|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
The beautiful village bearing the given name of that celebrated explorer, Americus Vespucius, is handsomely located on gentle undulating prairie, nine miles northwest of Emporia, on the line of the Missouri Pacific Railway, and contains a population of 500 souls.
EARLY AND GENERAL HISTORY.
In the fall of 1857, a company known as the Americus Town Company, was formed for the purpose of locating a town, destined to be the future county-seat. The company was composed of the following members, none of whom are living in Americus today: T. C. Hill, G. H. Rees, E. Yeakley, J. Moser, E. Columbia, William Grimsley, E. M. Sewell, B. Wright, N. B. Swister, A. I. Baker, J. W. Voak, J. Voak, W. Thompson, D. Swim, F. Barrett and E. Goddard. The first officers were: A. I. Baker, Pres.; T. C. Hill, Treas.; D. Swim, Sec'y. A town site of 640 acres was laid off, and improvements made. The first building was a one-story structure, built of native lumber by E. Yeakley, and was occupied as a dwelling. The next building was erected by W. Thompson, and is a two story frame. It was opened as the "Americus" House, July 4, 1858, with a grand (?) ball. The building is still standing and is now known as the Sulton House. About the time the hotel was completed, G. H. Page built a small building near the site of the present depot and opened a store. In the summer of 1858, a log building, built by subscription, was completed and in it was held the first school. In 1859, a church building was built by popular subscription and used by all denominations until other edifices were built.
In 1858, the place by a vote of the people was made the county-seat of Breckinridge County, and held it until late in 1860.
The first number of the Americus Sentinel, an Independent paper, was issued August 30, 1859, by T. C. Hill, who subsequently transferred it to S. L. Kenyon. After an existence of one year it suspended.
In the fall of 1858, the postoffice was established, E. Yeakley being appointed Postmaster. He was succeeded by Enock Hoag. Under Hoag's administration, the name of the office was changed to Sheridan. Hoag held the office three or four years, and was succeeded by John McDill, who caused the name of the office to be changed back to its original appellation. McDill was succeeded in the order mentioned by W. W. Kitts, S. Bruner, John Gibson, D. A. Stahl, J. W. Loy, T. A. Wright. Mr. Wright was succeeded in 1874, by the present incumbent, Mrs. T. C. Hill. During the same year it was made a money order office.
The log building built in the summer of 1858, and used for school purposes, was used in that capacity until School District No. 2, was organized in 1859, when a frame structure was built. That building was used until the present one was erected in 1869 - a handsome two-story stone structure, costing $6,000.
The first saw-mill was built in the fall of 1859, by J. Kuhns. Steam power was used, and the mill was run by Kuhns until 1861, when he sold it to McCall & Bruner. Early in 1860 T. C. Hill built a saw-mill and "corn-mill," near the rival structure. In August of the same year it was destroyed by fire. Hill then purchased the other mill of McCall & Bruner, and run it until the spring of 1864, when he sold his interest to J. McDill. McDill ran it until 1867, when he sold it to its present owner, N. Wise. The mill has a capacity of 3,000 feet per day.
Americus is noted throughout the county as the head of the manufacture of cheese. The first factory for the manufacture of this commodity was built in 1865, by P. B. Campbell. He continued its manufacture seven years. In 1872, F. D. Loy, H. Carpenter, and N. Noll erected a factory, and operated it about a year, when it was destroyed by fire. A new factory was built on the site of the burned building, by T. Anderson, and operated until 1882. In 1876 the Lesh Bros. commenced the manufacture of cheese on scientific principles, and as a result, take first premium wherever a display is made.
During that memorable year, 1860, and the years of anxiety that followed during the war, the town commenced that retrogressive movement, fatal to the prosperity of every community. But in 1869, when the projected railroad was commenced and completed through the place in the spring of 1870, the town began to grow and prosper, until it is now only second in business and population in the county.
CHURCHES AND SOCIETIES.
