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


[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]


As elsewhere stated, the first settlement was made on the site of this town by Perry Fuller. In 1855, he established a store here, for the purpose of trafficking with the Indians. His stock of goods was supplied him by West & James, of Kansas City. A very large business was at once established, the aggregate sales amounting to $50,000 per year. In 1856 Mr. Fuller took William Moore into partnership. The new firm bought out West & James, and continued the business for themselves. About this time the Centropolis Town Company was organized with the following members: Perry Fuller, John F. Javens, Franklin Barnes, George Powers, Samuel T. Shores, William Moore, J. K. Goodin, George W. Smith, Benjamin C. Westfall, Samuel Mewhinney, Ralph Mayfield, Cyrus K. Holliday, William Y. Roberts, and Cyrus F. Currier. The design of the Town Company was to make the new city they were founding not only the county-seat, but also the Territorial capital and the future capital of the future State, hence the name Centropolis, suggested by Joel K. Goodin. While such hopes were entertained, the town grew rapidly, and lots were sold at what seem now exorbitant prices, $500 being readily obtained for a lot which now would not sell for much more than 10 cents for farming purposes. This was in 1857, just before the commencement of the similar mushroom growth of Minneola.

In 1856, quite a number of business and dwelling houses were erected. Dr. Hall opened a dry goods and grocery store, which within two years was sold to H. H. Bliss. George Powers started a boarding-house, and, in 1857, erected a building especially for a restaurant. Jacob Long built a trading house, and among other commodities, sold liquor to the Indians. In order to break up this traffic, Messrs. Fuller & Moore purchased Long's stock of liquor, and knocking in the heads of the barrels, let it flow out onto the prairie. The squaws, however, sorry to see so much valuable "fire water" wasted, gathered up as much as possible of it, with buckets, as it flowed away.

In 1857, the Town Company built a large steam saw-mill, which was operated the first year by J. A. Marcell, and the second by J. M. Loos. The year 1857 was the most prosperous that Centropolis has seen. At that time there were in all about thirty buildings in the town, among them being four saloons and a prosperous gambling-house.

The first teacher in Centropolis was William Cator, who taught in 1855. The present schoolhouse was built in 1877. It is a neat one story frame building, will seat eighty scholars, and cost about $1,200.

The Methodist Church was organized in 1856. Their first minister was Rev. Mr. Kilpatrick. The subsequent ones have been: Rev. Messrs. Moore, Still, Stewart, Parker, Hahn, Fisher, Rice, Adams, Davis, Ferril, Mooth, Clock, Bratton, Wilson, Rhodes, and Holland.

The Christian Church was organized in 1858. The ministers of this church have been Revs. Messrs. Hutchinson, Brown, Gans, Jeffries, William Nelson, Wilson, Allumbaugh, and C. Curl.

The Union Baptist Church was organized in 1860 with fifty-five members, by Elder Abel Scott. The ministers of this church have been Revs. Messrs. Elliot, Thacker, Ezra Johnson, A. J. Johnson, Daniel Smith, W. Williams, and Creel. The present membership is thirty-five.

The Dunkards were organized in 1865. In this and adjoining counties, Douglas and Osage, they have about sixty members in their organization. They are a peculiar people, being quite clannish and exclusive, seldom marrying outside the church. They are unusually devout, remarkably industrious and reasonably prosperous. In dress they are plain but neat, the women especially being very attractive.

One of their cardinal doctrines in religion is that one should wash another's feet, and the church is divided on this point into two sects, the one considering that the washing and the wiping of the feet should be done by the same person, the other that the washing should be done by one person, the wiping by another. There are differences between the two sects on other points equally important.

All the churches, except the Methodists, use the schoolhouse for religious purposes. The Methodists built a church in 1858, which was used for a number of years by all denominations, each having aided to build it; but differences arising which could not be conciliated, the church building was sold, and another erected by the Methodists for their exclusive use. This church was built in 1880, and cost about $1,000.

