeen, he went to Barton and learned the trade of a carpenter, which he followed in that city until 1876, when he came to Kansas, and located at Arkansas City, and established his business as builder and contractor. He secured the contract for putting up the Government buildings at the Indian agencies. He subsequently spent two years in Colorado, returning to this place in 1882. He is now doing an extensive business, he being the largest contractor in the city. He employs from fifteen to twenty men. His shop is located on South Summit street. He was married, in 1878, to Miss Tobiatha Bowers, daughter of Ruben and Catharine Bowers, who has borne him three children - Bessie, Robert and Charles Canfield.

JAMES CHRISTIAN, attorney at law, was born in County Down, Ireland, September 29, 1819; son of Robert and Mary Christian; came to the United States in 1834, located at Pittsburgh, Penn. He learned the trade of saddler, and followed that business until 1842, when he commenced the study of law in Kentucky, which he pursued until his means became exhausted, and then alternated work at his trade with study until 1851, when he was admitted to the bar. He then commenced practice in Missouri, and has made it his lifework, having practiced for thirty-three years. He was married, in 1846, to Miss Malinda G. Ross, daughter of Phillip and Rebecca Ross, the issue of this marriage having been seven children, two of whom survive - Linda and Mary R. He came to Kansas in 1854, and located at Lawrence. In 1855, he was elected the First Clerk and Recorder of Douglas County, and was Clerk of the Probate Court. He was present on the 21st of May, 1856, at the burning of the Free-State Hotel, and took an active part in the saving of the lives and property of citizens threatened by the mob. He saved the life of Senator Pomeroy, when the mob had gathered with ropes to hang him, by getting him in his office by the back door and secreting him, and also that of Judge Miller, of Lawrence, who had been taken on the charge of treason to South Carolina a few days previous to this. In the winter of 1856-57, he was a member of the first Territorial Council that met at Lecompton. He was a law partner of Jim Lane from 1857 until the death of that Senator. In 1862, he was appointed by President Lincoln as Commissary of Subsistence in the army, with the rank of Captain, which position he held until 1864, when he was mustered out. In 1865, he was appointed by President Johnson United States Attorney for Dakota Territory. He is the oldest member on the roll of the Supreme Court of Kansas, he having been admitted to practice in that court on the 5th day of December, 1855, the day the court was organized. He came to Arkansas City in 1875, where he has since followed his law practice. In 1879, his eyesight failed him, and three months later he became totally blind. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He is one of the organizers of Lawrence Lodge, No. 6, and was its Master for three years, two of which they worked under a dispensation, and one year under a charter. He was one of the organizers of the Grand Lodge of Kansas. He is a Democrat in politics, and a temperance man.

[TOC] [part 10] [part 8] [Cutler's History]