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


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


The town of Irving is located on the line of the Central Branch Railroad, ninety miles west of Atchison. Situated in the wide spread valley of that winding stream, with its pure clear waters and timber-covered banks, the Blue, it unquestionably has a pleasant location. Irving has, and always will have, a good trade, arising from the fact of its being located in one of the best settled and best cultivated portions of Marshall County.

In the autumn of 1859, a small colony of fourteen families organized in Lyons, Iowa, and sent W. W. Jerome to prospect and secure a suitable site for the location of a town. After traveling several hundred miles in Kansas, he recommended the lands on which the present town is located.

In February, 1860, the Irving Town Company was incorporated by the Territorial Legislature. Following were the corporators: W. W. Jerome, L. A. Ellis, W. D. Robinson, J. H. Flint, J. T. Wilson, M. D. Abbott, G. M. Gifford, Joel Parker, C. Raymond, B. W. Powers, T. H. Baker and C. E. Gaylord.

About one hundred families in Iowa and Illinois had made preparations to locate near the town of Irving, and quite a number had already moved out, but met, as their first experience, the severe drought of 1860, and many went back, and by their reports kept others away. C. E. Gaylord is the only member of the Irving Town Company now living in Irving.


Irving received its name from Washington Irving, "whose sweet literary productions will ever live to give luster to the memory of that immortal and beloved American author."

Irving, during its infancy, seemed to be linked with a destiny fated to its advancement. Alluding to the drought of 1860, we should mention that the climax of the year's discouragements occurred in July, in the shape of a severe wind and thunder storm. Most of the buildings in Irving at this time were new and unfinished, and offered but little resistance to the wind. Buildings were blown down, houses unroofed, smoke-stack of the colony saw-mill destroyed, and many narrow escapes reported. Some of the colonists went back to Iowa, others located in different parts of Kansas, but the majority remained, and soon others came in and Irving was again on the ascendancy.

In 1860-1, was built at Irving the first church in Marshall County -- there being none nearer than Manhattan, Riley County. The church was built mainly through the efforts of friends of the colony in New York. The first religious services were held in this building by the Rev. Charles Parker.

Neither records nor traditions state anything in regard tot he first marriage, birth, or death.

The survey of what was then known as the Atchison & Pike's Peak Railroad, was completed to Irving in November, 1865. In the fall of 1867, the railroad, under the name of the C. B. U. P., was completed, and during the next winter the depot was built.

A frame building, occupied as a hotel, was erected in 1870 by J. F. Joy, at a cost of $2,500, and known as Irving House. After passing through different managements, it was purchased by William Connor -- the present proprietor.

Corporation. -- Irving was incorporated as a city of the third class in 1871, George C. Crowther being elected as the first Mayor. The first city election was all that was ever carried out by Irving as a city. The officers elected did not qualify; the charter was surrendered, and the "City of Irving" soon became a thing of the past.


Postoffice. -- Was established in 1860, with M. D. Abbott as postmaster. Abbott was succeeded in a few months by S. H. Warren, who retained the office a number of years, when he turned it over to H. E. Smith. Smith was succeeded by S. H. Warren, again, who in 1872 turned the office over to John Thompson, who officiated until 1879, when he was succeeded by Thos. Gaylord, the present postmaster. August 5, 1879, Money Order No. 1 was issued from the Irving Postoffice, Levi Chase, remitter.

Wetmore Institute. -- Was established in 1864?, by Eastern friends of the Colony, prominent among whom was Hon. A. R. Wetmore, in honor of whom the Institute received its name. The Institute building was erected on a slope overlooking the town from the west, was a three-story structure 44x50 feet, and built of limestone. The first teachers were the Misses Blakely, who were succeeded by the Rev. J. L. Chapman, who taught three years. In 1879 a portion of the building was destroyed by a cyclone, and in 1880 was totally destroyed by fire.

In 1868, School district N. 2, erected a stone school building 30x40 feet. The contract price was $2,955, but before the building was completed, $6,000 was expended. A. Jeffers taught the first term, in 1869. In the summer of 1879, this building was destroyed by the Irving cyclone. In the fall of the same year, a new building -- frame -- 30x40 feet, was completed at a cost of $1,500. Prof. H. C. Robinson, the present teacher.

The First Presbyterian Church was organized October 26, 1882, by the Rev. Chas. Parker, with the following named persons as original members: A. Goer, C. A. Freeland and wife, C. E. Gaylord and wife, Mrs. A. Parker, Mrs. J. L. Freeland, Mrs. W. W. Jerome. In 1869, a stone edifice, 42x52 feet, was erected at a cost of $5,000. In 1879, the church was destroyed by a cyclone; but not being discouraged, a new edifice 42x52 feet, was commenced during the same year, and completed in the summer of 1881, at a cost of $3,500.

