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


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


This very beautiful town is situated in the southern part of the County, on the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, ten miles south of Olathe. The surrounding country is gently undulating, and the soil exceedingly fertile. Vegetation grows in extreme luxuriance.

The first settler in the township was James B. Hovey, who arrived at the present location of the town in March, 1857. About two weeks afterward, William Mavity arrived, and settled where the railroad depot now is. Immediately afterward, S. B. Myrick and E. F. Davis came in and took up the adjoining claims. J. B. Hovey and E. F. Davis became associated in holding the town site. The survey was made May 18, 1857, and the town named by Mr. Hovey, after Spring Hill near Mobile, Ala., a town considered by him one of the most beautiful he had ever seen. It was Mr. Hovey's opinion that Spring Hill, Kan., might be made to fully rival in beauty the older town in Alabama.

In the fall, Mr. Davis sold his interest in the town site to A. B. Simmons, William A. Jenkinson, and J. P. Lockey, and Mr. Hovey sold a portion of his interest to H. E. Brown, James McKoin, and Edwin Walker. In January, 1858, a town company was organized of the above named persons, J. B. Hovey elected President, and A. B. Simmons, Secretary.

The first farmer in the township was George Sprague, whose farm adjoins the north half of the town on the east. Mr. Sprague made the first improvements in the township, building the first good board fence, the first good barn, and the first good two-story frame dwelling. Mr. Sprague settled here in 1857. Quite a large number of others came into the settlement the same fall, among them, D. F. Dayton, James Sweeting, B. H. Stiles, W. G. Davidson, David Sprong, Hiram Mitchell, J. H. Jackson, Thomas Jenkinson, William Sowers, and W. R. Rutter.

The first building in the town was known as the Spring Hill Hotel, built by J. B. Hovey, in the summer of 1857. The postoffice was established in the fall, J. B. Hovey being appointed the first Postmaster.

In the spring of 1858, A. D. Richardson bought an interest in the town, being admitted on the same footing as if he had been an original member. During the same spring, the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, a building erected which served the purposes of church and schoolhouse, and Rev. Richard P. Duvall became the first resident minister, L. B. Dennis the first presiding elder.

The first store was opened by W. G. Davidson, in the winter of 1857-58, the second in 1860, by a Mr. Prunty.

The Methodist Episcopal Organization erected a new church edifice in 1868, at a cost of $2,700. The membership is now two hundred.

The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1861, with four members, all women. At present there are seventy members on the roll. The church was built in 1869, costing also $2,700.

The Methodist Protestant Church was organized in 1871 and 1878. Their church was built at a cost of about $1,200.

There is also a colored Baptist Church organized in Spring Hill.

In 1869 the railroad reached the southern part of the county. The town being situated on high land, and as considerable cutting down through rock would be necessitated if the road should be built through or near the town, which would cost according to the estimates of the engineers of the road $15,000, the people of Spring Hill were asked to contribute that sum to enable the company to build through and establish a station at the town. This they declined to do.

The company therefore built the road one-half mile east of the town, and established their station two miles north, at Ocheltree, possibly as a kind of punishment to the Spring Hill people for refusing to contribute the $15,000, or perhaps expecting the town to be moved to the station, as Lanesfield was moved to Edgerton. For some time the trains did not stop at Spring Hill, and the people had to go to Ocheltree for their mail, and to take the cars. This was very inconvenient, and an effort was made to induce the company to reconsider the matter of a station at Spring Hill. A. D. Richardson, who at the time owned sixty-four lots in the town, went to see Mr. Joy, with whom he was well acquainted, in reference to the matter, and was successful; the people of Spring Hill and vicinity contributing $1,500 toward putting in the side-track.

The first schoolhouse was built in the spring of 1858, and in the summer following Mrs. Duvall taught the first school. The present fine large frame schoolhouse was built in 1868, at a cost of about $4,000. In the spring of 1882 an election was held for the purpose of voting bonds to build a new schoolhouse, which was defeated by a vote of twenty-three for, ninety-two against.

Spring Hill contains six general stores, besides the Grange store, one dry goods, one grocery, one furniture, two hardware, three drug stores, two hotels, four blacksmiths, two agricultural implement dealers, two grain dealers, three mills, one newspaper and about 700 inhabitants, 215 children of school age.

The Standard Mills were built in 1871, by Miller, Gristy & Jenkinson, at a cost of $25,000. The mill is three stories above the basement, has four run of buhrs, and a capacity of eighty barrels of flour in twenty-four hours. June 1, 1882, the mills became the property of H. L. McLachlin & Bro.

Besides these mills there are two small feed and grist mills, one driven by steam, the other by a wind mill.