Since 1860 Centropolis has made but little progress. It contains two general stores, one hardware store, two blacksmith shops, one wagon and one machine shop, one grist mill, one cabinet shop, one hotel, one schoolhouse, and twenty-three families, about 175 inhabitants.

The Press. - The first newspaper in Franklin County, aside from the missionary paper published by Rev. Jotham Meeker, was started at Centropolis in the fall of 1856, by W. H. Austin. It was named the Kansas Leader. In the spring of 1857, it was sold to the Minneola Town Company, moved to Minneola, and named by Gen. Lane, the Minneola Statesman. It was edited in turn by Joel K. Goodin, Owen A. Bassett and Benjamin Sanford. When it was decided that Minneola was not to be the Capital, the Statesman suspended, the press was purchased and taken to Burlington, and the type scattered.

The Journal was started at Centropolis March 9, 1864, by Charles W. Goodin, son of Joel K. Goodin. It was a small, boys' paper, 4X6, and acquired a circulation of about 500. It was suspended September 3, 1864.


SAMUEL H. BARNETT, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Ottawa, was born in Warren County, Ky., January 21, 1827, and two years later emigrated with his parents to Salmon County, Ill., where he was reared on a farm and followed farming and stock-raising in that county until December, 1869, when he came to Kansas, and located on his present farm in Centropolis, Franklin Co. His son, Charles W., managed the farm up to September, 1881. Mr. Barnett residing principally in the city of Ottawa. He has 540 acres of land, all improved and is quite extensively engaged in raising and feeding cattle for the Eastern markets. The subject of this sketch was elected a County Commissioner of Franklin County in 1871, and re-elected in 1873, and Treasurer of the county in 1875, and re-elected in 1877, holding each office two terms, each of two years. He was elected Treasurer of Franklin County Agricultural Society in July, 1882. Mr. Barnett was married in Minard County, Ill., September 12, 1852, to Mary J. Hanes, of Greene County, Ohio, who died February 15, 1857, leaving three children - Margie, Charles and Olive. He was married again in Fulton County, Ill., September 18, 1862, to Lucinda Dunlap, of Ohio. They have three children - Ellen, William and Alice.

H. H. BLISS, farmer, P. O. Centropolis, was born in Washington County, Vt., in April, 1833. He learned trade of iron moulder, and was employed in that capacity in the manufacturing towns of Massachusetts, etc. In November, 1856, he came to Kansas, and was for a few weeks employed in Leavenworth. In December, 1856, he took up a claim in Centropolis, Franklin County, and has followed farming on and off ever since. From 1858 to 1862, was also engaged in mercantile business. On August 15, of that year, he enlisted in the First Kansas Battery, serving three years, principally detached services; on his return he built a saw-mill, which he still conducts at times. About 1873, he went to Chicago and for three years was in the employ of the American Book Publishing Company. Returning here in 1876, he once more embarked in mercantile business, and in June, 1880, sold out to I. A. Wellman, since which time he has given his attention to his farming interests, saw and sorghum mills, and also raises considerable live stock. He owns 180 acres of improved land.

JOHN BRADSHAW, farmer, Section 23, P. O. Centropolis. Is a native of White County, Tenn.; his parents removed to Morgan County, Ill., when he was very young, and he resided there in all about forty-seven years, engaged in agricultural pursuits; he had a fine farm of about 200 acres, and eighty acres of timber land. Mr. Bradshaw came to Franklin County, Kan., in October, 1866, and located on his present farm, which consists of 160 acres, all well improved. He cultivates about 100 acres of his land; has five acres in fruit trees, and also raises considerable livestock.