United Presbyterian Church - Was organized in 1858, by Rev. J. N. Smith, with about twelve members. The first regular pastor was Rev. G. W. Torrence, who held services in the Americus House. Mr. Torrence remained in charge two years. Until 1865, the church had on regular pastor. Their first church edifice was a frame, 24x36 feet built in 1859, and used by all denominations. In 1871, a handsome brick edifice, 40x60 feet, was erected at a cost of $6,000. In June, 1881, it was destroyed by a cyclone. A new building was erected, 40x60 feet, at a cost of $3,500. In 1865, Rev. D. T. McAuley took charge as pastor and remained two years. The church was again supplied until December 15, 1869, when Rev. J. A. Collins, the present pastor, took charge. Present membership, 103.
Methodist Episcopal Church - The Americus Circuit was organized early as 1856, but no class was organized until a few years later. The following pastors have had charge of the circuit, which included the organization at Americus: 1858, W. L. Loyd; 1859, C. Madows; 1860, J. McAnuity; 1861, G. b. Woodard; 1862, J. McAnuity; 1863, J. R. West; 1864, J. Earnhart and Jas. Hague; 1865, F. D. Loy; 1866, F. D. Loy and R. Freeman; 1867-68, Wm. M. Robertson; 1869-70, J. McAnuity; 1871-72, A. Greene; (1873-75, church supplied); 1876-79, H. W. Chaffen; 1880, C. W. Guillett; 1881-82, J. A. Barker, present pastor. In 1871, the present church edifice was built. It is a neat frame structure, 32x60 feet, and cost about $4,000. Present membership, about 90.
In this circuit is also the Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, located five miles southwest of Americus. The organization has a $2,500 edifice erected in 1882, and a membership of about 30.
The Allen Creek Methodist Episcopal Church - Located six miles northeast of Americus, has a $1,200 edifice erected in 1881, and a membership of about 35.
Evangelical Church - Was organized in the spring of 1872, by the Rev. H. Mattel, with twelve members. Mr. Mattel was succeeded by Rev. S. Wm. Longelbach, and John Emmel, who remained one year; John E. Keplinger, two years; E. Wenger, two years; John Emmel, one year; Rev. C. F. Erffmeyer, the present pastor. The present church edifice was built in the spring of 1873, at a cost of $600. Present membership, 75.
Society of Friends - A meeting was organized four miles west of Americus, in 1861. The first meetings were held at the house of T. H. Stanley, and are now held in the Fruitland schoolhouse. Present membership includes about seventeen families.
Americus Lodge, No. 109, A., F. & A. M. - Was reorganized under a charter dated October 21, 1875, with eleven charter members. Its first officers were: John L. Butler, W. M.; John W. Swartz, J. W.; A. G. Huffman, S. W.; Th. H. White, treasurer; Th. Huffman, secretary. Present officers: J. L. Butler, W. M.; W. H. Anderson, S. W.; J. S. Holden, J. W.; M. J. Williams, treasurer; S. M. Morgan, secretary. Regular meetings are Saturday evenings, on or before full moon, at Masonic Hall. Present membership, twenty-seven.
This lodge was first chartered in 1866, and known as Americus Lodge, No. 62. In the fall of 1869 the charter was revoked. At its reorganization in 1875 it was known as Obediance Lodge, No. 109, but was soon changed to its present appellation.
Americus Lodge, No. 28, A. O. U. W. - Was organized under a charter December 17, 1879, with twenty members. Its first officers were: J. W. Loy, P. M. W.; D. T. Tresster, M. W.; George L. Beard, F.; C. Wise, O.; George Miller, Rec'd; John Band, Fin.; M. Tooney, G.; R. H. Meher, I. W.; N. Wise, O. W. Its present officers are: J. C. Brown, P. M. W.; John Bond, M. W.; A. Tressler, F.; J. L. B. Synder, O.; D, M. Husted, Rec'd; T. A. Wright, Fin.; M. Tooney, Rec.; C. Kerr, G.; J. W. Lesh, I. W.; M. McCleary, O. W. Regular meetings are held on the first and third Friday evenings of each month, at Tressler's Hall. Present number of members, forty-five.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES (ANDERSON - GRIMSLEY).
