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


[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]


In 1865 H. Whitley, John Williamson and Luther Hall, organized themselves into a Town Company, and conceived the idea of laying out a town at the mouth of the Solomon River on land belonging to H. Whitley. For this purpose the southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 13, Range 1, eat, and west, was surveyed and platted in 1866 by Daniel Mitchell. The town site contains 234 acres and is located on the west line of the county, part of it extending into Saline County. The built-up portion of the town, however, is on the east side of the line in Dickinson County. The Solomon River coming down from the northwest enters the Smoky Hill River at this point, and it is at this point of confluence the town is situated, being nine miles due west from Abilene. The town is surrounded by a very fine agricultural country, consisting of wide stretches of beautiful rolling prairie, and along the Solomon and Smoky there is considerable timber. The growth of the town has not been very rapid, and the business houses erected have, like those of all other new western towns, been a rather inferior order, being, in most part, rather small wooden buildings. Within the last two years there have been signs of a change for the better, and more substantial improvements are now being made. Among the first to start in business in town were H. Whitley and Lyman Field, the former having built the first residence in town and also the first store, and both in 1867. Either that year of the one following G. B. Hall built the Hall House, which was the first hotel in town. The building of the Kansas Pacific Railway that year, which crossed the Solomon River just above its mouth, decided the location of the town. Impressed with the importance of the point the town site was enlarged in 1871 by Geis' Addition being added. The Baptists having formed an organization a year or two previous, in 1870 built a very neat frame church, but ante- dating this three years the Catholics had erected a frame house of worship. In 1866 a company was organized under the name of the Continental Salt Company, who commenced boring about three-fourths of a mile west of town. At the depth of sixty feet a good vein of brine was struck, upon which the company erected works and commenced the manufacture of salt. In 1871 the Presbyterians built a very fine frame church of goodly size and elegant finish. The place by this time was commencing to assume quite an urban appearance with its churches, stores, hotel and residences. The water power at Solomon is excellent and capable of turning a vast amount of machinery, but until 1872 it was allowed to go to waste, when William Smith erected a very fine grist mill at the confluence of the two rivers. This mill improvement helped the town wonderfully in regard to drawing trade there. The town by 1871 had grown sufficiently to enable it to be incorporated, and that year it became a city of the third class, of which G. B. Hall was the first Mayor. Thinking the town site not sufficiently large to enable the young city to grow to what it gave promise in the future to be, Hall and Whitley did in 1874 enlarge the limits by another addition, which were still farther extended by the same party in 1878 by an additional addition. At that time great hopes were entertained by the people, from the fact that the Solomon Valley Branch of the Kansas Pacific Railway was commenced to be built that year, with Solomon City as its initiative point. In 1876 the Solomon Valley Bank was established by John Legrange, but subsequently passed into the hands of E. G. Clark. Stores kept gradually going up, residences were becoming more numerous, a better class of buildings were erected, and business transactions were largely on the increase. A second hotel was added to the town in 1877, which was built and opened by Mr. McCloud. In July, 1879, the Solomon Sentinel was established in town by J. Claud Hill, which gave to the people and the city an organ, through which they could make known the beauties and advantages of Solomon. In 1881 a new salt works company was organized, or rather, new works were commenced under the operation and management of the National Land Company. This company sank a well adjacent to that operated by the Continental Company, and at a depth of sixty feet, tapped a vein of strong brine. They then went to work and erected buildings, into which they put the necessary machinery for the successful manufacture of salt. The new works are quite extensive, and were put up at a cost of between $50,000 and $60,000. After being in operation a short time, the new company purchased the old works of the Continental Company, so that both are now owned and operated by the National Company. They manufacture about 10,000 barrels of salt yearly, the greater portion of which is shipped to the mining regions. They supply nearly all the local trade, and make a very excellent article of table salt. The year 1881 witnessed the establishment of another bank in town under the name of the "Citizens' Bank", and which was established by Rogers, Wilson & Co. As yet, not a brick or stone business house had been erected in town, but early in 1882 the Dewar brothers completed a large, magnificent brick building, with a storeroom on the ground floor and offices above. A short way from the Dewar brothers' building, the Wall brothers have erected a large brick building somewhat similar to that of Dewars'. This building is not yet completed, but will be by the close of 1882. A new brick schoolhouse is also in course of construction, and while it is not going to be very large, containing only four rooms, it will, doubtless, be large enough to meet the demands of the community at present and for some time to come. The cost of the building is to be $6,000. In this year of 1882, also, the Catholics have erected a very fine brick church, at a cost of over $7,000; so that 1882 may be set down as the year of brick improvements in Solomon City. While the Catholic, Presbyterian and Baptist are the only church buildings in tow, the Methodists are not without a place in which to meet for worship. As early as 1868, the Methodists had an organization in tow, but instead of erecting a church they put up a building with a storeroom below and a hall above, and in this hall they meet for worship. Benevolent societies are represented in town by the Masons and Odd Fellows having a lodge each. The first school in town was organized in 1867, with Miss Blair, now Mrs. A. P. Collins, as teacher. The first Postmaster in town was H. Whitley. There are thirty places in town where goods are sold, representing almost everything usually kept in stores. There are three small elevators in town, with a fair representation of blacksmith and carpenter shops. There is no uniformity in the buildings, and the town is scattered over a good deal of territory. There are some very fine residences, and ample space for the erection of more.


