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


[TOC] [part 19] [part 17] [Cutler's History]


The town site of Olivet includes all of Sections 3 and 10, and eighty acres of Section 4, Township 18, and Range 15 east. It is divided nearly in the middle by the Marais des Cygnes River; which flows from west to east. The site was located in 1869, by Rev. A. J. Bartels, a minister of the New Church - Swedenborgian - J. R. Elder and C. P. Loricke, they representing a company of shareholders, who had raised a fund of $10,000 in 1868, for the purpose of founding a town somewhere in Kansas.

After the survey, about one-third ot (sic) the lots were reserved as a dower for a college, and the remainder was all sold at public sale, on May 1, the proceeds paying a small dividend to the shareholders. A quarter section of land near Arvonia had been purchased by the committee, and was sold to a member of the Company, who donated it to the College Association. Only a few of the buyers settled at once. Among the first settlers were Rev. A. J. Bartels, J. R. Elder, C. P. Loricke, Frank Hindman, James Dickson, Dr. T. B. Haslam, William Haslam, George Phinney, J. Q. Sook, L. W. Powell, P. Hesler, H. J. Davis.

In 1869, Olivet was incorporated as a city of the third class. William Haslam opened a general merchandise and drug store, and later H. J. Davis opened a hotel, Bartels & Munger started a saw-mill. Wagon and blacksmith shops, etc., were started.

In 1870, Dr. W. C. Sweezey opened a store. T. B. Haslam opened a broker's and exchange office, and some other business enterprises were stated

Early in 1870, city bonds to the amount of $10,000 were voted to aid in the erection of a flouring-mill. Of this $3,000 were issued, after which it was abandoned as a public enterprise, but was completed on a smaller scale by Bartels & Munger.

At the time of the first settlement, the nearest post-office was at Burlingame, twenty miles distant, and William Haslam would have the mail for the neighbors brought over to his store whenever an opportunity occurred. In 1870, he was appointed postmaster, and Olivet made a postoffice on a new mail route.

It was expected that a railroad would soon be built up the Marais des Cygnes Valley from Ottawa to Emporia, and when the project failed the new town began to decline at once, and many of the settlers left the country. The only business houses left are Sweezy's store, where it kept a small stock of drugs, and a cooper shop operated a part of the year.

In 1873, a fire swept over the town, destroying two unoccupied residences, a few stables, and a great deal of grain, and hay, and then more settlers left the neighborhood.

The population of the village was once about 300, but now numbers but a few families, and the town site is covered with farms. Several of the original builds are yet standing. It was proposed by the founders of the town to build a college and make Olivet the headquarters for the Swedenborgians of the entire West.


HON. CHARLES COCHRAN, farmer, Section 34, Township 18, Range 15, P. O. Melvern, was born February 10, 1833, in Windham, N. H. He is a descendant of a native Scottish farmer, who came from Scotland and settled in this country in the first settlement of New Hampshire. His mother, Annis Dinsmoor, traces her connection back to John Dinsmoor, of Scotland. Mr. Cochran was brought up on a farm, receiving a good education at the New Hampshire Conference Seminary. In 1856 he moved to McLean County, Ill., and in 1860 came to Kansas, a distance of 450 miles, with an ox team, and settled in Olivet Township, where he now owns a farm containing 700 improved acres. He keeps a good herd of cattle and other stock, and has erected substantial buildings. He enlisted, September 4, 1862, in Company F, Twelfth Kansas Infantry, with the rank of Orderly Sergeant, and was promoted to First Lieutenant. He was in all the engagements in which his regiment was called, and was discharged June 30, 1865, at the close of the war. He represented Coffey County in the Legislature in 1866, and was County Commissioner of Osage County in 1870, and is now Trustee of the Township. Mr. Cochran has the reputation of an honest, faithful and efficient officer. He was married in McLean, Ill., July 2, 1857, to Miss Harriet E., daughter of Ichabod and Lucy Foster Warner, of Bolton, Conn. They have had six children - Rosalie W., born June 12, 1858, died November 26, 1863; Lincoln F., born August 26, 1860; L. Annis, born July 30, 1867; Mary L., born Mary 16, 1869; Hattie L., born March 13, 1871, and Charles B., born May 6, 1874. Mr. Cochran is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also of Olivet Lodge, No. 22, A., F. & A. M.

