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


[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]


Leona stands upon the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 3 Range 19. It was laid out June 15, 1873, by a stock company, of which J. W. Schock was president. This land had been a part of the farm of David Kercher, who was among the first settlers in this part of the county, and was selected as a central point from which to ship the products of this fertile neighborhood. To secure railway facilities, the company paid to the St. Joseph& Denver City Railway land for a depot and side-track and about $1,000 in cash. The following year the railway sold out to H. Gregg for $400, he assuming the part of the road in its contract with the town.

The first building on the town site was the house of David Kercher, but the first erected was the combined storeroom, store and railway depot of H. Gregg. This was a low building near the track, and was eighty by twenty feet. Of this the storeroom occupied by H. Gregg took fifty, the store of Mailler & Brush twenty, and the railway ten feet.

David Kercher, the first postmaster, was appointed in June, 1873, and prior to the building of the store had the postoffice in his house. Robert Mailler was the second postmaster, and was followed by J. B. Brooks, John Myers and E. B. Gatchell, the present official.

The first birth in the town was that of Leona Schock, child of the president of the town company. The first death, a child of D. L. Carpenter. No marriages of townspeople have as yet been celebrated in the place. The first physician of the town was Dr. S. H. Blakely. He was followed by C. B. Channell, R. L. Teas, H. W. Lewis, and the present life-preserver, E. Walters, who is now the only resident physician. The second store building, erected by Redd & Wilson, is now in use as a dwelling, and is occupied by Rev. S. F. Nesbit, pastor of the Christian Church. The first drug store was that of C. B. Channel; the first hardware that of P. A. Flodin, who also owned the first black-smith shop. The first notary public was D. L. Carpenter. The first harness shop was operated by F. Case; the first meat-market by Kopietz & Marak. The first lumber-yard was opened in 1875 by J. W. Schock.

The first schoolhouse near Leona met with a tragic and unique end. School was taught in it in 1867, and when the fall term of the next year was to begin it was discovered that some enterprising spirit had stolen the house bodily. The theft occurred after a heavy rain, and the departed building was traced to a point near Padonia, in Brown County. It was never recovered. In the fall of 1868, what is now known as the old schoolhouse was built, and in it school was taught up to 1879, when the present structure was erected. The schoolhouse now in use was completed in October, 1879, at a cost of $2,300. Its size is twenty-eight by forty-eight feet. The first teachers in this building were Dr. R. L. Teas and Miss Nannie Nesbit. In the school years of 1880-81 Charles Bowers and Miss E. Plank were teachers of this district, and in 1881-82 Miss Nannie Nesbit and A. Parsons were engaged. The school has grown from year to year and now contrasts favorably with any of its class in the State or county.


The Baptist Church was organized at this point in October, 1880, the church at that date having eight members and being under the charge of its present pastor, Rev. E. Alward. No house of worship is as yet constructed, and services are held in the schoolhouse. the church now numbers eighteen members and seems to be enjoying a steady and healthful growth.

The Christian Church has recently effected an organization at this place, and holds services in the schoolhouse every Sunday. There is, however, no settled preacher, and the church is dependent upon "supplies. "

Leona Lodge, No. 178, I. O. O. F., was organized on September 22, 1880, with the following charter members: G. W. Strahan, H. Guier, J. W. Kaufman, W. S. Postle, E. B. Gatchell, E. M. Miller, A. Postle. The first officers of the lodge were: J. W. Kaufman, N. G., H. Guler, V. G.; E. M. Miller, R. S.; G. W. Strahan, treasurer. Meetings are held each Wednesday in Odd Fellows' Hall over the schoolhouse. The lodge now numbers twenty, and has the following officers: J. W. Schock, N. G.; David Kercher, V. G.; C. Applegate, secretary; Amos Postle, treasurer. The property of the society consists of from $300 to $400 in cash and regalia to the value of fully $200 more -a very creditable showing for its brief existence.