E. S. CLARK, farmer, Section 21, P. O. Centropolis, was born in Canada, in May, 1845; his parents emigrated shortly afterward, to Stephenson County, Ill., where he was reared on a farm. In December, 1863, he enlisted in Company G, Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and served two years and nine months. After the war he followed farming in Ogle County, Ill. He came to Franklin County, Kan., in 1867, and was for a short time employed on the farm of Dr. Abraham Still, the Doctor died December 31, 1867, and shortly afterward Mr. Clark took the sole management of the farm. He moved on to his present farm in the fall of 1882. He has 360 acres, of which he cultivates about seventy, and is extensively engaged in raising fine stock. Mr. Clark was married in Franklin County, November 25, 1869, to Morovia Still, daughter of Dr. Abraham Still, who came to Kansas as a missionary to the Indians in 1853. They have a family of two children - Perlie and Earl. The widow of the Doctor still resides here; she is the oldest actual settler residing in Kansas. She was born in 1800, enjoys good health, and is quite energetic.

REV. ASA DARNALL, farmer, Section 4, P. O. Ottawa, was born December 10, 1823, in Montgomery County, Ky., and when nine years of age his parents removed to Hendricks County, Ind. In the fall of 1849 he removed to Davis County, where he farmed for a year. In 1850 he went to the western part of Iowa, locating in Mills County, near Glenwood, where he made a farm on the Missouri bottom. This he sold in 1853, to go to Council Bluffs. However, as the Mormons were the principal residents of that town, he remained only a few weeks, removing to Madison County, Iowa, near Winterset where he improved a farm. In the spring of 1860 he removed to Kansas, in Douglas County, near Baldwin City, where he improved a good farm and lived on it through all the troubles of the Rebellion. He followed agricultural pursuits in Douglas County until 1874, when he went to Lawrence for the purpose of educating his son. The son's health failing, he removed on his present farm in Franklin County. This he well improved and has one of the largest fruit farms in the county. Rev. Asa Darnall has been a religious man for many years. In 1848 he joined the Christian Church; 1851 he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and has ever since been an active member. He was licensed as a local preacher in 1867, and has done considerable work in that capacity. He was married February 14, 1842, to Miss Sarah Eliza Scott, oldest daughter of Solomon J. Scott, M. D. They have two living children - William Simpson, born April 17, 1856, at Winterset, Iowa, and Sylvia Euarcha, now Mrs. Ashby, born September 16, 1844, at Milroy, Ind.

CHARLES W. EVERETT, farmer, Section 29, P. O. Centropolis, is a native of Delaware County, Ohio, where he was reared on a farm, and for some years conducted a farm on his own account. He came to Kansas in November, 1877, and located in Agency Township, Osage County where he lived for four months, and then came to Franklin County, locating in the western part. A year later he moved onto his present farm. he now has a fine improved farm of 203 acres. On his place is a fine residence and large barn, also a wind-mill, which provides plenty of water for house use, and for his stock, he being quite extensively engaged in raising the same.

CALVIN J. GAMBLE, farmer, Section 36, P. O. Ottawa, was born in Franklin County, Pa., in February, 1840, and reared on a farm. He enlisted in September, 1861, in Company H, One-hundred and Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry, and served one year. He was shot in the back of the head, at Fredericksburg, and in the right thigh, at battle of Chancellorsville. In 1864 he removed to Crawford County, Ohio, where he conducted a farm of 600 acres. Mr. Gamble came to Franklin County, Kan., in the fall of 1866. For eight years he farmed in Hayes Township, and in 1874 moved on to his present farm. He has 240 acres of land, 120 of which are in cultivation, and he raises considerable stock. Has an orchard of two and one-half acres, in various fruits. Mr. Gamble was married in Franklin County, Pa., in September, 1863 to Margaret A. Mackey, a native of that county. They have a family of four children.

