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


[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]


This thriving village on the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad has grown up since the building of the road, in 1869. It contains about twenty buildings, and a number of enterprising and prosperous business men and mechanics. It is situated very near the site of a town which has now become historic, and of which nothing remains to-day but its history. This town was known in its palmy sic days, as Ohio City.

In April, 1857, the Ohio City Town Company was organized, consisting of the following members: J. M. Hendry, P. D. Ridenour, A. R. Morton, A. H. Ross, J. W. Iliff, Reuben Painter, L. DeStigner, Jacob Bolman and R. W. Gilchrist. Ohio City was laid out the same month, and a hotel, the first building in the city, erected. It was a two story frame, the lumber for which was hauled from Kansas City. Wm. Morton was the proprietor. The hotel was burned in 1864. A second hotel was built by J. H. Cook, and is now a tenement house on one of P. P. Elder's farms, this farm being the former town site. The first store was erected by J. W. Iliff, the money being raised by popular subscription. W. E. Kibbie built the first frame house, adjoining the town. He also taught the first school, and was the first Postmaster. The name of the Postoffice was at first Bowling Green, but in time the number of Free-state people increased so much as to outnumber the Pro-slavery men, and in consequence the name was changed to Ohio City.

The first sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Finckbine. The first regular minister was Rev. H. C. Moys, a Methodist. P. P. Elder was the first Justice of the Peace, and also first Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. The first steam saw mill was erected by Morton & Painter on Middle Creek, a little above Ohio City, the frame of which is now used for the frame of a barn on T. Jones' farm at Princeton.

The first Fourth of July celebration was held in 1857, at Ohio City, with great enthusiasm. An arbor was built, in which a bountiful feast was spread. Rev. Mr. Andrews was orator of the day, Dr. Finckbine was chaplain of the day, and W. E. Kibbie read the Declaration of Independence.

One of the first, if not the first attempt in the county to prohibit the liquor traffic by high license, was made in Ohio City. B. C. Sanford had opened a saloon. The County Board attempted to close it by requiring Sanford to pay a license of one hundred dollars. To their surprise Sanford paid the amount required, and went on with his business. The next year in order to certainly close the saloon, the license was raised to $250! To the great surprise of all, Sanford without apparent difficulty paid this sum also, and again went on with the business. Some time afterwards it was discovered, and the astonishment of all may be imagined at the discovery, that Weatherwax, one of the greatest temperance advocates in the town, had loaned Sanford the money with which to pay his $250!!

After several contests Ohio City became the county seat, in 1861; but in 1864 when the Indian title to the land in the center of the county was extinguished, a lively town sprang up at Ottawa, and at an election held August 1, 1864, the county seat was removed there; where it still remains. At the height of its prosperity, Ohio City contained about 100 inhabitants. But as Ottawa grew, many of the people moved away to the new town and county seat, others to other places, and still others into the country, and now nothing is left of Ohio City but its name, and a few historical relics of the past such as the following document, which we have transcribed, verbatim et literatim and which may be styled a model of its kind:

State of Kansas. }
Franklin County. }

Mariag of A. A. Gregg and S. E. Watkins. I herby certify that I solemnized the mariag of Anton A. Gregg, born in the State of Ohio, Bas county, old 23 years, and resides at Ohio City, Franklin, with Sara E. Watkins, born in Potters county, Missouri, old 17 years, at the 8 day of Januar, A. D. 1865 and was living at the house of W. Gregg.

John Deitrich, J. P.

Homewood is a small town on the Kansas City, Burlington and Santa Fe Railroad, south and a little west of the center of the county, in Ohio Township. It is pleasantly situated in the midst of a rich agricultural district, and contains a post-office, store, and about twenty inhabitants.


JOHN BECHTLE, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Clark County, Ohio, August 27, 1835. In 1852 he removed to Knox County, Ill., where he followed agricultural pursuits. He came to Kansas in 1867, located at Ottawa, and was employed in various capacities, and farmed for a year in Centropolis. In 1870 he located on his present farm, Ohio Township, Franklin County. He owns eighty-five acres of land, sixty of which are under cultivation, and a fine orchard consisting of several acres; also raises considerable live stock.

