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


[TOC] [part 25] [part 23] [Cutler's History]


This is one of the oldest settled portions of the county. The first settlements were in 1854, by Jefferson Riddle, J. T. Wilson, J. Kuykendall, and R. P. Beeler.

In 1855 the entire settlement comprised only nine families and one bachelor. There were but a few acres of land under cultivation at that time.

During the early years of the settlement all this part of the county was supposed to belong to Calhoun, now Jackson County.

In 1856 several families located on Muddy Creek, among whom was J. S. Townsend, who brought in a stock of goods from Platte City, and opened a store in a small log cabin on a claim which he had selected. During that year considerable improvement of land was carried on and houses erected.

The first death in the township took place in the spring of 1856, and was that of Austin Coffman, who was killed by Orville Thompson, in a dispute over a land claim.

The first public schools in the township were opened in 1863. Mrs. P. M. Gilbert taught in Grantville district, No. 37, and Miss Maria Cope, now Mrs. L. H. Tripp, of Meriden, taught at Kaw City.

The first religious services were held in 1856 at the residence of A. S. Wilson, by Rev. Mr. Bradford, of the Methodist Church.

In the spring of 1857 a town company, of twenty-five members, was formed, and a town site, consisting of 320 acres, was laid off, and called Kaw City. Its location was on the east side of the Big Muddy, at the base of the hills, at the place where the wide valley of the Kansas River begins.

The new town was not a success, though some attempts were made to guild it up. A postoffice was established there in 1858; and James H. Jones was appointed Postmaster. The fees of the office were only $3 per year, and this was all paid to the mail-carrier.

In September, 1858, the township was organized, and so named after the Kaw River. It had previously been a part of Kentucky Township, with Samuel S. Lockhart and John H. Bishop, Justices of the Peace. The first officers appointed for Kaw Township were: A. J. Kleinhans supervisor; A. S. Wilson, treasurer, and J. H. Jones, clerk.

In the latter part of the year 1865, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad was approaching completion, a station was built on the farm of D. W. Kleinhans. It was called Kaw Station. The first regular passenger train came through on January 1, 1866. The station was situated about one and one-half miles from Kaw City, and the postoffice was soon removed there from the latter place, and David Devore appointed Postmaster.

Mr. Kleinhans soon laid off a town at the station, and the name was changed to Grantville, after which the Kaw City town site was abandoned, and it is now covered with productive farms. There is, however, a stone schoolhouse and a frame church at the old site of Kaw City.

The greater part of the tillable land of the township is under cultivation. The population is made up generally of natives of the Eastern States, of Germany, and of Ireland.

Grantville is the only village in the township, and this is but little more than a mere railroad station. It has a store, schoolhouse, and a few residences scattered about. The Methodist Episcopal Church there was built in 1868.

The first services of the Methodist Episcopal denomination held in the neighborhood were at Kaw City in 1857 by Rev.. Mr. Griffith. The society was organized in the fall of 1861, and services held at the residence of J. W. Gregg, on the Calhoun town site, Rev. Mr. Early presiding. Among the original members were Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Gregg, Mr. and Mrs. G. Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. B. Betts, John H. Coffman, and Mrs. M. J. Kleinhans. The pastors that succeeded Mr. Early were, Rev. Messrs. Griffith, Taggard, Bartrum, Buffington, Mush, Houts, Trezise, D. B. Cambell, Horsefield, Holland, Partlett. Present pastor, Rev. George Winterbourne. The Granville Church, a frame structure, was built in 1877 by the Rev. W. G. Cambell. The parsonage was erected in 1864 by the Rev. Mr. Buffington.

The Methodist Episcopal Church South, of Grantville, was organized in 1858, with seventeen members. Present membership, thirty. The first pastor was the Rev. J. O. Foresman. His successors was Revs. Vincent Jones, H. W. Currin, W. A Hanna, then Mr. Foresman again after which was the Rev. J. W. Faubian, T. C. Downs, H. T. Gray, O. P. Noble, H. H. Lewis, and C. E. Hedgepath. Rev. J. W. Faubian is the present (1883) pastor. In 1866 their present frame church was built at a cost of $1,200.


