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


[TOC] [part 20] [part 18] [Cutler's History]


This township is crossed by the Delaware River and a number of its tributaries. Along these streams are some quite heavy bodies of timber. The surface of the land is rough an hilly. Much of it too rough for cultivation, ut affords good pasturage. The farms, though somewhat broken, are under a high state of cultivation, an bountiful crops are raised. The chief industry, aside from the orchard product, is cattle and hog raising, in which it takes the lead over any other in the county, in proportion to its population and tillable lands.

It is the oldest settled township of the county, the first settlement having been made in 1854, at the place where the Military road crossed Grasshopper River.

The great majority of the early settlers were Pro-slavery men, and they laid out the town of Osawkie on the east bank of the river. The Free-state men laid out a town on the west side of the river, on the farm of Jacob U. Brown, and called it Pleasant Hill, but it never contained more than three or four buildings, though during the territorial troubles it was considered headquarters for the Free-state men of the township.

On the division of the county into townships, Osawkie was one of the three original ones formed, January 21, 1856, at which time David R. Sprague was appointed Justice of the Peace, and John Busbe, Constable.


This village is pleasantly situated on the east bank of the Delaware River, and on the line of the Leavenworth, Topeka & Southwestern Railroad. The present population is about two hundred. The town contains five stores, one large flour and grist mill, one hotel, one livery stable, one blacksmith and wagon shop, two churches, and a schoolhouse. The professions are represented by the ministers of the churches, two school teachers, and one physician.

This is the oldest town in the county. The first settlement was made in the spring of 1854, by W. F. and G. M. Dyer, who erected a store and started a trading ranche (sic) on the old military freight road. They were accompanied by their families, and the members of their household were the first to form a permanent settlement in the county. The store erected by Dyer Bros. is still used for the same purpose, and is the one in which the postoffice is now kept. The Dyers were soon joined by William H. and O. B. Tebbs, and soon after by R. McCauslin and Norris S. Knight.

Early in the year 1855 a town was laid out by the above-named parties, and lots were sold at a public sale in the following April. This was more than two years before the land sales, and it was impossible to give a perfect title. A sawmill was erected, and during the next two years the town grew rapidly.

The land sales were to be held at this place, beginning in July, 1957. In anticipation of this event, and hoping to make Osawkie one of the leading cities of the Territory, several large buildings were erected. A very large hotel was erected, at a cost of many thousand dollars.

Until the land sales the improvement was great. At that time, hundreds of cabins were standing, and temporary residents came by the thousands. During the land sales every building was crowded, and the outskirts of the town were surrounded by the camps of land buyers, speculators and gamblers. Many men came loaded down with gold, and every conceivable gambling device was kept running night and day. Money was continually changing hands, and everything was lively. Osawkie town-lots sold for a fabulously high price.

In 1855, when Jefferson County was organized, Osawkie was named as the county seat. In October, 1858, the county seat was moved to Oskaloosa, and Osawkie, which had been on the decline for several months, now entirely collapsed, and was deserted by nearly all its residents. Soon after the removal of the county seat the large hotel was burned down.

For many years after 1858, the town was very dull, but after the later settlement of the surrounding country, it became a quiet little country village. The rail road was completed in 1882, which gives the town a better prospect for the future.

The first church erected was by the Catholics, in 1863. It was kept up for many years, but was abandoned upon a church being erected at Meriden, and their building in Osawkie was sold in 1882.

The Brethren (German Baptist) Church was organized in 1862, by Revs. William Gish and John Bowers. It then had eight members. The church was built in 1869. The church now has upward of one hundred members. William Gish is the bishop. The elders are J. A. Root, D. Preddy, J. Preddy and A. Pearsol.

The Church of Seventh-Day Adventists was organized in 1879. Rev. Mr. Kennedy was the first pastor. The next year after the formation of the society, the church was erected. It has membership of about thirty.

