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


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


Burr Oak, at present, is the largest and most prosperous town in the county. Situated at the terminus of the Central Branch, on White Rock Creek, ten miles northeast of Mankato. It is pleasantly located and surrounded by as fine a country as can be found in the county.

The first settlers in the town and vicinity were A. W. Mann, F. Gilbert, A. J. and D. H. Godfrey (A. J. Godfrey built the first house on what is now State street), G. Beanblossom, L. N. Tingley, J. M. McCormick and others, who located in the spring of 1870.

The postoffice was established in 1871. J. M. McCormick, a faithful public officer, has held the position of Postmaster from that time to the present. The town was laid out in 1875 by A. J. Godfrey on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 23, Township 2 south, Range 9 west, being a part of his homestead. The first store was that of J. E. Faidley, the second F. Gilbert, and the third T. B. Carpenter. Rev. Allen Ives, in May, 1871, at A. J. Godfrey's, preached the first sermon. The first school was taught in the winter of 1873 by W. H. Kemp. In 1875, a whirlwind of considerable severity passed over the town, but owing to the scarcity of houses did little damage, merely injuring the few that then marked the town.

Since 1875 Burr Oak has made a more rapid growth than any place in the county. It is larger in population and does more business, owing to the fact that it is the terminus of a railroad and has the trade of a very rich and well-settled district.

The place was organized as a city of the third class in April, 1880. It now has a population of 700. The first city officers were: J. K. McLain, Mayor; W. M. Spurlock, Clerk; A. W. Mann, Treasurer; T. B. Carpenter, O. F. Roberts, A. J. Godfrey, George Quigley and Dr. J. E. Hawley, Councilmen.

1881 - J. W. Mann, Mayor; J. H. Palmer, Clerk, and William Spurlock, Treasurer.

1882 - Dr. J. E. Hawley, Mayor; Thomas Tweedy, Clerk, and W. B. Spears, Treasurer.

The church and school privileges are good. The first school was taught here in 1873. The town now has an elegant and commodious school building, just completed at a cost of $3,500. There are three grades, and the departments are doing good work.

There are four religious denominations in Burr Oak - the Baptist, Methodist, Dunkards and Catholics. The last was organized in 1881 by Rev. J. Perrier, of Concordia. There are fifteen families in the perish and they have an $800 church edifice.

The Baptist Church was organized in September, 1879, by Rev. Mr. Howard. The society has just purchased the old schoolhouse and is remodeling it for its accommodation. The society has about twenty-five Members. H. D. Babcock was the first pastor, succeeded by Rev. S. Shutz, the present incumbent.

The Methodists were organized in 1873, with fifteen members, Rev. H. G. Breed being their first pastor. The membership is now about 110. The pastors in order have been Revs. H. G. Breed, C. G. Chrysler, E. Puckett, G. H. Woodward, H. G. Breed, and D. D. Campbell. In 1880 they erected a very neat and commodious edifice at a cost of over $2,300. Under Rev. Mr. Breed, in the winter of 1880-81, there was a revival, which secured forty members to the church.

The Dunkards, or German Baptists, were organizers in October, 1870, by Rev. Allen Ives. Burr Oak, Limestone, and White Rock are included in the same organization. Their membership is over 350. They have a tent, 50x90 feet, in which they hold their meetings. Their pastors have been Revs. Allen Ives, Jacob Amsberger, P. B. Porter, H. E. Faidley, A. W. Austin, Eli Renner, and J. W. Switzer. Their meetings are held in the spring, summer, and autumn.

The Burr Oak Reveille was established at Burr Oak January 1, 1879, by H. E. Taylor, and purchased by W. E. Bush, in 1880. It suspended in August, 1882, and was reorganized in October by a joint stock company, but continued under the same management. It is a seven column folio and enjoys a good circulation. It is independent in politics.

Burr Oak Lodge, No. 178, A. F. & A. M., was instituted in the fall of 1878, by J. C. Postlethwaite. It is in good working order and has about sixty members. Officers: O. F. Roberts, W. M,; A. B. Smith, S. W.; J. K. Mclain, J. W.; J. F. Williamson, Treas.; G. W. Oakwood, Sec.

