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


[TOC] [part 12] [part 10] [Cutler's History]


The sum of $16,080 was appropriated by the Legislature of 1881 for the purpose of establishing an asylum for the education of the feeble-minded and imbecile youth of Kansas, and the first building that was occupied by the State University at Lawrence was set apart temporary use of the institution. In June, 1881, the Board of Trustees, of the State Charitable Institutions took possession of the building, and in making the necessary repairs on the same expended of the appropriation $1,200. On September 1, 1881, the institution was opened for the reception of pupils, the officials in charge being H. M. Greene, Superintendent; Mrs. M. M. Greene, Matron; Mrs. Mate Stowe, teacher. The total capacity of the institution is thirty, and the number of pupils in the institution at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1882 was twenty. The Superintendent reported:

The work accomplished during the initial year, through the commendable zeal and patience of those in charge, has been of an interesting and gratifying character, and although the school is small in numbers, and the accommodations very imperfect, enough has been demonstrated to justify the opinion that the institution is destined to take rank as one of the noblest and most useful of the public charities of the State. But it will be impossible to accomplish the best results in management until a new site is selected, and appropriate building accommodations provided. The amount required for the support of the institution for the biennial period ending June 30, 1882 is $7,500 per annum.

There have been twenty-two pupils admitted into the institution; the first admittance was on September 7, 1881 - Belle Abbott, from Johnson County. the causes of imbecility, as far as ascertained had the following classification:

Congenital, 10; severe sickness in infancy, 7; accident, 2; undetermined, 3.

The counties furnishing the pupils are as follows: Butler, 3; Chautauqua, 1; Davis, 1; Douglas, 2; Franklin, 1; Johnson, 1; Leavenworth, 1; Miami, 1; Mitchell, 1; Nemaha, 1; Neosho, 1; Ottawa, 1; Riley, 1; Waubaunsee, 1; Woodson, 2; Wyandotte, 2.

Five of the above have been discharged - three as incapable of improvement, one insane and one epileptic. In each of the instances, a full and through trial was given before the discharge was made, and this course was taken because the best interest of the institution demanded it.

The Superintendent regards the institution as a school, in the view of the law establishing it, and inmates who are devoid of even the rudimentary means of acquiring the simplest ideas of education can scarcely be classed as pupils, and they thus prevent by their presence the admittance of children who could be benefited. There has been twenty-three rejected applicants. Says the Superintendent:

The large percentage of cases in which imbecility may be clearly traced to effects produced upon the mind of the mother at a critical period, furnished another illustration of the terrible ordeal through which women of our pioneer and border history have passed, and a touching petition in behalf of these wards of the State, rendered helpless and almost mindless by the horrors of the turmoil which have marked the settlement of Kansas.

Arrangements have been made for the construction of a dining room adjoining the building on the south, 16 X 30 feet in size and one story in height, which will be ready by August 1, 1883. There is still a want of room in several departments. The Superintendent states it will probably be below the fact to place the number of children within the State who are eligible on account of age to admittance to the asylum at 100.


When the Lawrence City Association was formed, an article was inserted in its constitution, providing that no intoxicating drinks should be sold within the city limits-lots being forfeited if the rule was disregarded. In consequence of repeated violations of this agreement, meetings were held in July, 1855, and a committee appointed to draft a prohibitionary liquor law, similar to the Maine law, which was submitted to the voters of Lawrence, at an election held July 30, 1855. The act was entitled 'An Act for the suppression of drinking houses and tippling shops in Lawrence. ' The result of the election was seventy- four votes for the prohibitory law, and one against. A board of arbitrators to investigate and decide upon alleged violations of the law, was elected as follows: William Hutchison, G. W. Brown, M. M. Hammen, R. G. Elliott, John Speer. It was not long before the excitement consequent upon the slavery agitation and the general demoralization of all the ordinary business interests of the town, gave license to those inclined to transgress. The sale of liquor was commenced, and once commenced, increased rapidly., In the winter and spring of 1856, the citizens became alarmed, and a temperance society was organized, spirited meetings held, and the people believed they were again in a fair way to repress the evil, when the raid on the town in May, 1856, the destruction of property, and the general dismay and discouragement resulting, again put a stop for the time to any special efforts of the temperance people.