Presbyterian. - An organization of this church was effected in 1870, with fifteen members. In 1871 they built a very fine frame church, neatly finished, and with good seating capacity. Their first pastor was Rev. J. L. Jones. The present membership of the church is sixty, and the present pastor is Rev. George Pearson. Their church property is valued at $2,500.

Catholic. - This church was organized in 1868 by Rev. Father De Mautler. At that time it had a membership of between forty and fifty, and that they might have a place in which to worship, they erected a small frame church. The membership is now several hundred, and they have just completed a very elegant brick edifice. The present pastor is Rev. Father Lary. The property of the church is valued at $8,000.

Baptist. - Organized 1868, with less than ten members. In 1870 they put up a very neat frame house of worship. The first Pastor of the church was Rev. J. R. Downer. The church has now a membership of about forty, and the officiating pastor is Rev. George Mariam. The property of the church is valued at $1,200.

Methodist. - Organized in 1868, with ten members. The first pastor was Rev. Mr. Phillips. They have no church edifice, but own a building, the lower part of which they rent, and the upper part is a hall in which the congregation meets for worship. The church has a good membership at present, and the pastor is Rev. W. A. Saville.

Solomon Lodge, No. 73, I. O. O. F., of Solomon City, was organized 1878, with five charter members. The first officers were G. Garten, N. G.; S. Baldwin, V. G.; W. P. Witken, Sec. ; T. L. Garten, P. S., and Job Lee, Tres. The present membership is thirty, and the present officers are L. B. Rogers, N. G.; James Barr, V. G.; F. Crowell, Sec., and J. L. Galbraith, Treas.

Solomon Lodge, No. 105, A., F. & A. M., of Solomon City, was instituted in 1871, number of charter members not given. The first officers were B. F. Willey, W. M.; S. L. Choate, S. W.; J. S. Sutherland, J. W., and Dr. Searle, Treas. Present membership, thirty-five. Present officers are F. F. Marvin, W. M.; C. W. Adams, S. W.; N. F. Follott, J. W.; L. J. Quantrell, Sec.; L. Field, Treas.; A. Sutherland, S. D.; G. G. Griffin, J. D., and E. Z. Butcher, tyler.