JOHN R. ELDER, farmer, Section 3, P. O. Olivet, was born in Union County, Ind., December 22, 1824; is a son of James Elder and Elizabeth Reed. He was brought up on a farm and received a common school education. Came to Kansas in 1869, and settled in Olivet Township. Owns 160 acres, on which he lives and has improved. He was married in Butler County, Ohio, August 9, 1849, to Miss Mary, daughter or Thomas and Sarah Briggs Newport. They have seven children - Sarah E., born July 14, 1850; Julius S., born May 29, 1852; Noble G., born January 7, 1855; Lyman Y., born September 26, 1857; Thomas G., born December 6, 1859; Lulie L., born October 20, 1862; Lettie Annie, born August, 1867. Mr. Elder is a member of the New Jerusalem Church.

JAMES W. JESSEE, farmer, Section 18, P. O. Arvonia, was born in McLean County, Ill., March 8, 1828; son of William Jesse (sic) and Nancy Weaver. His grandparents were William Jesse and Mary Vermillion, William Weaver and Mary Sims, and his great grandparents on his mother's side were James Weaver, Nancy Smith, James and Elizabeth Sims. He grew up on a farm, and was educated in the common schools. In 1854 he came to Kansas and settled in Bloomington, Douglas County. He was then only sixteen years of age, yet he was active in the Free-State cause, and served that cause under the leadership of Col. Sam Walker and John Brown, often being sent out by them on errands of explorations. His youthful appearance, and at the time his apparent (though not real) greenness avoided all suspicion, and he thus was prepared as an excellent spy. He helped storm Fort Titus, and also in driving the notorious McGees from their rendezvous. When he first arrived in Lawrence there were only sod houses and one frame building in that now beautiful city. Mr. Jessee went with Col. Walker to Brown County to meet Jim Lane on his way to Kansas with a large body of men, and also to Lecompton after Free-State men held as prisoners by the border ruffians, assisted by the United States troops, which resulted in the delivery of the men in Lawrence as stipulated in the agreement. He enlisted July 28, 1861, in Company K, Eighth Regiment Illinois Infantry, and took part in the engagements at Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, Pittsburg Landing, Champion Hills, Raymond, Jackson, Miss., Vicksburg, Slocumb's six days running fight, and many skirmishes. He was discharged August 2, 1864, with rank of Sergeant. He was united in marriage in McLean County, Ill, July 13, 1865, to Miss Maria Standiferd, by whom he has nine children - Lincoln S. and Logan S., (twins), born March 21, 1867; Ida May, born May 18, 1879; James W., born July 5, 1871; Hinton Grant, born December 9, 1873; John Wilson, born January 22, 1876; Charles T., born July 21, 1878; Emma Bell, born December 18, 1880, and Frank Arthur, born April 10, 1883. Mr. Jessee is a member of Arvonia Lodge, No. 54, I. O. O. F. He is also a Universalist minister

LORENZO D. LAFFERTY, farmer, Section 8, P. O. Olivet, was born in Orange County, N. C., December 29, 1829; son of James and Sarah (Cockelrare) Lafferty. When a child his parents took him to Indiana, and there he was brought up on a farm; was educated in the common school. Enlisted February, 1862, in Company K, Fifth-third Regiment Indiana Infantry, and participated in the engagement at Corinth, Jackson, Pittsburg Landing, Vicksburg and Atlanta, where he was wounded, and was discharged in February 1865. He was married in Orange County, Ind., December 4, 1851, to Miss Ona O., daughter of William Felkin and Prudence McDanell. They have six children, viz., Sarah C., born April 22, 1853; Martha E., born May 6, 1854; James C., born December 27, 1855; Lydia A., born December 29, 1859, Mary J., born January 25, 1865, and Charles A., born May 21, 1870. Mr. Lafferty came to Kansas in 1870, and settled in Olivet Township; owns 230 acres, which he has under cultivation from the raw prairie, and good house, barn, etc. Mr. Lafferty is a member of Arvonia Lodge, No. 54, I. O. O. F.

