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


[TOC] [part 7] [part 5] [Cutler's History]


In the spring of 1879, James Beard, N. Hankerson and H. H. Lamb located claims in the south part of Elk County. During the spring of 1879, a portion of laud was purchased from each of these parties by the Town Site Company upon which they proceeded to lay out a town, the survey being made by Maj. J. H. Chapman.

The town is located on the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad, about forty miles west of Independence.

The first building erected on the site was a blacksmith shop belonging to H. Gallatin, which he brought from the town of Boston and located at this place.

M. Carter and S. B. Hemmenway next opened a general storehouse in a building erected for that purpose. A dwelling house belonging to Carter was then brought from Boston, and was the third structure, and Jones & Hackerman built a storeroom in which they put a stock of hardware.

D. C. Pierce next erected a hotel, which he continued to run up to 1882, when it was sold, coming under the proprietorship of S. F. Brown. During the year 1880, D. C. Pierce started a livery barn, which he afterward sold to R. Keith, and the latter soon sold out to F. C. Vance. S. A. Brown started a lumberyard at the same time.

The railroad was completed in December of 1879, and the town witnessed a slow but regular growth. It now contains three general stores, one furniture store, two hardware stores, one grocery, two drugstores. two millinery and one harness shop, two hotels - the last hotel being built during the summer of 1882, by Joseph McGee - and the population of the town numbers about 200.


In May, 1879, the post office was brought from Boston, a little village on the line between the counties of Elk and Chautauqua and located at Moline. The removal was made in a covered wagon in which the office was kept for three days, the mail being delivered from the wagon. At the time of the removal of the office, M. Carter held the position of Postmaster and which he has since retained.

The town derives its educational facilities from the regular country school district within which it is situated, thus, properly speaking, having no regular school of her own. The building erected in the district for school purposes was removed to the town and is now used as a schoolhouse. The school has a membership of 100 pupils, and is divided into intermediate and primary departments.

For some time the ground in the region of the town had been trod by men shod with the Gospel of Peace, who zealously proclaimed the Gospel to fallen man. Services were usual in schoolhouses and residences in different parts of the neighborhood. In connection with the adjacent country this was made the central point for the holding of services by the churches of which there are now two in number, viz.: the Methodist Episcopal and Baptist.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was established in the spring of 1881 with forty members, under charge of Rev. Mr. Bristow, and at the present time the congregation numbers sixty of a membership with Rev. William Goodwin pastor. Services are conducted in the schoolhouse and town hall. During the summer of 1882, a parsonage was erected at a cost of $600.

The Baptist Church was organized in the fall of 1881 with eight members and T. A. Walker pastor. At present the congregation numbers fifteen members. With the first organization, services were held in the schoolhouse, but soon afterward were held in the town hall, in which they are now held.

The first attempt at journalism was made by W. C. Parker and I. N. Boicourt in March, 1881, and after an existence of six months it was sold to Thomas Copeland who continued to issue it under the name of the Elk County Signal for about one year and was taken to Cherry Vale.

On April 22, 1882, Jasper Carter issued the first number of the Moline Mercury. It was first issued as a five column folio but since increased to a seven column folio; is independent in politics and has a circulation of 415.

This of all the attempts has proven successful, the paper being now in a flourishing state. Jasper Carter, editor and proprietor of the Moline Mercury, was born in Scott County, Ill.; when ten years of age he came with his father to Nemaha County, Kan., with whom he followed farming, and subsequently went to Missouri and followed farming for four years in that State. In 1872, he came to and engaged in farming, selling out his farm property he embarked in the mercantile business, which he gave up in March, 1882, and began editing the Moline Mercury.


J. S. BOICOURT, miller, was born in Clark County, Ind., in 1831, but was raised in Cass County, Ill., where he learned the carpenter's trade, remaining until 1865, then emigrated to Boone County, Iowa, remaining there until l870, when he settled in Kansas, and was one of the pioneers of Howard County. He took a claim on Section 11, Township 31, Range 10, which was watered by Wild Cat Creek, which he put a dam across, and in 1874 put up a mill 18x20, J. W. Hanson going in with him at the time. This was the first mill in this part of the county, and the only one now. In 1879. he remodeled the mill and enlarged the capacity 100 per cent, and put in a fifteen-horse power engine, and uses both water and steam power, Mr. Hanson going out and J. S. Boicourt's son, I. N., taking an interest. Mr. B. has improved his place, put up good buildings, orchard and grove, and is raising stock. He is one of the best citizens in the county, and is highly respected by all as a good and noble man. He was married, in October, 1850, to Miss C. A. Allison, of Cass County, Ill. They have six children - Mary L., I. N., Clara E., Marcella F., Walter A. and Alma J. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

