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


[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]


Osborne City was founded by a colony of Pennsylvanians who located here in May, 1871. The town company was composed of thirty-five members, W. L. Bear, President. The plat originally filed January 11, 1873, embraces in the town site the southeast quarter of southeast quarter of Section 18 and the north half of southeast quarter of Section 19, Town (sic) 7 south, Range 12 west. Rader's addition was afterward added on the east, Yoxall's on the north, and Hoffman's on the northwest.

July 1, the postoffice was established here and named Osborne, since which time the word city has been dropped as part of the name.

H. D. Markley was appointed post-master, he was succeeded by F. Yoxall, who in turn gave way to R. R. Hays, who was appointed receiver of the Kirwin Land Office and the Osborne postoffice passed into the hands of C. W. Crampton, the present incumbent. Early in the year 1873 Walter Jerome was born. He was the son of the editor of the Times. A note is made of this event as the lad was presented with a town lot by the Town company, in honor of his being the first to arrive on the town site through the regular channels.

On the 28th of May, 1873, Judge A. J. Banta, of the fifteenth judicial district, proclaimed Osborne a city of the third class. The people failed at that time to organize a city government legally, and on the 21st of December, 1878, Judge Holt again decreed the city a city of the third class and ordered an election, which resulted in the choice of the following city officers: Mayor, J. W. Elliott; Councilmen - R. G. Hays, E. Smith, J. M. Morgan, A. Smith, Z. T. Walrond; Police Judge, A. Anderson; Clerk, F. E. Leebrick; Treasurer, A. N. Fritchey.

The present officers are: Mayor, Calvin Reasoner: Councilmen, F. Yoxall, A. B. Coates, John Foutz (sic), F. P. Wells; Marshal, R. H. Bell; Police Judge, L. A. Linville; Clerk, A. W. Robertson.

This city is without a regular fire department of any kind. Prairie fires have been the only phase of the scourge to be dreaded. The second school in the county was taught in Osborne by Miss Gates, as before referred to. In 1873 the people of Osborne district voted $2,000 in bonds for the erection of a schoolhouse, which was immediately built of stone. In 1878 $3,000 more bonds were voted for an addition, and District No. 9 now boasts one of the most substantial and handsome schoolhouses in the western part of the State.

Among the other public improvements here worthy of note is the iron bridge across the Solomon, built by Messrs Bolvin & Wise, of Leavenworth, in consideration of $3,000 bonds of Penn township, issued in 1878, August 10. In the fall of 1878 considerable excitement prevailed among the men of capital in reference to a pork-packing establishment at this point. One P. H. Walker, a man of considerable means, was the leader, but owing to petty jealousies the scheme was abandoned, much to the regret of many of the most substantial citizens of Osborne. Mr. Walker is now in Philadelphia.

The school of Osborne City is one of its distinctive features. As heretofore mentioned the schoolhouse was built in 1873 and added to in 1878 until it is now capable of accommodating two hundred scholars, who are under the instruction of four teachers. James H. Whitecotton is principal.

The school board in District No. 9 is composed of C. W. Crampton, Director; S. B. Farwell, Clerk; and C. Reasoner, Treasurer. School has been held regularly in this city since Miss Gates taught early in the winter of 1871 and 1872. The school house is of magnesian lime stone, two stories in height and built in the form of a cross.


M. E. Church. - The records of this society in this city show that in May, 1871, the church was organized. The membership was then very small, but a pastor was secured in the person of Rev. J. C. Ayers, since deceased. The present pastor is E. H. Fleisher. The church has a convenient parsonage, valued at $550. It numbers forty-three members, and the Sabbath-school has an average attendance of sixty. No house of worship is as yet provided.

