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


[TOC] [part 12] [part 14] [Cutler's History]


The difference in the location of Axtell and that of other places in Marshall County, is apparent to the observer. Instead of finding the town located in the valley of some stream, he finds it situated on the high prairie land, from which an extended view may be had for miles. The town is situated in the eastern part of the county -- one mile from Nemaha County line -- and is on the line of the St. Joseph & Western Railway, eighty-nine miles west of St. Joseph and twenty-four miles east of Marysville, the county seat; ten miles north of Vermillion, the nearest point on the C. B. M. P. R'y., and nine miles south of the Nebraska line.

The town site of Axtell was surveyed and laid off in January, 1872, by the St. Joseph Town Company. The first building erected was put up by "Shoestring" Dickinson during the same year, and used by him as a store for one year, when he was succeeded by R. F. White. During the same year a depot and side-track was built by the Railroad Company and a postoffice established, with R. F. White as postmaster. August 2, 1880, this office was made a Money Order office, money Order No. 1 being remitted by Thomas Hynes.

The first birth occurred early in 1872, -- a son of W. H. Dickinson. In 1874, occurred the death of George W. Earl, the first blacksmith in town. His remains were taken to Seneca for internment. Now marriage took place until 1879-80.

Owing to adverse circumstances the town did not improve until 1879 -- at this time there being four families in the place. In the fall of 1879 and the winter of 1880, the place received an impetus in the shape of a colony of twenty families from Deep River, Iowa. Among the colonists may be mentioned the names of Reuben, Joseph, Harry, John and Lewis Wasser, J. H. Seaman, J. Axtell, A. E. Axtell, J. Johnson and others. The colony immediately commenced making extensive improvements, which are now manifest in the thriving little village of Axtell.

Churches. -- Axtell has four church organizations, namely: Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational. Of the four, the Catholic denomination has a house of worship, and is one of the oldest religious organizations in that part of the county. Rev. T. Luber, O. S. B., is their present pastor.

The First Presbyterian Church at Axtell was organized in April, 1879, with twenty-three members, by the Revs. J. Brown and James A. Griffes. The society has, at present, no regular pastor, but holds services in the schoolhouse. Present membership, forty-one.

An organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church was perfected in the winter of 1880, with thirteen members, by Rev. Maher. Regular services are held in Axtell's Hall.

The Congregationalists organized themselves into a body in the summer of 1882, with fifteen members. Services are held in the schoolhouse.

School district No. 56, was organized ten years ago, the first term of school being taught by John Watkins in a house owned by A. Watkins, located one mile northeast of town. In 1872-3, a frame schoolhouse, 20x30 feet, was erected on the town site at cost of $750. Miss Jennie Newland taught the first two or three terms. In 1880, the school building was sold to the Catholic denomination, who used it for church purposes. A new building 26x42 feet, was erected during the same year at a cost of $2,000, A. M. Billingsly, teacher.


W. W. BROOKS, was born August 1, 1848 in Holt County, Mo. He removed to Kansas in 1861; settled in White Cloud; was educated in the public schools. He removed to Brown County in 1874; in December 1881, he came to Axtell, where he now resides, and publishes the Axtell Visitor, established August 19, 1882. He was formerly a farmer, but is now a real estate, loan and insurance agent; has a prosperous business, an is doing well. Was married June 5, 1870, to Miss Alice R. Jones, of Washington, Kan. She died December 5, 1882, leaving four children -- Alfred, born August 19, 1871; Edith, born October 7, 1874; Walter G., born February 14, 1877; Alta, born March 4, 1881. Mr. Brooks is a member of the Morrill lodge, No. 187, I. O. O. F.

GEORGE GUITTARD, deceased, came to Marshall County, Kan., in the spring of 1857, settled on Section 4, in Township 2, south of Range 9 east, on the Vermillion, which was afterward called Guittard Station. At the time of Mr. Guittard's settlement, it was a complete wilderness, his nearest neighbors being fourteen miles distant. In the fall of 1858, the great overland thoroughfare was located through his farm, and at the point where it crossed the Vermillion, Mr. Guittard established a trading-post, which was called Guittard Station. Mr. Guittard erected a large and commodious building, and when the stage line was put on this great thoroughfare, they made his place a division headquarters, and it was known to be the best ranch between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. Here Mr. Guittard entertained many of the most celebrated men of the nation in their travels to and from the Pacific Coast. When Ben Holliday assumed control of the overland stage line, Mr. Guittard became his confidential agent, and in cases of peril and danger was entrusted by him in superintending his affairs, and many times received from Mr. Holliday in person substantial tokens of his respect and esteem. In the early settlement of the county Mr. Guittard took an active part in advancing the public interest, and by the exercise of cool judgment and wise counsel materially aided in subduing the fierce and turbulent spirits who at that time ruled the frontiers, and knew no higher power to appeal to than the revolver and bowie-knife. He assisted in the first organization of the county, and in the establishment of law and order, and when it was divided into municipal townships, the one in which he lived was named Guittard Township, in honor of her first and best citizen. For nearly twenty years the township affairs were managed and controlled by him, and his Xavior; and to bear testimony to their good and wise management it became the most peaceable and prosperous township in the county. On the 5th day of March, 1881, he passed away, full of years and honors. It may well be said of him that he did more than any other man for the advancement of the early advancement of the early interests of Marshall County, and when its history is written, his trials and achievements will be among its most important events. He left a family consisting of wife and three sons -- George, Joseph and Xavior, who continued to reside on the old homestead, and are among the wealthiest and most respectable citizens of the county. Xavior is the postmaster at Guittard Station, and is the oldest continuous postmaster in the county, having filled the position for twenty-three years.