REUBEN HACKETT, farmer, Section 33, P. O. Ottawa, was born in the Province of Quebec, Canada, March 31, 1810. His parents emigrated seven years later to Posey County, Ind., where he was reared on a farm, and also for some years was engaged as a pilot, etc., on flatboats running on the Mississippi River, during which period he educated himself. In 1834 he moved to LaSalle County, Ill., where for some years he carried on farming in an extensive way. He came to Franklin County, Kan., June 7, 1854, and pre-empted 160 acres in Centropolis Township, on which he resided for twelve years. In 1866 came to his present farm. Mr. Hackett has 133 acres of land, 110 of which are under cultivation, and on his place are two coal mines. He took an active part with the Free-state party in the troubles of 1856, and during the late war served in the State Militia. He was the first Justice of the Peace elected in the county, and served in that capacity for about seven years. He is quite a literary character, and has written a number of articles on Science, The Early Days of Kansas, and many other subjects, and is also an antiquarian, he is the owner of quite a number of specimens, fossils, etc., the result of his own research. The subject of this sketch was married in Posey County, Ind., October 9, 1834, to Matilda Jones, a native of that State. They have a family of three children - William, Emma J. and Elia G., who was the first white child born in the county.

WILLIAM S. HANNA, farmer and stock raiser, P. O. Ottawa. Was born at Lima, Livingston County, N. Y. July 10, 1840 emigrating with his parents nine years later to Walworth County, Wis. where he was reared on a farm. Received his education at Allen's Grove Academy, where he graduated in 1863. In 1864 he enlisted in the Fortieth Wisconsin Infantry, serving four months. After the war he taught school in Walworth County, Wis., for about four years, and during two years of that period was assistant county superintendent. Then teaching in Jennings County, Ind., for a years, and also at Madison City, Ind., for several months. About 1868 he emigrated to Albany, Ill., where he followed teaching as an occupation. In July, 1870, he came to Franklin County, locating with his father Andrew J. Hanna, in Centropolis, and for about four years he taught school. He was then commissioned by the Kansas State Grange to organize county and local Granges, and organized 140 in two years. In 1875 he was elected chaplain of the State Grange for two years, and then lecturer of that body, which office he occupied for four years. He purchased his present farm in Centropolis Township in 1871, and moved onto the same in 1876. He has now 260 acres, all improved, and is also engaged in breeding blooded Short-horn cattle, and Poland-China hogs. In 1875 he was elected a member of the County board of examiners on education and served two years, and was Justice of the Peace nine years. Mr. Hanna was married in Franklin County, Kansas, September 7, 1876, to Margie A. Barnett. They have one daughter, Cora D.

IRWIN C. HUGHES, farmer, P. O. Centropolis, was born in Jefferson County, Tenn., January 1, 1825, removing to Iowa with parents when quite young, and in 1838 to Andrew County, Mo., where he followed farming and milling. Mr. Hughes came to Kansas June 27, 1854, and located in Franklin County on his present farm, consisting of 160 acres, in Section 19, Township 15, Range 19, and has since followed farming pursuits, and to some extent also engaged in raising stock. The subject of this sketch participated in the Pro-slavery troubles of 1856, and during the late war served as Quartermaster in the Tenth Kansas State Militia. He was elected Justice of the Peace in Territorial times, and served several terms, and has since 1864 been elected at each consecutive election. Mr. Hughes was married first in Andrew County, Mo., to Eliza Clark, who died in 1860, leaving four children. He was married a second time at Centropolis in June, 1866, to Jane Logan. They have two children.

HON. JOSHUA MARSDEN LUCE, was born in Cattaraugus County, N. Y., August 18, 1830. At the age of twenty years he removed to Kentucky, where he taught school for one year. For three years he was employed in the capacity of salesman at Nashville, Tenn. He then returned to New York and remained for two years. In March, 1857, he removed to Kansas, locating in Franklin County, and took a claim; here he opened up a farm and operated a saw-mill, and pursued other vocations. In 1861-63 he was an Indian trader and returned to his farm and continued his farming pursuits in conjunction with stock-raising which he pursued until 1877. He then opened a country store in Centropolis, and still follows that occupation. He has held various public offices. In 1858 he was Enrolling Clerk of the Territorial Council, and was afterward for a time assistant clerk of Hon. Hugh S. Walsh, Secretary of Kansas Territory, and Acting Governor in 1859; was appointed Assistant Indian Agent for the Sacs and Foxes. In 1866 he was elected a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, and re-elected in 1870. In 1867 he was appointed Clerk in the United States Senate's Committee on Public Lands, in which capacity he served one year. He refused to pay the political assessments to the agent of the Congressional Republican Committee, and though highly complimented for his fidelity and efficiency, was politely invited to step down and out. The amount demanded was only 5 per cent of his salary, which was $2,560 per annum, or about $128. He then accepted a clerkship in the United States Treasury Department, which he resigned in less than a year and returned to his farm in Kansas. He has generally been a Democrat in political ideas, but during the war was a staunch Union man, and affiliated with the Republican party. He was married at Centropolis, August 10, 1860, to Miss Susan C. Keithley.