M. CARTER, Postmaster, was born in Scott County, Ill., in 1845. In 1860, his parents moved to Morgan County. In 18?3, he came to Kansas, locating at Albany, Nemaha County, remaining there until 1867. He was in the State militia during the Indian raid in 1864, and the same fall when Price raided Kansas. In 1871, he located in Howard County, and took a claim on Baker's Creek, Centre Township. The next year he sold out and bought a farm adjoining, which he improved, remaining there until 1876, when he engaged in the mercantile business at Boston, remaining there three years, and when the town lost the County seat, he came to Moline, moving his building here. He was appointed Postmaster one year prior to locating here, and when Moline was started the office was changed from Boston to Moline, Mr. Carter retaining the office. For a time, he kept the office in a covered wagon. He has been in the mercantile business most of the time until 1882, when he sold out, and has been salesman in Rodman's store since. He was married in January, 1869, at Ottawa, Kan., to Miss L. Dickerson, a native of Knox County, Ill. They have two children - Minnie L. and Raymond W. He is a member of Meridian Lodge, No. 126, A., F. & A. M., Elk Falls. Also, member of the Howard Chapter at Howard City

J. W. HANSON, merchant, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1841; when fifteen years of age, his parents located in Illinois, remaining there until 1862, when he enlisted in the Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, Company C, serving three years. After coming out of the army, he emigrated to Cherokee County, Kan., in 1866; at the end of three years came to Elk County, then Howard, and took a claim on Section 11, Elk Falls Township, which he proceeded to improve. In 1872, in company with J. S. Boicourt, built a mill on Wild Cat Creek, known as the Moline Mills. This was one of the first mills in the county. In 1880 sold out the mill and came to the town of Moline, he with others having purchased the town site, and was elected Treasurer of the company. For a time, he was employed as a salesman in Webb, Downing & Co.'s general store; at the end of one year, bought a third interest, and at the end of one year, he and Mr. Downing bought out Mr. Webb. They have disposed of 214 lots, and have 167 left. Since he has been in the store, they have increased their trade fifty per cent, and is steadily growing. They have a building 22x60, well stocked with a No. 1 grade of goods. Mr. Hanson is a genial gentleman and liberal spirited man, who takes a lively interest in the welfare of Moline, and is identified in every way with any movement which will benefit the town; also carries on his farm on which he lives. located a short distance from the city. Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Newport, of Cherokee County, were united in marriage in 1871. They have two children - Maud and Fred. Mr. H. is a member of the E. M. Stanton Post, No. 23, G. A. R.

CAPT. WILLIAM J. HARROD, manager for G. B. Shaw & Co., was born in Morrow County, Ohio, September 30, 1839. Followed farming as an occupation for the first twenty years, except the time occupied in obtaining an education. Educated first in common school, where he commenced teaching at about the age of eighteen. Second at the High School Chesterville, and finishing his education at Delaware University, Delaware, Ohio. In 1861, he enlisted in the Forty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Served first three years as private, and non-commissioned officer. Re-enlisted as veteran in 1864. Was promoted to First Lieutenant, and afterward to Captain United States Army. Was in active service during the war, serving in the Army of the Southwest, under the command of Gens. Pope, Stanly, Rosecrans, Sherman, Grant, closing his services under command of Gen. George H. Thomas. At the siege of Nashville, he was made prisoner of war by Gen. N. B. Foust, Athens, Ala., 1865. Served out his prison life at Meridian and Enterprise, Miss. Was exchanged and returned to the Army of the Tennessee. Was mustered out April, 1866, but remained in the Government service as Agent and Superintendent of the works on National Cemetery, Stone River, Tennessee, and Superintendent of the National dead in the Department of the Cumberland until September, 1868. Was married to Miss Hattie A. Beigle, of Altoona City, Penn., at the Government residence of Capt. D. M. Taggart (Late U. S. A.), Nashville National Cemetery, by the Rev. William Earnshaw, now Chaplain United States Soldiers' Home, Dayton, Ohio, January 1, 1867. Returned to Ohio in 1868. Purchased his old home farm, locating his father in easy circumstances. Remained until March, 1870, when he sold out and came to Kansas; located on a claim on the Osage Diminished Reserve, near Independence, Montgomery County. Was immediately recognized as an active and worthy citizen. Was made Chairman of the Central Committee, Republican Party, that organized the party and elected the first Republican ticket in its history. Was Republican candidate for State Legislature, Forty-seventh District, 1872, and elected Clerk of the District Court in 1874. Moved to Labette County, Kan., in 1876. Was Republican candidate for County Commissioner in 1878. Dismissed farming and engaged in stock in Indian Territory, in 1879; losing his health, returned again to the State, and located at Moline, where he is now engaged in lumber and grain business. He was admitted to the bar in the District Court, while resident of Montgomery County, Kan. Read law for a number of years, taking books into camp while in the army, reading at odd times when circumstances would admit. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Was licensed to preach in 1874, doing both itinerant and local work. Was charter member and Master of Liberty Lodge, No. 123, A., F. & A. M., and charter member McPherson's Post, G. A. R., Howard City, Kan. Is a man of clean reputation, and takes an active part in all moves of a moral and educational tendency.

