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


[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]


John C. Fremont crossed the Big Vermillion June 20, 1842, on his way to the mountains, at some point near where Barrett is now located, and made the following mention in his note-book: "We crossed at 10 A. M., the Big Vermillion, which has a rich bottom of about one mile in breadth, one-third of which is occupied by timber."

The first settler after the Frenchmen and their Sioux families, was G. H. Hollenberg, afterwards founder of Hollenberg, Washington County. He located in the fall of 1854 on a claim in Section 2, Township 5, Range 9. As there was at this time considerable California travel that way, Mr. Hollenberg opened a small store and stocked it with provisions and articles such as the immigration demanded.

John D. Wells, D. M. Levitt and Joseph Langdon were the next to settle on the Vermillion, in 1855.

In the spring of 1855, a colony of sixty members was organized at Cadiz, Ohio, with the intention of settling on the Vermillion in a body. They selected a tract of land five miles square, and as the government surveyors had not extended their surveys this far at that time, they laid out the five mile tract themselves. A. G. Barrett, D. C. Auld, John Roland, J. G. Radcliffe, W. S. Blackburn and a Mr. Poe, all members of the colony, settled on the five mile tract in the spring of 1855.

In 1858, the Trosper Brothers and others came in and located, and from that time to this the settlement of the Southern part of the county has been rapid.

Organization. -- Barrett was laid off as a town site in 1868-9, by A. G. Barrett, who deeded one-half of the site, forty acres, to the C. B. U. P. R. R. Co., who agreed to erect a depot and build a side-track. About $1,200 was donated by the neighborhood for the privilege of having a station at that point.

A post-office was established at Barrett in 1857, with E. Pugh as Postmaster, J. P. Farrant being the present post office official. During the time previous to the establishment of a post-office, the settlers obtained mail at St. Mary's Mission, Pottawatomie County, Ft. Riley, Davis County, and at Marysville.

A saw-mill was built by Joseph Langdon, on the Vermillion in 1856, and was operated for several years. In the winter of 1856, occurred one of the first births in the settlement -- a child of a Mrs. Teller having that honor. The first marriage ceremony took place in the summer of 1857, the contracting parties being Solon Jassen and Miss Wright. One of the first deaths was the wife of a Mr. Shirk, in 1857. The first religious services were held in 1857, in the old saw-mill, by various members of the "circuit riders." A Methodist class was organized in 1869, and attached to the Frankfort Circuit. Services were, and have been, held in the schoolhouse up to the present time by pastors having charge of the Frankfort organization.

Education. -- School District No. 1, was organized in 1859 and a small schoolhouse 14x20 feet, was built on the site of the present edifice; during the same year John Crawford had the honor of teaching the first term of school in the first legally organized district in the county. In the fall of 1869 a new building was erected at a cost of $3,000. This building is the largest one-story schoolhouse in the county, its dimensions being 30x46 feet.

In the summer of 1855, A. G. Barrett brought out a grist-mill from Ohio. He shipped it by steamer to Leavenworth, and hauled it around by the Ft. Riley road and the California trail, to the Vermillion. The mill commenced operations in the fall of the same year, and has been in successful operation to the present time. The present owner, J. Reodocker, purchased the mill of A. G. Barrett, in 1881, and has enlarged it, put in new machinery, and constructed a tunnel 400 feet long, to bring the water of the Vermillion to the mill, which had formerly been run by steam-power. The present building is two-stories high, 36x45 feet, and has three run of burrs.


THOMAS BISBING, farmer, P. O. Frankfort, was born 1829, in Bedford County, Pa. In 1831, his people settled in Somerset County, where he grew up, and enlisted in the Fifth Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. Was engaged in guarding Fort Sumner, at Washington for a month, then the O. & A. R. R., two months, then stationed at Fairfax, Va., where he and the battery were engaged in the dread work of gathering and burying the bones of the killed at Bull Run, and in erecting headstones until 1865, or the downfall of rebeldom. After the war he was engaged as head sawyer at Lambertsville, Pa., until 1874, when he located at Atlantic, Iowa, and for two and a half years engaged in bridge building. In 1877 he came to Kansas, where he has a valuable farm, a good stone house, 18x25, a basement barn, 14x28, orchard, grove, etc., in Clear Fork Township, Marshall County. He married at her birthplace, Buckstown, Pa., Rose A. Ling, by whom he has eight children. It is a remarkable fact that they were all born on Sunday, as was one that died. The names are Saloma, Catherine, James B., Emma, Josie, Almina, Jessie and Lulu May, all born in Somerset County, Pa.