WILLIAM A. CLARK, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Oxford County, Me., in 1838. In 1851, he emigrated to La Salle County, Ill., and eight years later to Shelby County, where he learned the trade of wagon-maker, and followed that occupation for about ten years. Mr. Clark enlisted in 1864 in Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Illinois Regiment, and served five months. He came to Kansas in June, 1872, located in Franklin Township, Franklin County, and followed agricultural pursuits. In March, 1882, he moved on to his present farm in Ohio Township. He owns 214 acres on which there is a fine orchard of about ten acres, and is quite extensively engaged in raising cattle and hogs.

ALVAH ELDER, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Somerset County, Me., April 7, 1825, where he was reared on a farm, and after reaching the age of manhood followed agricultural pursuits as an occupation. In November, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Thirteenth Maine Infantry, serving until August 20, 1865. He came to Franklin County in April, 1868, and located on his present farm in Ohio Township. He owns 160 acres of improved land, is quite an extensive raiser of live stock, and has quite a number of cows for dairy purposes. Mr. Elder was elected Justice of the Peace in 1880, and is senior vice-commander of G. A. R. Post, Princeton, No. 111.

W. S. FINLEY, banker, stock farmer and lumber dealer, P. O. Williamsburg, was born in Crawford County, Pa., in 1831. Here he was employed for several years as clerk in general store. In 1857 he moved to Kewaunee, Wis., and entered the employ of D. Slauson & Co., lumber and general merchants; served one year and formed co-partnership with L. P. Congdon (Finley & Congdon) in grocery and drug business. Later became member of lumber firm of Taylor, Slauson & Co. Sold out in 1867, and moved to Fond du Lac, Wis., engaging in lumber and milling business, in firm of Hamilton & Finley; remained in that business till 1879. Served one term as County Treasurer of Kewaunee County. Was a member of State Legislature, Session of 1860-61. Was the Republican candidate for Mayor of Fond du Lac, and defeated by a small majority. In October, 1878, came to Ohio Township, Franklin County, Kan., having purchased the John E. Baer farm of some 760 acres, one of the best in the country, with fine buildings and improvements, establishing a stock business; also the lumber business at Princeton, firm of W. S. Finley & Co. Is proprietor of the Williamsburg Bank, to which he gives most of his attention.

ABRAHAM FUNK, merchant, Homewood, was born in Butler County, Pa., May 29, 1829, and was reared in Beaver County, on a farm. He learned the trade of plasterer at Pittsburgh, and followed it there for four years. He came to Kansas in March, 1858, and located in Leavenworth, and worked at his trade for three years. In May, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, First Kansas Infantry. A few months later was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and then to First Lieutenant, and some time afterward to Captain. He was mustered out in August, 1864, after which he returned to Leavenworth and engaged in the mercantile business. In 1869 he was appointed sutler to Gen. George A. Custer's Regiment and filled that position one year. Returning to Leavenworth, he disposed of his stock, and moved to Platte County, Mo., and was for about eight years engaged in mercantile and agricultural pursuits at Hampton. In 1878 he came to Homewood and purchased a stock of general merchandise, and has since conducted business at this place. He carries a stock of about $3,000, and is also engaged in farming 160 acres of land. He was appointed Postmaster at this place in 1878. Mr. Funk was married at Allegheny City, Pa., about 1853, to Margaret Simms. She died in 1861, leaving two children--James and Annie. He was married again in Leavenworth, Kansas, about 1865, to Mollie Schupbach. They have three children--William, Jennie and Bessie.

