KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


DAVIS COUNTY, Part 9

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

FORT RILEY.

Image of Odgen's Monument

While Fort Riley is neither a city, town, nor village, the position it occupies, and has occupied in Davis County, entitles it to a page in the history of the same. It is located on the north side of the Kansas River, distant from Junction City about four miles by wagon road, or three miles by rail. A person would naturally suppose from its name that it was a fortification, but if he looks to see anything of the kind, with embrasures and cannon, he will look in vain. It is not a fort, but simply a post where troops are stationed. There is barrack accommodation for twelve companies, with stabling for six hundred horses. The barracks are built of stone, in the shape of a square, over looking the river. Two sides of the square are occupied by the soldier's quarters, and two by the officers. The barracks and parade ground are enclosed by a beautiful fence, and the country surrounding is among the grandest that eye ever rested upon. A little to the west of the barracks, on a beautiful knoll, and enclosed by a neat fence, stands a very fine monument, erected to the memory of Major E. A. Ogden. This officer was in command of the post in 1855, at the time the cholera made such terrible ravages among the soldiers. The surgeon had left, and the Major acted in the double capacity of commander and physician, going around among the afflicted men and doing all in his power to alleviate their suffering. He continued in this good work until he was attacked himself by the dread disease, to which he fell a victim. The monument is made of limestone, taken from a quarry in the neighborhood, and is of neat design and elegant construction. On the east side of it is inscribed the following: "Erected to the memory of Brevet Major E. A. Ogden, the founder of Fort Riley. A disinterested patriot and generous friend, a refined gentleman, a devoted husband and father, and an exemplary Christian. Few men were more respected and loved in their lives, or more lamented in their deaths. As much the victim of duty as of disease, he collectedly closed a life in the public service distinguished for integrity and faithfulness." On the west side it bears the following: "Brevet Major E. A. Ogden, Assistant Quartermaster United States Army, died at Fort Riley, August 3, 1855, aged forty-four years. `And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me: Write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labor, and their works do follow them.' " The location of Fort Riley is peculiarly beautiful and attractive. It is built on the land of the Military Reservation, which embraces a tract of about twenty miles square, a small portion of which only is in Davis County, directly opposite the fort and south of the Kansas River, the larger portion extending north from the fort into Riley County. When Satan tried to tempt our Savior by showing Him and offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, we incline to the belief that he must have omitted all the region of country in the vicinity of Fort Riley. We have sailed from Cork to Queenstown, and the scenery on either side was grand; we have passed up the Bosphorus from Constantinople to the sea of Marmora, and beheld its scenery in all its enchanting loveliness, but let a person place himself on one of the bluffs in the vicinity of Fort Riley, and a scene will spread out before him that will equal, if not surpass, either of them. Looming up to the south, with slopes and groves intervening, are the hills that mark the location of Clark's Creek; to the north is a wide sea of open prairie, rising and falling in gentle undulations like the unperturbed waters of some great lake; to the east, stretching away for miles, you follow the windings and turnings of the river, whose course is marked by heavy bodies of timber, majestic in growth and rich in foliage, as it courses onward through a charming valley teeming with golden grain and lofty corn, with every here and there a comfortable house standing in the midst of beautiful surroundings, which marks the peaceful home of the setter; to the west the view is simply magnificent. Here and there through the foliage you catch glimpses of the two rivers, the Smoky Hill and Republican, as they come gliding along, one inclining to the northeast, and the other to the southeast, until their waters meet and kiss, and glide quietly and smoothly into the Kaw, a short distance west of Fort Riley. Looking up the valley of these two streams, the scenery is highly diversified and extremely beautiful in its diversifications. As you allow your gaze to extend westward, the valley widens, and between you and the horizon are wide fields of rich pasture, and homesteads marked by the artificial groves. Gradually withdrawing your view from the horizon, and a short distance from where you are standing, the eye rests on the spires of Junction City towering up above the trees, until finally looking from the eminence you have selected as a point of observation, the Kansas River flows smoothly along, as it winds its serpentine course to mingle its waters with those of the muddy Missouri. For a moment the eye dazzles as it rests upon the shining steel rails of the Kansas Pacific Railway, made bright by the friction of travel, then all at once you hear the scream of the locomotive, and the next instant the train goes bounding by at lighting speed. The person whose imagination will allow him to picture to his mind's eye all these objects, and locate them so as to be most effective in a landscape panorama, will be enabled to form some conception of the grandeur of the scenery presented by the country surrounding Fort Riley. Another fact connected with the fort, and one worthy of mention, is, that it is very nearly, almost quite, the geographical center of the United States. Let any person who is desirous of ascertaining the exact location of Fort Riley, take a map of the United States and fold it once from east to west, and then from north to south, then let him unfold it, and the point in the center, where the marks of the folds have crossed, will mark almost the identical spot where stands the monument erected to the memory of Major Ogden.