The schoolhouse is constructed of brick, is large, and two stories high. It was built in 1865, at a cost of $1,800. The school is divided into two departments, each under an able teacher.

There is but one hotel. This the old hotel built in 1856, by William Corman, and was the first regular public house in Osawkie. It is now known as the St. Charles, and kept by Clark Shelton.

The Osawkie flour and grist mill is owned and operated by William Dail. It is situated o the Delaware River, and is operated by water-power. It has two run of buhrs, and with the improved machinery is valued at $15,000. Its grinding capacity is 150 barrels of flour per day.


JOHN ARMSTEAD, stock-raiser and dealer, Section 4, P. O. Valley Falls. One of the most extensive stockman and real estate owners in northwestern Kansas is the subject of this sketch. He is a native of England, and was born July 17th, 1837; came to the United States when young, with his parents, living in different parts, eventually locating in Iowa, from which State he came to Kansas in the spring of 1857. His father, William Armstead, is one of the best known citizens of Jefferson County. John has been a resident of the county ever since 1857, and has been eminently successful in farming and stock-raising. He was married in Kansas, to Miss Rebecca Pitman. They have three children - Mary A., Jessie, and Emma. Mr. Armstead's estate comprises 1,217 acres, 440 of which are under cultivation.

WILLIAM ARMSTEAD, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 11, P. O. Valley Falls. This popular gentleman is a native of England, and was born in Yorkshire, in 1805. In 1850 he came to the United States, locating in Virginia, and afterward in Iowa, pursuing the vocation of butchering. On the construction of railroads, in the spring of 1857, came to Kansas and located in Jefferson County, where he has since been largely interested in farming. He was among the pioneers in his locality, and has contributed much toward the development and advancement of educational interests. Mr. Armstead has been twice married, first in England, to Miss Ann Richardson. Her death occurred in the United States. By this union he has three sons living - John, Thomas, and Robert. His present wife was formerly Miss Mary P. Taylor. They have two children, William and Mary Jane.

B. H. BALL, Superintendent Jefferson County Farm, Section 26, P. O. Oskaloosa. This well known gentleman and pioneer citizen is a native of New York; was born in Oswego County, January 4, 1837. When young came West with parents, who located in Lake County, Ill., where the subject of this sketch was educated and reared. The autumn of 1858, came to Kansas, locating in Jefferson County, where he has since been engaged in agricultural pursuits. In September, 1878, was appointed Superintendent of the County Farm. Mr. B. belongs to the Grange. He was married in Illinois, to Miss Elizabeth Gillmore. They have two daughters, Capitola and Hattie.

WILLIAM BOLES, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 4, P. O. Valley Falls. One of Jefferson County's '55-ers, who has been prominent in developing its resources, is Mr. William Boles. He is a native of Ohio, and was born in Butler County, December 4, 1826. When two years of age he moved with his parents to Marion County, Ind., and in his twelfth year went to Huntington County, where he was reared and resided until June, 1855, when he came to Kansas. Mr. Boles passed through all the early troubles, bore up under the season of crop failures, but good management always having plenty. He never lost faith in Kansas, speaking of it in high terms under the most abject circumstances. Largely through his instrumentality the first school was established in the neighborhood, and he has always been interested in school matters. During the war he was in the State Militia. Mr. Boles, being a carpenter by trade, erected some of the old landmarks in the township. Among these are the first store building in Osawkie, built for Dyer Bros. Few of the old settlers are better known. He was married in Indiana, to Miss Mary Gettys, a native of Richland County, Ohio. They have had eleven children, nine of whom are living - Emma J., Jessie W., Albert, James, Marie E.., Chariotta, Gertie, Lucy A., the eldest, and Edgar; two died, Sophrona and Rosa.

