|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
The settlement rather than town of Albany deserves special mention as essential to the true record of the early colonization of Nemaha County. Its location is two miles almost directly north of Sabetha, and its first settlement was effected long before the latter thriving town had an existence or a name. In 1857, a colony of New Yorkers, comprising fifteen or twenty families, came to Kansas, located in the vicinity referred to, and a year later the majority of them so far effected an organization, as to found a town to which was given the name of Albany, in honor of the New York capital. Those principally interested in this movement were Elihu Whittenhall, W. B. Slosson, Edwin Miller, George, John, and William Graham, Rev. R. D. Parker and Archibald Webb. The first thing attempted in the nature of a permanent improvement was the erection of a clapboard hotel, by Edwin Miller, the house being moved to Sabetha a few years later. A cottonwood schoolhouse was next built, and then a residence by Elihu Whittenhall, constructed of black walnut lumber. The first store building was erected by Moses Stevens, of New York, in 1860. It was afterward sold to W. B. Slosson, and finally taken to Sabetha. A post-office was established in 1859, with John P. Shumway as postmaster. About 1860 he was succeeded by W. B. Slosson, the third incumbent being Mrs. C. B. Stinson. The office has recently been discontinued.
In 1860, the district built the lower part of a grey limestone schoolhouse; the Congregational Society completing the structure, and for many years using the upper part as a place of worship. This society was organized September 26, 1859, with a charter membership of eighteen, under the ministrations of Rev. R. D. Parker. Its original members were Elihu Whittenhall and family, George Graham and wife, John L. Graham and wife, John Van Tuyl and wife, Edwin Miller and wife, B. H. Job and wife, Mrs. Rising, Mrs. Archer, Thomas Robbins, W. B. Slosson and John P. Shumway. The first services were held, prior to organization, on July 11, 1858, under a great tree, near Edwin Miller's residence. The Pastors of the church, succeeding Rev. R. D. Parker have been Rev. George Rice, Rev. Joseph Peart and Rev. O. A. Thomas, it being during the incumbency of the last mentioned, in 1871 that the society, as such, removed to Sabetha.
It may be well in this connection to say something more of those prominent in this pioneer movement. Rev. R. D. Parker is now editor and publisher of the Kansas Telephone, at Manhattan; Elihu Whittenhall, after a long life of usefulness is dead; John L. Graham was killed in the army, shot dead at the battle of Chickamauga; George Graham was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1858, and again in 1865, was a member of the Seventh Kansas State Treasurer in 1869 and 1870, served as Probate Judge of Nemaha County, in 1879 and died, universally regretted, February 21, 1880. John Brown's Last night in Kansas, February 1 1859 was passed at Albany, in the house of Edwin Miller, part of his men being quartered upon Elihu Whittenhall, and part of them at George Grahams and W. B. Slosson's. From Albany he passed out through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, leaving the United States at Detroit, proceeding to Chatham, Canada West, where he organized the Southern movement, which resulted in his death. Albany is now but a little cluster of dwelling houses.
The town of Wetmore, situated upon the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad, is located in the extreme eastern portion of the county, about four miles from its southern line. Its name was given it in honor of Hon. W. T. Wetmore, Vice-President of the road. Early in 1866, surveys having been completed from Atchison to Centralia, the Central Branch platted one hundred and sixty acres of land, and almost immediately erected a section house, and soon after, a depot building, upon the completion of the road between the points named; in the autumn of the same year, a hotel was built by A. Simpson, the condition being that he was to be favored by two trains daily, stopping for dinner. The first dwelling house erected was that of Augustus Mayer, built in 1867, upon the site now occupied by William Cawood's residence. The first business building constructed was that of Morris & Brown, though prior to this, by a few months, a general stock of goods had been kept by Simpson & Morris in a small room at the depot building. In 1807, the town was given a post office, with A. O. McCreary, the present incumbent, as postmaster. In the spring of 1868, a lumber yard was opened by M. P. M. Cassity, the business being disposed of to William T. McVey & Co., early in 1869. This firm during the ensuing year, erected a grain elevator, now owned by Stowell & McVey. The year 1869 also witnessed, together with minor improvements, the opening of a general store by N. H. & D. C. Rising, subsequently disposed of to DeForest Brothers, the present proprietors. In 1870 the Wetmore House was built by Peter Shuemaker, passing into the hands of S. C. & D. C. Rising, to be repurchased by the original proprietor, it finally being disposed of to the present owner, A. J. Dooley. During the same year a drug store was opened by Dr. J. W. Graham, and the Overland House built, for a private residence, not being used for hotel purposes until 1874.
The first birth in the new town was that of Mary Cassity, born August 8, 1868, into a world in which she had small part, her death occurring but two years and four months later. Death first entered Wetmore in October, 1869, removing Nellie A. Rising, an infant. The first marriage, occurring in 1870, united N. Morris and Mary Wolfley. The first school was taught by A. S. Kenoyer, during the winter of 1868 and 1869.
The only fire of importance, which has occurred in Wetmore, destroyed the business house of Morris & Brother. This was subsequently rebuilt by Wolfley, Morris & Co., the senior partner withdrawing from the firm, soon after the structure was completed. The town, in its brief existence, has developed rapidly, supplying parts of four counties, from which it, in turn, derives its elements of strength and prosperity. Its population, according to the last census, is 565.