JASPAR ST. JOHN, Postmaster, was born in Town of Milton, Saratoga Co., N. Y., May 13, 1805. He was reared on a farm, and also learned the trade of tanner and currier, following that occupation there and in Cattaraugus County. In 1848, he removed to Seneca County, and one year later to Huron County, Ohio, where he carried on a tannery. He came to Kansas in October, 1858, and located in Centropolis, Franklin County, farmed up to 1865, when he engaged in business as a shoemaker and was appointed Postmaster in January, 1876. Mr. St. John is interested in a small way in farming pursuits. He owns a farm of fifty acres, besides some town property.

SOLOMON SHOAF, farmer, Section 21, P. O. Centropolis, was born in Parke County, Ind, in 1832, and was reared on a farm. In 1855 he removed to Vermillion County, Ill., where he farmed. In July, 1857, he came to Franklin County, Kansas, and pre-empted 160 acres of land, on which he still resides. He now owns 372 acres, 200 of which are under cultivation, and he is largely engaged in raising stock. On his place is a fine orchard of about five acres. Mr. Shoaf was married in Fountain County, Ind., in 1853 to Margaret Sowers. They have eight children living - Matthias D., Eliza E., Elmer W., Samuel E., Solomon A., Eddy E., Thomas T., Jacob L., and three deceased, William H., Ulysses U., and Susan M.

GEORGE WASHINGTON SNYDER, farmer, Section 25, P. O. Ottawa, was born in Richland County, Ohio, in 1838, where he followed agricultural pursuits. He came to Franklin County, Kas., sic October 12, 1868, and located on his present farm. He has 400 acres of land, 220 of which are in cultivation. He raises considerable cattle, and is a breeder of pedigreed Poland-China hogs. On his place is a fine orchard of about three acres. Mr. Snyder was married in Richland County, Ohio, in 1864, to Martha J. Billow. They have four living children and five deceased.

DR. JOSHUA C. B. WHARTON, Section 34, P. O. Centropolis, was born in Claremont County, Ohio, April 29, 1820, and reared on a farm. He studied medicine with Dr. W. B. Hubble, of Amelia, for two years; attended the Cincinnati Eclectic Institute for a while, and also the Cincinnati Eclectic College, where he graduated in 1856. The Doctor began the practice of medicine in Cynthiana, Ohio, in 1846; four years later he removed to Petersburg, Highland County, and five afterwards to Melroy, Ind., where he continued to practice his profession. In 1858 he went to Mattoon, Ill., and in 1859 to Humbolt, Ill., where he practiced about ten years. He came to Franklin County, Kas.sic, in May 1868, and located on his present farm; he has 200 acres, eighty of which are in cultivation. It was the Doctor's intentions to cease practicing when he came to Kansas, on account of poor health, but four years after his arrival he resumed again, and he now has an extensive practice.


