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


[TOC] [part 26] [part 24] [Cutler's History]


The village of Labette was laid off in May, 1870, by a town company composed of several of the citizens living in the vicinity, and railroad officers. W. J. Conner was made president of the company, and J. S. Waters secretary.

The town is situated in the eastern part of the county, on the line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, about midway between the cities of Oswego and Parsons.

Prior to the establishment of this town, an attempt had been made by some of the citizens in the vicinity, to start a town called Neola, about one and a half miles south of Labette. This attempt was made before the railroad was built and its being off from the road, was reason sufficient for its abandonment and the establishment in conjunction with the railroad officials, of Labette. The land selected for the site of the town, was owned as claims by R. Watson, Samuel Green, W. Cooper, and Mrs. Miller, and comprised an entire section.

The first house erected on the site, besides the claim houses, was that built by John Conner for a store room, in which he put a general stock of goods. The aid of the railroad company toward the building of the town greatly accelerated its progress, and the hope of this being made the county seat, caused it to spring up as if by magic. Building was rapid, so that in about two months' time, following its establishment, about seventy houses were completed. Here, it was said, was to be the junction of the Neosho Division and the main line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. The railroad company owning half of the stock of the town company, was the secret of their favoring the town. So rapid, indeed, was the progress of building, etc., that in about six months' time the place had attained a population of about 600, with about fifteen business houses of various kinds, and a large number of residence buildings. But, alas! for its hopes and prospects, it was abandoned by the railroad company, and the rapidity of its decay was equalled only by the rapidity of its growth, so that now it contains but three small stores, a postoffice, two churches and a few residences.

The office was first located a Neola, in 1869, with W. J. Conner as Postmaster. It was changed to Labette, in 1870, when J. Conner was Postmaster, and the office is now held by J. W. H. Galden.

Old Labette was located on the Neosho river, half way between Oswego and Chetopa. Gilbert Martain started a store and saw-mill here. John and Benjamin Rice lived near, on a farm and were interested in the town. James Rice, John Green and Judge Stanfield started a Methodist Church here in 1867. A church building was commenced, but was never finished. The Rices moved to California, and Judge Stanfield died in Osage Township. Mr. Barns had a shingle mill and a butcher shop. There is now nothing left of old Labette.

The first school was taught, in Labette, in the winter of 1871, by J. L. Williams and wife, and was kept in the City Hall, a two-story house erected by a man named Bates and sold to the town company.

A new school building was erected in 1879, and was a one-story frame. A wing addition was erected to this in 1880. The school now numbers about 110 pupils, and is taught by H. Jenkins and Miss Lizzie Sullivan.

The town at one time boasted of a flouring mill, that was built in 1875, by Williams & Bowen, but which has since been abandoned, the machinery having been taken away, and only the building remains.

Captain Anderson started a brewery in 1871, which he ran about two years when the enterprise failed.

Soon after the founding of the town, under all the favorable impressions given out by the railroad company, people began to rush into the place with the expectation of reaping rich harvests, from its growth. Montana, then a flourishing little city about six miles east, was nearly all pulled up, the houses being moved bodily to Labette. The first house to be thus moved was a saloon building belonging to J. A. Weider, in which he continued dealing out liquors in the new place.

the failure of the railroad company to carry out their promises, scattered every hope, as well as the houses, which were again moved, some back to Montana, and others became scattered about the country in all directions. The downfall of the place was inevitable, since there was nothing to uphold or stimulate it. It now contains a population of about 200, but is without either hope or prospect.

There are two church organizations here, the Methodist and Baptist. The Methodist Church building was erected in 1876, and Rev. Mr. Shambaugh is the present pastor. The Baptist building was erected in 1874, and Rev. G. Richardson, is pastor. Both these congregations are in a flourishing conditions, and liberally supported.

There is no newspaper published here, at this time. Soon after the town started, the Town Company began the publication of a paper, called the Labette Sentinel, edited by J. S. Water, which they ran about a year, and sold out to C. L. Albion, who, after about the same length of time, moved the material away and gave up the publication of the paper at Labette.


