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


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


DANIEL SCHAAF, baker, is a native of Germany, born 1849, and came to the 'Land of the Free' in 1855, his parents locating near Dubuque, Iowa. In 1864 he went to Nebraska City, where he learned his trade, removing to Seneca in 1871, and continuing the same line of business, in connection with which he has a delivery wagon and confectionery store.

WILLIAM SCOTT, stock dealer and partner of Gregg Bros. elevator, Seneca. Born in 1838, in Surrey, England. He came to America in l846, living in Kendall and Henry Counties, Ill., and Peoria County Ill., until 1868, when he settled in Pawnee County Neb. He began to buy, fatten and sell stock at Kewanee, Ill., and has since continued the business. Has lived in Seneca since 1878, and superintended the elevator since 1880. This structure was built in 1878, by W. W. Stewart; has a capacity of from 12,000 to 14000 bushels, and is now owned by the Gregg Bros. Grain Co., of St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Scott is a Democrat politically, and looked upon as a genial neighbor and capable business man and manager.

C. C. K. SCOVILLE, attorney at law, son of Daniel and &. E. P. B. Scoville, was born September 14, 1852, in Conneautville, Penn. Was educated in Minnesota and Iowa, and came to Seneca in 1870. He taught school eight years, then studied law with S. Conwell, and in October, 1878, was admitted at the bar of Nemaha County, Kan. Was elected City Attorney and served during 1879-'80. Is a Congregationalist and a Republican. He married Mary L. Bergen, a daughter of Geo. J. Bergen of Galesburg, Ill. Mrs. Scoville was educated at Oberlin College, Ohio. They have one child, born in Seneca.

DEACON DANIEL SCOVILLE, was born April 19, 1820, in Cornwall, Vt. and has been a life long shoemaker. In 1833 he went to Essex County, N. Y.; in 1836 to Geauga County, Ohio; in 1839 to Crawford County, Pa.; in 1852 to Ashtabula County, Ohio; in 1853 to Allemakee County, Iowa; in 1854 to Spring Valley Minn.; in 1863 to Mantorville, Minn.; in 1867 to Humboldt County, Iowa; 1868 to Ames, Iowa, and in 1870, to Seneca, where he has since resided. He united with the Congregational Church in 1852, and has been deacon of the Seneca Church. He married in Crawford County, Pa., Miss Eunice P. B. Kennedy, of Wyoming County, N. Y. They have four children - Gertrude (Mrs. Dr. J. J. Everhard). Grace G. (Mrs. M. Mathews), A. L. L. Scoville, of Nelson & Scoville, and C. C. K. Scoville, a rising young attorney of Seneca.

C. G. SCRAFFORD, the pioneer merchant of Seneca, was born January 28, 1829, in Albany County, N. Y., is a son of George C. and Nancy (Hayes) Scrafford and grew to manhood in Bellevue, Ohio.  In 1856 he settled in White Cloud, Kansas, built the first hotel and saw-mill here.  In January, 1860 he opened the first general store in Seneca (now the furniture store of M. Stein.)  The lumber for the building, and the goods in the store were drawn from the Missouri river by ox-teams.  For eight years Mr. Scrafford continued the mercantile business, then associating a brother-in-law, Samuel Lappin, the business was continued by Scrafford & Lappin, who, in 1871 built the bank now prospering under the name of the State Bank of Kansas.  In 1875, through financial misfortunes, the firm collapsed.  Two years later Mr. Scrafford took an interest in the firm of J. P. Cone & H. C. Lettle, both of whom were superseded in 1878 by the present firm of Scrafford & Ford.  Mr. Scrafford married Miss Justianna, daughter of Finley Lappin.  They were wedded in 1853, in Fremont, Ohio, and have three children - Josephine, born in Ohio; Frank M., born in White Cloud, Kan., and Grace, born in Seneca.  Mr. Scrafford is a prominent member of the Universalist church.

