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


[TOC] [part 10] [part 8] [Cutler's History]


This town is finely situated in the valley of the Marais des Cygnes, on the line of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, north of Pleasanton. It was started in 1869, as soon as the location of the line of the railroad was known. The Town Company was composed of the following gentlemen: A. H. Davis, President; B. S. Heath, Secretary; W. E. Moore, Treasurer; Nathan Pratt, A. G. McKinzie, B. S. Henning, H. J. Hayden and J. B. Grinnell. This company purchased 1,400 acres, but had laid out for a town site only 140 acres.

La Cygne was incorporated as a village January 14, 1870, with the following Board of Trustees: B. S. Heath, Henry Priser, D. S. Bentley, W. H. Hesser, and Bona Dale, and E. A. Foot, Clerk. In the fall of that year, it being ascertained that La Cygne had inhabitants enough, the town organized as a city of the third class, by electing, August 23, E. A. Foot, Mayor, and the following Councilmen: George W. Moore, Henry Priser, W. E. Moore, H. Dellinger and John Howard; T. W. Williamson was elected Clerk; W. E. Moore, Treasurer; and J. V. Dobson, City Marshal. Since that time, the following gentlemen have been successively elected Mayors of La Cygne: Henry Dellinger, elected in 1871; Henry Briser, in 1872; J. S. Lane, 1873;W. A. Jones, 1874; J. S. Lane, 1875; I. Croxton, 1876; Robert Slater, 1877 and 1878; J. V. Donaldson, 1878 and 1880; S. D. Cady, 1881; J. V. Donaldson, 1882.

Just before the laying-out of the town site, Mr. Chetland built a store, and immediately afterward S. D. Cady erected a building for the purpose of carrying on the dry goods business. The next business house, erected also in the fall of 1869, was by J. J. Starks and Henry Briser. At the end of six months, they dissolved partnership, and Mr. Starks erected, in 1871, the first brick building in the town, designed also for the dry goods business. In 1869, W. A. Jones started a hardware store, Lyman Dearborn a furniture store, and George J. Miller a produce and grocery store. The first hotel was the Walker House, built by J. A. Walker. The second was the La Cygne House, built in 1869-70, by Joseph Goss.

Quite a number of dwelling houses were built in 1869, and a few more pretentious residences in the same year by Henry Briser, Dr. A. Davis, B. S. Heath and others. The first school in La Cygne was taught in 1869, by Miss Webb, in Cady's Hall. This was a subscription school, and was continued until the fall of 1870, when a public schoolhouse was built. In the year 1871, a large, two story brick schoolhouse was built at a cost of $10,000. The school in this building has been graded from the first. The successive Superintendents have been I. N. Moon, Mr. Coates, J. H. G. Weaver, G. W. Botkin and I. D. Elliott.

The first physician was Dr. Seaton, who built a house in 1869-70; the next, Dr. B. S. Heath, a member of the original town company, and then Dr. J. H. Sanford. The first lawyer in La Cygne was J. D. Holden, from Wisconsin, now of Emporia; the next the firm of Watson & McArthur; then J. V. Donaldson, present Mayor, who came in the summer of 1870., and then James D. Snoddy, who came in the spring of 1871.


The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1870, with ten members, by Rev. J. Biddison, who erected the church building and parsonage. The former is a frame building, 24x60 feet, and cost $1,000; the latter cost $600. This church has been somewhat unfortunate in its ministers, most of them having been men whom the patrons of the church could not commend as men. Revs. Biddison, Noah Asher and John Kirby were notable exceptions. The church is now composed of sixty members, and although not in a flourishing condition, is as able as ever to appreciate true worth and Christian manhood in its ministers. The troubles are chargeable to the conference, or are attributable to the lack of proper material in the ranks of the Methodist ministry.

The first Superintendent of the Sunday school which was organized in 1870, was J. I. Foot. The present membership of the school is sixty-five.

The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1870 with five members, by Elder W. H. Vroom, who preached the first sermon and remained until 1874. He was succeeded by Revs. James Mitchell, in 1875; Mr. Mayon in 1877; H. M. Green, in 1879, who remained until 1881. The corner-stone of the building was laid in July, 1871, and the edifice completed in the following fall. It is a frame building, 28x44 feet, seats 400 people, and cost $1,400. The highest membership has been forty, present fifteen.

A Sunday school was organized in 1870, first Superintendent, Benjamin Shuart, present membership of the school, sixty.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1870, Rev. Alfred Gore preaching the first sermon.

A Catholic Church was organized about the same time, but it has been discontinued.