G. BOTHWELL, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 16, P. O. Valley Falls, was born in Essex County, Vt., July 25, 1818. When fourteen years of age emigrated with parents to Indiana, eventually removing to Missouri, thence to Iowa, locating in Mahaska County, there residing until the spring of 1856, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides, being one of the first in that locality. He immediately turned his attention to developing a farm, and has since been identified with the agricultural interests of the county. During his first year in the State he served in the capacity of Deputy Sheriff. During the war was in the State militia, and participated in the Price raid. He was married in Iowa, to Miss Jane Keisey. They have two sons, Charles and George J.

S. H. BROWN, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 36, P. O. Osawkie. Among the pioneers of Jefferson County deserving of special mention is the name of J. U. Brown who, with his family, located near Osawkie early in 1855, having come to the State in October, 1854, making temporary stop on the Delaware Reserve land. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and came from Iowa to Kansas. For a number of years he was prominently identified with the farming interests, and for a time was in mercantile trade in Osawkie. His death occurred in 1878. His son, S. H., was born in Bradford County, Pa., October 6, 1834; came to Kansas in 1854, with parents, where he has since followed farming. Was married in Kansas, to Miss Sarah Root. They have eleven children, seven of whom are living - William, Manual, Eliza E., John H., Harvey, Charles, and Mary E.; lost four - Ella, Jessie F., Eddie, and an infant. The family are identified with the German Baptist Church.

G. CARBER, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 16, P. O. Valley Falls, was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, December 1, 1836; was educated and reared in his native country. When nineteen years of age he came to the United States, locating for a time in Ohio, thence to Illinois, from which State he came to Kansas in 1869, locating where he now resides. Mr. C. is one of the most progressive farmers of the county. He was married in Illinois to Miss Sarah Abbot, of Hancock County, an estimable lady. By this marriage they have eight children - Lucina, Emma, George, Frank, May, Ella, Flora, and Mary J.

L. M. COBB, farmer, Section 3, P. O. Valley Falls. This pioneer came to Kansas in April, 1856, taking up his abode where he now resides. He had all the troubles to contend with which were in vogue during the border warfare of 1856. Mr. C. is one of the leading farmers of the county and has figured substantially in the development of Jefferson County. He was born in Orange County, N. Y., August 10, 1831. At an early age he removed to Pennsylvania with his parents, thence to Ohio. Eventually he emigrated to Iowa, settling in Jasper County, from which point he came to Kansas. He was married in Iowa, to Miss Indiana E. Dowler. By this union they have nine children - George H., Ida F., Thomas C., Mary I., William F., Lewis M., JR., Josephine E., Rebecca J., and Emma A.

WILLIAM M. DAIL proprietor of the Osawkie Mill. This well known gentleman was born in Stark County, Ohio, June 1, 1837. At an early age he removed to Ross County with his parents, where he was educated and learned the cabinetmaker's trade. The spring of 1857 he came to Kansas, locating at Osawkie. He engaged in working as a carpenter and in later years for a time was freighting across the plains. From 1860 to 1869 he tended the Osawkie Bridge. In 1869 he became owner of his present mill, which he has since operated with a considerable degree of success. Mr. Dail was married in Kansas, August, 1870, to Miss Kate Priddy. They have four children - Guy, Clarence, Adelaide, and Abbie.

JAMES GRIFFITHS, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 20, P. O. Osawkie, was born in Cabell County, W. Va., December 3, 1828. Was principally educated and reared in Indiana, from which State he came to Kansas in the autumn of 1855, locating in Osawkie Township, Jefferson County, where he has since been a resident. Mr. Griffiths is one of the pioneers and has done ample share toward the development of the agricultural interest of the State., being one of the most progressive citizens. He was married in Indiana, to Miss Laverna Wilson. They have eight children living - Wilson, Jane, Alvin, Lucinda, Maria, Edna, Mattie, and Maud; and lost one - Oscar.