The Spring Hill Enterprise was established December 7, 1870, as a Republican journal, by Buel & Sprague. Sprague bought out the interest of Buel January 24, 1871, and soon associated with himself Dr. Parker. Dr. Parker then bought out Sprague's interest and conducted the paper as a Democratic journal for a time. Early in 1872 W. H. McGown became the owner, changed the name to the Western progress, and the politics to Republican.


Ocheltree is situated on the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, eight miles south of Olathe. Like all the other towns in Johnson County, it is surrounded by an excellent agricultural region. The town site, containing seventy acres, was laid out in 1867, by a town company, consisting of Wm. A. Ocheltree, Mr. Bayless, Edward H. Allen and Howard M. Holden, and the plat was recorded under the name of Spring Hill Station, it being the design of the railroad company to have no station at the town of Spring Hill, two miles south.

The first building in the town was built in the winter of 1857-58 by J. H. Jackson. It was occupied as a store and dwelling house by William Auld, whose family was the first to settle in the town. The second building was erected by a Mr. Baker, in the summer of 1868; also for a store, for which purpose it is still used. A dwelling house was next erected by J. M. Miller and James McElheney, and in the same summer of 1868, eight or ten other buildings were put up by various parties.

The postoffice was established in 1870, J. M. Miller being appointed first Postmaster. A son of Mr. Miller's was the first child born in the town: a Mr. Henry and Miss Eliza Hess were the first couple married, and Ham Elam was the first to die, in 1872. The first schoolhouse was one moved into the town from the country. The present school building was erected in 1880. It is a two- story frame structure, and cost $2,000.

Ocheltree contains one store, one agricultural implement dealer, one blacksmith, three grain dealers and about forty inhabitants.


E. H. AINSWORTH, farmer and fruit grower, P. O. Ocheltree, was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, August 1, 1832, and was reared in Miami County. At thirteen years of age he turned his attention to house painting, following it for six years in Shelby County, and during two years of that period also studied dentistry, after which he practiced that profession for eleven years. He came to Kansas in October, 1862, but remained only a short time, returning to his home in Ohio. In 1866 he came again to Kansas. For a year he farmed in Wyandotte County, then moved to Johnson County and located on his present farm. He has 160 acres of land all well improved, twenty-five of which are laid out in a fine orchard. Mr. Ainsworth is also engaged in breeding grade cattle and Poland-China hogs. He was married in Warren County, Ohio, March 16, 1858, to Jane G. Anderson. They have three children, James B., D. Ewing and Charles. Mr. A. is a charter member of the Ocheltree Grange, and was for five years master of the same.

W. G. ANDERSON, breeder of Short-Horn cattle, P. O. Ocheltree, was born in Warren County, Ohio, in May, 1839, and reared on a farm there, and after reaching the age of manhood carried on a stock farm until he sold out and came to Kansas in August, 1868, at which time he located on his present farm. He owns 240 acres all well improved for stock farming. He has for the past seven years given special attention to the breeding of Short-horn cattle. His stock is principally from the famous bull Oakland Favorite, which he used in his herd for several years; has now the noted bull "Constance Henry Second," bred by Ware & Berry, of Kentucky. Mr. A. has none but fine stock on his farm, imported from Ohio and Kentucky. He is also largely engaged in breeding Mambrino blooded horses and Poland-China hogs. He has one of the finest stock farms of this nature in the county, and several of his cattle have taken premiums at the fairs of Paola, Kas., and Kansas City, Mo.

JOHN M. CADDY, hardware merchant, was born in Waltham, Mass., in 1850, removing when very young to Greene County, Ohio; he learned the trade of tinner there, serving as an apprentice some four years; he came to Kansas in 1871, locating in Spring Hill. Was for a year employed as a clerk in the hardware business, after which he purchased the stock, etc., and conducted the business until the spring of 1873, when he sold out and moved to Boston, Mass., where for a year he worked at his trade. He then removed to Greene County, Ohio, and worked at it there until 1877, when he returned to Spring Hill and engaged in this business. He has a nice business and carries a stock of $3,500. He was a member of the city council in 1879, and also during that period filled the office of City Clerk. He was elected Mayor of Spring Hill in the spring of 1881 and re-elected in 1882. Was married in 1872, at Spring Hill, to Rebecca Berkshire; they have one son, Edward A.

