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


[TOC] [part 9] [part 7] [Cutler's History]


Among the "first things" which have not naturally developed in the course of this narrative, are those given below:

The first birth which occurred at Leavenworth was that of Cora Leavenworth Kyle, daughter of A. T. Kyle, and granddaughter of "Uncle" George Keller, at the Leavenworth Hotel, December 6, 1854.

The first death of a resident occurred on the same day - Tuesday, December 6, 1854. Stephen T. Noble was drowned near Platte City landing, above the fort, while on his way in a boat from Weston to this city. The boat was loaded with lath, struck a snag, and Mr. Noble and a young man with him Joseph O'Neil, were drowned before assistance could reach them from the fort.

John Grund was married to Miss Eliza A. Tennell January 13, 1856, and their son, born January 14, 1857, was the first child born of Leavenworth parents.

The first grist mill in the vicinity of Leavenworth was put in operation at East Leavenworth, or "Slab Town," in January, 1855, by Messrs. Panton & Yohe. It was a combined saw and grist mill - a small concern, valued at $4,000. The proprietors offered to grind corn on the most reasonable terms.

George Russell was the first tinsmith and hardware dealer. His shop was on Main street.

F. & W. Engelman were among the very first grocers, if not the first, who opened a store devoted strictly to this branch of business.

In February, 1855, Julius Trumel opened the first regular barber shop in Leavenworth, being located near the corner of Cherokee and Water streets.

Lewis N. Rees (also Postmaster), established the first warehouse and general store in the fall of 1854.

Wm. Phillips, Col. Dave Johnson, John I. Moore, B. H. Twombly and Cole McCrea were among the very earliest of the attorneys who put out their shingles in Leavenworth. Judge John A. Halderman came soon after from Lexington, Ky. He was a man of note, and is at present consul to Siam.

Dr. Charles Leib, physician, had an office on the levee, "in the big tent north of the big elm tree," as early as September, 1854, and was probably the first doctor who permanently located here. About the same time came Dr. J. H. Day.

Samuel M. Lyon was the first house-joiner and carpenter, settling also during that month.

In October, 1854, John J. Bentz established the first wholesale grocery - located on Water street. M. France & Co, also opened up a line of drugs, displayed, with a stock of family groceries, in a room in the Herald office until their building, one door south, could be completed.

Chris. Dengler, the first shoemaker, opened on Delaware street about the same time.


The history of the town company, although it extends beyond the municipal organization of Leavenworth, is fully treated as a portion of the early history. In the summer of 1855, the city of Leavenworth was incorporated by special act of the Territorial Legislature, sitting at Shawnee Mission, Johnson County. The supplementary act, passed shortly afterwards, named J. H. Day, W. H. Adams and Lewis N. Rees as Judges of Election, which took place September 3, 1855. The officers elected were Thomas T. Slocum, Mayor; Messrs. J. H. Day, Thomas H. Doyle, Frederick Emory, A. Fisher, William T. Marvin, Dr. G. J. Park and George W. Russell. At the nominating convention, held at Rees' warehouse, Mr. Panton stated that the candidates were to be chosen irrespective of political opinions; that the meeting knew no Free-soil, no Slavery, but only such men as would best serve the interests of the city. That the choice was made on political grounds and that it savored too much of "Free-soilism," will be made sufficiently clear by subsequent events. The first meeting of the newly elected council was held September 11, 1855, in a room over J. L. Roundy's furniture store, on Main street, near Delaware. Dr. J. H. Day was chosen President, and Scott J. Anthony, Register or City Clerk. At this first meeting, Messrs, Fisher and Park were absent. The by-laws of the city of Muscatine, Iowa, for 1853, were adopted as the form of city government. Then William A. McDowell was chosen Marshal; William H. Bailey, treasurer; H. G. Weibling, Assessor; John I. Moore, Attorney; E. L. Berhoud, Surveyor, and M. L. Truesdell, Comptroller.