GEORGE B. HALL, farmer and stock raiser, P. O. Solomon, Dickinson County, first came to Junction City, Kan, in 1860, on a prospecting tour; located in July, 1863. He was transient for two years. Went into the hotel business in 1865. In 1866 he erected the Hall House, at a cost of about $7,000. Had to haul the material by teams from Leavenworth, a distance of 172 miles. He then kept the hotel until the fall of 1877, after which he engaged in farming. He owns a farm of 200 acres adjoining Solomon city, 150 acres of which is cultivated. His hotel was the first building of the kind erected in Solomon, and the second frame building. He has been Mayor and member of the City Council several years. Has been County Commissioner of Saline and Dickinson counties a term in each, and Town Trustee. Born in Ontario, Canada, December 19, 1828. He was raised in his native country, and lived there until he came to Kansas. He was married in 1866 to Miss Electa Robacker, a native of Pennsylvania. They have four sons and two daughters - Ada Mary, George, Kate, Newman, Robert and Fred L. Mr. Hall has participated in several Indian campaigns.

J. C. HILL, of the firm of J. C. Hill & Co., proprietors of the Solomon Sentinel. He came to Solomon, Kansas, in July, 1879, and began the publication of the above named newspaper, and now has a circulation of 1,182. Mr. Hill also deals in real estate, and is a fire insurance agent. He was born in New Brunswick in 1845. Went with his parents to Chicago, Ill., in 1848, where he was raised and educated. He first engaged in the commission business for some time, and then began journalism. He was also principal and proprietor of the Irving Military Academy of Lake View, Ill., for three years. He began journal ism in 1866, being connected with the Helena Herald at Helena, Mon., which he continued until 1868, when he returned to Chicago, Ill., and became engaged as an educator and printer until coming to Kansas. Served as an officer in the volunteer and regular army of the United States.

DR. A. LEWIS, physician and surgeon, first came to Abilene, Kan., in 1877, where he practiced his profession until 1881. He then came to Solomon City, where he has since continued his practice. He was born in Muskingum County, in Zanesville, Ohio, October 16, 1823, where he was raised and educated. After primary schooling he went to the Zanesville Academy, under Prof. S. Howe, where he remained three years. He then entered the Granville University of Ohio, and graduated in 1848, after which he began the study of medicine in the medical office of Dr. John Watkins, where he continued for three years, and then returned to his instructor, where he read and practiced there three years. He then entered Zanesville Academy of Medicine, and graduated in 1860. In 1862 he was made Captain of Company I, First Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery, but was transferred to the medical corps at Knoxville, Tenn. Was also made Post Surgeon at Fort Clay, Ky. He was mustered out in 1865. He then began the practice of his chosen profession at Zanesville, Ohio, and continued until the fall of 1876, when he came to Abilene, Kan. He was married in 1848 to Miss Mary J. Vickers, of Zanesville, Ohio. They have three children - Carrie, now married to Mr. A. Fackfer, of Dickinson County; Minnie M., now married to Mr. H. J. Johnson, of Emporia, Kan.; Elmer, now doing general drug business in Solomon City. He carries a stock of about $2,500 to drugs and medicines. He opened the business August 10, 1882. Mr. Lewis was twice Presidential elector for Gen. Scott and U. S. Grant.

W. S. MOON, farmer. Section 36, P. O. Abilene, was born in Clinton County, Ohio, September 29, 1814, where he was reared and educated. After completing his studies, he applied himself to the study of medicine. In 1847 he moved to Kokomo, Ind., for ten years. In 1857 he came to Kansas and settled in Dickinson County, where he engaged in farming for some time. In 1864 he moved to Abilene and engaged in merchandising. Was also Postmaster during that time. He then located on his present place of 160 acres and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has been twice married, first in the State of Ohio, to Miss Jouillotty G. West, in 1835. She died in Clinton County, Ohio, December 30, 1840. By this union they had one child, Jesse W. The second marriage occurred in Clinton County, Ohio, October, 1845. Miss Margaret Brown being the bride. She was born in Philadelphia County, Pa., August 26, 1820. They have three children - Rebecca J., now Mrs. Potter, Jouillotty E. Tate, and Melvina, now Mrs. Quinn.