JAMES A. ANDERSON and JOHN C. ANDERSON, farmers, Section 34, Township 17, Range 10, P. O. Americus, were born in Jones County, Iowa, and while they were yet infants their parents came to Kansas, locating in Lyon County, where they were raised upon the farm upon which they now reside, situated about two miles northwest of Americus. They purchased a half interest in the old home farm in the spring of 1879 and in the fall of the same year they bought a half interest in eighty acres, situated on the Neosho River about five miles northwest of the home farm. They have a fine dwelling, barn and other farm buildings, and though young men are progressive and successful farmers, and have surrounded their home with evidences of culture and refinement.
THOMAS ANDERSON, farmer, Section 34, Township 17, Range 10, P. O. Americus, was born in Berwickshire, Scotland, November 30, 1839, and nine years later came to the United States with his parents, who first located at Cincinnati, Ohio, but after a residence of one year removed to Galena, Ill. Here they resided three years, then removed to Jones County, Iowa, where they remained until the spring of 1869, when they came to Kansas, locating near Americus, in Breckinridge (now Lyon) County. The subject of this sketch engaged in farming, which he continued until February, 1864, when he enlisted as a private in Company E, Eleventh Regiment Kansas Cavalry. He participated in all the engagements in which his company took part from that time until his discharge, September 1, 1865. He then returned to Americus and engaged in farming, upon eighty acres of trust land situated about two miles northwest of town, which he had purchased just before he entered the service. This farm he improved by the erection of a dwelling, barn and other farm buildings, and has operated it continually since. He has since purchased twenty acres of timber land situated on the Neosho River and 160 acres of land northwest of the home farm. About 120 acres of these land are under cultivation, the remainder being used for grazing and hay. His principal crop is corn. He also raises cattle and hogs, and is engaged in dairy business. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Has held the office of Township Clerk one term, and has been a member of the School Board continuously for over sixteen years. He married Miss Millie A. McCaw, of Americus, August 21, 1862, by which marriage he has had ten children, of whom Emma M. A., Loucella M., Grant W., Ella M., Grace E., George D., William A., Stella L. and Henry C. are living.
WILLIAM H. ANDERSON, real estate dealer, was born in Scotland, October 11, 1846, and four years later came to the United States with his parents who located in Jones County, Iowa. In the fall of 1859, his father came to Kansas, bought a farm of 160 acres in Americus Township, two miles northwest of town. Wm. H. remained upon this farm until August, 1862, when he enlisted as a private in Company E, Eleventh Kansas Regiment. He participated in all the battles and skirmishes in which his company was engaged and was mustered out at Fort Riley, August 7, 1856. He returned to Americus and bought a farm of eighty acres, adjoining that of his father, which he worked for about two years. In 1867, he sold the farm and removed to Neodesha, Wilson County, where he was for eight years engaged in the hardware business, and in 1878, in connection with others, organized the "Union Loan and Trust Company of Kansas," with offices at Fredonia and Americus. The Americus office has always been under the immediate management of Mr. Anderson. In July, 1880, he formed a partnership with John L. Butler, under the firm name of Anderson & Butler, dealing in real estate, insurance, loans and collections. He married Miss Lovonia Brown, of Americus, September 1, 1870, and has by this marriage had four children, of whom John A., George D. and William F. are living. He is a member of Americus Lodge No. 9, A., F. & A. M., member of Neodesha Lodge No. 72, I. O. O. F., also of Americus Lodge No. 28, A. O. U. W.
