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


[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]


This town is on the line of the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, ten miles south of Paola. It was surveyed September 7th, 1869, by J. B. Grinnell, who, in selling any of the land, introduced into each deed a contract that no alcoholic drinks should ever be sold on the property by the purchaser.

This town took its name from "Old Fontana" which was laid out one half mile west of the new town, at the cross roads, in 1858. Four farms cornered there, owned respectively by J. Ruble, Shipley, Bales and McCulloch, ten acres being taken from each farm for the town site; at the height of its prosperity " Old Fontana" contained one store and three dwellings. A postoffice was established some distance away, with Dr. Connery for Postmaster. When the railroad was projected and its construction assured, the new town was laid out, and the old town site abandoned, except for farming purposes. The first to build on the new town site was Joseph Johnson, who erected a residence. The second was Mr. Fields who built a trading house, the third was Peter Yoho, who put up a grocery. Thomas, John and Edward Toms erected a grist mill here in 1871, at the time one of the finest in the State.

The Methodists had an organization in the old town, effected in 1860, with eight members. In 1870, they erected a church building in the new town, at a cost of $1,200. The Baptists during the same year dedicated their new church edifice which had been erected at a cost of $1,500 and in 1872, the Christians, organized themselves into a society with seven members, erecting a house of worship in 1878, at a cost of $1,000. Their membership is at present 120. The United Brethern and Presbyterians also each has an organization, the latter with thirty-six members, but neither has as yet erected a church.

The first birth in Fontana was that of John Yoho, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Yoho, in 1871; the first marriage that of Mr. Henderson to Miss Lucinda Landers, in 1869, the first natural death, that of an infant child of B. Bashear; but the first burial in the cemetery was that of a man who had taken up and secreted, preparatory to running off, another man's horse. Being informed upon, he loaded his gun to shoot the informer and upon going out, slipped and fell upon the frozen ground, and received the lead designed for the informer, in his own body, dying therefrom a few days thereafter.

At the present time Fontana contains two general stores, one grocery, one drug store, one hardware store, one agricultural implement dealer, two grain dealers, one lumber yard, one grist mill, one two story stone schoolhouse erected in 1871, at a cost of $3,500 and about 350 inhabitants.

On December 23, 1872, a fire broke out in the town, which destroyed nine buildings. This was a severe blow to the embryo city and for two or three years afterward, it progressed backwards instead of forwards, but for the last four or five years, the town has made a steady and sure growth.


HENRY D. BECK, farmer, Section 12, Township 19, Range 23, P. O. Fontana, was born in Washington County, Pa., July 31, 1830. Was brought up in his native State, and moved to Champaign County, Ill., in 1854, where he was engaged four years in farming, and in November, 1858, he came to Kansas with his brother, William L., and located his present farm. He enlisted in July, 1862, as a private in Company C, Twelfth Kansas Infantry and served three years, or til June 30, 1865. He was married in Champaign County, Ill., April 16, 1857 to Miss Elizabeth J., daughter of Cyrus Tuttle. Mrs. Beck was born in Champaign County, Ill. They have five children living-Mary C., Charles R., Edgar, Cordie A., and George A. Mr. Beck has a well improved farm of 230 acres.

WILLIAM L. BECK, farmer, Section 12, Township 19, Range 23, P. O. Fontana, was born in Washington County, Pa., May 5, 1832. Was brought up a farmer and moved to Champaign County, Ill., in 1854 and from there to Kansas in November, 1858. He located on Section 12, Osage township and resides on the same farm where he stuck his stakes a quarter of a century ago. He has a fine stock farm of 160 acres. He enlisted in the late war, in August 1861, as a private of Company I, Twentieth Illinois Infantry, and served til July, 1865. He was married in Pennsylvania in April, 1864, to Miss Sarah Rees. Mrs. Beck died in 1866. Mr. Beck married again in March, 1868, in Kansas to Miss Clarinda McIntosh. Mrs. Beck was born in Indiana. They have five children, two sons and three daughters-Olive F., Jacob, George E., Annie and Fannie. Mr. Beck was elected one of the County Commissioners for Miami County in 1879, for the term of three years. He has held various local offices and once served a Township Trustee.