THOMAS GETCHELL, lumber merchant, was born at Alton, N. H., in 1831, and reared on a farm. In 1851 he went to Portland, Maine, where he learned the trade of cooper. Two years later he removed to Buffalo, N. Y., and followed his trade there for three years; then in Crawford County, Pa., for a year, and again in Buffalo for three years. Finally returned to Crawford County, where he worked at his trade until August 15, 1862, when he enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry. Was appointed Second Lieutenant, and a few weeks later, promoted to First Lieutenant, and May 4, 1863, made a Captain. His company served principally as a guard on the residence of President Lincoln. Capt. Getchell was mustered out of service June 15, 1865, and returned to Crawford County, Pa., where he again followed his trade. In 1868 he went to Fond du Lac, Wis. Was for a year employed in a saw mill and lumber business, and for seven years worked as a cooper. He came to Kansas July 13, 1876, located in Williamsburg Township, Franklin County, and followed farming pursuits. In the spring of 1878 he came to Ohio Township. Was employed on the farm of W. S. Finley, and in the spring of 1879 engaged in lumber business at Princeton with Mr. F., under style of W. S. Finley & Co. The firm carry a stock of about $3,000. Capt. Getchell has full charge of this business. He is a member of the District School Board.

THOMPSON JONES, farmer and stock raiser, P. O. Princeton, was born at Monroe, Butler Co., Ohio, in 1832, and sixteen years later removed with his father, William Jones, to Lee County, Iowa, where he followed farming pursuits. He came to Franklin County in 1857, and located on his present farm in Ohio Township. A year later he returned to Iowa, and resided with his father. In the fall of 1861 he enlisted in Company G, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and was mustered out as Corporal early in 1865, after which he returned to his farm in Franklin County, on which he has since resided. He, however, took a trip to Colorado in 1875, and remained there for several years, engaged in stock raising pursuits. Mr. Jones has a well improved farm of some 365 acres, on which there is a splendid orchard of about fifty acres, and he is extensively engaged in raising and dealing in live stock. He laid out the town of Princeton in 1871, and his farm adjoins the same. He served one term as a Commissioner of Franklin County. Mr. Jones is a member of G. A. R. Post, Princeton, No. 111. He was married in Lee County, Iowa in 1859, to Melissa R. McMillan. They have a family of six children--Ida, George, Fred, Elva, Nora and Mark.

HON. WILLIAM E. KIBBE, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Jefferson County, N. Y., in 1833, and reared on a farm. In 1851, his parents removed to Erie County, Pa., and in 1854 he went to Kentucky and taught school near Lexington. He came to Kansas in March, 1867, and pre-empted 160 acres of land in Ohio Township, Franklin County. Mr. Kibbie sic has now 320 acres of land all well improved, and is one of the leading farmers in this vicinity. He has a fine orchard of about six acres, and raises considerable live stock. He enlisted September 1, 1862, in Company D, Twelfth Kansas Infantry, and served until July 16, 1865. He was elected County Assessor in 1860, and served two years, and in 1866 elected to the State Legislature. Mr. Kibbie sic was married in Franklin County in August 1865, to Pamelia Weatherwax, daughter of D. Weatherwax. They have a family of five children--Jennie, Fannie, Mamie, Milo, and Levi.

HARDIN W. LEEDS, of Leeds & Leonard, merchants, was born in Jacksonville, Ill., in 1849, and was reared on a farm. In 1872 he engaged in business in the firm of Fish, Foster & Co., dealers in musical merchandise. Selling out his interest, he came to Princeton, Franklin County, in September, 1873, and in the following spring, established a general merchandise business in company with J. R. Thornbury, remaining in partnership with him for six months. He was then for two years in company with E. L. Warren, and for several years with T. Z. Wright. In January, 1882, he admitted his present partner, William Leonard. This is the oldest established and by far the most extensive business house in the place. Mr. Leeds is the oldest merchant in this part of the County, is well known throughout the country, and the trade of the firm is continually increasing. The firm have lately purchased the business of G. W. Harshberger, at Richmond, this County. He is also individually extensively engaged in the hay and grain business. Mr. Leeds was elected Treasurer of Ohio Township in 1878, and has been re-elected yearly ever since. He was appointed Postmaster at Princeton in July, 1881.