SAMUEL T. CHERRY, farmer and stock raiser, Section 5, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Parsons, came to Labette County, Kan,. February, 1868. He entered 160 acres of land; now owns a fine farm of 320 acres, well improved. He came here from Macoupin County, Ill., that being his native county, where he was born in 1840, being a son of Petterson Cherry, a native of Tennessee, and settled in Illinois in 1832. Samuel T. was raised on a farm, and received his education at Jacksonville, Ill. He taught school five years, then turned his attention to farming. He was married at Springfield, Ill., September 19, 1861, to Miss Matilda R. Bond, a native of Warren County, Ill., born March 19, 1840, educated at Jacksonville, Ill., a daughter of Benjamin and Anna Bond, both of Tennessee, and settled in Illinois in 1830. Mr. and Mrs. C. have a fine family, viz: Albert J., Lona, Wilber and Walter; have lost three - Lyman and two infants. Mr and Mrs. C. are members of the Church of Christ. Mr. Cherry's parents settled here at an early day. His mother is still living, at the age of seventy-two.

WILLIAM JASPER CONNER, M. D., physician and surgeon, and breeder of Jersey cattle. He was born in Miami County, Ind., March 31, 1836. He is a son of William and Amelia Conner. The father was born in Bartholomew County, Ind. He was born December 2, 1808, died in California July 27, 1881. The mother was born in Harding County, Ky., May 7, 1811, now a resident of California. They married in Kentucky, and emigrated to Miami County, Ind., when there was no road, and the county was full of Indians, The mother rode an old horse, carrying all their worldly goods, while the father walked, carrying his gun as a means of procuring food. They finally located in what is now known as Mexico, Miami county. At that time it was some seventy-five miles through timber to Indianapolis. The father would trade with the Indians, carrying his goods in a pack on his back from Indianapolis. After years of toil he established a farm. William J. began his education in a log schoolhouse, and when at the age of seventeen years, began the study of medicine, under Prof. A. H. Baker, professor of surgery at Cincinnati Medical College. He graduated February 4, 1860, and associated himself with Dr. B.; continued to practice at Cincinnati until 1863, then, on account of his health, moved to Madison County, Ind., and remained six months; then went to his native place, Perrysburg, and continued until he came to Kansas with his parents and family. He first located at Neola, and finally at Labette City, Kan., November 25, 1867, where he has since resided. He was married, July 2, 1861, to Miss Eva A. Baker, a native of Alexander, Preble Co., Ohio, born March 1, 1837, and educated at Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a daughter of Dr. A. H. and Ester M. Baker. The father was born in Pennsylvania, November 3, 1806, and died July 16, 1864. He was educated and a graduate of Philadelphia Medical College. The mother was born in Pennsylvania, January 30, 1810; died at Labette City, May 7, 1883. W. J. has a family of two children - Essie W. and Neola A.

WILFORD COOPER, farmer and stock raiser, Section 25, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Labette, came here. February, 1869, and took a claim of 160 acres, and now has it finely improved. He is a native of Hendricks County, Ind., born in 1842; is a son of Robert and Sarah (Jessep) Cooper. The father is a native of Franklin County, Va.; went to Hendricks County, Ind., in 1829, being a prominent man; served as Sheriff of that county eight years, and there married Sarah Jessep, the mother of subject of this sketch, she being a native of Surry County, N. C., but raised in Indiana. There was a family of twelve children, of which Frank, Jane, James, Emily, Harrison, Mahala, Wilford and Levi are still living. The family moved to Henry County, Iowa, in 1848, and in 1857, to Andrew County, Mo., and to Labette County in 1869. During the late war Wilford served three years in the Fourth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. He married September 29, 1873, Miss M. Piper, a native of Mason County, Ky., born in 1852. They have one child - Franklin, having lost two, Maggie and Mary.