MICHAEL ARNSBERGER, farmer, Section 12, Township 17, Range 10, P. O. Americus, was born in Wayn County, Ohio, February 9, 1836. When sixteen years old he removed to Williams County, Ohio, where he continued to reside until August 15, 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Company D, Thirty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, which was assigned to the army of the Cumberland. He participated in all the engagements in which his company took part, including Stone River, Mission Ridge, the Siege of Atlanta, Jonesboro and others. He was promoted to First Sergeant of his company. He was with Sherman in the great March to the Sea, and followed that General through the Carolinas, participating in several engagements. He was in the great review in Washington, in June, 1865, and in the following month was mustered out at Louisville, Ky. He then returned to Williams County, and engaged in farming and carpentering, in which he continued until he came to Kansas in the spring of 1877. He located at Allen Creek in Americus Township, Lyon County, taking 160 acres of trust land. He has improved his farm by the erection of dwelling house, barn, corn cribs and other farm buildings. Corn is his principal crop. He raises some cattle and hogs. He has an orchard of 100 apple trees, 100 cherry trees, 60 peach trees, and smaller fruits. He married Miss Mary A. Colgan, of Williams County, Ohio, November 18, 1866. They have no children.
REV. JOEL A. BARKER, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born at Mound City, Ill., April 16, 1852. When he was five years old his parents removed to Moultrie County, Ill., and in the common schools of that county he received his primary education. He came to Kansas with his parents in 1867, locating in Wilson County. Two years later he returned to Illinois, and attended the Shelbyville Seminary two terms. He was licensed to preach in 1873, and in the spring of 1874, was assigned to the Belle Grove Circuit, in Greenwood County, which charge he held two years. He next went to the Strong Circuit, in Coffey County, for one year. He then took charge of the Mineral Point Circuit, in Anderson County, remaining two years. His next appointment was to the Hartford Circuit, in Lyon County, which he held two years, and in March, 1881, he was assigned to the Americus Circuit, in Lyon County, where he is at present located. His labors in all these circuits have been blessed with good results, several revivals having been experienced under his ministry. He married Miss Alice R. Smith, of Burlington, Kan., November 5, 1876, by which marriage he has had three children, of whom Henry C. and Altona M. are living.
ANDREW H. BRICKLEY, farmer, Section 24, Township 18, Range 10, P. O. Americus, was born in Perry County, Pa., September 28, 1816. He remained in his native county until twenty years of age, receiving there a common school education. In the spring of 187 he removed to Lockport, N. Y., and followed the trade of a carpenter and joiner. He soon after engaged in business for himself, which he continued at Lockport until 1862, when he removed to Buffalo, N. Y., and was for the next nine years engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements. He remained in Buffalo about sixteen years, then spent some years in travel and prospecting, and in the spring of 1881 came to Kansas. He located in Americus Township, Lyon County, and, in connection with his nephew, John P. Brickley, purchased a finely improved farm of 159 acres, situated on the Neosha (sic) River, three miles southeast of town. He raises corn and oats principally. Has an orchard of 120 apple trees, besides many peach and cherry trees and smaller fruits. He is quite extensively engaged in raising cattle and hogs. Mr. B. is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He married Miss Della M. Spooner, of Cooperstown, N. Y., February 9, 1845, by whom he has had one child, now deceased. His wife, Della M., died in 1852.
JOHN P. BRICKLEY, mentioned above, was born in Perry County, Pa., June 28, 1839. He remained in his native county until he came to Kansas, in the fall of 1881, with the exception of one year spent in Ohio, and about two years in the army at the time of the late Rebellion. Upon him devolves principally the active management of the farm and stock raising interests in which he is interested with his uncle. He married Miss Mary E. Hench, of Perry County, November 9, 1871, by which marriage he has had three children, of whom Henry M. and Roy are living.
JAMES C. BROWN, merchant and farmer, was born in Randolph County, Ill., December 29, 1844. He received a common school education, and was engaged in farming in his native county, until the spring of 1865, when he came to Kansas. Located in Lyon County, and bought a farm of ninety-three acres, on the Neosha (sic) River, about three miles northwest of Americus. In the spring of 1881, he bough another farm of eighty acres, about two miles northwest of Americus. He continued farming and stock raising until the spring of 1882, when he removed to Americus and engaged in mercantile business. He has a store on the Main street, and carries a stock of groceries, crockery, boots and shoes and notions. He continues to operate one of his farms, and rents the other. His principal crop is wheat. He is a member of Americus Lodge No. 28, A. O. U. W. He married Miss Jane Anderson, of Americus, February 18, 1868, by whom he has had five children, of whom Margaret E., Annie M., and Grace E. are living.