L. CHAMBERLIN, proprietor of the Spring Hill Mills, was born in Warren County, Ohio in 1845 and reared on a farm, and followed farming as an occupation. He enlisted in 1864 in the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Ohio Infantry and served a few months, after which he again returned to his farm. He came to Spring Hill, Kansas, in the spring of 1869, and has been engaged in farming ever since. He has some 200 acres of land, all under cultivation; he is also engaged in grain and live stock business since 1872, and in April, 1882, he purchased the Standard Mills at this place and now conducts them as the Spring Hill Mills and elevator. They are run by steam and have a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day. Mr. C. was married in Spring Hill, January, 1872, to Fannie Coons, daughter of Dr. I. A. Coons, of this place. They have two children, Gale and June.

ISRAEL A. COONS, M. D. Spring Hill, was born July 10, 1827, in Fairfield County, Ohio. He studied medicine at the Ohio Medical College and the Starling Medical College, graduating at the latter in 1852. He practiced medicine at Dayton, Ohio, and vicinity, until the spring of 1861, when he entered the army as surgeon of the Fourteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the three months' service. On his return, he was commissioned surgeon of the Thirty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served, in all, about two and one-half years - a large part of the time as Brigade Surgeon, and for a short time Medical Director of a division. He had charge of a hospital on the battlefield of Stone River. The doctor was formerly a member of the State Medical Society of Ohio, and one of its Vice Presidents in 1854. In 1869, he removed from Middletown, Ohio - where he had been practicing after returning from the army - Spring Hill, Kansas, where he has been engaged in active practice. He is a member of the American Medical Association, of the Kansas State Medical Society and the Miami County Medical Society, of which he has been President for two years.

JOHN M. DAVIS, M. D., Spring Hill, was born in Warren County, Mo., June 15, 1831, and was reared on a farm. He began the study of medicine in September, 1852, with Dr. Worthington, of Danville, Mo., remaining with him some two years, after which he attended the Missouri University at St. Louis, graduating there in the spring of 1856. The doctor practiced in Highland County, Mo. He went to St. Louis and attended the St. Louis Medical College, graduating from the same in March, 1865, after which he practiced in Franklin County, Mo., and in 1876, entered the employ of the M. P. R. R. Co., as surgeon in the company's hospital. He came to Kansas in May, 1879; located at Louisburg, Miami County; and in the spring of 1882, he removed to Spring Hill.

DOCTRESS C. A. DAYTON is a daughter of Samuel Herbert, of Herkimer County, N. Y., where she was born. She began the study of medicine with Dr. John E. Todd, of Baldwinsville, N. Y.; also took a partial course at Casseltow University, Rutland, Vt., being unable to complete the same on account of the antipathy towards her sex in the study of medicine. She began the practice of medicine in 1849 at Baldwinsville, Onondaga Co., N. Y.; from there went to Butler, Branch Co., Mich., and practiced there nearly five years; thence to Casselton, Rutland Co., Vt., then to St. Albans, and in January, 1859, she came to Spring Hill, Kan., and has had considerable success in the practice of medicine at this place. In 1831, she was married to Amon A. Dayton, now deceased, and had one son - Dr. Hiram E. Dayton, who was killed at Blue Springs, Mo., while acting as a scout for Capt. Oliver's command, January 27, 1862, by Quantrill's men.

JOHN S. GASAWAY, Postmaster and bookseller, Spring Hill, etc., was born in Jefferson County, Ind., January 15, 1838, and reared on a farm. He enlisted August 22, 1861 in Company E, Third Indiana Cavalry, and when mustered out three years later, he held the rank of Commissary Sergeant; after this he returned to Jefferson County and taught school for some years. In 1871 he came to Kansas and located in Spring Hill; opened a photograph gallery and conducted it for six years. He was appointed Postmaster and entered upon the duties of his office March 8, 1877, and at that time opened business with a stock of stationery, books, etc. He was elected a member of the City Council in the spring of 1880 for a term, and is at present Director of the School Board. Mr. Gasaway was married in Spring Hill July 16, 1873, to Wilda Smith. They have one son - Carl W., born in Spring Hill.

J. A. HIBBARD, farmer, P. O. Spring Hill, was born in Orleans County, N. Y., in 1818; here he learned the trade of carpenter and followed it as an occupation. In 1840 he removed to Fulton County, Ill., and remained for some years engaged at his trade, then removed to McDonough County, where he followed farming. Mr. Hibbard came to Kansas in 1865 and located on his present farm. He owns 160 acres of land all of which he has improved, and five acres of which he has laid out in a fine orchard. He is also engaged to some extent in raising stock. He was married in 1846 at Milwaukee, Wis., to Jeanette Webster; she died in 1847, leaving one son - Hiram H. Mr. Hibbard married a second time in Fulton County, Ill., in 1849, to Elizabeth Randall, who died in 1875, leaving seven children - Edmund H., Lawrence A., Bruce L., Priam H., William R., George A. and J. Morris. Mr. H. is a charter member of the Morning Grange, No. 227, and was master of the same for two terms. Was County Commissioner of Johnson County, Kan., two terms.

