KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


NEOSHO COUNTY, Part 15

[TOC] [part 16] [part 14] [Cutler's History]

JACKSONVILLE.

Jacksonville was a town situated on the corners of Crawford, Neosho and Labette counties, and within about one hundred yards from the corner of Cherokee County. It was located in the Neosho Valley, about ten miles southeast of Osage Mission. Its growth, at first, was somewhat rapid and encouraging, and, at one time, was second in size and importance among the towns of Neosho County.

It contained, at this time, several stores, a printing-office, hotel, two blacksmith shops, a shoe and harness shop, and several good residence buildings. There were two saw-mills within a mile of the town Being situated in a fertile district, sufficiently removed from other points, and being the second town in the county, its growth was brisk and the predictions were in favor of its becoming a town of considerable importance.

The town, however, in the midst of its prosperity, was overtaken by adversity. The day of railroad building had arrived, which, as a general rule, played havoc among existing towns, they being, either left standing some distance off from the lines of the roads, or absorbed by places favored by the fostering influences of these corporations. This, too, was the secret of the downfall of Jacksonville, which has been wholly swallowed up by the railroad towns, and, to-day, nothing remains to mark the site where it stood, excepting a postoffice, in a lonely farmhouse.

Island, in the southeast part of Neosho County, is a postoffice. The first settlement was made here in 1869, by L. F. Rogers, and a town site was established, called Island, so named on account of its location being at the foot of Big Island, on the Neosho River. A postoffice was established in 1880, and T. M. Warne was the first Postmaster. L. F. Rogers built a saw-mill in 1869, and a grist-mill in 1873. M. S. Austin opened a general store in 1880. In 1880, T. M. Warne bought the whole town site, including store, mills, houses, etc., and contains five or six resident families.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

B. W. BENNETT, farmer, Section 28, P. O. Island, is a native of West Virginia. He was born in 1818. His parents moved to Indiana, when he was quite young. In 1836 he took a trip to New Orleans and came to Clay County, Mo., with a brother, in 1837, and the next year crossed the river into Kansas Territory, where Leavenworth City is now located - then being the Delaware Indian Territory. In 1838, he brought his mother out to Platte county, Mo., and in 1840, crossed into Kansas Territory, about where Kansas City is now. In the spring of 1841, he received an injury that resulted in the loss of a leg in 1880. He took a trip across the Plains in 1850, and in 1851, we find him making $25 a day in the gold mines of California, afterwards returning to Pike County, Ill., where his family had moved in 1844. He then tried Nebraska in 1863, but the climate was too vigorous, and in 1871, came to Kansas, locating on and improving his farm, the soil being first class bottom land. In the fall of 1840, Mr. Bennett married Miss Spencer. They had two boys and four girls, having lost one - Horace, in the Sixteenth Illinois volunteer Infantry. He was wounded in battle, near Atlanta, July 4, 1864; died August 4 that Kingston, Ga. In 1875, Mr. Bennett was elected Justice of the Peace, and Postmaster from 1876 to 1878, of the Island postoffice.

G. M. GEARHART was born November 30, 1842, in Green County, State of Illinois, and in 1861, he went into the army, was wounded at Shiloh, Tenn., April 6, 1862, and at Jackson, Miss., August 2, 1863, and also at Atlanta, Ga., July 6, 1864, and was mustered out June 5, 1865. He was a private in Company D, Thirty-second Illinois Infantry. He left Illinois March 9, 1866, and arrived here about April 12th, or 13th, in company with one Sampson Wood, and has remained in this settlement since. He took his present farm in 1866; and has improved it and lived on it since. His best crops were raised about the year 1875, the grasshoppers did him great damage. His brother, William, and sister, Mrs. Miller, live here. He has been married twice, first to Miss Crabbs, November 5, 1868, from Maryland, and last to Miss Matoneen, 1882, from Illinois. He has five children, all boys. He entered 160 acres prairie land, viz.: the west one-half of northwest quarter of Section 29, Township 30, Range 21, in Neosho County of the Osage Ceded Lands.

M. V. MILLER, farmer, P. O. Island, native of Illinois, born in 1844. While there was engaged in farming, and came West to Kansas in 1868, and bought of Mr. Moon the eighty acres on which he lives. In 1872, buying another eighty on Section 32, taking the land of wild prairie, he has by dint of hard work and perseverance, produced a well-ordered and productive farm, strange to say, raising the best crops in 1875, although he did not plant his corn until after the grasshoppers had left, which they did, in June 3, 1875. This year, 1882, his wheat averaged twenty-two bushels to the acre, and corn thirty-five. In 1872, he married Miss Gearhart. They have three children, all girls. Mr. Miller enlisted in the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company F, and fought in the siege of Mobile, the last engagement of the War of the Rebellion April 9, 1865.