BENJAMIN T. LEACH, farmer, Section 34, P. O. Key West, was born in Fountain Green, Hancock County, Ill, September 24, 1853; son of K. N. Leach and Jane M. Read. He was brought up on a farm, and educated at Abingdon and Carthage Colleges, and a course in Bailey's Commercial College. He came to Kansas in 1876, and settled in Coffey County. Owns 240 acres in Coffey and Osage counties; lives in Olivet Township; keeps 150 head of cattle, 6 horses and 60 hogs. His buildings cost about $1,200. He was united in marriage September 14, 1880, in Fountain Green, Ill., to Miss Mattie L., daughter of John B. McDanall and Harriett Talbot. They have one child, William W. Clark, born June 26, 1881.

ALBERT M. McCAULEY, farmer, Section 8, P. O. Olivet, was born in Orange County, Ind., May 5, 1839; son of James and Sarah Lafferty McCauley, who were children of Joseph McCauley and Vance Lafferty. Mr. McCauley was brought up on a farm, and received a common school and education. Enlisted August, 1862, in Company F, Eighty-First Regiment Indiana Infantry, served in the band, and was discharged for disability in December, 1862. Came to Kansas in 1871, and settled in Olivet Township; owns 125 acres, which he improved. He was united in marriage in Orange County, Ind., May 10, 1860, to Miss Lucretia A., daughter of James Greggs, Esq. They have two children - Laura E., born August 5, 1861, and James B., born December 16, 1862. Mr. McCauley is a member of Olivet Lodge, No. 22, A., F. & A. M. and postmaster at Olivet. Laura E. is now the wife of William Soddeistum.

JESSE P. SHRECK, farmer, Section 36, P. O. Eclipse, was born in Jackson County, Ohio, Jan 3, 1828; is a son of Garrett and Anna Elder Shrech (sic), who descended from Paul Shrech, Margaret Miller, Robert Elder and Mary Dimsey, his grandparents. He received a good common school education. He lived in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa before coming to this State. In 1869 he settled in Olivet Township, where he owns 640 acres, which he has improved and has well stocked. He was married in Ogle county, Ill., October 2, 1851, to Miss Elizabeth J. Daughter of Robert Wilson and Mary A. Ekis. They have seven children - Elizabeth J., born January 17, 1853; Robert B., born March 28, 1855; Joseph C. W., born December 30, 1856, died July 6, 1873; Mary A., born November 20, 1858; Sarah B., born March 24, 1860; Rozelia Inis, born December 21, 1862; died August 28, 1865, and John A., born January 9, 1864. Mr. Shrech (sic) is a member of the Christian Church.

A. M. WILSON, farmer, Section 23, P. O. Melvern; born in Highland County, Virginia, July 5, 1810; son of Eli and Hannah Hempenstal Wilson. He was brought up on a farm, gong to school a part of the time. He lived in Miami County, Indiana, from 1840 to to (sic) 1869, when he came to Kansas, and settled in Olivet Township, and improved a good farm out of the raw prairie. He was the first settler on the prairie in that region. He was married, in Highland County, Virginia, November 12, 1834, to Miss Hester Fleisher, who died October 21, 1842. He was again married, November 12, 1843, to Miss Ingabo Shirley. They have fourteen children - George W., born September 10, 1844; Sarah Ann, born March 9, 1845, died November 17, 1860; Henry, born February 22, 1837, died February 8, 1839; Benjamin E., born December 29, 1838; Eliza C., born January 14, 1841; George W., born September 10, 1844, died March 7, 1864; Samuel B., born March 30, 1846; Harrison F., born November 25, 1847; Deborah H., born July 27, 1849; died March 12, 1873; Jacob M., born June 26, 1851; Elizabeth J., born April 27, 1854; John E., born February 11, 1856, James P., born February 28, 1859, and Mary S., born January 9, 1861. Mr. Wilson is a member of the Methodist Church, and has been class-leader for a number of years.