This enterprising town is in Williamsburg Township, in the southwest corner of the county. Thirty thousand acres of land here were purchased of the Sac and Fox Indians by Wm. B. McKeen, and of him by the Southern Division of the Kansas Pacific Railway Company, through the advice of E. M. Bartholow, at the time Land Commissioner of the Road. Attracted by the abundance of excellent coal in that part of the county, a number of parties purchased land in 1867, among them M. V. Swift. Quite a number of permanent settlements were made in 1868, by Roger Hickok, A. C. Henderson, Albert Supernau, William H. Schofield and others. James F. Dane and Mr. Schofield owned the town site and Mr. Schofield named the town Williamsburg, after his own name, William. In June the town company built the first house, a frame, 16X20, one and a half stories high. The second building was of stone, erected in the spring of 1869, for a store, by Rev. C. Holman. After a year or two Mr. Holman sold to D. Fogle, who had arrived out in August, 1869. Dr. Aitken opened a drug and grocery store in 1870, and John Boston who arrived in Williamsburg, April 2, 1870, started a wagon shop that year. Lott Wainwright started a blacksmith shop in 1869.

The school district, No. 51, was organized July 16, 1868, and the schoolhouse was built in the summer of 1870. The first school was taught the following winter by Miss Helen M. Beardsley.

The first birth was that of a son of Albert Supernau; the first marriage that of P. M. Widener to Miss Helen M. Beardsley, December 6, 1871, and the first death that of Samuel Widener, August 30, 1870.

The Methodist Church was organized in 1868 with about twelve members, by Rev. A. K. Johnson. They used the schoolhouse until 1878, when they built a stone church, at a cost of $2,500. The present membership of the church is about sixty. A Sunday school was organized in May, 1870. Wm. H. Schofield first superintendent.

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church was organized in 1878, with twelve members, by Rev. L. L. Holden. Religious services were held in the schoolhouse until the completion of the Methodist Church, in which they worshipped until the summer of 1882, when their own church was completed at a cost of about $1,400. The present membership thirty.

The Williamsburg Mill was built by Mr. Schofield in 1870. It is a large two story stone structure, costing over $20,000, has three run of buhrs, and is located on a lot adjoining the town site on the north, at the head of Tequa Creek. The machinery is propelled by steam.

The Williamsburg Bank was established in April, 1881, by E. M. Bartholow & Co., on the principle of not receiving deposits. The business done by this bank is principally that of loaning money.

F. W. Olson's Bank was opened in January, 1882. This is also a private institution; does a general banking business; receives deposits and loans money.

Stauffer's Hotel was erected in May, 1881, and was the first hotel built here, although a private residence, built by William H. Schofield, had been used as a hotel years before.

At the present time Williamsburg contains four general stores, one hardware, one grocery and two drug stores; one harness, two blacksmith, two wagon and two boot and shoe shops; two agricultural implement dealers, three lumber yards, three physicians, one newspaper, and has about four hundred inhabitants. It has one newspaper, The Weekly Gazette, established April 3, 1880, by Frank Bennett. This is a four-column folio, devoted to local interests, and neutral in politics.


This name is applied to a collection of private buildings owned by E. V. Boissiere, whose farm consists of 3,600 acres, and is under the management of Charles Sears. The buildings consist of a large three-story stone dwelling house, a large three story frame cheese and butter factory, a one-story stone building in which to feed the silkworms, and a similar building for blacksmith shop and stable, besides barns, etc. There are twenty acres of mulberry trees planted in 1870. In 1872 the first cocoons were made. Since that time the business of growing cocoons has been continued more as an experimental and pioneer business in this country than as a profitable enterprise. The growing of cocoons has been quite successful. The brisk, dry, pure air of Kansas is excellently adapted to the raising of healthy worms, and the mulberry tree grows as rapidly as the peach. The hereditary diseases to which the worm is subject to in France, Italy and Japan are rapidly cured in the pure, sound atmosphere of Kansas, when aided by a severe selection of the reproducers. It has been demonstrated that the quality of the silk made in Kansas is equal to that of the best Italian silk, which has heretofore commanded the highest prices. The great difficulty in the way of silk culture in the United States is the lack of reeling facilities. A machine analogous to the cotton gin seems to be essential to its successful introduction, at least so long as we have high-priced labor, and no protective tariff on raw silk. The invention of machinery for successfully transforming cocoons into raw silk, will solve the question of raw silk culture in America, and open a new field of industry, in the raising of cocoons, to which women are especially adapted.

[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]