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


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


This enterprising city, bearing the name of one of the most prominent journalists in the Eastern States, is located on the south bank of the Little Arkansas River, ten miles in a westerly direction from Newton, the county seat. It is also the junction of the St. Louis & San Francisco and the main line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The city, besides supporting the usual number of business enterprises, has the largest flouring mill in the county, two elevators with a capacity of 15,000 and 12,000 bushels respectively and a feed mill.

In the spring of 1872 a settlement was made in the vicinity of what is now known as Halstead, by Samuel Leeper, James Popkins, Frank Brown, David Patrick, and John Corgan, who located earlier. In the summer of the same year, the first attempt was made towards laying off a town site, by Capt. John Sebastian, a large stockholder in the A. T. & S. F. R'y, who laid off a town site one and one-half miles east of the present site. In the fall of 1872 the Halstead Town Company was organized with H. D. Allbright, president. A tract of 480 acres was purchased and in the spring of 1873 the present town site of Halstead was laid off. The foundations of the first building in the town site were laid march, 1873, by G. W. Sweesy, who had located eighty rods from the town site in the fall of 1872. This building was when completed a two story frame, 32 x 42 feet, and is still used as a hotel, known as the Sweesy House. The next building was moved from Sedgwick City by O. Y. Hart, and used for store purposes. Fred Eckert moved his drug store from Sedgwick and opened the first stock of drugs. He was followed by Fred Brewer, who opened a general store. At this time the town suspended building operations and remained dormant until the spring of 1874, when John Lehman, Jacob Deidieter, B. Warkentine, Peter Wiebe, M. S. Ingalls and others moved in and established business enterprises. From this time on the town had a slow but steady growth until 188 ??? (missing text) since which time it has grown rapidly and is now one of the important business centers of the county.

Among the early events may be noticed the first marriage in the spring of 1873, the contracting parties being Mrs. Mary J. Collier and O. Y. Hart; the first birth, a child of David Eckert, in the spring of 1874; the first death, May 25, 1874, was that of John Ashford, who "died with his boots on" being killed in difficulty over a claim in the vicinity of Halstead. The first religious services were held in the Sweesy House, in the spring of 1873, by Rev. John Harris, of the Methodist persuasion. The first and only disastrous fire occurred March 8, 1879, in which three buildings, occupied by Lehman Bros., M. S. Ingalls and the Zurheimath printing office were destroyed, occasioning a loss of $7,000. A school house 28 x 36 feet was built in the winter of 1873-4, Miss Laura Bell Walker being the first teacher. This building was occupied until 1882, when the present brick one was completed at a cost of $6,000.

Municipal Organization- Halstead was incorporated as a city of the third class, March 12, 1877; at the first city election, held March 24, 1877, the vote was canvassed by James Ryan, Henry Ruth and G. W. Brainine, and resulted as follows: Mayor, H. H. McAdams; Councilmen, C. S. Brown, O. Y. Hart, John Lehman, J. E. Ruth and M. S. Ingalls; Police Judge, James Ryan. Appointed officers: G. E. Terry, Clerk; W. M. Tibbot, Treasurer; W. C. Hinkle, Marshal. The present (1882) officers are: G. W. Sweesy, Mayor; Jacob Linn, H. B. Ruth, N. C. Groom, C. Philbrick, John Lehamn, Councilmen; G. W. Cutter, Police Judge; G. E. Terry, Clerk; J. W. Tibbot, Treasurer; T. B. Van Horn, Marshal.

The Press- The first number of the Zurheimath, a paper published in the German language, was issued June 6, 1876, by the Western publishing Company, David Goerz, editor. The paper was published at Halstead until 1879 when the printing office was burned. Since that time the publication office has been located at St. Louis, Mo., with David Goerz, of Halstead, as editor. In January, 1882, its name was changed to the Bundesboten, its present appellation. The paper is the official organ of the Mennonite churches in this portion of the State. Circulation 2,000.

The Postoffice was established in the spring of 1873, George W. Sweesy being appointed Postmaster, which position of trust he retained up to the present time. The Money Order Department was opened at this office July 1, 1877-Money Order No. 1 being purchased by D. and H. B. Ruth.