Burr Oak Lodge. K. of P., was instituted May 3, 1882, by J. H. Lyon, Grand Chancellor of Kansas. They have about seventy-five members. G. M. Ross, C. C.; E. E. Smith, K. of R. and S.

The Cornet Band has ten pieces, under the leadership of R. W. Johnson. It was organized in 1879.


N. E. BURNS, lumber dealer, was born in Hancock County, Ohio, March 4, 1861. Removed to Hoopeston, Ill., and did business just across the line in Ambia, Ind. Came to Burr Oak, Jewell County, Kan., May 3, 1882, and engaged in the lumber business under the firm name of Cobb & Burns. The same firm have a number of lumber-yards in Kansas, and are working up a satisfactory trade. Mr. Burns is an energetic young man, and will be well known in the commercial world. He was married in Hoopeston, Ill., December 25, 1881, to Miss Anna Richards.

W. E. BUSH, editor, was born at Beaver Dam, Mass., February 9, 1854. His parents soon after his birth removed to New York State, where the subject of this notice received a good common-school education. He at first followed farming for a livelihood, but soon abandoned that occupation and adopted the profession of teaching with marked success in New York State and Otoe County, Nebraska. In l880 he purchased the Burr Oak Reveille, which he is conducting in a manner highly satisfactory to its patrons.

J. E, FAIDLEY was born in Somerset County, Pa., October 9, 1840. Removed to Ohio, thence to Iowa, thence to Nebraska, and came to Jewell County, Kan., in October, 1870 and took a homestead adjoining the town site of Burr Oak. Purchased from Lewis and Godfrey part of the town site of Burr Oak. He is the owner of 2,000 acres of land in Jewell County and a large part of Burr Oak, and has an interest in a hardware and farm implement establishment in Burr Oak, also an interest in a large stock of merchandise, and has done a great deal toward the up-building of the young and thrifty town of Burr Oak. He is a member of the German Baptist Church. He was married in Falls City, Neb., in June 1870, to Miss Joanna Ives. They have five children - Luella, Albert, Irena, Marshall and Allen. He also owns a large interest in the town of Cambridge, Neb., in Furnas County, on the B. & M. R. R.

FRANK GILBERT, merchant, was born in Erie County, Pa, January 6, 1844. Moved to Indiana; came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1870, and engaged in the grocery business in 1872. In 1873 the firm name was Faidley & Gilbert, and they continued in business until 1878. The firm of Mann & Gilbert are now carrying a heavy stock of general merchandise in a room 24x50 feet, including an upper floor of the same size. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. Was married in Lagrange County, Ind., August 13, 1866, to Miss Ellen Austin, and they have two children - Abbie, born September 4, 1867, and Arthur, born November 2, 1881.

A. J. GODFREY, druggist and grocer, was born in Kent County Mich., April 15, 1840. Removed with his parents to Indiana in 1841. Enlisted in the United States Army in Company B, Seventeenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, May 28, 1861, and was discharged August 12, 1865, when he returned to Noble County, Ind., and was married to Miss Sarah Gilbert, January 18, 1866. Removed to Iowa in 1868. Came to Jewell County, Kan., in August, 1870, and took a homestead, a part of which is the town site of Burr Oak. In the fall of 1872 Mr. Godfrey caused the said town to be laid out and platted. Was elected the first County Commissioner from his district in 1871; was elected the first Justice of the Peace in Burr Oak Township in the fall of 1870; and the first post-office was opened in his house in 1871, and Mr. Godfrey was assistant postmaster. He is a member of the Masonic Order. His family consists of himself and wife and three living children - two boys and one girl. Two children are dead, the first a girl - Cora Leota, born September 8, 1870, the first white female child born in Jewell County, died April 7, 1871.