The La Cygne Flouring Mill was built in 1870 by Chatterson & Hungerford. In 1880, it became the property of D. Coonrad, with Phil Coonrad, manager. The building is three stories high, and with the machinery cost $9,000. It is supplied with "patent process" machinery, put in 1882, at a cost of $3,000. The capacity of the mill is eighty barrels of flour per day.

A bank was started in 1870 by S. D. Cady, called the Farmers' Savings Bank. It was conducted by him until 1871, when a stock company was organized, of which S. d. Cady was elected President, and F. M. Davis, Cashier. This company erected a brick building, and in 1874 S. D. Cady purchased the stock and continued the business under the firm name of S. D. Cady & Co. He afterward sold out to Ellis & Saunders, who now conduct the business under the name of the Linn County Bank.

Shortly after the starting of the Farmers' Savings Bank, Bentley, Pratt & Moore started a private bank and carried on the business until 1877, when a stock company was organized, of which G. F. Hamlin was elected President, and W. E. Moore, Cashier. This company carried on the banking business successfully until March, 1879, when it was discontinued.

In 1879, a building association in the form of a stock company was organized for the purpose of erecting business houses. J. V. Donaldson was elected President, and H. W. Cooper, Secretary. A two-story brick block was erected at a cost of $16,000, which is occupied by excellent stores. In the upper story of one of these buildings is an elegant hall, 40x80 feet, 18 feet high, with a truss roof.

The La Cygne Organ Factory was started in 1880, by Swisher & Shrake. Up to the present time, the business of making organs has been carried on on a small scale, but there is good ground for encouragement. A reed organ of any size, style and price can be obtained at this factory.

Coal. - In July, 1881, a few of the citizens of La Cygne raised the sum of $1,000 and gave it as a bonus to Mr. George Morely, a practical miner, to sink a shaft in search for coal. This shaft is located one-half mile north of the town. It was sunk to the depth of one hundred and twenty feet, when a thirty-six inch vein of excellent coal was found. A company for mining organized, consisting of Morely & Son & Cady. This company purchased considerable ground, and in the winter of 1881-82 Mr. Cady became sole proprietor. Another stock company was organized in the south part of the town, and another shaft sunk, with similar results. Both shafts are now leased to a mining company from Illinois, and the coal sold at the mine at about $2.25 per ton.

Silver, etc. - In the year 1872, acting upon the advice of the spirit of an Indian chief, the advice being communicated through a Spiritualistic medium, a company sunk a shaft on "Silver Mound," with the hope of finding silver. The owner of the land was offered $100 per acre for forty acres of land, which offer he refused. About $3,000 was expended in sinking the shaft to the depth of about one hundred feet, without avail, and the project was abandoned. Acting under a similar hallucination, a young man spent $15,000 in a fruitless search for lead in Potosi Township. From these experiences, we may conclude that the "clairvoyance" of the living or the dead is not a much safer guide than enlightened reason.

La Cygne Lodge, No. 61, A., F. & A. M., was originally located at Twin Springs, where it was chartered in 1867. It was chartered at La Cygne, October 20, 1870. Its first officers here were Thomas Preston, W. M.; D. Underhill, Jr., S. W.; A. G. Scaman, J. W.; S. D. Cady, Secretary; I. N. Lemen, Treasurer. The present membership is fifty-three.

La Cygne Lodge, No. 66, I. O. O. F., was chartered October 17, 1870, with seven members. It now has sixty-one, and has lost by death only four. The charter officers were Morris Davidson, N. G.; J. H. Sifers, V. G.; W. H. Ellis, Secretary, and B. F. Smith, Treasurer.

The La Cygne Weekly Journal. - The first number of this paper was issued June 18, 1870, by L. C. Carey and J. P. Kenea. Mr. Carey having died September 17, 1872, it was then published by Mr. Kenea and his sister, Mrs. Carey, until March 22, 1873; then by Mr. Kenea and Rev. Albert Gore until March 14, 1874; then by Kenea & Carey until November 28, 1874; then by Kenea & Gore until March 20, 1875; then by Kenea & Carey until July 17, 1875, and from July 24, 1875, to the present time by Kenea and Ed. C. Lane. The paper was started as a six-column folio; November 26, 1870, it was enlarged to a seven-column, and to an eight-column in September, 1875. The paper has always been Republican.

