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


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


Severy is located at the junction of the Howard Branch of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway with the St. Louis & San Francisco road, and was laid out on January 7, 1879, by the Arkansas Valley Town Company. It is the successor of old Severy, which stood a few hundred feet south. The first building on the town site was the store and residence combined of R. Dodds. A. T. Tomlinson arrived on the scene soon after and lived in a tent until his blacksmith shop was completed. The first general store was opened by E. Ellingson, who was followed by W. M. Stewart, liveryman; N. S. McDonald, physician, and H. C. Reece, attorney. Wedding bells were first used to celebrate the nuptials of William Whittenhall and Miss Ella Weir. The first child born in the town was Myrtle Halsey; the first death, a baby boy of Mrs. Green. A Union Sabbath school was organized soon after the organization of the town and has now an attendance of over one hundred.

The town was duly incorporated in April, 1879, and proceeded to the election of officers, E. Ellingson being elected mayor. The following year R. Z. Swengle was elected to the Mayor's office and re-elected in 1882. M. F. Gibson was elected City Clerk in 1881. This position is now vacant.

In January, 1882, the town received a severe blow in the presence of a virulent form of small-pox. This dreaded disease broke out in one of the hotels and spread rapidly. By March it had run its course and disappeared, but many vacant places told the story of its work. In the house of Mr. Wells four daughters died; in other points in town, Rev. I. N. Locke, pastor of the Congregational Church, Joseph Reed, a mason, and Alfred Berial, a carpenter. It is hard to picture the effect of such a scourge in a new and hopeful town. Trade was paralyzed, and even yet has not fully recuperated.

The first post office near Severy was located at R. T. Bullock's about two miles west of the present town. Thence it was moved to the old town when that began to have a separate existence, and in 1879, when the new town was formed, it was again removed. On this removal the name was changed to city of Gould, but this a year later restored to the name of Severy, which the town had held throughout. The First Postmaster in the new town was R. Dodds, who held the office until May, 1880, when it was conferred upon the present official, Samuel Lybarger.

Old Severy had no public schools, and the new town was in the same condition until 1882, when a neat building, having four rooms and costing $4,000, was erected. School exercises were begun on October 1 of this year, with an attendance of one hundred and fifty, in charge of R. Thacher and G. R. West. As the town grows the two rooms now unused will be put in requisition and a full corps of teachers engaged.

The town now has a population of three hundred and is growing quite rapidly. Its industries may be summarized as follows: General stores, 7; hardware, 2; drug, 2; hotels, 2; furniture, 1; lumber yards, 1; harness shops, 1; meat market, 1; livery stables, 2. Besides these are churches, schools and other organizations of particularly mentioned already, the whole making a live and growing town.


The Congregational Church owns the only church building in the town. Begun in 1880, it was finished in 1881, at a cost of $1,600. Its pastor at that time and up to his death in 1882, was Rev. I. N. Locke. The church numbers nearly thirty members. As yet no minister has been called and the meetings of the society are irregular. It is probable that at an early day a re-organization will be effected and the work so well begun carried to a fitting conclusion.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Churchof Severy was organized in the country, about three miles from Severy, and held services in a schoolhouse until its removal to the town in 1881. Services were held at irregular intervals by Rev. D. Toner, of Fredonia, and later by Rev. Mr. Wheat, of Eldorado, but the society has no regular pastor. The church membership is about twenty.

Twin Groves Lodge, A., F. & A. M., U. D., has as yet no charter, and therefore no number. It was organized on March 25, 1882, with a membership of eighteen, and the following officers: Albert Cutter, W. M.; N. S. McDonald, S. W.; H. Cottrell, J. W..; B. B. Finch, Secretary; S. S. Coleman, Treasurer. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of each month in the Masonic Hall.