W. H. H. LAMB, farmer and salesman with G. B. Shaw & Co., was born in Cattaraugus County, N. Y., 1838. After receiving his education, was employed in the office with his father, Judge Lamb, for a number of years, after which he engaged in the mercantile trade, remaining there until 1871, when he migrated to Kansas, locating in Howard County, and took a claim on Section 10, Township 31, Range 10. Was among the earliest settlers in this township. His place is well watered by the Wild Cat Creek; has improved the place; has a fine stone house, with a fine peach and apple orchard, and small fruits; a fine stone quarry, and has one of the best places in the county. In 1879, sold eighty acres to the Moline Land Company, the balance of the place joining the town site. In 1881, received a position with G. B. Shaw & Co., lumber and grain dealers, and has remained with them since. Was married in 1859, to Miss Margaret E. Wickershaw, of Hesper, Iowa. She died in 1867. In 1870, was married again in Bonham, Tex., to Miss O. D. Delaney, of Missouri. They have four children, vi.: (sic) Harry, Charlie, Carrie M. and Cora.

GEORGE W. MERRILL, merchant, was born in Troy, N. Y., in 1836, but was raised in Bradford County, Penn., until eight years of age, when his parents migrated to Lake County, Ind., where he remained most of the time until he came to Kansas. In 1862, enlisted in the Ninety-ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving three years, and was with Sherman in his march to the sea, tramping some 4,000 miles in all. Was wounded in 1863, during the Atlanta campaign. In 1870, migrated to Kansas, locating in Howard County, and took a claim on the Caney River. After remaining there two or three years, he went into the stock business on the Middle Caney, remaining there five years; then sold out and came to Moline in 1880, and put in the first stock of goods in the place, consisting of drugs and notions; has increased his trade about 400 percent, and has a business started which will continue to improve, as he is a good business man, and works on a cash basis. Has handled real estate to some extent since he has been here. Is a genial gentleman, whom the people like to trade with. Is a member of Lake Lodge, No. 157, A., F. & A. M.

W. H. SMETHERS, M. D., physician and surgeon, was born in Mercer County, Ill., in 1857, and in 1866, his parents emigrated to Kansas, locating in Greenwood County, where he received his education and taught several terms of school. In 1876, he commenced reading medicine, and finished his education at Rush Medical College, Chicago, graduating from that college in 1881. Also took three private courses, one on the eye and ear,. and two on the diseases of the throat and chest. In June, 1881, he located at Moline, where he has been practicing medicine since. He is a genial gentleman, and has given good satisfaction, being well posted in his profession. He is a member of Olive Lodge No. 181, A., F. & A. M., and of Greenwood Lodge, No. 1551, K. of H., and Moline Lodge, No. 87, A. O. U. W.

JOHN THOMPSON, furniture dealer, was born in Leeds, England, in 1827, living there and at Manchester until 1836, when he emigrated to America and located at Catskill, in the State of New York. In 1838, emigrated to Allen County, Ind., and was a resident of that county for twenty years, engaged in farming. He then engaged in the mercantile trade in Jasper County, remaining there until 1871, when he settled in Howard County, Kan., taking a claim in Elk Falls Township. Improved the place by breaking forty acres, planting a hedge around the farm, built a good house, and put out fruit, and remained on the place until 1881, then sold out and came to Moline, and was salesman in a store for one year. In the spring of 1882, bought a building and put in it a stock of furniture, and has a good trade. He is one of the best business men in the place, and a good citizen. He was married, in 1853, to Miss Sarah Curl of Allen County, Ind., the first white child born in Elkhart County. They have nine children - Mary E., Margaret J., W. H., John W., Alice M., Anette, Hiram A., George C. and Florence B. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Lodge, No. 56, A., F. & A. M., and was president of the first Masonic meeting called in the county.


In the spring of 1870, John James and Hugh Hart located a town site in the southwest part of Elk County, to which they gave the name of Canola, the site being upon land owned by John Reid and H. L. Corum, the original claimants.