CAPT. LEWIS SHEELEY was born, 1843, in Green County, Ohio, and spent seventeen years in his native state and in Michigan, locating at Seneca in 1860. In June, 1861, he enlisted in the Thirteenth Missouri, and as one of Col. Mulligan's gallant force in the memorable defense of Lexington, Mo., he was captured by the rebels. Upon his release he re-enlisted in the Second Missouri Cavalry; was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and fought the guerrillas in Missouri and Arkansas until the close of the war, when he enlisted in Hancock's Reserve Corps for one year. Since March, 1866, he has lived in Seneca, and was at one time commissioned Colonel of the First Kansas Militia. The Captain is an engineer by trade, and a Republican in politics. His wife was Emma T. Shafer, of Michigan. They have six children, all born in Seneca.

JOHN E. SMITH, farmer, P. O. Seneca, is one of the earliest settlers of Nemaha County, and a founder of its county-seat. He was born in Saugus, Mass., and reared in Derry, N. H., where most of his life was spent. He came from there for his first visit to Kansas in the fall of l857, and in the spring of 1858, with a large party of friends and relatives made his permanent settlement at Seneca. [See General History of Seneca] Mr. Smith married in Burlington, Vt., Miss Agnes Williams, of that city. Her father, W. Williams, died in her infancy, and her mother, coming as one of the pioneer party to Seneca, died here September 8, 1858. Mr. and Mrs. Smith kept "Smith's Hotel" until the fall of 1879, when they sold it and settled on their valuable 320-acre farm adjoining the city limits of Seneca to the west. This farm Mr. Smith has owned twenty-three years, and upon it has been built by himself and eldest son (the present manager), a handsome two-story brick farmhouse, 20x36 feet, with wing; a barn 36x75 feet, two and one-half stories; sheds 20x230 feet; a barn 14x60 feet for young stock, and an engine-house and feed-mill, wherein a twelve horse-power engine shells and grinds corn for the hundreds of head of cattle annually fattened here. Mr. W. H. Smith, the elder son, and his partner, G. W. Williams, now own about 600 head of cattle grazing in Nemaha and Marshall counties. The younger son, Frank E. Smith, is a graduate of the Columbia Law School, New York city, and is now practicing law in Seneca.

EDWARD STERLING, of Seneca, was born in 1834, in Kings County, N. Y. Was reared in New York City where he drove stage for a number of years, spending his winters in Charleston, S. C., in the same business; then came to Nemaha County, Kansas, in 1860, and for over a year drove stage between Seneca and Hollenberg; he then drove one summer on the Platte route, and in the winter on a route south of Salt Lake City. The next year having charge of the station at Rock Creek, Neb. He was then for a time on the Smoky Hill route and had his full share of the excitement and danger during the Indian raid in 1864. Since 1865 he has lived in Seneca; first as a teamster, and then for six years as a farmer. In 1877 he opened the "Overland Livery Stable," and has since kept it. He married in Seneca Miss Annie Koch, a native of Germany. They have three children - Mary E., Annie C., and Edward, all born in Seneca. Mr. Sterling has six good teams and does a thriving business at boarding stock. He is a member of Seneca Lodge A. O. U. W.

M. E. STIRK & CO., well-borers, windmill and pump agents, came to this country in 1868 as wagon-makers. P. H. Stirk, a wagon-maker by trade, was born in 1826, in Chester County, Pa., and worked many years in Greenfield and Palestine, Ind. M. E. Stirk was born in 1856 in Hancock County, Ind., and began selling improved pumps and other appliances in 1875 and still continues the business, making a specialty of the Halliday windmill, that reliable old favorite so well known by farmers throughout the Union. He also sells the Challenge windmill, and in connection corn-shellers and feed-mills run by either the Halliday or the Challenge mills, with eighty to sixty foot wheels. The father and son began using the Tiffin, Ohio, well-auger in 1881, and during the past few months have bored and drilled 100 wells from 17 to 100 feet in depth. Their success has been gratifying as the rock-drilling attachment to their machines enables them to sink wells almost anywhere.

