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


[TOC] [part 34] [part 32] [Cutler's History]


Kickapoo Township lies in the extreme northeastern portion of the county north and west of the Military Reservation, north of High Prairie and east of Easton. Kickapoo Island, about two miles long and half a mile wide, is situated north of the reservation, being a valuable portion of the township. The early history of the Kickapoo Indians who occupied this Territory as part of their reservation, and the establishment of a Catholic mission in their midst, is all to be found in the general State history. Major William F. Dyer, an agent of the Kickapoo Indians, and afterward a trader among them, settled, with his family, on what was subsequently known as the Lawrence farm, near the village, in 1845, and remained there nine years. Rev. Joel Grover, an Indian missionary, father of D. A. N. Grover, of Kansas City, and C. A. Grover first county attorney of Leavenworth County, settled a short distance south of the village in 1851, and died there three years later. Salt Creek Valley, however, is the historical ground of the township and of the county. Here Major Robert Wilson, the first white man, settled 1844. He kept a trading post a short distance west of the Salt Creek bridge, near the house which he afterward built, being the first in the vicinity. The latter building is still standing. In 1852, he sold out to Major M. P. Rively and became Sutler at Fort Riley. On June 10, 1854, the first squatters' meeting in the county and the Territory was held in Major Rively's store. D. A. Grover was elected Register of claims and Malcolm Clark, Marshal. Among the early settlers of the city and township were William Finley, John Freeland, chairman of the County Board for many years, and foremost in getting its finances into shape; Jesse Connell, farmer, State Senator, business man, etc; George O. Sharp, who ran Capt. Dennis's saw-mill, a man of affairs, and present postmaster; Isaac Cody, father of "Buffalo Bill," who had a small farm, a hotel and store, and died several years ago at the old homestead; Lawrence Kennedy, whilom Mayor of "Pleasant Ridge," a village situated on the bluff, three miles west of Salt Creek Valley; Merrill Smith, a large Government Freighter, hotel keeper and farmer, who settled in 1854 near Salt Creek bridge-now dead ; David Harley, builder of the Eight-Mile House; J. B. Crane and H. B. Gale, settlers of 1854, in the northwestern part of the township, and others less well known.

It is generally admitted that Kickapoo City was laid out as a premeditated rival of Leavenworth, by citizens of Weston and Platte County, Mo. The land was surveyed by the Kickapoo Town Company in July, 1854, the site containing 309 acres. In October the plat was acknowledged by Josiah Elliott, mayor. A large portion of the township, including the town site, was open to pre- emption, under the laws of the United States, and for this reason it was supposed that Leavenworth would find it hard to compete with her rival. And Kickapoo was, for some time, a bitter political as well as business rival. Even before Leavenworth existed, Kickapoo was a political rival of Fort Leavenworth, as is evident from the fact that a convention was held in the village, September 20, 1853 which arranged for electing a delegate to Washington, to urge upon Congress the organization of the new Territories of Nebraska and Kansas. It was not held at Fort Leavenworth for the reason that it was deemed desirable that the demonstration should not appear to have the countenance or co-operation of the officers and soldiers. There was but one trading house in the village where the meeting was held. The mission occupied by the Rev. Mr. Grover, had no school attached to it, but he was then anxious to commence one. Little wonder is it that in the summer and fall of 1854, when the squatters from Missouri commenced to arrive in numbers, that Kickapoo seemed to be pre-ordained as a political center. The first thing to be done after the site was regularly surveyed by the town company, was to keep the claims of would-be settlers from the grasp of "jumpers." Capt. J. W. Martin, afterward captain of the celebrated "Kickapoo Rangers," had made a claim and returned to his home in Liberty, MO., for the purpose of bringing back his family. His claimed was jumped while he was away, and he therefore employed H. Miles Moore, a personal friend, to go to Salt Creek Valley and argue his case before the Squatters' Court. Mr. Moore won the case and accompanied Malcolm Clark, the marshal, that the "ousting" decision was enforced. The man who played the role as jumper had fled, but his wife "held the fort" and flung defiance at the law. After coaxing, threats and force had been employed, she was finally loaded into a wagon with children and household goods and departed. She threatened to burn the cabin, however, as soon as the officers of the law left, and Capt. Martin was obliged to place a guard of two men over his property until he could get his family over from Missouri. During the first days of November emigration was quite brisk towards Kickapoo. A gentleman of Leavenworth, writes as follows in regard to the town. He, in company with other gentlemen, made a trip to Kickapoo to attend a sale of lots:

"On the Missouri River at Kickapoo is a fine body of timber and prairie. The town commences in the bottom, on a strip about a quarter of a mile wide. At the upper end of town the bluffs recede from the river, leaving the bottom in the shape somewhat of a half moon. The town runs back on the highlands. A ravine passing through the center of the town tract, affords an easy access to the river, one or two fine springs making their appearance along this ravine. Some energetic business men have taken hold of this place, who will contribute greatly towards building the town. A brisk and spirited sale took place on the premises. The lots generally brought from thirty to seventy, eighty and one hundred dollars each, and one or two, we think, were as high as one hundred and ten dollars. We understand there were some forty or fifty lots sold. The upper part of town has been an old settlement. As long as twenty years the Catholics established a mission at that place, on the manual labor system, but as the Indians were not fond of work, they finally abandoned it to great extent, and removed further back. An old log building, two stories high, part of the mission building, is still standing and has been fitted up for a hotel, which is kept by Mr. Hayes. In one room of the up-stairs, we found a printing office, all in good order, materials entirely new, with good bourgeois and minion type, to print a paper called the Kansas Pioneer, by Sexton and Hazzard. They will have out a paper in about two weeks. Mr Sexton showed us some very fair specimens of bituminous coal obtained on Plum Creek, about two miles distant from Kickapoo. We hear of mines of coal on the Delaware lands, not far from Leavenworth, that are said to yield abundantly."

The reader will remember that the above was written in 1854. At present writing (July, 1882) the mission building mentioned above is "still standing," a portion of the property of O. M. Spencer, one of the most prosperous farmers of Kansas. In November, 1854, the Kansas Pioneer made its appearance. A. B. Hazzard, its editor and proprietor, was an able man and for three years published a brisk and bitter Pro-slavery, anti-Leavenworth newspaper. He is now publishing a paper in Savannah, Ga. Next came the establishment of a steam ferry, U. S. land office, saw mills, groceries, dry goods and general stores, hotels, saloons, lawyers' and doctors' offices, etc., etc. Capt. Elijah Wilhite and Capt. Dennis both had their mills in operation, the bulk of the product going toward the erection of the stables at Fort Leavenworth. At this time the progress of the Kickapoo was both rapid and steady. In January, 1855, T. D. Armond was appointed the first Postmaster of Kickapoo. The mails were taken across the river from Weston, and Kickapoo City was, for sometime, quite a distributing point for the postal service. In the fall of 1855 Kickapoo was a strong candidate for the county seat. The "no-unimportant" part which she played in politics is elsewhere detailed, and it is useless to go further into particulars of her early history, remembering that she is now a "deserted village." Before giving a short description of "Kickapoo City," as she is, however, brief reference should be made to the capture of the Kickapoo cannon, which caused so much excitement at the time. It was on Tuesday. January 5, 1858, that a party of fifty or sixty free-state men of Leavenworth went to Kickapoo City, and while the Pro-slavery warriors were sleeping carried off a six pound brass cannon - "Old Kickapoo," stolen from the Liberty, Mo., arsenal. The Free-state boys became pretty jolly, under the leadership of Deputy U. S. Marshall Cowell, and exceeded the bounds of propriety in many respects. As a pretext for entering the town at all he pretended that he wished to serve writs on several citizens of Kickapoo for violating the erection laws. The truth of it was that the excursion was a jolly sort of a "lark" but the people of Kickapoo were so vexed at the loss of their cannon, which had been their chief source of amusement for several years - which had been a town pet, and cheerfully supported out of the common purse - that they would not look upon the matter in any such light. The next day, the Free-state boys of Leavenworth, with drums beating and flags flying - some of the victorious army on foot, some on horse-back paraded the streets, dragging glorious "Old Kickapoo" after them. An indignation meeting was held at Kickapoo City, and resolutions were passed, making them out a blood-thirsty mob, breaking open dwellings and stores, and trying to draw innocent citizens into a fight for the purpose of "bringing on a general battle, destroying the town and murdering the inhabitants." The spirit of the proceedings was that "Old Kickapoo" must be recaptured - "peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must." Nothing was ever accomplished, however, either way, and "Old Kickapoo" is now a peaceable and peaceful resident of Leavenworth City, except upon the "glorious anniversary of our independence," when he is brought out to "prove his metal." The denizens of Kickapoo City, now few in number, have bowed to the inevitable. They are no longer rivals of Leavenworth. The once busy village is almost deserted, containing two little churches, a school-house, two or three stores, and a physician. Mr. Sharp, a settler of over twenty-eight years standing, has his postoffice in a picturesque nook on the bank of the Missouri River, where he can see Weston in the distance-that prolific point of emigration for the Pro-slavery party of Missouri.