Moravian Church. - In June, 1880, this church was organized. It now numbers a membership of over forty. The pastor who was chiefly instrumental in bringing about the organization is Charles Steinfort. Rev. Charles Ricksecker was for a long time pastor, and was succeeded by Rev. H. V. Romiger. In 1881 a splendid stone church was completed on Washington street, at an expense of several hundred dollars. The church property is valued at $3,500. A flourishing Sunday-school of thirty scholars is regularly maintained.

The Presbyterian Church of Osborne was organized October, 1878, with nineteen members, including five trustees and three elders. This organization was the result of the missionary labors of Rev. J. M. Batchelder, acting under the direction of the Solomon Presbytery. He is the present pastor. The present membership of the church is fifty-one. In the spring of 1882 the society bought the property known as the "Library Hall," and reconstructed it into a handsome and commodious church edifice, 30x50 feet in dimensions, and valued at $1,600. A Sabbath-school is maintained regularly, with an average attendance of about forty scholars; it has a fine library of over three hundred volumes.

In connection with this work of Mr. Batchelder, appears the organization of the church of Covert, in March, 1882, with ten members; also the church of Kill Creek, in Kill Creek township, at the same date, with eight members. This latter society has an enthusiastic Sabbath-school of thirty-five members.

In the year 1876, the Rev. H. F. Albright assisted in organizing the Presbyterian Church of Twelve Mile Creek, now Rose Valley; the original organization numbered but fourteen members. Mr. Batchelder is their present pastor, and the church is in a prosperous condition and regularly maintains a good Union Sunday-school, with an average attendance, both summer and winter, of forty scholars. This society has a sufficient fund on hand to commence building a church building which will cost about $900.

Congregational Church - This was the first church of this faith to organize so far west in the homestead region. On the 26th day of May, 1872, the First Congregational Church of Osborne was organized with R. R. Hays, D. Tindal and J. J. Hays as trustees. Rev. Richard B. Foster was the first pastor, and was chiefly instrumental in building the handsome church building on the south side of town. He remained with the church as pastor for about ten years. The present pastor is Rev. Wm. T. Blenkarn. The church roll contains fifty-five names at present. A Sabbath-school of thirty-five average attendance has been running for several years. The value of the church property is about $1,600.

Saqui Lodge No. 160, A. F. and A. M., was named for Hon. Jacob Saqui of Atchison, a former Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kansas. This lodge was organized December 3, 1871 by Special Deputy G. M. Smith. The following officers were installed: S. B. Farwell, W. M.; Z. T. Walrond, S. W.; Abram Smith, J. W.; C. J. Watson, Sec. The present officers are: J. J. Hays, W. M.; J. K. Mitchell, S. W.; A. A. Ford, J. W.; W. F. Smith, J. D.; S. B. Farwell, S. D.; A. N. Fritchey, Treas.; C. W. Crampton, Sec.; H. Hurp, Tiler. The lodge is in a very prosperous condition, having property to the amount of several hundred dollars and over fifty members. The regular meetings are second and fourth Thursdays of each month in Masonic Hall.

Solomon Lodge No. 30, K. of P. - This lodge was organized here July 19, 1880. The lodge now numbers fifty members, has about $450 worth of property, and is in a very flattering condition of prosperity. The offers are: P. Crampton, C. C.; W. W. Watson, P. C.; L. C. VanScoyc, V. C.; G. K. Mooney, P.; M. Smith, M. of A.; C. W. Crampton, K. of R. and S. ; F. Yoxall, M. of Ex.

Lodge No. 44. A. O. U. W. Organized in this city May 14, 1880. There are forty-five members in good standing and the lodge has accumulated a few hundred dollars in property. The officers are as follows: A. B. Coates, M. W.; F. P. Wells, F.; J. A. Fouts, O.; L. A. Linville, P. M.; C. W. Crampton, Recorder; A. Smith, Fin.; H. W. Gardner, Receiver.

