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


[TOC] [part 15] [part 13] [Cutler's History]


When the Territory was opened, in 1854, the Iowa Indians were the possessors of the greater part of northern Doniphan County. Shortly after the passage of the Kansas- Nebraska bill a treaty was made between the Government and the Indians, by which the latter sold a large share of their lands and accepted the diminished reserve which they still occupy. The land thus released to the Government was known as the "Iowa Trust lands," and was, with the exception of 480 acres, sold to the highest bidder. This reserved section consisted of 320 acres at Wolf Grove, given to J. B. Roy, the United States interpreter, and 160 acres donated to the pioneer missionary, S. M. Irvin, who had the privilege of locating his tract at any point in the reserve. He chose the land upon which Iowa Point was built.

Early in 1855 H. W. Forman, J. W. Forman and J. S. Pemberton, bought this half section of Mr. Roy and traded it with Mr. Irwin for his land at the Point. They then laid out the town and began the erection of buildings.

The two first buildings erected in the town were used as dwellings and are still in existence. They were erected by Pemberton and Forman and both bear the date of the opening of the Territory (1854). The following year there was considerable activity about the new town and a number of buildings went up and were appropriated as stores or residences. Among them was the first store in the town, occupied by Beeler& Williams with a general stock. Shortly after X. K. Stout and Richard Leach began storekeeping. A hotel was opened the same season by B. Beeler. B. B. Leach came a year later. In 1856, the town, now two years old, took a more decided start. The first drug store was opened by Leigh & Brown; a meat-market by Burkhalter & Hobbs, and the practice of medicine begun by Dr. J. Leigh, now of Highland. Improvements begun the previous year were completed in 1856. Among them the saw-mill of Forman & Pemberton. In 1857 the Iowa Point mills were built by the same parties, the first church edifice was erected, an hotel built at a cost of $10,000, Smithton Lodge (Masonic), moved to the town and the first lodge of Good Templars in the State organized.

In 1858, Iowa Point was at the culminating point of its history. It was then the second city in Kansas in point of population and led its rival Leavenworth in a business point of view. Several wholesale houses were in operation and their sales extended to points more than one hundred miles away - a long distance in those days. It was in this year that the ferry company was organized, with H. Forman as president, and a steam ferry-boat put in operation on the Missouri. The town built up rapidly, a brick-yard was started by Joseph Selecman, and this material was substituted for wood in almost all buildings erected from that time on.

With the breaking out of the war and the establishment of towns further back from the river came a new era for the Point. Business stood still, and finally began to retrograde, and when in 1862 the great fire destroyed the best part of the town, its fate was sealed. At the present time, except the few fine brick buildings, which stand untenanted, and the large flouring mill, the traveler will find little indication that the town was ever a place of great importance. A second growth may he in store for it in the future, but it must be one of more certain and gradual form.

The first church in Iowa Point was built in 1857 by the Presbyterians, through the efforts of that grand old pioneer, S. M. Irvin. The building is still standing and is used for service as it has been for a full quarter century. About the same time the Methodists began to hold service in a public hall used by the Masonic fraternity, and the Baptists held services in the Presbyterian church, under Rev. E. Alward. Members of all these organizations are still living here, but reduced numbers and other causes have rendered their services comparatively irregular.

In 1861, on the breaking out of the war, the citizens of the town organized a company of militia, under Capt. C. J. Beeler, which took its part in the troubles of the next four years with credit. In 1862 a company of the Eighth Kansas was stationed here for some time in anticipation of an attack from the Missouri shore. No engagement, however, took place and the town was left like many another on the debatable ground of the river front, threatened, but not invested.

Since the war but few of its former residents have returned to the Point, and new towns farther west have attracted the attention of immigrants, so that the growth of the town has been practically nil. It may now be chiefly congratulated on having reached the point whence its progress must be upward.


Fanning is a little town on the Atchison & Nebraska railway, six miles north of Troy Junction. It is located upon Section 34, Township 2, and Range 20. Its projectors were Jesse Reed and James Bradley. 1870, the date of the location of the town, saw the beginning of almost all industries, now represented at that point. In that year the postoffice was built and James Bradley, who still holds the office appointed - postmaster. The A. & N. railway built a station in this year and the first blacksmith shop was put in operation. A grist-mill was built in 1872 by William Hedrick, and a large Catholic Church erected in 1879. The town has a population of between forty and fifty.


ALVIN ACKER, farmer, Section 32, P. O. Leona, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born March 26, 1826. He was reared and educated in his native State. In 1849 he moved to Seneca County, Ohio, where he worked at the carpenter's trade until he came to Kansas, in 1869; since has turned his attention to agriculture. He was married in Seneca County, Ohio, April 6, 1854, to Miss Sarah Casbeer, who was born in 1834, and died in Ohio in 1862. He was married the second time to Miss Maranda Eank, August 9, 1863. She was born in Burks (sic) County, Pa., May 24, 1844. He has two children by his first wife - Charles F. and James H.

PATRICK HOLLARN, P. O. Iowa Point, boss construction train B. & M. R. R. (A.& N. Div.), came to Kansas in March, 1855 and first located in Leavenworth, where he resided, and was engaged in teaming on the plains until 1861. In November, 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, at Fort Leavenworth. He participated in the battles of Corinth (being Orderly for Maj. Gen. Rosecrans), Coffeeville, Iuka, and several other small engagements and skirmishes. He was mustered out of service in October, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth. Mr. Hollarn was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1843, and lived in his native county until he was about eighteen months old, when his parents emigrated to America, and first settled at Albany, N. Y., where they lived two years and then removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they lived until they came to Kansas. He was married in Iowa Point, March 6, 1870, to Miss Tabitha Massey, a native of Kentucky. They have five children - James William, Elmore, Patrick, Jesse, and Annie.

JAMES G. D. MATHEWS, machinist and blacksmith, Iowa Point, came to Kansas in April, 1855, locating at Atchison, where he lived about four months and then went to Salt Lake City as chief blacksmith for an overland train. He spent two years on the plains of Utah and Colorado, and in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, and then went to Valparaiso, Ind., where he resided until the war of the Rebellion broke out, and then enlisted, in April, 1861, in Company I, Twentieth Regiment Indiana Infantry. He was discharged for disability at the United States General Hospital in Philadelphia, in December, 1862. He took part in the battles of Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Days' Fight, Second Bull Run, where he received three severe wounds, and other engagements and skirmishes. After his discharge from the army he returned to Logansport, Ind., where he followed his trade about five years, and then removed to Peru, Ind., where he lived four years. From there he removed to Wabash County, Ind., where he lived one year, when he returned to Kansas and located at Iowa Point, Doniphan County, where he resides at present. Mr. Mathews has been married twice. The first marriage took place in Cass County, Ind., in April, 1859, to Miss Harriet Newlin, a native of Indiana. She died in 1863. They had two children by this marriage, one of whom, a daughter, is living, and whose name is Emily. The second marriage occurred April 13, 1880, in Marion County, Ind., to Miss Margaret Pore, a native of Indiana. They have one child, a son - James William Henry.

[TOC] [part 15] [part 13] [Cutler's History]