The Leavenworth Fire Association was organized by consent of the City Council, on the 17th of the month, and a charter granted for the formation of a company in October. The first city ordinance was also passed September 17, and entitled "Relating to games of chance and skill." The resignation of Mayor Slocum, on January 8, 1856, caused considerable excitement and some indignation. George Russell also resigned as Councilman, and the seat of J. H. McCelland became vacant because he persistently absented himself. They were all Free-state men, and found their duties too "onerous" in these Pro-slavery times. An election was held on January 21, 1856, and William E. Murphy, a strong Pro-slavery man was elected as Mayor. The two vacancies in the council were filled by the election of H. D. McMeekin and S. A. Craig.

In September, 1856, William E. Murphy was re-elected Mayor.

September 13, 1856, the following officers were elected by the Council: William Perry, Register or Clerk; James P. Bird, Treasurer; William P. Shockley, City Marshal; Hugh M. Moore, City Attorney.

On March 25, 1857, Mr. Murphy resigned as Mayor (having been appointed Agent of the Pottawotomie Indians), and in April, Henry J. Adams was elected to fill the vacancy. Mr Adams was re-elected in September. Among those who have served two or more terms as Mayor of Leavenworth may be mentioned H. B. Denman, 1858, 1859, 1862; James L. McDowell, 1860, 1864; R. R. Anthony, 1863, 1872; Thomas Carney, 1865, 1866; John A. Halderman, 1867, 1870; W. M. Fortescue, 1879, 1881, 1882.

In November, 1855, the city purchased a building for a jail - the price paid, $600 - and E. K. Lowell, John Roundy and J. B. Davis were employed as special policemen. They are undoubtedly the germ of the present police force of Leavenworth. The father of the Fire Department has already been introduced.

It was about this time that the city has some trouble with City Comptroller Truesdell. In October, 1855, an ordinance was passed, defining his duties, and all that sort of thing. When the gentleman came to make a claim upon the city treasury, for services performed, he and the Council found that no "salary attached to the office." In February, Mr. Truesdell resigned, and g. J. Park was elected in his place. In March ex-Comptroller Truesdell was further punished by being dropped from the list of attorneys which the city had employed to defend the county-seat claims of Leavenworth.

The Council continued to meet in temporary quarters until the elegant Market House, corner of Fifth and Delaware streets, was erected in 1858. It then held its sessions in the upper portion of that building. The city offices were also there located. A portion of the lower part of the building is now occupied by the Fire Department.

In the spring of 1855 the population of Leavenworth was only about 500. By the fall of 1857 this figure has increased to 5,000, and in a year from that date to 10,000. In 1859 Leavenworth was placed in telegraphic communication with the East, its streets were graded, sidewalks laid, gas works constructed, etc., etc. The war, disastrous to so many cities, was a God-send of prosperity to Leavenworth. The constant activity at the military reservation was equal to the addition of a thriving village to the city's trade. By the latter part of the war the population of Leavenworth itself had increased to 20,000. But the time came when the fostering effects of the war failed to be felt in Leavenworth, and then after 1870, both the municipal organization and a commercial city, she "progressed backwards." Having turned her attention of late years to manufacturing, however, she is again taking strong steps forward, and has become one of the most important centers on the Missouri River. The coal mines which have been opened in her immediate vicinity - rich in yield and good in quality - are assisting to make Leavenworth what she aims to become, and upon which she relies for her future - a great manufacturing city. She is now a city of 19,000 people, beautifully located on the west bank of the Missouri, surrounded by a delightful country, favored by that charming natural park. Fort Leavenworth, adorned with tastefully constructed and comfortable homes, thick and solidly constructed business houses and upheld by an intelligent class of citizens. Although he population is not as large as at the close of the war, she has established herself on a foundation herself on a foundation of prosperity which is built of rock.

As indicating her financial condition as a municipal organization, it is learned that in June, 1882, her total liabilities were $376,722.09. The receipts for the year ending March 31, 1882, as shown by City Treasurer McKee's last annual report, were $138,908.47; disbursements $103,721.72; balance April 1, 1882, $63,979.46.

