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


[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]


Liberty became established through the combined efforts of Verdigris and Montgomery cities, in the fall of 1869. These places, seeing their impotence to contend singly with Independence in the county seat contest, in the November election of that year, concluded to unite their forces upon a single point. For this purpose Liberty was started, and was situated on the Verdigris River, about six miles south of Independence. For a time it was made the county seat, but which it lost in May, 1870, when it was removed to Independence. When the K. C., L. & S. K. Railroad was built, it ran a few miles to the east of the town, which was soon moved to the railroad, and is the village of Liberty to-day, containing a few stores and dwellings, a schoolhouse and a church edifice.

A flouring mill, belonging to Daniel McTaggart, is also located at Liberty. This is a large stone building, and has a capacity for grinding 300 bushels of wheat and 150 bushels of corn daily. The mill is located on the Verdigris River, from which the power is derived, was built in 1875, and represents an investment of $14,000. There is also a cotton gin connected with the mill, in which there was ginned, during the year 1881, about one hundred bales of cotton. About two miles below McTaggart's mill, on the Verdigris, is the flouring mill, owned by W. H. Linton. It is propelled by water power taken from the Verdigris River, and is valued at about $8,000.


CAPTAIN J. H. CONRAD, owner of Prairie Valley Farm, P. O. Liberty, was born in Harrison County, Ind., August 1, 1836, and was reared and educated there. In 1856 - and while he was engaged in a literary course of study, at Harisville Academy, Indiana - he came to Kansas and located a claim in Linn County, and engaged at teaching; but when the party troubles began, enlisted his sympathies and his services with the Anti-slavery party, and continued in active service in the rand and file of that party till 1859, after which he went to California; but soon after went to Nevada, where he was engaged in mining actively, there till 1863, when he again showed his loyalty to the anti-slavery principles, and returned to Indiana, raised and organized Company D, Thirteenth Indiana Volunteer Cavalry; was commissioned Captain, by Gov. Morton, and worked actively in that incumbency till the end of the war, when he was honorably discharged. In 1868, he started for California, but upon arriving in Kansas, he concluded to locate here. He married in 1866, in Harrison Co., Ind., Miss Mary Huston, a native of Ohio, who departed this life in 1872, in full connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church. She is buried in Liberty Cemetery, leaving one son, Horace Greeley. In 1874, he married Miss Kate Lykins, of Indiana. They have one son and daughter, Roscoe Conkling and Nellie Grant. Mrs. Conrad is a member of the Christian Church. In politics, Capt. Conrad is a Republican of the Stalwart school. He is an active member of the G. A. R., McPherson Post, Independence. Prairie Valley Farm contains 160 acres of valuable land, and is located three miles northeast of Liberty; eighty acres of it is used for grain tilling, and the balance is pasture and timber, among which are a fine collection of handsome forest trees. Good buildings are located on the farm, and an orchard of a well assorted variety of fruit trees. Located upon the farm is a handsome grove of a nice variety of forest trees, which is used for pic nicking[sic] parties, open air meetings, etc., called after the name of the farm, "Prairie Valley Grove."

Thomas HAYDEN, farmer, P. O. Independence, is a native of Barnesville, Belmont Co., Ohio born August 18, 1832, but lived in Monroe, Ohio, from 1833 to March, 1880, when he located in Liberty Township, Montgomery County, Kas., where he has followed farming, having been engaged in the same pursuits in his native State. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was first married at Woodsfield, Monroe Co., Ohio, October 3, 1855, to Mary E. Ford, a native of that place. She died in November, 1875, leaving six children - Stephen F. Forrest F., William O., John H., Thaddeus S. and Matilda D. Mr. Hayden was married to his present wife, Martha J. McCarty, at Bellsville, Ohio, June 22, 1879. She is a native of Washington County, Pa.