S. R. HOGUE, hardware merchant, was born in Monmouth, Ill., in 1837, and reared on a farm. He came to Kansas in 1858, locating in Miami County, Kan., where he pre-empted 160 acres of land and engaged in farming. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company I, Twelfth Kansas Infantry. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Saline river in Arkansas, on April 30, 1864; was held a prisoner at Princeton, Ark., for forty-four days, when he made his escape, and after two nights and one day's travel, reached Little Rock, Ark. He served three years, and when mustered out held the rank of Sergeant. After the war he returned to his farm in Miami County, where he remained until 1875. In 1875 he took a trip to California - spending one year to recruit his health; then returned to his farm, where he remained until 1878, when he removed to Spring Hill and took the management of the Spring Hill Co-operative Association, in which position he remained about three and one-half years. In May, 1882, he purchased the hardware stock and business of A. F. Wiley & Co., at this place, and now devotes his time to the management of the same. Mr. Hogue was married at Westport, Mo., in November, 1860, to Emily Hogan. They have one daughter - Edith May, now Mrs. Sibley.

JESSE H. JACKSON, merchant and Postmaster, Ocheltree, was born in 1817, in St. Clair County, Ill. He was married to Amelia Taylor, daughter of Rev. Stephen L. Taylor, in 1841, and emigrated to Jackson County, Iowa, in 1847; remained there till 1858. He was the means of having the Otter Creek postoffice established, and was Postmaster for about five years, most of the time holding the office of Justice of the Peace. In 1858 he came to Johnson County, near Spring Hill, and located on his present farm, which consists of eighty-five acres, situated on Section 11, Township 15, Range 23. This place he has well improved with hedges, groves and orchard. He was appointed Postmaster at Spring Hill in 1861 or 1862 and held the office for some two or three years. Was elected County Clerk in 1863 and moved to Olathe. At the expiration of his term as County Clerk received the appointment of Postmaster at that place which office he filled for two years. He then moved back to his farm near Spring Hill, and in 1875 or 1876 received the appointment of Postmaster at Ocheltree, which office he still holds. He has filled the office of Justice of the Peace for six years in Spring Hill Township; has also been Notary Public. Mr. Jackson is now sixty-five years of age, enjoys reasonable health, and is still able to attend to his regular routine of business. He has four children living, the oldest upwards of forty years old. His wife is two years younger than himself, and enjoys good health.

URIAH F. LUELLEN (deceased), was born in Washington County, Penn., in October, 1815, and two years later his parents emigrated to Ohio. On October 10, 1837, he was married to Miss Nancy Waddle, a native of Virginia. They have raised a family of five children; Margaret, Sarah J., John, Mary and Nellie. Mr. Luellen came to Kansas in 1869 and located on a farm adjoining the city of Spring Hill in 1870, and followed farming and the breeding of draft horses of the Norman stock. In 1873 he was awarded a premium for the best yearling colt at the Kansas city exposition. Mr. Luellen died here, November 25, 1877, much regretted by his many friends and acquaintances. His widow still resides on the farm with her daughter Nellie, who is married to Mr. Andrews.

JAMES V. McCABE, farmer, P. O. Bonita, was born in Perry County, Ohio, 1839, and followed farming as an occupation. He came to Kansas in 1867, locating in Anderson County. He rented some land and farmed for a short time; in the following spring he came to Johnson County and purchased 160 acres in the township of Olathe. About five years ago he purchased another 160 acres in Spring Hill Township, and moved onto the same in the fall of 1881. He now owns 320 acres of land, all well improved, and is quite an extensive farmer. His residence farm is very beautiful; on this farm he lately erected a fine house which is worth some $3,000, and the place is tastefully laid out with orchards, groves, and hedges; all this is the result of his industry and thrift. Mr. McCabe was married in Perry County, Ohio in 1862 to Margaret Minough. They have eight children: Mary, Rose, Edward, John, Phillip, Raphael, Joseph and Alice.

HIRAM MITCHELL, dealer in grain, Spring Hill, was born near Logansport, Ind., in 1827, and when very young removed to Henderson County, Ill., and seven years later to Knox County, where he followed farming and stock raising until 1849, when he crossed the plains to California and for about two years carried on an extensive business in Sacramento. Returning East in 1852, to Warren County, Ill., he again devoted his attention to farming, etc. He came to Kansas June 18, 1858, located in Spring Hill Township, Johnson County, on 160 acres of land, and farmed for about twenty-two years. In 1861 he engaged in livestock business and has since carried it on in an extensive manner. Is also engaged in grain business. In 1880 he moved into the city of Spring Hill, and in May, 1882, erected a large, commodious barn, and in company with his two sons, Lewis and John, engaged in livery business. Mr. Mitchell was married in Warren County, Ill., to Ocena Sprague. They have six living children, Louis, John W., Eva, Clara, George and William.