The Bank of Halstead was incorporated February 3, 1882, with an authorized capital of $100,000. $10,000 paid up. Its corporators were: M. S. Ingalls, B. Warkentine, J. H. McNair, Jacob Linn and R. M. Spivey, who also constitute the Board of Directors. Officers: M. S. Ingalls, Pres.; B. Warkentine, Vice-Pres.; J. H. McNair, cashier. The institution commenced business March 10, 1882, and their first statement issued July 12, 1882, shows their resources and liabilities to balance at $48,922.52. At the January meeting, 1883, the cash capital was increased to $20,000 which fact testifies to its prosperity.

Methodist Episcopal Church was organized during the summer of 1873, by Rev. Jno. Harris. Services were first held in the Sweesy House, after which the schoolhouse was used. In the fall of 1882, a handsome and substantial brick edifice, 35 x 55 feet, was erected at a cost of $4,2000. Rev. B. C. Swarts, present pastor. Present membership, ninety.

Mennonite Church(German) was organized in the spring of 1875, with sixteen members, by Rev. V. Krehbiel, who remained three years. he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. D. Goerz. Present church is a frame, 38 x 44 feet, erected in 1878, at a cost of $1,5000. Present membership, seventy-five.

Methodist Episcopal (German) Church was organized in the fall of 1878, with eleven members, by Rev. H. Hoffman. A church building, 26 x 40 feet was erected in 1882-3. the Society was incorporated in 1882, under State laws. Rev. J. G. Vogel, present pastor. Present membership, twenty-one.

Halstead Lodge No. 46 A. F. & A. M. was instituted under dispensation, in September, 1881. A charter was granted February 15, 1882. First officers: N. C. Groom, W. M.; J. A. Lucas, S. W.; W. C. Hinkle, J. W.; T. Logan, Treas.; W. D. Hover, Sec'y. Present officers: N. C. Groom, W. M.; W. C. Hinkle, S. W.; T. Logan, J. W.; T. Wilson, Treas.; A. J. Miller, Sec'y. Regular communications held on first and third Saturday evenings at Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall. Present membership, forty-six.

Halstead Lodge No 163, I. O. O. F. was instituted under a charter dated October 13, 1880, with seven members. First officers; W. M. Munch, N. G. J. A. Spare, V. G.; A. J. Miller, P. G.; A. E. Miks, Tres.; W. C. Hinkle, Sec'y Present officers; Jas. Ryan, N. G.; M. Covert, V. G.; Geo. Kirk, Treas.; W. C. Hinkle, Perm. Sec'y; A. J. Miller, Rec. Sec'y. Regular meeting held every Wednesday evening at Masonic and Odd fellows Hall. Present membership, sixty.

Halstead Mills The largest flouring mill in the county was build in the summer of 1874, by Keck, Warkentine & Co. The building was a four-story frame, 30 x 48 feet and the machinery was propelled by water-power until 1877, when the dam was destroyed. The original cost of the mill, which had three runs of buhrs, including the dam was $18,500. In 1878, it passed into the hands of its present proprietors, Eisenmeyer & Co., and was moved to its present site and enlarged, and run by a 120 horse-power engine. In 1881 the machinery was increased to five run of buhrs and five set of rolls, giving a capacity of 200 barrels daily.


C. S. BROWN, hardware, of the firm of Brown & Markel, came to Kansas in 1872, and located one mile south of town and is engaged in farming, and in connection with farming, at the butcher business. In 1875 came to town and opened a hardware store, but sold out in about a year, and went into the hotel business. In 1879 he went to Nickerson and engaged in hardware, but not being satisfied with the location, came back to Halstead in 1882 and engaged in present business, and has a good trade, and nice home of eleven acres joining town. Was born in England and came to the United States with his parents when four years of age, and located in New York, remaining two years, when they moved to Indiana, and in 1855 removed to Iowa. In August, 1862, he went to Indiana on a visit and enlisted in Company H, Eighty-fourth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and with his command participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta campaign. After the fight at Lovejoy Station his regiment was sent to follow Hood, and was engaged at Franklin and Nashville, Tenn., and was mustered out July, 1865. Was married October 26, 1868, to Miss Sarah Kirkby, a native of England. They have three children -- Reuben H., Mary V., Charles W. Is a Mason.