The Leona Public Library was opened in April, 1882. In obtaining the 150 books which form the library the society was fortunate enough to secure a selection of standard works which had been but little used. These we purchased for $65. The schoolhouse is utilized as a library room, where Miss N. Nesbit officiates as librarian. Books are loaned to members at the rate of $1.50 yearly. Although in its infancy the library is a source of great pleasure and literary recreation to its members, and a credit to the Literary Society, which launched it.

The Leona Literary Society holds meetings in the schoolhouse weekly from fall to spring. Debates, recitations and music form an attractive programme and call out a large crowd on each occasion. The society, which was started in 1879, has nearly fifty members.


The elevator standing just northeast of the railway depot was built in 1880 by J. E. Price. This building is 80 x 20 feet, the main part being 48 x 20 feet, and three stories in height. Its capacity is 10,000 bushels of grain and it can handle daily 2,000 bushels. It is valued at $6,000. Power is furnished by an engine of 15-horse power, and a corn cracker for making feed operated. It is now operated by Gregg Bros. & Co., Mr. R. C. Mailler acting as their manager at this point. This company also owns the old warehouse mentioned as among the first buildings of the town, and occasionally use it for storage purposes.

The Jameson elevator, which stands just northeast of the railway depot, was built in 1877 by Jameson Bros., at a cost of about $4,000. It is 20 x 30 feet and three stories in height. Power is furnished by an engine of 12-horse power. This firm has begun the erection of another elevator at Willis, on the new extension of the Missouri Pacific.

Snively & Hedges have a grain warehouse at this point, and purchase considerable amounts of corn and wheat. Their building is 20 x 40 feet and intended more for the accumulation of small shipments than for handling large quantities requiring storage for some time.

The first hotel in the town was built by A. Negus, who conducted it until the spring of 1880, when it was rented to A. Gougler. On his retirement after six months it passed into the hands of J. Allison, and thence in 1882 to the present occupant, V. A. Adams. It is still owned by Mr. Negus, and is the only hotel in the town.

The town now has three general stores, one hardware, one drug, one meat market, two blacksmiths, one agricultural implements house, one lumber yard, and one harness shop, beside the elevators, hotel and other buildings already described at length.

Fires. - Leona has suffered by two fires. The first of these which was a comparatively small affair, destroyed the dwelling of a Mr. Hartsell in 1879. The second was a serious loss to the town, and at one time threatened its total destruction. It broke out between eleven and twelve o'clock on the night of May 1,1882, in the hardware store of P. A. Flodin, and before its discovery, had made such headway as to render it practically beyond control. Spite of the apparent hopelessness of the task, the citizens organized a bucket brigade and fought the fire lustily. At the moment when all seemed unavailing their efforts were seconded by a drenching shower, and after more than two hours of incessant labor the flames were subdued. The buildings destroyed were the Flodin hardware store, in which the fire originated; the two store buildings on the north, owned b A. Angstad, and occupied on the first floor by Waiter & Reeber as a drug store, and in the upper story as a dwelling by J. Allison; the agricultural implement house of P. Flodin adjoining his store, and the wagon shop of J. W. Schock. The severest loss was that of Mr. Flodin, whose property was valued at $3,500, upon which only $2,900 insurance was carried. The proprietors of the drug store were more fortunate, their insurance of $1,000 amply covering their loss. The wagon shop of Mr. J. W. Schock, valued with its contents at $800, was a total loss, and was insured for only $250. Upon the north of the drug store stood the general store of L. Rickenbauch, from which the goods were removed, causing a damage of $160. On the opposite side of the street the stocks of Hoverson & Co., and Dillon & Springer Brothers were hurriedly removed, causing losses to each of about $50. In the light of the half million dollar fires which are so frequently recorded in our great cities these losses seem trivial, but in a new born town the blackened ruins they left bear a large ratio to the remaining buildings, and point, as they could not in a larger place, to the blow which so narrowly missed obliterating the place.


