KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Part 17

[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]

KENTUCKY TOWNSHIP.

This township originally comprised all of the south half of Jefferson County, and was formed by order of the County Board of Commissioners, in May, 1856, at which time Alex. Bayne, David S. Gray, W. H. Bayne and V. Fielding were appointed Justices of the Peace, and William G. Steele, Constable.

The first settler in the township was John Scaggs, a Pro-slavery man with a number of slaves, who located in the township in 1854. During that year and the next he was followed by quite a large number of settlers. At the election of March, 1855, the settlers along the northern valley of the Kansas River went to Wakarusa, in Douglas County, to vote.

The first voting place in the township was at Rising Sun, in 1856.

The first settlements were on the Kaw half breed lands, bordering the Kansas River. In June, 1856, they were ordered by Col. Montgomery, the Indian agent, to leave the lands; but refusing to do so, he attempted to force them to do so, and several houses were burned by his orders; but still the settlers refused to leave. Alex. Bayne then went to Lecompton, where he learned that the order to Montgomery was to dispossess the occupants of the lands at Council Grove, and not from the Kaw lands in Jefferson County. Therefore proceedings were commenced against Montgomery, and he was arrested, charged with house burning, and was held for trial under bonds, which were given, and he left the country never to put in an appearance again. The settlers returned to the Kaw lands and built new houses. They have had a great deal of trouble in securing a good title, however, as in many of the old transfers the title is not complete, and occasionally a claimant will put in an appearance, on the grounds of being an heir to the original half breed owners. To get a show of a title the settlers, at an early date, had their lands assessed, and allowed them to be sold for taxes. The courts decided that the lands were not taxable until 1862, and all tax paid before that year was afterward refunded to the settler by order of the county commissioners.

There was also trouble relating to the title of the Delaware lands, and for the same reason they were assessed in 1867; but the courts decided that they were not taxable until 1868, and previous payments were afterward refunded.

The first sermon in the township was preached at the residence of Alexander Bayne, in June, 1857, by Rev Nathan Scarret, then presiding elder of the Missouri conference, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A church society was at once organized, and Rev. S. B. Stateler was sent to preach. The next year a church was erected by them at Rising sun.

The first school in the township was taught at a very early day, by Ann Foster, a daughter of Woodin Foster, who was once county commissioner. The first public school was not established until 1868, and was District No. 35.

The first marriage was in 1857, and was that of J. Little and a lady whose name is unknown.

The first town in the township was Rising Sun, which was laid out by Joseph Haddox in 1857. Its location was on the north bank of the Kansas River, opposite Lecompton. He after took partnership with him on the town site, Jerome Kunkle, Louis Lutt and J. Menzer. Kunkle kept a ferry there. The first store there was started soon after the foundation of the town, by Lutt and Menzer.

Rising Sun grew to be a respectable little village, and was the business point for the township until the building of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, in 1865. Towns were then laid out along the railroad, and in a short time the village of Rising Sun was all moved to other points. The site of this old town is now cultivated as a farm by Jerome Kunkle.

PERRY.

This is the principal town of Kentucky Township, and was surveyed and platted by the Kansas Pacific Railroad Company, in 1865. It is a thriving business point, and has a population of about 600. The business houses are as follows: Two general merchandise stores, one hardware, one grocery, one drug, one furniture, and one millinery store, one harness shop, one boot and shoe shop, two blacksmith and wagon shops, two hotels, one livery stable, one printing office, one meat market, one barber shop, one grist mill, a railroad depot, one grain elevator and one lumber yard. There are also three churches and one large public school building.

The first store was opened at Perry, while the railroad was building and before the town was laid out, by G. B. Carson & Bro. This was in 1865. The store was located in what is now the center of the street north of the depot, and where the town well now is.

After the Carsons, the next to locate at Perry were Josiah Terrell and family, who came about the time the town was surveyed, and built a house.

A postoffice was soon established, and Josiah Terrell appointed Postmaster.

The first sermon was preached by Josiah Terrell, soon after his location, at his residence. There was quite a large congregation in attendance. The house is the one now used as a shoemaker shop, on the Terrell property, and is the oldest building on the town site.

The third building to be erected was the Perry Hotel, in 1866.

The first birth was in the spring of 1866, and was that of Eddie Rickard, who is still living in Perry with his parents.

The first death occurred in 1866, and was that of the young child of M. F. Garrett.

The first school was taught in 1867. There were no school districts, and the citizens of Perry organized a joint stock company, and in connection with the Free Masons, built a two story schoolhouse. On its completion, G. D. King and his wife, Mrs. Frances King, opened a subscription school, beginning in January, 1867.