R. P. BEELER, farmer, Section 36, P. O. North Topeka. He was born in Hardin County, Ky., in what is now La Rue County, April 4, 1813, was there reared and followed the pursuit of farming until 1833, when he came to Missouri, and in the spring of 1854, located a claim where he now resides, being one of the first farm openers in Jefferson County. He moved his family onto the claim in the spring of 1855. As a natural consequence he had many drawbacks to contend with, coming in that time. During the dark days of Kansas Mr. Beeler took a firm stand with the Free-state party, and rendered much valuable assistance towards the cause. He belonged to the State Militia, was Provost Marshal and attended to picking up the straggling marauders that were devastating the country at that time. During his long sojourn in Kaw Township, he has done much towards the advancement of education and other interests that would be beneficial to the community. Mr. Beeler has been married twice. In Kentucky to Miss Margaret Castleman, now deceased. Had nine children - Rebecca J., James, Isaiah, William, George, Martha, Laura, Ambrose, and lost one, John. He was married in Kansas to Miss Elizabeth Isaacs. They have eight children - Delsie, Dora, Rush, Duard, Mary, Eva, Melda, and Benjamin.

J. B. BILLINGS, farmer. Section 8, P. O. Grantville, is a native of Maine, and was born in Hancock County, August 31, 1821; was reared and educated in his native State. For nine years he followed the seas. In 1860 came to Kansas; being a strong Free-state man, he entered the cause with a whole soul. He belonged to the Topeka Battery, for the duty being to patrol the border. in 1864 he located in Topeka, where he resided several years, before locating on his present farm; while there was City Treasurer and otherwise identified. He has been Justice of the Peace; is a man of broad views and good judgment. Was married in Topeka, Kan., to Mis Mary M. Betts. By this union they have three children - Ben. Franklin, Susan O. and John B.

THOMAS J. BRANNEN, farmer and stock-raiser. Section 8, P. O. Grantville. This genial gentleman is native of Bartholomew County, Ind., and was born August 14, 1857; was reared and educated in that State. During the Rebellion Mr. B. enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Fifty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, after serving nearly a year was honorably discharged, on account of disability. He lived temporarily in Iowa, Minnesota, and other States, eventually coming to Kansas in 1878, since which time he has principally followed agricultural pursuits. He was married in Kansas to Miss Louisa Clark. They have three children - John C., Col. Ellsworth, and Oscar. Mrs. B. is the daughter of Judge G. P. Clark, of Kaw Township, one of the oldest settlers in that part.

JOHN BRANSCOM, stockman, Section 17, P. O. Grantville, is a native of Indiana, and was born in Henry County, August 6, 1826. His father, Benjamin Branscom, was a Virginian; had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and settled in Henry County, Ind., at an early day where he followed agricultural pursuits to the time of his demise, in 1832. There were four children in the family, John being the only son. He received the benefits of the limited school facilities of the time, working assiduously on the small farm of which he became principal owner attaining his majority, by purchasing his sisters' interests. After operating the farm for a time he sold out, and being inexperienced, soon disposed of the process, which left him quite poor. About 1850, with his mother and one unmarried sister he removed to Grant Country, where he traded in stock for two years. He then moved with his mother to Marion County, where he engaged in buying horses for the Chicago market. Eventually his mother took up her abode with one of her married daughters, and Mr. B. located in Kokomo, and for several years bought stock hogs. In 1857 he emigrated to Kansas, settling in Jefferson County on a claim which he purchased, and turned his attention to the stock trade. Though his means were limited, he was quite successful, and he soon purchased 160 acres in the Kaw bottom. On this tract he made substantial improvements, an orchard, barn, fine dwelling, etc. By industry and good judgement he had accumulated in thirteen years #30,000 in money and property, which he invested in 1870 in Texas cattle, and in one year lost all. There was a mortgage on his house for a sufficient amount to swallow it when pressed for sale. Dire disasters would have discouraged most men, but with Mr. B. it appeared to stimulate his energies. He purchased 160 acres of unimproved land on the prairie, soon made good improvements, and phoenix-like was rising from the ruins, when, in 1873, some of his restless creditor forced him into bankruptcy. Although thus released by law from all obligations to his creditors, he renewed the obligations with the express understanding that he was to pay as fast as he could, and not to be pushed by them in any way. He continued to liquidate as his circumstances would permit, and in a few years paid up in full. He has been public spirited, and all commendable enterprises receive his hearty support. Although not connected with any religious society, he contributed more than any other person to the building of the Methodist Church in Grantville. He originated the idea, headed the list and circulated the subscription. The same interested manifested in public morals he displayed in the advancement of education. He was married June 23, 1857, in the Territory of Kansas, to Mrs. Hedges, widow of W. H. Hedges. By this union they have two children - Asa D. and Ada.