J. G. REYNOLDS, farmer, Section 21, P. O. Island, is a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1833. At an early age his parents moved to Wayne County, Ind., and then to Hendricks County, where on the old timber farm among the bears and in a wilderness he was raised and educated. Beginning his rambles he directed his course toward Kansas as early as 1856, but on getting to Missouri stopped and located in Harrison County, where he farmed, made brick, making those used in the first court house in the county. He then went to Colorado and worked in the mines, returning to Indiana in 1864, visiting his old home. He then moved to Iowa and finally fitting out at Ottumwa he started for Kansas in 1867. He describes the country all the way down the Neosho Valley to the Arkansas River as filled with the stench of dying and dead cattle. Coming up the valley he located on his present farm, buying the claim of 160 acres from a Mr. Stockwell. He had the pleasure, however of turning the first furrow on the place, and having a knowledge of fruit he has now one of the finest orchards in the section. His best corn crop was in 1875. In 1868 he married Miss Shepard of Missouri. They have one boy and five girls in the family.

FRANK SHEFFER, farmer, Section 3, P. O. Osage Mission, is a native of New York, born in 1838, here he was raised and educated. Moving to Kane County, Ill., he went to farming, and November 8, 1868, came in a covered wagon from Illinois to Kansas, arrived here in Neosho County. The family having no habitation were compelled to live in the wagon box placed on the ground; he soon built, however, and commenced opening his farm. Although the climate and soil proved to be all that he expected, provisions were high and scarce, so that his ready cash was soon exhausted, and the first corn planted on the sod yielded a scanty supply, and he went to freighting from Ottawa to other points. Getting a deed to his farm in 1876, and belonging to the Settlers' Association in 1874. Was posted in all the early movements of the organization. His farm is well improved, and in the year of 1882, reports an average of forty bushels of corn to an acre, raising also good crops of wheat and oats. His sheep farming turns out well. In December 15, 1865, he married Miss Wallace. They have three sons. Mr. Sheffer was elected Township Trustee in 1880.

MRS. M. H. SPURGEON, widow of Hon. G. W. Spurgion, State Senator, deceased, Section 27, P. O. Island. G. W. Spurgeon was a native of Ohio, born in 1834, February 25, where he was reared and educated, and moved to Illinois when seventeen years of age. Here he was engaged in farming and at the carpenter's trade, visiting Kansas as early as 1857, but it was not until 1869 that he located in Neosho County on the present homestead, buying it of Abram H. Houser, and had deeded it before the ceded land question came up, though he was in sympathy with the unfortunate settlers and always ready to help. In 1873, '74 and '75, he was Secretary of the State Grange, and finally was elected to the State Senate on the Greenback ticket in 1877. After returning home he busied himself on the farm until the time of his decease in 1879. They were all nearly swept in 1873 by a cyclone, which demolished their cabin. G. W., a boy of two years of age, had both legs broken at the thigh, and John M. had his arm broken, also a leg, besides having his face cut seriously, Warren was bruised badly, the rest escaped without injury. Mrs. Spurgeon was left with a family of seven children, and February 14, 1883, she lost her son, W. J. Spurgion. The farm is well improved, and in 1882 returned abundant harvests.

PETER THOMPSON, farmer, Section 22, P. O. Island, is a native of Scotland, came to America in 1839, learned his trade in Ohio. Came to Madison, Ind., and worked at his trade, marble cutting, there for twenty-three years, his health failed he came to Kansas in 1868, bought his present home of the party that had the claim of 160 acres, paying him $300 for it, having no other improvements than a log cabin and some eight acres broken. He bought it of the Government again. His farm of 160 acres lies on both sides of the road in Section 21 and 22.His farm is all fenced in, with good dwelling and large barn and stable. he has three boys that farm, and report good crops for 1882. In 1860, Mr. Thompson married; his wife is also a native of Scotland. They have had four children, one now deceased.

LADORE.

Ladore was a town situated in the southern part of Neosho County, about five miles north of the city of Parsons, on the Neosho Division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. It was the intention of the M. K. & T. Railroad Company to make this the junction of the main line and the Neosho division of the road. In this event the shops, etc., were to be located here, and the town would have been what Parsons now is. When the company attempted to buy the lands the settlers thinking they had the company fast, refused to sell at anything like a reasonable figure, and the company having other chances, refused to pay the high price at which they held their property. Thus the settlers in attempting to grasp more than was just, lost a favoring opportunity; for the company immediately negotiated for the site of Parsons, and established that city. Ladore was first called Fort Roach, in honor of J. N. Roach, its principal founder.