The city offices, located for a time in the court house building, were removed again to Market Hall in July, 1882. The present officers are as follows: Mayor, W. M. Fortsecue; City Attorney, E. Stillings; Treasurer, John McKee; Clerk, O. C. Beeler; Marshal, S. E. Ellis; Police Judge, L. M. Hacker; Engineer, E. Diefendorf; Street Commissioner, G. Geiger; Chief Engineer of Fire Department, P. Burns; President of the Council, A. A. Fenn.


As Leavenworth was the largest town in the State at the beginning of the Rebellion it is but natural that she should have raised more troops and furnished a longer array of names of persons who became prominent actors in the great drama. Probably its contiguity to Fort Leavenworth cause many Unionists of Missouri and other exposed localities to flee to Leavenworth for safety. Many of these people enlisted in the ranks of the Union army and helped to swell Leavenworth's enrollment of Union soldiers.

On the morning of April 18, 1861, the steamer "Sam Gaty," one of the regular St. Louis packers, landed at the Leavenworth wharf with a Confederate flag flying from her jack-staff. As soon as the obnoxious banner was noticed, a crowd collected with the determination to have it hauled down. The leaders in the movement were members of the Turner's society of the city. While they were bringing out a famous cannon named "Old Kickapoo" to enforce their demand, the flag was removed. But this did not satisfy the crowd, who regarded the display of a disunion emblem in Leavenworth as an insult to the city. So they went on board the "Gaty," and insisted that the flag be given up. This was at once done, and the disunion emblem carried off in triumph. Subsequently, an American flag was procured, and the captain of the "Gaty" hoisted it with his own hands, thus atoning for the insult he had offered the community. While the affair was in progress, the steamer "Russell" came to the wharf, but before she was permitted to land, the people on shore compelled her to show her colors. She displayed the stars and stripes, and as it went to the head of the flag-staff, the crowd gave vent to their delight in shouts and cheers. These incidents show the popular sentiments in Leavenworth at the inception of the Rebellion.

As another evidence that Leavenworth's people were loyal from the very beginning of the Rebellion, the following is elated; On the 20th day of April, a rumor prevailed in the city that the rebels contemplated a raid from Parkville and Independence, Mo., for the capture of Fort Leavenworth. Mayor McDonald visited headquarters and tendered the services of 100 men (more if necessary) from the city militia company. Capt. Steele, then in command of the fort, replied that he was able to defend the fort against 5,000 assailants, but he accepted the Mayor's offer, and accordingly 100 volunteers from the city were stationed in the fort. The details were made from the Leavenworth Light Infantry, the Union Guards, and the Shields Guards. (The last named company was commanded by Capt. Daniel McCook, of the famous "fighting McCook family," who was killed during the war, after he attained the rank of Brevet Major General.) At the same time Capt. Steele gave Major McDowell an ample supply of arms, to be used in the defense of the city.

April 30, 1861, the services of the detachments of city volunteers were dispensed with by the arrival of regular troops, and the following letter of thanks was tendered to Captains McCook, Cozzens, and Clayton, by order of the Colonel commanding:

"Gentlemen: I am instructed by the Colonel commanding this post, to express to you, an through you to your patriotic soldiers, his thanks for the alacrity displayed by your respective commands in turning our in defense of the arsenal and public property at this place. The Colonel desires me to say that such acts are the best evidence of the readiness with which you will be found rallying in defense of your country's flag., whenever and wherever she may require your services. The arrival of the detachment of the Second Infantry renders your further services at this post unnecessary. You are, therefore, from this date most honorably discharged from duty at Leavenworth arsenal. In thus parting with you and your commands, the Colonel directs me again to thank you for the services you have performed, and to express to one and all of you his kindest wishes for your future happiness and welfare. I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,


"Second Lieut., Adjt. Second Inf., Post Adjt."