Ridgely Lodge, No. 202, I. O. O. F., was organized on May 23, 1882 with the following officers: B. B. Finch, N. G.; J. M. Eagan, V. G.; R. Z. Swegle, Secretary; C. E. Arnold, Treasurer. Meetings are held on Monday of each week in the Odd Fellows' Hall.

Parson Brownlow Post, No. 79, G. A. R., was organized on June 24, 1882, with a membership of forty-one, and the following officers; C. H. De Ford, P. C.; W. W. Redford, S. V. C.; J. W. Beecher, J. V. C.; William Dunham, W.; Isaac Wyant, O. D.; R. Z. Swegle, O. G.; William Rowley, I. G. The membership of the post is now forty-six. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month in the Odd Fellows Hall.

The Severy Pioneer was started in March, 1880 as a four-page five-column Republican weekly. Two months later, it was enlarged to an eight-page paper, retaining the same owners- Gettys & Drake. On October 1, 1881, Drake sold out to Dixon, Price & Wood. January 1, 1882, Gettys sold out to R. P. Dixon, and a month later Dixon, who now was sole owner, sold out to J. A. Garner. A few months later, Garner in turn sold out to M. F. Gibson, who now runs the paper. Its circulation is 500.

The Commercial House was built in old Severy by a Mr. Lindsay, and removed to the present location on the building of the new town. The second hotel in the town was built by P. L. Holloway, and ran until the fall of 1881, when it was closed. The Pacific Hotel was built in 1880, and occupied by Wells & Son, until closed by the small-pox in 1882.


J. W. BEECHER, grocer and coal merchant, was born in 1847, in Mainstone, Kent County, England, and at ten years of age came to this country with his father, who settled in Sherman, Chautauqua County, N. Y., where the subject of this sketch enlisted June 8, 1863, in Company E, One Hundred and Twelfth New York Volunteer Infantry. His regiment was attached to the First Brigade, Second Division Twenty-fourth Army Corps, and he participated with it in the battle of Fort Wagner, expedition to Florida, of Cold Harbor, Siege of Petersburg, Drury' Bluff, Deep Bottom, Chapin's Farm, Fort Harrison, and twice at Fort Fisher, assisting in capturing it; the battle of the wilderness, etc., and was mustered out at Buffalo, N. Y., June 27, 1865. Upon leaving the army he was engaged for some years in sinking oil wells in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, remaining there until January, 1870, when he removed to Kansas and settled upon a farm on the Verdigris River, where he remained one year, when he sold out and moved to Section 20, Town 27, Range 11, in Fall River Township. Upon the building of the Howard branch of the A., T. & S. F. R. R., he rented his farm and came to town, and entered the store of Mr. Ellingson as clerk, remaining there until April, 1880, when he opened a coal yard, which he still continues, and in 1882 he opened his present store of fancy groceries, fruit, etc. May 1st, 1881, he married Miss Rosa A. Huff. They have one child, Thomas, born May 21, 1882. Mr. Beecher is Road Overseer of the district, and Adjutant of Brownlow Post, No. 79, G. A. R.

D. F. BUTCHER, M. D., was born in Monroe County, Ind., in 1853. He is a graduate of the State University, of Indiana, and the Medical College of Ohio, in the winter of 1872 and 1873. He commenced the practice of his profession in Newberry, Ind., in the spring of the latter year, and continued there until 1875, when he returned to the same college and completed a course in obstetrics. He continued the practice of medicine in his native State until August, 1882, when he came to Kansas and located, and as many of his former patients had settled in this county, he speedily acquired a lucrative practice. In 1874, Mr. Butcher married Miss Mary A. Slinkard, of Indiana. The have but one child- Austin V., who was born in June, 1875.

