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


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


Scranton is situated on the line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, about five miles northeast of Burlingame, and on the level prairie land, not far from One Hundred and Ten Creek. The town is located in the center of the coal belt on the county, and mining is the principal industry. Though only about ten years old, Scranton is one of the most thriving towns in the county, and all branches of trade, necessary in a farming and mining country, are carried on. On September 27, 1871, Alex. Thomas, and O. H. Sheldon began sinking a coal shaft. This was completed in 1872, and mining was soon commenced. That year, Porter Sheldon joined in the enterprise, and the Burlingame and Scranton Coal Company was formed by the Sheldons, and a town surveyed late in the summer and called Scranton, from the town of that name in Pennsylvania. A few houses for the miners were built, and a store was opened. The entire business was superintended by Alex. Thomas. A post-office was established and A. Thomas appointed postmaster. For the first three years of its history there was little business done in the town, except by the above named Company. In 1875, the coal interests began to be developed to a greater extent, and as a consequence the town began to improve. Henry Isaacs opened his coal mines that year, and about the same time the Carbon Coal Company, and Chappell & Edwards began sinking shafts, and were followed the next year by Joseph Drake.

The first marriage was that of David Williams and Mrs. Rebecca Stull, which took place in 1873. The first sermon ever preached on the town site, was in April, 1872, by Rev. J. W. Stogdill of Burlingame, and at the Coal Company's boarding house. The schoolhouse was built in 1872, and the first term of school was taught the same year, by H. D. Porter of Burlingame. The schoolhouse was located on the northwest part of the original town site, and where the large two story schoolhouse now is.

The first birth in Scranton, was that of Madison Evans, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Evans, in August, 1872. He died December, 1873. This was the first death in the town.

After the town began to improve in 1875, it grew slowly until 1879, when the mines having been opened up, there was a rush of capital and settlers to the new town. So great was it that by June, 1880, the population numbered 930. Since that time the number of inhabitants has increased to nearly 1,700, and the town is steadily improving. Since the original town was surveyed, four additions have been made. Throop's Addition was first made on the west side of the original town site, and this is now the business portion of the town. Next was an addition by the Carbon Coal & Mining Company; then an addition, a short distance to the south, by the Osage Carbon Company, which is composed of about seventy-five miners' houses; and still later there has been Sheldon's Addition.


Scranton was incorporated as a city of the third class on August 4, 1880. The first Council was Joseph Tomlinson, William Scott, James Ingham, Joseph Drake and Thomas Kelley. The first Mayor was J. M. Giddings; Clerk and Police Judge, John R. Poe; Treasurer, H. A. Sheldon; Marshal, W. S. Challis. The present City Council is Thomas Chappell, James Campbell, James Peterson, John Love and Benjamin Hughes, The Mayor is Frank Lofty; Clerk, George Monnahan; Treasurer, H. A. Sheldon; Attorney, John R. Poe; Marshal, James Livingstone.

The greater number of the citizens of the town are church-goers, and several religious organizations are kept up, and are liberally supported. The different Church Societies are the Methodist Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian, Free Methodist, and Latter Day Saints. Each of the above organizations has a good membership and is in a prosperous condition. Only the first two named have church edifices, which were built in the years 1868 and 1869. The first church organized was the Methodist Episcopal, in 1872. The members were Alex. Thomas, John M. Cain, Sarah J. Cain and C. H. Wahlers. Rev. W. C. Howard was the first pastor. The church now has fifty-two members.

When the settlement of the town commenced, the first thing considered was the opening of a good public school, and the erection of suitable school buildings. This has continued, and as a result the town now has a large frame schoolhouse, built at a cost of $6,900. The school has five departments, and there are in the district 855 pupils.

The Kansas Plebeian is the only newspaper published at Scranton. It was established at Lyndon in the summer of 1882, and removed to Scranton in August of the same year. It is an eight column folio paper, edited and published by E. D. Hunt, in the interest of the Greenback party.