JONATHAN COVALT, farmer and stock raiser, Section 7, Township 32 Range 20, P. O. Parsons. His farm contains 200 acres of finely improved land. He settled in the county in 1873 and improved a farm in Labette County, and settled where he now resides in 1879. He was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, May 16, 1831. Is a son of William H. and Elizabeth Lyman Covalt, both of the same county. Mr. J. Covalt's parents and grandparents were born in Hamilton County, Ohio. His great-grandparents were among the first settlers in that county, his great-great-grandfather being killed by the Indians in 1790. Jonathan received a fine education at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and began life as a teacher. He resided at Paxton, Ford Co., Ill., a number of years. Was County Surveyor four years. During the years of 1879 and 1880 was Superintendent of the public schools of Labette County, Kan. He was married in Illinois, October 16, 1859, to Miss Margaret E. Stites, a native of Danville, Ill., where she was born January 19, 1842, being a daughter of Benjamin F. and Susan E. Stites, natives of Hamilton County, Ohio, but residents of Illinois many years. Mr. and Mrs. C. have a family of seven children; Wm. B., Laura B., Susan E., Alice C., Mary E., Clara J., Margaret E., having lost Marie E. and Catharine E. Both are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Parsons.

SAMUEL DICKERSON, farmer and stockman, in Section 9, Township 32, Range 19, P. O. Parsons. His farm consists of 320 acres of very fine land, well improved, with good buildings, and one excellent feature is that it is well watered by two never-failing springs. He purchased this farm, March 5, 1880, coming from Marshall County, Ill., where he resided some eleven years, improving a fine farm there. He was born some four miles southwest of Cadiz, Harrison Co., Ohio, in 1831, being a son of Joshua and Belijah (Safferly) both of Ohio. Mr. D. was educated in his native place, and married when twenty-three years of age, to Miss Ester J. Dunlap, born and raised in Harrison County, Ohio. Born 1831, a daughter of Joseph and Sarah. Mr. D. has a family of six children; Mary G., Wm. D., J. A., J. V., Gilmore, Herban.

SILAS FENTRESS, farmer and stockgrower, in Section 11, Township 32, Range, 20, P. O. Labette, came to Labette County, Kan., November, 1872, and purchased 240 acres of land and improved the same, now owning a farm of 370 acres, finely improved, with good buildings fence and orchard. He was born in Hopkins County, Ky., January 26, 1829, being a son of Samuel and Susan (Medcalf). The father was born in Virginia and married the mother in Kentucky, which was her native State. She was born in Boone's Fort. Silas, with his parents, moved to Greene County, Ill., in 1838. When thirteen years of age, began working at the blacksmith trade, and continued in the business many years. He married in Greenfield, Ill., January 16, 1856, to Miss Harriett Gilmore, who was born and raised in Macoupin County, Ill. Her parents were of Kentucky. Mrs. Fentress died May 29, 1880, leaving a family of nine children: Thomas E., Ida, Samuel, Delia, Charles, Mary, Susan, John, Ephraim. Both Mr. and Mrs. F. are members of the M. E. Church.

J. W. H. GOLDEN, Postmaster Labette City, and farmer, came to Labette County, Kan., March, 1869, and engaged in selling goods at Montana, where he remained until June 25, 1870; then moved his building and stock to Labette City, and also purchased a farm which he has engaged in connection with selling goods. He was born in Waynesburg, Greene Co., Pa., in 1827. He is a son of James and Margaret Syphers Golden, both of Pennsylvania. J. W. H. was educated at his native place, and when twelve years of age began to learn gunsmithing and has worked at the trade many years since. In 1849, he went to Fort Madison, Iowa, and remained one year, then returned to Pennsylvania. In 1852, went to Austin, Tex., and May, 1853, returned to Pennsylvania. That fall his parents both died, and November, 1854, he landed at Leavenworth, Kan., and took a claim. He being a Free-state man he experienced much trouble, and through the advice of friends, opened a gunsmith shop in Leavenworth. August, 1856, there was encamped a large body of what was called Kansas Militia, from the South, and armed with United States arms, furnished by one William H. Russell, Government Freighter and Agent for the Pro-slavery party. About the same time a vigilance committee was organized. One day Mr. Golden was informed that it was not safe for him to stay in Leavenworth, so he went to Fort Leavenworth for protection, and stayed some days; but Maj. Sibley informed him by actions that he was not wanted; so he concluded to go to H. L. Pennock's, about six miles from the Fort, but found that Mr. P. and many others had fled to Lawrence for safety. The next morning he saw two men coming from the bushes and recognized them as Free-state men, Robert Roberts and Mr. Bishop. They had eaten their breakfast and started for Lawrence. As they came in sight of Big Stranger Creek they saw a border ruffian's camp. They retreated, but finally crossed the creek near what is now known as Summit Station. Finally they came to old Tonganoxe's house, an Indian, and received something to eat and resumed their march for Lawrence, but soon discovered a band of ruffians and were captured. They were taken along back to Tonganoxe's house. There everything was taken from them. About this time five more ruffians came with orders to bring them to the regiment, so they started on the road; were shot down like dogs and left for dead. Mr. Golden was shot in the right side of the face. The bullet entered the cheek bone, and passed downward to the angle of the jaw, breaking it to pieces. The ruffians then mounted their horses and rode off. The shooting took place about 2 A. M. September, 1856. Mr. Golden heard a rustling noise in the grass and supposed some of them were returning. After some time he went to Tonganoxie's house. They dare not do anything for him, so he went into the brush, wrapped in a blanket, as he supposed, to choke to death. After two nights' and two days' marching without food he arrived at Lawrence, and was taken to the hospital in the city of Mecca, the refuge of Free-state men. While there he was visited by many leading State men, such as Jim Lane and Brown. After some seven weeks he returned to his native place and remained about six months, and came back to Leavenworth in 1857, and in the spring of 1858 was elected Sheriff of Leavenworth County, Kan., and served until 1860; then entered the employ of the Government as gunsmith at Fort Leavenworth. March, 1864, went on the plains as freighter and the next four years were spent at Fort Kearney and on the plains.