J. M. CHRISMAN, merchant, Grantville, was born in Carter County, Ky., June 12, 1839; was there educated. Came to Kansas in 1866, locating in Tecumseh, Shawnee County, where he was engaged in merchandizing until 1872, when he came to Grantville. For five years he was the Postmaster, and has been in active business the greater portion of the time. He was married in Kansas to Miss R. M. Ryler. They have two children - Ernest L., and C. A. Mr. Chrisman is a member of the Masonic Fraternity.

MICHAEL DINNEN, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 22, P. O. Newman, is a native of Ireland, and was born in the County Limerick. In 1847 came to America, locating in the East, where he worked for several years in the rolling mills. In 1856 came West, and in 1858 came to Kansas, but did not located until 1859, when he settled where he now resides. Mr. Dinnen is one of the largest farmers in the county, and one of its most progressive citizens. His wife was formerly Miss Bridget Murphy. They have four children - James, Catherine, John, and Michael, Jr.

H. Z. FRISBIE, farmer, Section 7 and 18, P. O. Grantville, was born in Bradford County, Pa., June 8, 1819. Received an academic education at Franklin Academy, Susquhanna County, Pa., and Cazenovia, N. Y. In 1840 engaged in mercantile pursuits, at Orwell, Pa., for a short time. Read law in the office of Co. Harvey, of Wilkesbarre, Pa.; was admitted to the bar of Luzerne County in 1850. In 1851 returned to Bradford County, abandoned the legal profession, re-engaged in merchandizing until 1854, when he removed to Bellevue, Mich. In 1859, removed to the city of Battle Creek, as the successor of Messrs. Collier & Wallace; was a stockholder and one of the directors of the First National Bank of that city. On account of failing health removed in 1872 to Lawrence, Kan., where he invested in the Lawrence Packing House and lost the investment by decline in values; removed thence to his present home. He was married in 1844 to Miss Mary E. Russell, of Pennsylvania, who died in 1858. They had four children - Frank H. (deceased); Clarence L., merchant, 820 W. Indiana street, Chicago; Selwyn C., merchant and Postmaster, Grantville, Kan.; and Charles H. In 1859 Miss Julia S. Meracal became his wife. They have one son - George A., in charge of farm.

S(elwyn). C. FRISBIE, Postmaster and merchant, Grantville, was born in Towanda, PA., May 18, 1853. At an early age removed with his parents to Battle Creek, Mich., where he was reared and educated. In 1872 came to Kansas, and in 1878 engaged in business and was appointed Postmaster. Mr. F. is one of the popular fellow-citizens of the Kaw Valley.

P. M. GILBERT, stock-raiser, Section 20 P. O. Grantville, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., June 12, 1831; was there reared to manhood and educated. In 1854 he went to Wisconsin, locating temporarily in different parts of the State. In 1857 he came to Kansas, locating in Kaw Township, where he has since been a resident, and numbered among the largest real estate owners in that part of the county. In 1871 and 1872 he was station agent at Grantville. He has been County Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, and otherwise officially identified. He was married in New York, to Miss Mary J. Wood, and estimable lady. They have two children by this union - John and Hattie. Mrs. Gilbert taught the first public school in the township.

GEORGE M. HORNING, farmer and stock-raiser. Section 10, P. O. Grantville, was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, May 2, 1834; was educated and resided in his native country until eighteen years of age; came to the United States, locating in the State of New York, where he worked at his trade, that of blacksmithing, which he had learned in the old country. In 1859, came to Kansas, locating on the Kaw bottoms, in Jefferson County, engaging in farming, which he has followed in Kansas since, with the exception of two years' blacksmithing. Mr. H. is one of Jefferson County's most enterprising citizens. He was married in Kansas, to Miss Annie Schaeffer. They have three children - Mary, Adelia M., and Maude E.