Perfect Square Lodge, U. D., A., F. & A. M., was organized on August 8, 1882. John McCoach is W. M.; J. M. Giddings, S. W.; Alex. Shields, J. W.; and William H. Hobbs, Secretary. Besides the above named, the charter members were Thomas Evans, John Carney, James R. Graham, George Craw, George Chapman, A. J. Miller, E. G. Bundy and John Cook.

Chickamauga Post, No. 67, G. A. R. was organized in May, 1882. The Post now has about fifty members, and is in a flourishing condition.

Scranton Lodge, No. 1,042, K. of L. was organized in 1879, with twenty-two members, and with John R. Poe, N. W.; Robert Curley, Secretary; and John F. Young, V. S. This order once had a large membership, but is now falling away somewhat.

Knights of Pythias - The Lodge of the Knights of Pythias was instituted February 8, 1882, with twenty-seven new members, and seven old Knights. The names of the latter were John McCoach, William Dennison, Thomas Chappell, William Nixon, Sr., William Nixon, Jr., W. Drake and John F. Hurst. Of the first officers John McCoach was P. C.; William Dennison, C. C. and Thomas Chappell, K. of R. and S. The charter was received May 17, 1882.

Scranton Lodge, No. 71, A. O. U. W., was instituted in February, 1882, with seventeen members. Of the first officers Joseph Drake was M. W. And William Gallahan, Rec.

Scranton Lodge No. 180, I. O. O. F. was instituted in March, 1881, with eleven charter members; they were John F. Young, James Burnett, M. Roody, George Chapman, John Cook, William Scott, S. Chambers, J. McNish, W. McNish, S. Briddick and J. Tomlinson. The lodge is in a prosperous condition with forty members.

The mining of coal is the principal industry of Scranton, and it is upon this that the people depend generally for support.

The Osage Carbon Company. - The Burlingame and Scranton Coal Company was succeeded by the Osage Carbon Coal and Mining Company, in which the officials of the A. T. & S. F. R. R. Were the principal stockholders. The above company was succeeded by the Osage Carbon Company. The company's shafts here are eight in number, and all are well worked.

The Scranton Co-operative Society is a company formed to benefit the laborers by supplying merchandise to them at the lowest possible rates. They have a general store, well fitted up. The officers are: James Ingam (sic), President; John Allen, Secretary; and A. G. White, Business Manager.

Henry Isaac's Coal Mines. - These mines comprise three shafts. Operations were first commenced in 1875. The full capacity is about five car loads per day, and about seventy-five men are employed.

Joseph Drake's Coal Mines. - These mines consist of two shafts. Operations were commenced in 1876. The capacity is about four car load per day.

The Industrial Coal and Mining Company was organized in February, 1880, with a cash capital of $1,300, and have developed one paying shaft one-half mile west of town. The officers of the Company are John Lamont, President; Squire Anderson, Vice-President; John F. Young, Secretary; Board of Directors, Lamont, Anderson, Young, Thomas Chappell, John Bell, William Pickup, Joseph Martin, R. R. Smith and Dickson Burnett. Thomas Chappell has been Superintendent of the Company since its organization.


R. J. BOOTEY, of the firm of Sheldon & Bootey, was born in Jamestown, N. Y., October 12, 1850; took a course of study in the Union School and College Institute of that city, graduating in 1869. He was employed as a cashier in the freight office of the A. & G. W. R. R. for eleven year. He came to Scranton in 1880, where he was employed as bookkeeper in the office of the Osage County Coal and Mining Company until entering into business with Mr. Sheldon in August, of that year. He was married in April, 1881, in Jamestown, N. Y., to Miss Anna E. Sheldon of that city. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. of Scranton.

PROF. T. P. BROWN, Principal of public schools. There were 617 children of school age in 1882. Present enrollment, 300 pupils, average attendance. Percentage, 90. Prof Brown has had charge of the school about three years. He was born in Armstrong County, Pa., January 25, 1845. His education has largely been obtained by experience in teaching and personal application. Was Principal of two different schools in Pennsylvania. Was married in 1876 at Pontiac, N. Y., to Miss Belle Manchester, of Erie County, Pa. Is a member of K. of H. and Kansas State Teachers' Association. The Scranton school enjoys unusual prosperity.