A. C. HIGHT, farmer, Section 4, P. O. Frankfort, Born in 1832, in Williams County, Ohio. He removed at twenty to a farm in Allen County, Ind., and thence to Jones County, Iowa, in 1854. In 1862 he enlisted in Company B, Twenty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served under General Blunt, in Arkansas. At the capture of Arkansas Post a piece of shell cut away three fingers of his hand, which wound laid him up for six months. Re-entering the service, he drove ambulance up to the engagement at Yazoo Pass, when a ball through the calf of his leg ended his military service, and honorably retired him, a pensioner. Returning to Maquoketa, Iowa, he came in 1872 to his present farm in Clear Fork Township, Marshall County. Mr. Hight has done good work here, as 130 of his 160 acres are under cultivation, and his ten acre orchard of all kinds of fruit is one of the largest and best in the county. His wife was Lucy Battles, married in Jones County, Iowa, where were born their two eldest children, Asa E., and Fannie E., the youngest, Rhoda O., being born in Maquoketa. Mr. Hight and family belong to the United Brethren Church.

SAMUEL McCONCHIE, P. O. Barrett, is a native of Scotland, where he was born September 30, 1837. Came to America in 1849 and located in Illinois. Enlisted in the United States Army, August 9, 1862, in Company I, One Hundred and Second Illinois Infantry. At the close of the war returned to Knox County, Ill. Was married in Knox County, March 10, 1589, to Jane C. Baird. They have a family of six children -- James H., Maggie, Thomas H., Mary A., Ida May and Jennie.

THOMAS NOLAN, farmer, P. O. Wyoming, was born in Ireland in 1832. Came to America in 1876, and settled at Marshall County, Kan., and purchased 400 acres of land, 200 acres of which are under cultivation. Me. Nolon is a member of the Catholic Church, and states that their church on Irish Creek was built in 1869. Raised the first Irish potato raised on Irish Creek, in Marshall County. Mr. Nolan was married in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1863, to Mary Welch, and has six children, Mary, Anna, Thomas, John, Hannah, and Nellie.

HORACE L. SAGE, P. O. Barrett, born in New York, April 27, 1810. His father died in 1813; then Horace was sent to Massachusetts, where he remained until sixteen years of age. He then went back to his mother on the farm in New York, and remained there until he was twenty-two years of age, and in that State till 1827, when he moved to Knox County, Ill., and bought a half section of land, and remained there till 1869. He then removed to Kansas, where he has lived thirteen years, and has bought considerable land and settled others others on it, and when they gain enough to buy the land, then he sells it to them; they pay cash rent. Mr. Sage has accumulated a handsome fortune for his old age, now being in his seventy-third year.


Vermillion, a pleasant little town of about 150 inhabitants, is located on the South Fork of the Black Vermillion, seventy miles west of Atchison, on the Central Branch of the M. P. R'y.

Early Settlement. -- Among the settlers who located in the vicinity of Vermillion, prior to 1860, were J. Klapp, E. Lewis, W. Warren, Major Beattie, S. Smith, I. Blades, J. Kenworthy and S. Osgood. Among those who located in town, were Theo. Collier, J. E. Watson, G. R. Kelley, W. H. Dickinson, R. Shields, A. Dilley and others.

The town of Vermillion was laid off in the fall of 1869, by Messrs. G. R. Kelly and Theo. Collier and the C. B. U. P. R. R. Co. The original town site, consisting of 240 acres, was owned as follows: R. R. Company, 40 acres; T. Collier, 40 acres, and G. R. Kelly 160 acres. Messrs. Collier and Kelley gave one-half of their interests to the R. R. Company, who laid off the town and built a depot and side track.

Early Events. -- The first building erected on the town site was put up by W. H. Dickinson, in the spring of 1870, and was used as a store. This was followed by a large store building erected by Robert Shields. This building was used in 1872 as a hotel, managed by a Mr. Byron, until 1875.

The first birth on the town site was that of Frank, a son of Theo. Collier, in August, 1870. The first marriage ceremony took place in 1875, the contracting parties being A. Duffy and Miss Eva Burt. The first death was that of George Collier, in May, 1870. The postoffice was established in 1870, with T. Collier as postmaster, S. Arnold being the present postmaster.

Churches. -- Religious services were held by the Rev. Charles Parker, of the Presbyterian persuasion, in the depot at Vermillion, in 1871. Irregular services of this denomination were held up to February 9. 1879, when an organization of thirteen members was perfected by the Rev. T. Hill, D. D., and Rev. I. B. Smith, who took charge of the church until April, 1882, when he was succeeded by the Rev. H. W. Woods, of Frankfort. In 1879, a church building erected in 1876 by the people of the "Church of God," was purchased at a Sheriff's sale for $834 -- the original cost being $2,500. The building is a frame structure 32x60 feet, and since its purchase by the Presbyterians, $500 has been expended on improvements. Present membership of the church, nineteen.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the depot with twelve members, by the Rev. A. Grey, in 1871. Among the original members were: T. Byron and wife, Mrs. W. H. Dickinson, Mrs. M. Parks, J. Musselman and A. Dilley and wife. Rev. Mr. Grey was succeeded by Rev. Messrs. Hibbard, Sweet, Biggs, G. Simpson, J. Biddleson, Amos Carter, and D. J. Crooks, their present pastor. A church edifice, 26x42 feet, was built in the fall of 1874, at a cost of $1,400. Present membership, forty-five.