There are two Catholic Churches in the township-one in the village-under charge of Father Bernard Fink. They have a combined membership of about seventy-five. There is also quite a flourishing Methodist Episcopal Church (South). A neat district school building is also located in the village.


JOHN BAKER, farmer and manufacturer of brooms, P. O. Kickapoo, came to Kansas April 1, 1857, locating in Kickapoo township, where he has since resided. He has been Police Judge of the city of Kickapoo one term, member of the Council three terms, Mayor one term, and member of the School Board four terms. He is a member of the Baptist Church. Judge Baker was a staunch Union man during and before the war. He was born in what was then Carter, now Johnson County, Tenn., June 24, 1813. He lived in his native State until his twenty-second year, when he went to Jo Daviess County, Ill., where he remained about eight months, and then went to near Freeport, Ill., where he was engaged in farming, operating a saw mill, and in the general merchandising business, for twenty-two years; he then removed to Kansas. He has been married twice. The first marriage took place in Stephenson County, Ill., in September, 1841. to Miss Martha Norris a native of Bourbon County, Ky. She dies July 4, 1853. By this marriage he had five children, all of whom are living, Daniel Boone, Joseph Norris,(married to Miss Emma Gokee, a native of New York), Elizabeth Temperance (married to Samuel Wilkes, a farmer residing in Leavenworth County, and a native of Alabama), John Thomas and Francis Marion (married to Miss Juliana Spreitzer, a native of New York). The second marriage took place in March, 1857 in Decatur City, Iowa, to Miss Mary Lament Flower, a native of Trumbull County. Ohio. They have had three children - Luella (died August 23, 1858), Samuel DeVoe, and Charles Morgan. Judge Barker has twenty acres of land in what was once the city of Kickapoo, which has been laid off in town lots, and which contains twelve blocks. He raises on this property all the corn, oats, potatoes, etc., that he needs for his use, but devotes the principal part to raising broom corn and fruit. His orchard contains altogether about one hundred trees, consisting of apple, peach, pear, cherry and plum trees. He has also an abundance of small fruits on his place, consisting of grapes, raspberries, etc. The farm is well supplied with water, a never-failing spring rising in a ravine eighteen rods from the house, and which is conveyed to the door of his dwelling by means of telegraph windlass. The improvements of the property consist of a concrete house, erected three years ago. In digging the cellar for the house the remains of two Indians were exhumed, one in a fair state of preservation. Bones of the aboriginal settlers of the soil are frequently brought to light in digging and plowing on the farm, which leads to the conclusion that his farm, or a portion thereof was once the site of an Indian burying ground. Judge B. has a large barn, corn crib and other outbuildings on his farm. His dwelling is situated on a lofty height which commands a fine view of Iatan and Weston, Mo., and of the Missouri River for miles.