The first marriage was that of John Dunlap and Miss Mary Lee, in the fall of 1867. N. J. Stark, then a Justice of the Peace, performed the ceremony.

After the foundation of the town it grew quite rapidly, and within the first five years it had grown to be nearly as large as it now is.

The city of Perry was incorporated March 3, 1871. N. J. Stark was the first mayor. The present city officers are D. Surber, Mayor; J. R. Martin, Clerk, and F. M. Stark, Treasurer.

The Presbyterian Church Society was organized during the first years of the history of the town. In 1869, their church was built. It is a large and substantial edifice. The society has a large membership, and is in a prosperous condition.

The Baptist Church Society was organized under the North Topeka Mission, on March 30, 1878, by Rev. J. Barrett. On organization it had but fifteen members, but now has over forty. The first pastor was Rev. J. Barrett, who is still in charge. Services were first held in the schoolhouse. The church was built in 1882, and dedicated in July. It is a large and comfortable frame structure, and cost $2,250.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has a class numbering about twenty-five members but has not church edifice. They hold services in the schoolhouse.

The African Baptist Church has a large membership. This church, a small building, was erected in 1872.

Soon after the public school district of Perry was organized, measures were taken to build a schoolhouse. As a result, bonds were voted, and a large brick schoolhouse, two stories high, was built. It was completed in 1871, at a cost of $7,000. The school is divided into two departments, which are taught by Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Queen. Great pains have been taken to bring the school up to a high state of excellence.

The only secret society represented is that of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow, Hope Lodge, No. 45. The lodge was organized on April 22, 1869, with thirteen members. The first officers were David Rorick, N. G.; Samuel Kerr, secretary; D. Surber, treasurer, and Robert Parker, V. G. The lodge now has twenty-six members, and is in a very prosperous condition. They own their own hall had have no debts.

The Kaw Valley Chief is the only paper published here. It was established October 10, 1879, by L. E. and A. H. Merritt. In September, 1881, the former became sole proprietor and still continues its publication. It is a seven column folio in size, is ably edited, and has a large circulation throughout the Kansas Valley.

The only manufacturing interests of the town are represented by the Perry Flouring and Grist Mills, of which Leach & Sons are proprietors. The mill was established by them in the year 1881, and is well fitted up with the latest improved machinery. There are two run of buhrs.

MEDINA.

The little village is situated two miles west of Perry on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. The location is a very pleasant one on the level valley lands of the Kansas River. It has a population of about sixty. There is a railroad depot, one general store, one grain elevator, a two story schoolhouse, and a few dwelling houses.

The history of the town begins with the year 1865, when, as the railroad was building, Lutt, Kunkle & Menzer bought land and laid out the town. They were the leading owners of the Rising Sun town site, and conceived the idea of founding a new town on the line of the new railroad. This they did, and soon the greater portion of the old town was moved to Medina. The first store was established in 1865, by Lutt & Munn.

Early in 1866, the postoffice was established and William King appointed Postmaster. He opened the second store in the town.

The town was so named at the suggestion of John Speer, of Lawrence, who had formerly lived at Medina, Ohio, and he promised to give the first child born in the new town a valuable present. The first birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. William King, born in May, 1869, and was named John, in honor of Mr. Speer. The child died when very young.

A schoolhouse was built in 1865, and a school taught the following year by Mr. Gettis.

During the first two year of its history the village grew quite rapidly. At one time it had several business houses and was at least three times its present size. Many buildings have since been moved away.

In March, 1867, Rev. S. Weaver started a newspaper here called New Era, which he afterward, in September, 1871, moved to Valley Falls.

There is in the village a large two story schoolhouse, built of stone. One story is used for the school, while the other is rented for a term of fifty years to the Baptist Church, which has a prosperous organization and holds religious services regularly.

CENTERVILLE.

This is the site of an old town that was laid out in 1865, about midway between Perry and Medina. George Williams was proprietor of the town site. Soon after its survey into lots, John Collins built a large two-story business house, with the upper part fitted up for a hall. This was the only building ever erected there, and was for some years used for political and religious meetings by the citizens of Perry and Medina. The building was afterward moved to Perry, where it was used for a store for a time, after which it was transformed into the mill operated by Leach and Sons.

NEWMAN.

This is a railroad station on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, about two miles west from Medina. It is located on the level valley lands of the Kansas River. It was laid out in 1867, by H. L. Newman.

The first store was opened in 1867, by Newman & Haston. A postoffice was established, and A. A. Haston, appointed Postmaster, which position he still holds. He is now sole proprietor of the store and town, and is railroad agent. There are two churches, the Catholic, built in 1868, and a large two-story schoolhouse, erected in 1882. It is also used for church purposes. The population of the village is twelve.

[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]