THOMAS CHAPPELL, Superintendent of the Industrial Coal and Mining Company, was born in Yorkshire, England, August 16, 1842, and has been engaged in coal mining since he was eight years of age. He came to America in 1870, locating in Jackson County, Ill., and came to Osage County, Kan., shortly afterwards. Located in Scranton in 1876. Was married in Yorkshire, England, in 1863, to Miss Ellen Thresh, and has three children - George E., Elizabeth and Thomas W. Is C. C. and charter member of K. of P. Is Treasurer of K. of L. and is also a member of the City Council.

JOHN COOK, dealer in drugs, medicines, notions, books and stationery. Located here in September, 1879; carries a stock of about $4,000, and trade will reach about $4,000. He was born at Hanging Rock, Lawrence Co., Ohio, December 24, 1842. Resided there until twenty-one. In 1861 he enlisted in Battery B, First West Virginia Light Artillery. Was in the second battle of Bull Run, Winchester and Port Republic, and the Shenandoah Campaign. Was mustered out at Wheeling, West Virginia; removed to his home and followed coal mining there and in Indiana for about fifteen years. Came to Kansas in 1876. Store was first opened in co-partnership with Dr. Giddings, whom he bought out in 1882. Was married in June, 1882, to Miss Jennie Evans. Is a member of A., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F. and A. O. U. W. of Scranton.

JOSEPH DRAKE, engaged in operating coal shafts, also interested in the manufacture of "The Favorite" washing machine, of which the firm have the right of fourteen States and Territories. Mr. Drake was born in Yorkshire, England, December 1, 1838. Engaged in coal-mining there, and came to America in 1865; located in Elk County, Pa., engaged in the same business, ans has been largely interested in coal-mining since coming to Osage County, and opened the second mine in the county. Went into the mercantile business in 1869, but has closed out his entire stock of goods. Was married in Yorkshire, August 9, 1859, to Miss Mary Darnley, who died March 27, 1882. Is a member of A. O. U. W., I. O. O. F., A., F. & A. M. and K. of H.

WILLIAM DRAKE was born in Yorkshire, England, September 7, 1828; remained there until 1875, engaged in a woolen factory, when he came to America, locating at Scranton, where he has since been engaged with his brother, Joseph, in mercantile pursuits. Is a member of A. O. U. W., Scranton, No. 71.

SAMUEL O. FULTON, contractor and builder, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., March 4, 1852. Resided there until about twenty-three years of age, learning his trade, and then removed to Kittanning, Pa. Returned to Philadelphia and remained until coming to Kansas. Engaged in the lumber business with Mr. Hobbs in 1881. Was married in Philadelphia in 1874 to Miss Katie Bradley, a native of Ireland, and has three children - Samuel, Mary and Jennie. Has been a member of I. O. O. F. and K. of P.

DR. J. M. GIDDINGS. Located in September, 1876. Was born in Pittstown, Luzerne Co., Pa., January 9, 1853. Graduated from the Louisburg University in 1871. Began the study of medicine immedately (sic) after with Dr. G. Underwood of Pittstown. Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, March 12, 1875. Practiced his profession in Jefferson County, Ill., until coming to Kansas. Was married September 15, 1881, at Scranton, Kan., to Miss Christena M. Mitchell, of Glascow, Scotland, and has one child - James L. Was elected Mayor of Scranton when the town was organized in 1879, and held the position two terms. Is a member of Perfect Square Lodge, A., F. & A. M., Scranton, and Temple Chapter, No. 26, Burlingame. Is also a member of I. O. O. F.