A. C. KING, born in Fairfield County, January 8, 1852. At the age of nine years removed to Fulton County, Ind. In 1873 came to Axtell, Marshall County; is a farmer and livery stable proprietor. Was married May 25, 1872, to Miss Myra Meredith, of Fulton County, Ind. Have one child -- Hector Mahlon, born in August, 1874.

J. R. LIVINGSTON, was born in Boone County, Ill., March 16, 1845, where he resided until the war. The suppression of the rebellion called him to arms. He enlisted October 1, 1864, in Company K, Ninety-fifth Illinois Infantry; he was transferred to the Eighth Missouri. He served until the close of the war, and took part in the second battle of Nashville, and the siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. After the war he removed to Cedar Falls, Iowa; was educated in the high school of that city, and graduated from Bryant & Stratton's Business College of Chicago. He taught penmanship in Illinois and Iowa for two years. In 1870 he came to Seneca, Kan., on horseback; was a carpenter, and for a time kept a store in Seneca. In 1874, he removed to Axtell, Marshall Co., Kan., and opened a general stock of merchandise. He has been in business ever since and is doing well; has been Township Treasurer for six years. He was appointed Postmaster for Axtell, March 5, 1875, and is still there; is also a Notary. He was married January 1, 1879, to Miss Lizzie R. Shumway, at Axtell. Mrs. Livingston died August 8, 1880; has one child -- Rowena, born April 14, 1878.

MICHAEL MURRAY, is a native of Ireland; was born in March, 1826. He came to America when sixteen years of age; settled at Verplanck's Point, N. Y.; was a merchant. In 1857 he came West, stopping one year at Lamont. In 1858 he settled at St. Bridget's, Marshall County. He was a farmer until 1866, when he again began business as a merchant. He moved to Axtell November 4, 1875, and continued the business. He has a large stock of general merchandise, and buys live stock. He is one of the largest shippers of Marshall County. He was married June 15, 1852, to Miss Catherine Coghan, of Verplanck's Point, N. Y. They have three children -- Jennie, born April 14, 1857; Susannah, born September 8, 1861; Anna, born May 19, 1863.

WILLIAM RANDALL, was born in Jefferson County, N. Y., March 16, 1828. When twelve years of age, removed to Cleveland, Ohio. He was educated in the public schools of that city. While yet a boy, removed to Buchanan County, Mo. When the war between the States began, he espoused the cause of the Union, and enlisted as a private in Company F, of the Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers. Was promoted to a Captaincy, and served in Missouri until the war closed. He was elected a Representative in the State Legislature from Buchanan County, in 1870, serving with honor to himself and profit to the State. Removed to Axtell, Marshall County, March 1, 1881; has a fine farm well improved, two and a half miles southwest of town; also buys, feeds and ships live stock. Was married November 16, 1862; has six children -- William, George, Nancy, Charles, Claudy and Anne. Is a R. A. Mason.

U. B. SAWYER was born in Washington County, Vt., December 22, 1857. Removed at the age of fifteen years to Pawnee County, Neb.; educated in common schools; was a farmer until 1879, when he came to Axtell, Marshall County, and opened a harness and leather store; has a large stock of merchandise, and does a thriving trade. Was married July 7, 875 to Miss Huldah L. Briles. They have two children -- Hattie and Pearl.

B. S. STANLEY. This gentleman is a native of Jefferson County, N. Y.; was born May 21, 1825. At the age of eleven years he went to Galesburg, Ill. Was a dealer in lumber; removed to Dixon in 1875, and continued the lumber business. In his early years he received his education at Knox Academy, Galesburg. He removed to Kansas in 1879, locating in Axtell, Marshall County. He is a dealer in lumber, building materials, agricultural implements and hardware, coal, etc. He also owns a fine farm in said county; was a member of the county Board of Supervisors of Knox County, Ill., five years; member of the Board of Education of the city of Galesburg six years. He was married on the 24th day of January, 1847, to Avis Prentice. They have three children -- Julian, Willis and Frank H.

[TOC] [part 12] [part 14] [Cutler's History]