HENRY PERLEY, deceased, was born in Winchenden, Worcester Co., Mass, October 3, 1820, and was for some years employed in the wooden ware factories of that locality, and while thus employed gave himself a common school and academic education. At the age of seventeen years he began to earn his living as school teacher and followed that vocation off and on until he reached the age of thirty-three years, when he removed to McDonough County, Ill., and improved a prairie farm of 240 acres, and followed farming until twelve years later, when he engaged in the nursery business. While there he was Trustee of the Prairie City Academy for over five years. He came to Kansas in the spring of 1869 and located here, where he lived until his death. He had 160 acres overlooking the city of Spring Hill. His land is all well improved. He for six years also carried on a nursery at this place. Mr. P. had one of the finest orchards in the county, having on his place over 4,000 fruit trees of all varieties. He also rented eighty acres of land which he devoted to farming purposes. Mr. Perley was elected to the State Legislature in the fall of 1876 and served one term. The subject of our sketch was married October 26, 1854, to Eveline Smith, and they had two children. Mr. Perley died September 11, 1882.

WILLIAM A. PERRY, farmer and stock dealer, P. O. Gardner, was born in Jersey County, Ill., in April, 1845, and was reared on a farm after which he conducted a farm of his own, consisting of 120 acres. In the fall of 1871 he came to Kansas and located on his present farm. He owns 160 acres, all well improved. He is also engaged in raising cattle in Barber County, this State, in company with J. W. Dennis, and is one of the leading farmers of the neighbourhood. He is a member of the Lone Elm Grange. He was married in Alton, Ill., in the summer of 1872 to Mary A. Bergin.

REV. A. M. REYNOLDS, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, was born in Richmond County, Va., February 19, 1844, and reared on a farm in Pickaway County, Ohio. He enlisted June 1, 1863, in the Sixth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and was mustered out in August, 1865. Immediately after the war he turned his attention to the ministry, and studied for the same at Blackburn's University, Ill., until the spring of 1873, after which he attended the Lane Seminary at Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated there in January, 1875; was ordained at Blue Ball, Ohio, in November of that year, and had charge of the Presbyterian Church of that place for four years. He came to Spring Hill, Kan., in August, 1879, and at once entered upon his present duties.

JAMES W. ROBINSON, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Spring Hill, was born in Greene County, Ill., in 1842. He has always followed farming as an occupation. In 1869 he came to Kansas and located on his present farm. He has one of the best improved places in the county. He owns 240 acres of land, and has on his premises a beautiful home and a fine barn and orchard. Mr. Robinson is largely engaged in stock-raising, in connection with his farming pursuits, and is one of the leading men in the township. He is a member of the Morning Grange, and holds the office of overseer of that body. He was married in Macon County, Ill., in December, 1869, to Margaret Rieves. They have two children - Ina and Essle.

PETER STAHL, farmer, P. O. Spring Hill, was born in Schuylkill County, Pa., January 19, 1826, and reared on a farm in Union County. There he carried on two farms, one of 106 acres and another of 76, for many years. He came to Kansas October 31, 1878, having purchased his present farm some time previous to his arrival. He has 160 acres in this farm, which is one of the best in the county. It is all splendidly improved, with groves, hedges and orchards. His residence is equal to any in the county, and is beautifully situated, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country and the city of Spring Hill. He is a member of the Ocheltree Grange. Mt. Stahl was married in Union County, Pa., in 1854, to Isabella Mathers, a native of that county. This union has been blessed with eight children.

THOMAS STEVENSON, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Spring Hill, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1835, and was reared on a farm near the city of Pittsburgh. In 1855 he moved to Marion County, Ind., where he was employed as a carpenter for about three years. He came to Kansas and located on his present farm January 16, 1858. He owns 240 acres of land, all well improved, and has one of the finest places in the surrounding country. He is largely engaged in raising stock. October 1, 1861, he enlisted in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, Company I; was promoted to Second Lieutenant January 1, 1863, and was mustered out July 8, 1865. Mr. S. is a member of the Ocheltree Grange, and at one time filled the office of secretary of that body. He was married in Marion County, Ind., in 1860, to Martha J. Negley. They have a family of four children - Nellie, Lizzie, George and Birdie.

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