J. W. CAREY, hardware merchant, is the oldest representative of his line of business in town, which he first opened in the spring of 1881. He is a native of Indiana, born 1842, and in 1851 removed to Iowa, in which State he resided for twenty years, being alternately engaged in agriculture and store-keeping. This was his first business location in Kansas, and in ten days from the time he commenced had his store built and stocked. His stock is now valued as $4,000, and together with the building is fully insured. He came to Kansas first in 1871, and located upon his present farm of 160 acres, on Section 1, to which he has since added eighty acres on Section 2. He has raised for the nine years prior to going into business, corn and cattle principally. His farm contains an excellent orchard of fifteen acres. In the fall of 1862, Mr. Carey married Miss Annie Livingood. They have four children living- Lillie, Frank, Maud and Edith. Mr. C has been Township Treasurer several terms, on the School Board almost incessantly. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and one of the Board of Trustees chosen by the Methodist Episcopal body, to erect a $1,500 edifice here.

J. D. CLARK, druggist, is a native of Chemung County, N. Y., and upon leaving school was for some years employed in a merchandise store in the city of Elmira. He came to Kansas in the fall of 1878, after a residence of four years in California, locating at first in Eureka. He was for two years in the drug store of Dr. J. M. Smith, as dispensing clerk, and in 1880 he came to Severy, built his present fine store on Maine street, and at once opened with a stock of medicines, surgical instruments and fancy goods, which he is constantly adding to. His stock is now valued at $1,200, and together with the building is fully insured. He also owns several town lots, and a residence in town, and is being well patronized.

S. S. COLEMAN, merchant, is the first man who opened a general store in the town of Severy, and is a native of Christian County, Ill. He came to Kansas in the spring of 1873, and located first near Bellemont, Woodson County, where he engaged in farming, and also opened a store in Bellemont, which he sold out in 1875, and removed to Twin Falls, where he engaged in business, and upon the first survey of the town site of Severy, opened a store there, in which he continued about a year, when he sold out his interest in it and removed to his farm. In the course of time he returned to town and bought the hotel building erected by Mr. Weir, but he has now gone out of the hotel keeping, and confines his attention only to the interests of his store and farm. The former contains a well assorted stock of general merchandise, and is valued at $8,000, insured for $6,000. His farm of 160 acres on Section 1, Town 28, Range 10, and which was formerly the old Holloway nursery, contains an orchard of upwards of 1,100 assorted fruit trees. He has forty acres under cultivation, in wheat and corn, yielding fair average returns; his residence on farm and other buildings there and in town being insured. Mr. S. has a family of five children. Being in Terre Haute, Ind., in 1861, he on June 7, enlisted in Company H., Fourteenth Indiana Infantry, and participated in almost all the heavy work of his company. He was at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam and the Wilderness (where he was wounded in the left hand and shoulder), the seven days' fight at Richmond, and at Gettysburg, where he was again severely wounded, this time in head behind right ear, and in June, 1864, he was mustered out at Indianapolis, Ind. Mr. Coleman is a member of the Freemason fraternity, and although often solicited since his residence in Kansas, has steadily refused to withdraw his attention from his business and accept any public office.

