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


[TOC] [part 35] [part 33] [Cutler's History]


Baldwin City is pleasantly located on rolling prairie fifteen miles south of Lawrence, on the line of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railway. Occupying a position in the midst of a rich agricultural country, which is settled up by a good class of farmers, it has an excellent location as a shipping point. Within its limits is located the Baker University, the oldest institution of learning in the State.

The first settlement made in and near what is now known as Baldwin City, occurred in 1854, when Robert and Richard Pierson, L. F. Green, Jacob Cantrell and a few others took up claims and laid the foundations for a future prosperous neighborhood. They were followed by L. N. Snyder, H. Baricklaw, D. Still, J. A. Abbott, D. F. Green, D. Froy, W. Baricklaw and others in 1855-6.

In June, 1855, a town site of 320 acres, on Sections 34 and 27, Township 14, Range 20, was surveyed and laid off by the Palmyra Town Company, and known as Palmyra. The Town Company was composed of twelve members, as follows: James Blood, President, J. B. Abbott, Capt. Saunders, Amasa Soule, L. F. and D. F. Green, Dr. A. T. Still, D. Fry, Robert Pierson and the three Baricklaw brothers. The first building on the town site was a log-house, erected in 1854, by J. Cantrell, and used as a dwelling. After the town was laid off, W. Westfall erected a building and occupied it as a store. The "Old Barracks," a square, log building twenty by twenty feet, was the next building, and was built by the town company, and used by many, until others were erected. A hotel was also built by the town company and used both for store and hotel purposes, under the name of the Santa Fe House, and was managed by A. F. Powell. Drs. Simmons and Still were among the first disciples of Esculapius, locating in 1855. The marriage of Robert Pierson to a Miss Bithinger in 1855-6, was among the first ceremonies of the kind performed in Palmyra.

In 1858, the town company purchased the section of land adjoining the town on the south, and donated it to the Kansas Educational Association, in consideration of which they agreed to locate an institution of learning on the said section. As the work on the university progressed, buildings were erected on the new town site, which was named Baldwin, in honor of John Baldwin, of Berea, Ohio, and soon, one by one, the business enterprises of Palmyra moved to the new town. A saw and grist mill was erected by John Baldwin, and other enterprises inaugurated which proved the death blow to Palmyra as a town, as it is now knows as "but a dream of the past."

The Palmyra post office was established in 1856, N. Blood being appointed as first Postmaster; H. Scott was his successor, when the office was moved to Baldwin. He was succeeded by J. M. Cavaness, who had charge of the office until 1867. Mr. Cavaness was succeeded by H. M. Scott, who remained until 1875, when John Chapman took charge of the office. It was established as a money-order office in 1867, and has since retained that distinction.

(Owing to the destruction of city records, no correct data can be given concerning its official proceedings.)


Methodist Episcopal Church. - The first religious services held by this denomination were presided over by Rev. T. S. Griffing, in the summer of 1855. A class was organized July 22, 1855, at Palmyra, by the Rev. L. R. Dennis, with the following members: H. Barricklow, David and Huldah Eldridge, William and Jane Graham, D. Johnson, L. F. and N. Green, A. Perces, H. and Rosella Harris. Services were held at residences of the different members until 1858, when the University Chapel at Baldwin City was used. The present church building, which is a substantial stone structure, was built in 1868.

*The following pastors have had charge of the church since its first organization in the order mentioned: Rev. L. B. Dennis, eighteen months; Rev. W. Taylor, one year; Rev. William Butt, one year; Rev. M. Robinson, two years; Rev. W. R. Davis, one year; Rev. T. H. Mudge, four months (church supplied eight months); Rev. T. G. Ferril, one year; Rev. W. Butt, one year; Rev. J. B. Orwig, one year; Rev. G. S. Dearborn, one year; Rev. Mr. McBurney, one year; Rev. James Lawrence, one year; Rev. Mr. Bryant, one year; Rev. Mr. Perry, one year; Rev. O. O. Roberts, two years; Rev. Mr. Denison, one year; Rev. H. W. Reed, three years; Rev. Mr. Shipe, one year; Rev. A. H. Walters, two years, and Rev. W. R. Davis, its present pastor, two years. Present number of members, 340.

