|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
Kingman is the shire town of the county. It is situated on the Ninnescah River, the town site being partly on one side of the stream and partly on the other. The greater portion of the town, however, in fact all of it, excepting some three or four houses, is located on the north side of the river. The town was laid out by J. K. and F. S. Fical, who had taken adjoining claims, and is located on Lots 3 and 4 of Section 5, Town 28 South, Range 7 west of the sixth principal meridian, and the south half of the northwest quarter of said section, town and range.
The town site was surveyed and platted in March, 1874, by Jesse McCarty. Before the Fical brothers pre-empted their claims, a party from Hutchinson, as early as 1872, organized a town company and located a town on what is now the town site of Kingman, but finding they could not get a deed to the land, they abandoned it. The town they located they named Sherman. After the site was abandoned by the Hutchinson Town Company, the Ficals pre-empted the land in 1873. But one house had been erected on the town site of Sherman, and that was one that had been moved in from the country by Norman Ingham and rebuilt. After the Ficals had surveyed and platted the town site they conveyed a half interest in it to one J. M. Jordan. In 1874, building on the town site began, H. L. Ball putting up the first house on the new town site, to which he gave the name of the "Kingman House," having built the house for a hotel. That year a small frame schoolhouse was erected, and also a small frame building for county purposes, being the same still occupied by the county officers. A small frame residence was put up, in 1874, by A. D. Culver, and a little frame store by E. C. Manning who was the first person in the town to start in mercantile business, although to classify the offering of what few goods he had for sale as a mercantile business is clothing it with considerable dignity. The town now may be said to be fairly started. It had a hotel, a schoolhouse, a small (and very small) court house, a store and two or three small residences.
The town having been started, it remained stationary for a long time, no further improvement taking place until 1878. In the meantime, Manning's store had changed hands and had passed into the possession of one C. C. Barnard. In the fall of 1877, a young attorney, named George E. Filley, arrived in town and quartered himself at the Kingman House. His practice commenced by husking corn for his board. One evening Mr. Barnard went to him and told him that he thought his business would warrant him in employing a clerk, and offered Mr. Filley the position, which he accepted. An invoice was taken of the goods, and they were found to consist of a few plugs of tobacco, two or three gallons of whisky, a few corset strings and some shoe laces, with a few pieces of calico. Mr. Barnard went off for a few days hunting, but before leaving he prepared a ledger from some coarse wrapping paper and instructed Mr. Filley as to how he should enter up his charges. Mr. Barnard returned in about two weeks and found his stock of goods all sold, even to the last drop of whisky and the last plug of tobacco. He found $2, cash, in the drawer, the balance of the goods having been sold on credit and charged. The customers were Parks, Roberts, Ball and Chandler. Mr. Barnard being desirous of replenishing his stock, started out next morning with his pocket full of bills on a collection tour. He called on Chandler, who gave him an order on Roberts for the amount of his bill, which the latter accepted, he in turn giving an order on Parks for the amount of his account with Chandler's added. Parks accepted and gave an order on Ball, the latter repeating the operation by giving an order on Chandler, and when the day closed Mr. Barnard found himself about as rich as when he started out in the morning. Goods must be had, if he meant to do business, and the following morning he and Mr. Filley started to Castleton with a team and wagon for a new supply, and with a cash capital of $2. On entering the store at Castleton, the eye of Mr. Barnard rested upon a tobacco-cutter, which he immediately purchased and for which he paid $1.50. He next selected his stock to the amount of $100, which he loaded in the wagon and was about to drive away, when the merchant demanded his pay, in default of which, the goods were unloaded and carried back into the store, and Mr. Barnard and his clerk started back to Kingman, sans goods, sans money, but with a $1.50 tobacco-cutter.
The year 1878 was quite a prosperous one for Kingman, and a good many new settlers located in the place. In the spring of that year, a party from Hutchinson, composed of W. R. Brown, Hiram Raff and F. E. Gillett, in connection with George Craycraft, E. W. Hinton and George E. Filley, of Kingman, organized themselves into what was known as the Kingman Town Company. Prior to this, the original town site, located on the north side of the river, and laid out by the Ficals in 1874, had passed into the hands of a company, and the object of the new company was to locate a town on the high ground south of the river, which, in its growth, would absorb the older town. For the first year the new town made rapid progress, and several buildings were moved over from the north side. A good frame hotel, the Laclede House, was erected by the town company, and quite a number of residences were put up. The first built and opened in the new town was by N. S. Arnold, and for a time it seemed as if the object of the projectors would be accomplished.