A. C. HURD, farmer. Section 17, P. O. Grantville, is a native of New York, and was born in Allegany County, January 14, 1839. In June, 1857, he came to Kansas, locating at Indianola until 1862, when he enlisted in Company L, Fifth Kansas. He was on the border service most of the time. Served three years, and was honorably discharged. After the war, for several years, he attended the ferry on the Kaw, near Topeka. In 1872, he moved on his present farm. Mr. Hurd is one of the successful farmers of the county. He was married in Kansas, to Miss Elizabeth Enochs. They have six children - Fitsimmons, Lenora, Amy Cora, Ettie, Alta, and Colonel Delos. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

JAMES HENRY JONES, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Grantville, the present Surveyor of Jefferson County, was born in Washington County, Va. His great-grandfather, Robert Jones, lived and died in York County, Pa. J. H. Jones is the son of David Jones,. His mother, Margaret Jones, was the daughter of James Cole, of St. Clair Bottom, Smyth County, Va. J. H. received his education in the common schools of Virginia. He was fond of roving, and especially delighted in mountain rambles and scenery. At the age of twenty was appointed Deputy Surveyor of Smyth County, and when not actively engaged in the field, employed his time in teaching school, until elected to the office of County Surveyor. At the age or twenty-five years, he engaged with his uncles, James and Samuel Cole, in merchandizing, at Marion, Va., under the firm name of Cole, Jones & Co. In 1855, sold his interest to his partners, and moved to Kansas. While officiating as a County Surveyor in Virginia, he spent his leisure hours in reading law, in the office of G. W. Jones, of Marion, and in February, 1855, was examined by three of the Judges of the Court of Appeals, of Abingdon Va., passing a very creditable examination, and by them was licensed to practice law. He arrived in Kansas in April, 1855, and traveled over the Territory until December. He then purchased a claim on Big Muddy Creek, near the village of Grantville, and engaged in farming. He was a candidate for the Territorial Legislature in 1858, but was defeated by Col. Edward Lynde. He was a candidate for Representative in the first State Legislature, but was again defeated. He taught school a few seasons in the early settlement of Kaw Township, and practiced law in Justice Courts. He was also civil engineer on the location of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, having spent a part of two seasons in running the preliminary lines on the western plains for that road. His military record consists in having been Lieutenant of the Territorial militia during the administration of Gov. Wilson Shannon, and being Captain of Company G. Fourth (or Jefferson County) Kansas State Militia, and participating in the Price raid. He was a member of the House of Representatives of the Kansas Legislature, in 1863, and a member of the Senate in 1865-'66. He was elected in 1874, again in 1877, and in 1879, which office he still holds. He served as Justice of the Peace and Township Trustee in Kaw Township, for a number of terms. In 1866 he returned to Virginia, remained there about a year, and served as Register of Voters of Smyth County, by appointment of the Governor. He was a member of Thompson Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Marion, Va.; filled several officers in that lodge, and was Noble Grand when he left the State, in 1855, but has not attached himself to any lodge in Kansas. In religion he is a Presbyterian, and in politics independent. Mr. Jones is thoroughly conversant with all the great events of the day, is a man of sound judgement, and a gifted conversationalist. He was married, January 17, 1856, to Miss Martha Hughes Wilson, in Jefferson County, Kan. Her father, Rev. Anthony S. Wilson, emigrated with his family from Washington County, Ky., the fall of 1855. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and fought the British at New Orleans. He was prominently identified with the early settlement of Jefferson County.

A. J. KLEINHAS, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Grantville, was born in Belvidere, Warren Co., N. J., April 25, 1831, was there reared and educated. When comparatively young was employed in a commission house in Philadelphia. For a few years previous to 1851, he was in trade with his brother in New Jersey. In the year above mentioned he went to California were he resided for three years, returned to New Jersey. In 1856, came to Kansas, locating where he now resides in 1857. He owned the town site of Grantville, and was among the first settlers in that part. His present attractive residence was the first fine building in that part of the country. He was married May 5, 1859, to Miss Mary J. Coffman, an estimable lady. Her father was a pioneer in Kaw Township. They have four children - Della, Mattie A., John A., and Charlie H.