EDWIN ACKER, farmer, P. O. Leona, came to Kansas in the spring of 1880, locating in Rosedale, Wyandotte County, where he was in the mercantile business until June, 1882, when he removed to Doniphan County where he resides at present. Mr. Acker is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and participated in the last war as a sergeant of Company E, Fifth New York Heavy Artillery; was enlisted February 22 1862, in the city of New York, and finally discharged from the United States service December 31, 1863, by reason of Surgeon's certificate of disability at Baltimore, Md. He took part in the battles of Harper's Ferry, Charlestown, Va., and numerous other engagements. He was born in Lehigh County, Pa., August 28, 1821, and lived in his native place until 1851, when he removed to New York City where he lived fifteen years and part of the time was employed as foreman of the Third Avenue Stage stables and of the Third Avenue Car Line, and for three years was a member of the Metropolitan Police Force, and as such, took part in the Draft Riots in that city in 1863. From New York he returned to Allentown, Pa., where he lived until he came to Kansas. While residing in Allentown he was a member of the police force of that city for seven years. He has been married twice. The first marriage took place in Lehigh County, Pa., February 21, 1841 to Miss Eliza Dorney, a native of the Keystone State. By this marriage he had six children, three of whom are living, and whose names are, William Henry Harrison, Emeline, and Charles. Mr. Acker's first wife died in the year 1866. The second marriage took place in Allantown (sic) Pa., in June, 1878, to Mrs. Olive Buttz, a native of Pennsylvania.

AMOS ANGSTAD was born in Snyder County, Pa., November 20, 1847. He is the son of David and Lidie Weller Angstad, both natives of Pennsylvania. He was educated in Snyder County, Pa., and began life as a farmer. Moved to Seneca County, Ohio, in 1863, and enlisted in Company G, Twenty-fifth Regiment, Ohio Volunteers Infantry, and was mustered out in 1865. He was married in Tiffin, Seneca Co., Ohio, March 12, 1868, to Miss Catherine J. Zieber, a native of Seneca County, Ohio, born February 26, 1850. They have two children, Cora E. and Myrtle B. He is a grain dealer at Leona. Is a Republican in politics.

L. E. DAVIS, farmer, Section 6, P. O. Leona, was born in Fall River, Bristol Co., Mass., December 4, 1840. He was raised and educated in Fall River. In 1857 he moved to Peru, LaSalle Co., Ill., where he learned practical engineering. He was engineer on the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific for some time. From Peru he moved to Peoria, Ill., where he lived for two years. From Peoria he moved to St. Joseph, Mo., and was employed on the Hannibal & St. Joe R. R. for some time, thence to Kansas in 1866, and settled on a farm. He was married in Ingersoll, Canada West, December 25, 1860 to Miss Mary M. Comstock, a native of Mt. Washington, Mass. She was born August 11, 1842. They have seven children: Ella M., Archie L., Joseph H., Ira B., Willie L., Clyde A. and Ida L.

HENRY DAVISON, farmer, P. O. Highland, was born in Oxford, N. J.. July 21, 1803. He is the son of Warren Davison, born in the same county, 1786, and Hannah Kiser Davison, who was born in Oxford, N. J., in 1788, and died in Tompkins County, N. Y., June 6, 1838. He was educated in Jersey County, PA. He was a mason and plasterer by trade. He was married in Tompkins County, N. Y., October 17, 1827, to Miss Anna Young, who was born in Lansing, Tompkins Co., N. Y., October 14, 1806. Her father, Henry Young, and Lucia Ivry-Young, were both natives of New York. He has twelve children, viz: Conrad, Delilah, Amanda J., Morris, John M., Warren L., Mary E., Phoebe A., Emeline, James L., Helen M. J., and one died unnamed. He is one of the oldest citizens in the county. He is a Republican in politics.

J. A. DILLON, a leading merchant of Leona, was born in this county April 4, 1858. His father was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in 1833, and died in this county June 10, 1873. His mother, Mary E. Kennedy Dillon, was born in Fountain County, Ind., in 1835, and is a resident of this county near Highland Station. Mr. Dillon received his early schooling in this county, and competed his studies at Oregon, Mo. He first began life as a school teacher, but choosing his occupation later in life, he entered the store of his uncle as a clerk, and in January, 1882, moved to Leona and opened a general merchandise store. His political status is with the Republican party.