JOHN L. BUTLER was born in Warren County, Ill., March 12, 1843. He received a common school education in Illinois, where he resided, with the exception of three years spent in Bowling Green, Ky., until he came to Kansas, in July, 1859, with his father, who located in located in Lyon County, and entered a claim of 160 acres on the Kaw reservation, on Allen Creek, three miles from Americus. John L. remained with his father until September, 1863, when he enlisted as a private in Company E, Eleventh Regiment Kansas Cavalry. He participated in all the engagements in which his command took part, from that time until he was mustered out in September, 1865. He then returned to Americus and engaged in stock raising and dealing, which business he continued until 1871, when he purchased a farm of 160 acres, situated on the Neosho River, six miles northwest of Americus. He then devoted his attention to farming beside stock raising and dealing. In 1878 he sold his farm and purchased another of 120 acres, on Cahola Creek, in Lyon County. In March, 1879, he discontinued farming and stock operations, and formed a partnership with Mr. W. H. Anderson, under the firm name of Anderson & Butler, who do a general real estate, insurance and loan business, at Americus. Mr. Butler was Township Trustee in 1878-79-80, and a Justice of the Peace in 1880-81-82. He was elected to the office of County Commissioner in the fall of 1882, for a term of three years. He is a member of Americus Lodge, No. 109, A., F. & A. M., and master of the Lodge; is a member of Americus Lodge, No. 28, A. O. U. W. He married Miss Mary E. Swim, of Americus, November 1, 1870, by which marriage he has four children - George S., Ethel, Mabel and John W.
REV. JOSEPH A. COLLINS, pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, was born at Xenia, Ohio, April 9, 1829. He was educated at Xenia Academy and at Franklin College, located at New Athens, Ohio, from which he graduated in 1852. His theological studies were made at the Xenia United Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1856. He was licensed to preach in June, 1856, and settled in Crawford County, Pa., where he preached until 1863. In 1865 he became connected with the Presbyterian Witness, published at Cincinnati, Ohio, with which he remained three years. He came to Kansas in the summer of 1868, and was for a time engaged in mission work among the colored people at Leavenworth. In the spring of 1869, he removed to Americus and assumed the pastorate of the United Presbyterian Church, and for two years he also had charge of the United Presbyterian Church at Emporia. At the same time he took charge of the church at Americus it was in a state of division approaching dissolution. He united the factions and awakened an interest in the church, and in 1871 a commodious church edifice was erected. This was destroyed by a fierce gale of wind in 1881 and rebuilt the same year. The church membership has increased under his pastorate from twenty-seven to 105. Since the organization of the Neosho Presbytery, in 1874, he has held the position of clerk and superintendent of missions, the latter being the most onerous in the Presbytery, taking him to most of the fields of western Kansas. He is called upon to attend many of the weddings and funerals in the neighborhood of the town, outside of his congregation. He married Miss Anna E. Stewart, of Youngstown, Ohio, September 30, 1875, by which marriage he has four children, Bessie E., Archie S., Eusebius H., and Anna M.
ALBERT G. EDMISTON, farmer, P. O. Americus, was born in Lincoln County, Tenn., April 5, 1818, and resided there until fourteen years of age, when he removed with his parents to Randolph County, Ill., where his father engaged in farming. He remained in Illinois until his removal to Kansas, in the fall of 1865, when he located in Lyon County, and bought an improved farm of 280 acres on the Neosho River, about three and one-half miles northwest of Americus, which he still owns. He also bought that year a one-quarter section of land between Americus and Emporia, which he has since sold. He owns at the present time about 1,000 acres of land in Lyon County, a large portion of which he rents. He also has some town property in Americus. His principal crop is corn. He raises many hogs and some cattle and horses. He was for many years Township Treasurer. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Americus. Married Miss Narcissa G. Taylor, of Randolph County, Ill., March 23, 1843, by which marriage he has four children, William H., Eli J., Robert H., and Mary J., (married to Winfield S. McCauley, of Americus).