J. W. GREEN, furniture dealer, was born in Clinton County, Ohio, November 21, 1844. Moved to Iowa in 1868; came to Jewell County, Kan., in the fall of 1873, and took a homestead five miles northwest of Burr Oak, and is now the owner of 280 acres of land. He went into the furniture business in Burr Oak in 1881, under the firm name of Green & Carpenter. He held the office of school clerk and trustee of Burr Oak Township for three years. Took United States census for the one hundred and twenty-third sub-district of third district of Kansas in 1880. He is a member of the K. of P. Was married March 25, 1869, in Marshall County, Iowa, to Miss Louisa C. Fulwider. They have four children - L. W., E. L., H. L., J. R., and Musett and Maud, deceased.

DR. H. HANNUM was born in Paine's Point, Ogle Co., Ill., March 11, 1854. Attended Rock River Seminary in Illinois; also attended Rush Medical College, of Chicago, and graduated February 22, 1881, after having taken a full course of clinical and didactic instruction during three winters and spring terms of the institution, and received a certificate of honor for the same. The doctor first practiced in Illinois, came to Kansas in April, 1881, and settled in Burr Oak, where he has been engaged in the practice of his chosen profession ever since. He is also a graduate of the Kalamazoo Commercial College. Is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has acted as secretary of the lodge; and is a member of the Knights of Pythias.

DR. J. E. HAWLEY, was born in Delaware County, N. Y., June 1, 1852, removed to Chickasaw County, Iowa, in 1865; removed to Clay County, Neb., thence to Burr Oak, in Jewell County, Kan., in 1878. Held the office of City Councilman of Burr Oak for two years, and was elected Mayor of the City in April, 1882. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. The doctor studied medicine in Iowa, and graduated at the St. Joseph's Hospital Medical College, February 27, 1882. He was married in Spring Ranch, Clay Co., Neb., November 27, 1871, to Miss Alice J. Stephenson, and has four children - Burt A., Edward F., Seth Zell and Julia A.

J. T. HOLLENBECK, merchant, was born in Indiana October 14, 1835; removed to Louisa County, Iowa, thence to Johnson County, thence to Grundy County, came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1871, and took a homestead, moved to Burr Oak, and engaged in general merchandising and is also extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising, making fine stock a specialty. Is now doing business under the firm name of Faidley, Hollenbeck & Smith. He held the office of Justice of the Peace in Walnut Township, in Jewell Co., Kan. Was a soldier in the United States Army, in Company D, Sixteenth Iowa Infantry. Mr. Hollenbeck is now the owner of 16 acres of land in addition to town property. He was married in Linn County, Iowa, June 29, 1855, to Miss Mary Hepker, and they have five children - Alla, S. L., Libbie, Estella and J. H.

B. H. JOHNSON, druggist, was born in Litchfield, Conn., August 1, 1835; removed to Wisconsin; thence to Minnesota; came to Jewell County, Kan., in October, 1873, and engaged in the hardware business in Burr Oak. In May, 1878, he engaged in the drug business, which business he has been in ever since; and owns his store building, 22x44 feet. Held office of County Commissioner in Jackson County, Minn., also held the office of Justice of the Peace and Assessor and Township Clerk of Burr Oak Township. Mr. Johnson started the first regular hardware, also the first drug store in Burr Oak. Enlisted in the United States Army December 4, 1862 in Company F, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, and was made sergeant. Discharged September 29, 1865. Is a married man, and the father of five children - R. W., I. B., Louis, Lloyd and Ethel.

DR. THOMAS KIRK, Jr., was born in Clearfield, Pa., January 20, 1859; attended the Eclectic Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated in June, 1880, and first located in Bellefonte, Pa. Came to Burr Oak, in Jewell Co., Kan., in 1881, and engaged in the practice of his profession; he is now working into a fine business.