The report of its probably being made the railroad junction, where shops, etc., were to be built, was the cause operating in favor of its rapid advancement, which, for a time, was scarcely paralleled in the history of town building. So rapid indeed was its growth that in a few years it reached a population of 1,000, and contained a proportionate number of stores, etc., and all the improvements of a fast growing and substantial city. Schoolhouses, churches, and other public enterprises were made, with an idea of permanence. But the avaricious action of the owners of the land, was the secret of its overthrow, for no sooner had the site of Parsons become fixed, than the city, now called Ladore, was wholly moved to that place, and nothing remains of Ladore but a railroad side track, a farm residence, a church building and the postoffice.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

WILLIAM HIGGINS, farmer, Section 2, P. O. Galesburgh, native of Ohio, born in 1819. He was raised on the farm, and in 1870 came from Louisa County, Iowa, in company with his neighbors there, some thirty families, all belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church. They located in Neosho County, where there are but few now. Mr. Higgins bought 500 acres, paying $5 an acre, and then went into the stock business, buying largely and shipping until the ranges were fenced and the stock business became a thing of the past. In 1873 or 1874 he gave more attention to farming, now having a farm of 320 acres and 100 acres of it in cultivation. In the bad crop seasons he suffered with others, but in 1882 raised a splendid crop. He has one of the best improved farms in the county. In 1840 Mr. Higgins married Miss Harrold, of Ohio. They have had ten children - six boys and four girls. At present the family consists of one son and daughter and themselves. Mr. Higgins has a fine orchard covering some ten acres.

S. ROSA, farmer, Section 5, P. O. Galesburgh, native of New York, born in 1836. He came from Michigan to Kansas in 1857, locating in Allen County, where he espoused the Free-state cause and was a member of the Free-state organization known as the Wide-awakes, using their passwords and the old Sharpe rifle, mustering under Col. Montgomery's command. In 1861 he enlisted in the Eighth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, Company F., and was in Col. Martin's Regiment when mustered out at Huntsville, Ala. He returned to Kansas, and in 1866 took a claim of 160 acres, which he now farms, raising excellent crops. His corn for 1882 averages forty bushels to an acre, and beans fifteen bushels. In 1874 Mr. Rosa was elected Squire, and in 1873 took the station at Galesburg (sic) on the M. P. R. R. He is also buying and shipping grain, having sent off this shipping season thirty-two cars of corn, one of oats and six of castor beans. Squire Rosa is a member of the Blue Lodge, and also of the I. O. O. F. Since 1873 has owned the south forty acres of the town site of Galesburg (sic). He married in 1857 and has a family of two boys and one girl.

CHARLES SCHLUESE, farmer, Section 1, P. O. Osage Mission, native of Mecklenburg, Germany, born in 1838. Came to America in 1861, locating in Ohio, where he engaged in the grape culture. In 1876 he moved to Kansas, locating on his present farm, which now consists of 240 acres. He handles stock and has as fine a farm as there is in the county. His corn will average fifty bushels to the acre. He has 160 acres in corn this year, 1882, besides a good wheat crop. Mr. Schluese is a representative farmer.

OTHER TOWNS.

Vietsburgh is a postoffice in the southern part of Grant Township. It was established in 1879.

Chard is a postoffice in the northern part of Grant Township, and was established in July, 1878, and was named after Charles Chard.

South Mound is a postoffice and station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, about eight miles south of Osage Mission.

Odense is a postoffice in the northern part of the county.

Flat Rock postoffice was established in 1871. The first Postmaster was A. Markham, the second N. F. Barnett, the third Mr. Spohr, and the next Alf. Barnett. In 1879, Mr. Vietz opened a store in Section 36, and the postoffice was moved there. Mr. Williams then bought the store and became Postmaster, and was succeeded by Dr. M D. Elder. It then fell into H. F. Cory's hands, and afterwards into those of I. N. Wherrett.

SHILOH TOWNSHIP.

S. S. COMER, with the firm of J. B. Comer & co., general merchandise, grain, etc. He is also station agent and operator for the L., L. & G. R. R. Native of Indianapolis, Ind.; born in 1851. His father, J. B. Comer, was engaged in the milling business in the East, and S. S. commenced railroading in 1872, taking a station on Terre Haute & Vandalia road, but in 1874, came to Kansas, locating with his parents on a farm three miles southwest of Thayer, and engaged in grain and stock raising. S. S. continued at this till 1876, when he took a station at Coffeyville, afterwards working at Chanute and Thayer. In 1880, he took Morehead Station, which was doing a large business. Then he gave it up, however, to attend to his own business in the store, and has only taken it again in February, 1883. Both he and his father are members of the I. O. O. F.