JESSE H. BRUNER, farmer and merchant, farm residence Section 31, Township 18, Range 24; store at Fontana. Has about 1,000 acres of land, lying mostly in the rich bottoms of the Marais des Cygnes River, being situated in Sections 25 and 36, Township 18, Range 23; Sections 30 and 31, Township 18, Range 24; Section 6 Township 19, Range 24. Mr. Bruner has considerable real estate in Fontana, where he has his winter residence and store. He is the senior partner of the firm of J. H. Bruner & Co., dealers in general merchandise; carry an average stock of $7,000. They also deal in farm machinery, grain and live stock. Mr. Bruner was born in Montgomery County, Ind., at Crawfordsville, January 15, 1832. He was brought up in his native State and in 1856 started for Kansas. Spent a short time in Missouri and arrived in Lykins County (now Miami) Kas., August 14, 1857. Mr. Bruner is said to have built the first shanty of white man's home within the boundaries of Osage Township, situated on Section 36, Township 18, Range 23. Twelve years later he moved to the present site of Fontana. He enlisted in the Home Guards, and afterwards in the Ninth Kansas Cavalry and served during the war. He was married in Indiana in 1855, to Miss Mary, daughter of Daniel La Rose. Mrs. Bruner was born in Indiana. They have six children, three sons and three daughters-Sarah E., wife of E. C. Douthat, of Osage; Clara E., wife of William Palmer, of Osage; Joseph, William S., Emma J., and Jesse L. In 1872 Mr. Bruner opened a general store at Fontana, which he conducted til the spring of 1883, when he sold an interest in it to Mr. Thomas Loman, who is now in charge of the business while Mr. Bruner devotes his attention to his extensive farming interests.

JOHN P. DODD, farmer, Section 6, Township 19, Range 23, P. O. Fontana. Mr Dodd is one of the pioneers of Miami County of 1857. He was born in Hendricks County, Ind., May 15, 1834. At eighteen years of age, he went to Iowa where he spent about five years. In 1857 he came to Kansas, arriving in Lykins County, now Miami, and located a claim on the southwest quarter of Section 6, Township 19, Range 23 (Osage) before the land was open to pre-emption. He subsequently purchased this tract, and has since improved it, til he now has one of the best 160 acre farms in the county. On the breaking out of the late war, he was an earnest partisan of the Government, and enlisted in September, 1861, in what was known as the Missouri Home Guards, which was soon consolidated into the Ninth Kansas Cavalry, Company H. Served the term of his enlistment, and subsequently did duty in the Kansas Militia til the close of the war. He was elected County Commissioner in 1860 and resigned his office in September, 1861, to join the army, He was married in 1852, to Miss Amanda, daughter of Samuel Surber. Mrs. Dodd was born in Indiana. They have three children one son and two daughters-Mary S., wife of Jesse Martin, of Mound Township, Samuel, of Pratt County, Kas., Anna E., deceased, was the wife of Nicholas Warner, died in 1882. Mrs. Dodd died in 1858. Mr. Dodd was married in the latter part of 1859, in Kansas, to Mrs. Eliza J. Bruner, widow of Smith Bruner, and daughter of Simon Davendorf. Mrs. Dodd was born in Indiana. They have five children three sons and two daughters-James, Flora E., Jennie and Jesse.

T. C. ENGLISH, farmer, feeds and deals extensively in live stock, ships some twenty carloads a season; farm and residence, Section 8, Township 19, Rane 23, P. O. Fontana. Mr. English was born in Salem County, N. J., in March, 1834. Came West to Illinois in 1853, and thence to Kansas, January, 1866. he purchased the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 19, Range 23, and a tract in Section 8, of same township, where he now resides, having in all 460 acres. He came to Kansas to enter into the livestock business and has devoted his attention to that line of business, continuously since and is widely and favorably known as an enterprising and fair dealer. He was married in Peoria County, Ill., in 1855, to Miss Sarah E. Saxe, daughter of Capt. John Saxe. They have six children, two sons and four daughters-Anthony N., William A., Mary, Rosana, Anne E. and Fannie.