A. L. STONE, lumberman, came here in 1876, then went to Portland, Oregon, where with a brother he engaged in dairy-farming on a large scale for about three years. In December, 1879, he relocated in Seneca and began his present business, having since carried from $3,000 to $5,000 worth of stock. He married in Seneca, Miss Minnie W. Wetmore, daughter of L. Wetmore, of Seneca, formerly of Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Stone have a cosy and conveniently located home in the village, where their many excellent social qualities render them deservedly popular.

J. P. TAYLOR, attorney-at-law and real estate agent, was born in Coles County, Ill., September 23, 1833.  A few days later his father, John Taylor, removed to Sangamon County, Ill.  J. P. resided in Sangamon, Pike and McDonough counties, and studied law in Macomb, Ill.  In 1861, located at Seneca, Kansas, was admitted to the bar and began practice.  Spent 1862-'63 on the Pacific coast; returned to Seneca; was elected Probate Judge, and, at the expiration of his term elected County Attorney, practicing law continuously from 1873-'74, since which time he has devoted himself to his real estate business.  Mr. Taylor married in McDonough County, Ill., Mary L. Cox, by whom he has five children, the eldest born in McDonough County, Ill., and the others in Nemaha County, Kan.

REV. NATHAN TAYLOR was born July 21, 1816, in Stark County, Ohio, where he attained his early education, afterwards attending the high school at Newark, Ohio. He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1831, and in 1841 entered upon the itineracy; he was first assigned to the states of Arkansas and Texas, his experience and adventures along the frontier of civilization being of the most interesting character. At the end of six years he returned to Ohio, where he preached ten years. In 1857 he came to Kansas, locating at Baldwin City, then called Palmyra. Soon after his arrival he was made chairman of the committee having charge of the building of the proposed Methodist Episcopal College at that point. A grant of a section of land having been made by the Palmyra Town Company, adjoining Palmyra, it was laid off as a town site by Elder Taylor and the committee, and named Baldwin City, in honor of John Baldwin, of Berea, Ohio, known as 'Old Grindstone John.' In 1858, the name Palmyra was dropped and both towns united under one name. Under the supervision of Mr. Taylor the original college building was erected. It was of stone, 24x40 feet, and three stories high. Elder Taylor spent eight years in Baldwin City, and two years at Circleville; was Presiding Elder of the Neosho, Wyandotte and Manhattan districts. He was then pastor of Junction City one year, and Paola one year. Was then at his own request placed on the retired list. During the next three years he, with H. N. Elliott, ex-Governor Green and J. W. Taylor, engaged in real estate business at Manhattan. Re-entering the ministry, he preached one year at Monrovia, three years at Seneca, and one year at Whiting. He was then at his own request placed on the supernumerary list, and in October, 1877, took the place of his son, J. W. Taylor, in the mercantile firm of Taylor, Galloway & Co., of Seneca. The firm was originally Taylor & Galloway, of Manhattan, and now comprises Rev. N. Taylor, S. E. Galloway and C. W. Taylor, Mr. Galloway being a son-in-law and Mr. Taylor a nephew of the senior member of the firm. Elder Taylor is a fine representative of that energetic, alert, working Christianity that glorifies the Methodist Episcopal Church above all others.

ROY A. THOMPSON, Register of Deeds of Nemaha County, was born February 26, 1849, in Guernsey County, Ohio. His father, the Rev. R. J. Thompson, a Congregationalist preacher, removed to Greene County, Ind., with his family in 1855, Roy A. Thompson obtaining his education at the Indiana State University. He located in Nemaha County, Kan., in 1872, and engaged in farming and clerking until his appointment in 1876 as deputy postmaster of Sabetha. He is a Republican, and is now serving his second term as Register of Deeds. Mr. Thompson is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Central City Subordinate Lodge and the Hiawatha Encampment. He married in Sabetha Miss Nannie A., daughter of ex-County Commissioner A. Moorehead, a resident of Nemaha County, Kan., for twenty-six years, of which county Mrs. Thompson is a native.