J. A. COMMONS, farmer, Section 10, P. O. Halstead, owns eighty acres, all in cultivation. Small orchard; dwelling 12 x 24, with L 10 x 14, barn 18 x 32. Wheat average for 1882 thirty bushels per acre. Has six horses, two cows and six hogs. Was born in Mercer County, Ill., November 21, 1843, where he lived until 1862, when he enlisted in Company G, Twenty-fourth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and with his command participated in the battle of Port Hudson, Raymon, Jackson, Champion Hill, where he was wounded by a gun shot in the thigh, May 16, 1863, and returned to his regiment in time to participate in the Atlanta Campaign and in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain July 1864. Was again shot in the same leg, below the knee. After recovery was in the taking of Mobile and to Montgomery, Ala., and mustered out at Chicago, August 16, 1865. In 1871 he moved with his father to Kansas, locating in Emma township. Was married October 21, 1875, to Miss Ella Long, a native of Illinois, and located on present farm in 1880. Was a member of the School Board in 1876.

JOHN D. DRUSE, farmer, Section 33, P. O. Halstead, owns a fine wheat farm of 320 acres, with an orchard of two or three acres, with wind break; dwelling 14 x 22, with L 12 x 14; stable and sheds 30 x 36; granary 14 x 18, corn crib, corrals, etc. In 1882, he raised 4,000 bushels of wheat with an average of twenty-nine and one-half bushels per acre. Was born in Pennsylvania, October 27, 1851, and followed farming all his life and came from native place to Kansas, locating on his present farm in 1878. Was married October 19, 1874, to Miss Amanda C. Hassinger, a native of Pennsylvania. They have one child -- Ida May. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

C. J. GRAM, coal dealer, was born in Iowa, March 13, 1848, and was educated for the mercantile business. In 1869 he moved to Missouri, and engaged in selling goods, and came from there to Kansas in 1879, and located here and engaged in the drug business. In May, 1882, he was forced to sell his business at a sacrifice, on account of malicious prosecution, and organized his present business in July last. His capital is limited but his business is good and constantly growing. He was married May 11, 1876, to Miss Louisa Stevens, a native of Illinois. The have one child, Arthur C. Mr. Gram is a member of the I. O. O. F.

N. C. GROOM, general insurance, land and loan agent, was born in New Jersey, July 31, 1840. His parents moved to Illinois in 1855, and he was engaged with his father in farming until the breaking out of the war in 1861, when he enlisted May 14, 1861, in Company A, Sixteenth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was with his command assigned to the command of Gen. Pope and participated in the engagements of New Madrid and Island No. 10, Pittsburg Landing, Farmington, Siege of Corinth and the battle of Iuka. Having contracted malarial fever was taken to hospital at Louisville, Ky. Upon partial recovery, was placed in charge of a portion of the Military Patrol of said city and was severely wounded by a rebel spy, while in the performance of this duty, which disabled him for further service in the infantry, and by order of the War Department, was transferred to the navy, and was assigned to duty with the Mississippi Marine Brigade, and was in the mortar fleet during the siege of Vicksburg; was engaged in patrolling the different rivers, Mississippi, Red, White, and Arkansas, and was mustered out in Vicksburg in 1864 at the expiration of his term of service. During his term of service in the navy, he was Quartermaster Sergeant. In February 24, 1865, he enlisted in Hancock's Veteran Reserve Corps and was commissioned as First Sergeant of a corps of sharpshooters to operate in front of Petersburg, but before they arrived there, Lee's army surrendered and they were on provost duty until mustered out February 24, 1866. He served in the army and navy fifty-two months. After being mustered out, he returned to his home in Illinois and engaged in farming. He was married December 17, 1867, to Miss Anna S. Vorhees and February 22, 1876, they came to Kansas and located here, and engaged in the hardware business, starting the first hardware store in Halstead. In 1879, he sold out his hardware stock and organized present business, representing the Home of New York and the North British and Mercantile companies. During the year 1882, he has issued policies on Halstead property to the amount of $75,000. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Masonic fraternity; is Justice of the Peace and Notary Public and holds several society offices.