The first establishments were a general store belonging to the Hart brothers, and the post office which was located at this point in March, 1870, with John Reid as Postmaster. The town progressed slowly up to 1879, when its location was changed, at which time it contained several business houses and a population of one hundred, among whom there was but one woman, Mrs. Melvin by name.

To the north of Canola a distance of about three miles stood the rival town of Greenfield. This place has been established since 1869, the post office being located there at that time, and Rev. Mr. Vickers held the commission of Postmaster. The site stood upon a claim belonging to A. A. Toby, but only a small space was laid off into town lots. The first business started in the place was a general store belonging to A. A. Toby. But little progress was made in the building of the town, which never attained to much importance.

The two towns thus stood rivals for some years, with Canola far in the advance. Upon the completion of the Kansas City., Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad through the south part of Elk County, the two places became united, the railroad having passed between them at an almost equal distance from each.

Both towns were thus left apart from the advantages of the railroad, which they were anxious to secure. The consequence of this state of affairs was their consolidation, which took place on the 7th day of July, 1879.

The survey of the new site was made by a man by the name of Ross, on land purchased from W. H. Guy by the Town Site Company, composed of citizens of the town. Originally the claim had been taken by Silas Gibson, who afterward sold out to C. Maris. who disposed of the same to Guy. At its formation the company numbered twenty shares of $20 each, and Thomas Hawkins was President; D. M. Reid, Secretary, and W. H. Guy, Treasurer. The number of shares have since been increased to one hundred, and as an index of the prosperity and prospects of the town, the shares have sold at a premium of twenty-five per cent since the establishment of the town site.


The town being formed as before detailed, from the union of the towns of Canola and Greenfield, owing to the simultaneous removal of business houses from each of these, its upbuilding was extremely sudden. The earliest business house, however. that was started in the town was a general store belonging to Browder Brothers, in the room now occupied by J. N. Aubushon's drug store. The next was a grocery, owned by George Lee. There was, however, but a short time between the establishment of these, and others followed in rapid and almost unbroken succession. The town, with a population of about seven hundred, contains three general stores, two groceries, one furniture, two drug, two millinery and two hardware stores, two hotels, three billiard halls, two restaurants, two blacksmith and two wagon shops, one saddlery shop, two livery barns and one lumber and coal yard.

During the building of the railroad in the fall of 1879, the town was pervaded with an atmosphere of ruffianism that bordered closely upon outlawry. At that time the place contained several saloons, and the intoxicating beverage found ready sale to the construction hands, and drunkenness ran riot through the streets; so much so. indeed, that in walking on the streets in the night time one was sure to stumble over the prostrate forms of half a score or more men in a beastly state of intoxication. Quarrels and fighting were common, but only one death occurred amidst all this disorder and confusion, and that accidental, resulting from intoxication, and is the first to head the death record of the town. It was that of H. R. Jackson, a construction hand, and occurred in the spring of 1880; Jackson, it appears, had been drinking freely, and on going home in the darkness fell through a trestle on the railroad, receiving injuries from which he soon afterward died.

The first child born in the town was Grenola Lee, daughter of George and Mrs. R. A. Lee. Being the first child born in the town and having the same name, the town company honored her by deeding to her in fee simple one of the best lots in the place.

Grenola became incorporated as a city of the third class in the fall of 1880, the incorporation being hastened from differences arising between the temperance and anti-temperance elements.

The first officers elected for the government of the new city were J. C. W. Crider, Mayor; J. L. Barnes, Treasurer; M. W. Williams, Clerk; C. A. Kelso, Police Judge; W. Hatchett, Marshal; William Dory, J. N. Aubushon, J. A. Weston, L. H. Smith and A. S. Browden, Councilmen.

The city at present is under the official management of Neil Shaffer, as Mayor; T. W. Hilton, Clerk; M. Hoyt, Police Judge; D. M. Reid, Treasurer; John Burden, Marshal; William Dory, John Pugh, George Stanwood and John Hank, Councilmen.

The Grenola Post Office was established August 1, 1879. Both Canola and Greenfield had been points for the distribution of mail matter, but when the towns consolidated both these were abandoned and Grenola was made its location, with D. M. Reid as Postmaster, who has since that time been retained in that capacity.

The school district of which the town of Grenola forms a part, is formed from parts of Districts 21, 22 and 23.

The first school was taught by John D. Simpson and B. F. Weeks, and was kept in the building erected for school purposes. The house is a one-story stone, consisting of two apartments. The first school numbered an enrollment of 110 and has increased to 200. The school is graded, forming the intermediate and primary divisions.