First Presbyterian Church. - The first organization of this denomination was perfected at Prairie City, December 25, 1859, with fourteen members, by the Rev. J. C. Beach, an exploring missionary of the Kansas Presbytery. A brick church was erected on the town and other places of worship occupied. The present church edifice is a neat frame structure, 30x46 feet, located at Media, a station one mile distant from Baldwin.

The following pastors have officiated: Rev. J. C. Beach, 1859-66; Rev. V. N. King, 1867-73; Rev. A. V. Stout, 1874-82; Dr. L. T. Iobe, the present pastor, April, 1882. Present number of members, 34.

Palmyra Lodge, No. 23, A., F. & A. M., organized under dispensation, in 1856; a charter was granted 1857, with the following charter members: C. Reynolds, J. T. Lynch, J. Deering, J. W. Vaughn, L. F. Green, W. D. Martin, W. B. Hayden and R. P. Du Vall. Its first officers were: C. Reynolds, W. M.; B. Andrews, S. W. ; J. T. Lynch, J. W.; W. D. Martin, Treasurer; L. F. Green, Secretary. Some of the first meetings were held in the open air.

Its present officers are: E. A. Gaddis, W. M.; J. W. Junction, S. W.; R. Bailey, J. W.; W. C. Corkill, Secretary; W. D. Mortin, Treasurer. Present membership 31. Regular communications are held Wednesday evening before full of moon at Masonic Hall.

Baldwin City Lodge, No. 31, I. O. O. F., was organized under dispensation, June 1867; charter granted in October, 1867, with following charter members: J. K. Goodin, L. L. Hartman, B. F. Kratzer, William Hoope, H. W. Olmstead and J. R. Moore. First officers were: J. K. Goodin, N. G.; H. W. Olmstead, V. G.; W. Skeels, Recording Secretary; J. R. Moore, Treasurer. Present officers: L. B. Keifer, N. G.; C. S. Holman, V. G.; W. Plasket, Permanent Secretary; J. R. Stephens, Recording Secretary; G. Nutt, Treasurer. Regular meetings are held every Saturday evening, in Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall. Present membership, 58.

Baldwin Lodge, No. 104, A. O. U. W., was organized under a charter granted June 30, 1882, with twelve charter members. Its officers are: W. R. Graham, P. M. W.; C. A. Weaver, M. W.; C. E. Galberth, Recorder; R. B. Kiefer, Financial Secretary; S. B. Woolpert, Recording Secretary; W. A. Hide, Guide. Regular meetings are held on the first and third Monday evenings of each month in the college building. Present membership, 15.

Baker Post, No. 40, G. A. R., was organized under a charter March 16, 1882, with twenty-two charter members. Its first and present officers are E. Gaddis, P. C.; L. H. Tuttle, V. C.; C. F. Moher, S. C.; Charles Pives, P. of D; J. Walker, O. of G.; H. C. Jay, Q. M.; George Nott, Adjutant; J. Davis, Q. M. S. Regular meetings are held Friday evenings of each month. Present membership, forty.

*Owing to incomplete records, this list was compiled from data given by various members of the church.


This institution of liberal arts is located at Baldwin City, Kan., and is under the supervision of the Kansas and Nebraska Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

On the 3d day of February, 1858, an organization, known as the Kansas Educational Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was chartered by the Territorial Legislature with the privilege of locating an institution of learning, to be known as Baker University. After receiving several propositions from different places in the State, the association accepted that made by the town company of Palmyra, by which they received a section of land adjoining the town site of Palmyra. This section of land was surveyed into lots, many of which were sold, the proceeds being used toward erecting a college building. The structure was a three-story stone building, erected at a cost of $3,000. The first floor was used for chapel purposes; the second divided into recitation rooms, and the third was occupied by the Masons.

Baker University was chartered February 12, 1858. In the autumn of the same year, its doors were thrown open to students. The first Faculty was composed of Rev. W. R. Davis, President, assisted by Prof. B. F. Cunningham and Prof. T. A. Parker. As there were but few important institutions of learning in the Territory at this time, the attendance numbered upward of 100.

In 1867, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in his annual report said: "Baker University is the oldest living, working, institution in the State. * * * * From our earliest history as a State, it has done a noble work in sending out successful teachers to the common schools." Notwithstanding all the embarrassments that have been met, regular work has been done every term down to the present time.