H. PARMENTER, Jr., firm H. Parmenter & Co., dealers in staple and fancy dry goods and groceries, hats, caps and notions, opened trade in June, 1880. Carry a stock of about $10,000 to supply their trade. Mr. H. Parmenter first located in Saline County, Kan., in September, 1866. Engaged in farming until 1880. Born in Newport, Rhode Island, May 19, 1844, being raised and educated in his native State. He first engaged in merchandising in his native city, where he continued until coming to Kansas. Married, in 1879, to Miss Effie R. Everleigh, of Junction City. They have one son - Ebert B. Mr. P. Has served several terms as Justice of the Peace in Saline County. He is now the Township Clerk. He is a member of the Masonic Order and Knights of Honor. His wife was the third child born in Davis County, Kan., and the first to be married that was born there.

L. B. ROGERS, firm Rogers, Wilson & Co., bankers, proprietors Citizens' Bank of Solomon City. This bank was opened for business March 1, 1881. They do a general banking business and collections. Also place loans on real estate. Amos E. Wilson is cashier. Their deposits run from $15,000 to $20,000. L. B. Rogers, the president, was born in Green Lake County, Wis., March 18, 1857. Came with parents to Kansas in 1871 and located in Solomon City. He was educated in Manhattan College, and attended the St. Louis, Mo., Law School two years, graduating in 1878. Admitted to the bar in Kansas City, Mo., the same year. Admitted to bar of practice in Abilene, Kan., fall of latter year. He began the practice of law in Solomon City, where he has since continued. He has served as Postmaster one and a half years, and is now Mayor of the village and Township Clerk of his town.

JERRY SHEAHAN, dealer in hardware, stoves and tinware, agricultural implements and seeds. He opened the trade September 1, 1871. Now has the oldest established business of the kind in the city, and carries a stock varying from $8,000 to $12,000. He was born in Rockford, Ill., June 10, 1847, where he was raised and educated. He has been Township Treasurer two terms and three terms City Councilman. Married, in 1874, to Miss Mary L. McMillan, of the same city. They have three children - Bradford C., Charles G. And William A. He enlisted in Company K. Col. Mulligan's brigade, and participated in all the battles of his command. He was mustered out in Richmond, Va., in the spring of 1865. He is a member of Solomon Post No. 110, G. A. R., and adjutant of the same.

CHARLES L. SHERMAN, dealer in a general line of drugs and medicines, paints, oils, etc. He opened trade in 1875, carries a general stock of $2,000. He located in Solomon in 1870, cleared in a drug store until he went into business for himself. He was born in Boston, Mass., September 12, 1854; was raised and educated in his native city. He attended the Chauncey Hall Military School for four years, then came to Kansas. He has served as City Clerk, and now is a member of the City Council and the K. Of P.

WALL BROTHERS, dealers in a general line, dry goods, boots and shoes and groceries, also agricultural implements of all kinds, opened trade in March, 1880. They carry a stock of about $12,000, not including implements. They erected a brick store, 25 x 100 feet, thirty-two feet high, at a cost of $5,000, in the fall of 1882, and occupy the same in their business. They employ four men in the store. The firm is composed of three brothers, Philip M., James S., and Michael A. James Wall first located in Delphos, Ottawa Co., Kan., in 1871, where he engaged in stock-raising and farming until May 1, 1881. He was born in Ireland in 1842, and came to America, with parents, 1850. He was married in 1874, to Miss Bridget Hodge, a native of Ireland. They have fire children - Nathaniel, Edward, Benjamin, Katie and Mary. Michael A. Wall was born in LaSalle, Ill., July 29, 1857. He was raised and educated in his native city, came with his brothers in Delphos, Kan., in 1872, and engaged in farming and stock-raising, which he continued until coming to Solomon City in the spring of 1880. He has taught twelve terms of school in Saline and Dickinson counties. He was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, May 6, 1844, came to America 1850, with parents. He studied for a Catholic priesthood in the Seminary of The Lady of Angels, at Niagara Falls, N. Y., about four years, taking also a course in classical studies. He also attended St. Vincents Seminary for the Lazarist Order of Priesthood, as a novice, but finding his vocation was not that for the priesthood, left there and came to Kansas. He was married, April 13, 1873, to Miss Katie A. Harrington, of Newport, R. I. They have three children - Nathaniel, Timothy, and Augustine. Mr. Wall is at present a Justice of the Peace. He has not aspired to any public office.