CHARLES W. GREEN, farmer, Section 13, Township 19, Range 23, P. O. Fontana, was born in Rutland County, Vt., January 4, 1828. When thirteen years of age he moved to Ohio with his mother, having lost his father when a child. In 1850, he went to California and was engaged in mining for three years. He then returned to Illinois and settle in DeWitt County where he engaged in farming. In 1859, he immigrated to Kansas, arriving in Osage Township, May 1. He purchased his present farm of 160 acres, on Section 13. During the war, he served in the State Militia in defense of Kansas. He has held various responsible political trusts, having served three terms as Trustee of Osage Township and other minor offices. He was elected to the Kansas State Legislature for the term of 1869-70. Mr. Green was married in Illinois, in 1855 to Miss Nancy, daughter of Elias Jolley. Mrs. Green was born in Ohio., They have six children, three sons and three daughters-Bettie S., Elias N., John N., Foster B., Annie E. and Sarah E. All but the eldest were born in Kansas.

H. B. HIGH, merchant, senior partner of the firm of High, Bartlett & Co., dealers in general merchandise; farm machinery, grain and live stock. the firm is composed of H. B. High, R. I. Bartlett and J. R. Shepard. They have a large double store, one section of which is devoted to dry goods, groceries, notions, etc., and the other to general hardware, stoves and tinware. Their average stock is about ten thousand dollars. The business was established in March, 1878. Mr. High was born in Hillsdale County, Mich., in 1840, was educated at the State University at Ann Arbor; enlisted in August, 1862, as a private of Company F, Twentieth Michigan Infantry and served one year; followed farming in Michigan till 1868, when he moved to Cass County, Mo. and engaged in the same business; was also engaged in merchandising. He moved to Fontana, Kansas and engaged in his present business. he was married in Michigan, October 20, 1863 to Miss Adora, daughter of Dr. B. F. Root, of Manchester, Mich. They have one child, a daughter named A. Maude.

G. W. ROBINSON, M. D., physician and surgeon, was born in Chester County, Pa., February 26, 1828, was brought up in his native State; moved to Van Buren County, Iowa. Began the study of medicine at Winchester of that county in 1866. Took a regular course at the Keokuk Medical College and graduated in the spring of 1869. Came to Kansas in the spring of 1870, and established a practice at Fontana, Miami County, which he has pursued upwards of thirteen years. He was married in Pennsylvania, December 22, 1853, at Russelville, Chester County, to Miss Hannah, daughter of Hiram Rigg. They had four children-Lemuel, the eldest, died aged fourteen years; the second son, Vernon is an ordained minister of the Baptist Church; the elder daughter Sarah E., is the wife of Charles Tenny of Mound Township; the younger, E. Ella, is a teacher by profession.

O. P. TENNY, farmer, Section 5, Township 19, Range 23, P. O. Fontana, was born in Monroe County, N. Y. April 13, 1828, was brought up in New York, and in the spring of 1850 moved to Bureau County, Ill., where he was engaged in farming til the spring of 1860. He then immigrated to Kansas, bought a claim, on the farm where he now resides, for which he subsequently obtained title under the homestead law. He has since increased his acreage, till he has a fine farm of 240 acres. During the late war he served in the Kansas militia. He was elected Justice of the Peace and served two years and has held other minor offices. He was married in Monroe County, New York, September 19, 1852, to Miss Julia A., daughter of John Canfield. Mrs. Tenny was born in Vermont and removed with her parents to New York in childhood. Mr. and Mrs. Tenny have six children-Charles O., married and living in Mound; Mary L., wife of James Johnson of Carson, Iowa; William, died in childhood; Alice H., wife of Charles W. Wright of Osage; Fannie S., and John C.