WILLIAM H. HOBBS, lumber dealer, carries a stock of about $2,5000 and does an annual trade of $10,000. Came to Kansas in 1871 and located at Osage City. He engaged in mining and was superintendent of the B. & S. Coal Company for about eight years. He was born in Bristol, England, June 14, 1841. When fifteen years of age he came to America and located in Pottsville, Pa. Lived in Ohio about two years and enlisted May 1, 1861, in Company F, Eighteenth Ohio Infantry, under the three months call; re-enlisted in Company H, Fifth West Virginia Infantry. At the second battle of Bull Run he was wounded and disabled, and was discharged in April, 1863. He was married in 1865 at Syracuse, Ohio, to Miss Samaria Jenkins. They have five children - William, Charles, Maggie, Nellie and Thomas. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., of Scranton.

JOHN F. HURST, dealer in confectionery, tobacco, cigars and fruits, located in Scranton in November, 1877, and worked at coal mining and teaming, and engaged in present business about 1879. His building is 20x32 feet, two stories and an addition 14x16 feet and cost about $2,000. Was born in Thornell, Yorkshire Co., England, in August, 1832. When about seventeen his parents came to America, locating in Pottsville, Pa. Remained there about eight years and moved to Luzerne County, where he remained until coming to Kansas. Has been twice married; First at Pottsville, August 20, 1855, to Miss Salena Adams, who died in May, 1861; as the result of said marriage, one daughter, Jane, is now living; was married again June 20, 1863, at Scranton, Pa., to Miss Ann Morris of Schuylkill, Pa., and by whom two children are now living - Rebecca and Elizabeth. Mrs. Hurst died September 27, 1876. Is a member of K. of P., No. 496.

HENRY ISAACS, dealer in groceries, also owns and operates three coal shafts; located at Carbondale in 1871; remained four years and moved to Scranton; opened his store November 1, 1882, and carries a stock of about $2,000. Was born in Leicester County, England, April 2, 1847. When six years old moved to York County and learned the wagon-makers' trade; came to America in 1871; was married in England in 1868 to Miss Elizabeth Peel, and has six children - Jessie, Tillie, Ella, George, Rosie and Samuel. Is Treasurer of School District, No. 75, and Justice of the Peace.

JAMES A. IVEY, dealer in general merchandise, also undertaker, was born in Cornwall, England, September 14, 1844. His parents moved to America when he was quite young, locating at Potosi, Wis., where he remained until coming to Kansas. He was married in Potosi in 1871 to Miss Angie Vannata, and have three children - Albert E., James E. And Irvin M. Mr. Ivey enlisted February, 1865, in Company K, Forty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry. He was stationed in Tennessee, and did guard duty. Was mustered out September 1, 1865. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F., and the G. A. R.

MICHAEL LUBY, farmer, Section 28, Township 14, Range 15, P. O. Scranton, owns 200 acres of which 100 acres are improved. He came to Kansas Territory in 1855, locating at Fort Leavenworth. He removed to Weston, Mo., and returned to the Territory in 1856. Removed to Lecompton and was there while the famous Lecompton Legislature was in session. Mr. Luby made the acquaintance of all the historic characters of those times and participated in all the exciting events that followed. Remained in that locality until 1868 and has since then resided in Osage County. He was born in Tipperary, Ireland, in 1820. He came to America in 1847 and resided in New England for several years before coming West. He was married at St. Louis, Mo., January 25, 1852, to Miss Johanna Malcahy, and has two children - Martin E. And Bridget J.

P. McBRIDE, billiard hall and ten pin alley, came to Kansas February 10, 1875; engaged in mining six and one-half years. Was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, March 15, 1840. Remained there until about eighteen engaged in farming and removed to Scotland, where he engaged in mining in various places until coming to America in 1875. Was married in 1866, in Fifeshire, Scotland, to Miss Jane Black, and has seven children living.