Ed. C. Lane was born in Kendall County, Ill., August 11, 1855, and lived in Bristol, that county, until 1872; received a common school education; learned the printer's trade in the office of the Kendall County Record; then worked in the Beacon office, Aurora, Ill., and in the Courier office, Lockport, Ill. In 1872, he went into business with his father, L. H. Lane, in Prescott, Linn co., Kan., and in 1875 bought an interest in the La Cygne Journal, which he still retains, and of which paper he is one of the editors; is a Mason, and a Republican; was a delegate to the Kansas Republican State Conventions of 1880 and 1882, and a member of the Second Kansas District Republican Congressional Committee from 1880 to 1882.

Late in the fall of 1882 a destructive fire occurred in La Cygne, burning the following buildings: A. Friedman, unoccupied building; George J. Miller, building rented for real estate office and building occupied by George Eyer, grocer; H. Dellinger & Co., harness shop; D. Coonrad, mill office; William Sharon, partial stock of groceries; Judson & Davis, building and furniture; I. Croxton, billiard hall; B. Seaton, buildings containing Porter's barbershop and Tilgner's meat market; Robert Whisner, billiard hall; F. W. Pollman, meat market; C. C. Atkinson, dental office; Burton & Brothers' restaurant; Darius Ross, barbershop; David Gow, boot and shoe shop; George F. Hamlin, two-story frame building, unoccupied; Nivison & Seymour, billiard hall; D. S. Kelly, three buildings rented for harness shop, carpenter shop and doctor's office. A clean sweep was made on the west side of Broadway, from Market to Walnut. The Gulf depot caught fire on the roof. The roof of the La Cygne House was covered with sparks, and several buildings including the post office adjacent to the scene of the conflagration, had a narrow escape. The losses foot up to about $20,000; insurance, $2,600.


W. H. BR0ADWELL, druggist, born in Albion, Mich., April 18, 1849. He was reared and educated in his native State, having graduated at Albion college, in 1862, after which he was employed as a drug clerk at Albion until 1871, when he came to Kansas and first located at Pleasanton, where he engaged in the drug trade for two years. Selling his interest there, he located at La Cygne, where he is doing a business of about $20,000 a year. Married, in Ottawa, Kan., August 16, 1875, Miss Lizzie Ward, a native of Kansas. They have one child - Mary H.

S. D. CADY, dealer in real estate and proprietor of the La Cygne Coal Company, born in Ripley County, Ind., and was taken by his parents to Madison, Wis., where he was raised and educated. He came to Kansas in 1857, and first located at Trading Post, Linn County, where he was employed as a clerk for one year, when he began mercantile business on his own account, and in 1861 was appointed Postmaster, and served for three years. He then went to Idaho, where he was engaged in the mercantile business until 1866, when he returned to Kansas and located at Twin Springs, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits, and served as Postmaster until 1870, when he settled in La Cygne and engaged in merchandising until 1878. He then established the Linn County Bank, which he conducted until 1881, when he disposed of his interest, and turned his attention to his present business. His estate consists of 500 acres of land and $10,000 in city property. Married, at Trading Post, Linn County, July 4, 1860, Miss Frances A. Lane, who was born in Oswego County, N. Y., June 24, 1840.

PHILO COONRADT, miller, born in Rensselaer County, N. Y., August 27, 1852. When young, was taken by parents to Albion, Mich., where he was raised and educated. In 1871, removed with parents to Paola, Kan., where he worked at the carpenter's trade for four years, after which he was employed as school teacher at Paola until 1878, when he purchased one-half interest in the Olathe Progress, and made it a prosperous newspaper until 1880, when he disposed of his interest and located at La Cygne, where he is engaged in the milling business. This structure is a frame, 36x140, three stories, propelled by steam, with capacity for eighty barrels per day. This popular enterprise, so favorably known as the La Cygne Flouring Mills, is running its full capacity, and doing a general merchant and custom trade.