The crusade was renewed during the summer by the ladies, who first tried to buy out the stock on hand, exacting promise that it should not be replenished. Failing in this, they took up the Hatchet in defense of their right to inhabit peaceful, quiet homes, and to destroy that which was destroying their husbands and sons. The result was peace and quiet for a time. In the winter of 1856-57, the evil-owing to Lawrence being a rendezvous for all the wild and restless spirits in the Territory-had increased to even greater proportions than ever before, seven saloons being in full blast. On the 24th of January 1857, the ladies again took the field, about forty assembled and visiting the different groggeries, saw and conquered. The town was in a state of the greatest excitement, sympathizers with each party formed in groups in the streets, and party spirit ran high and low. The temperance party returned from their successful crusade to the school room, and there organized a Temperance Vigilance Committee, to prevent the further sale of liquor in Lawrence, and members of the opposite faction, determined to resist, visited Franklin, and returned the same afternoon, defiant and abusive, a half-barrel of whisky in the wagon, a red flag flying and followed by a noisy rabble. With the precious cargo they paraded the streets, threatening property and persons, and making their cause more heartily despised by decent people than before. After this vigorous demonstration of the ladies, affairs were in a better condition for some time.


Lawrence was incorporated in 1855, by the bogus Legislature, its boundaries being defined as follows: 'Beginning at a stone monument in the mouth of a ravine entering the Kansas River in a northwesterly direction from the town of Lawrence, and between the dwelling houses of William H. R. Lykins and Achilles B. Wade, and running due west 1,250 feet, thence due south 6,729 feet, thence due east 5,280 feet, thence north 4,260 feet, to the Kansas river, thence along said river to the place of beginning. '

The Board of Trustees appointed by the same act, were the following gentlemen: Samuel T. Snyder, John P. Wood, Joel Grover, William H. R. Lykins and George W. Hutchison, 'or a majority of them. '

This act gave Lawrence the same privileges as were granted to Leavenworth.

In the winter of 1856-57, by an amendment to the charter, the boundaries were changed, the town to be known as the 'City of Lawrence. ' and power given to elect a Mayor and Councilmen. W. H. R. Lykins, Robert Morrow and James F. Legate were appointed Judges of an election ordered to be held February 23, 1857. The officers elected were: Mayor, James Blood; Clerk, Caleb S. Pratt.

The city was never organized under this charter, was, of course, without municipal regulations, and as it increased in size and population felt the need of them more and more. Not recognizing the authority of the Territorial Government, the city applied to the Topeka Legislature for a charter, but that body not granting their request, the citizens of the city, in July, 1857, organized and formed a charter for themselves, and adopted a form of municipal government: the following address being issued to the people, in support of the course pursued:

To the People In presenting the accompanying chapter, it may not be improper for your committee to state a few of the reasons which seem to render the organization of a city government not only proper but imperative. It will hardly be disputed that the people are the only true and legitimate fountain of all human government. Political and social rights are not dependent upon the gift of organizations, but are inherent in the people.

As all governments, whether state or municipal, depend primarily upon the will of the people, and exist only for their protection and convenience, it follows that, in the absence of constituted authorities and organized governments, the people are left to act in their primary and independent capacity and form a government for themselves.

Such is the condition of the people of Lawrence with reference to their political affairs. For more than two years we have lived without law. Owing to the orderly and peace-loving character of our citizens, we have happily been preserved, so far, from many of the evils which would usually be incident to such a situation, As our population, however, increases and the city fills up, the necessity for some municipal organization is every day becoming more and more apparent.

Police regulations are necessary for the preservation of order and peace; sanitary measures are essential to the preservation of health; we are unprotected against the ravages of fire; in short, all the varied necessities of a rapidly growing city demand a municipal government.