[Image of D. McTAGGART] HON. DANIEL McTAGGART, proprietor of flouring mills, cotton gin, etc., is a native of the Parish of De Henrysville, Canada East, born August 2, 1840; lived in Rock County, Wis., from 1851 to 1852, then in Chickasaw County, Iowa, until July 8, 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Company B, Seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, serving in that regiment until January, 1863, being Sergeant of his company, when he was mustered out. He immediately recruited a company of colored troops at Pulaski, Tenn., being commissioned Captain of Company B, third Alabama Colored Infantry, it being changed three months later to the One Hundred and Eleventh United States Colored Infantry, he continued in command of the company until he was mustered out in May 3, 1866. The story of his military career is a very thrilling one. At the Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861, he was captured by the rebels, and was imprisoned at Memphis, Tenn; about the first of March, 1862, he made his escape, but was recaptured seven days later, having had but two meals and some roasted corn during that time. After twenty-seven day's spent in the dark dungeon at Jackson, Tenn., he was removed to Corinth, escaping from there six hours after his arrival, he reached the Union Army, distant thirty miles, after three days' travel. He was again taken prisoner October 7, 1862, at battle of Corinth, but successfully escaped after two days and one night a prisoner. At Athens, Ala., October, 1864, he was again captured, attempted to escape the first night, but was not successful in effecting his escape until the next night, reaching the Federal lines within a few hours, he guided the course of the Union troops so that Athens was recaptured by our army within two or three days. During the summer of 1865, he was Provost Marshall at Murfreesboro, Tenn., and assisted to make the National Cemetery at that place. He then superintended the arrangement and construction of the National Cemetery at Nashville, and had charged thereof for a period of two years, afterward appointed to superintend and lay out the National Cemetery at New Albany, Ind., finally leaving the Government service January 1, 1869. Having become accustomed to the Southern climate, he determined to locate to Southern Kansas, rather than reside and where he would be exposed to the cold and bleak winters so common in the States further north. In February, 1861, he located on Osage Indian lands, on Section 11, Township 33, Range 16. He now resides on Section 14, adjoining the section where he first settled. In May, 1869, he put up a store about three miles east of the farm; in the following month he built a store at Verdigris City, and carried on both stores for about one year; he then consolidated his mercantile interest and located at Liberty, continuing in trade there till 1872, then moved to the present town of Liberty, two and a half miles distant from the old town, remaining there until 1876, doing nearly all the merchandising at the point, also serving as Postmaster and express agent all the time, and railroad agent from 1872 to 1875. He was the first County Treasurer, being appointed to the office. In November, 1882, he was elected a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, proving to be a valuable and efficient member thereof. Captain McTaggart has evinced such ability and uprightness in his public life as to make his influence potently felt. From the fall of 1869 to the present time, he has owned and lived on the farm where he now resides. In 1875, he erected his flouring mills, capacity sixty barrels per day, on the Verdigris River, near his residence; in 1880, he put up a cotton gin. He estimates that 150 bales of cotton were produced in Montgomery County in 1882. For the last three years he has supplied the Osage Indians, in the Territory, with their flour. The balance of the product of his mills finds sale in the markets of this county. The Captain was elected member of the Legislature in 1882, on the Republican ticket, by a majority of 300. At the same election, George W. Glick, the Democratic candidate for Governor, received a majority of 200. This vote indicated the personal popularity of Capt. McTaggart among his old associates and acquaintances. He was married at Murfreesboro, Tenn., June 4, 1866, to Maggie A. Beigle, a native of Altoona, Pa. They have four children - Hattie, William, Alton Charles and Claude D. The oldest was born at New Albany, Ind., the other three being native born Kansans.

ROBERT D. REESE, owner Lake Farm. P. O. Liberty, was born in Wales, April 22, 1830, and came to America from England in 1850, whither he had spent a few years. He was reared to the mining business, in his native place, and was identified successfully with that industry in this country for over seventeen years after his arrival, principally in Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, and Colorado. In 1869 he came to Kansas, and located upon his present place, which he has improved from a raw prairie to its present handsome condition. Lake Farm contains 312 acres of valuable land; is located about a mile south west of Liberty; 200 acres of it is devoted to grain tillage, and the balance is utilized for pasturage and timber, the latter of which boasts many very handsome forest trees. Good dwelling and barns and stables are located upon it and an orchard of a nicely assorted variety of fruit trees. In stock, Mr. Reese deals particularly in Durham cattle, and Berkshire and Poland-China hogs. Situated on the farm is a beautiful lake ("Liberty Lake") which is abundantly stocked with a fine variety of fish; thus making Lake Farm one of the most completely stocked with a fine variety of fish; thus making Lake Farm one of the most completely improved farms in this section of country. Mr. Reese married in Wisconsin, in 1860, Miss Betty DeFuy, a lady of excellent attainments. She is of Scotch Irish ancestry. They have a very intelligent family of two sons and one daughter civil engineering; Maggie, a teacher and student in scientific course; and Robert. jr., at present a student in public schools. Mr. Reese has been an active member of the Masonic Order for several years. He has worked very actively in the development of the social industrial life of this locality since coming here.

H. C. VEATCH, farmer and stock raiser, P. O. Parker, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, September 19, 1834. In 1855 went to Livingston County, Ill., and lived there till 1868, when he came to Kansas, and located near Baxter Springs, and in 1871 came here. He married, in 1859, Catherine Zuck, born in Pennsylvania, and reared in Indiana. They have five sons and one daughter - Albert C., Thomas H., Burton, James, Minnie, and Emory. His farm contains 160 acres of good land, is well fenced and watered and stocked; has good buildings, and an orchard of five acres of a nicely assorted variety of fruits.

[TOC] [part 18] [part 16] [Cutler's History]