Osborne Lodge No. 185, I. O. O. F. - The Odd Fellows established a lodge in this city with six charter members on the 21st of March, 1881. The beginning was small, but now in 1882 the lodge numbers thirty-five members; has over $300 worth of property, and is officered by the following gentlemen: Andrew Duffy, N. G.; O. F. Smith, V. G.; J. J. Hays, P. G.; E. B. Garrigues, Sec.; John A. Fouts, Treas. Since the organization, from six charter members in 1881, the lodge has steadily grown in wealth and members.

O. M. Mitchell Post, No. 69. G. A. R. - This lodge, although one of the youngest in the city, is one of the strongest. It was organized in June, 1882, by General Mustering Officer W. C. Whitney, of Cawker City. It is now officered as follows: Commander, C. M. Cunningham; S. V. C., S. B. Farwell; Officer of the Day, A. Saxey; Chaplain, A. N. Fritchey; Adjutant, L. A. Linville; Quartermaster, David Ward; Officer of Guard, A. B. Coates. The post numbers sixty-five strong, and the officers are all provided with uniforms, as well as the greater majority of the members. This post gives promise of being the largest and is already one of the most prosperous in this part of the State.


In January, 1873, J. J. Johnson and F. E. Jerome, then of Beloit, aided by a small subsidy from the Osborne Town Company, commenced the publication of the Osborne Times, under the firm name of F. E. Jerome & Co. Mr. Jerome was sole and exclusive manager and editor, assisted by a staid and verdant devil. In July the town company assumed charge of the paper, by virtue of a purchase of Mr. Johnson's interest, and Calvin Reasoner bestrode the editorial tripod. Mr. Reasoner was a success in the place. The Times then passed into the hands of John Boring and William Rader, members of the town company. James H. Bower owned an interest in the paper, and for a brief time assisted Boring in the editorial management. In November, 1874, the Times died a natural death, and for two months Osborne City was without a paper. In January, 1875, the town company effected a sale of their material to F. H. Barnhart, who commenced the publication of the Osborne Farmer, a Republican newspaper, which is yet in the field and one of the strong papers of the State and one of the solid financial institutions of Osborne. Mr. Barnhart is a native of Chautauqua County, New York, and has been a printer nearly all his life. His management of the Farmer indicates that as a business man he is a success. A move is not on foot to publish another paper at this point.

Columbus Borin came to Osborne in September, 1879, and commenced the publication of a handsome six-column quarto called the Truth-Teller. Mr. Borin had been for some time a resident of Nebraska, and, although quite a young man, had been chosen to represent his county in the State Legislature. He made the Truth-Teller a respectable rival of the Farmer for nearly a year, but finally realized that his income was too small for his newspaper ambition, and he hastily abandoned the field and returned to Nebraska. He has since returned to Norton county, where he is principal of the public schools and busily engaged as a student for the ministry.

Osborne is now a solidly built town, many of the business houses being constructed of magnesiun (sic) limestone, artistically built and an ornament to any city.

On the river, southeast of the city, E. M. Beach and sons have a large three-story stone flouring mill, with three run of stone, which makes a good grade of flour, attends to all custom work, and adds materially to the business of the town. The mill was erected at a cost of $8,000, in 1879, and was added to in 1880.

A branch of the Bank of Beloit is in operation here, and has an additional capital of $25,000, under the management of W. H. Burke. Mr. Burke was one of the first settlers of Osborne County, having located in Delhi Township, in 1871, with a large herd of cattle. Having business tact and a desire to do office work, the banking business presented the opportunity, and he availed himself of the opening at the county seat. He still holds large herds of cattle at different points in the county, and is also, in connection with Harry Dobbs, the largest grain buyer in the city. They have a warehouse at the depot, through which a large part of the surplus grain of the county is shipped. Charles Wooley also does a banking business at this point, in connection with a loan and insurance business.

The Lipton House, a four-storied building, is one of the best conducted hotels in the West, and although Osborne has other hotels, the Lipton, owned and conducted by the gentleman for whom it is named, is now the leader of all.

[TOC] [part 3] [part 1] [Cutler's History]