D. W. COZAD, La Cygne Nursery, was born in Fulton County, Ill., May 23, 1838; lived on a farm the most of his life. His parents died when he was about four years old; was adopted by and lived with a cousin up to his ninth year, when, the cousin dying, he was thrown upon his own resources for support, working by the month for different parties until in his twenty-second year. Up to this time he had no schooling of consequence. In the following three years he managed to receive a pretty fair common district school education. In February, 1861, he came to Atchison County, Kansas; worked the following summer on a farm in company with a brother and cousin; sold his share of crop the following fall, as follows: Wheat, delivered at Atchison, eighteen miles distant, for 30 cents per bushel; corn in crib for 12 1/2 cents per bushel, on twelve months' time; oats 10 cents per bushel in bin on farm. He joined a company of Home Guards, was elected Orderly Sergeant of the same, but prior to the company being mustered into the service, was assigned a position as Regimental Teamster, which position he filled for two years, when he was assigned to duty on one of the Government farms near Fort Leavenworth, occupying this position until near the end of the war, after which he returned to Illinois and engaged in farming for one year only. Returning to Kansas, he engaged in school teaching for a period of about two years in Atchison County. Health failing, he returned to Illinois and engaged in nursery and fruit business for five years in McDonough County, when, again becoming dissatisfied with Illinois, he returned to Kansas and located in Linn County, near the old Trading Post, and established the "Home Nurseries." His success was rapid until the fall of 1874. In September of this year, he lost his wife and only child by death. The following season the grasshoppers destroyed his entire nursery, leaving him alone and worse than penniless, about $700 in debt. In October, 1875, he married a sister of his deceased wife, Miss Lillie M. Hill, locating near the city of La Cygne. He began the establishment of the well-known La Cygne nurseries in company with Hon. A. G. Seaman, and continuing the business under the firm name of A. G. Seaman & Co. for five years, when he purchased Mr. Seaman's interest in the nursery, since which time he has been sole proprietor and manager. From a few acres, this nursery has grown to over forty acres closely planted and well grown stock. Last year Mr. Cozad's planting consisted in part of 100 bushels of osage orange hedge seed, a large lot of apple seed, 200,0000 apple grafts, fifty bushels peach pits, and other seeds and stock in proportion. His sales the past year, 1882, were nearly $6,000. He employs a large number of men. In the busy season from twenty to thirty men; in the grafting-room we found seven men at work putting up from 7,000 to 10,000 grafts daily. The nursery is pleasantly situated on the hill north of the town and overlooking the city and surroundings. Mr. Cozad's family consists of himself, wife and little daughter, Jessie, six years of age.

I. CROXTON, liquor dealer, born in Stark County, Ohio, February 5, 1840, where he was reared and educated. In 1867, came West, and first located at West Point, Mo., where he engaged in farming for two years. He then settled at La Cygne, Kan., where he engaged in merchandising for one year, and in 1870 was elected Sheriff of Linn County, holding the office two terms; was elected Mayor of La Cygne. In 1862, enlisted in Company D, Fifteenth Regiment Kansas Cavalry, when he served until the close of the war. Married, in Minerva, Ohio, August 3, 1862, Miss Sarah M. Huttle. She is a native of Ohio, born in 1841. They have four children - William L., Edwin S., George W. and Isaac N. Mr. C. is a member of the I. O. O. F. and F. & A. M.

J. H. DAVIS, merchant, was born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., September 10, 1836, where he was raised until eighteen years of age, when he moved to Madison, Wis., and completed his studies at the university in that city, in 1859. In 1861, he enlisted in the Third Wisconsin Battery, and was discharged in 1864, after which he returned to Madison, Wis., and engaged in merchandising until 1869, when he came to Kansas and located in Linn County, and he engaged in farming for some time. He then settled at La Cygne, where he is engaged in his present business. He was married in Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1865, to Miss Cynthia Richardson, of New York. They have four children - Frederick E., Lena M., Eddie E. and Catherine P.

J. V. DONALDSON, attorney, was born in Allegheny County, Penn., April 18, 1843. Was raised and educated in his native State. Soon after, read law and was admitted to the bar at Pittsburgh in 1867, where he pursued his profession for almost two years. In 1868, he located at Kansas City, Mo., where he resided until the fall of 1870. He then came to Kansas and settled at La Cygne, Linn County, where he became a member of the bar. In 1878, was elected Police Judge, and held the office three terms. In 1879, was elected Mayor of La Cygne, which position he still holds. Married, in La Cygne, Kan., March, 1874, Miss Maggie Howard, of Miami County, Kan. They have two children - Carrie E. and Vernie. He has taken considerable interest in various benevolent organizations, viz., I. O. O. F., A., F. & A. M. At the present is grand Dictator of the Knights of Honor of Kansas.

J. C. MARSHALL, retired, born in Portage County, Ohio, September 8, 1816, where he was raised and educated; after which he taught school until 1847, when he moved to the Shenandoah Valley, Va., where he taught school for three years. In 1849, he emigrated to California, where he engaged in mining and other pursuits for some time; returning to Virginia, remaining there for a short time he removed to Toledo, Iowa, where he engaged in surveying until 1857, when he came to Kansas and settled in Linn County, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits for some time. In 1862 he represented Linn County in the Legislature, and has also served as County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court. He has been twice married, first in Salem, Ohio, to Miss Henrietta Fawcett, of Ohio, who died in 1856. By this marriage they had three children - Laura, Homer and Carl C. He was married the second time to Miss L. A. Fawcett, also of Ohio, in 1858; they have one child - L. J.