The north town was not idle while the south town was pushing on its improvements. In the former, a grocery store was put up by Newton Perch, a lumber yard was opened by Frank Leach, who also built a neat residence, store buildings were put up by S. Turner, C. W. Myers, and Livingston & Reynolds, and a bakery was put up by F. Tull. Besides these, quite a number of dwelling houses were erected. The year 1879 was also a prosperous and progressive one for Kingman, and especially for the old town. Business houses were put up by Chamberlain & Glunt, L. C. Almond, and A. L. Garrison.
The town started on the south side of town reached the zenith of its glory about the end of the first year of its existence. It having been discovered that well water was almost, if not quite, inaccessible, those who had located on the south side began to move over to the north side, where the finest water could be had with but little difficulty, and all that is left on the south side now to tell that a town was ever started there is the old "Poland Hotel" which has been converted into a grocery store, all the other buildings having been moved to the north side, or old town.
In 1880, the town was improved by the erection of three store buildings and several dwelling houses. One of the stores was a building that had been commenced some time previous by the county for a court house, but after having put up the foundation and part of the walls they discontinued work upon it and sold it to Babcock & Craycraft who finished it and converted it into a very fine hardware store. It is a stone building and the only business house of the kind in town.
Up to 1881, Kingman had nothing in the shape of a bank, but on March 10, of that year, a private bank was established by Gassard Brothers and H. L. Strohm. Subsequently the bank passed into the hands of a company, under whose management it was incorporated on the 25th of February, 1882. The officers of the bank are L. C. Almond, President; O. M. Thrapp, Vice President, and John P. Jones, Cashier. The resources of the bank, as shown by its published statement, made December 30, 1882, were $30,454.19.
In 1882, the Laclede House, which had been standing on the south side as a relic of the town that had been started on that side of the river in 1878, was torn down and moved to the north side, where it was rebuilt and greatly enlarged. A hardware store was built and opened that year by Karr & Lewis, and a drug store was built by E. W. Hinton. The finest improvement made that year, although not completed until early in 1883, was the erection of a very fine stone schoolhouse thirty-two by sixty feet. It contains two large rooms, which, with the old frame building, which is still used as a primary school, furnishes ample school accommodation for the children of the town.
The spring of 1883 opened out very promising for great improvements during the year. As early as the 1st of April, two new stores had been built and a new building was put up by Dr. E. W. Myers, for a post office. Ten new dwelling houses were in course of construction, and two blacksmith shops and a wagon shop had been completed. The town has yet no church edifice, but the Methodists, United Brethren, Presbyterians and Baptists, have each organizations and hold services regularly.
In April, 1883, the Methodists were making preparations to build and were having the material hauled on the ground for that purpose.
The town has a population of about 350, and the business of the place is represented by four general merchandising stores, two hardware, two groceries, two drug stores, two millinery establishments, one furniture store, one jewelry, one bank, two hotels, one restaurant, one harness and saddlery, one lumber yard, three livery stables and two newspapers. The legal and medical professions are well represented. The town has two benevolent societies, one of Odd Fellows and one of United Workmen. Kingman Lodge No. 199, I. O. O. F., was organized in February, 1882, with twenty-two charter members. The first officers of the lodge were: I. W. Rush, N. G.; L. C. Almond, V. G.; F. L. Shupp, P. S.; I. E. Wingart, R. S.; H. H. Graves, Treasurer; G. W. Day, W.; and S. F. Utley, Conductor. The lodge has now a membership of thirty, and the officers are: N. S. Arnold, N. G.; H. H. Graves, V. G.; C. W. Kelly, R. S.; G. H. Willis P. S.; N. Button, Treasurer; S. F. Utley, W.; and F. E. Gillett, Conductor. The representative to the Grand Lodge is L. C. Almond.
Kingman Lodge, No. 79, A. O. U. W., was organized October 5, 1881, with fifteen charter members. The first officers of the lodge were: G. E. Filley, P. M. W.; N. S. Arnold, M. W.; D. C. Taylor, For.; J. T. Eppley, O.; C. R. Cook, G.; Charles Rickman, Rec.; W. N. Porch, Fin.; H. Wait, R.; A. G. Bowran, I. W. and S. M. Roberts, O. W. The present membership is sixteen, and the officers are about the same as above, except that in a few instances, changes have taken place in the positions.
The members of the Masonic fraternity have an enrollment of forty-six and are taking steps to organize a lodge.