JOHN D. GIBSON, dry goods, etc., was born at Youngstown, Ohio, December 29, 1835. Fifteen years later he removed with his parents to Lee County, Iowa, where he resided until the spring of 1858, when he came to Kansas. In the fall of that year he located in Americus, then the county seat of Breckinridge County, and established a general merchandising business, which he continued until 1862, disposing of the same while he was in the army. In September, 1861, he enlisted in an independent cavalry company, which was for a time attached to the Eighth Regiment Kansas Infantry as Company H, and later was designated as Company B, Ninth Kansas Cavalry Regiment. Was with the company during its full term of service, participating in all the engagements in which it took part. Was mustered out in 1865, and returned to Americus and resumed business, which he has since operated. Carries a general stock of dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes, etc. Has been Township Clerk several years, and several years a member of to the Board of Education. Was Postmaster at Americus six years. Is a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Americus. Married Miss Lydia S. Heasley, of Americus, April 25, 1861, and they have had three children, of whom, Charles S., is living.
JOSEPH S. GIBSON, hardware, etc., was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, March 1, 1843. When seven years old removed with his parents to Lee County, Iowa, where they remained one year, the removed to Clark County, Mo. Remained there five years, then returned to Iowa. Joseph S. resided in Iowa until 1861 September, 1858, when he came to Kansas, and located in Americus, where he resided until September, 1861, when he enlisted in an independent cavalry company, which was attached to the Eighth Regiment Kansas Infantry as Company H. In April, 1862, his company was transferred to the Ninth Regiment Kansas Cavalry, and designated as Company B. Mr. G. was with the company in all the engagements in which it took part, and remained in the service until his muster out, in 1865. He then returned to Americus, and engaged in farming for about three years. In the fall of 1869, he engaged in mercantile business, establishing a hardware store, the only one in the village. He continues to operate this business, and also deals in agricultural implements, wagons and carriages. In 1876, he bought a hardware store at Council Grove, which he now operates with a resident partner, the style of the firm being Gibson & Davidson. In May, 1881, he started a hardware store at Dunlap, in connection with George H., Loy, the firm being Gibson & Loy. Mr. Gibson is a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Americus. He has held the office of Township Trustee, Township Clerk and member of the School Board. Married Miss Lydia A. Swin, of Americus, November 5, 1865, and they have had four children, of whom Alice, George F., and Carl D., are living.
WILLIAM GRIMSLEY, farmer, Section 7, Township 17, Range 11, P. O. Americus, was born January 25, 1845, in Keokuk County, Iowa, where he resided until the spring of 1856, when he came to Kansas with his father, William Grimsley, Sr., who located on Allen Creek, in Americus Township. He continued to reside with his father until November, 1863, when he enlisted as a private in Company E, Eleventh Regiment Kansas Cavalry. He participated in all the engagements in which his company took part from that time until February, 1865, when he joined Company F, and was with that company in several engagements with Indians in Montana Territory. He returned to his own company about the 1st of September, 1865, and was mustered out at Fort Riley. He then returned home, and was for several months engaged in freighting, in Kansas and Missouri. He was afterwards engaged in farming, threshing, and various pursuits until his marriage. In December, 1872, he bought a farm of 117 acres, situated on Allen Creek, about seven miles northeast of Americus, which he has improved by the erection of a dwelling house, good barn and other farm buildings. He has planted an orchard of 200 apple trees, sixty peach trees, and smaller fruits. His principal crop is corn. He married Miss Alice C. Laughlin, of Americus Township, January 11, 1871, by which marriage he has had six children, of whom Wiley L., Mark W., Roy and Elsie E., are living.