W. H. WILLHOITE, M. D., physician and surgeon, office opposite Fontana depot, was born in Owen County, Ky., December 29, 1839, moved with his parents to McLean County, Ill., in 1850, received an academic education, and in 1860, began the study of medicine at Austin, Mo. He moved to Osage township, Kansas in 1864 and practiced his profession. In 1870 he moved to Fontana. He subsequently attended a regular course of lectures at the American Medical college of St. Louis, Electic, and graduated in May, 1882. Dr. Willhoite was elected coroner of Miami County in 1878, and to the legislature in the fall of 1882 on the Democratic ticket. He was married in Kansas, August 23, 1866 to Mrs. Mary M. La Fountain, widow of Louis La Fountain. Mrs. Wilhoite was born at Fort Wayne, Ind., and came to Miami County at an early day, and is the owner of several hundred acres of land in Miami Township.


Mound Creek is situated in Mound Township. As a general thing the bottom lands are level and timbered, uplands uneven, open prairie. The first settlement was made November 5, 1854 by Thomas and Henderson Rice, J. F. and T. J. Chandler moved in, July 3, 1856. Some of the early settlers named the township Mound, after a peculiar mound in the western part of it. A store was opened April 5, 1856, by Thomas Rice. The first child born was Frances M. Chandler, September 14, 1856; first marriage, that of Reuben Smith to Mary Rowcraft, November 2, 1857, and the first death that of Mrs. Rebecca J. Rice, May 15, 1857. The first school taught was by Loyal Bishop, commencing in November, 1858, in a log schoolhouse on the farm of Thomas Rice, at whose house the first sermon was preached by Rev. Amos Finch in 1856. A church was built by the Society of Friends in the west part of the township in 1858, a commodious frame building, 30x45 feet. there are about fifty members in the society. The Christian Church was organized in September, 1860, with six members. The Baptists and Methodists also have organizations, but none of the last three denominations has a church building. The postoffice was established December 10, 1860, and named Trenton, Henderson Rice, first Postmaster. the name of the postoffice was afterwards changed to Mound Creek.


MARTIN S. BUSH, farmer, Section 18, Township 19, Range 22, P. O. Lane, Franklin County, was born in Fayette County, Ind., February 12, 1841; was brought up on a farm. On the breaking out of the late war, he enlisted April, 1861, on the first call for troops (three months' men) The quota being full before his company was organized, he was mustered into the service for one year as a private of Company E, Sixteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He served the term of enlistment and re-enlisted in September, 1863, in Company A., One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers and was commissioned Second Lieutenant. Was promoted to First Lieutenant and served until the close of the war. His only casualty was a gun shot wound received at Wise's Forks, N. C., in March, 1865. After the close of the war he continued to reside in Indiana til March, 1869, when he immigrated to Kansas and purchased his present farm of 440 acres in Mound Township. Mr. Bush was married in Indiana, February 11, 1869 to Miss Susan, daughter of Henry Sweet. Mrs. Bush was born in Indiana. They have one child, a daughter, Rosa E.

HON. JOHNSON CLARK, farmer and stock raiser, Section 35, Township 18, Range 21, P. O. Lane, Franklin County, was born in Penobscot County, Me., January 2, 1829. He was brought up in that rugged climate, within sound of the Atlantic surf. In 1850 he came West, and spent one year in Illinois-1851. He went to California via the Isthmus route, spent two and a half years in the gold regions and returned to Illinois. In the winter of 1856 he emigrated to Kansas and made a claim of a tract of land that now forms his homestead. A radical abolitionist in politics, Mr. Clark came to Kansas to help make it a free State. He became associated with John Brown and Jim Lane, and participated in the attack on the United States Marshal Little at Fort Bain. He was sent by Col. Abbott on that occasion as bearer of dispatches to Lane at Lawrence, asking for re-enforcements. Mr. Clark made the ride of 100 miles, delivered his dispatches and returned with re-enforcement of 600 men. Lane drove out the Marshal's posse and retook the prisoners. He was elected to the State Senate in 1862, and served on important committees. He was chairman of the commission appointed to locate the 90,000 acres Agricultural College lands. He was instrumental in securing the location of the Asylum for the Insane at Osawatomie, and was chosen one of its trustees. In politics Mr. Clark affiliated with the Republican party until the Greeley campaign, since which time he has been independent. He was married in Miami County, Kan., in 1861 to Harriet, daughter of Hon. James Bennett, a prominent lawyer and State Senator of Virginia. Mrs. Clark was born and educated in Virginia. They have a family of three children-Edward J., Clymenia C., and Charles Dickens. Mr. Clark has a magnificent farm of 560 acres; has a commodious residence, a large and productive orchard, through which he has interspersed numerous evergreens. On this farm he has a little more than ten miles of stone wall, laid by his own hands. This feature of his place cause him to be named "Stonewall Clark".