WILLIAM LEONARD, of Leeds & Leonard, merchants, was born at Orleans, Orange Co., Ind., in 1836. Reared on a farm, and also taught school for some years. He enlisted at Paola, Ind., in August, 1861, in Company I, Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry. Was appointed Second Lieutenant, a year later promoted to First Lieutenant, and in 1863 to Captain, serving principally in the United States Signal Corps, on the staffs of Generals Nelson, Crittenden, and Howard. He was mustered out in September, 1864, after which he was engaged in mercantile business at Orleans, Ind., for four years, and during this period was also Deputy Collector of United States Internal Revenue. He came to Kansas in 1869, and located in Shawnee County, where he followed agricultural pursuits for three years. In 1872, he moved to Franklin County, and has been interested in farming pursuits since. He has about 170 acres of land located within half a mile of this place, on which he resides. In January, 1882, he purchased an interest in the mercantile establishment of H. W. Leeds, at Princeton. The firm do a large business throughout the surrounding country, and carry a fine stock of about six to eight thousand dollars to supply the demands of their trade. They have two stores, groceries and dry goods. Mr. Leonard was elected a Commissioner of Franklin County in 1877, and served one term, and is commander of G. A. R. Post, Princeton, No. 111.

WILLIAM SERVATUS, deceased, was born in Prussia, March 29, 1831, and followed agricultural pursuits. In 1854 he emigrated to Utica, N. Y., where he was employed as a painter for two years, after which he removed to Dane County, Wis., where he was employed at general farm work. He came to Franklin County, Kan., April 28, 1857, and pre-empted 160 acres in Ohio Township, where he followed farming and stock-raising on an extensive scale. Mr. Servatus was married at Montrose, Dane Co., Wis., May 18, 1857, to Delia F. Matts, a native of Pennsylvania. He died February 4, 1881. His widow, Mrs. Delia F. Servatus, still resides on the old homestead. She owns 320 acres, all well improved, on which there is a fine orchard of about twelve acres.

ANDREW SHARP, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Perthshire, Scotland, in July, 1824, and reared on a farm. He was for six years engaged in buying and shipping. In 1855 he emigrated to Canada, and engaged in farming near the city of Hamilton. In the fall of 1868 he came to Franklin County, Kansas, and located on his present farm, consisting of 197 acres in Ohio Township; his place is well improved; has a fine orchard of about five acres, and three acres of maple grove. He is quite extensively engaged in raising cattle and hogs. Mr. S. has been Road Overseer in his district for six years. He was married in Scotland, in 1846 to Amelia Hood. They have a family of five children.

HORATIO TAWNEY, farmer, P. O. Princeton, was born in Richland County, Ohio, June 7, 1834, and fourteen years later removed to Williams County, Ohio, where he followed farming pursuits and also learned the trade of carpenter with his brother. He enlisted in Company C, One Hundredth Ohio Infantry, and was mustered into service August 2, 1862. He was taken prisoner at Limestone Station, Tennessee, on September 8, 1863, and held until March 14, 1864. He was mustered out June 20, 1865. In December of 1865 he came to Franklin County and purchased his present farm in Ohio Township. He has 100 acres, all well improved, on which there is a good orchard of some three acres; also raises considerable stock. Mr. Tawney does considerable work in building, etc. through the country, three of his sons attending to the farm and stock. He served one term as Trustee of the Township some ten years ago. He was married in Williams County, Ohio, to Elizabeth A. Steinbaugh. They have eleven children, nine of whom were born in Kansas. Mr. T. is a member of the G. A. R. Post, Princeton, No. 111.

JAMES R. THORNBURY, physician and surgeon, was born in Morgan County, Ill., in 1842, and reared on a farm. He enlisted July, 1862, in Battery F, First Regiment of Illinois Artillery, and served until mustered out in July, 1865. He then gave his attention for a short time to agricultural pursuits. In 1866 he moved to Cambria, Macon Co., Mo., where he taught school. In 1868 he began the study of medicine with Dr. J. W. Proctor, and also took a course at College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa. In 1872 he came to Franklin County, located at Princeton and has since practiced his profession at this place. Since his arrival here he took another course at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, graduating in the class of 1877-78. The Doctor has been a member of the Kansas State Medical Society since 1880, and is also a member of the Franklin County Medical Society. He is adjutant of the G. A. R. Post, Princeton, No. 111.

[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]