MILFORD.

Milford is a small place in the northwestern corner of the county. It can scarcely be called a town, but inasmuch as its existence antedates that of the organization of the county, it is worthy of a brief mention. The town site known as Milford was located in 1855, by Abram Barry, S. D. Houston, B. E. Fullington, Moses Younkins and Frank Smith. It was then known by the name of Bacheller. It is situated on the Republican River, and is a station on the line of the Junction City & Fort Kearney Railway. It is more of a trading point for the section of country that surrounds it, than a town. It has three small stores, a church, a schoolhouse, a steam flouring mill, and a few dwelling houses. The population, all told, can not exceed 100 or 150. Surrounding it is an excellent country, and it is just far enough away from Junction City and other larger towns to insure it a certain amount of country trade. The first post-office in Milford Township was established at Milford--then Bacheller--in 1861, and the first postmaster was Major Barry.

At Milford, the Congregationalists have a very fine frame church building, which was erected in 1877, and their church property is valued at $2,500. The membership of this church is thirty-five, and the pastor is Rev. M. S. Riddle.

In Smoky Hill Township there is an organization which is known as the St. John's Evangelical, which has a neatly built stone church. Its membership is fifty, and the pastor is Rev. Peter Lehman.

In Lyon Township, the German Lutherans have a tastefully built stone church, was erected in 1872. The Baptist organization, in that township, also have just completed (1882) a very handsome edifice.

In Jefferson Township the Methodist Society, although numbering only fifteen members, have a neat little church, valued at $600.

In Liberty Township the Methodists have a church in the vicinity of Moss Springs.

In Jackson Township the Catholics have a comfortable and neat stone church, which was erected in 1872, and valued at $700. The membership of the church is 100, and the pastor is Rev Father Ennis, of Wamego, who holds service there once every two weeks.

From the forgoing statements it will be observed that there is not a township in the county but that has one or more churches, which is somewhat remarkable for a comparatively new country.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

LUCINDA BADGER, wife of the late John S. Badger, who located in Riley County in the spring of 1855, on Government land, under the pre-emption right, about six miles south of Milford, on Sections 17 and 18, Lots 4 and 5, Jackson Township. They were the first settlers in that part of the Republican valley. Fort Riley was their nearest post-office, six miles away, while the nearest grist mill was at Kansas City, 150 miles off. They erected the first house in the above valley, above Fort Riley, in August, 1855. They had no team of their own for nearly two years after locating. Various tribes of Indians roamed over the wild prairies, and the vast herds of buffalo, elk and deer were only occasionally molested by the wily savages for years. The Badgers had plenty of wild game with which they graced their table at every meal, but often went hungry for bread. People in those days have been known to dig up their potatoes which had been planted, and eat them, but only in cases of emergency. But the early pioneers in those days often were obliged to undergo hardships now never experienced in the West. Mr. Badger worked at anything he could find to do for several years, until he could get his farm under cultivation. He was born in New York, December 24, 1815. Mrs. Badger nee Fowler, was born October 24, 1820, in Washington County, Pa. They were married, December 5, 1839; they had twelve children--Martha E., Ephraim, John S., Rebecca, Alcinia, Alonzo, Cornelia C., Sarah M. (deceased), Byron, Frank, William E. and Morgan F. John S. and Ephraim served three years in the Rebellion, and came out without a scratch. Mr. Badger died December 26, 1868, from the effects of an injury received by a saw-log rolling on him.

JOHN FAWLEY, merchant in general line of groceries and dry goods, opened the trade in the spring of 1879. He bought his present store in 1881, and carries a stock of about $8,000. He is also postmaster, and owns a farm on Sections 9 and 10, Township 10, Range 5 east, containing 720 acres, with 170 cultivated. He first located one-half a mile east of Milford, in 1864, and followed farming until he began mercantile business. He was born in Rockingham County, Shenandoah Valley, Va., August 1, 1834, and was raised on a farm. He lived in his native State until he came to Kansas. He was married in December, 1859, to Miss Sophia Brenneman, in his native place; they have two sons--Abraham, now assisting in his father's store, and Ashby A., now on their farm. The father and mother are members of the Congregational Church of Milford.