ROBERT A. ADAMS, farmer, Section 8, P. O. Michigan Valley, born in Jefferson County, Illinois, January 23, 1836; son of Abraham Adams and his wife, Sarah P. Hustin, where he grew up to manhood on a farm, receiving a common school education. He came to the State in 1869, and settled in Junction Township, where he owns an excellent farm, which he has improved, and has under cultivation. He was married in Clinton, DeWitt County, Illinois, May 8, 1867, to Miss Jane, daughter of John C. Mason. They have five children living - Martha E., born October 31, 1869; Alfred F., born January 5, 1872; Andre, born May 21, 1875; Sarah E., born January 26, 1878; Joseph, born September 7, 1881.

JAMES C. COLEMAN, farmer, Section 19, P. O. Valley Brook, born in Holmes County, Ohio, February 2, 1834; son of Ezekiel C. Coleman and Elizabeth Peterman Coleman. He was educated in the common schools, and learned the wheelwright trade, and worked at the business until 1866. He came to this State, and bought his farm in 1858, settling in Junction Township. His farm contains 120 acres, improved. He was married in Bond County, Illinois, April 5, 1860, to Mary E., daughter of Philip Stout and Hannah McAdams Stout. They have had six children - James E., Clara J., Thomas B., Emma M., Charles I. and Elmer R. The second child, Laura M., was drowned in Appanoose Creek, at the age of eleven months.

THOMAS M. GILMORE, farmer, Section 31, P. O. Valley Brook. He was born in Washington County, New York, January 31, 1833, and is a son of Martin Gilmore and Eleanor Green Gilmore. He was educated at Cambridge Academy. In 1857, he came to Kansas and settled at Leavenworth, and in 1868 moved to Osage County on a farm in Junction township, where he owns 860 acres, improved, and raises stock on quite an extensive scale, and employs from two to six men. Mr. Gilmore was married in Lawrence, Kansas, September 19, 1859, to Miss Annie J., daughter of Charles Wright, Esq., and Abigail Dickingson. They have six children - Charles M., Nellie A., Arabell, Mary O., Laura A., and Thomas. Mrs. Gilmore is a member of the Baptist Church.

S. H. FULLER, farmer, Section 8, P. O. Michigan Valley; born in Coles County, Illinois, August 3, 1839; son of Hawkins Fuller and his wife, Phebe Nash, where he grew up on a farm, and was educated in the common school, and a partial course in Home College, West Virginia. He enlisted in 1862 in Company G, One Hundred and Thirtieth Regiment, Illinois Infantry, with rank of Orderly Sergeant, and took part in the battle of Grand Gulf and the siege of Vicksburg, where he was wounded, and sent to the Hospital in St. Louis, and was discharged in April, 1865. He came to Kansas in 1876, and settled in Junction Township, where he purchased a farm, containing 160 acres. He also owns a half interest in a store, carries a stock of $4,000, established the business in 1881, and employs three hands. He was married in Coles County, Illinois, August 18, 1860, to Miss Nancy Steward. They have five children - Charles L., Stephen J., Ellen, Mattie, and Alfred. Mr. Fuller is a Master Mason, a member of the Baptist Church, and has served three terms as Township Trustee.

GEORGE W. MORRIS, farmer, Section 24, P. O. Lamont Hill, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 23, 1818; son of Amos Morris, Jr., and his wife, Joanna Lantz. His father moved from the city to Dearborn County, Ind., where George W. grew up on a farm, was educated in the public school, and became a farmer. He enlisted, July, 1862, in Company G, Eighty-third Regiment, Indiana Infantry, and was in the battle of Vicksburg, Arkansas Post, Grand Gulf, Fort Raymond, Gibson, Jackson, Black River, and numerous skirmishes. He was wounded in the foot, and transferred to the Seventh Regiment, Indiana Veteran Reserve, and placed on guard duty at Washington in 1864, with rank of Captain, and was discharged June 5, 1865. He was married in Dearborn County, Indiana, September 26, 1839, to Miss Arah J. Noyes, who died October 1845. He was again married February 22, 1855, to Hannah M. Claspill. He has eight children - Warren W., Israel N., Amos G., Linn N., Abia R., Flora, Florence, Elsworth F., and Albert A. He came to Kansas in 1868, and settled in Junction Township, where he has since resided; owns 120 acres, which he improved from the raw prairie. He is a member of burns Lodge, No. 56, A., F. and A. M., and also a Universalist.