DAVID F. DAY, farmer, Section 13, Township 19, Range 22, P. O. Mound Creek. Mr. Day was born in Morgan County, Ky., November 13, 1822. Was brought up in Kentucky and emigrated to Kansas in the spring of 1857. During the late war while living on the border and exposed to the danger of marauding parties from both sides, he was never molested. He undoubtedly extended hospitality to many whose society he would not have tolerated in more peaceful times. He was married in Missouri July 22, 1862, to Mrs. Martha Hayes, widow of Stephen Hayes, and daughter of Mr. Dailey. Mrs. Day died in 1864. Mr. Day was married again April 2, 1871 to Miss Susan Schofield, daughter of William Schofield. Mrs. Day was born in Maine. They have five children-three sons and two daughters. J. Edgar, the eldest, died in childhood; the younger ones are living-Etta May, Dallas S., Estella S. and Harland. Mr. Day has a well improved farm of 600 acres.

JOHN DUNCAN, farmer, Section 11, Township 19, Range 21, P. O. Lane, Franklin County, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, May 23, 1834. Was brought up in Ohio and moved to Iowa in 1854 and thence to Kansas in May, 1857. He pre-empted the land on which he now resides and purchased of the government. He was a Free-state man in politics, and during the late war served in the Kansas State Militia., He was married in Kansas, in the spring of 1866, to Miss Fannie, daughter of John Dunbar. Mrs. Duncan was born in Randolph County, North Carolina. They have three children, one son and two daughters- Eliza, Gertrude and Quincy. Mr. Duncan has a well improved farm of 400 acres.

ARCHIE LEE, farmer, Section 33, Township 18, Range 22, P. O. Osawatomie, was born in St. Clair County, Mich., December 1133, 1851. He came to Kansas in 1871 and purchased his present farm of 160 acres in 1872. He was married in Kansas August 27, 1874 to Miss Laura Brook, daughter of Lewis brook. Mrs. Lee was born in Clay County, Mo. They have three children, one son and two daughters-Nettie, Edward and Rosa.

ROBERT D. PROTZMAN, farmer, Section 11, Township 19, Range 21, P. O. Lane, Franklin County. Mr. Protzman was born in Marion County, Ind., September 17, 1851; removed with his parents to Illinois in 1859 and thence to Kansas in May, 1867. He located in Marysville Township, Miami County where he engaged in farming. He was married in that township in September, 1875, to Alice L. Patten, who died April 1, 1881, leaving one child, a son, Gilbert I. Mr. Protzman was married again in Kansas, August 23, 1882, to Miss Lucy J., daughter of A. H. Sneed. Mrs. Protzman was born in Virginia, and came to Kansas with her parents in 1869. Mr. Protzman has a fine farm of 240 acres.