[Picture of A. W. Mann] A. W. MANN, merchant, was born in Ashtabula County, Ohio, September 4, 1845. He removed to Webster County, Iowa, and came to Jewell County, Kan., in May, 1870, and took a homestead two and a half miles from Burr Oak. He engaged in the drug business in Burr Oak in the fall of 1875. In 1877 he engaged in general merchandising, under the firm name of McLain & Mann; afterward the firm was changed to Mann, Faidley & Gilbert. The present firm is Mann & Gilbert. Held the office of Justice of the Peace and was second Justice of the Peace in Burr Oak Township after the organization of the county. He is a member of the K. of P. and enlisted in the United States army, in Company C, Twenty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, July 20, 1861; re-enlisted as a veteran December 15, 1863, in same company and regiment. He was transferred from the army to the navy in 1864; served nine months on the monitor Winnebago and three months on the Circassian. He was married in Ashtabula County, Ohio, August 14, 1865, to Miss Martha Steves, and they have four children - Hattie, Arthur W., Edith, and Mattie S.

J. W. McCORMICK, postmaster, born in Sandusky, Erie Co., Ohio, March 10, 1847. Enlisted in the United States army in Company K, Third Ohio Cavalry, November 1861, and was discharged in August, 1865. He moved from Ohio to Michigan, and came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1870 and took a homestead, a part of which is now the town of Burr Oak, and he is now the owner of the same, less a few lots, which have been sold. Has held the office of Township Clerk, Trustee and Justice of the Peace. Has held the last named office for nine years past. He was appointed postmaster in June, 1871, and named the office Burr Oak, after which the town was named. He was married in December, 1874, to Miss Ellen Myers; second marriage to Miss Jessie McCammon in August, 1878, and they have had two children - William L., and Charles Francis.

B. F. ROYER, one of Burr Oak's prominent citizens, was born in Union County, Pa., January 13, 1850; moved from there to Stephenson County, Ill., in October, 1868; from there to Jewell County, Kan., in the spring of 1872, and took a homestead three miles southeast of Burr Oak, and still owns the same. Mr. Royer is a wagonmaker by trade, and followed that business from eighteen years of age until he was thirty-two; commenced running a wagon and blacksmith shop of his own in the spring of 1873. In 1882 he bought the livery, barn and stock of O. B. Ford, in Burr Oak, and engaged in the livery business. Mr. Royer was Treasurer of Burr Oak Township seven years, City Marshal one year, and is at present one of the City Council. Was married in Monroe, Wis., November 13, 1870. to Miss Marien R. Fair. They have two children - Lila B. and Nita E. Is owner of two quarter sections of land, blacksmith and wagon-shop, livery barn, and the residence where he now lives in the city of Burr Oak.

E. O. W. SMITH, merchant, was born in Juniata County, Pa., July 5, 1844. Enlisted in the Union army in February, 1864, in Company G, Forty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry: was discharged in 1865, when he returned to Illinois. Came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1872, and took a homestead two and a half miles south of town, which he sold, and bought one five miles from town, containing timber and water, where he carries on farming and stock-raising, making fine stock a specialty; is also the owner of a fine residence in Burr Oak. He went into the restaurant business in Burr Oak in 1877, and in 1880 engaged in general merchandising under the firm name of Faidley, Hollenbeck & Smith, and the firm are doing a flourishing business, in a room 22x60 feet, also a room 22x40, the last named building being used for a boot and shoe store. He was married in Illinois to Miss Hannah Frey, and they have three children - Cory E., George W., and Charles E. Mr. sMith is a member of the K. of P.

SPEARS BROS., bankers. P. B. Spears was born in Carroll County, Ind., December 29, 1854, and came to Kansas in 1880. He was married in Illinois, May 10, 1876, to Miss Georgia A. Taylor. They have two children - Ethel and Charles. W. B. Spears was born in Carrol County, Ind., April 6, 1858; moved to Illinois, thence to Burr Oak, Jewell County, Kan., March 1, 1880. He was married in Morrison, Whiteside County, Illinois, January 19, 1881, to Miss Minnie B. Clark. They have one child - Helen, born January 15, 1882. The brothers established the Bank of Burr Oak, and in 1882 erected a brick bank building 24x50 feet, two stories high, and furnished the same in first-class style, with glass counters not surpassed in Western Kansas, a well-built vault, safe and time-lock. The firm are the owners of 280 acres of land, well improved and well stocked.