The only point of embarrassment in this movement arises from the unhappy condition of political affairs in our Territory. Under ordinary circumstances, the more regular method of proceeding would be to obtain a charter from the Territorial authorities. As the Territorial government, however, in no sense represents the people of Kansas, was not elected by them, and can have no right to legislate for them, we cannot accept of a charter at its hands. And as the State government has not as yet deemed it advisable to proceed to the organization of local and municipal governments, we cannot obtain a charter from it. . There is, therefore, left us only the alternative of a charter springing directly from the people, or a continuance in our present unorganized condition. Under these circumstances, you have seen fit to instruct us to present a charter, have discussed its provisions in a preliminary assemblage, and now propose to submit it to a full vote of the people for approval or rejection.

In the event of its adoption, it is believed that the beneficial effects of a city government will be so apparent to all that no good citizen will feel inclined to dispute its authority or resist its claims. As its action will be purely local, and have reference merely to out own internal affairs, no collision is apprehended with any other organization claiming to exercise general jurisdiction in the Territory.

(Signed) J. Blood
Col. S. W. Eldridge
G. W. Hutchison
C. Stearns
George Ford

Gov. Walker answered this 'treasonable act' of the rebellious citizens of Lawrence by a long proclamation, dated 'Leavenworth, July 15, 1857,' and which was equally exasperating and absurd. After stating that he finds essential differences in the charter adopted and then granted by the Territorial legislature of 1856-57, and that the citizens have established a government in direct defiance of the Territorial government; having distributed an account of their proceedings in hand-bill form throughout the Territory 'with the view to incite the other cities, towns and counties of Kansas to establish insurrectionary governments,' and with the 'evident purpose to involve the whole Territory in insurrection, and to renew the scenes of bloodshed and civil war,' he then warns the people that upon their heads must rest all the guilt and responsibility of their contemplated revolution,' all the blood that may be shed in the contest, and upon them must fall the punishment. Assuring them that 'a rebellion so iniquitous, and necessarily involving such awful consequences, has never before disgraced any age or country.' The Governor goes on, evidently warming up with his theme:

Permit me to call to your attention, as still claiming to be citizens of the United States, to the results of your revolutionary proceedings. You are inaugurating rebellion and revolution; you are disregarding the laws of Congress, and of the Territorial government, and defying their authority; you are conspiring to overthrow the Government of the United States in this Territory. Your purpose, if carried into effect, in the mode designated by you, by putting your laws forcibly into execution, would involve you in the guilt, and crime of treason. You stand now, fellow-citizens, upon the brink of an awful precipice, and it becomes my duty to warn you, here, you take the fatal leap into the gulf below. if your proceedings are not arrested, you will necessarily destroy the peace of this Territory, and involve it in all the horrors of civil war. I warn you then, before it is too late, to recede from the perilous position in which you now stand.

Gov. Walker then announces that as all arguments hitherto addressed by himself to the refractory citizens of Lawrence 'have failed to have any effect' he shall order an adequate force of troops into their immediate vicinity, 'to perform the painful duty of arresting their revolutionary proceedings,' adding, humanely, that 'to spare all bloodshed as far as practicable,' he shall accompany the troops in person.

In accordance with his threat, Gov. Walker appeared before Lawrence on the 17th of July, with 400 United States dragoons; declared the town under martial law, and all communication prohibited with the adjacent country except in presence of escorts. The military force, thus arrayed against the rebellious city remained patiently at its post, their leader succeeding in preventing any 'bloodshed' and the treasonable citizens with equal patience removed dead horses from their streets, cleaned out their gutters, had chloride of lime sprinkled in all necessary places, and got ready to attend to the temperance interests of the city. The Leavenworth Herald (August 15) states that no one has been yet arrested, as no effort has been made by the bogus officers to enforce the city regulations, but prophesies trouble 'the moment the overt act is committed'. while the Squatter Sovereign wisely sets the whole thing down as 'simply farcical,' and ventures the assertion that 'the people of Lawrence are entirely too sharp to do anything to give the Governor a pretext for employing the army, which with a flourish of trumpets he has marched upon the city. ' If so proved, and after watching the city a few weeks the troops were withdrawn by order of the President. In February, 1858, a bill was introduced before the Territorial Legislature, legalizing the people's charter. The bill was vetoed by the Governor, but finally passed both Houses, and became a law February 11, 1858.


