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


[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]


This town is located in the Neosho Valley, one and a half miles from the left bank of the river and half a mile from Flat Rock Creek, and it is a station on the Missouri Pacific Railway. The situation is all that need be desired.

Previous to the organization of a town company or the laying out of a town site two buildings had been erected here, one by L. P. Foster & Co., a log one, in which a store was opened and managed by the "Morgan boys," and a framebuilding erected by S. A. Williams, of Fort Scott, in which his son, Augustus D. Williams, kept a store. The movements were made in 1866, in anticipation of the starting of a town. A Town Company was organized consisting of George A. Crawford, S. A. Williams, C. W. Blair, Benjamin McDonald and John Nandier, a town site laid out and called Osage Mission., in December, 1867. By the side of it and to the west another town site was laid out and called Catholic Mission. On this town site a small store was opened by S. J. Gilmore, in a log building known then and still remembered as "Castle Thunder;" this store was opened in 1865. On Osage Mission townsite the Town Company erected a building on the corner of County and Market streets into which A. D. Williams moved his stock of goods in 1867, in which he kept the postoffice, with C. H. Howard as deputy. About the same time L. P. Foster & Co., erected a two story frame building across the street and a little north of the present site of the Southern Hotel. Joseph Roycroft built a log saloon near where now stands the City Bank; Middaugh and Dohnan came down from Topeka, and built a store where L. Steadman's store now stands, in 1867; James Roycroft erected a boarding house, the first in town, on the southeast corner of County and Market Streets, and during the summer John Nandier built the first hotel, the Neosho House, a large two story frame, long known as the finest hotel building in Southern Kansas. Not long after this Nathaniel Tucker started a store near "Castle Thunder," in the building now occupied as a dwelling by Daniel Zehner, and about the same time, perhaps a short time previously, Dr. J. B. Lamb started a store also in Catholic Mission. Marston & Ulmer, from Iowa, opened a furniture store in 1868. J. M. Boyle, from Fort Scott, opened a hardware store just north of L. P. Foster & Co.'s store, and on the southwest corner of County and Main streets, Ryan & Roycroft started a general store about the same time.

The first lawyer in the town was C. F. Hutchings, in 1867, the first physician, Dr. A. F. Neely, about the same time, and the first Protestant minister was Rev. A. Hitchcock. The first birth was that of a son to Mr. and Mrs. S. A. Noble, 1868. From the first the growth of the town was vigorous and rapid. In August, 1868, it contained eight dry goods stores, three drug stores, one hardware store, two boot and shoe stores, four blacksmith shops, and numerous other business establishments, and a population of nearly nine hundred. From this time until the building of the railroad the growth of the town was steady. It was the center of three lines of stages; one to Fort Scott, one to Humboldt and the other to Chetopa. When these stages arrived all was life and animation. Each stage was a Concord coach drawn by four fine large horses, and the driver's voice and importance, and the crack of his whip served to raise the excitement to the highest pitch, and is still vividly remembered. A more complete history of the town will be seen in the sketches of its individual industries and institutions.

The town having been governed for six months by a Board of Trustees, consisting of John Ryan, president; John Moffit, clerk; B. P. Ayers, T. C. Cory (sic) and R. D. Coggswell, until October 25, 1869, was on that day organized as a city of the third class. John O'Grady was chosen Mayor, and B. P. Ayers, John Ryan, John Moffit, J. P. Morgan and R. D. Coggswell, Councilmen. The following is a list of the Mayors since elected, with the dates of their election: B. P. Ayers, 1870, re-elected in 1871; W. L. Simons, 1872; C. L. Lease, 1873; A. B. Stoddard, 1874; T. H. Butler, 1875; L. Steadman, 1876, re-elected 1877; L. S. Orton, 1878; W. H. Williams, 1879; J. L. Denison, 1880, re-elected 1881; L. Steadman, 1882.

The postoffice at Osage Mission was the first established in Neosho County. It was obtained through and for the use of the Catholic Mission in 1851. Father John Schoenmakers was the first Postmaster. It was made a money office in July, 1869. Father Schoenmakers held the office until 1864, at which time S. J. Gilmore received the appointment. A. D. Williams was appointed in 1866. In 1868 C. H. Howard was made Postmaster, and held the position for about fifteen years, being succeeded on January 1, 1883, by J. S. Curtis.


The first school in Osage Mission was the Mission School, begun by Father Schoenmakers in 1847. This, however, was an institution devoted to the education of Indians and in the interests of the Catholic Church.