N. S. STEWART, hardware merchant, was born at Battle Creek, Mich., February 27, 1853. Removed to Clayton County Iowa; thence to Jackson County, Minn; came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1872; clerked for McLain in the implement business for five years. In May, 1882, he engaged in the hardware business, under the firm name of Faidley Bros. & Stewart. Mr. Stewart, by hard work as a clerk for several years, made the foundation for his present flourishing business. The firm is one of the best in Burr Oak, and they are doing a splendid business. He was married at Smith Center, Kan., November 15, 1880, to Miss Emma C. Gist. They have one child - Willie.

THOMAS TWEEDY, attorney-at-law, was born in Indiana, September 12, 1853; came to Jewell County, Kan., in 1878; studied law at Red Cloud, Neb., also at Oswego, Kan., and was admitted to practice at Verne, Jennings Co., Ind., June 19, 1881. He is the only practicing attorney in Burr Oak. Attended college at Lancaster, Ind. He was married in Burr Oak, September 12, 1882, to Miss Ella M. Story.

M. WEIL, merchant, was born in Alsace, France, December 1, 1858; came to America in October, 1875, and settled at Atchison; moved to Muscotah, Kan., and engaged in general merchandising. He came to Burr Oak, Jewell Co., Kan., in January, 1880, and engaged in the same line of business, in a room 22x80 feet, and carries a stock of from $16,000 to $18,000. He is a member of the K. of P., and was married in Holton, Jackson Co., Kan., March 1, 1881, to Miss Ida Sarbach, and they have one child - Carl, born April 28, 1882.


The early history of Jewell City can be found at length in the County history. The origin of this city, which is situated ten miles east of south of Mankato, was the building of a fort, in 1870, for the protection of the settlers in its vicinity. It was called Fort Jewell, and was a large sod enclosure in which the first well in the county was dug. It was a false alarm that caused its erection, and, happily for the settlers, they were never called upon to use it as a means of defense. The town is well situated between the middle and west branches of Buffalo Creek, on a comparatively level tract of land. It is surrounded by rich lands, and adjacent to the Limestone and Marsh valleys.

In May, 1871, George James established himself in town as the first shoemaker in the county, or in fact in the country, west of Concordia. The first store in the town was opened June 4, 1871, by John D. Robertson. In September, 1871, the Jewell House, the first hotel in the place, was built by James Kelsey. The town has grown steadily and substantially ever since, although it had the misfortune, early in its existence, to loose the county seat.

In March, 1872, W. P. Day and W. D. Jenkins established the Jewell City Clarion, the first paper in the county. It was purchased by M. Winsor in February, 1873, and enlarged from a four column folio to one of seven columns. Mr. Winsor changed the name of it to the Diamond, retaining possession of it until April, 1878, when it was consolidated with the Monitor. The postoffice was established July 4, 1870, with J. Hoffer as Postmaster who was succeeded by J. A. Scarbrough, and in November, 1874, by S. R. Worick, the Money Order department having been established the previous July.

Sunday morning, at 5 o'clock, July 28, 1873, a cyclone from the northwest visited the prosperous town and blew down a $4,000 schoolhouse, several partially finished buildings, and removed several from their foundations. Fortunately, no lives were lost. The storm continued in a southeasterly direction, and did considerable damage in Cloud County, especially at Concordia.

There is an excellent quality of limestone in this vicinity, which has been used in the finest buildings of the town.

In 1880 the town was organized as a city of the third class, with the following officers: H. C. Jennings, Mayor; H. A. Schulenberg, Clerk; J. D. Robertson, Treasurer; G. B. Crandall, R. W. Hill, J. T. Bunch, A. L. Marks, and Thomas Miller, Councilmen; H. F. Stone, Police Judge.

The officers of 1881 were: J. T. Bunch, Mayor; H. A. Schulenberg, City Clerk; J. D. Robertson, Treasurer; J. Hoffer, Police Judge.