A church organization of the Universalist faith was consummated in July, 1880, by Rev. Mr. Rhodes, with forty members. Services are held in the schoolhouse by Rev. Mr. Rhodes, of Seneca, their present pastor.

School District No. 12 was organized in 1864, with only three families in the district. The schoolhouse used was built by the "united Brethren," and used by them for religious services. Miss Martha Lewis and W. Spear were among the first teachers. When the district was divided, the schoolhouse was moved within one mile west of Vermillion, R. Middleton being the first teacher after the schoolhouse was removed. In 1872, a new frame school building, 24x44 feet, was erected at a cost of $3,000. The first teacher in the new building was L. B. Holmes, who was succeeded by the following in the order mentioned: Miss Holmes, B. F. Johnson, J. F. Wright, W. Mock, F. M. Riddle, William Cochraun, G. W. Winans, J. Van Vleit, -----------, D. Ewing and R. W. Reese, the present incumbent.

Elevator. -- In the summer of 1874, G. W. Duffey built an elevator 24x44 feet, with a capacity of 3,000 bushels, and operated it until 1878, when he leased it to J. H. Earl for three years. Earl sub-leased it to different parties. In August, 1882, the elevator was leased by Weston Brothers, who are the present lessees.


W. H. DE WALT, proprietor Eagle Hotel, was born 1844, in Perry County, Pa., and enlisted in 1861, in Company B, Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves. He fought with his regiment at Antietam, Mechanicsville, Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg, where he and a few others captured the only trophy of that blood-clouded day -- a rebel flag. After fighting at Gettysburg and the Wilderness campaign, and that of Richmond and Petersburg, he came, uninjured, out of the service. Came from Pennsylvania to Kansas in 1870, engaged in farming for a few years, then built his hotel, the first and only one in Vermillion. He has of late done a brisk real estate business in connection. Mrs. DeWalt was Margaret E. Lanck, and they have one son -- Charles, born November, 1866, in Shermansdale, Pa. Mr. DeWalt is a Republican.

G. R. KELLY, Vermillion, born in Ohio, January 13, 1813. He moved to Indiana in 1831, and from there to Marshall County, Kan., in 1874, and engaged in farming. He is the owner of 800 acres of land, 470 acres which are under cultivation. The town of Vermillion is located on part of Mr. Kelly's land. He has given to each of his children a farm, amounting to about 1,200 acres in all. Mr. Kelly is a member of the Masonic Order, having taken the degrees up to Knight Templar. Was married in Indiana in 1833, to Anna King, and has the following named children living: Martha, Della, George W., and Laura.

GEORGE W. WARREN, carpenter, is a son of W. W. Warren (see sketch of W. O. Warren), and came to Kansas in 1859, with the family. Upon the death of his father in 1862, the family "broke up," G. W. engaging in farming etc., until 1873, when he settled in Vermillion, where he has a pleasant, cosy, home and interesting family, his widowed mother finding his roof her home during her descent of the plane of life. The family are Methodists in religious faith. Those of them who have been residents of Kansas are W. O., George W., C. F., Esther, Mrs. John Corey, J. R., and T. W. Warren.

WILLIAM O. WARREN, farmer, Section 34, P. O. Vermillion. Is a son of W. W. Warren, a relative of General Warren, of Bunker Hill fame, and who was born in Cheshire, Vermont, was reared as a "bound boy" in Vermont, and married in Warren County, Pa., Lydia Osgood. William O. Warren was born here in 1811. He removed to Stephenson County, Ill., thence to Freen County, Wis., and there married Sybil Morton. He came to Kansas in 1857, and laid claim to his present farm, built a log house and began pioneering. His only neighbors were Major Beaty and E. Sweet. Mr. Warren has a valuable 170 acre farm, which he entered at the United States Land Office, July 4, 1859. The log house of early times is replaced by a substantial frame one, and that is now surrounded by orchards and groves of his own planting. Mr. and Mrs. Warren have only three living children of the ten born to them. Mr. Warren well remembers his early experiences.

J. F. WATSON, retired farmer, came to Kansas from Iowa, June 4, 1857, taking a claim on Vermillion Creek. Though but eighteen years old he successfully held the claim through the kindly co-operation of the "Claim Club," against the few who tried to dispossess him; though his land warrant, costing him $200 at sixty per cent interest, nearly beat him eventually. He enlisted with the Thirteen Kansas Volunteers, fought at Cane Hill, Prairie Grove and Van Buren, and served out his time with the regiment. At the close of the war he returned to Kansas, bought a 200 acre farm in Noble Township, operated it until 1879, then sold out, and has since lived in Vermillion village, operating in grain and stock. He was born in Brown County, Ind., and married Frances Hutchinson, by whom he has six children, born in Kansas.

[TOC] [part 13] [part 11] [Cutler's History]