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


[TOC] [part 27] [part 25] [Cutler's History]


The village of Altamont is situated at the exact geographical center of the county, about twelve miles west of the city of Oswego, on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad. The town was laid off in the summer of 1879, by a town company, of which I. N. Hamilton was president. Scott Noble erected a dwelling in the fall of 1879, which was the first house built in the town. During the winter of 1879-'80, Ben Jones also built a dwelling, and Samuel Shoup erected a house during the next summer, which he used for a hotel. In March, 1880, Jones, Burns & Wright opened a general store, and about the same time S. J. and W. R. Hurshberger started the second general store. McCormick started a shoe shop, L. F. Baker a blacksmith shop during the summer of 1880. In January, 1881, M. V. B. Watson built a store room, in which he opened a stock of general merchandise, and in April following H. C. Blanchard started a similar establishment. E. M. Rockwood and James Daniels began the dry goods business in January, 1881, and, about the same time, G. E. Brassfield started a general store, which he changed in about a year to a hardware store, then to a grocery. In the summer of 1882, C. & S. Bonebrake began dealing in groceries, queensware, boots and shoes; and in September of the same year, C. S. Newlon and G. Bush began the drug trade. Later in the fall, H. E. Hammer and Dr. Lake also began the sale of drugs, which they closed out in a few months. Mrs. Jane Huston then started a drug store, but soon closed out her stock to Newlon & Bush, and is now handling confectionery.

A livery barn was opened by the Walters Brothers, in the fall of 1881, which they soon afterward sold to J. A. Jones.

The Avenue Hotel was built in the summer of 1881, by Samuel Shoup, which was first run as the Shoup House, and then as the Avenue Hotel, but is now used by John Huston for a residence. The Altamont House was built in the winter of 1881-'82, and opened for the reception of guests in the spring of 1882, by J. J. Giles.

The Presbyterian Church was erected in the fall of 1880, and the Methodist Church in the fall 1882. Both are small frame buildings. There are also Baptist and Christian societies, which have no church houses. In the summer of 1882, C. B. Jones opened a shoe shop and in August of that year J. C. Murphy and M. Jones began business dealing in hardware.

The school district within which the town was included, had been organized for some time. The school building was erected 1872. In the fall of 1880, a new house was built, and the old one sold and reconstructed into a residence. The school district at present has a population of about 100.

The only manufacturing establishment in Altamont is the Altamont steam flouring mill, which was built and put in running order, December 14, 1881. These mills were built and are now owned by M. A. Renner and D. Reed. The building is a two-story frame, and contains three run of buhrs propelled by a thirty-five house engine.

A postoffice called Elston was established at a town by that name, in 1870. The town was started in the fall and winter of 1869, and stood about two miles and a half east of the present site of Altamont. Internal dissension among its population strangled the town in its infancy, and it was move piece-meal to other surrounding towns.

After the demise of Elston, and the laying off of Altamont, the location of the office was changed to the last named place, and called Altamont postoffice, and was kept by Mrs. Jane Huston, who has since held the position of Postmistress.

At the first election for the locating of the county-seat, Altamont, as the center of the county, received a number of votes, although no town had yet been started. The hope of its sometime being made the seat of government for Labette County, was more than any other the cause for its being started, a hope which remains with many of its inhabitants to this day.

When the railroad was constructed, Altamont became a station, and is a point from which considerable shipments of grain, etc., are make. A good agricultural country surrounds the town, which supports a fair and stable trade.


REV. HENRY C. BLANCHARD came to Kansas in the year 1873, and settled on a farm near the present site of Altamont, Labette County. He was born in Lawrence County, Ill., in 1833, and moved with his parents to Peoria County, Ill., in 1836, where he finished his education at the High School of Henry, Marshall County. In 1855 he was married to Mary Albertson, of Stark County, Ill., born in Ohio in 1837. They have five children - Henry Walter, born in October, 1855, and married to Miss Keziah Horn, of Ohio; James B., October, 1860, married to Miss Carrie Prather, of Kentucky; Philena, January, 1863, married to M. F. Logan, of Illinois; Norah, November 13, 1865, and Hattie, February, 1869. His ancestors were from Kentucky. His parents are deceased. Shortly after he was married, he engaged in the ministry, and has traveled and preached extensively in the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas. Thousands have heard the Gospel preached and been converted under his labors. In the fall of 1878 he was elected to the Lower House of the Kansas Legislature, where he served for the term of two years. Mr. B. is a strong temperance man, and supported the prohibition measures at the polls and in the Legislature. At present he is engaged in the mercantile and grain business at Altamont.