JOHN PHILIP BALZ, farmer, P. O. Pleasant Ridge, came to Kansas March 26, 1864, and located in the city of Leavenworth, where he lived until 1876, and then removed to his farm in Kickapoo Township, Leavenworth County, where he has since resided. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, and of Mechanics Lodge, No. 89, I. O. O. F., of the city of Leavenworth. Mr. Balz was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, October 16, 1830, and lived in his native country till his twenty-seventh year, when he emigrated to America, and first located in Brooklyn, N. Y., where he lived six months, and from there removed to Allentown, Pa., where he lived three years, engaged in working in the iron mines; from there removed to Philadelphia, Pa., where he lived five years, and was employed in a machine shop; from there came to Kansas. He was married December 6, 1859, in Philadelphia, to Miss Margaret Volcker, a native of Ritterberg, Germany. They have had nine children, four of whom are living - Marie, George, William and Henry. Mr. Balz owns an upland farm of seventy acres - all enclosed by substantial fences. Thirty-three acres are cultivation, the balance being timber and pasture land. He raises corn and potatoes principally. The improvements on his place consist of two houses, one a new four-roomed stone dwelling, the other a small frame, stock stable, etc.

ANTON V. BANK, farmer, P. O. Kickapoo; came to Kansas in April, 1857, and first settled in Leavenworth City, where he lived ten years, and then removed to Kickapoo Township, where he has resided since. He was Road Overseer of Kickapoo Township two years. He is a member of the Catholic Church. Mr. Bank was born in Baden, Germany, June 11, 1829, and lived in his native country until his twenty-third year, when he emigrated to America, and located in Lewis County, N. Y., where he lived two years; from there removed to Freeport, Ill., where he remained a short time; from there came to Kansas. He was married in September, 1866, in the city of Leavenworth, to Miss Amelia Ketterer, a native of Baden, Germany. They have six children living - John, Amelia, Anton, Leo, George and Bernard. Mr. Bank has an upland farm of forty acres, all enclosed and all improved. His orchard covers three acres, and contains 250 apple, peach and pear trees. He has two good wells on his farm. He raises wheat and corn principally. His wheat averaged twenty-five bushels to the acre this year (1882). The improvements on his farm consist of a small log and frame dwelling-house, stock barn, granary, etc.

FRANCIS M. BEAGLE, farmer, P. O. Kickapoo; came to Kansas in March, 1852, first locating on Kickapoo Island, where he lived about two years, and was engaged in the wood business. From there he removed to the city of Kickapoo, where he was engaged in the general merchandise business with Messrs, Dennis, Lewis, & Co. He remained in this business sixteen months, and then removed, in 1857, to Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, where he lived until March, 1860, and was engaged as a carpenter and builder, and while there built the first house in Oskaloosa. From there he went to Colorado Territory, where he was employed in mining and prospecting. He remained in Colorado one year, and then returned to Kickapoo, where he worked at his trade until 1874, when he went to California, where he worked at his trade until 1879, when he again returned to Kansas. From that time to the present he has lived in Kickapoo Township. He was Justice of the Peace of Kickapoo Township for two terms; has been Clerk of School District No. 3, Leavenworth County, for four years, and Clerk of the Township for one year. He was in the United States service during the "Price Raid," as a member of Company B, Nineteenth Kansas Militia; enlisted at Leavenworth, in September, 1864, served fourteen days, and was mustered out at Leavenworth. Mr. Beagle has born in Campbell County, Ky., August 1, 1833, and lived in his native State until 1837, when his parents removed to Platte County, Mo., near Weston, where he lived until he came to Kansas. He was married in Kickapoo, November 18, 1855, to Calaphurnia Haley, a native of Greenup County, Ky. They have had seven children, of whom three are living - Mary Alice (married to Charles Spencer, a native of Kansas), William H. and Dora.