The first town school was taught in the winter of 1867-68. It was a subscription school, taught by Anson Gridley, senior, and was kept in a small frame building on the southwest corner of County and Oak streets. A Public school was taught in the following summer by Miss Mary Anna Swank, in a tented building. In the winter of 1868-69, T. C. Corey was employed as teacher of the public school. The place for holding it was changed in January, 1869, and quarters were taken up in a building which had been rented of N. Tucker, and fitted up for the accommodation of the school. A school building was erected in 1872. It is a large two-story brick structure of appropriate design, and contains four departments. The school enrollment is 277, and is divided among four departments: the highschool, grammar school, intermediate and primary. At present the schools are under the instruction of Prof. H. Stevenson, principal; E. E. Anderson, teacher of the grammar school; Mrs. S. C. Dobson, teacher of the Intermediate, and Miss Lizzie Barnhart, teacher of the primary department.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized August 15, 1868. The leaders in the movement were: Solon Marston, J. C. Boyle, A. Smith, and others, and it was effected in the schoolhouse. They have since built a church. It is a neat one story, frame building, finished with a steeple and belfry. A Sunday school was organized November 8, 1869. J. M. Boyle was chosen superintendent; T. C. Corey assistant superintendent; S. E. Marston, treasurer; I. F. Rager, secretary, and E. Boyle, chorister and librarian. The school is in a healthy condition, and is provided with a small library.

The Baptist Church was organized Saturday, November 13, 1868, by Rev. A. Hitchcock, and was effected in the school building. Steps toward the erection of a church building were taken in the latter part of the year 1868. The building was erected in the following summer, but was not completed. As an aid to its erection, the Town Company donated the lots upon which it is located, and made a loan of $1,000 to the society for two years, without interest. The Sunday school was organized September 25, 1869, and Rev. Hitchcock was the first Superintendent. In May, 1870, Peter Collings, J. T. Chandler, Daniel Kinman, Mrs. Anna Doleman and C. H. Howard were appointed a committee to raise funds with which to complete and furnish the house. The society is in a health condition.

Saint Peter's Episcopal Church was organized on Monday evening, December 12, 1870. S. S. Warner was elected senior warden, and J. H. Scott junior warden, and C. F. Hutchings, J. B. Lamb, H. B. Leonard, A. J. Smith, G. E. Cook, were elected vestrymen; S. C. Cook, clerk, and C. H. Howard, treasurer. A Sunday school was organized January 1, 1871, in the residence of S. S. Warner. The church building was erected in 1874. It is a small frame building of plain design.

The Christian Church was organized in May, 1881. The organization was superintended by Rev. J. W. Randall, assisted by Rev. C. W. Pool, and was effected in the Methodist church building. C. F. Stauber and Hon. J. Dale were elected elders. The church house was built in the fall and winter of 1882, and is a small frame structure, 24x36 feet in dimensions, and cost $800. The congregation is without a pastor since the termination of Rev. C. C. Deweese's pastorate.

The Catholic denomination have a large representation in this place. The church organization is attached to the Catholic Mission, a detailed history of which appears in the early history of Neosho County.

Osage Mission Lodge, No. 53, I. O. O. F., was instituted on Wednesday evening, March 16, 1870, by District Deputy, G. M. Smith. A number of Odd Fellows came down from the town of Erie to assist in the ceremonies. J. B. Gill was chosen noble grand; J. S. Carson, vice grand; W. Roush, treasurer; D. S. Miller, permanent secretary; S. S. Warner, recording secretary. Mission Lodge, No. 92, A., F. & A. M. was instituted under a dispensation, in January, 1869. James A. Songer was made worshipful master, and W. Rouse was chosen secretary. The institution tool place with a membership of twenty-five. The following are the president officers of the lodge: R. D. Kirkpatrick, worshipful master; J. R. Brunt, senior warden; William Lawson, junior warder; Thomas Baxter, treasurer; E. Cravens, secretary.

A. O. U. W. Society was organized, in January, 1881, with a membership of twenty-four. The officers elected for the government of the lodge, were: L. S. Orton, master workman; B. F. Mouser, overseer; T. M. Baxter, general foreman; S. F. Denison, receiver; William F. May, treasurer. There is a present membership of twenty-three, or a falling off of one member since the institution of the lodge.

The Grand Army of the Republic also have a flourishing organization called the General Warren Post, No. 114. At an election held on Saturday, the 16th of December, 1882, W. Henderson was chosen post commander, and P. W. Mess, senior vice commander. The lodge at present is in a live and flourishing condition.