The three military companies of the city made rapid accessions to their memberships, and immediate steps were taken for the enlistment of several additional companies; in fact, Leavenworth seemed to be one vast camp, and nothing engaged the attention of the people but the suppression of the Rebellion. A detailed account of the part enacted by Leavenworth, in supplying men for the suppression of the Rebellion, may be found elsewhere. It may be stated here, however, that by the 20th day of May, 1861, eighteen companies were organized, and a majority of them were ready to march any where to fight for the old flag. Annexed may be found the names of these companies, and also of their commanding officers: Home Guard - Thomas Carney; Leavenworth Fencibles, - J. B. Stockton; German Rifles - J. B. Huesgen; Leavenworth Guards - I. G. Losee; Emmett Guards - William Phillips; Steuben Guards - Gustavus Zesch; Delaware Guards - G. W. Gardner; Delaware Rifles - B. T. Twobly; Lincoln Rangers - William Freeland; Mounted Rifles - H. P. Johnson; Leavenworth Grays - A. H. Kent; Leavenworth Rifles - W. B. Smith; Phoenix Guards - Peter McFarland; Shields Guards - Daniel McCook; Leavenworth Light Infantry - Powell Clayton; Union Guards - Edward Cozzens; Lafayette Guards - David Block; Lane Rifles - T. J. Weed. A few months later many additional companies were enlisted.

The first Leavenworth company regularly mustered into the United States service was the Steuben Guards, Capt. Gustavus Zesch. The date of muster was May 27, 1861. The company was mustered in as Company I, of the First Kansas Infantry. This company and another Leavenworth company attached to the same regiment, participated in the battles of Wilson's Creek, Tuscumbia, Tallahatchie, Bayou Macon, Lake Providence, and other engagements. In the first battle above indicated, above sustained a heavy loss.

Among the many military organizations effected after May 20, 1861, the following are mentioned: Kickapoo Guards - Capt. Fred. Weilhouse; Capt. Black's Guards re-enlisted to serve three years in the first regiment of home guards; Lyon Guards - D. H. Bailey, Captain; Fourth Ward Guards - L. B. Wheat, Captain; The "Old Guard" - James M. Dickson, Captain; Third Ward Guards - Wm. Haller, Captain; Leavenworth Merchantile Guards - M. S. Adams, Captain; Leavenworth Light Cavalry - I. G. Losee, Captain. A cavalry company of Union Home Guards was organized in Stranger Township, with J. P. Salisbury as Captain.

Leavenworth's Military Leaders. - Powell Clayton began his military career as Captain of Company G, First Kansas Infantry, was brevetted Brigadier-General August 1, 1864, and afterwards became U. S. Senator for Arkansas, in which State he now resides.

Daniel McCook was first commissioned as Captain of the Shield Guards, performed military duty for a short time in Fort Leavenworth; was mustered in as Captain of Company H, First Kansas, his commission bearing date November 9, 1861. Resigned October 10, 1862. He was then appointed Brigadier-General by the President of the United States, and was killed during the Rebellion.

Hampton P. Johnson entered the service as Colonel of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, and was killed in action at Morristown, Mo., September 17, 1861. His last words were - Come on, boys." His body was brought to Leavenworth and buried with military honors, September 20, 1861.

Thomas Moonlight was mustered into the United States service as Captain of the Leavenworth Light Battery. The battery was named Company D, and attached to the Fourth Kansas Volunteers, a regiment composed of eight infantry, one battery and one cavalry companies. In 1862 the Light Battery was consolidated with the Lawrence company and became known as the First Kansas Battery. At the close of the war Col. Moonlight was in command of the Eleventh Kansas, and was brevetted Brigadier-General in February, 1865. He resides in Leavenworth. Previous to the war Col. Moonlight had seen service on the frontier, also in the Seminole war; he is a new Adjutant-General of the State of Kansas.