ELIJAH HARDING, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 18, P. O. Valley Falls. Among the sturdy pioneers who roughed it through the trying times of early Kansas, and did his ample share towards developing the farming interests of Jefferson County, was Mr. Harding. He came to the State in the spring of 1854, and since that date his interests have been in Osawkie Township. He is a native of England, and was born in Cheshire, Sept. 26, 1836. When sixteen years of age he emigrated to America with his parents, locating near Quincy, Ill., where he was educated, reared, and resided until coming to Kansas. Mr. H. has been twice married, both time in Kansas, and both wives are deceased. He first wedded Mrs. Luna Wilson, nee May, and the second marriage took place with Mrs. Liddie Reynolds, nee Burton. By the latter union he has three children - Eliza, Gilbert, and Noah.

GEORGE HAWK, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 22, P. O. Osawkie. This pioneer is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Westmoreland County, May 26, 1812; was there educated and reared, residing until 1857, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. He had all the difficulties to contend with incidental to the first settlers in a new country. He has been a constant resident since that time, and has done much toward the development of Jefferson County. Mr. Hawk was married in Pennsylvania, January 18, 1838, to Miss Caroline Rugh, a native of that State. They have had six children - Amos, Herman, Caleb, Benjamin, Almira, and Riley. Herman was a soldier in the Second Kansas, and was never heard of after the battle of Wilson Creek.

FRED HOLLER, druggist, Osawkie. This gentleman is favorably known to all whose business brings them to Osawkie. He is a native of Wayne County, Ind., and was born December 24, 1841; was educated and reared in Henry County, Ind., from which he came to Kansas in the spring of 1866. His father, Christian Holler, also became a resident, locating in Osawkie Township, where they engaged in the drug trade, which business still continues. John having withdrawn and embarked in trade in Topeka. Mr. Holler during the late Rebellion was a Sergeant in Company G. Eighty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving three years, and participated in a number of general engagements. He was married in 1873, to Miss Caroline Hays, of Missouri. They have two children - Jessie and Gracie.

JAMES H. LOW, farmer, Section 34, P. O. Osawkie, is a native of Indiana, and was born in Tipton County, May 27, 1848. He was there educated and reared to manhood, his earlier days being spend in tilling the soil. In 1864 he enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving four months. In 1879 he came to Kansas, and has since been numbered among the enterprising agriculturalists of Jefferson County. He was married in Indiana, to Miss Eliza Ann Bennet. They have five children - Lawrence, Jessie, Charles, Clara, and Jennie. He is a member of the A. O. U. W.

W. C. McCLENNY, farmer, Section 2, P. O. Valley Falls, is a native of Illinois, and was born in Madison County, May 29, 1839, and was there educated and reared. In 1856, came to Kansas, locating a claim where he now resides; he was then a comparative youth. The border was at that time at its zenith, and Mr. McC., being a strong Free-soiler, took an active part. In 1862, enlisted in Company I, Second Kansas Cavalry, being Sergeant of the company; participated in the battle of Pea Ridge and other engagements, serving until the close; was discharged July 4, 1865. After the war, turned his attention to farming, which he has pursued the greater portion of the time. For three years has been a guard at the Kansas State Penitentiary. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. Valley Falls Lodge, No 86. He was married in September, 1866, to Miss Mary E. Byram. They have three children - John E., Elias and Charles W.

A. McKEEVER, stock-raiser, Section 12, P. O. Valley Falls, was born in Chester County, Pa.; when ten years of age, removed to Ohio with his parents, where he was educated and reared. For several years, was a resident of Louisiana; engaged in various pursuits. In 1857, he came to Kansas, taking up his abode in Douglas Township, Jackson County, and turned his attention to farming. His financial status at that time was limited in the extreme, and for the first few years, he had many drawbacks to contend with. Mr. McKeever figured prominently in the early development of Jackson County. Officially, he was County Commissioner, for several years, assessed the county on one occasion, and was otherwise officially identified. He is a man of excellent judgement, and a deep thinker, and once his mind is made up, it is difficult to change. He is progressive, keeping pace with the times, and by untiring industry, has become one of the leading stockmen of the West. His present farm, on which he located a few years ago, is one of the finest in the county. Mr. McKeever was married, in 1861, in Buchanan County, Mo., to Miss Elvira Means. They have nine children - Joseph D., W., James R., David E., William A., George V., Horace Greeley, Harvey H., and Nellie. Lost one - Guy F.