In 1870, it was decided to complete the new building, which had been in process of erection for several years. This building is a substantial structure of cut stone, located on a gentle elevation overlooking the city. Its dimensions are 60x80 feet, four stories high, including the Mansard story. Though spacious enough for the present, will in a few years be inadequate to the increasing number of students. In connection with the institution is the library and reading room, containing upward of 1,500 volumes, embracing works of general information, and supplied with the current literature of the day. The present financial standing of the institution is good.

The Board of Trustees is composed of the following: Hon. L. W. Breyfogle, W. Conover, Rev. H. W. Chaffee, Rev. H. A. Tucker, Rev. E. W. Van Deventer, L. N. Stacher, Col. J. C. Carpenter, Rev. P. T. Rhodes, H. H. Taylor, Rev. G. S. Dearborn, William Plaskett, Rev. H. W. Reed, D. D., Rev. A. K. Johnson, Rev. W. R. Davis, D. D., Rev. J. T. Hannah, Rev. J. M. Sullivan, H. C. Meehem, Rev. B. Kelley, Rev. J. Denison, D. D., S. O. Goodlander, Rev. J. D. Knox, Rev. S. E. Pendleton, Rev. D. T. Summerville, T. D. Sweet, W. Fairchild, I. T. Goodnow, J. M. Cavaness.

The officers of the board are Rev. H. W. Reed, D. D., President; Rev. P. T. Rhodes, Vice President; H. H. Taylor, Secretary; W. Plaskett, Treasurer, Rev. J. N. Sullivan, Agent.

The present Faculty of the University is as follows:

Rev. W. H. Sweet, A. M., President and Professor of Mental and Moral Science; Rev. W. I. Graham, A. M., Professor of Ancient Languages; Rev. C. A. Weaver, M. A., Professor of Mathematics; F. J. Baker, A. B., Professor of Natural Science; Ada C. Baker, B. L., Preceptress and Professor of English Literature; Amanda F. Plaskett, A. M., Professor of Painting and Drawing; W. I. Graham, A. M., Principal of Normal Department; E. R. Snyder, Professor of Instrumental and Vocal Music; E. J. Barkerville, Teacher of Penmanship and Elocution; F. J. Baker, Secretary and Curator of Cabinet; W. I. Graham, Treasurer; Amanda F. Plasket, Librarian.

Present number of students enrolled, 270.


Black Jack is situated on level prairie, and is surrounded by valuable farms, many of them owned by men who emigrated from Pennsylvania in early times, who are largely engaged in raising stock. It is in the south-eastern part of the county, five miles from Prairie City. The creek near which the village stands was named Black Jack by the Mexicans, and the village, when started in 1857, was named after the creek.

The first settlers on the town site were the town company themselves, consisting of William Riley, Daniel Fearer, E. D. Pettengill, S. A. Stonebraker, Secretary, and H. N. Brockway, Treasurer. The first birth in the town was that of William H. Riley, in June, 1858, who died while an infant, this being the first death; the first marriage was that of Joseph Kennedy, to Miss Elizabeth Hanern.

The first school was in a log house, taught by Mrs. Elizabeth Craig, in 1858, with Frankie Miller as assistant. The first sermon was preached in January, of this year, in a cabin by Rev. Samuel Keetsinger. A schoolhouse and church were both built in 1859; the former located on the northeast quarter of Section 7, Township 15 and Range 21, and the latter, the Presbyterian Church, in the town. The Presbyterians and United Brethren had, previous to the building of this church, a union fund, but a misunderstanding arising among them, the fund was divided and each built a church.

The post office was established in 1858, and named Black Jack, S. A. Stonebraker being appointed first Postmaster. In January, 1858, N. H. Brockway and S. A. Stonebraker started the first store in the town.

Black Jack is situated on the old Santa Fe road, over which for many years all merchandise destined for New Mexico and California was freighted. It was also the principal emigrant trail, and some years as many as 60,000 teams traveled this road. This immense traffic was in the main discontinued upon the completion of the Kansas Pacific Railroad to Ellsworth.

This town is situated near the historic battle-field of Black Jack. The battle so named occurred June 2, 1856, a full account of which will be found in its proper place in the general history of the county.

