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


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


Gnadenau town site is Section 11, township 20, Range 2. It is in Liberty Township, a little southeast of Hillsboro, one street from east to west runs through its center. The town lots in fact are town farms; each lot is about half a mile long, having a front of 150 feet. The four center lots, two on either side of the street, are for a school, church, store and public hall. After religious services on Sunday, these people -- the Mennonites -- consider every kind of public business; improvements are ordered, and all must bear an equitable portion of the labor and expense incident thereto. The heads of households enact the laws and the regulations of the colony.

Menno or (Simonis) the founder of this sect, was a contemporary of Martin Luther. This man's votaries were gathered in Holland, and in 1790 their first settlement was made in Russia. In 1873, the Mennonites sent out from Russia delegations to explore the United States and Canada. After the return of their agents, a few single families of considerable wealth, heeding the advice of their delegates, came to Marion Center, and selected several sections of land, in the vicinity of their town, Gnadenau, which, having a liberal translation, means "Valley of Mercy." In 1876, 30,000 acres were sold to a colony of Bohemians, the land being in Town 18, Ranges 3 and 4. The Mennonites have large settlements in Towns 19, 20 and 21 in Range 12, and in Towns 19 and 20 in Range 2. They are honest, industrious people, and many of them are very wealthy. They are attracted to Kansas because the laws exempt them from military duty and they have their own titles in fee simple to so many valuable, attractive homes.

Gnadenau has two blacksmith shops, a store, the keeper of which is elected, and the tenure of office is conditioned upon the satisfaction he gives. He is not permitted to sell tobacco or any intoxicating liquors.

Hoffnungsthall and Moscow are Mennonite communities. The Russian Baptist Church was built in Gnadenau in 1876.


Hillsboro, ten miles from Marion Center, on the Marion & McPherson Railroad, has J. F. Hay for its station agent; Christian Ramsier for its Postmaster. The town of Hillsboro was laid out on the north half of the southwest quarter of Section 34, Town 19, Range 4, June 24, 1879. Beebe's Addition to Hillsboro was laid out on the south half of the northwest quarter of Section 34, Town 19, Range 12, August 3, 1880 ; Kliever's Addition to Hillsboro is a recent enlargement of the town. The town is improving quite rapidly. Funk & Son opened up one of the best steam mills in the West, in April, 1882. It stands about thirty rods west of the station. Here are four grain shippers, two lumber dealers, two physicians, three hardware stores, four general stores, two blacksmith shops, two banks, one restaurant, one meat market, one drug store, one hotel, one furniture store. The Methodist Episcopal Church has an organization and there are several Mennonites in the town, also some German Catholics. Here is School District No. 82. The school building is a two story stone structure; W. P. Rife is the Principal. Prof. Burgdorph has a private German school; it is well patronized.

The Phonograph was started by the Groat brothers; W. J. Groat was editor-in-chief; J. T. Groat, local editor.

J. B. Crouch, now of the FlorenceHerald purchased the Phonograph. The enterprise did not promise the necessary success and it was abandoned in May, 1882, about thirty-five numbers having been published.


Burns is ten miles southeast of Florence, on the El Dorado Branch of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. It is a thriving little station. Josephus Collett is Postmaster. St. Francis City is somewhat more than a mile south of Burns. This place was located September 28, 1882, by the Franciscan Brothers, a Catholic order, on part of the west one-half of the southeast quarter and the east one-half of the southwest quarter of Section 33, Town 22, Range 5. Lincolnville, Bethel and Lost Springs are post offices in Clear Creek Township. I. F. Shupe is the merchant at Lost Springs; Lincolnville has a general store, a blacksmith shop, a fine school building, and is a center of excellent agricultural region. It was located by Robert F. McAllister on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 14, Town 18, Range 4, May 11, 1872. L. L. Evans is Postmaster at Bethel; W. H. Evans, at Lincolnville; A. Terry, at Lost Springs.

Lehigh -- Alden Speare, of Boston, filed a plat of this burg, August 23, 1881. It is located on the northeast quarter of Section 27, Town 19, Range 1. It is six miles west of Hillsboro. L. Monninger is Postmaster and merchant here. Mud Creek is a post office in Gale Township; G. Hutchins, Postmaster. Youngtown is in Grant Township, L. D. Pierce, Postmaster. Creswell is in Liberty Township, C. E. Whitney, Postmaster.


Nearly in the geographical center of Durham Park Township is located the great cattle ranch of the State owned by Mr. Albert Crane, of Chicago, the proprietor of Durham Park, and the owner of the best families of thoroughbred bulls, and of Airdrie Dutchess third, and of Airdrie Dutchess second, the cost of both $44,600. The present Postmaster at Durham Park is William Hallowell.


MAJ. J. K. McLEAN is a native of Guilford County, N. C. He was born July 31, 1823. His boyhood and youth were spent on the farm during which time he received a common school education. At the age of twenty, he was married to Miss Mary P. McLean who, a few months after her marriage, died. Mr. McLean then left North Carolina to seek his fortune in the far West, as Illinois was then known. He settled in Bond County, of that State and in 1847 was married to Miss Elizabeth A. Donnell, of Greenville, Ill., with whom he lived until her death, which occurred early in 1879, near Florence, Marion Co., Kan. This lady was the mother of his five children -- the eldest Mary P., and the youngest, Henry A., Superintendent of the city schools of Wellington, Kan. In the fall of 1880, Maj. McLean was married to Mrs. D. J. Rankin, of Donnellson, Iowa. For more than twenty years, Mr. McLean was a citizen of Bond County, Ill., during which time he was extensively engaged in agricultural and mercantile pursuits. For two terms, he was Treasurer of his county. At the breaking-out of the war, he enlisted in Company D, Third Illinois Cavalry, and upon its organization was elected First Lieutenant. After two years of active duty he was appointed Captain of his company. In July, 1865, he received the appointment of Major. He served in many of the important battles of the Southwest. He was among those ordered to the protection of the Northwest against the Indians, who were giving trouble in Minnesota and Dakota. In October, of 1865, he was mustered out at Fort Snelling, Minn. In 1868, with his family, he located in Topeka, and after a two years' residence in the capital he moved to Florence, where he established the first store. In 1871, he was appointed Postmaster of Florence, which position, having been elected a member of the State Legislature, he resigned in 1873. He is one of the oldest settlers of Marion County, and has been much connected with municipal affairs. He is now a farmer and stock-raiser, located on his beautiful farm called Silent Shades, located one mile northeast of Florence.

ALONZO G. REYNOLDS, farmer, located four miles from Florence, on Section 21 Township 21, Range 4, Fairplay Township, P. O. Florence, was born in Erie County, N. Y., in 1827. Resided there until 1868, engaged in farming. Was married in 1850, in Monroe County, N. Y, to Marinda C. Munson and has six children. In 1868, he moved to Wisconsin and engaged there in farming until the fall of 1870, when he came to Kansas. Has held the office of Township Trustee since the fall of 1879.

JOHN C. ROTH, farmer, Section 22, Clear Creek Township, P. O. Marion Center, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, March 3, 1835. Came to Kansas when about nineteen years of age. Was married in May, 1866, to Miss Mary A. Wise, of Virginia, and has two children -- Gaby and Charles.

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