The first settlement that was made in what is now known as North Lawrence occurred between 1860 and 1865. Among the first settlers were G. J. Tallman, John Moorehead, Tibbetts, M. Berry, Th. McCage, W. H. H. Whitney, T. S. Murray, T. Laptab and others. The first building erected, prior to the settlement by the whites, by the Delaware Indians. John Baldwin also erected a long log building, and occupied it when he first established his ferry across the Kaw River at that point. A store was built and operated by John Moorehead. Other buildings soon followed. The post office was established in 1865, under the name of Jefferson, G. J. Tallman being appointed first Postmaster.

North Lawrence was laid off as a town site in 1866, by S. N. Simpson, the town site proposed consisting of 320 acres. At the first election of town officers, the following were elected: Board of Trustees, G. J. Tallman, President; T. McCage, M. H. Berry, James Franklin, A. C. Miller, and H. H. Howard, Attorney. In 1867, under act of State Legislature, it became a city of the second class, and at the first election elected, and appointed the following officers: G. J. Tallman, Mayor; N. Hoysradt, Clerk; A. R. Smith, Treasurer; T. Beasler, Marshal; H. H. Howard, Police Judge. The city was divided into wards and three Councilmen elected from each. In 1869, an attempt was made to annex the city to Lawrence proper but failed. By an act of the State Legislature in 1870, it was consolidated with Lawrence proper and its charter surrendered.


At the first city election under the Lawrence City charter granted by the Free-State Territorial Legislature of 1858, the following officers were elected: Mayor, C. W. Babcock; Councilmen, R. Morrow, P. R. Brooks, E. S. Lowman, L. C. Tolles, John G. Haskell, M. Hartman, Henry Shanklin, A. J. Totten, S. W. Eldridge, A. H. Mallory, L. Bullene, F. A. Bailey; City Marshal, J. Cracklin; Recorder, J. P. S. Otterson; City Attorney, William B. Parsons; Treasurer, Wesley H. Duncan; Assessor, Silas Green; City Clerk, Caleb S. Pratt; City Engineer, A. Cutler; Street Commissioners, A. D. Searl, A. Cutter, C. A. Pease; School Trustees, John M. Coe, B. Johnson, T. D. Thacher, Albert Newman.

In case the city accepted the charter of 1858, all previous laws on this subject were repealed. At an election held by the legal voters of Lawrence, February 26, 1858, the charter was accepted.

All the laws passed by the State Legislature bearing upon the incorporation of the cities of Kansas have affected the organization of the city of Lawrence to a greater or less degree. Under an act passed by the State Legislature of 1872, dividing cities into first, second, and third classes, Lawrence legally became a city of the second class.

The following is the the city's official roster:

Mayors - 1857, James Blood; 1850, C. W. Babcock; 1859, James Blood; 1860, G. W. Deitzler; 1861, A. Fuller; 1862, S. K. Hudson; 1863, G. Collamore; 1863 (from August 21, to May, 1864) A. Fuller; 1864, R. W. Ludington; 1865, G. Grovener; 1866, W. H. R. Lykins; 1867, S. Kimball; 1868, T. J. Steinburgh; 1869, W. Hadley; 1870-71, G. Grovenor; 1872, W. Hadley; 1873, F. Gleason; 1874-75, J. R. Rankin; 1876-77, R. W. Ludington; 1878, L. N. Van Hoesen; 1879-81, John P. Usher; 1882, J. D. Bowerstock.

Clerks - 1857-61, Caleb S. Pratt; 1862-67, H. O. Sholes; 1868, G. S. Hampton; 1869-70, J. S. Brown; 1871-83, F. Manet.

Treasurers - 1959, John Gilmore; 1860-61, A. Gunther; 1862-63, A. N. Blacklidge; 1864, G. E. Holt; 1865-67, James Blood; 1868-71, M. S. Beach; 1872, J. S. Crew; 1873-77, J. E. Watson; 1878-83, J. A. Dailey.


The first attempt made in crossing the Kansas or Kaw River at Lawrence in its Territorial days was by means of a ferry, established in the fall of 1855 by John Baldwin and C. W. Babcock. Mr. Babcock, however, remained as a partner but two years. The ferry, though answering its purpose in those days, was a primitive affair, being a flat-boat propelled by means of a rope stretched across the river and the aid of the current. It was run under the management of John Baldwin until the erection of the bridge.