During the war of the Rebellion, a fort was erected here for the protection of the town. On May 8, 1863, Dick Yeagar made a raid upon the village, robbed Brockway & Stonebraker's store, and stole the horses belonging to the overland stage route. On the 15th of August following, Bill Anderson made a raid into Kansas, and on his return from Morris County, where he had killed Capt. Baker, thrown his body into the cellar and burned his house down over him, made a call on Black Jack, intercepted the overland mail, stole fourteen horses, eight of them belonging to the mail, and took some $2,000 from the passengers. They also broke into and robbed Brockway & Stonebraker's store, carrying away about $1,800 worth of goods, and setting fire to the store. The fire was extinguished by a determined lady named Mrs. John M. Hays.


Vinland is situated on level prairie about nine miles southeast from Lawrence. Among the early settlers here in 1854, were W. E. Barnes, George Cutler, F. B. Varnum, Charles W. Dow, Jacob Branson, William White, Franklin N. Coleman, Josiah Hargous and Harrison W. Buckley.

In 1857, a saw mill was erected in this vicinity by N. C. Cradit & Co., on Coal Creek. In the fall of 1858, a small house was built, in which A. W. Smith taught the first school. The building of this house was a private enterprise on the part of the settlers. A public schoolhouse was built in 1867, and located on the northeast corner of Section 10, Township 14, Range 20. In 1868, the post office was established and named Vinland, George Cutler being appointed first Postmaster. On July 1, 1870, Messrs. Russell & Davis opened the first store. In 1874, a cheese factory was established, and in 1878, the Presbyterian Church was built.

Media is situated in the southern part of the county, on the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad. The first settlement was made here in November, 1878, by E. G. Gilbert and H. W. Willett and family.

The post office was established January 1, 1879. H. W. Willett being first Postmaster, who, in the next November, opened a store, the first in the town.

The Presbyterian Church was erected in 1881, in which Rev. A. V. Stout preached the first sermon, soon after its completion.


A. F. ALLEN, M. S., farmer, P. O. Vinland, is operating 290 acres of land, in two bodies of 160 acres and of 130 acres respectively, principal attention is devoted to feeding stock. A. F. Allen was born in Washtenaw County, Mich., December 27, 1836. He took a preliminary course at the Wesleyan College at Leoni, Jackson County, Mich., and then entered the State Agricultural College, taking a full course and graduating in 1861, with the degree of B. S., the degree of M. S. being conferred by his Alma Mater in 1875. The class of 1861, with a single exception, enlisted in 1861, as a body forming a company of topographical engineers under Gen. Fremont, in Missouri. When Halleck took command of the army, they were disbanded and returned home. The subject of our sketch engaged in general farming for some three years, and was then appointed foreman of the farms at the Agricultural College, a position he held for three years. In the fall of 1868, he took charge of the schools at Harrisonville, Cass Co., Mo.; three years later, removed to Butler, Bates, Co., Mo., to take a similar position. In the spring of 1873, he removed to Kansas, and settled in Girard, Crawford County, where he held a position as Principal of the High School and remained until 1878 then removed to Douglas County. Spent the winter in Lawrence, and the following spring settled near Vinland, on his present place. Mr. Allen was married in Manchester, Washtenaw Co., Mich., February 12, 1863, to Miss Ellen M. Spencer, who died leaving two children - Ben I. and Willard S. He was married to his present wife in Douglas County, Kas., September 9, 1873. She was Mrs. Libbie D. Hart, a daughter of Fitch Reed, Esq. They have three children - Fitch R., Elbert H. and Edward P. Mr. Allen is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Ancient Odd Fellow and Lecturer of Vinland Grange.

G. W. ALLEN & CO., proprietors Baldwin City Mills. During the summer of 1883, they moved their apparatus from Baldwin City to Media, erecting a frame mill with stone basement. The main building is 40x30 feet in area with an engine house 20x40 feet. There is also attached a sorghum mill 50x24 feet with about 100 feet of opened shed. The feed department will have two run stone, employing four men. In the season, the sorghum mill will employ seven men and have a capacity of 500 gallons of syrup in a run of twenty-four hours. The firm is composed of G. W. Allen, and Ethen Allen and J. L. Allen, nephew's of G. W. G. W. Allen was born in Burlington County, N. J., January 12, 1836. He was educated in his native county. In 1857, he started West, locating in Ohio for a time, then moved to Indiana, thence he moved to Douglas County, Ill., in 1858, and engaged in farming there until 1871. He then moved to Jackson County, Mo., where he opened a nursery until 1876. The grasshopper visitation of 1875, caused his removal to Johnson County, Kan., where he engaged in farming until 1881. He then removed to Baldwin City and bought a flour and grist mill. Mr. A. was married in Burlington County, N. J., in 1865, to Miss Elizabeth Evans, of that county. She died leaving one child, David Evans. He was married to his present wife in Baldwin City, Kan., in 1880. She was Miss Rebecca Hill, of that city.