JOHN McCOACH, of the firm of Frank O'Donnell & Co., dealer in hardware and queensware, carry a stock of from $3,000 to $4,000, and trade will average $10,000. Commenced business here in September, 1881, building is 24x80 feet, two stories high, the upper story used for society hall. Mr. McCoach was born in Philadelphia, Pa., June 9, 1842, and is of Irish descent. When eight years of age his parents moved to Armstrong County, Pa., and in 1859 emigrated to Kansas, locating at Clinton. In 1861 he enlisted in Company D. First Kansas volunteers, and participated with his command in the following engagements: Wilson's Creek, Corinth, Vicksburg, Lake Providence, Vidalia Canton, Atchafalaya Bayou; veteranized March 29, 1864; was escort to General Reynolds, Seventh Corps, Department of Arkansas, which position he held until the close of the war. He was mustered out August 30, 1865, as First Lieutenant, returning to his home at Clinton, and in the spring of 1866, went to Montana, where he engaged in mining until 1868. In the winter of 1867 he was lost in a snow storm in Lewis & Clark's pass near Butte City, Mont., and was finally rescued by a hunter, but both his feet were frozen so as to necessitate amputation, from which misfortune he still suffers. In 1870 he went into the office of the Clerk of Court at Lawrence and remained two years as deputy. In 1872 he was appointed to a position in Surveyor General Office. The following year he removed to Carbondale and clerked for several years. He has been twice married - first, July 25, 1869, at Clinton, Kan., to Miss Mary M. Taylor, who died September 11, following. He was married again April 20, 1882, at Girard, Kan., to Miss Anna M. White of Gettysburg, Pa. Has one child - M. Parsons, born March 4, 1883. He is a member and W. M. of Perfect Square Lodge, No. 220, A., F. & A. M., Star of the West Lodge, No. 46, K. of P., of which he is P. C., and representative to Grand Lodge; also Friendship Lodge, No. 2,340, Knights of Honor.

ASHER MOTT, of the firm of Bundy, Drake and Mott, manufacturers of the "Favorite Washer." He was born in Monroe County, Ohio, October 20, 1832, moved to Iowa in 1862, and to Kansas in 1868, locating at Lecompton; in 1874 he moved to Pawnee County, and engaged in hotel business, and while there was admitted to the bar, he then removed to Rush County and engaged in law and land business until coming to Scranton. He was married in Washington county, Ohio, in 1861, to Miss Mary E. Penrose. Mr. Mott is a member of the Society of Friends, and a minister of that denomination.

WILLIAM R. PORTER, proprietor of the Bundy House, the house has fifteen rooms and a capacity for forty people. He came to Kansas in 1870, remained on a farm until 1874. Came to town, since which time he has been with Osage Carbon Company. He was born in Grayson County, W. Va., July 20, 1837, resided there twelve years and in Russell County, three years, and removed to Boyd County, Ky. He enlisted August 16, 1862, in Company C, Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry, and was engaged one year, mostly scouting in Kentucky, and was wounded July 23, 1862. Was mustered out in September following. He was married April 29, 1859, at Ashland, Ky., to Miss Mary Bartel, of Boyd County, Ky. They have two children living - Thomas C. and Ida B. Is a member of I. O. O. F., and G. A. R. Has served as Deputy Sheriff and Constable.

JOHN R. POE, attorney-at-law, was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., September 23, 1842, his parents moved to near Chattanooga; where he grew to manhood. When the war broke out his father was obliged to leave the State, and Mr. Poe joined the Fifth East Tennessee, with which command he was in nearly every important engagement of the war. After the war he located in Green County, Ill. In 1869 he came to Osage City and engaged in coal-mining there three years, and came to Scranton, where he commenced to read law at spare times. He was admitted to the bar August 2, 1881. Was elected City Attorney in April, 1882. Held the position of Police Judge, Justice of the Peace, and City Clerk, in 1878, 1879 and 1880. He was married in 1867, in Greene County, Ill., to Miss Lizzie Denton, of Kentucky, and has four children - John A., Laura, Minnie and Nellie. He is a charter member of Chickamauga Post, No. 67, G. A. R.; is also a member of the I. O. O. F., No. 102 Carbondale.

DR. A. W. SELLARDS, of Sellards Bros., physicians and druggists, came to Scranton in November, 1881, where they carry a stock of about $23,000. He was born in Greenup County, Ky., January 14, 1851; began reading medicine in 1873, with his brother, graduating at Miami Medical College in 1877, there being four brothers practicing medicine in that county, and are all graduates of the same school. He was married in November, 1877, to Miss Mattie Lawson. He is a member of the Ohio Valley Medical Society.