Early in the year 1882, the town of Wetmore containing a population exceeding two hundred and fifty, and not greater than two thousand, and the majority of the ninety-six qualified electors being in favor of incorporation, an appeal was made to Hon. David Martin, Judge of the Second Judicial District, for an order, incorporating the said town, as a city of the third class. This order was granted by the court on July 8, 1882
On July 25 of the same year the first city election was held, the result placing in office: J. W. Graham as Mayor; and a Council consisting of William Morris, E. H. Chapman, William Buzan, Joseph Haigh and E. F. Vilott; M. P. M. Cassity being elected Police Judge.
The third house in Wetmore, let it be said in due honor to the intelligence of the community, was a district school building, erected in the fall of 1868, by William Morris, M. P. M. Cassity and Jacob Geyer, these constituting the School Board at the time. It was a frame building of one story, 28x40 feet in size, and costing $1,860. Until 1879 no special need for more commodious quarters was experienced, a new building being erected in that year, larger and in every way better, at a cost to the district of $3,400. The growth of interest in educational matters has been marked, the attendance increasing from twenty-two in 1868, to one hundred and seventy in 1882. The principal at the time of writing is E. II. Chapman; the assistants, Nettie Crist and Annie Gill.
In May, 1878, Daniel C. Needham commenced the publication of a line of co-operative newspapers along the Central Branch Railroad, one of which the Acme, was devoted to, and nominally issued from, the rising town of Wetmore. It was a small sheet, of Republican proclivities, and soon died a natural death.
CHURCHES, SOCIETIES, ETC.
The first religious organization effected in Wetmore, or in immediate propinquity, was that of the Methodists, who succeeded in the erection of a church edifice as early as 1872; a very handsome frame building, with a seating capacity of 300, and costing $1,810. The pastors, in direct succession, have been as follows: Rev. E. H. Bailiff, Rev. E. Gill, Rev. J. A. Woodburn, Rev. D. J. Crooks, Rev. R. J. McGinnis, Rev. J. Richardson, Rev. S. M. Hopkins, and Rev. William Moddy. The present number of members, exclusive of probationers, is fifteen.
Following closely the Methodist example, the Baptists organized a class during the same year, occupying the church building of their more fortunate brethren, and worshipping in private residences. The pastor is, and has been from the first, if we except the occasional irregular suplies with which the society has been favored, Rev. Thomas Rolfe, who dispenses the truth to his little flock of about twenty-five, one Sunday in every four.
The Catholics of Wetmore and vicinity, about forty in number are under the spiritual charge of Rev. Father John Bagley, who first gathered them together in 1875. They worship in a comfortable frame building, sufficient to their present needs.
Wetmore Lodge, No. 53, A. F. & A. M. - A lodge of this order bearing the title of Granada Lodge, No. 53, was instituted in Granada Township, October 16, 1867. Its first officers were: Master, William J. Hart; Sr. W., Henry C. Gragg; Jr. W., Sneathon Vilott. Its present pace of meeting being changed in 1881, by reason of the removal of many of its members, its title was altered to conform with the new conditions under which it existed. The present membership is thirty-four. The officers elected last are: Master. S. C. Shuemaker; Sr. W., E. Campfield; Jr. W., T. H. Doolittle; Sec'y. E. S. Frager; Treas., John Thornburrow.
The Wetmore division of the Sons of Temperance was instituted, October 18, 1878, with twenty-seven charter members. Its first W. P. was E. H. Chapman; W. W., Peter Shuemaker. Its present membership is about fifty and its officers as follows: W. P., M. DeForest; W. A., Mary Thomas: R. S., D. W. Stowell; A. R. S., Mary Sison; F. S., Catherine Thomas.
The organization of a banking corporation - Wetmore State Bank - was effected early in 1881, with Willis Brown, President; William Morris, Vice-President, and S. C. Shuemaker, Cashier. Its capital is $50,000, $15,000 of which is paid up. A substantial and elegant bank building was erected in the year of the company's organization, being competed at a cost of $8,400 in April, 1882. It is furnished with one of Mosier's finest safes, with time locks, and is in every way a credit to the town, affording it facilities without which its progress had been materially retarded.
Wetmore Mineral Springs. - Early in the summer of 1881, it was discovered that certain springs in the vicinity of the town, which had long been known, but neglected as of no particular value, were possessed of important medicinal qualities. In the spring of 1882, their owner, John Pool, Sr., obtained an analysis of the water, the chemist reporting as follows:
OFFICE OF J. H. WRIGHT, M. D., ANALYTICAL CHEMIST, St. Louis, Mn., July 3, 1882.
But little, as yet has been done in the way of improvement to render the springs more accessible to the public; but it is undoubtedly but a question of a short time when they will be appreciated at their full value, and become a source, not only of occasional revenue, but of permanent worth to the town.
The Wetmore Mills. - In 1881, William J. Merritt and J. L. Gettys, both of Illinois, erected a large frame mill building, furnishing it with a sixty-horse-power engine, three run of burrs, and all the latest improved machinery necessary to the enterprise of handling and producing the wheat and corn product with economy and in its highest possible excellence. The entire expense has bee about $7,000.