CAPT. C. H. DEFORD, farmer, Section 17, Town 27, Range 10, P. O. Severy, was born in Jefferson County, Penn., in 1845, and when ten years of age, his parents removed to Alabama, he being educated in Florence, Ala. In July, 1862, he enlisted at Nashville, Tenn., in Company H, Sixth Tennessee Cavalry, the regiment being for some time after he became part of it engaged in a sort of guerrilla warfare against the rebel Gen. Forrest until it became part of the army of the Cumberland. Capt. Deford was in the engagements at Jackson, Tenn., Salem, Miss., and Ruckerville, Miss., and his company subsequently formed part of the battalion which was sent to Helena, Ark, and was there placed under command of Gen. Buford. Whilst the regiment was at Lagrange, the subject of this sketch being then a private, was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant for gallantry and merit, and transferred from his own company to Company A, shortly after which he became First Lieutenant, and whilst at Helena, Ark., he was placed in command of the battalion made vacant by the death of Capt. Hodges. Remaining in Helena some months, he, with his command, was then ordered to join his regiment at Nashville, where he arrived in time to participate in the fight, after which he was engaged upon scouting duty, being at one time in the saddle almost constantly for fifty days. He was mustered out at Pulaski July 26, 1865, with the rank of Captain. Shortly after leaving the army, he went to Ashley, Ill., where he engaged in mercantile pursuits, and then in the manufacture of woolen goods, removing to Tennessee in 1869, and continuing the same business there until 1881, when he came to Kansas, and locating in Severy opened a general store, which he conducted for upwards of a year, when he sold out to Mr. Black and purchased his present improved farm four miles from town. Being upland, his corn yield is only about forty bushels per acre, and wheat about twenty. He has a large apple and peach orchard in excellent condition. His substantial farm buildings and commodious, well-furnished residence being, with their contents, well insured. Mr. Deford will enter extensively into the stock-raising and cattle business generally, purposing to enlarge his farm for that purpose. In 1866, he was married to Miss Boyd, who died in 1878, leaving him five children, four of whom survive-James W., born in 1867; Harry B., born in 1869; Lizzie G., born in 1872; May, born in 1875. In 1879, Mr. Deford married Miss Maria E. Howell, who has borne him one child-Henry, born 1880. Capt. Deford is J. D. of Severy Lodge, A., F. & A. M., and he was the originator and leading spirit in the formation of Brownlow Post, No. 79, G. A. R., which he was the first Post Commander, an office to which he has since been re-elected.

WILLIAM DUNHAM, Justice of the Peace and general agent, is a native of Mercer County, Penn., and was born in 1841, and when twelve years of age removed with his parents to the town of Andrew, Jackson County, Iowa, at which place the subject of this sketch enlisted September 28, 1861, in Company M, Second Iowa Cavalry. He participated with his regiment in the engagements of New Madrid, Tiptonville, Island No. Ten, Fort Pillow, Iuka and siege of Corinth, afterward being with Gen. Grierson in his famous raids in Mississippi, and was mustered out as veteran October, 1865, at Selma, Ala. Mr. Dunham is a United States pensioner, having been wounded severly in the right shoulder. Upon leaving the army, he returned to Iowa and engaged in farming until 1871, when he came to Kansas, locating on a farm on Otter Creek, this county, then opened a new farm on the prairie, where he remained until the town of Severy sprang into existence, when he removed into town and opened his office as Justice. Subsequently he became agent for five different sewing machine companies, the Marcy Organ Company, two fire insurance companies, and two life insurance companies. Mr. Dunham married, September 1, 1868; Miss Mary J. Reed, of Andrew, Iowa. The children are Harry C., born July 20, 1869; Clara B., born September 17, 1873; Ruie A., born February 8, 1876; Roger, born November 16, 1878, and Dollie M., born September 5, 1882. Besides his office, Mr. Dunham owns three residences and lots in town. He is Justice of the Peace, Quartermaster of Brownlow Post, No. 79, G. A. R., Treasurer of Ridgley Lodge, No. 202, I. O. O. F., and is a member of the City Council.