JESSE NEWELL, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 33, P. O. Osawkie. This gentleman is a son of the pioneer citizen, V. F. Newell, and was born in Jefferson County, Kan., September 29, 1855. Here he has been educated and reared, following agricultural pursuits as a vocation. He was married in Jefferson County, the autumn of 1882, to Miss Martha Winkler.

V. F. NEWELL, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 23, P. O. Oskaloosa. In the spring of 1856, Mr. Jesse Newell with his family came Kansas, locating in Jefferson County. He owned the original town site where Oskaloosa now stands, and in the summer of 1856, he laid out the town of Oskaloosa, and named the town in honor of Oskaloosa, Iowa, the county seat of Mahaska County, where he had resided previous to coming to Kansas. During this same summer he put up a steam mill. He was a strong Free-state man, and was fearless in denouncing the advocates of slavery, who took every possible opportunity of persecuting him. He was a powerful man, physically, and did not hesitate to exercise his strength where language failed to have the desired effect. Few men were more popular among the Free-soilers. Himself and son were at Hickory Point battle, and at other skirmishes of less importance. the first Free-state election in that part was held in a cabin on his farm, five of six votes being cast. V. F. Newell, his son, was born in what is now Ashland County, Ohio, February 14, 1831, where he was partially reared. Removed with his parents to Mahaska County, Iowa, and came to Kansas in the spring of 1855. The family located on Blue River; after a short sojourn, located where V. F. now resides. He made the first wagon trail from that neighborhood to Lawrence, labored assiduously in farming during the early times, when not watching or attending to troubles occasioned by the border ruffians. He was married in Iowa to Miss Harriet Spurlock, an estimable lady. By this union they have five children - Jesse, Frank, John, Liddie, and Nellie.

A. L. PEARSALL, miller and farmer, P. O. Osawkie. One who contributed amply toward the early development of Osawkie Township is the subject of this sketch. He was born in Allegany County, N. Y., September 2, 1835. At an early age, came West with his father, Albert, who located four and one-half miles from Chicago, Ill., where he kept hotel for several years. The locality he occupied is now inside of the city limits. The family eventually moved to Iowa, and in January, 1855, emigrated to Kansas settling on Rock Creek, in Jefferson County. In 1857, located in Osawkie, A. L. Pearsall engaging in the milling business, in which branch he has been identified to the present time. Himself and father were strong Free-state advocates, taking part in the early troubles. Both participated in the famous Hickory Point engagement. Mr. Albert Pearsall's death occurred in 1858. A. L. was married in Osawkie Township, to Miss Catherine Brown, a native of Pennsylvania. They have three children - Ida, Stephen, and Ada. The family is identified with the German Baptist Church.

FREDERICK PIPHER, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 10, P. O. Oskaloosa, is a native of New York, and was born in Cattaraugus County, January 11, 1836. When twenty-one years of age he came to Missouri, locating in Ray County, where he resided until attaining his majority. He located, permanently in Kansas, in 1864, eight miles north of where he now resides. He has been on his present farm since 1868. In 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Fifth Kansas Cavalry, serving three years, and participated in the battles o Helena and Little Rock, Ark., and other engagements in the Southwest. He was married in Kansas to Miss Melissa A. Wilson. They have had four children - Ida H., Charles D., Carrie A., and lost one, Henry S.