A. J. GARST, dealer in dry goods and groceries, came to Kansas in March, 1872, and settled on the Solomon River, in Cloud County, where he owned a farm for five years. He then engaged in the general merchandise business for two years, when he removed to Labette County, on a farm north of Altamont. In May, 1883, he started his present business. He was born in Roanoke County, Va., and brought up in McLean County, Ky. He was married in 1865 to Harriet F. Lynn, of McLean County, Ky., by whom he was two children - Lena and Charles P. He enlisted in Company I, Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry, in August, 1862. Was discharged in April, 1863, by reason of physical disability.

J. W. GILES, farmer, P. O. Altamont, came to Kansas, April 24, 1877, and purchased a fine farm of 240 acres in company with T. W. Reckords. He cultivates his farm and deals in stock. He was one on the first to assist in laying out the town of Altamont, and was also instrumental in having the postoffice retained at Altamont when there was danger of its being removed. Mr. G. was born near Laurel, Del. His father, William Giles, is an extensive peach grower in Sussex County, Del. Mr. Giles was educated at Newark Academy and Laurel, in his native State, and first came West in 1865, and was employed as assistant civil engineer in Kansas City, Mo. He afterward went to Blue Springs, where he was engaged in the mercantile business for eight years in the firm of Giles, Reckords & Co. Mr. Giles erected the first mill in Altamont, and is the owner of the only hotel of the town.

W. F. HAMMAN, farmer, P. O. Altamont, came to Kansas in April, 1869, and settled on a farm north of Altamont. His parents came and settled on adjoining land in the fall of the same year. Was born in Vermillion county, Ind., in 1845. He enlisted, August 8, 1863, in company E, One Hundred and Fifteenth Indiana Infantry, for six months' service. Was mustered out, and re-enlisted in Company D, Fifty-ninth Indiana Infantry, in September, 1864, and served until the close of the war. He was married on September 8, 1867, to Martha Sparks, of Clinton County, Ind. She was born in the same town. They have four children - Henry F., Lewis E., Viola and Annie. Mr. Hamman is one of the oldest settlers in the township.

GEORGE HILDRETH, farmer, P.O. Altamont; was born 1839, in Chittenden County, Vt. He can trace his ancestry back to two brothers living in Massachusetts 1734. English descent. Was married to Ruhama Guthrie born, 1846, in Jefferson, Ind., where her mother now lives. Her parents were Scotch descent. They have three children, Calvin, Annie and Willie. Mr. Hildreth, in 1840, came with his parents to St. Lawrence County, N. Y., and in 1853, came to southern Indiana, where he received an academic education, and taught school one term. He enlisted in Company K. Eighty-second Indiana, December, 1863. He was with Sherman in his march and campaign to Atlanta and the sea, and to the close of the war. Mr. Hildreth's property is pleasantly situated, surrounded with shade and fruit trees. His mother and brother Edward live near.

E. F. HOFFMAN, meat and ice dealer, came to Kansas March, 1876, and settled near Altamont, Labette County, on a farm. Was born in Germany, and emigrated to St. Louis with his parents. Was also educated in the same city. There he followed butchering for a living. He enlisted in Company D. One Hundred and Ninety-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in November, 1864, and was with the regiment until mustered out in 1865. His mother lives in Ralls County, Mo. Mr. H. went to Ohio, and from thence to Texas after the war. Was married to Mary E. Hubbell, of Otsego County, N. Y., 1880. She was born in Otsego County, N. Y., 1852, and educated in the public high school of Harrisburg, Pa. They have two children, Fred E. and Leona H. Mr. H. commenced business at Altamont, August, 1880. He keeps a good assortment of meats, and deals in ice. Mrs. Hoffman's mother lives in Indiana. Her father died November, 1874.