J. K. GRAVES, farmer, Section 26, P. O. Morehead; native of Louisville, Ky; born in 1846, 31st of August. Here he remained until he was some thirteen or fourteen years of age, when his parents removed to Harrison County, Ind. Here he had acquired a common school education, and in 1863, he commenced reading medicine. Not completing this study, he went into the coal-oil business in Kentucky, and then into coal mining. Giving this up, he came to Kansas, stopping at Fort Scott, then traveling to Emporia and Lyndon, the last place six months. From there, to Ellsworth, Fort Dodge, and back to Lyndon, via Wichita and Junction City, then entering the mercantile business with Robert Bassett, and in the spring of 1873, came from Cherryvale to Morehead, starting the first store in the village, soon after buying the farm he now occupies, costing $1.25 an acre, and now worth $20 an acre. Mr. Graves is highly esteemed among his friends and neighbors, an amiable disposition and of sterling integrity, and he relates among the pleasant incidents of his life, his visit to Topeka, Kan., at the great expose of Pomeroy by York.

WILLIAM M. LEECH, farmer, Section 23, P. O. Morehead, is a native of Ohio, and was born in 1838; was raised on the farm. When the war broke out he enlisted in the Thirty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and in 1864 veteraned, being mustered out at the close of the war, coming from Edgar County, Ill., in 1872, to Kansas, settling on a claim of 160 acres, entered by his wife's brother, who still lives with them and who still owns the claim. He succeeded in raising fine crops; his corn goes as high as seventy-five bushels to an acre. In 1881 he was appointed to fill a vacancy in his township as Trustee, and has been elected since to the office. He belonged to the Grange when it existed, and now belongs to the Morehead Alliance. Is also a member of United Brethren Church.

REV. W. H. MAKEANEY, M. D., who has been in the Methodist ministry over thirty years, and a regular practicing physician. Came to this village July, 1881, and commenced preaching in the Masonic Hall. He was soon appointed Justice of the Peace and Notary Public; also agent for the town, which had been platted by J. P. Nichols in 1879. Dr. Makeaney was for several years secretary of the Kansas annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church; Grand Chaplain and Lecturer of the Grand Lodge, and Grand Chapter of Kansas Masons; Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star; and has several times officiated as Grand Prelate of the Grand Commandery of Kansas; and for ten years has been Grand Representative from the G. R. A. Chapter of Iowa to the G. R. A. Chapter of Kansas. He was in the Union Army three years, and was wounded over the right eye at Murfreesboro, Tenn., and is well known as the Pilgrim Warrior of the Kansas Press. He has one of the largest private libraries in the State, and has held a number of debates on baptism and infidelity.

J. MOYNIHAN, M. D., native of Halifax, Nova Scotia; was born in 1852. He commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Connell, and in 1876 graduated from the American Medical College of St. Louis, Mo. He then opened his practice in Cloud County, and moved to Morehead in 1881, having married Miss Carriker. They have two children.

C. C. SWAYZE, grain and lumber, native of Columbia County, Pa.; born in 1841. In 1863 he moved to Illinois, and from there he went to Georgia on the close of the war, but neither the climate nor people suited him, so he came to Kansas in 1866, locating near Olathe, in Johnston County, where he remained till 1869, when he moved to Labette County, in the vicinity of Morehead, engaging in farming, carrying this on till 1876, when he took charge of the elevator and commenced buying grain, and has since managed the lumber yard for S. A. Brown & Co.

MRS. SAMUEL WHELPLEY, general merchant, native of New York. Having lost her parents she was adopted and raised in the city of New York, having met and married Mr. Whelpley in 1853; he is a veterinary surgeon. She started West in 1878, and alone and unaided started her store in Morehead, buying the building of E. C. Burnett and stocking up with drugs and general merchandise, carrying a stock of $2,500 and doing a business of $8,000 a year. Her husband arrived January 20, 1883, to remain and assist her in business.

C. L. WYMAN, hotel and livery, native of Onondaga County, N. Y., born in 1836. In 1849, with his parents, he moved to Beloit, Rock Co., Wis., where his grandmother and parents still live. She is now about ninety-eight years of age. While in Wisconsin he commenced driving stage and livery with the well-known firms of Chinks & Butler, Wheeler & Baker, also for Fink & Walker. He then moved into Illinois, where he worked at the livery business; then the carpenter trade, until 1862, when he enlisted in the Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. Company A, serving until March of 1864, when he returned home and bought a farm in Knox County. Here he made money raising broom corn. In 1869 he moved to Iowa, Jefferson County, but losing money on this farm, he went to Missouri, in 1873, and in 1875 he took U. S. Mail Contract from Neosho to Parsons, via Morehead, and located in Morehead. His contract running out in 1879, when the railroad came in, he opened the Globe House and Livery Stable. Mr. Wyman was married when he was eighteen years of age, and has had a family of eight children - four boys and three girls now living. He has held some of the town offices.

[TOC] [part 16] [part 14] [Cutler's History]