C. HINKSON, farmer, P. O. Halstead, owns 280 acres, about 160 in cultivation, all enclosed with hedge, with good orchard and small grove of cultivated timber, and good frame dwelling, 14 x 24, stable and granary, etc. His wheat averaged in 1882, twenty-seven and a half bushels per acres; has two mules, one horse, seven head of cattle and twenty-one hogs. Was born in Pennsylvania, November 16, 1847, and came to Illinois with his parents when a child, and from there to Kansas in 1869, locating first in Jackson County. In 1871 he located in Halsted Township on Section 14, and moved to present farm in 1876. Was married November 25, 1877, to Miss Melissa Gettings, a native of Ohio. They have one child -- Ason A. Is a Mason, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Has occupied position on School Board and been Road Observer.

W. D. HOOVER, farmer, Section 33, P. O. Halstead, owns 160 acres, 130 in cultivation with four and a half acres in orchard, and two miles of hedge; dwelling 14 x 16, addition 9 x 12, barn 24 x 34, with sheds 14 x 46 and 14 x 24. In 1882, raised 3900 bushels of wheat from 108 acres. Has nine horses, four cows and eight hogs. Was born in Indiana, May 10, 1843 and was educated for a teacher, and has followed that profession until coming to Kansas. In 1858, he moved to Illinois, and in 1862, enlisted in Company B, One Hundred Eleventh Regiment, Illinois Infantry, and served with his command in the Fifteenth Army Corps, and was in a number of minor engagements previous to the Atlanta Campaign, which he participated in and was engaged in the heavy battles of Resaca and the battles in front of Atlanta, July 22 and 28, and at Jonesboro and on the march to the sea and through the Carolinas and at the battles at Macon, Ga., and Edisto River and Averysboro and Bentonville, N. C., and after the surrender of Johnston's army marched to Washington and was in the Grand Review, and mustered out at Springfield, Ill., in July, 1865. After the war, he went to Indiana and engaged in teaching and remained there until 1872, and returned to Illinois and came from there to Kansas in 1876, locating on his present farm. Is a Mason, member of the Blue Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter.

M. S. INGALLS, druggist, came to Kansas in 1872, and located here and started the first drug business, with a capital of about $1,000, he now carries a stock of from $6,000 to $8,000, his average monthly sales for the first year were about $300 and in 1882 they had advanced to about $1,000 or $1,200. He is also president of the bank and engaged in discounting notes and dealing in stock, is the owner of two farms and considerable city property. Was born in the State of New York, September 3, 1844, and in 1851, his parents moved to Ohio. In 1858 he went to Tennessee and after the war broke out helped to send Union men through the lines north, until the Federal army occupied Nashville, where he was employed as a Union scout for three years and during the siege of Knoxville, took a message from Gen. Thomas to Gen. Burnside and was in John Morgan's camp just before he made his raid north. After the war he went to Illinois and in 1866 to Iowa where he remained until coming to Kansas. Was married October 14, 1882 to Miss Lulu Jones. Is a member of the I. O. O. F.

WILLIAM I. INMAN, farmer, Section 4, P. O. Halstead, owns 160 acres, 100 in cultivation, partially hedged, with forty acres fenced with post and wire, four acres in orchard and one acre cultivated timber, dwelling 14 x 22 with L 12 x 12, stable, granary, wagon shed, stock yards, etc. Has three horses, fourteen head of cattle and six hogs. Came to Kansas in March, 1871, and took this claim as a homestead, and being a carpenter and builder has erected a number of buildings in Newton and Wichita. Was born in the State of New York, April 9, 1834, and moved to Michigan with his parents, when ten years of age and from there to Illinois, in 1855 and from there to Kansas. In 1862, he enlisted in Company E, Seventy-fourth regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served with his command in the west, participating in the battles of Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Resaca, Pleasant Hill, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, Jonesboro, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville. While at Jonesboro, while establishing picket lines in the night, the company was captured by the Rebels, but Mr. I. gave one thought of home and one of Andersonville, and seized his gun and made his escape back to the Union lines. Was mustered out June 10, 1865. Was married June 15, 1862, to Miss Esther Wakeman, a native of the State of New York. They have one child, Jessie. Mr. I. has occupied a position on the School Board, a number of years.