JOSEPH ENTERKIN, merchant, was born in 1825 in the town of Girvan Ayrshire, Scotland, and upon leaving school was apprenticed to the trade of a cooper in the old historical town of Ayr so often mentioned in the poems of Burns. In due time, Mr. Enterkin established a cooperage of his own in his native town, which he conducted until the spring of 1853, when he emigrated to the New World, and, upon landing in New York, remained there about a year, working at his trade. In the fall of 1854, he removed to Wayne County, Ill., where he engaged in the dual occupation of farmer and cooper. In September, 1861, he enlisted in Company M, Fifth Illinois Cavalry, as Bugler, and was shortly afterward made Staff Bugler to Col. Hall Wilson. His regiment was attached to Gen. Curtis' division of the army, and he remained with it until mustered out in October, 1862, under an order from the War Deputy discharging all non-commissioned officers. Mr. Enterkin then returned to Wayne County until the fall of 1865, when he moved to Kansas and located upon what was then the Osage Indian Reserve upon Otter Creek, this county, and still retains 160 acres, it being now part of Section 18, Town 27, Range 11. Upon the surveying of the town of Severy, he removed to town, and at once erected the building he now occupies as a residence and store, stocking the latter with $3,000 worth of choice groceries. Upon first coming to Kansas, Mr. Enterkin was one of the originators of the formation of the M. E. Church Society in his district, and for many years services were held in his house, while he resided on the farm on Otter Creek. In 1850, Mr. Enterkin was married in Scotland to Miss Janet Logan, who has borne him children as follows- James (born August 22, 1852, and now married and residing on the old homestead), Jessie (born June 1, and now the wife of Mr. John E. Willis, lawyer of Washington Territory), Sarah (born February 14, 1857, and died October 6, 1867), Thomas (born in 1860), Margaret J. (born in November, 1862), Mary C. (born April 14, 1865). In addition to his original farm, since sold to his eldest son, Mr. Enterkin owns 440 acres adjoining it, 170 acres of which are under cultivation, with an average, for fifteen years, wheat yield, of twenty bushels per acre, and of corn sixty-five bushels. He also has 175 head of cattle upon it, also a good frame residence, and barns, etc. Besides his town residence, he owns two dwellings. He has been a member of the Board of School Directors of Twin Grove Township, and is V. G. of Ridgley Lodge, No. 202, I. O. O. F., and has always taken a great interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of his adopted State and country.

S. E. FARMER, farmer, Section 35, Town 27, Range 11, P. O. Severy, is a native of Rockford, Ill., and was for many years in business there as baker and confectioner. In 1878, he removed to Kansas, locating in Howard, where he engaged in the hardware business until March, 1881, when he sold out his business there and removed to Greenwood County, purchasing 240acres, 160 in the above section and eighty in the Flint Hills. The farm was then well improved and included a comfortable frame residence, which he has since enlarged. His grain yield is about eighteen bushels of wheat and forty-five bushels of corn per acre; millet about five tons. Mr. Farmer has upward of 200 sheep, a few being merino, and he intends going largely into sheep raising. He is a young man and married and has one child, and takes a lively interest in all that relates to the welfare of his adopted State.

B. R. FINCH, merchant, born in Jefferson County, Wis., in 1838, and in 1853, removed with his parents to Fayette County, Iowa. When twenty-one years of age, he started overland to California, which he reached after an eventful journey of six months. Settling in the Sacramento Valley, he engaged in farming varied by occasional trips as freighter over the mountains. In the winter of 1862, he returned home via Panama, Cuba and New York, and in 1863, he, with four others, again started west, and upon arriving at Fort Laramie, a train of forty-five men was organized and reached Sacramento in three months. Mr. Finch remained two years in California upon this occasion, and thence to Nicaragua, from which point he returned to Iowa, and in 1867 came to Kansas, locating in Johnson County upon the Black Bob Indian reserve and engaging for three years in stock-raising, when he went into business as general merchant at Spring Hill, same county, and in 1875 removed to Eureka, where he opened a dry-goods store, which he continued to conduct until 1880, when he sold out and removed to Severy. At present his stock of dry-goods is valued at $6,000. His store and residence, corner of Kansas Avenue and Main street, are together with stock, insured. January 14, 1866, at Fayette County, Iowa, Mr. Finch married Miss Elizabeth Evans, a native of England. They have no children. Mr. Finch owns 240 acres of upland on Section 6, Twin Grove Township, which is partly improved, and upon which he has recently built a residence. He is a charter member and Secretary of Twin Grove Lodge, A., F. & A. M., and also P. G. of Ridgley Lodge, No. 202, I. O. O. F., and D. D. G. M. of the order. While in Eureka, Mr. Finch was President of the Town Council three years and is one of the principal and most enterprising residents of Severy.

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