The following named pastors have had charge of the organization: Revs. C. Parker, J. L. Chapman, Mr. Shelden, G. F. Chapen, J. R. Brown, J. Wilson, I. B. Smith and Rev. J. A. Griffes. Since January 1, 1883, the church has had no regular pastor. Present membership, fifty-four.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1867, by Rev. Mr. Devaul. In the summer of the same year efforts were made toward the erection of a church edifice, but after a little progress was made the work stopped. In 1871, a stone building was purchased, and meetings were held in it until 1879, since which time services have been held in the Presbyterian church. The pastors up to date have been: M. D. Tenney, T. B. Grey, B. F. Smith, W. H. Underwood, E. W. Van Deventer, S. S. Green, G. W. Miller, S. L. Hunter, and the Rev. C. S. Freark, who is their present pastor. Present membership, twenty-eight.

The Episcopal Church was organized in 1867-8, by the Rev. Chas. Holmes. Meetings were held for a number of years in the schoolhouse, when the organization disbanded. In April, 1874, the church was reorganized by Bishop Vail, Rev. C. Holmes, pastor. In the fall of 1879 a small frame edifice was built at a cost of $1,200. Present Rector, Rev. Geo. Turner. Present membership, twenty.

The Press. -- October 31st, 1868, Geo. C. Crowther, having bought out the Marysville Enterprise, removed the material to Irving, and commenced the publication of the Irving Recorder. May 21st, 1869, Mr. Crowther sold a half interest to Harris E. Smith, and the Recorder was published under their management for some time, when Mr. Crowther retired, leaving Mr. Smith sole proprietor, who published the paper until the summer of 1872, when for want of patronage it was suspended. In 1875, John Thompson purchased the material of the defunct Recorder establishment, and started the Irving Blue Valley Gazette. This paper, a Republican journal, was conducted by him till 1879, when it again suspended. In 1880, W. J. Granger purchased the Gazette material and started the Blue Valley Citizen. Mr. Granger conducted the paper nine months, when it was discontinued.

Societies. -- Irving Lodge, No. 34, A. O. U. W. -- Was organized under a charter March 18, 1880, with the following members: W. E. Brown, T. Gaylord, S. A. Bosanko, G. W. Silveria, H. G. Walwath, W. P. Tilton, C. E. Coulter, J. S. Finney, O. Allen, C. H. Stiles. First officers: W. E. Brown, P. M. W.; T. Gaylord, M. W.; C. H. Robinson, F.; C. H. Stiles, O.; J. S. Finney, F.; W. E. Brown, Rec.; C. E. Coulter, F.; C. A. Montgomery, R. Regular meetings were held until the spring of 1882. The organization still retains its charter.

Blue Valley Lodge, No. 142, A. F. & A. M. -- Was organized under a charter granted Octoner 17, 1872. Charter members: C. Nelson, T. Day, R. M. Patterson, W. E. Brown, O. S. Straight, A. Jeffers, W. R. Haywood, F. Falkner, R. L. Weeks, N. W. Morgan, R. L. Wigten. First officers: T. Day, W. M.; R. M. Patterson, S. W.; C. A. Smith, J. W.

Present officers: T. Day, W. M.; J. C. Ward, S. W.; O. Allen, J. W.; J. Armstrong, Treas.; W. E. Brown, Sec'y. Present membership, nineteen.

Sylvan Shades Cemetery was incorporated May 22, 1873, by a stock company. In this cemetery repose the remains of many of the victims of the terrible cyclone of 1879.

Greenwood Cemetery was incorporated in 1877, by W. J. Williams, J. S. Warden, C. E. Gaylord, C. Smith, T. Day. Officers elected for first year were: C. Preston, Pres.; J. S. Warden, Treas.; C. E. Gaylord, Sec'y. During the same year, a tract of twenty acres was purchased and improved. Present officers same as above.


D. C. CALHOUN, farmer, P. O. Irving, was born in Indiana, January 27, 1840. Enlisted in Company I, Forty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and remained in service two years and eight months, when he moved to Ohio. In 1867, he emigrated to Marshall County, Kan., and located four miles from Irving, on a farm of 240 acres. Here he keeps from 75 to 125 head of cattle, 16 to 20 head of horses, and 75 to 200 head of hogs. Mr. Calhoun was married in Marshall County, Kan., July 20, 1871, to Elizabeth McClare, and has one child -- Francis M., Born July 11, 1873.

L. CHASE, M. D., was born in Jewett, Greene Co., N. Y., January 14, 1847. Studied medicine, graduating from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1869. Moved to Kansas in same year, and settled in Irving. Has practiced medicine there since. Is a Republican in politics, and has frequently represented Marshall County in the State Conventions of his party. Has never married.

C. E. COULTER, was born in Canada, in 1853. Came to Marshall County in 1872, and settled in Blue Rapids. Studied medicine in Philadelphia. In 1875, began trade as a druggist in Marysville, but in 1878 was burned out. The next year, began in same line at Irving, soon after the great cyclone which destroyed the town on the 29th of May of that year. Was married in February, 1877, to Miss E. B. Craft. Has a daughter -- Edna A., aged four years. Mr. Coulter is a member of the A. O. U. W.