The Lawrence Bridge Company was chartered by an act of the Territorial Legislature, prior to the admission of the Territory as a State in 1859. The charter was subsequently amended by the State Legislature. The company organized with a capital stock of $50,000, and commenced operations under the following officers: C. W. Babcock, President; J. Miller, Treasurer; E. D. Thompson, Secretary.

The initial step of the enterprise was the engagement of a competent engineer, who, after mature deliberation, decided on the location of the bridge, at the foot of Massachusetts street. Prior to this time, a general feeling was expressed by many that it would be impossible to build a bridge at or near Lawrence, on account of the yielding banks and quick sands of which the bed of the river was supposed to be formed. Work on the bridge commenced, and was continued until 1863, when a sub-contractor and seven laborers were killed in the Quantrell raid. In addition to this, many of the stockholders lost all their property. But the company soon rallied, and work was resumed until the completion of the bridge in December, 1863.

This bridge may be said to have been the first one built across the Kansas River. The bridge, of the Howe Truss pattern, consists of five wooden spans resting on solid stone piers; is 690 feet long and was built at an expense of $47,000. In 1879, by a decision of the State Supreme Court, the charter was annulled and the entire property confiscated and it became the property of the State. Little did the first settlers that crossed the Kaw River at what is now known as Lawrence dream that in years to come its impetuous tide would be checked and its mighty strength utilized in being the motive power in propelling the massive machinery now in operation. Lawrence was then in its infancy, destined to play an important character in the days of the Pro-slavery party, and their finally triumphant antagonists, the Free-state men. The sacking of Lawrence in 1856; the Quantrell raid in 1863, passed, sapping its life blood, but not stopping its rapid growth. Mills and manufacturing enterprises were projected and then the first preliminary steps were taken toward utilizing the water-power.

In the autumn of 1872, O. Darling entered into a contract with the city authorities, by which they agreed, among other considerations, to pay $6,000 each and every year after the dam was completed, until the time of the contract had expired. Mr. Darling, on his part, agreed to have the dam completed within a certain time. Work on the dam was commenced, and in order to give the enterprise a more substantial character, a stock company, known as the Lawrence Land & Water-Power Company was incorporated early in 1873, with the following officers: W. Hadley, President; J. W. Johnson, Treasurer; and O. Darling, Secretary. With $100,000 capital stock, and $60,000 paid-up capital, the company pushed the work ahead until the winter of 1873, when the enterprise met with the first of a long series of disasters. During the month of December, 1873, an ice-gorge that had formed on the river above the dam gave way and destroyed the flume on the north side, carrying with it a portion of the north end of the dam. Mr. Darling, the contractor resigned and the work was finally completed in the spring of 1874, by the company, at an expense of $40,000.

On account of the peculiar formation of the river bottom, the dam was built in two sections of 300 feet each. The south section, resting on solid rock bottom, is built of cut stone, laid in terraces. The north section was originally built on a 'tree foundation' resting on what afterward proved to be a bed of 'sinking sand', the superstructure being built of wood.

In the spring of 1876, the dam was again partially destroyed by a heavy freshet, which also 'took out' two spans of the bridge. During the summer of the same year, another freshet destroyed nearly all the repairs on the dam that were being made. The work was finally completed in September, 1876. These various freshets, while not materially injuring the 'south section' of the dam, swept away entirely the 'tree foundation', and washed out the sand on which it rested down to 'bed rock' at a depth of thirty feet. A new foundation was formed by filling up with loose stone within ten feet of the water's surface, and building on them crib-work, with a wooden superstructure. The dam, taken as a whole, is 600 feet long, eight feet high and has an estimated capacity of 2,000 horse-power.

Owing to the enormous expenses incurred in making the numerous repairs on the dam, from year to year, and the failure of the stock holders in responding to assessment calls, the affairs of the company were placed in the hands of a Receiver in 1877. The Receiver caused debentures to be issued to the amount of $23,000. In 1879, the property passed into the hands of its present owner, J. D. Bowerstock.

[TOC] [part 12] [part 10] [Cutler's History]