BRADLEY E. FULLINGTON, farmer, P. O. Milford, first settled in Riley County, Kan. (now Davis County), Madison Township, Section 31, May 3, 1856; opened a farm, carried it on about ten years, sold out and located on his present home, Section 6, Township 10, Range 5 east. He owns the south half of Section 6 and the north half of Section 7, being 620 acres of land, with 200 of the same cultivated. There are two fine streams of pure spring water running through his farm--Madison Creek on the west half, and Spring Creek on the east half. The two unite near the center of the farm, and form a fine stream of water, with a mill-power, on which his son-in-law, Charles A. Streeter, is erecting a grist-mill, at an expense of $5,000. The capacity of the mill will be 100 bushels of wheat and 300 of feed in twenty-four hours. Mr. Fullington certainly has the model farm of Davis County, which contains the varieties of timber in abundance herein named: oak, walnut, hickory, sycamore, elm, cottonwood, soft maple and box elder. Mr. Fullington was born in Cambridge, Vt., in 1819, lived in his native State until 1852 (being raised on a farm), when he went to California and spent three years for his health; he returned in 1855 to his native place. He represented Riley County two terms in the State Legislature, 1862 and 1863, and 1863 and 1864. He was married in 1843 to Miss Louisa Carpenter, a native of Johnson, Vt.; they have one daughter, Alice Elizabeth, now married to Mr. Charles A. Streeter. They are all members of the Congregational Church of Milford.

J. W. C. PIERCE, farmer, carpenter, etc., P. O. Milford, first settled at Cedar Creek, Riley Co., Kan., in 1855; worked at his trade and took a pre-emption claim. He built the first bridge across the Blue River, near Manhattan, March 6, 1854. He moved his family to Fort Riley, where he took charge of a Government saw-mill for seven years, afterwards operated the saw-mill at Manhattan for three years, then came to Milford, Davis County, and erected a saw-mill in Milford Village, then a wilderness. He has since worked at his trade and farmed. His place is located south of Milford Village, a few miles, and contains eighty acres, with fifty-six cultivated; has a fine peach orchard and a grove of fine timber. He was born in New York City, May 22, 1827, and was married in 1850 to Miss Mary A. Waller, of Virginia. He is a member of the Masonic order of Manhattan and the Congregational Church of Milford.

MERCHANT S. RIDDLE, pastor of the Congregational Church of Milford, came to the above village May 25, 1880, and became pastor of the above church. He also engaged in merchandising and the drug business on January 1, 1882, under the firm name of Riddle & Humphrey. They carry a general stock of $3,500. He was born in West Virginia, at Glenville, Gilmer County, September 25, 1851, and moved to Ohio in 1874, settling near Marietta, Washington County. He was educated in West Virginia. His first charge in pastoral duty was at Ravenswood, Jackson Co., W. Va., for two years; then to West Columbia, Mason County, for two years; thence to Parkersburg for a year; then near Marietta for six years, and then direct to Kansas. He was married in West Virginia, September 25, 1873, to Miss Carrie Bumgarner, of West Columbia; they have six children-- Newton Howard, Tandy Homer, Hattie Pearl, Frank Emmerson, Clyde and an infant son not yet named. He served in Company B, under Capt. W. T. Wyant, as scout for a few months, near the close of the war.

JOHN W. SHAEFFER, farmer, P. O. Milford, came to his present home in 1877. He was born in Lancaster County, Pa., November 18, 1825, lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and was raised on a farm. He was drafted for a soldier in the late Rebellion, and was placed in the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia; he participated in many skirmishes, and was wounded several times; was discharged in 1863.

J. YOUNKIN, farmer, Section 21, Township 6, Range 5, P. O. Milford, has 160 acres of find land, sixty of which are cultivated; also, a fine lot of timber, and has owned the farm since 1870. He first located in Clay County, Kan., in 1860, lived in that county until 1872, and then moved to his present home. He was born in Somerset County, Pa., March 4, 1829, and moved to Illinois in 1856, where he lived until he came to Kansas. He was married in December, 1862, to Miss Elizabeth Branscom, a native of Illinois; they have five children-- Marietta, Sylvia E., George David, Celinda J. and James E. Mr. Younkin was a member of the Kansas State Militia during the Rebel Gen. Price's threatened raid.

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