HON. HENDERSON RICE, Farmer, Section 18, Township 19, Range 22, P. O. Mound Creek, was the first white settler south of Osawatomie, in Miami County. He was born in White County, Tenn, March 29, 1825, and was brought up in Henry County in Western Tenn. He moved to St. Francis County, Mo. in 1849 and from there to Kansas. In 1854, November 11th of that year, he located a claim on Section 16, Township 19, Range 22, where he has continued to reside nearly twenty-nine years. He now has a tract of rich bottom and prairie land of 340 acres in extent. In politics he was a radical Free-state man, but did not participate in any of the turbulent scenes of early days, and was never molested. During the late war he served in the Kansas Militia, in defense of Kansas. Was in the battle of Westport, Mo., and various skirmishes. On the organization of Mound Township, he was chosen supervisor. When the County Commissioner system was adopted, he was elected the third Commissioner; in 1866 was re-elected, and served four terms, during which time he was Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. He was elected to the State Legislature for the years 1862, '65 '79 and '81 and served on important committees. He was married in Illinois in 1843, to Miss Rebecca J. McIntyre. They had six children, one son and five daughters;-Sarah, is the wife of John Campbell, of Dade County, Mo.; Mary, wife of Charles Fresh, of Colorado; James, married and lives in Mound; Martha, wife of S. Adams of California; Ellen, wife of Joseph Smalley, of Mound. Mrs. Rice died May 15, 1857. Mr. Rice was married again January 6, 1858, to Miss Susan Randolph. Mrs. Rice was born in Tennessee. They have two sons and five daughters-Susan, Marcella, (died aged twenty-two years), Nettie, wife of Charles Coombs, of Mound; Ida, Fannie, Hendleson and William T. Mr. Rice's father Thomas Rice, came to Kansas at the same time his son did. He made a claim on Section 15, Township 19, Range 22, and resided in this township till his death, which occurred in 1860.

J. M. WALTHALL, farmer, Section 11, Township 19, Range 22, P. O. Fontana, was born in Virginia, July 18, 1828; moved to Indiana with his parents when five years of age; was brought up on a farm and in 1850 went to Iowa, where he was engaged in farming till 1857, when he emigrated to Kansas and made a claim on Section 1, Mound. In 1869 he moved to his present location, Section 11. Mr. Walthall has one square mile of land, or 640 acres. He enlisted and was mustered into the service September 25, 1861 as a member of Company H, Missouri Home Guards and was subsequently transferred to the Ninth Kansas Cavalry and was appointed Regimental Commissary. Mr. Walthall has held various official positions. He was Township Supervisor in 1858 and '59; County Commissioner in 1862 and '63; and has served as Justice of the Peace six years. He was married in Indiana March 10, 1845, to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Surber. Mrs. Walthall was born in Indiana. They have five children, four sons and one daughter-John T., William I., and Samuel W., are married and living in Mound; Charles E. and Minnie Montana are at home. Mrs. Walthall died March, 1872. Mr. Walthall was married again May 24, 1873, in Kansas to Mrs. Lucinda A. L. Cobb, widow of Ransom Cobb. She had two children, one only living, Ida, wife of Peter Grant, of this township. Mrs. Walthal was born in Genesee County, N. Y.


Somerset is situated seven miles east of Paola, on the Missouri, Pacific Railroad, in the township of Middle Creek. It is on Section 5, Township 17, Range 24. It was surveyed and platted May 17, 1871, by an incorporated town company, composed of New Jersey people, of which Rev. John S., Beekman was president, and Henry H. Striker, secretary. The company owned a tract of 1,100 acres, 215 acres of which were platted-A. K. Clark, surveyor. The town company was composed of Rev. John S. Beekman, Mr. Bungart, Henry H. Striker, E. Hoagland, William A. Higgins, J. W. Taylor, James Dickey and J. H. Skillman.

The first store was opened by Capt. Will Glicks, in 1871. Henry Post, the present Postmaster and principal merchant, started business in the fall of 1872. A grist and saw mill was started by the town company in 1871. A postoffice was established the same year, with Peter A. Brokan for Postmaster. The town flourished for some years, but owing to the superior advantages and attractions of the neighboring cities of Paola and Louisburg, it has failed to meet the expectations of its founders.

It is located on the edge of the valley of the Wea, thus enjoying the advantages of valley and upland scenery, and is surrounded by an enterprising agricultural community. It now contains two general stores, a combined grist and sawmill, a postoffice, a blacksmith shop, a church and a schoolhouse, and about thirty inhabitants. A cave, spring, a burning-gas well, and two Indian cemeteries are the local attractions of the immediate neighborhood.

[TOC] [part 11] [part 9] [Cutler's History]