CARL DUEHN, farmer and breeder of fine stock P. O. Leona, is a son of Charles Duehn and Mary Chulz, and was born in Prussia, August 27, 1818. He was educated in Prussia. He came to the United States in 1864, and during the same year came to Kansas and settled in this county, and has since made farming and stock-raising his business. He has been twice married; first to Miss Caroline Chulz, in 1848, and the second time, in 1863, to Miss Ernestene Kopplin, both natives of Germany. He has a family of nine children: Louis, Oscar, Paulina, Herman, Fred, Charley, Tilda, Lao and Mattie.

E. N. ERICKSON, farmer, P. O. Leona, was born in Buchanan County, Mo., January 5, 1854. His father, Ole Erickson, and his mother, Mary (Goshen) Erickson, were natives of Norway. He came to Brown County, Kas., when young, where he was raised and educated. He has always followed agricultural pursuits. He has been a resident of Doniphan County for a number of years. He was married in Doniphan County, June 16, 1881, to Miss Julia A. Nelson. She was born in Buchanan County, Mo., January 31, 1854. She is the daughter of Lewis and Geurena (sic) should be Gurina) Nelson, natives of Norway. They have one son by this union, Leslie 0. Mr. Erickson is one of Doniphan's public spirited citizens and staunch Republicans.

E. B. GATCHELL, postmaster, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, August 3, 1846. His father, Amos P. Gatchell, is a native of the same place, and died in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, June 8, 1878. His mother, Elizabeth Barger Gatchell, was also a native of Harrison County, and died in Wyandotte County, Ohio, in 1848. He received his education in the Upper Sandusky, Ohio. At the age of seventeen years he enlisted in Company F, Ninth Ohio Cavalry, and was wounded at the battle of Decatur, Ala., in 1864, and was mustered out July 25, 1865. He came to Kansas in 1868. He was married in Brown County, Kas., July 15, 1874, to Miss Mary J. Stites, daughter of Hon. G. M. and Sarah Round-Stites She was born in Ripley County, Ind., October 7, 1853. They have had three children: Grace G., Warren S. and Julia E. He has held the offices of Justice of the Peace and Notary Public.

J. T. HARPER, farmer, P. O. Leona, was born in Hendricks County, Ind., December 5, 1838. He is the son of Jesse and Mary A. Clifton Harper, both natives of Kentucky. His early schooling was received in Andrew County, Mo., having completed his studies in Doniphan County, Kas. Farming has always been his occupation. He was married in this county January 15, 1859, to Miss Rachel A. Cowger, daughter of G. C. and Susan Cowger, natives of Indiana. She was born March 28, 1843. He enlisted in Company I, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, and was mustered out in 1865. He came to Kansas in 1855 and settled in this township, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. Mr. Harper is a Republican.

ADAM HEATER, P. O. Highland, was born in Seneca County, Ohio, March 21, 1835. He is the son of John Heater, who was born in Snyder County, Pa., October 23, 1791, and Sarah Frees Heater, who was also a native of Snyder County. He was educated in Seneca County, Ohio. Farming has always been his occupation. He was married in Seneca County, Ohio, March 24, 1859, to Miss Celina Korner, a daughter of Jacob and Julian Peters-Korner. Miss Korner was born in Seneca County, Ohio, July 23, 1839. He has four children: Willis D., Susie, Courtland (deceased), and May. He came to Kansas in 1872 and settled in this county. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and votes the Democratic ticket.

JOHN HUNTER, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Highland, was born in Scotland, August 23, 1833. His father, George Hunter, and Elspeth Mill were also natives of Scotland. He was educated in the common schools of his own country, and at the age of twenty-four years, hoping to better himself, came to America, and for thirteen years lived on Michigan, engaged in various pursuits. In 1870 he came to Kansas and settled near Leona on an unimproved piece of land, and by his industry made it one of the best farms in the township. He has just finished building a fine barn 36 x 54, at a cost of $2,500, and is a wide awake and enterprising bachelor.