The people in the vicinity of Grenola were first ministered to in "holy things" by Rev. Mr. Vickers, a local divine of the Methodist denomination, meetings being held in schoolhouses and private residences. Whe (sic) the town of Grenola sprang into existence it was made the station for the location of churches, of which there are two, the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal.

The Baptist Church was established in the spring of 1881 with a membership of ten, and Rev. F. Stanton preached to the people as a supply, no regular pastor haying been employed. The services were held in the Methodist Church. In January, 1882, Rev. F. L. Walker began the pastorate of the church, and has continued pastor up to this time. The congregation, numbering twenty members, are putting forth efforts for the erection of a church building, which it is their design to complete during the next year.

The Methodist denomination formed themselves into a church at the starting of the town. Canola and Greenfield had been preaching points prior to this. The earliest ministrations to this congregation had been made by the Rev. Mr. Vicker, but upon the locating of a church at Grenola, Rev. D. F. Owens became pastor.

A church building was erected during the latter part of 1881, and was dedicated by Rev. C. A. King in February of the year following. The building is a one story stone structure, comparatively well furnished, and cost when completed about $2,500. The congregation, comprising a membership of sixty persons, is under the pastorate of the Rev. J. W. Fox.

The town numbers among its residents many whose religious faith is allied to other denominations, but who have not as yet organized themselves into a regular church body.

The Methodist Church of Grenola is but one of six points, at each of which an organization exists, comprising what is known as the Grenola Circuit, the entire circuit numbering 160 members.

Grenola, notwithstanding her size and mercantile importance, boasts of only one regularly organized fraternity.

The Ancient Order of United Workmen was organized February 7, 1882, with a membership of sixteen. The organization was effected chiefly by W. R. Sheen, then Deputy Grand Master, and who since then has been made Grand Master. The object and purpose of the institution is a mutual insurance between its members.

The first officers were R. W. M. Roe, Master Workman; B. F. Weeks, Recorder, and Neil Shaffer, Financier.

The present officers are J. A. R. Elliott, Master Workman; B. F. Weeks, Recorder, and M. B. Yancy, Financier.

The first house of public entertainment in Canola was the Canola House, kept by A. J. McClure, who subsequently moved the building to Grenola, where it was run as the Grenola House. About one year after his removal, McClure sold out to M. Watson, and the house being improved extensively is now known as the Watson House.

The next hotel was the Farmers' House, built in 1879 by F. G. Hutchinson, who has continued to run it as a public house up to this time.

In the fall of 1880, Henry Brown opened the Commercial House, which he operated up to June, 1882, at which time the building was sold and converted into a hardware store.

The first newspaper started in Grenola was the Grenola Argus, edited and published by John E. Stinson, who struck off the first issue on December 20, 1879. On June 19, 1880, the entire establishment was sold to E. F. Wisner, who, after possessing it for only two or three weeks, again disposed of a half interest in the concern to A. V. Wilkinson, and in the October following Wilkinson became sole proprietor.

Wilkinson continued alone in the publication of the paper up to March of 1882, when another change was made, A. M. Crosley becoming associate editor and proprietor by the purchase of a half interest. The name of the sheet was also changed to that of the Cana Valley Herald. The paper was formerly a six-column folio, but is now a seven-column folio. It is independent in politics, and has a circulation of 400 copies,

A. V. Wilkinson, of the firm of Wilkinson & Crosley, editors and proprietors of the Cana Valley Herald, at Grenola., Kan., was born in Buffalo, Mo., September 23, 1856. He resided with his parents, attending school, until nineteen years of age, when he began to learn the printer's trade, in which he was engaged about eight months. Following this he came to Winfield, Kan., in 1876, and was employed as typo on the Winfield Telegram, where he remained about four years, at which time he gave up his employment and came to Grenola, taking a half interest in the Grenola Argus, and is now associated with A. M. Crosley in the publication of the same paper, under the name of the Cana Valley Herald.

A. M. Crosley, associate editor of the Cana Valley Herald, was born in Cassville, Penn., October 6, 1854. The early part of his life was spent under the parental roof. attending school, etc. After his arrival at majority, he attended Cassville Seminary for two years, and also followed teaching, in which he was engaged for about eight years. Came to Kansas April 1. 1879, and. settling at Elk Falls, began teaching, which avocation he prosecuted till the spring of 1882, when it was given up to enter the field of journalism in company with A. V. Wilkinson, editing and publishing the Cana Valley Herald, he having purchased a half interest in that paper.

[TOC] [part 7] [part 5] [Cutler's History]