JAMES HENRY BEAGLE, farmer, P. O. Kickapoo; came to Kansas in the spring of 1854 and located near the city of Kickapoo, where, with the exception of the time spent in the United States Army, and three years spent in Nebraska, he has always resided. He participated in the last war as a member of Company F, First Regiment Nebraska Cavalry; he enlisted in Omaha, in June, 1861, and was mustered out of the service at Omaha, in October, 1865. He was present at the battles of Shiloh, Fort Donelson, Cape Girardeau, Mo., and in two engagements with the Indians, one at Plum Creek, Neb., in 1864, and the other at Sweet Water, near the Laramie River, Wyoming Territory, in 1865. Mr. Beagle was born in Platte County, Mo., May 8, 1846, and lived there until his eighth year, when his parents removed to Kansas. He was married September 25, 1875, in Mills County, Iowa, to Miss Luella Burroughs, a native of Iowa. They have had two children, but one of whom, a daughter, is living - Cora May.

VALANTINE CARL BECKER, farmer and stock-raiser, P. O. Pleasant Ridge, came to Kansas in May, 1855, and first located on Crooked Creek, Jefferson County, where he lived six months, engaged in farming. From Jefferson County he removed to Lee County, Iowa, where he lived one and a half years, and then returned to Kansas, locating in the city of Leavenworth, where he lived twelve years, and was engaged in freighting. From the city of Leavenworth he removed to his farm in Kickapoo Township, where he has since lived. He is a member of the Lutheran Church. He was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, January 28, 1835, and lived in his native country until his eighteenth year, when he emigrated to America, and first located in Butler County, Ohio, where he lived one year, and was engaged in farming. From Ohio he removed to Lee County, Iowa, where he lived three years, and from there came to Kansas. Mr. Becker was married in the city of Leavenworth, April 6, 1858, to Miss Mary Litsch, a native of Kentucky. They have two children living, Lillie and Nellie. Mr. B. has a fine upland farm of 133 acres, all enclosed, and all in cultivation, except fifty-eight acres, which is timber land, and is covered with a good growth of oak, walnut, and hickory. His orchard covers ten acres, and contains 1,000 apple, seventy-five pear, 500 peach, and fifty plum and cherry trees. The water supply is excellent, consisting of two fine springs and a good well. The improvements on his property consist of a four-roomed frame dwelling house, large frame barn, 40 x 44, smoke-house, etc. He pays particular attention to raising wheat, corn, and fine horses. His wheat this season (1882) averaged twenty-five bushels to the acre. His corn averaged forty bushels to the acre. He had twenty-five acres in oats this year which averaged forty bushels to the acre. He has one or two blooded horses on his farm, which it is well worth a journey to see.

JACOBINA BOLLIN, widow of Hieronymus Bollin, farmer, P. O. Kickapoo, came to Kansas in March, 1860, and located in Kickapoo Township, and has lived here ever since. During Mr. Bollin's life, he was Treasurer of Kickapoo Township four years, and a member of the School Board of District No. 5, Leavenworth County, for six years. He and his family were, and are, zealous members of the Catholic Church. During the war of the Rebellion, he was a member of Company B, Nineteenth Regiment, Kansas Militia. He enlisted in the Fall of 1864, at Kickapoo City; served one month, and was discharged at Leavenworth. He was born in Weicks, Blumenfeldt, Baden, Germany, where he lived until his twenty-seventh year; having previously served six years in the German army, and having received an honorable discharge, he sailed for America, landing at New Orleans, where he remained but a short time, and then started for St. Louis, where he remained two months; and from there removed to Weston, Mo., where he lived two years, and then came to Kansas. Mrs. Bollin was born in the same town in Germany in which her husband was born; came over to America on the same sailing vessel, located together in Weston, Mo., where they were married July 2, 1857. Mrs. B.'s maiden name was Schulteis. They have had six children, of whom four are living: Marie, married to Joseph Klaschinsky, a native of Poland, a farmer, residing in Kickapoo; Josephine, John, and Louisa. Since Mr. Bollin's death, Mrs. Bollin has superintended the farm, and has proven herself an able and energetic manager. The farm contains seventy-two acres, is all enclosed, and all in a fine state of cultivation. The orchard on the farm contains five acres, and has 150 apple, fifty pear, twenty-five peach, and fifteen cherry trees. The improvements consist of a new, commodious frame dwelling house, large barn, granary, wagon-house, smoke-house, etc., etc. The water supply is excellent, there being a never-failing well near the door of the dwelling, and two cisterns on the property. The site and surroundings of the house are beautiful.