DAVID KERCHER, farmer, P. O. Leona, was born in Lancaster Pa., February 3, 1843. He is the son of Curtis and Barbara Kizer Kercher, both natives of Pennsylvania. He was educated in Lancaster, Pa., and Wayne County, Ohio. He enlisted in Company C, Sixteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered out in 1864. During the same year he was employed by the Government as a carpenter and stationed at Little Rock, Ark., where he serve until 1868. He returned to Wayne County, Ohio, and was married to Miss Rachel M. Cherry, who was born in Wayne County, Ohio, December 18, 1848. He has one child, Delno E. He came to Kansas in an early day and settled in this township, and was the first postmaster at Leona. Mr. Kercher is a member of the Republican party.

JACOB MILLER, farmer, P. O. Leona, was born in Union County, Pa., December 8, 1837. His parents were John and Sarah Decker Miller, both natives of Pennsylvania. He was educated in Union County, Pa., and his occupation has always been that of a farmer. He was married in Union County, Pa., October 3, 1858, to Miss Rebecca Pick, daughter of Daniel and Polly Emore-Pick. They have two children, John P. and Mary A. He came to Kansas in 1880 and settled on his present home. He is a Democrat.

DANIEL MOYER, hardware dealer, one of the leading business men of the county, is the subject of this sketch. He is a native of Pennsylvania and was born in Snyder County, May 22, 1844. Was there reared and educated. He became proficient in the hardware business and learned the tinner's trade in Indiana. Came to Kansas in 1879, engaging in business at Leona. Was married in Sandusky County, Ohio, October 14, 1865, to Miss Eliza Bingman, of Snyder County, Pa., born October 21, 1845. They have four children - John Daniel, Franklin and Adam. He is a member of the K. of H.

R. B. OVERLANDER, farmer, P. O. Leona, was born in Knox County, Ill., October 7, 1844, and was there reared. He is the son of John Overlander and Sarah Hayes, the former a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1799 and died in 1851. R. B. resided and farmed in the Sucker State until 1869, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. He has a fine farm and is one of the solid men of Wolf River Township. He has been twice married: First, in Highland, Doniphan County, to Miss Linia Matherson, June 19, 1870. They had six children - Samuel W., Rufus M., Charles L., Sarah E., Jessie L. and John E. Mrs. O. died June 7, 1881. He was married on February 15, 1882, to Ella E. Miller, of Andrew County, Mo.

D. E. REBER, druggist, was born in Union County, Pa., February 13, 1859. He is the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Reber; was raised and educated in the Keystone State. Followed the profession of school teaching for several years. For a time was a resident of Hancock County, Ohio. Came to Kansas in January, 1862, purchased an interest in a drug store in Leona, and June 17, 1882, became sole proprietor. He is doing a lucrative business, and is identified with the drug trade of Doniphan County. Politically he is a Republican.

L. RICKENBACH, merchant. This enterprising citizen is a native of Juniata County, Pa., born January 26, 1842. His father, Joel, and mother Catherine Seiber, were natives of the same State. The subject of our sketch was reared in Hancock County, Ohio, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1873, when he came to Kansas and engaged in mercantile business at Leona. He was married, January 24, 1869, in Wyandotte County, Ohio, to Miss Caroline Strahan. They have four children - Winona G., Irma V., Willis B. and Clair D. Mrs. R. is a native of Union County, Pa., and was born February 3, 1843. Mr. R. enlisted in Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, August, 1862, for three years during the late war. Was captured at Winchester, Va., June 14, 1863; was taken to Richmond; was in Libby Prison, Belle Isle and Palmer Prison. Was again captured at Farmville, High Bridge, Va., three days before Gen. Lee's surrender to Gen. Grant at Appomatox. Was honorably discharged June 15, 1865, at Columbus, Ohio. He is a member of the I. 0. 0. F.

[TOC] [part 17] [part 15] [Cutler's History]