The following were chosen in 1882: G. B. Crandall, Mayor; M. F. Knappenberger, city clerk; J. D. Robertson, Treasurer; A. L. Marks, Police Judge.


The schools from the first have been good. Since 1873 to the present time they have been kept in a building constructed principally from the ruins of the one destroyed at that time. In October, 1882, a $6,000 stone school building was completed and occupied. It is the finest school building in the county.

The Jewell County Republican, a five column quarto paper, was established at Jewell City, in the fall of 1879, by Col. W. W. Brown. It was purchased by Woodward & Musser in 1881. It is Republican in politics.

The Methodists organized a society in 1872, and three years later completed a building, Rev. Mr. Rose being the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. H. G. Breed, Rev. J. Phillips, Rev. B. Hollen, Rev. J. Lawrence, and the present incumbent, Rev. A. B. Conwell. The latter assumed the pastorate in 1879, and during his term of service the debt has been lifted from the church and money put in the treasury. Present membership, sixty. Mr. Conwell has charge, also, of the societies at East Buffalo and Spring Creek.

The Christians organized a society in the spring of 1873, under the pastorate of Rev. O. N. Gray. He remained in charge until 1877, when, on account of the territory covered by the church membership, societies were formed at Brown's Creek and Marsh Valley. Rev. G. D. Sellers took charge of the city and county churches, but was succeeded in 1882 in the pastorate of the Jewell City society by Rev. J. T. Kiggins. The church building, a good wooden structure, was erected in 1879.

The Evangelical Association in Jewell City was organized in the spring of 1872, Rev. L. Wenger being its first pastor. The church building was erected in the summer of 1873. Present membership, eighty-five; pastor, Rev. T. W. Serf.

In 1872, Rev. Mr. Fletcher, organized a Baptist society. It has, at present, no settled pastor. In the fall of 1881 a flourishing country church was formed at East Buffalo, five miles northeast of Jewell City. Rev. Geo. Peterson is still in charge.

Rev. Father Perry organized the Catholic church in 1873, and a building was erected in 1877. Membership, twenty-five families.


Jewell Lodge, No. 11, A. F. & A. M., was instituted October 22, 1874. J. C. Postlethwaite, W. M.; M. F. Knappenberger, S. W.: A. M. Hogan, J. W.; N. Kreamer; F. Felker, Sec'y.

Jewell Lodge, No. 116, I. O. O. F. - This society was instituted October 14, 1874. They own a $1,200 hall, well arranged and neatly furnished. Present officers: H. A. Schulenburg, N. G.; E. D. Smith, V. G.; George W. Brick, Secretary; John Fry, Treasurer. It now numbers seventy members.

Ancient Order United Workmen. - A lodge of this Order was started at Jewell City June 30, 1880. It now has forty members, with the following officers: G. B. Crandall, W. W.; C. C. King, T.; M. F. Knappenberger, O.; F. Felker, P. M. W.; S. R. Worick, R.

Washington Camp, No. 2, P. O. S. A. - This post was organized March 21, 1879. It has fifty members. Officers: J. Earle, Pres.; J. C. Perfect, V. P.; I. N. Hockman, Sec'y.

S. R. Deach Post, No. 58, G. A. R., was organized May 19, 1882, and has forty members. George B. Crandall, Post Commander: A. L. Marks, O. C.; W. C. McClung, Q. M.; E. D. Heinecke, Adj.

Jewell City has a favorite local band, incorporated May 24, 1880. It has fourteen pieces; leader, W. C. Manifold.

The Citizen's Bank was established in March, 1880, by B. Musser, editor of the Jewell County Republican.

J. H. Schaffer & Co.'s Jewell City Bank was established in 1880. J. C. Postlethwaite is the Cashier. The bank capital is $25,000, and the bank property is valued at $3,000. The bank has loaned $250,000 on real estate.

Two hotels accommodate the place - the City Hotel, erected by James Kelsey as the Jewell House, in 1871, and now operated by Morand King. The next year Mr. Kelsey commenced the erection of another hotel. Additions have since been made until the structure is now 44x56 feet. James Kelsey is still proprietor.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]