HENRY JAMES, farmer, Section 2, P. O. Halstead, owns eighty acres, sixty in cultivation, with small orchard and grove of cultivated timber, and small dwelling. Also rents and farms 160 acres in addition. Raised in 1882, 70 acres of wheat that averaged 21 bushels per acres, has six horses, 4 cows and 28 hogs. Was born in Indiana, May 3, 1838, and when a child moved to Illinois with parents. Enlisted in 1861, in the first call for three month troops, in Company I, Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served with his command in the west, after being remustered for three years. Was in the engagements at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Was on the front line at Shiloh and sick in his tent when the battle opened and his tent was shot full of bullet holes before he could get out, but fell in with his command and fought all day, and after the battle was over discharged on a surgeon's certificate of disability, April 28, 1862. Came from Illinois to Kansas in 1874, first locating on Section 10, and came to his present place in 1880. Was married May 18, 1863, to Miss Jane Sisk, a native of Illinois. They have six children -- Deila, Harry, Fred, Charley, Jesse and baby not named. Is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the I. O. O. F.

P. P. KREHBIEL, farmer and stock raiser, Section 32, P. O. Halstead, owns 320 acres, 280 acres under cultivation, 10 acres in orchard and cultivated timber, 40 acres hedged, dwelling 16 x 20; L 14 x 28; barn 32 x 36, and granary 36 x 58; stock yards covering 5 acres; with feed racks, sheds, etc.; has 12 horses and mules, 90 head of cattle and 56 hogs. Wheat crop for 1882 averaged 31 bushels to the acre. He also owns 640 acres in Section 7, Harvey County, which he uses for grazing and 640 acres in McPherson County, 270 acres in cultivation, 2 dwellings and barns. He was born in Bavaria, September 8, 1853, and came to the United States in 1874, remaining one year in Illinois, came to Kansas in 1875 and located on his present farm. He was married in 1876 to Miss Johanna L. Pletscher, a native of Illinois. They have four children -- Katie J., Jacob J., Annie S. and Albert P. He is a member of the Mennonite Church and director of the School Board.

JOHN LEHMAN, merchant, was born in Prussia, September 22, 1839, and came to the United States with his parents in 1852, and located in Iowa. In 1860 he went to Illinois and engaged in the mercantile business came from there to Kansas in 1874, locating in Halstead, and erected a business building at a cost of $1,500. Started business in general merchandise with a stock of $3,000 and has been very successful in building up a large and paying business, but in 1879 he met with a heavy loss by conflagration, which cleared out the entire block in which his store was located. He then built his present stone store room at cost of $3,500 and continued his business and was fast regaining his lost ground, when some parties came from the East and undertook to perpetuate a fraud on him by buying him out and giving him mortgages on timber land in Wisconsin, which a banker in Valley Falls agreed to cash on the consummation of the trade for a small discount, thereupon he closed the contract and gave possession and went with his mortgages to have them cashed and was put off on some pretense and delayed a few days, when thinking there was something wrong returned to find the banker through an agent in possession of the store representing themselves as innocent purchasers and the parties to the contract with him gone. He immediately employed counsel and found that the land was worthless and instituted suit to recover his property which he did, but at a loss to him in goods sold and appropriated and expenses, etc. of nearly $2,000. Since that time he has again built up a good trade, carrying at the present time $8,000 in stock. His sales in 1882 amounted to about $25,000. He married in March, 1872, Miss Eliza Risser, a native of Ohio. They have six children -- Emma V., Mary J., W. J. P., George A., Frank C. and Emil R. Is a member of the Mennonite Church and has served as Mayor of the city one term, and a member of the Council for several years, is City Treasurer in 1883.

J. W. LYONS, contractor and builder, was born in Iowa, May 3, 1845, and after the war, went south and followed his business of contractor and builder in Louisiana and Texas, and came to Kansas in 1870, locating in Wichita where he had an extensive business in his line. In 1877, he moved to Colorado, but returned and located in Halstead in July, 1882, and since that time has had a large and growing trade, and his contracts in the time have amounted to about $55,000. Was married January 11, 1871, to Miss Mary McFarland, a native of Ohio. They have three children -- Edith M., William G., born in Kansas and Julie E., a native of Colorado.

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