D. W. WILSON, Postmaster, took charge of the office in April, 1881; first located in Solomon in February, 1872, and engaged in teaching school five years, being principal of the Solomon City schools. He was appointed County Superintendent of Public Instruction for Dickinson County, and served out the unexpired term, then became traveling agent for a New York City publishing company two years, and then took charge of the postoffice. He was born in Marion County, Ohio, January 31, 1836. Left his native place when a small boy, and lived for twenty years in Scioto County, Ohio, and there learned carding and spinning. Married in Ohio, in 1858, to Miss Aronine Evans, of Lebanon, Ohio. They have two children - Amos E., and Nena May. He moved to Mason City, Ill., in 1866, where he engaged in merchandising until coming to Kansas. He is a member of the Masonic Order, R. Of H. and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Amos E. Is now the cashier of the Citizen's Bank of Solomon, and part owner of the same. He is also a graduate of Kansas Agricultural College of Manhattan. Was for three years cashier of the Solomon Valley Bank, Solomon, Kan. Is a member of Masonic Lodge, and Methodist Episcopal Church. Nena M., was married in May, 1880, to Albert Marter, a graduate of Emporia, Kan., Normal School, now (1882) resides in Davis County, Kan.

HENRY WHITLEY, dealer in all kinds of household furniture, also collection agent. He first located where Solomon City now is, June 4, 1859. His nearest neighbor was at Mud Creek, now Abilene City, nine miles off. Nearest postoffice was then Junction City, thirty-five miles away, and the nearest grist mill, was Council Grove, sixty miles across the country. His main market was Leavenworth, Kan., 170 miles by wagon road, which with only a yoke of oxen, was tedious business and quite lonely for Mrs. Whitley who often remained in their lonely shanty for days alone, when Mr. W. Was at mill or market. After over a year they were pleased to welcome a neighbor who settled two miles away, but many of the new comers soon starved out and were obliged to leave, so that at times prospects looked gloomy for settlement. For meat they subsisted chiefly on buffalo and wild turkeys which were then very plenty, but in the winter of 1859- 60, buffalo meat grew very scarce, when Mr. W. And wife feasted on only rabbits and corn meal, with parched corn coffee. Mr. W. Through well directed efforts soon made the wild prairie blossom as the rose, with the rich golden grain, which of course soon drove the wolf from their door, never again to return. He broke up the land where Solomon City now stands, for a farm, in the spring of 1860, and planted it with corn. But the summons of the great plains seemed to decide the question for no crops that year, for everything in the shape of crops was withered and dried up with the intense heated winds, which prevailed in July and August. The following year they were blessed with a bountiful crop, which seemed to instill new life and vigor into the almost disheartened pioneers. His first grist of wheat he took to Council Grove, sixty miles by wagon road, leaving his wife alone for ten days, at the end of which time, he returned with the proceeds 150 pounds of flour. The whole time occupied in threshing the grist and taking it to mill and returning with the flour, took up twenty days. This is a good illustration of what the early pioneers in that county were obliged to contend with. He was elected Justice of the Peace in the fall of 1860, and by re- elections has held the office eighteen years. Was elected Chairman of the Board of county Commissioners. He carried all the records of the county in a carpet sack. Born in England September 14, 1830. Came to Canada with parents in 1840; lived at home until twenty-one years old, then went to Minnesota Territory, to seek his fortune, landing at St. Paul, penniless; he finally found work and remained two years, then returned to Canada, and was married in the fall of 1858, to Miss Catharine Hall, a daughter of deacon Jabez Hall, near Toronto, Canada. They had three children - Charles, Nellie and Lulu; Charles is a student in the normal School of Toronto, Canada. Mr. W. Is a member of the Masonic Order, I. O. O. F., and Baptist Church. He was the first Postmaster of Solomon City, being appointed in the fall of 1860. He opened the first store in the fall of 1863; opened the furniture business, of which he is now a partner, in the fall of 1865.

[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]