J. M. PUDERBAUGH, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 35, P. O. Osawkie. This favorably-known gentleman is a native of Ohio, and was born March 10, 1843. At an early age, removed to Wabash County, Ind., where he was educated and reared. In 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving three years and three months, participating in the battles of Vicksbury an other noted events. In 1864, he came to Kansas, and located in Jefferson County, and has since been principally engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was a member of the State Legislature from the Ninth District for the years 1881 and 1882. Mr. Puderbaugh is a man of profound judgment, thoroughly up to the times, and a fluent conversationalist. He was married in Kansas to Miss Matilda Holler, a native of Indiana. They have six children - Calvin, Clara, Clay, Christopher, Cora and Carl.

CLARK SHELTON, hotel and livery, Osawkie. The genial host who attends to the wants of the traveling public in Osawkie, is a native of Virginia, and was born in Wheeling, April 16, 1834. Came to Illinois when young, residing in Tazewell and Peoria counties until twenty years of age, when he went to Iowa, residing several years in different parts of the State, eventually going to Texas, where he was engaged in the saw-milling business for a time. In 1865 he came to Kansas, turning his attention to farming in Jefferson County. During his sojourn he has developed 1,200 acres of land. In April, 1881, embarked in the hotel and livery business in Osawkie. He has been twice married, first in Keokuk, Iowa, to Miss Adelia Bateman. Has four children - Volney R., Thomas J., John II, and Highland Mary. Mrs. S.'s death occurred in Iowa. In Kansas he was married to Miss Isabelle Tillatson, daughter of William Tillatson, one of the pioneers of the county. They have two children. Mr. Shelton is the right man, in the right place, as a hotel and livery keeper, and is a staunch Democrat.

JACOB STEFFEY, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 16, P. O. Osawkie, was born in York County, Pa, February 27, 1824. Was educated and resided in his native State until he attained his majority, when he emigrated to Ohio, afterward to Indiana, and in 1869, came to Kansas and located where he now resides. Mr. Steffey has been a successful agriculturist, and is one of the solid farmers of his township. He was married in Ohio, to Mrs. Elizabeth Hoffman, whose maiden name was Hosier. They have four children - Silas H., John M., Ella, and Mahlon C. Mrs. Steffey by her former marriage had two daughters - Susan and Catherine.

JOHN M. STEFFEY, farmer, Section 35, P. O. Osawkie. This enterprising young agriculturalist is a native of Indiana, and was born in Hamilton County in 1857. Was there partially educated and reared, his earlier days being spent in tilling the soil. In 1870 came to Kansas. Was married in 1878 to Miss Eva Lake. They have two children - Claude B., and Hally A.

P. C. VANCLEAVE, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 23, P. O. Oskaloosa, was born in Decatur County, Ind., May 25, 1827. Was principally reared and educated in Boone County. Resided in Indiana until 1861, when he emigrated to Minnesota, locating in Winona County, engaging in farming. From there he came to Kansas in the spring of 1866, locating where he now resides. Mr. Vancleave is numbered among the progressive citizens of the county. He has been twice married, first to Miss Mary King, of Indiana, now deceased. By this union they had three children, one of whom is living, William S. His present wife was Miss L. Irwin. They have eight children living - Mary E., Mertie P., Emma B., Luella M., Laura C., Irena V., Lillie F., and Sadie E. The family are members or the Methodist Episcopal Church.

WILLIAM WALKER, stock-raiser, Section 7, P. O. Valley Falls. He is one of the pioneers of Jefferson County, and one of the most prominent stock men in the State. He was born in Hancock County, Indiana, February 10, 1829; was there educated and reared. The autumn of 1854 came to Kansas, locating temporarily on the Delaware Reserve. Since that period has been a constant resident, doing much toward furthering the best interests of the State. He was married in Indiana, to Miss Liddie Bunker, of that State. Mr. Bunker, brother of Mrs. W., was one of the first settlers of the county. He resides with the Walker family.

[TOC] [part 20] [part 18] [Cutler's History]