The Neosho County Republican was started in September, 1880, by F. W. Ward, as the Neosho Valley Enterprise. At first it was a four-column quarto. In a short time after it was started, D. C. Ambrose purchased a half interest, and in September, 1881, the paper was enlarged to an eight-column folio. The Enterprise was conducted as a Democratic paper until October 19, 1882, when T. F. Ross purchased on-half interest. The name was changed to the Neosho County Republican, and the politics changed to correspond with the name. When Mr. Ambrose purchased an interest in the paper, in 1880, the office contained but one press, a one-half medium Globe, and on rack of type. At present it contains, in addition, a good newspaper press and a full line of newspaper and job material. T. F. Ross, the editor of the Republican was born at Davenport, Iowa, June 29, 1854. His father and mother, Enoch and Rebecca Ross, moved from Carrolton, Ohio, to Davenport, Iowa, in 1845. They moved from Davenport onto a farm in the same county in 1859, where they lived until 1865, when they moved to Jasper County, Iowa. In 1870, T. F. Ross entered Iowa College at Grinnell, remaining there three years, with the exception of a few months each winter spent in teaching school. In 1873, he went to California, and taught school there two years. In 1875, he returned to Davenport, and entered the office of Judge Hubbell as a law student; was admitted to the bar in 1876, and commenced practice in 1877 at Red Oak, Montgomery Co., Iowa. Here he practiced law until 1879, when he removed to Beloit, Kan.; opened a law office, and practiced law there until the spring of 1881, when he sold his practice and went to New Mexico, where he remained about a year. He then came to Osage Mission, bought one-half interest in the Republican, and assumed editorial charge of that paper.

The Neosho County Journal was started at Osage Mission, August 5, 1868, as a five-column folio, by John H. Scott, its present proprietor and editor. Originally it was a five-column folio. On the 17th of June, 1869, it was enlarged to a six-column, and on July 28, 1870, to an eight-column. Mr. Scott has always had an interest in the paper, but has had partners at different times: C. H. Howard, from 1869 to 1871; H. T. Perry, from 1871 to 1875, and C. H. Howard and Lewis McMillin, from 1875 to 1877,since which time he has been sole proprietor. The Journal was Republican in politics until the gubernatorial campaign of 1882, during which it supported G. W. Glick for Governor, as against John P. St. John.

The Neosho County Democrat. - This paper was started January 3, 1883, by A. Conn, as an eight-column folio. It is Democratic in politics. Mr. Conn has had a varied experience in newspaper publishing, commencing in 1845. During the years 1853-54-55 he published the Van Wert Democrat, at Van Wert, Ohio, and the Sidney Telegraph, at Sidney, Nebraska, in 1874 and 1875. He spent the money he had made in the newspaper business, in prospecting for coal, near Ponca, Dixon Co., Neb. He then traveled on the continent of Europe a year or two, and in 1879, worked eight months in the office of the London (England) Telegraph. In January, 1883, he started the Democrat. Banks. - The first bank was established, in Osage Mission, by Pierce & Mitchell, in April, 1871. It was subsequently organized under the State law, as the Neosho County Saving Bank, with an authorized capital of $100,000, and a paid-up capital of $20,000. In August, 1876, J. B. Pierce sold his interest in the concern to E. W. Bradbury and the firm became Mitchell & Bradbury. The firm failed in February, 1879. At this time J. B. Pierce established the City Bank. It is a private institution engaged in a general banking exchange, loan and collection business. It is also a bank of deposit.

The Neosho County Bank was started by C. C. Nelson, in March, 1881, with S. F. Denison, cashier. This concern lasted even forty days, when Nelson abandoned the business, taking up his residence as a British subject in the Dominion of Canada. The Mission Mills - These mills are located on Flat Rock Creek, about a mile east of Osage Mission. The building is a two and a half story frame above a stone basement story. These mills were built by Ryan & Roycroft in 1869, at a cost, including machinery and power, of $22,000. They were sold in 1875 to the First National Bank, of Parsons, and by this bank sold in 1877 to the present owners, Hutchings & Barnes. The machinery consists of four run of buhrs, with a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day, and is propelled by a fifty horse-power engine. An elevator is in the upper part of the building, with a capacity of storing 20,000 bushels of wheat. The market for the products of these mills is found in the local demand, in the Indian Territory and in Texas.

The Osage Mission Stone Mill was built in 1875, by A. W. Althouse. The building is a small stone structure, 30 feet long by 20 feet in width, one and a half stories high. It contains three run of stone, having a capacity for grinding seventy bushels of wheat and 100 bushels of corn per day. The motive power is a twenty horse-power engine.

[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]