DR. R. G. MENDENHALL, born in Hamilton County, Ind., December 5, 1841, where he was raised and received his early schooling, having finished his education at Bloomingdale Academy, in Park County, Ind. In 1865 he attended the medical college at Ann Arbor, Mich., graduating in 1867; after which he located at Lodi, Ind., where he practiced his profession until 1870, when he attended the Bellevue Academy in New York City for two years. He then located at Kansas City, Mo., and engaged in his practice until 1873, when he removed to La Cygne, Kan., where he is engaged in his profession. He has been twice married, first in Tuscola, Ill., to Miss Ruth A. Parent of Indiana, June 4, 1868, she died October 12, 1870. He married the second time Miss Eliza A Frazer, June 4, 1873, at Georgetown, Ill. They have one child - Jessie.

GEORGE J. MILLER, merchant, born in Howard County, Mo., April 11, 1839, was raised and educated in his native State; soon after engaged in teaching school for some time. In 1864 located at Arrow rock, Mo., where he engaged in the mercantile trade for three years; after which he removed to Jonesboro, Saline Co., Mo., where he continued mercantile pursuits until 1870, when he came to Kansas and located at La Cygne, where he is dealing in general merchandise and real estate. his estate consists of 166 acres besides city property. Married in Saline County, Mo., September 19, 1866, to Miss Lillie L. Lewis, of Missouri; they have two children - Nannie E. and George J. Mr. Miller is identified with the Democratic party.

JOHNSON J. STARKS, merchant, was born in Otsego County, N. Y., June 7, 1829. When young was taken by his parents to Madison, Wis., where he was reared and educated; soon after served an apprenticeship as a printer, working at his trade for some time, when he entered the mercantile pursuits, which he has followed for a time. In 1856 he was elected City Treasurer of Madison, Wis.; being the first to hold that position. He has also served as Clerk of the Circuit Court at Madison, Wis., holding the office two years. From 1863-64, he served in the Federal service as Captain. In 1869 came to Kansas and settled at La Cygne, where he is identified as one of the leading merchants of this section. He was married at Madison, Wis., November 28, 1860, to Mrs. Emily D. Winters, of Madison, Wis. They have two children - Albert F. and John L.

HENRY TRINKLE, farmer, Section 28, P. O. La Cygne, was born in Porter County, Ind., December 2, 1834, where he was raised and educated; after which he engaged in farming, which he pursued until 1858, when he came to Kansas and purchased a farm in Miami County, where he remained one year. In 1859 he removed to Linn county, on his present place of 240 acres, where he is engaged in farming and stock-raising. He has been twice married, first to Mary J. Bunday, of Ohio, she died in 1863; by this union they have two children - Joseph L. and William D. Married the second time, January 20, 1864, to Mary A. Froman, of Illinois; they have nine children - Elgeretta, Mary E., Clara, Henry O., Lucy A., Emma L., Frank, Leona and Nora.

J. MILTON WELCH, M. D., born in Edgar County, Ill., May 5, 1834. He was raised and educated in his native State. In 1852 he enlisted in Company A, Thirty-third Regiment Iowa Infantry, and was discharged in 1865; soon after located at Terre Haute, Ind., where he taught school for some time. He then removed to Clinton, Ind., where he opened and took charge of the Western Union Seminary, where he presided two years; after disposing of his interest there, he located at Fairmount, Ill., where he was principal of the graded schools for one year. he then began the study of medicine, and graduated at the Eclectic Medical Institute at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1878, when he came to Kansas, and first located in Greenwood County; remaining there a short time, he removed to Central City, Kan., where he practiced for four years. In 1878 came to La Cygne. He has been twice married, first in Edgar County, Ill., May 10, 1857, to Miss Mary E. Jackson, of Ohio, she died in 1858; by this union they have one child - Mary E. He married the second time to Miss Franna Stoner, of Ohio; they have five children - Charles E., Horace H., Helen L., John M. and George.

JOHN A. YOUNG, photographer, born in Washington County, Penn., where he received the benefits of the schools until 1868, when he removed to Des Moines, Iowa, where he graduated in 1869. Soon after moved to Winterset, Iowa, where he learned the art of photography. In 1871, he came to Kansas and located at Pleasanton, where he remained for a short time, when he located at La Cygne, where he is engaged in the art of photographing in all its branches, also keeping a full assortment of frames, albums, etc. Married at La Cygne, Kan., December 31, 1875, to Miss Ella Denton, of Indiana.

[TOC] [part 10] [part 8] [Cutler's History]