JOHN MONTAGUE, stock-raiser and farmer, Section 23, P. O. Newman, was born in County Tyrone, Ireland. He came to the United States about 1851; lived in different States, eventually bringing up in Kansas nearly a quarter of a century ago. He was among the early settlers of Kaw Township, and passed through the ordeal of roughing it in true western style. He came to the State for the purpose of making a home. How ell he has succeeded may be inferred from the fact that his estate comprises 600 acres of choice land. He has been closely identified with the growth and development of Jefferson County. He was married in Long Island, N. Y. to Miss Catherine Montague, a native of Ireland. They have two children - John and Joseph.

FRED MORRELLI, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 10, P. O. Granville, was born in Switzerland, November 1, 1832, was there educated, and learned the trade of masonry, after which he now resides. Mr. M. is one of the substantial farmers of Kaw Township. During the war he was in the State militia. He was married in Illinois to Miss Rhoda Connor. They have eight children, Maggie, Freddie, Mary, Jennie, Annie, Joseph, Peter and Mary.

G. H. RUSHMORE, stock-raiser and dealer, Section 22, P. O. Grantville, was born in Albany County, N. Y., November 7, 1827; was educated and resided in his native county until eighteen years of age, when he went to western Pennsylvania, and remained until 1854, when he came to Davenport, Iowa, residing for a time, thence to Iowa City, and in May, 1858, took up his abode in Leavenworth, Kan. He engaged in the auction business, and in that line did considerable work for the Government. For six years was in the United State Revenue Service, and for several years was Inspector for the State. In 1868 moved to Kaw Township, Jefferson County. The office of Justice of the Peace he has held for a number of years and is at present an official in that respect. He has held the office of County Commissioner, and has otherwise been recognized in the county by the citizens. He was married in 1856, at Iowa City, Iowa, to Miss Helen A. Peck, daughter of the Rev. Alfred Peck. By this union they had one child, H. C.

S. S. TAYLOR, farmer, Section 13, P. O. Grantville and proprietor of the Grantville Nursery, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born near Gettysburg, Adams County, March 12, 1835; was educated and reared in his native State. After a residence of nine years in Ohio and four years in Indiana, came to Kansas in 1869, embarking in the nursery business in Shawnee County. After a while moved to Burlingame where he conducted the same branch of industry for a few years, and from the latter place came to his present location. He is thoroughly conversant with nursery business, and has done much towards making the reputation Kansas has attained for fine orchards. During the Rebellion Mr. Taylor served four months in the One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was married in Indiana to Mrs. M. J. Brooks. They have one daughter, Grace G. Mrs. Taylor, whose maiden name was M. J. Taylor, had been twice married previously. By the first with Mr. Lay, had two children, J. Garfield and Alida, and by the second marriage with Mr. Brooks had one daughter, Nellie E.

W. H. WIBLE, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 31, P. O. Meriden, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Pittsburgh, October 6, 1841; was reared, educated and resided in Allegheny County until 1862, when he enlisted in Company G, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Calvary; was on duty in the Western Department, and participated in a number of general engagements; was honorably discharged in November, 1864; returned to Pittsburgh, residing until the spring of 1868, when he came to Kansas, locating where he now resides. Mr. W. is one of the solid farmers of the county. He was married in Pennsylvania to Miss Mary A. Armstrong, of Butler County. They have three children by this union, John C., Laura F., and Daisie.

RICHARD WRIGHT, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 8, P. O. Grantville. This enterprising citizen was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, May 5, 1847; at an early age moved to Illinois, residing in Peoria and Bond counties until 1865, when he came to Kansas, taking up his abode the first few years in Tecumseh. Mr. Wright has been principally identified with the agricultural interests of the State. He was married in Kansas to Miss Matilda Clark, daughter of Judge G. P. Clark, of Kaw Township. They have three children, Ollie B., and two infants.

[TOC] [part 25] [part 23] [Cutler's History]