W. F. TROUGHTON, M. D., is a native of Westmoreland, England, born in 1836. He was schooled at Kendall, and began the study of medicine with Dr. Skelton, of Plymouth, entering the St. Thomas Medical College London. He graduated in 1865, came to the United States the same year, and practiced in Tennessee till 1871, when he located in Seneca. During the Crimean War he held the position of assistant surgeon in a Royal Artillery Regiment at Gibraltar. The Doctor still makes a specialty of surgery, and has a lucrative and increasing practice. He is one of the firm of Butler & Co., of the Seneca Foundry and Machine Shops, and is prominent in various civil and military organizations. He married in England, Anne Daryes. They have five children living and have lost three.

D. R. VORHES, Sheriff of Nemaha County, was born near Smithfield, Jefferson Co., Ohio, June 17, 1847. He grew up on the farm of his father, James Vorhes. He attended the public schools of Smithtfield, and learned the milling business, and later the carpenter's trade. In April, 1870, he came West with what is known as the Buckeye Colony, which located at Abilene, Kan. In July, 1870, he came to Seneca, where he has since resided as a contractor and builder, having erected a number of public and private buildings of some note. He is a member of Seneca Lodge No. 35, A., F. & A. M., and was Master of the lodge for three years in succession. He was elected to his present position in 1879, and reelected in the fall of 1881, as a Republican. His wife was Miss Emma M. Seeley, of Seneca, by whom he has one daughter, born in Seneca.

ABIJAH WELLS, attorney, of the firm of Wells & Curran is a son of William R. and Betsey K. (Skinner) Wells, both of whom were born and reared in Orange County, N. Y. They married, June 2, 1832, in Susquehanna County Pa., and in 1845 "came West," locating in La Salle County, Ill. The year 1856 found them located on Illinois Creek, Nemaha County, Kan., where they lived about nine years, coming thence to their present home, Seneca, where on June 22, 1882, their "golden wedding" was fitly celebrated by the assembling of a large party of relatives and friends, and the bestowal of suitable presents and reminders that the fine old couple had happily passed the "fiftieth mile-stone" of their wedded life. Abijah Wells was born June 12, 1840, in Susquehanna County, Pa., was educated in La Salle Ill., and in the Kansas Agricultural College. In 1867, he, after teaching school three years, was elected Clerk of the District Court; served out his term; was elected Register of Deeds; re-elected; then elected County Superintendent of Instruction, serving in that capacity from 1874 to 1877. Mr. Wells has studied law from the time he was twenty-three, and in 1866 was admitted to the bar of his county. The present partnership with J. F. Curran was formed in January, 1881. During the early part of that year, Mr. Wells was editor and proprietor of the Seneca Tribune, which he 'converted' to the true faith of Republicanism, and sold it to its present owner and editor. Mr. Wells has been a Republican since he became a voter; is a prominent member of the Universalist Church of Seneca, and is thoroughly identified with the town and country in every way. He is a Knight Templar in Free Masonry, is now H. P. of Nemaha Chapter No. 32, and is also a member of Nemaha Lodge No. 19, I. O. O. F. He married Miss Loretta C. Williams, and they have five children, all natives of Nemaha County, Kan.

WEST E. WILKINSON. editor Seneca Courier, was born at Berrien Springs, Mich., March 21, 1846, remaining there until 1862. Then entered the Independent office at Buchanan, Mich., for the purpose of learning the printer's trade. In the fall of the same year he was called home by his father's death, staying at Berrien Springs until spring, when he proceeded to Dayton, Ohio, entering the office of the Dayton Journal to complete his apprenticeship. This purpose achieved, he declined a proffered foremanship, taking a place in the Telescope Book Office and Stereotype Foundry. In 1865, returned to Buchanan, where he acted as foreman of the Advent Christian publishing, printing and press rooms, remaining there until 1870, when he emigrated to Waterville, Kan., entering into partnership with Frank A. Root, in the publication of the Telegraph. In 1871, the firm removed to Seneca and purchased the Courier, Mr. Wilkinson subsequently assuming the sole proprietorship. Was married at Buchanan, Mich., April 8, 1869, to Mary F. McLellan, of Brunswick, Me. They have had three children, one of whom they have lost. Those living are Paul and Hugh.