E. N. O. Clough was acting Provost Marshal at Leavenworth during the larger part of the war period; raised twenty-three hundred men for the Union cause, and received the appointment of Colonel, but not assigned to a regiment. He never received a dollar's pay for his manifold and arduous services, nor did he ask for it. Col. Clough resides in Leavenworth.

James Ketner entered the service as First Lieutenant of Company G, Second Kansas, promoted to the captaincy of Company K; was made Brevet Brigadier-General March 13, 1865. Now resides at Junction City, Kansas.

James L. Abernathy entered the service of the United States as Lieutenant Colonel of the Eighth Kansas Infantry, November 1, 1862, and resigned November 8, 1863. Resides in Leavenworth, and is senior member of the furniture house of Abernathy, Doughty & Hall.

George Hoyt entered the service November 11, 1861, as Second Lieutenant of Company K, Seventh Kansas Infantry; promoted to Captain May 7, 1862; resigned on account of disabilities, November 3, 1862; appointed Lieutenant-Colonel September 7, 1863; resigned July 19, 1865; appointed Brevet Brigadier-General March 13, 1865. Dead.

Edward H. Schneider was mustered into the service as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Eighth Kansas Infantry, December 23, 1863, and resigned June 11, 1864; was appointed Brevet Brigadier-General March 13, 1865. Present whereabouts unknown.

T. J. Weed was commissioned as Major and Aid-de-camp January 29, 1862; discharged November 21, 1862; reappointed March 31, 1863; brevetted as Lieutenant-Colonel March 13, 1865. Resides in Leavenworth; insurance agent.

Champion Vaughn, Major and Aid-de-camp, appointed by the President November 21, 1862; mustered out April 11, 1865. Now dead.

Marcus J. Parrott, appointed by the President and commissioned as Captain August 3, 1861; resigned August 21, 1862; also served as member of Congress. Dead.

William Tholen, appointed by the President as A. G. O. with the rank of Captain, and mustered in March 8, 1863; discharged March 10, 1864. Dead.

Gen. John A. Halderman removed from Louisville to Leavenworth in 1854. Governor Reeder appointed him his private secretary. During the war he was Major of the First Kansas Volunteers, and Major-General of the northern division of the State forces. He has been Mayor of Leavenworth two terms, has been regent of the State University, a member of both Houses, and a prominent and popular man in whatever walk of life he has placed himself. At present he is Consul to Siam.

Cyrus L. Gorton was commissioned Captain and A. Q. M. by the President May 18, 1864, and was mustered out October 7, 1865. Dead.

A. C. Wilder, Captain, C. of S., commissioned August 7, 1861; resigned August 22, 1862; afterward member of Congress from the Leavenworth District. Dead.

M. S. Adams, Captain, C. of S., commissioned September 16, 1862; resigned January 10, 1863. Now in Silver Cliff, Colorado.

M. H. Insley, Captain, A. Q. M., commissioned by the President August 16, 1861, and promoted to the regular army, March 13, 1863. Resigned May 26, 1865. Now a banker in Leavenworth, member of the firm of Insley, Shire & Co.

George W. McLain was commissioned by the President as Captain and A. Q. M., October 20, 1862. He died in Leavenworth.

John Gould, Captain, C. of S. Commissioned November 26, 1862. Brevetted Major and mustered out October 9, 1865. Dead.

George W. Gardner, Captain C. of S. Commissioned February 19, 1863; resigned January 18, 1864. Living in Colorado.

H. Miles Moore joined Gen. Lane's command in June, 1861, being an aide sent to the Fifth Kansas Regiment; was with the command as Judge Advocate of the Brigade with rank of Major, until November, 1862; resigned and was commissioned by President Lincoln A. C. S., U. S. A., July 7, 1864; resigned February 20, 1865. Practicing lawyer in Leavenworth.

S. B. Davis, Major Medical Department. Commissioned February 19, 1863; brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel and mustered out October 7, 1865. In New Mexico.

Henry Foote, Major (paymaster). Commissioned June 1, 1861; resigned July 27, 1863. Gone West.