G. W. Hull M. D., physician and surgeon, came to this country October 17, 1868, and located at Montana, where he remained about two years, then moved to Labette City, where he has since resided. He was born near Mount Vernon. Knox Co.. Ohio, February 4, 1818, and was raised on a farm. He is a son of John and Elizabeth Henderson Hull, both of Ohio, but his grandparents of Virginia. He was educated in Ohio, and when about twenty-five years of age, began the study of medicine under Dr. Eggleston of Utica, Licking Co., Ohio, and afterwards Dr. Lewis. He practiced some years at Gilboy, Ohio, afterwards at Newville, Ind., Aurburn Ind., and was near Lexington, Mo., twelve years being there when the war commenced, and by the same lost much property, being obliged to go from that country simply because he was a Northern man. He afterwards practiced at Morgan, Ind., Paris, and Grand View, Ill. The Doctor graduated February 12, 1860, with all the honor of the Eclectic College, at Cincinnati, Ohio, then thirty-two years of age. Married 1851, Miss M. E. Jennings. They lived a wedded life six years, when Mrs. H. died, leaving two children. He married a second time March 23, 1859, Miss Hannah B. Murphy, a native of North Carolina. They have two children - O. Scudder, Anise A. He commenced life a poor man. The Doctor is a Master Mason.

I. S. JONES, attorney at law, and farmer, Section 18, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Parsons, came to Labette County and located where he now resides, in the spring of 1869. His farm consists of 160 acres of finely improved land, having fifteen acres in orchard. He was born in Green Township, Sussex Co., N. J., May 7, 1842, but raised in Newton, J. J.; received a fine education. When twenty-three years of age began reading law at Newark, N. J. Afterwards was admitted to the bar, also, in Kansas, in 1872. He is a son of George N. and Sarah Durham Jones, both of N. J. The father now resides with I. S., at the age of eighty years. The mother died at the age of fifty-two. There was a family of seven children. During the late war Mr. J. served in Company B. Second Regiment New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. He was at the first and second Bull Run, Yorktown, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburgh, Wilderness. He was mustered out in 1864. Afterwards spent many months in the Quartermaster's Department, at Nashville, Tenn. In 1868, he went to Fulton County, Ill., and taught school. Afterwards came to Kansas. He is a single man, and a member of the Masonic fraternity.