J. A. JONES, proprietor of livery, feed and sale stables; came to Kansas with his parents, April 1, 1873, and settled in Mount Pleasant Township, south of Altamont. He was born in Clarke County, Iowa, 1857. At an early age he moved with his parents to Illinois. He was educated principally in Kansas. His ancestors were from Kentucky. His father's name was John Wesley Jones, who died August, 1881. His mother now lives with her son. He has three brothers, Marion, Thomas and John; three sisters, May, Tina and Tilla. Mr. Jones' livery is ther only one in the town. His business is good.

J. J. MILES, farmer, P. O. Altamont, came to Kansas in the summer of 1869, and settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, near the present site of Altamont. Was born in Montgomery County, Va., 1843. He went with his father to Vigo County, Ind., at an early age. He received his education in the common schools of the same county, and was married to Martha McDowell, of Vermillion County, Ind., 1869. He enlisted in Company E. Sixth Indiana Cavalry, July, 1862, and served during the war. Was a prisoner twice, but was paroled and exchanged in a short time. Was in all the marches and battles of his regiment. Mrs. Miles' ancestry was Scotch Irish. They have three children, Lovina, Berta and John H. Mr. Miles is Scotch descent. His father, Francis Miles, still lives in Missouri. His mother died in February, 1864.

JOHN C. MURPHY, of the firm of Murphy & Co., agricultural implements and hardware, came to Johnson County, Kan., in the spring of 1868. In the spring of 1869 he removed to Labette Township, now Mount Pleasant, Labette Co., and took a claim of 160 acres two miles from Altamont. He was born in Oxford, Grafton Co., N. H., 1824, and received his education in the common schools. At the age of twenty-one he worked in the factory at Lowell, Mass. In the fall of 1855, he emigrated to Scott County, Iowa, where he worked at his trade, carpenter and joiner. Was married in 1847 to Adaline Smith, of St. Lawrence County, N. Y. She was born in the same county, 1827. They have three children, Augusta D., educated in the high school in Iowa, and married to Allen D. Haskell, now in Colorado; Harrison D., engineer on Missouri Pacific Railroad; Gilbert J., a partner with his father. Mr. Murphy has held the office on Justice of the Peace since 1877. He came to Labette County with only fifty cents in his pocket, and is now a prosperous business man worth at least $5,000.

MICHAEL NOEL, farmer P. O. Altamont, came to this State in September, 1870, and settled on a farm of 170 acres, four miles south of Altamont. He was born in Adams County, Pa., February 5, 1808. At the age of thirteen came with his parents to Stark County, Ohio. At the age of twenty-one his parents moved into the woods of Seneca County, Ohio, and he helped them to clear up their farm and get a start to make a living. In the spring of 1831, he went on the lakes as a sailor for three summers; chopped cord wood two winters; went to school one winter, and was in Chicago in September, 1832, where there was not a frame house finished. This was at the close of the Black Hawk war, and his schooner took two companies of soldiers to Mackinaw. In the spring of 1834, he came to Cook County, Ill., and located three miles north of Lockport, afterwards Will County, where he remained until March, 1859, when he sold out and moved to Tuscola, Douglas Co., where he sold out and came to Kansas. He began on the unbroken prairie at the age of sixty-three. He was married December 28, 1834 to Miss Alzina L. Webb, of Cook county, Ill., by whom they had nine children, Elizabeth R., O. H. Perry, Clarinda A., Lucretia A. who died August 11, 1881, aged forty years and six months; Ira W., killed at the battle of Stone River, aged nineteen years and nine months; Harriet L., Euphemia, drowned August 27, 1849, aged one year and six months; Horace W., Dewitt Clinton. Mrs. Noel died March 12, 1864. He was married again in October, 1866, to Mrs. Mary B. Jellison, of Tuscola, Ill. Mr. Noel has a belt of timber, one-third white ash, and two-thirds maple, eight rods wide, planted on

[TOC] [part 27] [part 25] [Cutler's History]