THEODORE GAYLORD was born in New York in 1839; moved from there to Illinois in 1848. On the 25th of September 1861, enlisted in the U. S. Army, Company A, Sixty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Had misfortune to lose one of his arms in a battle before Atlanta. Was discharged in 1865. Mr. Gaylord holds a lieutenant's commission. In 1867, he came to Marshall County, Kan., and in 1879 was appointed postmaster at Irving, Marshall County, Kan., which position he now holds. Is a member of the A. O. U. W. Was married in Irving, January 5, 1871, to Minerva Gift. They have four children -- Julia A., Josephine, William and Bertha.

GEORGE W. JONES, farmer, P. O. Irving, was born in Bath County, Ky., in 1857, and came from there as a boy to Miami County, Kan., in 1857, and in 1870 he joined relatives in Marshall County, Kan., and in 1877 removed to Sedgwick County, Kan. In the spring of 1879, himself, J. F. Forey, William Glenn, W. Merrick, John Burnham and George Vickers, left Wichita with the express purpose of founding a new town to the west. This expedition resulted in the platting of Harper City, in what is now Harper County, by Mr. Glenn. Each of the colonists laid claim to a quarter section of "Mother Earth," and bought an interest in the town site. Mr. Glenn built the first house, the first hotel and was the prominent man. Mr. Merrick built the first store.

C. A. MONTGOMERY, merchant, was born in Franklin County, Pa., in 1838; moved to Illinois in 1846, thence came to Irving, Marshall County, Kan., in 1866, and clerked to S. H. Warren, and in 1879 purchased from S. H. Warren his stock of general merchandise, and is now doing business in a room 25x75, with an addition of 16x60; carries a stock of $10,000. In 1861, C. A. enlisted in the United States Army in Company G, Thirteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry; was appointed Sergeant, and served three years and two months. After the war he returned to Illinois, and in November, 1868, was married to F. Bigelow. They have two children -- William and May. He is a member of the Masonic Order.

J. C. MOORE, merchant, was born in Ohio, in 1849, and in 1870, moved to Irving, Marshall County, Kan., and in 1880, engaged in the grocery and boot and shoe business. Has held the office of Township Clerk. Was married in Irving in 1874, and has two children -- B. O. and Claudy.

E. M. PETERSEN. This gentleman was born in Norway, February 5, 1848. He came to America in 1866, and located in Wisconsin, and in 1872 came to Marshall County, Kan., and engaged in the merchandise business, with capital less than $100. Mr. Petersen is a young man who has gradually increased his stock, until he is now doing business in a room 22x75 feet, with an addition of 14x25 feet, and carries a stock of $12,000. Thus can be seen what energy and enterprise will do in the great State of Kansas, if a man has the true grit and perseverance. He was married in Irving in the year of 1877, to Emma Heines.

W. H. SABINS & SON. W. H. was born in Oneida County, N. Y., June 25, 1823; moved to Illinois, thence to Marshall County, Kan., in 1870, and engaged in farming and stock-raising; has a farm of 320 acres; keeps 50 head of cattle, and 50 to 100 head of hogs. Mr. Sabins and his son farm 400 acres of land, the most of which is in broom corn., and are compelled to keep about thirty head of horses to do the work. Mr. Sabins was married in New York, and is the father of five children. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace. I. E. Sabins, son of W. H., was born in New York state in 1848, and moved to Marshall County, Kan., in 1870, and is now the owner of eighty acres of land. The father and son made a business of moving buildings and other heavy structures. The last named gentleman was married in Irving in 1879, to Maggie Dedrick, and has one child -- Effie M., aged two years.

A. SHIPP was born in Indiana, in 1833; moved from there to Illinois, then to Iowa, and in 1857 he came to Marshall County, Kan., settling within one mile of the town of Irving. Mr. Shipp, was living at this place at the time the Indians made a raid through Northern Kansas, killing over two hundred. This gentleman has held the office of Constable for twelve years, and is now holding the office of School Director. He was married in Iowa, December 9, 1854, to Esther M. Slater, and has twelve children, and four grandchildren.

S. D. STRONG, architect and builder, P. O. Irving, was born in Ohio, October 12, 1826; moved there to Iowa, thence to Tennessee, and in 1861 returned to Ohio. Enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Eighty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and remained until the close of the war. He then returned to Ohio and remained until 1869, when he emigrated to Marshall County, Kan., and now owns a farm of 340 acres six miles south of Irving. Mr. Strong's son, R. D., was sent from the Eighth Congressional district of Ohio, to the United States Naval Academy, where he remained two years. Mr. S. D. Strong was married the second time in Cardington, Ohio, January 1, 1865, to Hannah K. Russell. Mr. Strong had two sons -- R. D., and L. E., by his first marriage, the latter having died at the age of five years. The children by the second marriage are W. L., C. A., Frank (deceased), E. O., Henry R. deceased, Mary E., Maggie L. H. H. and Nana J., in all eleven children. R. D. Strong married to Esther M. Douglass, September 1, 1881.

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