Henry J. Adams, Major (paymaster) Commissioned September 5, 1861; discharged August 1, 1864. Dead.

Hiram S. Sleeper, Major (paymaster). Commissioned February 19, 1863; resigned November 23, 1864. Wherabouts unknown.

George W. DeCosta, Major (paymaster). Commissioned April 21, 1864; brevetted Lieutenant-Colonel and mustered out February 16, 1866.

J. H. Gilpatrick, appointed First Lieutenant and Adjutant in First Regiment Home Guards (for Indian service), November 1, 1862; October 1, 1863, promoted to be Major of Second Kansas (colored); promoted to Lieutenant-Colonelcy November 9, 1864. Now practicing law in Leavenworth.

Charles R. Jennison, commissioned as Colonel of Seventh Kansas Cavalry October 28, 1861; on the seventeenth of October, 1863, was Colonel of the Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry; dismissed. Lives in Leavenworth.

Thomas Ewing, Jr., appointed Colonel of Eleventh Infantry September 15, 1862; promoted to Brigadier General March 13, 1863. Removed to Ohio and served as member of Congress.

Daniel R. Anthony, commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of Seventh Kansas Cavalry October 29, 1861; resigned September 3, 1862. Now editor and publisher of the Leavenworth Daily and Weekly Times and Postmaster.

William F. Clond, commissioned Colonel of the Fifteenth Kansas July 26, 1865; mustered out October 19, 1865. Now Collector of Internal Revenue at Carthage, Mo.

Samuel A. Drake, Lieutenant-Colonel Seventeenth Infantry; commissioned July 28, 1864; (date of muster out not known). Now resides in Boston.

Albert Lee, commissioned as Captain, August, 1861; May 17, 1862, made Colonel of the Seventh Regiment, and November 29, 1862, promoted to a Brigadier-Generalship. Now resides in New Orleans, La.

Suicide of Gen. Lane. - The tragic death of Gen. James H. Lane, at Fort Leavenworth, on July 11, 1866, created one of the greatest of excitements which stirred the State at any time during the war. Whatever may have been Gen. Lane's faults, it is a fact now quite generally recognized that without his vigorous arm and bold heart Kansas would have stood little chance of ever becoming a free State. The circumstances attending his sad end are thus given by a personal friend and admirer: "In the latter part of June, 1868, he procured leave of absence from his arduous duties in the United States Senate and returned to his home in Kansas. He seemed in poor health and greatly depressed in spirits, but returned towards Washington, accompanied by his wife. Reaching St. Louis his symptoms were so alarming that his physicians expressed fear for his recovery, and the opinion that he was threatened with softening of the brain. Under this advice he returned to Kansas, Friday, June 29, and stopped with his brother-in-law, Capt' McCall, at the Government Farm, adjacent to Leavenworth. Here the symptoms of insanity increased. On Sunday, July 1, he expressed a desire to ride out, and Capt. McCall and Capt. Adams accompanied him in a carriage. As they stopped to open one of the farm gates he jumped out of the carriage and, exclaiming 'Good-by, gentlemen!' discharged a revolver in his mouth, the ball passing upward through the head and out almost at the center of the cranium. He was carried to the farm house and remained in a comatose condition, with spasmodic motions of the arm and right leg, until July 11, when he died. At one time he seemed to be recovering and recognized friends, even naming them in a whisper. His wonderful physical constitution sustained him for an unprecedented period, and attracted great attention from the medical fraternity.

"The aberration of mind has been attributed to various causes, but so little is known that we are hardly justified in expressing an opinion. The writer, who knew him well, saw him but a few days before he left the Senate for the last time and visited him two days preceding his suicide, is of the opinion that the direct cause of his insanity was the supposed desertion of his friends on account of his support of President Johnson's veto of the civil-rights bill, and threats of damaging exposure of his conduct in regard to Government contracts, in which he was alleged to have a personal interest."

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