H. A. SHELDON, of the firm of Sheldon and Bootey, dealers in general merchandise. This firm carries as large as stock as there is in the county, the value will vary from $16,000 to $25,000, the annual trade will reach $75,000 to $100,000. The month of December, 1881, the sales reached $10,000. The firm usually keep four clerks besides the bookkeeper. The checks of the miners are cashed by this firm, and their trade comes largely from that class. Mr. Sheldon was born in Randolph, N. Y., January 17, 1856, removed to Jamestown in 1862, and remained until coming to Kansas. He was married in 1876, at Jamestown, N. Y., to Miss Alice M. Sherman of that place. He was appointed City Treasurer in 1880, and has held that position since. He is School Director, and a member of the A., F. & A. M.

ALEXANDER SHIELDS, dealer in general merchandise, and boots and shoes. Carries a stock of some $2,000, and trade will average $3,000. Business house is two stories, 20x40 feet. Came to Kansas in 1869, and located at Junction City. In 1872 moved to Newton and engaged in boot and shoe trade until coming to Scranton in 1881. Was born in Kilmarnoch, Ayrshire, Scotland, March 17, 1839. When sixteen years of age completed his trade and worked at it in most of the principal cities of Great Britain. Came to America in 1864, locating in Chicago. Was married in 1862 at Glasgow; Scotland, to Miss Margaret MacRae of that city, and has the following children: Katie, Elizabeth, Alex, Jr., Angus, Johnnie, Mary, Anna, Richard and Florence. Is a member of the A., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F., and Encampment and K. of P. Is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

ALEXANDER THOMAS, dealer in general merchandise and postmaster, was born in Richmond, Va., December 23, 1840. When two years of age his parents moved to Grant County, Wis. Here he remained until eighteen, and went to Nevada County, Cal., where he remained three years, and removed to Virginia City, Nev., where he remained until 1868. He was married first 1866 to Miss Maggie Cain, who died the next year. He came to Kansas in December, 1869, and stopped in Carbondale one year, locating in Scranton in 1870. He was the first settler and business man in the town, and Superintendent and Secretary of the Burlingame & Scranton Coal Company until 1878. Was Superintendent and Secretary of the Burlingame most of the time; the latter portion of the work was divided between W. H. Hobbs and subject. Mr. Hobbs superintending the underground and shaft work, and he attending to the procuring of material, shipping coal, both of mine and from surface or strip coal, also keeping the accounts, etc., attending to the outside work of the Company. Finally went into business for himself, and now carries a stock of $7,000, and has an annual trade of about $15,000. Mr. Thomas organized the post-office, and has been postmaster since it was established in 1873. He has also been very active in church and Sabbath-school matters, and is Trustee and class-leader of the Methodist Episcopal Church; he has also been an active and prominent temperance man. He was married to his present wife Miss Jennie A. Ivey at Dubuque, Iowa, in November, 1874, and has three children living: Alexander, Adah and Bertha I. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., and the State Temperance Union.

H. A. THOMAS, manager of S. Minshall's general store, Scranton Kan., was born in Middlesbro, Yorkshire, England, June 16, 1851. When nineteen he came to America, locating in Exeter, Clay County, Kan. Moved to Carbondale, Kan., and from thence to Pueblo, Col., and from thence to Scranton, Kan. He was married July 29, 1877, to Miss Elizabeth Brown. They have three children, May, Albert and Mary. He is a member of K. of H. Lodge. Mr. Thomas owns some fine Clydesdale horses. He owned the noted stallion, Netherby Second.

A. G. WHITE, business manager of the Scranton Co-operative Society, was born in Devonshire, England, November 27, 1857. In 1877 he came to America, stopping at Rock Island, Ill., where he engaged in coal mining until 1878, when he came to Scranton. He was married in May, 1882, to Miss Mary J. Martin. He is a member of the K. of P., K. of L., and the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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