PETER PETERSON, farmer, Section 14, P. O. Lamont Hill. Was born in Sweden November 18, 1841. Son of Peter Paulson and Mary Engrie. The change of name from Paulson to Peterson was made after coming to the United States in 1854, after the custom of the Swedes. He grew up on a farm and has always made that his business. He came to Kansas in 1858; settled in Osage County; owns 620 acres in Junction Township, which he has improved, having 300 acres under the plow; employs three men; keeps 100 head of cattle, eleven horses and 200 hogs. Erected a house in 1883 at a cost of $1,800. He was united in marriage October 27, 1868, to Miss Susannah, daughter of Samuel Ridenbaugh. They have five children: Clara, Annie, Clarence, Minnie and an infant.

JONAS A. WASHBURN, M. D., farmer, Section 21, P. O. Quenemo. Was born in Rush County, Ind., April 1, 1828. Son of Joseph Washburn and Agnes N. Mann, who descended from Nicholas Washburn and John Mann. Mr. Washburn grew up on a farm, and in youth went to the district school, and afterward to Asbury University, and there commenced the study of medicine, and graduated from the Ohio Medical College, Cincinnati, class of 1849, and at once entered upon practice at Wabash, Ind. In 1852 he moved to Jackson County, Mo., where he had a large practice, and was eminently successfully in his profession. When the Rebellion broke out in 1861, he championed the Union cause, and was compelled to leave Missouri and come to Kansas, after having been robbed of his property. He settled in Franklin County and was successful there; in 1870 he purchased a large farm in Junction Township, containing 560 acres, and eighty acres in Franklin County, and has since devoted his time to improving his farm. He erected a fine house in 1871, at a cost of $3,000. He employs several men on his farm; keeps 200 head of cattle, 15 horses and about 200 hogs, and is one of the leading farmers in that part of the county. Mr. Washburn was united in marriage in Jackson county, Mo., July 12, 1852, to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of George W. Tate, Esq. They have one son, James B., born September 24, 1855. Mr. Washburn is a Master Mason and a member of the Methodist Church.

CAPT. ROBERT D. WATTS, farmer, Section 19, P. O. Valley Brook. Was born in Hancock County, Me., July 2, 1817. Son of James Watts and Nancy Agnes McDonnell. He went to sea in early life; entered in the Mexican war in 1846, Company C, Third Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers. Participated in the engagements of Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo. Was in the Quartermaster's department, and honorably discharged at the close of the war. He came to Kansas in 1858, settled in Junction Township, where he owns 700 acres, good improvements. Commencing from the raw prairie he has made a beautiful farm. In 1862 he enlisted in Company I, Second Regiment, Kansas Cavalry, and participated in all the engagements in which that regiment took part, and was discharged at the close of the war. He was married in Franklin County, Kan., November 29, 1866, to Miss Mary A., daughter of Nicholas Scott and Elizabeth McDonnell. They have five children - William B., Mary A., Robert A., James S. and John D. Mr. Watts for several years followed the sea, and rose from a common sailor to be captain of a vessel. His first experience in farming was in Kansas, which has been a success.

HENRY H. WIGGANS, farmer, Section 18, P. O. Michigan Valley. Was born in Franklin County, Ind., August 13, 1832. Son of John Wiggans and his wife Sarah Evans; he grew up on a farm and went to school. He learned the blacksmith trade and followed that business until he came to Kansas in 1855, when he became a farmer in Franklin County. In 1863 he purchased 160 acres in Junction Township, and has since resided there, having improved his farm. In 1880 he had his barn and implements destroyed by fire from the hand of an incendiary. Enlisted in 1861 in Newgent's Battallion (sic), Missouri Volunteers, but was discharged in 1862. He was united in marriage in Franklin County, Ind., December 16, 1854, to Miss Emily Tague. They have four children - Thomas C., born May 11, 1861, Hattie H., born October 28, 1864, George A., born December 11, 1869, and Henry B. born January 24, 1872.

[TOC] [part 19] [part 17] [Cutler's History]