REV. WILLIAM McINTOSH, clergyman of the Christian Church and farmer in Section 2, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Parsons. His farm consists of 610 acres of fine improved land. He came to Kansas March 24, 1870, and settled where he now resides. He was born in Darke County, Ohio, October 15, 1820. Is a son of John and Sarah (Polly) McIntosh, the father of Pennsylvania, and the mother of Kentucky, both, with their parents, settled in Ohio, where they grew to man and womanhood, and married. William lived in Ohio some sixteen years, then, with his parents, moved to Wayne County, Ind., where he grew to manhood, and, when twenty-five years of age, began studying for the ministry. May 25, 1845, he married Miss Jane Harlan, a native of Darke County, Ohio, born March 6, 1831. Her parents were of Kentucky, and settled in Darke County at an early day. She was a daughter of N. B. and Sallie (Anderson) Harlan. William and family moved to Lee County, Iowa, and resided some sixteen years. He was engaged in farming and merchandising. He commenced life a poor man, and by his industry and good management now stands as one of the foremost men of Labette County. Mrs. McIntosh died in 1881, leaving a family of eight children - J. M., N. H., V. K., M. J., J. I., C. J., A. E., E. E., having lost two - Z. B. and F. Mr. McIntosh married a second time, January 23, 1883, Mrs. B. Allen.

JAMES F. MOLESWORTH, farmer and stock raiser, Section 8, Township 32, Range 20 P. O. Parsons, came to this county, October 11, 1866, and entered 160 acres, now owning 237 acres of finely improved land, with good buildings. He is a native of Harrison County, Ohio, born April 30, 1835, a son of James and Elizabeth Connell Molesworth, the father a native of Maryland, and the mother of Ohio, where they married and remained the balance of their life. James received his education in his native county, and in 1857 went to Lucas County, Iowa; returned to Ohio in 1859, and in 1861 came back to Lucas County, Iowa. There he taught school in connection with farming until he came to Labette County, Kan. He was married in Iowa, March 20, 1862, to Miss Aleda Reed, born in Union County, Ohio, August 3, 1841 and when twelve years of age, with her parents, moved to Lucas County, Iowa, where she was educated and taught school some years. After moving to Kansas she taught one of the first schools in the vicinity where she resides. She is a daughter of James and Asenath (McWilliams) Reed; the father a native of Union County, Ohio, where he was raised and married the mother, who was a native of Belmont County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. M. have a family of two children - Ethel A., born September 1, 1863: Masenos R., born January 2, 1870. Both are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church at Parsons.

ISAAC M. PARLETT, farmer and stock grower in Section 9, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Parsons, came to the county, May 13, 1867, and entered his present farm, consisting of 160 acres of land well improved. He came from Mahaska County, Iowa, where he lived since he was ten years of age, being a native of Green County, Ohio, born in 1846; a son of George S. and Catharine (Farrell) Parlett, of Frederick County, Va. Isaac M. commenced business as a farmer and came to Labette County a single man. October 16, 1870, he married Miss Jennie Curtis, a native of Daton, Ohio, born in 1852, a daughter of John and Mary (Bowing) Curtis. She was raised in Iowa and Kansas, having come here when fourteen years of age. Their family consist of three children - Minnie, George and Neosho. Mr. P. was a member of the Early Settlers' Association.

THOMAS SCOTT, farmer and stock grower in Section 25, Township 32, Range 20, P. O. Labette, is a native of Hampton County, Va., born in 1827, but raised in Crawford County, Pa.; a son of David and Martha (Edwards) Scott, the father of Maryland, and the mother of Virginia. Thomas, when sixteen years of age, with his parents, moved to Peoria, Ill., where he was brought up, and began business for himself as a painter, having worked at the business some twelve years. When twenty years of age he married in Hancock County, Ill., Miss Sarah P. Dunsenbery, born in 1828; a daughter of John H. and Anna, both of New York State, and settled in Illinois in 1840. Mr. and Mrs. Scott first settled at St. Croix Falls and lived one year there; moved to Hancock County, Ill., and lived till they moved to Oswego, October 1868, where he worked at the carpenter business one year. He then kept boarding house some three years; finally he moved on a rented farm and remained till he purchased his present one, which contains 160 acres, being well improved. In 1850, he went to California and remained some years, being engaged while there in the mercantile business. His family consists of nine children - Hallie E., Martha A., Josephine, Eveline, Ida M., James M., Susie, Vinton, Mamie, having lost Arminnie. Both are members of the Baptist Church.

[TOC] [part 26] [part 24] [Cutler's History]