KNUD ANDERSON, farmer, Section 11, P. O. Vinland, was born in Bergenstift, Norway, November 15, 1825; son of Andrew Anderson and Sarah Newton. Came to the United States in 1850, settled in Chicago, and in 1856, came to Kansas and settled in Palmyra Township; here he owns a fine farm containing 200 acres well improved. During the Quantrill raid, he had a valuable horse taken by the United States troops for which he never received pay. He was united in marriage in Chicago, Ill., September 17, 1857, to Miss Anna J., daughter of Jacob Eide and Martha Stevens. They have the following children: Sarah E., born February 6, 1859; Martha A., June 18, 1861; Charles S., August 20, 1863; Edward J., August 28, 1865, and Frank N., October 29, 1868. Mrs. Anderson is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Vinland.

MRS. MARY F. ASHBY, farmer, Section 18, P. O. Media, was born in Montgomery County, Ky., June 17, 1828; daughter of Henry Foster and Jane Nelson. Moved into Putnam County, Ind., when a child, where she grew to womanhood. She was united in marriage in Putnam County, Ind., December 21, 1848, to James C. Ashby, who died November 1, 1868. She had six children - Henry S., born October 4, 1855; Charles A., December 5, 1858; Sarah J., February 14, 1861; Elizabeth A., April 3, 1863; Mary F., August 19, 1865; Rosa J., October 24, 1867. Mr. Ashby came to Kansas in 1857, with her husband, and settled in Palmyra Township. She owns a fine farm of 177 acres well improved and with the aid of her sons carries on the farm. Henry S., her oldest son takes charge and keeps the farm in good shape. Mrs. Ashby and family are members of the Baldwin City Methodist Episcopal Church.

F. J. BAKER, A. B., Professor of Natural Science, Baker University, Baldwin City, was born in Brandon, Knox Co., Ohio, March 15, 1854. He was educated at the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, which he entered in the fall of 1875, taking a full classical course and graduating in 1880. The same fall, he moved to Baldwin City to take the position which he now holds in the university. He was married in Delaware, Ohio, in 1878, to Miss Ada Claypool, a native of Westfield, Ohio. Mrs. Ada Claypool Baker, Preceptress and Professor of English Language and Literature, Baker University, took a preparatory course at Iberia College and then entered the Ohio Wesleyan University, graduating in 1880, with the degree of B. L. Took present charge in the fall of 1880.

W. E. BARNES, nurseryman, P. O. Vinland. The nursery has been established since 1857. The farm consists of 385 acres, 175 acres being devoted to trees and vines, 100 acres in apple trees of different ages. The crops of 1882 aggregated 10,000 bushels. Mr. Barnes was born in Dracut, Mass., September 21, 1833. He was educated in his native county. At the age of ten years, he went to live with a relative and learned the nursery business with him. In 1856, he struck west, stopping in Wisconsin for a few months. The same year he settled in Kansas, first landing in Leavenworth and making a claim where he now resides shortly afterward. During the border ruffian troubles, he was connected with Capt. Abbott's company, and during the war of the rebellion, with the State militia. He was married in Douglas County, in 1867, to Miss Dunn, daughter of Jonathan Dunn, Esq., one of the pioneers of "58." Mr. Barnes is a member of the Vinland Grange.

E. J. BASKERVILLE, Professor of Penmanship and Elocution in Baker University, Baldwin city, was born in Delaware County, Iowa, October 24, 1857. Took preparatory course in the district schools and then entered Weston College at Weston, Iowa, taking a full scientific course and making a special study of penmanship. In 1879, he moved to Kansas to take a position in the Lane University at Lecompton, where he remained until the fall of 1880, when he took his present charge. During his vacations, Prof. Baskerville has made a special study of elocution under Prof. Hammil, of Chicago, and Prof. Cumnock, of the Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill. Prof. B. is a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and the I. O. O. F. of Baldwin City.

[TOC] [part 35] [part 33] [Cutler's History]