BENJAMIN F. EDWARDS, farmer, fruit and stock-raiser, Section 27, P. O. Pleasant Ridge, came to Kansas in March, 1855, locating on his farm in Kickapoo Township, where he has since resided. He has been road overseer of District No. 1, Kickapoo Township, fifteen terms. He is a member of Kickapoo Lodge No. 4, A. F. & A. M. He participated in the last war as a sergeant of Company A, Seventeenth Kansas Infantry and enlisted at Ft. Leavenworth July 20, 1864; was discharged in the winter of the same year. Mr. Edwards was born in East Tennessee, September 1, 1829, and lived in his native State until his twenty-third year. He then traveled extensively for a period of three years, principally in the western and southern portions of the United States, and then located in Kansas. He was married in Walnut Township, Atchison County, in 1857, to Miss Sarah Jane Dooley, A native of Platte County, Mo. They have had twelve children, eleven of whom are living, Sarah H. (married to Joseph Cleavinger, a native of Kansas), Alice J., John Allen, William Grant, Flora Carrie, Albert M., Ida H., Amelia Agnes, Benjamin F., Jr., Laura Myrtle and Lyman Elmer. Mr. Edwards owns two farms. One, the home farm, contains 200 acres all upland, situated in Leavenworth County. The other is also an upland farm; it lies in Atchison County and contains sixty acres. The home farm is mostly enclosed and has 140 acres in cultivation, the balance being timber and pasture land. This farm is well supplied with water, which consists of wells and springs. The orchard on this farm covers ten acres and contains 600 apple, 100 peach and 125 pear, quince and cherry trees. There is also a vineyard which contains 150 vines of the choicest varieties of grapes. The improvements consist of a six-roomed frame dwelling house, with cellar, frame barn 36 x 42 feet, granary, corn-crib, stone smoke-house, and other buildings. Mr. E. had fifty acres in wheat this season (1882) which averaged twenty-seven and one-half bushels to the acre; eighteen acres in oats which yielded forty bushels to the acre; twenty-five acres in corn which averaged forty bushels, and twenty-five acres in clover and timothy which yielded two and one-half tons to the acre. Farm No. 2 is improved by a three- roomed frame dwelling house, stock stable and other outbuildings. The yield of wheat, oats, etc., on this farm compared favorably with that of the home farm. There is a small orchard which contains 120 apple, and a few pear, peach and cherry trees, and a small vineyard of 200 vines. The yield of the orchard on the home farm this year of apples alone was 2000 bushels. Mr. Edwards pays particular attention to raising grain, fruit, horses and sheep. He has now on his farm eleven fine horses and a flock of fifty Southdown sheep, and ere long he intends to go into sheep raising on a more extensive scale. The coming year he will set out a large quince orchard. The farm is well supplied with all the improved modern farm machinery, and is conducted with skill and intelligence. Mr. Edwards is one of the oldest settlers of his section, and is highly respected and esteemed by his friends and neighbors. He is an a ardent Republican and one of the original Free-state men of Kansas.

HENRY GWARTNEY, farmer, P. O. Kickapoo, came to Kansas in August, 1872, and located in Wabaunsee County; remained three years and then removed to Leavenworth County, on Stranger Creek, where he lived one year and then came to Kickapoo, where he has since lived. He is a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. Gwartney was born in Harrison County, Ind., July 30, 1835, and lived there until 1870, when he removed to Cass Co., Mo., where he lived until he came to Kansas. He was married in Harrison Co., Ind., in December, 1862, to Miss Elizabeth Potter, a native of Indiana. They have four children living: Richard, Amanda, Mary and Henrietta.

[TOC] [part 34] [part 32] [Cutler's History]