CAPT. A. W. WILLIAMS was born March 21, 1818, in Rochester, N. Y. From his fourteenth to his twenty-fourth year he resided in Oakville, Canada. In 1842, he located as an architect and builder in Marion, Linn Co., Iowa; thence, in the spring of 1857, he came to Kansas, and in 1858, under the townsite law pre-empted a half-section of land, and laid out the town of Sabetha. [See General History.] He was carrying on mercantile business here in 1861, when he raised 14 volunteers, 100 of whom entered the service as Company D, of the Eighth Kansas, with himself as Captain. He resigned the position in 1863, on account of ill health. In 1870, he sold out his entire property in Sabetha to an agent of the St. J. & W. R. R. Co., and began the hardware business in Seneca. After a few years, by an exchange of town property he came into possession of his fine farm, a mile and a half south of Seneca, where he has since lived in comparative retirement. Capt. Williams married in Marion, Linn Co., Iowa, Miss Mary A. Nordyke, of Vienna, Ohio. They have two sons - Justus H. and Charles B., both useful and respected citizens, and four daughters - Loretta (now Mrs. Wells), Eliza (Mrs. Masheter), Mary (Mrs. Magill), and Olive. The youngest son and daughter are with the old folks, who rank among the earliest and most successfully progressive in Nemaha county.

[Image of J. H. Williams]

J. H. WILLIAMS, merchant of Seneca, son of Capt. A. W. Williams, a man closely connected with the civil war and military history of Kansas, as he was founder of Sabetha in 1857, and won his shoulder-straps while serving in the Eighth Kansas. J. H. Williams was born in 1845, in Lancaster Wis., came to Kansas with his parents in 1857, resided with them at Sabetha until 1866, in which year he located at Seneca, and in connection with Mr. Abijah Wells prepared the first numerical index and abstract of title of real estate in the Register's office for Nemaha County. He was appointed Clerk of the Circuit in 1867, and elected to same office in fall of 1868, which he held until 1870. In January, 1868, he was married to Miss Eliza M. Perry, daughter of J. C. Perry, of Sabetha, formerly of Wellsburg, W. Va. From 1870 to 1875 Mr. Williams traveled as general agent for Geo. H. Grant & Co., of Richmond, Ind., manufactures of school furniture. In March, 1875, with his family he went to California, and returned in August of same year. In 1866, he had the management of the mercantile business owned by J. Van Loan, formerly known as the 'Grange Store.' In November, 1877, Mr. Williams bought the stock and business of Mr. Van Loan, and adopted the name 'Trade Palace' for his store, his line being dry goods, clothing, hats, caps, boots, shoes, etc. He has been a successful business man, liberal-hearted and public-spirited. He organized the 'Seneca Board of Trade,' with nearly one hundred members, of which he was elected President. He is a member of the Universalist Church, and in politics has always worked and voted with the Republicans.

CHARLES E. WILSON, proprietor Wilson House, was born in 1853, in Henry County, Ind., where his father, S. B. Wilson, was a very early settler, and his grandfather also, the latter a hotel-keeper. The family have resided in Indianapolis, Ind., for twenty years past. C. E. Wilson was educated in Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and married in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Miss Arry V. Mitchell, of Indianapolis. Mr. Wilson came to Seneca in August, 1879, purchased and ran the 'City Hotel,' called by him the 'Wilson House,' until July, 1882, when he leased that house to H. G. Stiles, who restored the old name. Mr. Wilson in turn leased of P. J. Assenmacher the centrally located hotel now so popular under his good management. It contains twenty-five rooms, and is the only first-class house in Nemaha County.

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